Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Open Web Education Alliance

W3C, the people who do web standards, have set up an Open Web Education Alliance Incubator Group, to foster education about web standards. See: News, Deliverables, Meetings. and Charter:

The goal of this Incubator Group is to bring together interested individuals, companies, and organizations with a strong interest in the field of educating Web professionals, to explore the needs and issues around the topic of Web development education. This Incubator Group will detail the options for establishing a group dedicated to bringing Web standards and best practices to the process of educating future professionals in Web professions, no matter where this training and education might be provided, and will define the goals, activities, and a clear mission for such an organization, and will seek to establish this organization's viability and role.

ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan

The ACT Government has issued for a request for tender for a "Cost Benefit Analysis - ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan" (29 June 2009). There is a 35 page (109.5 kb PDF) tender document which outlines the ACT's public transport strategy and triple bottom line approach to cost benefit analysis. Unfortunately, apart from the tender documents, I was unable to find any reference online to any work being undertaken for the plan. The ACT government appears to be starting from scratch very late in developing a public transport plan.
The ACT Government has been working on an integrated transport plan that will help create a more sustainable transport environment in the ACT. The Plan will help respond to climate change, and provide benefits to the whole community by making the transport system more efficient, effective, sustainable, and accessible. The key components of this integrated transport plan are strategies for public transport, parking, cycling, walking and transport infrastructure supplemented by detailed implementation plans for the next several years.

As part of developing a strategy for public transport, the ACT Department of Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) has undertaken a study entitled the ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan (PT Plan). This PT Plan has focused on a study year of 2031, with improvements identified over the twenty-two years in the future.

The key elements of the PT Plan are the identification of:
  • a “back-bone” network structure for public transport operation. This is called the frequent network in the PT Plan;
  • an express network structure to meet commuter needs during peak periods; and
  • a coverage network to meet social goals and accessibility needs.
The frequent network has two components: frequent rapid services and frequent local services. The frequent network refers to services that run frequently offering reliable public transport at intervals which negate reliance on a timetable. In the long term this is designed to run every 15 minutes.

Further, the frequent network runs for a long service day, usually a span of at least 15 hours per day, 7 days per week.

The service characteristics of this network have been identified in the PT Plan. The PT Plan has also identified the infrastructures that support the operation of the proposed network structure and service design.

The PT Plan has recognised that there is a direct trade off between the resources devoted on the “back-bone” network and the “coverage” network. The recommended service design in the study estimates that there is a potential to achieve more than 16% mode split towards public transport by 2031.

The implementation of this network structure, therefore, has the benefit of increasing the role of public transport within the ACT and reducing car reliance to some extent.

Emerging Issues
In the past few years, major policy issues such as peak oil, climate change and the social inclusion role of public transport (PT) have come to the fore of transport thinking and planning in the ACT.

An effective public transport system can and should improve the liveability of a city, and a strategically designed PT system would help us adapt and address both sustainable and broader transport planning challenges. This is reflected in the National Capital Plan, and these sentiments have been expanded in policy documents such as the 2004 Canberra Spatial Plan, the 2004 Sustainable Transport Plan, and the Integrated Transport Framework published in August 2008.

Such a system has the potential to support a more compact urban structure, delivering on the principles of integrated land use and transport planning espoused in the National Charter for Land Use and Transport Planning, to which the ACT is a signatory along with all the other jurisdictions. ...

4.2 Description of Work
The consultancy is to be based on a Triple Bottom Line cost-benefit analysis. The cost–benefit analysis should go beyond conventional factors such as travel time, vehicle operating costs and crash costs, and needs to consider other factors such as environmental impacts, potential carbon emission reduction, social benefits through improved accessibility, business opportunities and land use intensification, and municipal service cost reduction from urban consolidation.

In developing the final report, the consultant should identify, and quantify as far as possible, the potential economic, social and environmental benefits of the PT Plan. An effective public transport system provides opportunities for urban consolidation and greater land value capture.

The modelling of the PT Plan was undertaken by McCormick Rankin Cagney (MRC) using the strategic transport model EMME and further detailed modelling was carried out using VISUM.

Specifically, the scope of works includes:

· Modelling and quantitative assessment of economic, environmental and social costs/opportunities;
· Reviewing and determining network scenarios of different frequent network coverage and network balance, based on the PT Plan and by consulting with the client;
· Establishing a base case: “Do Nothing” to benchmark assessment;
· Assessing potential for land value capture, urban consolidation and transit orientated development, particularly at key interchanges and corridors;
· Developing of a comprehensive cost – benefit analysis; and
· Suggesting the most beneficial option for the ACT Government to pursue.

Modelling and assessment of economic, environmental and social factors:
The analysis must include both qualitative and quantitative assessment of opportunities the implementation of the PT Plan would provide for the ACT in the areas of:

· Sustainability and climate change benefits, including greenhouse gas reductions;
· Potential health benefits, for example through reduced vehicle emissions and more active lifestyles;
· Economic opportunities for the ACT and region, including integration of the city's key retail and office precincts, core education and tourism facilities, and greater development in areas bordering the route (see TOD below);
· Social inclusion opportunities, including urban design and amenity, accessibility and affordability; and
· Other benefits/opportunities identified by the consultant.

In addition to quantification of the above benefits, the cost – benefit analysis will need to include implementation life cost estimates based on the resources and infrastructure costs. The analysis should address a range of input variables such as population growth and the cost of petrol, parking
and bus fares. The cost – benefit analysis should also refer to the potential impact of carbon pricing on cost estimates in light of the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2010.

The analysis can use the Australian Transport Council guidelines – the “National Guidelines for Transport System Management in Australia" at

From: Cost Benefit Analysis - ACT Strategic Public Transport Network Plan, ACT Government, 29 June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Social Networking for Business

I will be speaking on "Social Networking for Business" at the 2009 International Young ICT Professionals Conference, 3 to 4 September 2009 in Sydney. Another speaker is Fiona Balfour, former CIO of Qantas and Telstra. The program is designed for young professionals, recent graduates and university students to advance their career in Information Communications Technology (ICT), focusing on business issues. It is interesting to see that TATA are one of the sponsors.

Social networking web sites, such as Facebook are popular for keeping in touch with friends. But the same technology can be applied to promoting a young ICT professional's career and in the workplace to help run a business. Business orientated social networking systems will be demonstrated, along with the software used for this by the ACS in its education courses. The application of the this technology on a smartphone will also be demonstrated.

