Ambarish Natu, a senior and respected member of the computing profession in Australia, is raising funds to provide Australian oxygen concentrators to COVID-19 patients in India. You can contribute to the campaign now.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Sunday, May 23, 2021
What your boss really knows about your internet usage
|West Live Podcast|
"It turns out your boss can see much more than you think when it comes to your internet usage at work, no matter how incognito you get.
Australian National University honorary lecturer and technology consultant Tom Worthington knows a thing or two about what you can and can’t get away with at work when it comes using the web."
Monday, May 17, 2021
Why Are the Federal & ACT COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Websites So Difficult to Use?
|WHO Digital Vaccination Certificate|
Below I detail some changes, and why they are needed. Australia's vaccination rate is currently far below that needed to have everyone eligible offered at least one dose buy the end of the year. There are obvious flaws in the federal and ACT vaccination websites, including incorrect, and misleading formation. By making it harder for the public to get vaccinated, are placing lives, and the economy, at risk. It is suggested changing the government sites to make it easier for the bulk of the population to book a vaccination. It would also be useful to offer something tangible, such as a vaccination certificate, with a QR code.
1. Booking Link at Top of Page: Both federal and ACT governments should have a line at the top of their main COVID-19 web pages for booking:
- Fifty or over? Book your COVID-19 vaccination now: 50+ Book!
2. Show online booking sites first: The federal government page should display vaccination centers which have online booking first. Public high capacity clinics should be displayed first, followed by GP clinics, and GPs last.
Finding Where to Get Vaccinated
A web search using Google for "covid19 vaccine booking", has as the first four responses:
- COVID-19 Vaccine Booking - Book An Appointment (Ad) https://www.health.gov.au/
- COVID-19 vaccinations - Available now in Canberra (Ad) https://www.nhc.coop/
- How will I get my COVID-19 vaccine? | Australian Government ...www.health.gov.au
- Booking your COVID-19 vaccination - COVID-19 - ACT Health www.covid19.act.gov.au
The first two of these are paid advertisements and the next two native responses. The first is to the federal health website, the next a private clinic in Canberra, then a different Federal Government page and lastly the ACT Government. That there are two different federal government pages resulting from the one search is confusing.
Federal Health Website
The first Federal Government page says "... book an appointment if you are eligible ...", but this is below the fold, below the first screen of information, in the middle of a sentence and thus very difficult to see.
The priority in the design of this page appears to be to educate the public as to who is eligible, so as not to overload the system. With the decision to permit all over 50s to book, I suggest this is misplaced. The priority should be on getting people vaccinated and saying "book vaccination".
After three screens the federal system displays the nearest vaccination centers. Here they are for O'Connor, ACT:
|Vaccination centers suggested for O'Connor ACT.|
The screen is headed with "Please use online appointments where available to reduce call volumes to clinics. If you can’t find an appointment or a clinic in your location, please check back in a week.". However, four of the five entries displays are for phone bookings only. Following the instructions given, the user would select the one and only clinic which takes online bookings.
The only entry which has a link for online booking is to the ACT Government clinic. However, this only accepts online booking from previous patents of ACT Heath (and I was unable to make a booking even though I had been a patient).
National Health Co-op
National Health Co-op is a non-government, not-for-profit health service. The web link leads to a vaccinations page, with two buttons, for "Covid 19" and "Flu Shot". This then shows the six locations where a shot can be booked. The details of how to registered and book are left until later.
National Health Co-op COVID-19 Booking details
This is a good design, the user gets to see where they could go, without having to enter a lot of personal details first. However, the information presented contradicts that on the Federal Health web site. The Federal site lists the Co-op's ANU clinic as available for phone bookings only. That clinic is not listed by the Co-op's website and all of those listed can be booked online. It appears the Federal government site is incorrect, listing a clinic which is not available and also not listing those which are.
Second Federal Government Web Page
The second federal government page to appear in the web search results is "How will I get my COVID-19 vaccine?". This has a link for "Book or register for COVID-19 vaccination", but below the fold, so the user has to scroll down to find it. This then links to the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker, discussed above. Again the booking link is not prominent, and the page does not appear to be designed to have vaccination booking as a priority.
|Federal how will I get my vaccine page.|
This is not a good design, as the link for booking a vaccination is not prominent.
