Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wolf Lullaby at the New Theatre Sydney is Confronting But Worthwhile

Last night's performance of the play Wolf Lullaby by Hillary Bell at the New Theatre Sydney was confronting but worthwhile. Allan Walpole's set is as stark of the story of a divided family in a small Tasmanian town coping with their child's apparent killing of an infant.

While that sounds a grim and unmatchable topic, it was far less unpleasant than the one and only episode of Game of Thrones, I have seen (on a flight from Canada). In that one combatant gouged out the eyes of another and then squashed their head like a melon. In contrast the violence in Wolf Lullaby is only hinted at.

The actors all acquit themselves well. For a change they do not have to try to put on American accents, as with recent New Theatre productions (which have a worrying trend of being about murders in small towns). It takes a little time to suspend disbelief and accept the adult playing a small child, but this works. The mother’s performance reminds me of Jackie Weaver. Unfortunately I can't tell you which actor played which role as Net Theatre does not include this information on their website.

The script of Wolf Lullaby is available from currency press. Wolf Lullaby is on at the New Theatre, Newtown, Sydney until 13 September 2014. If you are tired of mindless violence on TV then come along for some challenging, but thought provoking theatre.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vancouver from the 17th Floor

It is my last day in Vancouver, after a week conferring on computer education. My trip was to attend the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Computer Science and Education (ICCSE 2014). The conference was at the University of British Colombia (UBC) on a peninsular, next to Vancouver city. From my room on the 17th floor of the Walter Gage Student Residence, there is a magnificent view of forests below, ships on the water, the city skyscrapers and mountains in the distance. Most important for a university is good coffee and I found the Great Dane Coffee just around behind the Walter Gage.

UBC Malls

The UBC campus is very large with tree lined pedestrian  "Malls". The buildings on the malls have mostly been kept to four to six floors, to match the height of the trees. So while these buildings are large close up, they do not dominate when looking down a Mall.

There is an attempt to blend the new glass walled buildings into the old granite ones, by using granite bases and muted sandstone and grey colouring on the new ones. A good example is the Irving K Barber Learning Centre, which has been wrapped around the sides and back of an old granite one..

Indigenous Welcome at ICCSE 2014The ICCSE 2014 conference dinner featured a welcome from local indigenous performers. This had a fun bit of audience participation, with the delegates loosening up a little after getting up to dance as animal spirits (last year we had Sri Lanka Drummers).

UBC has two bus stations, one of which is serviced by electric trolley buses.This is something the city of Canberra might consider, in preference to trams. It is about a 30 minute ride to down-town Vancouver. I took a ride from UBC to the SFU Vancouver campus. The BC FareSaver Tickets allow you to get on and off buses and trains for 90 minutes. So I stopped off along the way to the city to shop at the Salivation Army Thrift Store (2714 West Broadway) and picked a pair of near new Italian shoes for $20.

Asia Pacific Hall at the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for DialogueThe bus stopped outside SFU's Vancouver campus, near the waterfront. Across the road is the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The guard was kind enough to open up the Asia Pacific Hall for me to have a look at this impressive room. This is a circular parliamentary style chamber, with stepped seating. It is intended to facilitate discussion, rather than adversarial debate.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Information Systems for Development Symposium

UNSW Canberra (aka ADFA) is hosting a free Information Systems  for Development Symposium (ICT4D), in Canberra 25 to 25 September 2014. This will feature Professor Robert Davison, City University of Hong Kong.
Robert Davison

Current Trends, Future Prospects in ICT4D Research

Professor Robert Davison, City University of Hong Kong


While ICT4D research is widely conducted in Developing Countries, it is not always very visible to audiences in Developed Countries. Some of this research is commissioned by entities like the World Bank and various UN agencies. Other research projects are initiated and conducted by academics in Developing Countries. It is this latter type of research that I am most familiar with and that will be my focus. Academics, globally, seek to publish their research in the best outlet they can identify. However, there is not always a good match between the individual academic's objectives and those of the publication outlets. As the editor of both mainstream IS journals and a journal that focuses on Developing Countries, I am particularly conscious of this tension. For instance, many academics in countries as far flung as Iran, Nigeria, Fiji and Brazil send their papers to top journals in the IS field, like the ISJ and IT&People. Unfortunately, these papers are almost invariably rejected – because the research topic does not fit well with the journal selected and the quality of research is too weak. Nevertheless, there is a select group of journals that focus exclusively on ICT4D. These include EJISDC, ITD and ITID. However, although these journals do not claim the status of the top journals in the field, they do have respectable standards. In this presentation, I will explore the kind of research that is currently undertaken in ICT4D, focusing in particular on the key issues of context, theory and epistemology. I will also explore how I would like to see ICT4D research developing in the future.


