Thursday, October 31, 2013

Unlimited Innovation in a Resourced Limited World

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Dr James Bradfield Moody, is talking on "Unleashing innovation in a resource limited world". He is author of "The Sixth Wave: How to Succeed in a Resource-Limited World" (Random House, 2010).
James started by asking the audience what they would have invested in 100 years ago: the horse or car industry. The horse was well established as a means of transport, but automobile had more of a future.

According to Dr. Moody, the first "wave" was water power and the fifth wave is Information and Communications. He argues the next wave will be around resource efficiency. One example he used was the reevaluation of the value of natural resources.

Dr. Moody pointed out that otor vehicles are inherently inefficient, with most of the energy lost as heat. There are further inefficiencies with private ownership of cars. He gave the Australian "GoGet" car-share company as an example of better efficiency.

Dr. Moody  is founder and CEO of  Tushare
an on-line brokering service for people to give away unwanted household items. This is a service I could have used recently when helping clear out a three bedroom home of 30 years of accumulated possessions (about ten cubic meters of "stuff"). Trushare's approach is to broker social network friends to give away items, with the receiver playing a low cost for delivery. The giver does not need to know the address of the person they are giving to and the cost of delivery can be low by using surplus capacity of courier  companies.

While Dr. Moody provided an analysis of why items accumulate in a home, with my recent experience I suspect that it is simply there is surplus room in modern houses.While in the midst of the cleanup operation I happened to have a tour of the new accommodation at UWA. The university has designed very small, but livable apartments, which do not have surplus space for stuff to accumulate.

Dr. Moody, is a graduate of ANU, with his 2004 thesis on "The importance of Complex Product Systems to the space industry in Australia : a small satellite case study". While he is a rocket scientist, Dr. Moody provided an entertaining, understandable and compelling talk. ;-)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Future of Canberra and ICT

Andrew Barr, Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT gave the ACS Conference dinner speech. He commented he had just been suspended from the ACT Assembly for three hours and was happy to have an audience which would not throw home out. He mentioned the Canberra Digital Challenge as an initiative, but I found the first projects for this to be lacking in vision.

The ACT is to launch a digital action plan next month. It is disappointing the ACT Government is taking an outdated party political approach with this plan, where they keep it secret until release date, rather than take the community into their confidence and develop it openly on-line with community input.

The Minister mentioned the $42M budget cut to NICTA as an area of concern. However NICTA has now had many years to demonstrate benefit to the community and that benefit is not clear to me.

It was disappointing the Minister did not mention Innovation ACT or the Inspire Centre at University of Canberra, which are two of their more successful investments.

Upgrade old Windows Computers to Linux

Recently I was helping someone move house. Among the appliances to be disposed of in the move were four desktop PCs, running various old versions of Microsoft Windows (from 98 to XP). First I copied the user files from the old computers to a USB hard drive. Then I reformatted the PCs hard disks and used a program to overwrite all sectors of the disk.

I was going to leave the computers in that blank state, with no operating system. But then they would be of little use to anyone. The PCs were so old they were unlikely to be able to run newer version of  Microsoft Window, so installed Mint Linux (version 15) "Mate".

For the newest computers I used a USB flash drive to boot (older PCs did not support USB booting and I had to use a DVD-ROM).

The installation went smoothly and the Mate version of Mint Linux provided an interface not that different to an old version of Windows. The installation came with the Libre Office suite and enough applications programs to be usable.

IT Accelerating Government

Graeme Philipson, IT Wire, is talking at the ACS Canberra Branch Conference on how IT is accelerating business. But I suggest this equally applies to the business of Canberra, which is government. Graeme mentioned me in the talk, I suspect to see if I was paying attention.

IT for Australia's Defence

Peter Lawrence, the relatively new CIO of the Australian Department of Defence talked at the ACS Canberra Branch Conference just now. He talked about the challenge of maintaining millions of lines of code in the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and what form of IT support to provide in the new warships now being built for the Australian Defence Force.

Peter said how IT needs to be something organization leaders need to worry about more. In my time at Defence there were few senior officers who were comfortable with IT. Hopefully this can be changed, with senior military personnel now being trained at ANU.

An interesting question from the audience to Peter was about the difficulty of international IT students getting a security clearance to work on defence projects. Peter explained that security requirements had to be conformed with. However I have found there are ways to address this. I have had international students  working on IT defence projects. In some cases they were just doing prototype software and research which was not intended for a real system, in others their work was compartmentalized from the sensitive parts of the system.