See how to:

  1. Use social networking to promote your career
  2. Implement social networking software in your workplace
  3. Run a business, or a nation, from your phone
  4. Benefit from free open source software

2009 International Young ICT Professionals Conference

3 to 4 September 2009 in Sydney


Day 1 – Thursday 3 September 2009




Conference Welcome
Jason Ming, NSW Young IT Chair


ACS Welcome
Anthony Wong, ACS NSW Branch Chair and National Board Member


Richard White
CEO and founder of CargoWise edi Pty Ltd


Creative ICT Futures
Graeme Wood- Wotif Founder


Morning Tea





Standing out from the crowd while maintaining your work life balance
Debbie Timmins – Young Professional of the Year 2005 and Yohan Ramasundara- Immediate Past Director of Young IT Professionals Board

What does Computer Science have to offer to the Young IT Professionals
Dr Chris Johnson - Associate Professor, Australian National University and Director Computer Science Board of ACS





Skills Development



Essential communication skills for today’s IT workplace
Jill Noble – Principal, Pivotal HR

Express IT

Social Networking for Business
Tom Worthington- Author, Net Traveler




Internationalisation of the ICT Industry
Varun Kumar – Head, TCS Operations in Australia and New Zealand


Accelerating your Career and ACS Foundation Opportunities
John Ridge – Executive Director ACS Foundation


Panel Discussion – How to be Successful in the ICT industry?


Afternoon Tea


Innovative Software Development – An Australian Perspective
Glenn Wightwick – Director, IBM Australian Development Lab


Executive Leadership - Transforming Businesses through investment in Information Technology
Fiona Balfour (Former CIO Qantas and Telstra)




Wrap Up
Jason Ming, NSW Young IT Chair


Networking Dinner

Chief Guest – Kumar Parakala – President Australian Computer Society and Global COO - IT Advisory practice, KPMG
MC – Yasas V. Abeywickrama – Director Young IT

Day 2 – Friday 4 September 2009


Jason Ming, NSW Young IT Chair




Where is technology going?
Dr Paul Scully-Power – Executive Chairman, Prime Solutions Pacific and Australia’s first astronaut


Morning Tea


ACS Exciting Membership Pathways


Green ICT – The Impact & Opportunities for Future ICT Leaders
Bianca Wirth – A Green IT advocate and Advisory Board Member, Computers off Australia


Establishing IT Services Businesses and Exit Strategies
Julie Irwin - A Winner of IT's Million $ Babes Award 2007








Leadership - Today’s Leader
Sarma Rajaraman – CIO Genworth Financial


Afternoon Tea


International Aspects of ICT
Neville Roach - Chairman, Smart Services CRC, Former Chairman Fujitsu Australia, an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and 2008 Overseas Indian Honour Award recipient from the President of India


Stewardship the Profession Requires from Tomorrow’s Leaders to Make a Difference
Mark Lloyd – A national ICT identity and thought leader


Scholarships Presentation, Wrap up and Closing Remarks
Yasas V. Abeywickrama MACS, Director, ACS Young IT Professionals Board

Australian E-portfolio Plan

A "VET E-portfolio Roadmap: A strategic roadmap for e-portfolios to support lifelong learning" (640 kbytes PDF, 16 June 2009) has been released by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. This provides a useful 26 page overview of what electronic portfolios are, how they are useful in education and how they can be applied in Australia. Unfortunately AFLF published the plan as a difficult to read PDF document, rather than web format (excerpts appended).

AFLF is a state and federal funded body to support e-learning and has issued a call for participation in
a VET E-portfolios Showcase in October 2009. Unfortunately the VET and higher education sectors are not coordinating their e-learning initiatives in Australia, with the federal government funding the wasted duplicated effort resulting from this. This is mostly the fault of the universities, who have difficulty accepting that the TAFEs are more advanced in e-learning than the universities are. This is dispite some reports recommended cooperation, such as QUT's "AeP ePortfolio Project - Final Project Report" (August 2008) which said something similar from the university point of view. This creates problems for organisations, such as ACS, which are involved in both vocational and masters level postgraduate education.
Section 1: Introduction 1
What is an e-portfolio? 2
Why are e-portfolios important to VET learners? 2
What is an e-portfolio system? 3
Activities or processes for a VET e-portfolio system 4
A reference model for VET e-portfolio systems 4
Section 2: VET E-portfolio Roadmap goals 6
Section 3: VET E-portfolio Roadmap key outputs 8
3.1 National guidelines for VET managers of learner information 8
3.2 Functional specifi cations for e-portfolio system implementers and developers 9
3.3 Strategies for embedding e-portfolios into VET 9
Section 4: VET E-portfolio Roadmap implementation strategy 10
Roadmap implementation strategy 10
Section 5: Getting involved 14
The role of jurisdictions and RTOs 14
For more information 15
Appendix 1: Summary of the VET E-portfolio Roadmap 16
Appendix 2: Key national policy drivers 19
Appendix 3: Defi nition of e-portfolio system services 21 ...

Appendix 1: Summary of the VET E-portfolio Roadmap

Goal 1: Enable portable e-portfolios and associated content to effectively support learner transitions and lifelong learning.

Requirements: A learner should be able to access and develop their e-portfolio throughout their lifelong learning journey. This will require them to be able to move their e-portfolio between various e-portfolio systems.

Strategy: A technical method for associating competencies, employability skills and other relevant frameworks/classifi cations to e-portfolio content/evidence will be investigated and recommended for the VET sector.

Import/export functional requirements for e-portfolio systems will be recommended and agreed nationally.

The use of a VET person profi le to facilitate the portability of e-portfolios which is interoperable with specifi cations such as auEduPerson8 specifi cation will be investigated.

This roadmap was commissioned by the Australian Flexible Learning Framework’s national E-portfolio business activity1
in 2008 to assist in the development of work to suppsaining system.

Goal 2: Enable electronic verifi cation of educational qualifi cations, membership of professional associations or trade/occupational licensing information.

Requirements: The ability to electronically verify evidence will help to streamline applications for employment, course admissions and recognition of prior learning processes.

Strategy: Existing systems for validating claims including Qualsearch9, Purple Passport10 and Digitary11 will be evaluated for their potential suitability in an Australian VET context. The Australian Graduation Statement for Higher Education and European Diploma Supplement will also be considered as part of this investigation.

Goal 3: Ensure that personal data is protected and under the control of the e-portfolio owner.

Requirements: There are legal requirements for privacy which, along with agreements on ownership of content, need to be clearly articulated and addressed in e-portfolio implementations.

Strategy: Generic legal advice will be sought regarding privacy issues and the roles and responsibilities associated with the delivery of e-portfolio services.

Information and advice on privacy and ownership policies will be researched and guidelines for RTOs and developers of e-portfolio systems. This information will be based on best and emerging
practice in this area and use-cases illustrating common issues and scenarios will be provided.

Goal 4: Ensure key stakeholders, including e-portfolio owners (learners) and organisations hosting e-portfolios systems, understand their copyright and intellectual property (IP)

Requirements: Copyright and IP considerations can affect the access and usage rights for a range of different types of e-portfolio content.

Strategy: Guidelines concerning the management of copyright and IP in e-portfolio implementation will be developed for the VET sector. In particular:

• guidelines on licensing of materials and usage of third party materials
• guidelines on appropriae content.

The E-portfolio business activity will monitor relevant developments such as Creative Commons Australia, in particular ccLearn initiatives.12

Access control
Goal 5: Enable effective authentication methods for third parties seeking access to sensitive personal information.

Requirements: Effective digital security facilitates learners’ privacy rights under law, allowing only authorised access to protected content and services.

Strategy: A set of representative VET use-cases for identity, authentication and access control will be developed based on further stakeholder consultations. Although focused on e-portfolios, an identity framework for the VET sector will need to be broader in scope.