Robert Davison is a Professor of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong. His current research focuses on virtual Knowledge Management and Collaboration in Chinese SMEs. He has published over 70 articles in a variety of journals such as MIS Quarterly, the Information Systems Journal, IT & People, Journal of IT, Journal of the AIS, Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Decision Support Systems, Communications of the AIS, and Communications of the ACM. Robert is the Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, co-Editor-in-Chief of Information Systems Journal, and co-Editor-in-Chief of Information Technology & People.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How is Value Added to a NSW Opal Card?

I purchased an Opal Smart Card for NSW public transport at a newsagent for $10 and was told it had $10 credit on it, but it did not. Registering the card online and attempting to add to the balance did not work either. The $40 top-up I requested was returned (with an SMS message saying:
The top-up requested on DD/MM for Opal card ending in 9999 wasn't collected and has been returned. Please do not reply to this SMS.
No explanation of "collected" was provided. But this may indicate that the card has to be used within a few days of money being added. My reason for getting the card was to travel from Sydney Central Station to the international airport by train. The buses in my vicinity are not equipped for the Opal card, so there is no reason, or way, to use it before then.
While the Victorian "Myki" smart card had some problems, at least I was able to put some money on the card and not have the money vanish.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How Much Does a NSW Opal Card Cost?

I purchased an Opal Smart Card for NSW public transport at a newsagent for $10 and was told it had $10 credit on it, but it does not. I registered the card online  (this is optional you can have an anonymous one). This was reasonably simple to do and the system sent me a conformation SMS, which is useful. But I was surprised to find the card had a balance of zero. So I added $40 online (the minimum), the balance remained at zero for several minutes, before changing to $40. Other online translations only take a few second: why does the Opal system take minutes?

The other annoying aspect of the Opal card is the need for yet another smart transport card. This is my fourth Australian state smart ticket card (I already have cards for Victoria, ACT and West Australia). I only need one electronic tag to driver my car in multiple Australian states, why can't I use the one travel card across Australia? The reasons can't be technical, as these cards all conform to the same smart card standards. In fact I also have a card for Singapore which uses the same standard (as will the Vancouver Compass Card).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No Information Power Crisis

Nik Gowing, Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and
a former presenter for the BBC, talked on "Skyful of Lies and Black Swans: Who Controls Shifting Information Power in Crises?" at the Australian National University in Canberra. He argues that IT and the Internet are disruptive game changers. This was a very frustrating presentation, as Mr. Gowing did not explain his thesis, assuming that the audience had read his previous work. He seemed to be saying that senior people in government and industry were not sufficiently familiar with the Internet and it was changing decision making. That would have been new and interesting, if the presentation was being made twenty years ago, but is not news in 2014.

Unfortunately, Mr. Gowing spent the first five minutes warning of "disruption" but did not make clear what this disruption is. He referred to a "digital bullet train of disruptions (quipping the Sydney to Canberra train is not a bullet train). This was delivered in strident tones, but still did not make clear as to what he is warning of. Mr. Gowing, warned there are many "flat earthers" in government who do not understand, but again he did not say what it was they did not understand. He asked how much public policy understood this "new nervous system for the planet", but still without explaining what it was. He said that the evening news is not what it is about, again not saying what "it" is.

Mr. Gowing stated that the were now many billions of mobile phones in operation, creating a whole new public information environment. At this point, more than 15 minutes into the presentation, he started to provide some useful information, but not much. The basic theme seemed to be that there had been a sudden change in the way news cycles operate and organisations need to change they way they work in response. But these changes have been happening, with the development of the Internet and mobile devices, over the last twenty years. Mr. Gowing did not make it clear what has changed recently which is different to the last two decades of development.