Future of IT in the Australian Government

Greetings from the Australian Computer Society 2013 Canberra Conference at Old Parliament House in Canberra. The conference topic is "ICT Shaping Our World", but as always the topic of the ACS Canberra conferences is IT in the Australian Government and in organizations supporting government. The conference comes at an interesting time for Canberra, with the public service adjusting to a new government which has an agenda to reduce cost by working in new ways. This is one of the few general computing conferences still run, which is not about a particular company's products or piece of software. This is a place to take the temperature of the IT industry and see what the trends are. It is also an opportunity for academia to report what they have been working on and is ready for transfer to the workplace. First speaker for the day is Nick Tate, President of the ACS, on big data and edible computers (a serious medical application). MOOCs at ANU also got a mention as part of the trend to on-line education.

The hashtag for the conference is "acscancon" and I will be blogging during the day.

Conference Program


Conference - Wednesday - 30 October 2013

Arrival Coffee
Conference opening - Michael Hawkins, Conference Chair
Welcome address - Nick Tate, Australian Computer Society
Peter Lawrence,
CIO, Department of Defence
Sakkie Janse van Rensburg,
  CIO,University of Cape Town
Coffee Break and Exhibition

Your World
Our World
Informing Your World
Governing Your World
Nathanial Maras,
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 
Graeme Philipson
IT Wire
Jamie Azzopardi, Canon 
Steve Bittinger 
Change over
 Nick Tate,
Australian Computer Society
Jeff Mitchell,
Australian Computer Society
Brett Anderson
Damian Brady,
.NET User Group 
Lunch & Exhibition
Dr Ian Oppermann, Director, CSIRO
Change over
Ian Doyle,
Austraining International
Kevin Noonan, Ovum 
Paul Taylor,
Matthew Hodgson,
Zen Ex Machina 
Change over
Gerald Kuehlich,
Geosciences Australia
Charles Palmer, ACT Health
David Williams,
David Eade,
Coffee Break and Exhibition
Roehl Oringo,
SME Gateway
 Peter van der Made
Author of BrainChip: Artificial Intelligence
Vladimir Videnovic, Oracle
Nigel Phair,
CREST Australia 
Change over
Mark Toomey,
Infonomics Australia
Conference Close- Alan Patterson, Australian Computer Society
Closing Remarks - Jeff Mitchell, Branch Chair
Networking Drinks
Conference Dinner

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Data Centre Techniques in Canberra

"Meet the DATA CENTRE Experts" is on in Canberra, 9am to 4:45pm, 7 November 2013. Topics include "Pitfalls in Data Centre Testing and Commissioning" by Paul McKenzie and John Anderson, Design Services Consultant for a Department of Defence data center.

  • Residual Current Protection in the Data Centre; a necessary evil or pathway to high availability and safety? David Morley
    Data Centre Engineer, CITEC
  • Do we need to protect everything equally in our DC?  Tom Townsend, Datacentre and Networks Manager, University of Canberra.
  • VESNA – DCIM: What’s that all about? Brett Wickman, Director, Total Facility Services
  • Why Data Centre retrofitting and refurbishing is becoming popular. Richard Wixon and Bruce Ewen.
  • Encircled Flux - is it Burlesque or Broadway? Michele Hart
  • NABERS for Data Centres – ‘The cat is out of the bag’ Bob Sharon
  • The Data Centre Manager – why have one? Stephen Corbett, Ingenium Training Services 

Hay Fever at New Theater Sydney an Actor's Play

Last night's performance of Noël Coward's "Hay Fever" at New Theater, Newtown, Sydney confirm it as an actor's play. A crazy family in a 1920s country house drive their guests to distraction. Alice Livingstone has great fun in the lead part as a retired actor, Judith Bliss, reliving her stage triumphs. Tess Haubrich as Myra Arundel standard head and shoulders above the rest of the cast both literally and in performace.

Unfortunately while Hay Fever is fun for the actors, the play has less relevance for a modern audience. The set reflects the period of the 1920s well, but some aspects of the era are jarring for a modern audience. The director has cut down the amount of smoking the script demands, but even so the constant presence of cigarettes is difficult to understand for a modern audience.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Good Clean Fun

Last night I attended the opening of the musical comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (DRS) at Theater Royal in Sydney. The show doesn't break any new ground, being a standard Broadway musical (with some routines sounding very familiar). But you don't go to such a show for cutting edge social commentary, you go for a good time, which DRS provides. This would make a good night out for the bowls club.

Tony Sheldon as Lawrence Jameson provides a suitably sophisticated con-man, talking wealthy American women out of their fortunes on the French Riviera. Matt Hetherington (as young con-man Freddy Benson) can belt out a tune, but struggles with the acting. Anne Wood (as wealthy widow Muriel Eubanks) steals the show with her asides to the audience. Katrina Retallick and Amy Lehpamer do not appear to be able to break out of the confines of their stereotypical roles, but giving acceptable performances.