A trial of a user-centric identity framework approach such as OpenID or Information Cards will be undertaken.

The sector will also need to engage in related activities such as the higher education sector, auEduPerson and the work of the schools sector in developing a localised version of the SIF data model13 to form a common agreement on data attributes for students. (see actions under Portability above).

Guidance and support for RTOs implementing e-portfolio systems will be provided.

Goal 6: Advocate the availability of suffi cient web connectivity, appropriate access devices, and suffi cient digital infrastructure.
Requirements: Access to appropriate infrastructure is required to support widespread adoption of e-portfolios within the sector.

Strategy: Infrastructure requirements for learners, e-portfolios and e-portfolio systems to support lifelong learning will be communicated to RTOs, jurisdictions and federal government (including the Digital Education Revolution initiative) and other relevant stakeholders.

Goal 7: Establish a shared understanding of storage issues and requirements for e-portfolios in VET.

Requirements: Storage agreements need to take into account that some e-portfolio content will be stored in the e-portfolio system, whilst some content will be stored in other systems or on the

Strategy: Guidance on storage of digital content for e-portfolios will be developed and agreed upon. This guidance will be informed by a number of key resources including higher education
sector’s Australian E-portfolio Project’s e-portfolio toolkit14 and JISC e-portfolio15 resources. It will be aimed at balancing the needs of learners, RTOs and the requirement for longevity of

Guidelines on supporting the longevity requirements for e-portfolios will be developed.

Goal 8: Establish a strategic approach to developing effective e-portfolio practice.

Requirements: The uptake of e-portfolios as a teaching, learning and recognition tool needs to be accompanied through professional development, adequate business structures and support.

Strategy: The Framework’s E-portfolio business activity will play a central role in supporting the establishment and facilitation of communities of practice to provide assistance, dissemination of
information and a mentoring role for new users.

The business activity will also seek FLAG16 and AICTEC17 support to advocate the establishment of a cross sectoral working/reference group that focuses on issues such as policy, professional learning, standards and advocacy at national level to support a standards-based approach to e-portfolios across the sectors.

Goal 9: Promote e-portfolio good practice which supports learner transitions and key national policy drivers such as RPL (recognition of prior learning) and fast-tracking apprenticeships.

Requirements: E-portfolios provide a means for presenting a variety of evidence from formal and informal learning environments which have been acquired through workplace and life-wide experiences.

Strategy: Pilot projects within the VET sector will be encouraged to further develop an understanding of the technical and policy requirements of learner transitions.

The COAG RPL community will be engaged to ensure e-portfolios support RPL processes. ...

From: "VET E-portfolio Roadmap: A strategic roadmap for e-portfolios to support lifelong learning", Australian Flexible Learning Framework, 16 June 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Islamic Science and Technology Museum

Islamic Science and Technology MuseumThe Islamic Science and Technology Museum gets a mention in "Fathers of Invention: What the Muslims Gave the Scientific World" by Jennifer Hattam (Wired magazine, of June 2009). The museum celebrates scientific and technological discoveries from Islamic scholars and makes the point Islam is not anti-science. Examples from the ancient world include the Alembic, for the distillation of liquids and the Astrolabe, a mechanical calculator for navigation. I was fortunate enough to visit the museum in Istanbul shortly after it opened, in May 2008. It is well worth a visit.

Also there is the Timeline of science and engineering in the Islamic world in Wikipedia. I added the museum to the timeline and in the entry for Gülhane Park, where it is located.

Michael Jackson on Amazon.com

Michael Jackson on Amazon.comAmazon.com have set up a Michael Jackson store. It is remarkable how quickly sellers have reacted to his death. As well as albums and MP3 downloads for sale, this has videos, books and a discussion area. Surprisingly, not all the discussion is uncritical tributes from fans, with allegations about his relationships with children discussed.

Shared Office Design

Shared Office Design for six people, two at a timeOne way to reduce energy use in offices is to have more sharing of printers, but another way is more shared office design, with more people per office. The example I will use is for visiting and adjunct staff at the School of Computer Science, in the Computer Science and Information Technology building (CSIT), ANU, Canberra. A simple arrangement could increase the number of people per office three to six times.

The CISCO Connected Workplace proof-of-concept project proposed reducing space per employee by 40% from 160 to 106 square feet, for general administrative personnel. CISCO estimated a reduction in energy use through this and other techniques of 58% from 423.9 W to 178.7 W per employee.These figures are comparable with those my students estimated in the Green ICT course.

One way to reduce energy consumption of a building is to make better use of the space. One way to do that is to make sure the space is fully utilised. Like other academic institutions, the ANU has Academic Affiliates. These are people who are not full time staff, but have an association with the institution. They provide a valuable connection between the university and industry, government, other research organisations. Some are on campus daily for some days or weeks, others visit for a few hours or a day every few days or weeks.

Normally a professor would get their own dedicated office, and a lecturer a smaller office. Such an arrangement is wasteful, both of space and energy, for affiliates who may only use the office a few days a month.

Some institutions solve the space problem with open plan offices. However, as a high status organisation which places a premium on the thinking time of its people, this would not suit the ANU. One alternative used is to place two staff in one office. This doubles the space efficiency, but more is possible.

A simple option is to time share the offices, with provision for more staff to share the offices at different times. A workable option would be up to six staff per office. According to "The Google Way: How One Company is Revolutionizing Management As We Know It" (Bernard Girard, No Starch Press, 2009) six is the optimal number for a team. So this is a reasonable number of people who can work out an arrangement together (it is not coincidence that the six cup coffee pot is the most common and the original AppleTalk protocol applied six computers in work group). Also it would be difficult to fit storage for more than six people in a typical office. With six in one office, they each get about one day a week, or about two days a week if the office is shared by two people.

There are many shared office designs featuring hot-desking. These may involve the staff member collecting a wheeled unit with their items from a locker room near the foyer of the office building and taking it to an allocated cubicle. This arrangement would not suit the ANU environment. Apart from the implied reduction in status for the people, it would need a large scale to be feasible, extensive changes to building fit out and would also eliminate the informal interactions between personnel which are valuable in a research environment.

The CSIT building is currently partitioned for two sizes of offices, the smaller for lecturers and ones twice as large for professors. For visitors and adjuncts, two may be allocate one office. Offices have one long wall fitted with floor to ceiling adjustable shelves, intended for a large number of books academics typically have.

Visitors and adjuncts tend to have fewer books, allowing for a reallocation of space. If the bottom two shelves are removed, this provides a desk height floor space. An under desk mobile pedestal unit could be placed in this space. These units are about 500 mm wide, so six units would take up about 2m, allowing for some space between. With one drawer unit allocated to each person, the shelf space above each drawer unit could also be allocated to that person.

Ideally there would need to be some secure storage for paperwork and other items. This could be done with lockable cabinets and vertical filing units replacing some of the shelves. This would provide about .4 m3 of storage per person, or about the size of five filing cabinet drawers, or one common size vertical locker.