Obviously, not all in government have become fully conversant with the implications of the Internet (the Australian Attorney General being a prime example of someone unable, or unwilling, to understand the basics of the Internet). However, I don't agree with Mr. Gowings' view, which appears to be that there is a general lack of understanding of the Internet in government and organisations throughout the world. There are many who are aware of the implications and the everyday usefulness of the technology in organisations world wide. In the Australian Parliament, for example, the Communications Minister Mr. Malcolm_Turnbull MP, and Senator Kate Lundy are examples of leaders comfortable with the Internet.

Mr. Gowing argues that existing organisational structures need to be changed to accommodate the Internet. It is not clear what changes he has in mind, or if he has any specific proposals. In my work on incorporating the Internet into the process of government, professional organisations and educational institutions, I have taken an evolutionary approach, where the new technology is incorporated into existing processes and structures. It may well be that a more revolutionary approach is needed, but if so Mr. Gowing needs to present evidence for why (rather than just anecdotes from news items) and proposals as to how.

Mr. Gowing showed video from a Canberra prison and Tasmanian bushfires. He seemed to be saying that these videos had great impact when used in the media. If so, this is hardly a new idea. Also that these videos appeared in the conventional media and so seemed to contradict Mr. Gowing's thesis that the Internet had eclipsed the old media. He then showed a video "live" from a helicopter in Antarctica, citing this as a revolutionary development. However, live reports have been available for decades. On small scale, Senator Lundy and myself sent a "live" report from a hot air balloon over Canberra, using a mobile phone in 1996. In 1995 I prepared online reports from a military exercise for the Australian Department of Defence, which used satellite and mobile technology (later looking at how to incorporate the technology into military command and control).

Mr. Gowing's asserted that governments had not learned to cope with the Internet and it threatened state control. However, in 2003 I visited the web staff of the People's Daily newspaper in Beijing (while there to help with the web site for the 2008 Olympics). The staff, and the senior academics who advised them, had a very sophisticated view of the web and how to make use of it on behalf of the government. The ANU recently hosted a symposium on current use of the Internet in China, which showed that  China has developed ways to accommodate the Internet within their form of government.

In the last two decades, companies and government agencies have learned to deal with the Internet. Organisations have trained teams of specialists and systems to address online information. Organisation spokespersons receive training in how to deal with the Internet. The Australian Government Chief Technology Officer (AGCTO) and his staff have considerable expertise in this area. The ANU trains staff to work with the Internet (and IT professionals to design specialist software to help them).

It may well be that those who research and teach governance and politics are not familiar with the work carried out on the use of the Internet elsewhere in academia. At the ANU the part of the university which is comfortable with the internet (Computer Science and Information Systems), perhaps needs to collaborate more with the governance and strategic policy areas. Similarly, it may be that senior governance levels in organisations and government are not communicating well with the levels in their organisations who have the expertise to deal with the Internet.

At question time I suggested to Mr. Gowing that perhaps he needs to "get out more" and talk to people in organisations who are conversant with the Internet, rather than with senior leaders who are not. My own experience is that senior people (cabinet ministers, generals and their civilian equivalents) may not be familiar with the Internet, but can learn what they need to know quickly.

Mr. Gowing appears to be developing the theme of his similarly named 2009 work published by Oxford University: "Skyful of lies and black swans: the new tyranny of shifting information power in crises".  After his presentation I read the work and it has much to say which is of value. The central argument is that the Internet and mobile devices have resulted in formation becoming more widely available more quickly and outside the control of governments and other formal organisations. He argued that this was catching organisations unawares. However, that might have been the case twenty years ago, but seems unlikely in 2009 and certainly not the case in 2014. Organisations and governments have adapted to the Internet and mobile based information (I know this as I have helped the process in the Australian government and some other organisations). There is an ongoing challenge for formal organisations and particularly those which have exercised power, or made profits, from control and dissemination of information. Some organisations have prospered in the Internet environment, some just coped and some failed.

There is continuing work going on to adapt organisations to the Internet and the Internet to organisations. Much of this work is commercial-in-confidence or state classified secrets, but some is public. One example is the DARPA Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) research, which seeks to counter Internet based propaganda by terrorist groups and governments hostile to the interests of the USA. For Australia I have proposed a CyberWarfare Battalion (ACWB).


