Saturday, November 27, 2021

Power for the outdoor office

Bicycling through Haig Park in Canberra, I wondered what the people sitting at tables all spaced out under the trees were doing. It turns out this was Outside Offices, by local co-working space Good Work Canberra and the ACT Government. One element which might spoil the calm is a generator. 

Having been the Net Traveler, for more than two decades, I have telecommuted from hot air balloons, warships, and tents. Power problems are largely solved with lithium batters and solar panels. 

In 2019 I attended the Yaama Ngunna Baaka Corroboree Festival in far western NSW. There were several hundred people camping out. Being a tech person, I took along a collection of solar panels, and power banks, to charge people's gadgets. What proved most useful were power-banks with attached fold-out solar panels. Kmart have one with an 8 Watt solar panel and 15000mAh battery for $55. There are higher power panels and batteries available, but then there is more to carry, and more cables to connect.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Getting a Company Director ID was Difficult Online But Not Impossible

As the director of an Australian company, I have until the end of the month to register for a new Director ID. This can be done online, by phone, or on paper. Given the deadline was approaching, I decided to attempt it online. This took about 20 minutes, and there were a few difficulties, but it was not too bad. 

The first step is to apply for a MyGovId. What I had not realized was that the MyGovId is not the MyGov service. MyGovId is an identity app on your Android or Apple smart phone, similar to the ones which supply codes for multi factor authentication. The app took a couple of minutes to download from the Android app store (from the Australian Taxation Office). 

The app asked for an email address, name and a few other details. Then comes the tricky part: you have to use the app to scan identity documents. You hold you phone over the document, the app takes a photo and turns the data into text. My passport scanned fine, but the anti-counterfeiting features on my driver's licence meant some details did not transcribe correctly. I had to try three times, holding the card at an angle to catch the light right. It is important to have the scanned details match on each document.

Another problem was the phone repeatedly asking for a fingerprint-scan. At some point I was asked if biometrics should be turned on. I said yes, as this is a security app. But then each time the app was about to scan a document it would close and I would have to reopen it, then scan my finger again.

The last step was to take a photo of myself, to be checked against records. The result was not flattering, but acceptable to the algorithm. The MyGovID was then instantly issued.

Now I had a MyGovId, applying for a director ID was quick and simple. The most difficult part was working out that this is not done with the app. Instead you fill in a form on the ABRS website. Also the two factor authentication worked in the reverse way to what I was expecting. To identify myself, I had to transcribe a number from the ABRS web form, to the App on my phone, rather than from the phone to the web. With that done, I entered my personal tax file number, and some other details (less than I was expecting). This did not require scanning any documents, just typing the details in.

A step not required was to say what company I am a director of. All the details I had entered were about me: none about the company.