Saturday, April 17, 2010

High Technology Tourist Attractions in Adelaide

Any suggestions for what the Net Traveller should see in Adelaide? I will be there Sunday 18th to Tuesday 20 April 2010. I have a meeting most of Sunday and Monday and will be giving a talk Monday 19 April on "Engaging the Defence Sector with Open Source". But I have Tuesday free.

On my last visit to Adelaide, as well as being trained in the Moodle and Mahara e-learning tools, I rode the Glenelg Tram from the beach to the city, then onto theAdelaide O-Bahn. The O-Bahn is the world's longest guided bus-way (until Cambridge England get theirs to work). The tram has been extended to the Entertainment Centre, which tourism boss, Ian Darbyshire seems very proud of, so I will take a ride on that.

Unfortunately I will be leaving just before Dr Bruce Northcote's talk on Defence Communications & Information Networking Tuesday 20th April 2010 at 6pm (RSVP). DSIC is a venture between the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia for defence systems integration research with industry.

ps: This is the one time of the year that the people who teach the ACS Computer Professional Education Program get to see each other. The courses are run online, the tutors and mentors are scattered all around Australia (some in other countries). We have weekly online text based real time "staff meetings", but it is also good to get together in person occasionally. The operation is in transition from a small tutoring group which can be run mostly on personal contact to a virtual higher education institution which requires more formal procedures. It is interesting, if at at times a little frustrating, to be part of the transition.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Proposals for Australian Research Publishing

This is to propose the Australian Computer Society (ACS) use its ACS Digital Library for free open source publishing of research material. The existing journals and conference publications should be incorporated into the library, made freely available and in paper format by subscription. The aim should be to make the publications profitable and self sustaining, so that new publications can be created. While I have previously been director of publications and chair of the ACS scholarly publications committee, these views are expressed as an ordinary member of the ACS.

ACS Publishing Background

The ACS produces three research publications:

  1. Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT),
  2. Australasian Journal of Information Systems (AJIS),
  3. Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology (JRPIT) .

These are available online as free open source publications, via the ACS Digital Library. JRPIT is the oldest of these, having been created in 2000 by renaming the Australian Computer Journal, which had been published by the Australian Computer Society continuously since November 1967 (making it one of the oldest computer journals in the world).

These publications are all peer reviewed, so as to meet standards for academic publishing. However, they try to maintain a balance between articles that are of interest both to practising information technology professionals and to university and industry researchers. In particular, ACS has encouraged papers that report on activities that have successfully connected fundamental and applied research with practical application. Some publications have more emphasis on emerging research and others on professional practice.

Current production processes

While the publications are available via a digital library, only AJIS has all papers indexed in the library and is created using the library software. JRPIT and CRPIT are developed and indexed using separate production processes and software. JRPIT is provided on paper free to members on request and to subscribers. CRPIT is provided in bulk on paper to the relevant conference for distribution to delegates and by subscription.

During my term as Director of Publications and chair of scholarly publishing, web sites were set up for JPRIT and then for the newly established CRPIT. The designs of these publications were standardised, with the aim of using the same online support system later and being able to use print-on-demand for paper copies. Later the ACS digital library was created using the open source Open Journal Systems (OJS) software. The aim was to have all the publications placed in the library. AJIS was the first, and so far only, publication in the library. In 2006 I described the process to provide "Quality e-Publishing Support for the ICT Profession" at several events.

Later the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) expressed interest in having a digital library. For the ACS I cloned the ACS DL, using the same OJS software to create the IFIP Digital Library. After configuring OJS for IFIP, I handed over maintenance of the system to the Australian National University, under contract to the ACS.

Problems with the current process

Production of JRPIT is time consuming and expensive. Currently the production process of requesting reviews and producing papers is done manually. In addition paper production is done via traditional, production processes. CRPIT is less of a problem, as the editorial process is carried out by the conference organisers and there is bespoke software to handle online distribution. AJIS is produced using the OJS software used for the ACS Digital Library, but suffers from limited support as this is the only journal using the system.