With only six people to a room, there would not be a need for a complex booking system. But some form of online noticeboard would still be needed to say who was going to be in when. Also some way to allocate telephone numbers would be of use. Each person could be allocated their own telephone number, which would be forwarded when they were not at the office.

Sharing Printers to Reduce Energy

The students in my Green ICT course just completed their first assignment on estimating the greenhouse gas emissions from ICT in the organisations where they work. What stuck me was how much energy the average office uses. As an example, I found an estimate that a office worker causes about 1,078 kg-CO2/person/year in Japan and 2,470 kg-CO2/person/year in the USA.The students came up with comparable figures for Australia. One way to reduce this is to have more sharing of resources. This can be sharing of equipment (such as fewer printers).

The conventional wisdom now is to have offices equipped with fewer small printers and more larger "multifunction" devices. The MFDs look like photocopiers, but function as a copier, printer and fax machine. The problem with this is that the devices purchased tend to be over sized, thus resulting in more energy and paper use. Also the MFDs have a higher standby energy consumption, due to their multi-function and multi user nature.

The staff at the Department of the Environment and Heritage used 30 sheets of paper per person per day in 2004. That seems a lot of paper, hopefully it is someone more like 3 sheets a day by now, but assuming it is correct, how many printers are needed? The Fuji Xerox DocuCentre 1055 is one of the low volume laser MFDs (such unites cost less than US$500). It prints at 15 ipm (Images Per Minute). Assuming the staff at Environment are printing their pages double sided, that is 2 images per page, or 60 images per person per day. Assuming a 5 hour day, the 1055 can print 2250 pages a day, enough for 75 staff.

The building 1 Molonglo Drive in the Brindabella Business Park in Canberra is offering floors of 2,586m2. The NSW Government aims for a fit out of 15m2 per person, resulting in 172 on a floor in Molonglo Drive. At 75 staff per printer, this would result in only 2 printers per floor.

Clearly some departments have the larger MFDs. The ApeosPort-III, as there are documents scanned in with such a unit on the web. At 25 ipm, this unit could service 125 staff. Having two of these devices per floor would be excessive, but having only one printer would be operationally difficult.

The five floors of 1 Molonglo Drive have space for about 856 staff. The building might have two larger printers, such as the HP Laserjet 9040N at one point in the building and four smaller devices on each floor. The devices on each floor need not be "multi-function". It may be much cheaper and more energy efficient to have separate scanners and printers.

One option would be to procure low cost MFDs (less than AU$100) with ink jet printers, but not equip these with any ink, so they are just used as scanners and fax sending devices. The printing would be done on separate dedicated devices. Inkjet printers use far less energy in standby than laser print devices.

Techniques to discourage staff from printing could be used, which would also reduce the capital cost of the equipment. As an example most of the devices could be not fitted with automatic staplers or collating devices. This would discourage the staff from printing multiple copies of multi-page documents. It would also greatly reduce the cost of the printers and maintenance.

All documents printed, scanned or faxed could be automatically retained in the organisation's electronic document management system. All documents printed could include a machine readable code, which would be automatically read and matched in the electronic document system. An electronic notice would be sent to the staff member responsible for printing or scanning a document, requiring them to link it to the appropriate electronic file. This would make the point to staff that they should send electronic, not paper documents, where possible and also remind them that the printers are for business not personal use.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Advances Needed in Climate Change Politics

Michael H. Smith, Visiting Fellow at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society talked on "Overview of Key Advances in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation - Updating the IPCC 4th Assessment 2 Years On", 25 June 2009 in Canberra. Michael outlined areas where there have been rapid advances in technology to reduce CO2 emissions and other areas where the original IPCC report had not covered adequately.

A example of a rapid advance is in the creation of low CO2 cement, which Australia leads the world in the development of. An example of an area not adequately covered in the original report is the potential for mitigation through ICT.

Michael pointed out that the service industries make a far larger contribution to the Australian economy and employ far more people than mining and agriculture. However, it is the mining and agriculture industries which get the most political attention and government funding.

While the science of climate change is reasonably clear and the economics of ways to combat it are almost as clear, the political process is unable to deal with the situation effectively. I grew up on science fiction movies where some catastrophe threatened the earth and the scientists tried to warn governments, only to be thwarted by narrow, short sighted political self interest. That scenario is now playing out in reality, on a global scale.

A more detailed IPCC report with more science and economics is not the answer. Instead the analytical skills which have been applied to the science and economics of the issue should be applied to politics. We need to have an analysis of the political effect of climate change, perhaps showing loss of votes by electorate as a result.

Science is not without ethics. Like all professionals, scientists have an overriding obligation to act in the public interest. It is not sufficient to sit back and say "we warned them in a scientific report, it is not our fault they did not understand it". Climate change reports need to be translated into the language of politics so that political decisions can be made.

In the early drafts of the Green ICT course, I emphasised the environmental benefits of reducing energy and materials use. But I found this did not motivate students to undertake the course, let alone make the changes in the workplace to help the environment. Therefore I changed the course, and its promotion, to emphasise that reduction in energy and material use can result in reduction in cost for an organisation. Being able to work out such savings can also help the individual get promoted in their organisation. It may seem distasteful to committed environmentalists to reduce saving the planet to an incidental benefit of increased profits, but it works.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Internet Learning Future

Matthew Allen from Curtin University of Technology will be giving two free talks at ADFA in Canberra, 17th July, 2009. The morning seminar is for those with online teaching experience and the afternoon for those with an online learning design focus:
Innovative education online: Ideas for the future of learning and the Internet
An Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Workshop with Associate Professor Matthew Allen, 2009 ALTC Teaching Fellow, Head, Department of Internet Studies, Curtin University of Technology (http://www.netcrit.net)
Venue: LT 12, Lecture Theatre North (Building 32), UNSW@ADFA, Northcott Drive, Canberra
Map: http://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/images/adfamap.pdf
Date/Time: 0930 – 1230 Friday 17th July, 2009 (a light lunch will be provided at 1230)

Workshop Description:
Web 2.0 technologies provide significant opportunities to create novel approaches for student learning that go well beyond the dull, artificial world of Blackboard, WebCT and other learning management systems. Web 2.0 connects student learning to the realities of online knowledge networks, content creation and create opportunities for innovative and authentic assessment.

This workshop will provide the chance for you to explore what’s possible, contribute from your own experience, and collectively build a vision for new, effective approaches to online learning. Focusing on the link between these technologies, and pedagogic principles, the workshop will help you discover what is possible, consider how it challenges our ideas about learning, and develop new approaches for your own teaching practice. You will be provided with a framework of ideas, focused discussion
opportunities, and examples from the current research work of the presenter on online learning.

The presenter, Associate Professor Matthew Allen, is a nationally recognised university educator, having received an Australian Award for University Teaching in 2000 and more recently being awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Teaching Fellowship. This workshop forms part of his fellowship project, Learning in Networks of Knowledge (http://altc-link.wikidot.com/).

Through the exchange of ideas, the participants will learn about how to engage students directly with the public, ‘real-world’ Internet, through online knowledge production and their membership of knowledge networks which exist through the Internet. They will have contributed and gained a better understanding of both the potential benefits of this approach, and also some of its challenges (such as management, copyright, assessment, equity and so on).as well as the broader challenges. They will emerge with specific technologies, practices and activities that they can apply to their own teaching.