Gowing, N. (2009). "Skyful of lies" and black swans: the new tyranny of shifting information power in crises. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford.

Information Power in Crises

Nik Gowing, BBC World News, will speak on "Skyful of Lies and Black Swans: Who Controls Shifting Information Power in Crises?" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 5pm, 12 August 2014.
The public information space has been turned on its head. But few at the highest levels of power are willing to realise that its new capacity to disrupt threatens their reputation or brand. There is a reluctance to learn from the destabilising experiences of others in multiple fields and locations. This presentation and discussion focus on the new executive fragilities and policy implications for government ministers, civil servants, defence and security agencies plus corporate institutions and NGO’s from the new matrix of real-time information flows and transparency created especially by the explosion of social media. The new digital connectivity and IT realities are disruptive game changers. They challenge mercilessly the inadequacy of the structures of power to respond both with effective impact and in a timely way.

As vulnerabilities increase, mindsets and systemic behaviour lag behind these new realities. After BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster, the Japan earthquake catastrophe and nuclear disaster, terror attacks and natural disasters, plus Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Ukraine and multiple concerns about the stability of other regimes, Nik Gowing, main presenter for BBC World News, presents an overview and update on the implications for power of his peer-reviewed Skyful of Lies analysis. The professional implications are vital leadership issues. Governments, public servants or security officials plus commanders and corporate executives must understand how to embrace effectively the new realities of today's media and public information space. It is far broader and more multi-dimensional, than the vast majority are prepared to realise, let alone concede. Yet it challenges all the conventional assumptions about the nature of power.

Biography: Nik Gowing has been a main presenter for the BBC’s international 24-hour news channel BBC World News, since 1996. He has presented The Hub with Nik Gowing, BBC World Debates, Dateline London , plus location coverage of major global stories. For 18 years he worked at ITN where he was bureau chief in Rome and Warsaw, and Diplomatic Editor for Channel Four News (1988-1996). He has been a member of the councils of Chatham House (1998–2004), the Royal United Services Institute (2005–present), and the Overseas Development Institute (2007-2014), the board of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy including vice chair (1996-2005), and the advisory council at Wilton Park (1998-2012 ). In 1994 he was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Barone Center in the J. F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Nik has extensive reporting experience over three decades in diplomacy, defence and international security. He also has a much sought-after analytical expertise on the failures to manage information in the new transparent environments of conflicts, crises, emergencies and times of tension. His peer-reviewed study at Oxford University is “Skyful of Lies and Black Swans”. It predicts and identifies the new vulnerability, fragility and brittleness of institutional power in the new all-pervasive public information space. It can be downloaded free online after registration. Nic was awarded an honorary doctorate by Exeter University in 2012 for both his cutting edge study and distinguished career in international journalism. He has just been appointed a Visiting Professor at Kings College, London.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sydney Smart Ticket on a Bus to Nowhere

The city of Vancouver is introducing their Compass electronic fare card progressively on buses, trains and ferries, saying "... we've learned from cities around the world that extended-delivery schedules are common with major-system changes...". That is certainly the case in Sydney, with the Tcard system supposed to be in place for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, but abandoned in 2007. The replacement Opal system has started being used on ferries and trains (and some buses from Monday). But when I went I tried clicking on "View a list of bus services that accepts Opal" the page was not found.

ps: I had hoped to try Vancouver's Compass card later in the month, to get from the airport (and avoid a $5 surcharge which international passengers are slugged with). But the smart cards are not generally available yet.

Book of Days

I managed to catch the last performance "Book of Days" by Lanford Wilson at the New Theatre Sydney, yesterday. This reminded me of "To Kill a Mockingbird: both are studies of small town USA and have literary pretensions. Georgia Hopkins' set design was minimalist, in a Brechtian way, with just a small tree in the middle of the stage (which dropped some leaves) and the floor marked as white tiles. The character "Ruth" is a bookkeeper at the local cheese factory and acting as Saint Joan in a local production of George Bernard Shaw’s play. Ruth starts to loose herself in the role and then is persecuted in reality after accusing someone at the factory of the murder of the owner of the factory.