Some Publishing Insights

After several years experimenting with publishing systems, teaching it to students at the ANU, and implementing systems for ACS, several points have become reasonably clear:

  1. Journals and conferences can use the same process: While journals and conferences have different aims, the academic papers published from the look very much the same and be produced and distributed using the same online support system. The developers of OJS modified it to produce Online Conference Systems (OCS). But for an organisation producing a series of conference publications (not just one), each conference can be treated essentially as a journal volume. For this reason I chose to use OJS to support the IFIP DL, even though it contains conference proceedings, not journals.
  2. Administration costs can be lowered with automation: Much of the time an effort with publishing is taken up with keeping track of drafts and reviewers comments. This process has been automated by the OJS software and saves a lot of time and effort, especially where this work has been done by volunteers or scarce academic staff. The automated system produces a better result, never forgetting to remind an author, or reviewer that their material is due and keeping track of their response times.
  3. No one cares about paper: There is no requirement to produce paper publications in order to meet academic standards. The standards are based on the content, not what format they are in. It is useful to have paper copies of publications available for marketing purposes and for those who want them. But when shown the cost of paper production, most people opt for an electronic copy. In practice you only need one paper copy to show people it is a real publication, they will then happily use the cheaper electronic version.
  4. Open Access works: Making publications freely avialable considerably increases the readership of the material.
  5. Location Doesn't Matter: Producing "Australian" publications in the online age makes little sense. People from around the world are happy to publish in JRPIT. With the advent of online conferences, they will be happy to take part. What matters is the reputation of the editorial team, the timeliness and rapid production of the publication.
  6. You can sell and give away the same thing: Professional organisations do not aim to make money from their publications, but can aim to at least cover costs. It is possible to give away publications online and still sell paper copies and special compilations. Also academic conferences publishing provides a useful "author pays" model.

Proposed solution: use online production and distribution

  1. Retain current publications, with current names and editorial policies,
  2. Lower the cost by using the ACS Digital Library for production of JRPIT and CRPIT (as is done by AJIS),
  3. Cancel free paper distribution to members of JRPIT,
  4. Retain paper distribution to subscribers of JRPIT and CRPIT, (increasing the charges, if needed to cover the cost)
  5. Introduce POD (Print on Demand) to allow automated sales of one off copies of any of the publications.
  6. Investigate ebook formats for distribution of publications.
  7. Investigate electronic conferences, where delegates provide a podcast presentation and enter into an online discussion, instead of meeting in person. The OJS system already supports includsion of multimedia material, but its discussion facilitites may need suplimenting with something like the Mahara system used for ACS education.
ACS can first transfer JRPIT over to the production process used by AJIS, then CRPIT and lastly consider the development of new publications. This will require enhancements to the current system.

On a recent visit to Australia, Richard Charkin (Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing, London) pointed out that academic publishing had traditionally been very profitable and argued that it still could be. Richard also showed how Bloomsbury was now providing free online copies of academic books, as well as selling paper copies. Therefore I suggest ACS aim to make scholarly publishing self sustaining and profitable by 2015.

There may also be the opportunity for support from the Australian Government. As the Minister for Education has pointed out, education is now Australia’s third largest source of overseas earnings, at $15.5 billion in 2008 and supporting 125,000 jobs. Australia's ability to attract students is, in part, dependent on being seen as a place where there is excellence in research, particularly in the technical disciplines popular with the Indian and Chinese markets. Having both technical and professional papers published online and accessible from the computer screen of people in India and China (and published in by people in India and China) will help keep Australian educators credible.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

$20,000 for Student Green ICT Idea

The Telecommunications Society of Australia has announced the completion for the fourth annual Eckermann-TJA Prize. I will be encouraging my Green ICT Students, to enter the competition. This year the competition is for the best paper by university students on sustainable ICT. The top students get $5,000 and their university $10,000.

... Entries will be judged on the extent to which they demonstrate the tangible benefits that an innovative use of broadband communications technology can deliver in supporting a sustainable environment. For the purposes of the competition, broadband is defined as providing an always-on, low-latency network connection supporting data speeds in excess of 250 kbps over fixed or wireless networks. ...
Last years winner was Chris Goodman for "Bunjil - A Social Network for Proactive Monitoring of Tropical Rainforests":
A tool is proposed to help protect tropical rainforests through early detection of deforestation. The solution automates delivery of the latest satellite images into a collaborative geographic social network. This connects local conservation groups in remote tropical regions with a network of volunteers who share the timely analysis of satellite images. Volunteers are prompted to review the latest images of an area from various sources and mark-up any recent changes observed, such as new roads or clearings. The solution captures the coordinates and sends concise reports to the local group to respond to the observed threats. ...