Participants should be people who have already some familiarity with using online learning techniques in their teaching beyond the level of simply placing materials online in a learning management system. Participants will be expected to share and discuss their current ideas with other workshop members.

To Register:
The workshop will be limited to 28 participants, so please let us
know if you intend to join us.

Contact: Ms. Rachel Hunter, Educational Technology Services, UNSW@ADFA
Email: r.hunter(a)adfa.edu.au
Telephone: 02 6268 8499
Exploring online learning via Web 2.0 and a knowledge networking approach
An Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Workshop with Associate Professor Matthew Allen, 2009 ALTC Teaching Fellow, Head, Department of Internet Studies, Curtin University of Technology (http://www.netcrit.net)
Venue: LT12,Lecture Theatre North (Building32) UNSW@ADFA, Northcott Drive Canberra
Map: http://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/images/adfamap.pdf
Date/Time: 1400 – 1530 (afternoon tea at 1530) Friday 17th July, 2009

Seminar Description:
The 90-minute seminar / discussion is aimed at developers and designers who are active in developing innovative approaches to the use of the internet as a teaching environment. It will canvass broader issues arising from Matthew’s ALTC project.

Learning in Networks of Knowledge (LINK) (see below). The session will consist of a presentation by Matthew of a draft paper on the underpinning questions and issues, the current research program, and will then allow extended discussion and debate about possibilities and problems with web 2.0 – based online learning.

The Learning in Networks of Knowledge (LINK) Project will develop, trial and assess new methods of learning via the Internet.

It assists the re-invigoration of university-level online learning by updating techniques and underlying pedagogic approaches to take account of the changing nature of the Internet in society today. Founded in experience gained over several years with existing online learning approaches, LINK aims to help Australian universities adjust to the new possibilities for Internet education in the late 2000s. LINK involves a sophisticated trialling of new ideas about learning via the Internet, using the most recent forms of online knowledge activity. Its primary outcomes will be broadly applicable pedagogic methods, confirmed and corrected on the basis of the trial, and expressed as examples and guidance material for other academics across the university sector.

The presenter, Associate Professor Matthew Allen, is a nationally recognised university educator, having received an Australian Award for University Teaching in 2000 and more recently being awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Teaching Fellowship. This workshop forms part of his fellowship project, Learning in Networks of Knowledge (http://altc-link.wikidot.com/).

Participants should be familiar with and involved in the design of nnovation in online or computer-based learning; the session
will particularly suit those wishing to engage with conceptual underpinning that might guide our fusion of Internet and pedagogy.

To Register
The workshop will be limited to 28 participants, so please let us know if you intend to join us.

Contact: Ms. Rachel Hunter, Educational Technology Services, UNSW@ADFA
Email: r.hunter(a)adfa.edu.au
Telephone: 02 6268 8499

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Australian Government Green ICT Quick Wins

Greetings from the AIIA "Canberra: The Standing Agenda" in Canberra. Kayelle Wiltshire from AGIMO is talking about 'Green ICT Quick Wins'. She pointed out that the ANAO estimate of 10% of energy use in agencies is probably low. The quick wins are easy steps to reduce energy use, such as shutting down desktop computers overnight (As at March 2009, only 48% of agencies do). In the longer term agencies can look at thin clients and virtualisation (as ABS has done). Agencies get to keep the money saved.

Later Mr Al Blake, CIO of the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) is talking on the whole of Government ICT sustainability plan in response to the Gershon recommendations. DEWHA are to produce whole of government ICT plan by December 2009 and major agencies are required to each produce their own ICT Energy Management Plan by March 2010. DEWHA have already issued a Request for Tender for Provision of Desktop, LAN, Helpdesk and Midrange Services.

A problem with both the 'Green ICT Quick Wins' and the Whole of Government ICT plan is that there appear to be no details published. As a result it will be difficult for government agencies and their commercial suppliers to assist with the effort. AGIMO and DEWHA should publish the planning documents and drafts for the projects on the web, so that there can be informed input. In this way it will not be necessary to wait until the plans are completed before work on their implementation. It will be possible to gain wide input from government staff and industry informally. A more formal parallel process can make use of AGIMO's GovDex online system, without the need for any committee meetings. AGIMO could thereby demonstrate how to move the process of government to 21st century web 2.0 organisational techniques.

Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plans

The Australian Information Industry Association's "Canberra: The Standing Agenda" monthly drinks are on in Canberra today at 4:30pm. This month it features Ms Kayelle Wiltshire, Branch Manager, Central Facilities, AGIMO on 'Green ICT Quick Wins' and Mr Al Blake, Assistant Secretary and CIO of the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) on the whole of Government ICT sustainability plan iin response to the Gershon recommendations.
Sponsoring the event is AH Technology featuring 1E WakeUp, NightWatchman and Power & Patch Management Pack. The products are used by Dell and the UK civil service. The products are also being used at the Eden Project (which I visited in Cornwall).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sony LCD TV Presence Sensor

Sony 40The Sony BRAVIA 40 inch WE5 Series HD LCD TV comes with a "Presence Sensor". This can be switched on so that the unit will turn off the screen to save power if it detected no one is in the room. It switches the picture back on instantly when someone comes in. The feature does save power with my measurements showing a drop from 109 Watt to 60 Watt.

Presumably this feature works using an infra-red sensor, as used in low cost burglar alarms. The sensor appears to have a range of about 3.5 m over 120 degrees. The time can be set to 7 seconds to test the feature. It might be set to five minutes for a screen which is only used occasionally or thirty minutes more typically.

The system works very well and would be useful in education and for digital signage. One problem is that the feature does not seem to be active when the TV is receiving VGA input. Otherwise it could be used in meeting rooms and parts of libraries not in constant use. One feature I would like to see is the screen brighten slowly, rather than come on suddenly at full brightness.

Also it would be useful if the feature had a second stage which would switch the unit to standby after a further period of inactivity. That would save more power (dropping consumption to 25 Watt), at the cost of the unit taking longer to restart.

See also:
  1. Sony 40 Inch LCD TV Initial Impressions

  2. Sony BRAVIA WE Series LCD TV".

ps: Sony TVs are also available via Amazon.com but may not be versions suitable for Australian TV: Sony BRAVIA W-Series 40-Inch LCD HDTV

Government ICT Reform Program

Greetings from "Walking the Walk - the governance and progress of the Government's ICT Reform Program" by John Sheridan, Australian Government Information Management Office at the joint ACS/AIPM meeting in Canberra.

John is discussing the implementation of the Gershon Recommendations. He mentioned the Portfolio, Programme, and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) tool would be used. I got a laugh when John said it could be found online in thirty seconds after I found the link I shouted out "got it!". P3M3 has five maturity levels, conceptually similar to CMM.