The ACT Health Booking your COVID-19 vaccination page, has the link "How to book your COVID-19 vaccination" above the fold.
|ACT clinics map|
However, only one of three of the clinics shown are for the general public. As a result showing a map is misleading, not useful. The one clinic shown requires online booking via the ACT Government booking system "MyDHR". This system requires entry of the Medicare number in a format different to that used by the federal government and private providers, and the number is not displayed as it is entered. Also online registration is only available to those who are already patients in the ACT health system (and in some chases even not then).
"Hi, if you have any technical issues when using MyDHR, please call 02 5124 5000 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Please refer to our FAQ 'I'm having issues signing up to MyDHR' for other reasons you may be having issues"
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Australia needs a plan to deescalate tensions in the region
In "China needs to make a plan to deter extreme forces of Australia", Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, threatened the use of "...long-range missiles with conventional warheads that target military objectives in Australia ..." (May 07, 2021 11:35 PM). Such a threat is counterproductive and I suggest Australia develop plans to respond in a way which shows resolve, but does not escalate the situation.
In 2003 I was a guest of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) presenting ideas for the Beijing Olympics 2008. Present were local academics, government a business people, including from the People's Daily, who I considered very professional. I had an enjoyable tour of the People's Daily webcasting facility. It is regrettable that staff of the organisation are now issuing threats.
|Air raid on Darwin.|
Conventionally armed ballistic missiles could inflict significant damage, and casualties, on Australian military infrastructure and civilians. The Australian government may wish to acquire anti-missile missiles, for the ships it has already acquired which are fitted-for-but-not-with these. But in any case, as in WWII, an attack on the Australian mainland would increase work with allies, not diminish it.
In the event Australia comes under ballistic missile attack, I suggest we show restraint, and ask our allies not to use the weapons at their disposal to respond in kind. A way to show resolve, without escalating the situation, would be to dismantle the artificial islands constructed by China in disputed territory.
Personnel on the artificial islands could be given time to evacuate, with personal belongings. This could be facilitated by coast guard personnel of Australia and its allies. All infrastructure on the islands would then be removed, and the sea walls broken. This would allow currents to wash away the built up sand and return the reefs to their natural state.
Friday, May 07, 2021
Suggested Improvements to ACT Health COVID-19 Vaccination Booking System
To make an online booking at ACT Government COVID-19 vaccination clinics, clients are required to use the MyDHR system. However, the way the client enters their Medicare number is very confusing and only those who have already been clients of ACT Health can make a booking. I suggest the way the Medicare number is entered is made easier, in line with other online systems. Also I suggest the requirement that only existing clients can book be lifted.
The page with information on bookings has an explanation of how to enter the number. However, this is down on the page, below where the user is invited to click to make a booking. As a result it is likely most users will never see the instructions on entering the Medicare number, particularly when using a smart phone.
Medicare Number Problem
The ACT Government instructions on how to enter the Medicare number contradict those of the Federal government. The Federal government says:
"Enter your Medicare card number, followed by your Individual Reference Number"
But the ACT Government says:
"When filling out the Medicare number, please note the format needs to be XXXXXXXXXX-X where the last digit (IRN) is what appears next to your first name on your Medicare card".
Compounding the problem is that the MyHDR registration screen does not display the Medicare number as it is entered.
I suggest the Medicare number be displayed and be entered in two parts: the Medicare number itself, and the IRN.
|MyDHR Registration screen obscuring Medicare number.|
The MyDHR login page has a "Sign up for MyDHR" button. This then requested the client's name, date of birth and Medicare number.However, registration is not accepted from new clients. The person registering has to have already been to ACT Health. I suggest this be changed to accept registration for anyone with a Medicare card.
Credible, easy to use booking system needed
|Talking on web for Pandemics|
To ensure as many are vaccinated, as quickly as possible, we need easy to use, functioning vaccination booking systems. I suggest the ACT Government make urgent changes to their system to ensure public safety.