From: Goodman, Chris. 'Bunjil – A social network for proactive monitoring of tropical rainforests'. Telecommunications Journal of Australia. 2010.; Monash University ePress: Victoria, Australia. : 4.1–4.16. DOI:10.2104/tja10004

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Designing Government 2.0

Tim Turner from the University of NSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy talked on "Web 2.0 and Government-Citizen Interaction", last night at the Australian Computer Society Canberra Branch Meeting. Tim gave a refreshingly cynical overview of Government 2.0. He cautioned about the rhetoric getting ahead of the reality.

As a good academic Tim went back to the origins of the idea of Web 2.0 with Tim Berners-Lee's semantic web. This was an interesting approach, as I thought of "Web 2.0" as a marketing term popularised by O'Reilly Media. Time argued that the glitzy user interface interactive front end had overtaken ideas of a deep web. The emphasis is on communication between people with the computers acting as little more than a telecommunications medium. Tim was sceptical of the value of Facebook and Twitter but positive about Wikis, Blogs and tag clouds. He suggested that within two to three years just about every older teenager to adult in Australia will have a smart phone. He claimed this will allow ubiquitous delivery of information via the web.

Unfortunately I see a lot of government web pages which seem to have been designed to make it hard to use on a phone (I teach mobile web design to public servants at ANU). Tim pointed out the smart phone can be used at the bus stop or in the lift on the way to a meeting (I have actually had an online meeting with someone using an iPhone on an aircraft waiting to disembark).

Tim warned that web 2.0 brings out the extraordinary narcissism of people. Blogs by everyone on everything can diminish the credibility of information. However, the research I have seen shows that this does not happen in reality. The Wikipedia is as high in quality as conventional encyclopaedias if not better.

Tim argues that there is a need for conventional media, such as News Corporation, to assess what is genuine news and what are just media releases. However, I don't believe that the evidence supports this view. An examination of Google News shows that conventional news items tends to be sourced from the same media releases. Bloggers tend to cite the media release as a source, whereas the conventional media pretend they wrote the content.

Tim saw the technology being used by government for publishing, collaborating, and networking. Mash-ups can combine collaboration and networking. He gave the Obama08 campaign as an example of good use of the web for publishing and the former Australian prime minister's use of YouTube as example of doing this badly. He had some concerns about using wikis for the general public to dirctly author government policy (as do I).

Tim saw web 2.0 as a way for government to increase the data sources for insights. He suggested folksonomies for the government getting the public views on issues. He gave th example of buses versus trains for Sydney transport. I am not sure this was a good example, as a citizen I want transport and expect the government experts to work out if buses or trains are better.

Tim suggested the system could be used as a sensor network in a crisis. He used the example of the SMS emergency warnings. A more sophisticated example was to have the citizens to record their view of the bush fire risk at their location and then map the results.

Tim argued that the "perpetual beta" of Web 2.0 is not sustainable. At some point the technology will have to be stabalised and made reliable for government use, as the citizens expect the government to deliver reliably.

Tim claimed that Web 2.0 was politically volatile as it blurs the distinction between the "party line" and individual statements. Also everything said online is permanently recorded. However, I don't see these as different in kind, just degree from previous technologies and not a bad thing.

At question time I asked if there were examples of web 2.0 being used at a smaller scale than federal government. One in the audience gave the examples of "" (the Australian version is "itsbuggered") and use of Twitter by the Californian government.

Another comment was the Web 2.0 was disintermediating democracy. Also the issue of data-mining government information and the risk to privacy. Tim pointed out that experts at ABS spend a lot of time worrying about how to provide data while protecting personal privacy.

The issue of the MySchools web site was raised as an example of data of questionable quality being published online. It will be interesting to see the quality of the "MyUniversity" system to be annoucned today.