The contrivance of a play within a play is difficult to do well. In this case the actors do their best, but the playwright lets them down. Perhaps the play would have been better moved to modern day Sydney. The themes of religious intolerance, political corruption and murder-for-
profit would be familiar to Sydney residents from the local newspaper.

ps: One significant development at New Theatre are new glass doors to the street. This makes the foyer much cosier and blocks traffic noise. This makes for a great place to meet for a drink before, or after a play.

James Cameron's Submarine Made in Sydney

The one person submarine which James Cameron  used to film ‘Deepsea Challenge 3D’ was build in the inner Sydney suburb of Leichhardt. The Deepsea Challenger (DCV 1) is a 7.3 m tall, one person submarine built by Ron Allum's "Acheron Project", which was located in a street I often go past on my way to the local shops. With that project over, Ron Allum's Deep Sea Systems Pty Ltd has moved a few km to build deep sea submarines at the Sydney suburb of St Peters. The technology used has potential application in military and commercial Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), as used in search and recovery Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Instead of a steel frame with components bolted on, the DCV 1 is made of a composite material (syntactic foam: glass spheres embedded in epoxy resin). The batteries, which make up a significant part of a submarine, are mounted within the foam. As this foam can be poured in a mould, it raises the possibility of relatively low cost, mass production of AUVs.

An AUV could be made by placing the electrical and electronic components (motor, batteries, sensors and computer) in a mould, connecting the cables and then pouring in syntactic foam to make the hull and hold everything in place. For military applications, this would have the advantage of a craft made mostly of plastic and so difficult to spot with a metal detector.

The Australian Department of Defence is planning to acquire up to twelve long range submarines, in the Collins-class submarine replacement project. Perhaps instead the ADF could acquire six smaller vessels equipped to launch and recover torpedo sized AUVs. These AUVs could collect information and some could also be equipped with a warhead to act as a torpedo or mine. The UAVs could travel into enemy waters, collect information and, if necessary, attack a ship. This would be a relatively low cost system, as when not used in an attack, the AUVs would be reusable.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Metadata Retention for Law Enforcement

There seems to be some confusion within the Australian Government as to what data retention policy has been decided on by the Cabinet. It might be useful if the Prime Minister and the Attorney General were to ask for a briefing from their departmental staff as to what "metadata" is, or they could ask the Minister for Communications.

The Australian Minster, Mr. Tony Abbot, said on Tuesday:
We also need legislation which I have commissioned the Attorney to prepare, which the National Security Committee of the Cabinet has commissioned the Attorney to prepare to ensure that we are best able to monitor potential terrorist activity in this country. Obviously with the usual range of safeguards and warrants but that will include discussions with the telecommunications providers about the retention of metadata....
From Joint Press Conference - Prime Minister and Attorney General, Canberra,Tuesday, 5 August 2014)
The Attorney General said:
Finally, as the Prime Minister indicated, I have also been asked to develop – in consultation with relevant stakeholders, in particular, in the telecommunications sector – a system of mandatory data retention. That legislation has been approved in principle and is in development from today and will be introduced into Parliament later in the year.  ...
From Joint Press Conference - Prime Minister and Attorney General, Canberra,Tuesday, 5 August 2014)
Unfortunately I have been unable to find a copy of the legislative proposal for retention of metadata. In a later interview the Attorney General, Mr George Brandis, did not appear to know what metadata was, nor what it was proposed to require telecommunications companies to retain:
Brandis: "The web address, um, is part of the metadata."
Journalist: "The website?"
Brandis: "The well, the web address, the electronic address of the website. What the security agencies want to know, to be retained is the, is the electronic address of the website that the web user is ... "
Journalist: "So it does tell you the website?"
Brandis: "Well, it, it tells you the address of the website."

From: Attorney-General George Brandis struggles to explain Government's metadata proposal, ABC Radio, 7 August 2014
The Parliamentary Library produced a good overview of the issues "Surveillance in society—global communications monitoring and data retention" (Nigel Brew, Australian Parliamentary Library, 2013). The Wikipedia's "Telecommunications data retention" entry is also useful.

The UK House of Commons recently passed laws on data retention (Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, UK Government). This authorises the UK Secretary of State to require telecommunications operator to retain specified communications data for up to one year. A warrant may not be required to obtain the data, under some circumstances. What data can be collected is not specified in the act, except to say that it does not include "data revealing the content of a communication". In the Australian context this data is being called "metadata". For an explanation of meta-data, see my ANU course lecture notes: "Metadata" (From Metadata and Electronic Data Management, by Tom Worthington, for ANU Course COMP3410, Information Technology in Electronic Commerce, 2009).