John Wood provides a familiar face, but struggles with his French accent as corrupt policemen Andre Thibault (even if it is meant to be an American interpretation of a French accent). Wood warmed up and provided a fine comedic performance later in the show, when he has more to do.

Michael Hankin's set design is a little sparse for a Broadway style musical, but makes imaginative use of the few props (such as a dance scene with the potted palms). The scene changes run smoothly, unlike some musicals which have complex machinery, more like an episode of "transformers".

David Yazbek's musical numbers are all good, but sound a little too familiar, as if every hit Musial ever made was run through a computer program and reassembled. Musical Director, Guy Simpson, gets the most out of the material with the small cast and band of musicians sounding much more numerous than they are.

Unlike many musicals, the show has a logical and intelligible plot, which helps.  But Jeffrey Lane's book is a little wordy (this is not My Fair Lady).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ten Years of Post-Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka

A call for papers has been issued for the 2nd Asian Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management on the topic "10 Years of Post-Tsunami Recovery: the role of ICTs in building disaster resilience". The conference ISCRAM-Asia 2014, will be Colombo,  to be held in Sri Lanka, 20-21 June 2014.

2nd Asian Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management

Call for Papers

CONFERENCE THEME: 10 years of post-tsunami recovery: the role of ICTs in building disaster resilience 
ISCRAM-ASIA 2014: 2nd Asia-Continental Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management 
CONFERENCE DATES: Friday 20th & Saturday 21st June 2014 LOCATION: Colombo, Sri Lanka.


1.1    Coordination, Search and rescue / First Aid
1.2    Humanitarian and Disaster relief supply chain management
1.3    Emergency management information systems (Information Systems supporting Situational Awareness, disaster relief supply chain management)
2.1    Humanitarian challenges
2.2    Reconstruction, long term recovery and ecosystem reconstruction
2.3    Resettlement (land use planning/reasoning)
2.4    Monitoring long-term progress in disaster risk reduction
3.1    ICTs for Disaster Risk Management
3.2    Decision support systems
3.3    Risk communication, dissemination and comprehension
3.4    Development and operationalization of response control systems
3.5    Intelligent systems
3.6    Use of ICTs in public health and emergency medical management
3.7    Role of social media in risk perception, awareness, knowledge management, and crisis response
3.8    Mobile technology for real-time emergency response
4.1    The role of cultural and gender dimensions in disaster vulnerability, response, and recovery
4.2    Innovative Multi-stakeholder Community-focused Partnerships in DRR and EWS
4.3    Functional Early Warning Systems
4.4    Disaster Risk Assessment
4.5    Emergency drills and simulations
5.1    Risk communication, dissemination and comprehension
5.2    Disaster risk insurance, management and planning
5.3    Development and operationalization of response control systems
5.4    Disaster awareness education training (or disaster education and learning)
5.5    Progress in developing early warning systems
5.6    Climate Change Adaptation


ISCRAM-ASIA 2014 invites two categories of papers. All paper submissions must be relevant to ISCRAM, make a new and significant contribution to the body of knowledge on information systems for emergency management, support their contribution with valid arguments, and be clearly structured and well written.
  • Research papers presenting valid, original, relevant cutting edge research that will be reviewed to the highest academic standards. Reviewing will pay additional attention to the application of the related scientific literature and theory, to the use of an appropriate research methodology, and to technical, mathematical and statistical correctness. This will be complemented by a review from a member of the Scientific Committee (SC).
  • Insights from the Practice of Emergency Management papers presenting new developments in emergency management and policy making, discussing approaches, methods, tools, (best) practices and standards. These papers should focus on practical issues and concerns and raise challenges for future research, and will be reviewed to the highest practice-oriented standards.According to the completeness of work, authors can choose to submit their work as
  • Full papers presenting completed work. Such papers should be no more than 10pages including figures & tables (~5000 words).
  • Short papers presenting work in progress and novel approaches that are beingdeveloped. Such papers should be no more than 4 pages with figures & tables (~2000 words).
  • Posters presenting work in progress, novel approaches being developed or completed work must first outline the content of the poster through a 1 page abstract (~250 words), then followed by an image of the actual poster.
  • Panel discussions presenting work in progress, novel approaches being developed or completed work must first outline the title, theme, context, and panelists credentials in a short-paper no more than 4 pages with figures & tables (~2000 words)For each type of paper, submissions are welcome from academics, researchers, practitioners, technical or other experts, policy makers, or other professionals in the emergency management domain. The proceedings will identify the type of submission and reviewing process chosen.Other forms of contributions: Separate calls are or will be made for workshops, panels, posters, demonstrations, and the doctoral consortium. All calls will be published on


  1. Authors must submit papers electronically through the conference system. The link to the submission system will be available on the website in November.)
  2. All papers must use the ISCRAM paper template and follow the ISCRAM house style. The template will be available through the conference system and on the conference submissions page