John commented that IT budgets in industry are expected to be flat, during to the global financial crisis and government IT people could not expect any better than this. Part of the savings which the government is requiring from agencies on ICT will be available for new initiatives which agencies bid for. I am not entirely convinced that this approach makes sense. ICT on its own does not do anything for an organisation, it is only there to help carry out functions. Therefore the ICT budget should reflect what the agency does and how ICT can be used there. If ICT can be used, then the ICT budget should be larger, otherwise lower.

In an extreme example of what not to do, one public sector organisation I visited recently had a financial shortfall. The organisation has a very efficient innovative ICT system, but they also has a
surplus of staff. As they agency could not get rid of the staff quickly, they decided to instead turn off the efficient ICT system and use manual processing. This provided the clients with a poorer quality of service and cost more, but it provided the required modest budget reduction.

However, if not taken to extremes, the practical benchmarks John talked about can be usable. One example was the ratio of full time staff (equivalent) to printers. This is a quick indicator of what agencies are doing.

In the case of industry interaction, AGIMO will make use of a similar approach to Intellect, the UK IT industry body. Green ICT will also be addresses, hopefully by the public service staff and contractors enrolling in my Green ICT Course. ;-)

While the ICT Reform Program will provide modest improvements , it will not deliver the improved services and cost savings which are feasable by effective use of ICT for Australian Public Service and their clients, the Australian public. AGIMO should plan to build a Government 2.0 system.

The separate islands of ICT in the various government agencies need to be joined, with a government mashup. That a particular agency has an efficient internal system will be of little value if it is only available in that agency. Services need to be avialable across the public service and accessible to the public. There is little sense in making the tiny isolated email and electronic document archives of each agency more efficient. There is also little point in giving public servnats better desktop PCs which keep them isolated in their offices, separated from their collogues and clients.

The Gershon recommendations are focused inwards on the ICT operations of government. The reforms are about making ICT as it is done in agencies more efficient, rather than providing the service in new and better ways. As an example, there is the assumption that each agency needs to provide its own independent ICT service and that this is about computers on desktops connected to servers. This is not the way ICT need be done, nor necessarily the best, or most cost effective.

One important part of the service the Australian Government now supplies are web based services. To the general public, who the public service serves, the divisions between agencies are artificial and arbitrary. There is no good reason why each agency should have its own web site served from a separate web server, with a different design and set of staff servicing it. A better cheaper services would be provided by an integrated approach.

Similarly, most of the ICT services used by public servants in agencies are the same across the public service. There is no good reason why these services are duplicated in each agency. Apart from the cost of this duplication it creates unnecessary costs in retraining and coordination. All agencies could use, for example, one email system and one electronic document management system which automatically permanently archived all electronic documents.

Much of Australia's federal political leadership has spent the last few days in a controversy over a fake email message. This indicates a failure of the Australian Public Service to properly implement and operate their records management system. If the system was working correctly, it should have taken only a few minutes to find if the email message in question was genuine or not, by checking the archive. This is not just a matter of administrative efficiently, as there are laws which require records to be kept and criminal penalties for not doing so.

There is no good reason why most public servants should be tied to desks. They can be provided with mobile services to do the work at their client's location. Some of these clients are the public, some are MPs and others are other public servants. Services which can be provided over a secure Internet connection and to a mobile device would allow for a better service.

The current Gershon reforms remind me of decades ago when IBM was proposing standardised terminal interfaces for mainframe computers. This was a very well thought out initiative, which I supported. However, it was overtaken by the rise of the PC and became irrelevant. As PCs are now declining in importance, with mobile web based applications and cloud computing. By the time the Gershon reforms are implemented, the ICT systems they are designed for will be obsolete.

John Sheridan, Division Manager Business Improvement Division at AGIMO in the Department of Finance and Deregulation, will provide an outline of the progress of the Government's ICT Reform program which is implementing the recommendations of Sir Peter Gershon's Review of the Australian Government's Use of Information and Communication Technology. Mr Sheridan will describe the structure of the program, outline the projects involved, and summarise results to date. He will provide details of the risk management approach inherent in the new processes for Agency Capability Assessment and discuss the management and progress of the ICT Business as Usual budget reduction project and the companion reinvestment pool.


Mr John Sheridan

John Sheridan joined the Australian Public Service in 1999, after 22 years in the Australian Army. He was the Defence IT architect from 2002 until 2007. From April 2007 until July 2008, he led Information Systems Division and was responsible for the design and development of Defence’s IT systems. In August 2008, John joined the Australian Government Information Management Office to negotiate the whole of government Microsoft Volume Sourcing Agreement. Since January 2009, John has led Business Improvement Division. He is responsible for ICT business as usual budget reductions across government. He graduated first in his class from both the Officer Cadet School, Portsea in 1980 and the Australian Army Command and Staff College in 1994. He has a BA(Hons.) degree, Graduate Diplomas in Computing Studies and Management Studies, and a Master of Defence Studies.
Walking the Walk - the governance and progress of the Government's ICT Reform Program, ACS, 2009

Sony 40 Inch LCD TV Initial Impressions

Sony 40The Sony BRAVIA 40 inch WE5 Series HD LCD TV comes in a box 210 x 1250 x 785 mm weighing 26 kg. It is light enough for one person to lift, but so large it takes to to move it. This is much heavier and larger than a LCD projector. But it is lighter than a comparable sized plasma screen.

The unit is relatively simple to unpack and assemble, with a stand which slots into the bottom of the screen and is held with four bolts.

I connected an VGA cable to a computer and composite input from a digital set top box. The unit also has HDMI 2 input, but I did not have a HDMI cable available. No cables were supplied with the unit, apart from the power cable.

Plugged in using VGA to my laptop, the screen gave a very clear computer display, but disappointingly dim. The display was not bright enough to be used in a room with sunlight coming through the window. The display was unusable in conditions where a 24 inch Dell 2405FPW LCD display worked fine. When sunlight in the room was reduced, the screen brightened enough to be usable.

Plugged into a digital set top box via component video, the unit gave an acceptable resolution image. However, as with the PC display, the image was not bright enough to be comfortably viewed. It turned out that this was a problem with the Power Saving feature. When set to "high" this dims the screen. This makes the unit not bright enough for typical digital signage or presentation applications. Turing this power saving setting to "off" was the only way to obtain an acceptable level of brightness.

Power consumption

When I plugged the unit in it drew 76 Watt. The unit arrived in "shop" mode, with the power savings setting turned off. It took some time to work out how to turn off this mode. Many people would not find, or not be able to set, the power saving setting and Sony should set them on before delivery.

The unit used 120 Watt when displaying moving component video and 123 Watt with PC input. When in standby mode it used 26 Watt. The unit also has a physical power switch which reduced consumption to less than 1 Watt (the limit of measurement of my power meter).

Safety Problem

The instruction manual for the unit includes advice for preventing the TV from toppling over. This says to install a machine screw (not supplied) into a hole on the the TV and tie a "strong cord" (not supplied) to it, with the other end secured to the TV stand with a bolt (not supplied). These instructions will not be relevant in most educational and digital signage applications, where the unit will be securely attached to a wall with a Vesa mount. However, the manual instructions are inadequate and the unit is unsafe for home use, as supplied. The unit should be withdrawn from retail sale until this is corrected.