Internet metadata which would normally be stored would be the Internet protocol Address (IP Address) of the computer data was being sent from, the IP Address it was being sent to and the date and time. The issue which the Australian Attorney General appeared to be unclear about was if just the IP addresses were to be stored, or if the web address (URI) was also to be stored.

To use an analogy, the IP address would be the street address of a library someone was visiting, whereas the web address would be the number of the book they borrowed (event the chapter they opened it at). My interpretation of the UK law is that the web address would be part of the content of the communication and therefore not permitted.

What the Australian government proposes is unclear. A good first step would be for the Cabinet, and the Attorney General in particular, to be briefed on the basics of how the Internet works.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Enterprise Mobility Strategy

Greetings from the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra where Joseph Sweeney from IBRS is speaking on "Creating a Sustainable Enterprise Mobility Strategy". There is a IBRS "Creating a Sustainable Mobility Strategy Whitepaper" an video available.

Joseph explained his first computer was a Dulmont Magnum 1970s laptop. He explained that to replicate the power of the mobile phone he has today using the Dulmont's 870's technology would require a computer which would cover much of eastern Australia. Mobile phones are powerful and have wireless data, but organisations have difficulty exploiting this. Joseph argued that mobility strategies fall in a gap between small and large IT projects and then go wrong.

However, he did not explain what an "Enterprise Mobility Strategy" was. I assume it is related to "Enterprise mobility management" and it is to do with replacing desktop and laptop computers with mobile phones and tablet computers. However, as Joseph points out that the mobility strategy needs to be connected to the organisation goals. It seems to me that on its own "mobility" is not much use: the organisation has to have something which it doesn't or wants o do, which could be done better mobile.

One example which Joseph gave was gas workers who had to drive an hour back to base to pick up details of their next job. It seemed odd to me that such workers would not already have a two way radio for receiving jobs, while on the road. He pointed out there were some difficulties for using standard mobile phones in this situation, such as worrying about the risk of sparks from the phone lighting gas or workers being overcome by gas a not noticed missing for hours. However, there are intrinsically safe phones with lone workers/man-down alarms. The intrinsically safe devices have been designed so they don't create sparks. A "lone worker" device will sound an alarm if the worker does not move for an extended period and may be incapacitated. An example is the  SONIM XP3340 Phone.

Detroit Doesn't Need to Shut-off Water to Non-Payers

In "Detroit water shut-offs condemned as threat to health" (New Scientist, 16 July 2014), concern was expressed about the health effects of cutting off the supply to homes where the water bill has not been paid. In 2011 the Auckland Council decided to limit the water supply for non-payers to one litre per minute ("Pay up or it'll take longer to flush loo", by Bernard Orsman, New Zealand Herald, 24 June 2011). A more practical limit would be 3 litres per minute, to allow at least a meagre shower.

A typical domestic water supply delivers 15 litres per minute, whereas the World Health Organisation advises that 20 litres per person per day is needed for drinking, basic hygiene and food preparation ("What is the minimum quantity of water needed?", WHO, 2014). At one litre per minute an old style toilet cistern would take about 14 minutes to fill (newer ones 5 minutes). However, while this would be adequate for toilet flushing and hand washing, even specially designed low-flow shower heads require about 3 litres per minute to operate.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Technology in Government in Canberra

Greetings from the National Convention Centre in Canberra where Technology in Government started today. The best part of such a conference is wandering around the exhibits (a pass for this is free) and meeting people. Of the products on show I found most interesting:
  • Read Speaker,  text to speech software for web pages. I was discussing with Richard Ings from Read Speaker, having my e-textbooks speak.
  • CloudEra,  big data services. I discussed with Linda Morris if some of their materials could be used in teaching big data courses at university (real universities not the "Coloudera University").
Speculation amongst the delegates on the floor was over how many Government CIOs would be needed with the rationalisation of government IT. If departmental IT is consolidated into a few clusters (such as security, community services, industry and science), then fewer people will be needed to run these.