Important Dates

Announce call for full-paper abstracts
20 October 2013
Deadline for submission of full-paper abstracts
24 November 2013
Review abstract and invite submission of full-papers
15 December 2013
Deadline for submission of full papers
09 March 2014
Deadline for panel proposals
09 March 2014
Deadline for short-paper submissions (work-in- progress & concept papers, poster proposals)
09 March 2014
Complete review of full-papers, short-papers, and
13 April 2014
panel proposals

FINAL submission of camera-ready full-papers, short- papers, and panel proposals
18 May 2014
FINAL decision made by the Program and Scientific Committee
01 June 2014

Monday, October 21, 2013

Security Issues in the Indian Ocean

Clive Williams will speak on "Security Issues in the Indian Ocean: Maldives Case Study", at the Australian National University in Canberra, 5.30 pm 19 November 2013.
The Centre for Military & Security Law, ANU College of Law invite you to attend a Public Lecture: Security Issues in the Indian Ocean: Maldives Case Study, to be presented by Clive Williams MG, Visiting Professor at the Centre for Military and Security Law, ANU College of Law.

The Maldives is seen by many Australians as a tranquil paradise and ideal holiday destination - but it faces serious security challenges related to growing Islamisation, stymied democracy, political corruption, organised crime, and a subverted judiciary. It also has a constitution that is in breach of human rights law. The Maldives has a range of connections to regional countries and these often affect the Maldives' security situation.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Twenty-first Century Government as Social Networking Machine

Professor Dame Wendy Hall
Professor Dame Wendy Hall will be speaking on “Government as a Social Machine”, 22 October 2013 at the Australian National University in Canberra.
Speaker: Professor Dame Wendy Hall, CEO Web Science Trust

ANZSOG, in association with Web Science Australia, invites you to a half day seminar with Dame Wendy Hall, Peter Thompson and Anni Rowland-Campbell as they discuss their research on digital governance and the concept of ‘government as a social machine.’

Seminar details

Date: Tuesday 22 October, 2013
Time: 8:30am Registration - 1pm Finish
Venue: JG Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing,
The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia

Cost: FREE

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Innovation in the Resource Limited World

Dr James Bradfield Moody, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TuShare, will speak on "Unleashing innovation in a resource limited world" at The Australian National University in Canberra, 6pm 31 October 2013. The title of the talk strikes me as being a tautology:  the world is, and has always been, resource limited and so innovation is always constrained by available resources. One of the great spurs for innovation is resource limitations, prompting  ways to do more with less.

Event Details

 Historically, economic growth has relied heavily on the supply of natural resources to produce goods and services. With the global population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, the world faces critical challenges in sustaining the way we live. Discover how technological changes, shifts in society and market opportunity can be used to predict waves of innovation throughout time, transitioning from a bleak economic outlook to immense opportunity. Are we on the brink of the sixth wave of innovation? Find out how we are shifting away from resource dependence to resource efficiency where products become services and waste becomes a source of unrealised opportunity. Dr James Bradfield Moody is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TuShare, a company with a vision of turning waste into want through the world’s largest community of people giving things they no longer need to one another. Prior to this, James was the Executive Director of Development at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). James completed his PhD at The Australian National University in 2004, researching the importance of complex product systems to the space industry in Australia. James has been an Australian Representative of the Youth Advisory Council to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and was a member of the Science and Technology delegation at the 2002 United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development. He was previously named Young Professional Engineer of the Year, Young Queenslander of the Year and was awarded the 2007 Australian Financial Review BOSS Magazine Young Executive of the Year for his outstanding leadership and business skills. James is well known to Australian’s for his past appearances as a panelist on the ABC television program The New Inventors, and is also the co-author of The Sixth Wave: How to succeed in a resource-limited world. Presented by the ANU College of Business & Economics. Light refreshments served after the event.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

WAI Easy Check Document Not Useful

The  World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have issued a draft "Easy Checks - A First Review of Web Accessibility" for comment. The document is intended to help assess the accessibility of a web page. However it uses concepts which a non-expert will not be familiar with. It is unlikely that many people will have the patience to study this document. Instead I suggest encouraging the use of automated checkers, which give the user a quick automated check, explain how to do additional manual checks and provide links to detailed information.

Those wanting more detailed understanding should be encouraged to undertake a training course on web accessibility. This could be one of the free on-line courses available, or one at a vocational training institution.

I talked about my experience assessing the Sydney 2000 Olympic website and providing some advice for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Sahana Software Foundation Internships

The Sahana Software Foundation, which I am a member of, is a not-for-profit organization supporting open source disaster management software used by the Red Cross, United Nations and other organizations around the world. Sahana is running software development virtual internships from November 2013 to March 2014 for work on UI/UX design. These are available world wide.