See also: "Sony BRAVIA WE Series LCD TV".

ps: Sony TVs are also available via Amazon.com but may not be versions suitable for Australian TV: Sony BRAVIA W-Series 40-Inch LCD HDTV


Sony 40Sony have loaned me a Sony BRAVIA 40 inch WE5 Series HD LCD TV to try out for a few days. Specifically I wanted to see if this unit save much energy. The application I have in mind is for learning commons, where flat screens are used for digital signage and for presentations. In this applications the screens tend to be left on all day, so energy use is an issue.

One disappointment is that according to the specifications, the unit appears to be florescent backlit, not LED. As a result the backlight has to be all on, or off, the lighting behind black parts of the image can't be turned off.

However, the unit offers a Presence Sensor, which would be useful for public venues. This switches the picture off when no one is in the room. Sony claim this saves 50% of the power. This could be good for presentation screens, which tend to get left on. It may also be very effective for some applications of digital signage: when the person come within viewing range of the screen it will light up, thus attracting their attention.

At present the TV is still in the box, on the floor, some comments about how it goes to follow...

ps: Sony TVs are also available via Amazon.com but may not be versions suitable for Australian TV: Sony BRAVIA W-Series 40-Inch LCD HDTV

Broadband for disabilities $20,000 prize

The Australian Computer Society is offering AU$20,000 in prize money for innovative use of telecommunications technology to assist individuals with a disability. Entries are invited from around the world for papers in the May 2010 issue of the ACS Telecommunications Journal of Australia. The Prize commemorates the disability advocate Christopher Newell.

Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Children Services and Disabilities, and Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in Canberra are launching the "Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell Prize" in Canberra this morning at about 10am.

The Telecommunications Society of Australia, a Special Interest Group of ACS, is delighted to announce the launching of the inaugural Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell Prize by the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Children Services and Disabilities, and Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in Canberra on 24 June 2009.
The Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell Prize, generously sponsored in 2009/10 by Telstra, will be awarded to the author(s) of the best, original paper offered to TJA (Telecommunications Journal of Australia) by a deadline of 15 January 2010, that demonstrates the tangible benefits that an innovative use of broadband or other telecommunications technology can provide in assisting individuals with disabilities.
This is a truly global competition; entries are invited from around the world. The best entries, including the winning paper or papers, will be published in the May 2010 issue of TJA.

The Judging Panel will be chaired by TJA’s Managing Editor, Professor Peter Gerrand (University of Melbourne), and includes Professor Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney) and Robert Morsillo, Telstra’s Group Manager for Consumer Affairs. Panel members do not vote or provide ratings on entries in which they have any conflict of interest.

The TSA applauds the excellent corporate citizenship of Telstra in sponsoring the inaugural Christopher Newell Prize. The Prize commemorates the late Reverend Canon Doctor Christopher Newell AM, 1964-2008, who was an extraordinary advocate for people with disability in Australia.

For further details on the Rules of the Prize Competition, see here.

From: The new AU$20,000 Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell Prize Competition, ACS, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Extending university events into the online world

The Australian National University College of Engineering and Computer Science held a Poster Day on the topic of "Connecting Research to Business" on 22 June 200 in Canberra. Unfortunately I could not attend as I was at Parliament Hose talking about Government 2.0. It occurred to me that it would be useful to extend the poster day into the online world, so as to allow those who could not be there in person to take part. I suggested this to the College and have been invited to put some ideas on how to do it, with the easiest options first. Some thoughts on this follow and suggestions would be welcome.

In the case of the CECS day, the posters are PDF files, designed to be printed as one page AO size documents in landscape layout. It is intended that the poster is placed on a wall and read from a distance of about one to two metres. The author(s) of the poster stand nearby, give a brief presentation and answer questions.

Put the Posters Online

The first obvious suggestion is to provide the posters online. This could be done, after on, or preferably before, the poster day. This would allow those attending to study the posters in more detail later, allow those planning to attend to preview the work and for those not attending. It would also provide a permanent archive of the work and would allow those interested in a topic to find the information (and CECS) using a web search.

Provide a directory of the posters

In addition to the individual posters a directory of the posters would be of use. This would have the title and author of each poster, and perhaps a one paragraph summary, with a hypertext link on each title to the poster. The template for posters should include a hypertext link back to the directory.

The directory could be done as a PDF document, but would be better as a simple web page in HTML. The document can be designed using CSS media types so that when printed it can be used as the directory of the posters on the day.

Provide Posters Which Can Be Read Online

Posters designed for printing A0 size are not be easy to read online. A desktop computer screen is the equivalent to about one A4 page. An A0 page is sixteen times the size of an A4 page and so only a limited amount of the content will fit on the screen. Also if printed at A4, the poster will be unreadable. As an example the Example poster provided by CECS has text too small to read when displayed on a desktop 15 inch screen and when printed on an A4 page.

The poster content should be formatted so that it will display on a computer screen and print on A4 pages, in a readable format, as well as A0. This can be done by formatting the poster using the reflow option in PDF, or preferably using fluid web page design. In this way, when displayed on screen, the content will reformat to fit the smaller space automatically.

PD has an option to "reflow" the content of a page to automatically fit the display screen. However, this option is not available in older versions of PDF viewers and does not work correctly with some later versions. CSS fluid formatting in HTML will produce more reliable reflowing of a web page than PDF.

Add hypertext links

References in posters can by hypertext linked to related documents. These links can be suppressed so they do not display in the printed version using CSS media types.

Add additional material

An audio or video description of the poster can be offered to accompany the online version. This can be simply a recording of the presentation the author gives for the poster. The digital audio or video file can be provided in a hypertext link in the directory and/or the poster. There is no need to provide automated playing of the recording, nor synchronisation with the display of the poster, just a link will do.

Invite Comments Online

Online comments and questions can be invited for a period, before, during or after the poster day. This can be managed using a forum tool, such as that provided in the Moodle Learning Management System used by ANU for courses, or OJS as supported by CECS for IFIP publications. These tools can also be used to manage the soliciting for and submission of the posters, and to publish them.

Stream Poster sessions

Presentations of the posters can be streamed live via the web with audio, video or web casting. However, this requires considerable preparation and planning.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wiki Government

At Government 2.0: Policy and Practice, Roxanne Missingham, from the Parliamentary Library mentioned the book "Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens" by Beth Simone Noveck (Brookings Institution Press, April 2009). The book mentions a Melbourne City Council wiki used for their ten year plan (on page 162).
Product Description
Wiki Government shows how to bring innovation to government. In explaining how to enhance political institutions with the power of networks, it offers a fundamental rethinking of democracy in the digital age. Collaborative democracy-government of the people, by the people, for the people-is an old dream. Today, Wiki Government shows how technology can make that dream a reality. In this thought-provoking book, Beth Simone Noveck illustrates how collaborative democracy strengthens public decisionmaking by connecting the power of the many to the work of the few. Equally important, she provides a step-by-step demonstration of how collaborative democracy can be designed, opening policymaking to greater participation. "Wiki Government" tells the story behind one of the most dramatic public sector innovations in recent years - inviting the public to participate in the patent examination process. Patent examiners usually work in secret, cut off from essential information and racing against the clock to master arcane technical claims. The Peer-to-Patent project radically transformed this process by allowing anyone with Internet access to collaborate with the agency in reviewing patent applications. "Wiki Government" describes how a far-flung team of technologists, lawyers, and policymakers pried open a tradition-bound agency's doors. Noveck explains how she brought both fiercely competitive companies and risk-averse bureaucrats on board. She discusses the design challenges the team faced in creating software to distill online collaboration into useful expertise, not just rants or raves. And she explains how law, policy, and technology can be revamped to help government work in more open and participatory ways in a wide range of policy arenas, including education and the environment.

About the Author
Beth Simone Noveck is a professor of law and director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and a visiting professor at Stanford University. She is a Senior Advisor to the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Policy Working Group for the Obama-Biden Transition and advised the campaign on innovation in government. She pioneered the creation of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Peer-to-Patent: Community Patent Review pilot, the federal government's first social networking initiative that has inspired similar projects in the U.K. and Japan.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815702752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815702757

Government 2.0 Taskforce

The Australian Government announced a Government 2.0 Taskforce this morning. Here are some initial comments on the task force web site.

Time frame: The task force has until 31 December 2009, which is reasonable. They are going to "think aloud" on their blog.

Members: The 15 Members of the task force show a good balance of interests: Dr Nicholas Gruen (Chair), Ms Ann Steward (Deputy Chair), Mr Glenn Archer, Mr Sebastian Chan, Mr Adrian Cunningham, Prof Brian Fitzgerald, Ms Mia Garlick, Mr Peter Harper, Ms Lisa Harvey, Mr Martin Hoffman, Ms Pip Marlow, Mr Alan Noble, Dr Ian Reinecke, Mr David Solomon and Mr Martin Stewart-Weeks.

Web site: The task force has a blog style web site. This could so with a little more formal structure, saying what the task force is and what it will do when, in a succinct way. At present there are a lot of words on the web site, but it is hard to find the essentials.

Domain name:
The task force web address is: http://gov2.net.au/

It may be that a government domain (.gov.au) was not used, so as to stress the independence of the task force from government. However, .org.au might have been more appropriate.

Logo: Usually I would be criticising the logo and banner for the site. In this case the logo is just a place marker, with a Banner Competition.

Markup: The web site is using XHTML 1.0 Transitional, but has two validation errors reported by the W3C Markup Validation Service. These errors are minor, but should be fixed.

Disabed Accessibility: The task force home page had 16 problems reported with a TAW automated accessibility test. using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. The task force needs to ensure they include the whole community, including those with a disability, in their discussions.

Mobile Accessibility: While compatibility with mobile phones is not essential for web pages, it is a good way to encourage clear, succinct design. I was unable to run the W3C mobileOK Checker on the site. However, Net Mechanic reported the home page was 24 kbytes with 2 kbytes of images. This is a reasonable size for use on a mobile device. The web page displayed well using Opera in small screen mode. However, the embedded video delayed complete display of the page. This should be removed from home page.

Australian Government 2.0 task force

Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation just announced a Australian Government 2.0 task force with 15 experts chaired by Nicolas Gluin.This was at Government 2.0: Policy and Practice at Parliament House in Canberra.

Joe Ludwig
, Special Minister of State, will provide more details. Disappointingly for a Web 2.0 announcement at a Web 2.0 event, I could find no details of the task force available online.

However, George Bray pointed out it has its own web site: "Government 2.0 Taskforce".

Call for papers on sustainable computing

The Australasian Journal of Information Systems (AJIS) has issued a Call for papers on Green IT/IS (sustainable computing) for a special issue in 2010:
Call for papers for a special issue of the Australasian Journal of Information Systems (AJIS) on Green IT/IS (sustainable computing)

Guest co-editors
Michael Lane, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
Lutz M. Kolbe, Georg-August-Universit ät Göttingen, Germany
Rüdiger Zarnekow, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Motivation and overview
The Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry has a critical role to play in ensuring a reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse emissions and environmentally responsible management of ICT for its entire lifecycle. Currently ICT accounts for about 2% of total greenhouse
emissions worldwide. This will increase substantially over the next 10-15 years as the adoption of ICT increases exponentially in developing countries (The Climate Group, 2008). Currently there is a dearth
of empirical research supported by hard data in this field where the technology and legislation is changing rapidly.

This special issue has two objectives
1. publish empirical research on the sustainable management of ICT in organisations and the role of ICT in enabling sustainable business practices to reduce environmental impact,
2. to articulate a research agenda for the Information Systems discipline to provide leadership in this emerging and important field.

Research questions
Academics from around the world are invited to submit to research papers which examine the management and role of ICT in achieving more sustainable practices at the organisational and individual level. Recognising the diversity of this emerging field we encourage submissions focusing
on all aspects of green ICT from hardware through networking, specific applications that can transform business processes to individual behaviours to reduce energy inefficient practices. Theoretical papers
as well as theory founded case studies are welcomed.

Some prospective topics on Green ICT include but not limited to:
· Application of IS theories, such as the resourced-based view in the field of Green IS
· Incentive systems to support sustainable ICT management
· Sustainable management of ICT infrastructure, operations and energy
· Management of the entire ICT hardware lifecycle to reduce environmental impact
· Management frameworks and key performance indicators for sustainable ICT management
· Processes and organisational structures enabling sustainable ICT management
· New ways of delivering ICT for more sustainable management of ICT – Virtualisation, SaaS, Utility computing, Cloud computing
· Building energy efficiency into the design of systems, applications and software
· Reducing environment impact by dematerialisation of activities through use of ICT– teleworking, telepresence, elearning
· Role of user behaviour in sustainable management of ICT
· Academic case studies on Green ICT or ICT resource management

Deadlines and submission dates
June 1st, 2009 Two page outline prior full paper deadline is optional - guest editors can advise on the suitability of a proposed paper submission
October 1st, 2009 Deadline call for papers January 1st, 2010 First review cycle completed April 1st, 2010 Second review cycle and final acceptance
May 1st, 2010 Camera-ready papers for productions Summer/fall 2010 Planned publication

Information for authors

Online submission details
Author guidelines


Government 2.0 Live from Parliament House Canberra

Greetings from Government 2.0: Policy and Practice at Parliament House in Canberra. The event is has a live video stream and event wall. Comments are invited, during and after, to the event web site, as well as blogs taged publicsphere and Twitter #publicsphere. . I will be speaking on "m-Government 2.0 - Making government accessible online on your phone" in the afternoon. You can post questions for the presentations; a screen for the event wall set up tat the front of the room. We are in the main Senate hearing room. There are about 100 people at the event in the room. There is a upper press gallery empty, so anyone in Parliament House can drop in and listen.

The first presentation under way now is from William Perrin, Secretary of the Power of Information Taskforce Gov 2.0 in the UK: Policy and Status. He is giving us a salutary reminder that in amongst all the Web 2.0 jargon and technology we need to give practical examples of how the technology is useful to people. I will be giving some examples in my talk.