This was an entertaining and enlightening presentation.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Web 2.0 and Government-Citizen Interaction in Canberra

Tim Turner from the Australian Defence Force Academy will be talking on "Web 2.0 and Government-Citizen Interaction", 6pm Tuesday at the Australian Computer Society Canberra Branch Meeting. It will be interesting to hear Tim's views on Government 2.0.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some suggestions for ACS in 2010

The first meeting of the Canberra Branch of the Australian Computer Society for 2010 was devoted to hearing suggestions from the members. Here are some suggestions I made:
  • Make web site mobile okay: Currently the ACS home page scores less than zero out of 100 on the W3C mobileOK Checker: "This page is not mobile-friendly!". I suggest aiming for a score of 80/100 on the mobile tests for the ACS web pages. This would be a way to curb the web designers enthusiasm for putting too much stuff on the pages. It would also make the ACS look trendy, by having a web site which works on iPhones and the like. Obviously the ACS should also fix the minor accessibility problems, as indicated by an automated TAW Test. Designing web pages which work on smart phones and which meet accessibility standards, so as to comply with Australian law, is not too difficult and I teach it to the ANU students. To be fair, other IT professional bodies do not rate much better. The ACM home page scores only 1/100 on the mobile tests and only slightly better than ACS on accessibility.
  • Social networking for professionals: The ACS is using social networking for teaching online courses. This could be extended to all members, with online forums and activities. ACS should divert a significant amount of resources to this. At the national level I suggest diverting 75% of what is currently spent on publications, meetings and marketing to online interaction. There is little point in spending effort on meetings and bits of paper which few people attend or take notice of. The ACS could use a mix of the software which it already has installed for education (Mahara ) and external sites, particularly Linkedin.
  • Support for meetings: Using the online tools discussed above, I suggest we should have an online component to all meetings. When there is a branch meeting, members should be invited to discuss the topic online, before, during and after. This can also allow for more fluid and more far reaching meetings. Last year I helped Senator develop her "Public Sphere" format for events. On a smaller scale the first Bar Camp Canberra is on at ANU this Saturday. This is a sort of make it up as you go along conference, using of online resources.
  • Digital CVs: ACS education is providing "e-portfolios" for students, as do some other education providers. I suggest ACS provide certified e-portfolios for members. This would be a web page about the member's qualifications and experience, testified to by ACS. This could then be used when they apply for a job or course. The ACS is already checks and records the member's credentials.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Green IT Limerick

The ACS Canberra IT Award for Green ICT (Corporate) went to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) for their energy saving efforts. Peter Lucey, General Manager, PSARN International, recited the following limerick at the awards ceremony on 25 November 2009:





Provided by Peter Lucey, General Manager, PSARN International, November 2009

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Open University Green ICT Course

Open Universities Australia is now offering my Green ICT Strategies course (ACS25). This is through the Computer Professional Education Program of the Australian Computer Society. The course is available to students of Curtin University, Griffith University, Macquarie University, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University and the University of South Australia.

The course uses the same materials as COMP7310, in the Graduate Studies Select program of the Australian National University (first run July 2009). The course materials are published as "Green Technology Strategies: Using computers and telecommunications to reduce carbon emissions".
Open Universities Australia
2010 Unit Profile

Unit Code ACS25
Unit Title Green ICT Strategies
Provider Australian Computer Society
Unit Type PGD
Level of Study Postgraduate
Delivery Method Fully Online

Unit Overview
The unit is offered in response to an explosion of interest in climate change and sustainability, including a growing realisation of the high contribution of ICT. This unit investigates the contribution of ICT to carbon emissions and how technology can reduce those emissions. The
topics are drawn from practices being developed in the public and private sectors internationally.


1. Introduction to Green ICT
2. The Global ICT Footprint
3. Enabling ICT
4. Energy saving - Data Centres and Client Equipment
5. Materials Use
6. Methods and tools
7. Business process improvement
8. Improving Data Centre Energy Efficiency
9. Enterprise Architecture
10. Procurement
11. Energy Star Program and Quality Management
12. Compliance audit
13. Review and discussion for assignment 2

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Canberra ICT Awards

The Australian Computer Society has called for nominations for the inaugural ACS Canberra ICT Awards. The categories are: Achiever Award, Green ICT Award (Corporate), Green ICT Award (Individual), Innovation Award, Online Award, Service Delivery & Training Award, Education Award, Student Project Award, and the Telecommunications Award. These will be announced at the Awards Presentation Dinner, 25 November 2009. Anyone can make a nomination.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Birth of the National Broadband Network

Greetings from Canberra, where Professor Reg Coutts, a member of the Government’s Broadband Panel of Experts is talking on "The National Broadband Network: New Ways of Working" to the ACS. I have been at the same venue since 12:30pm on at the ATUG "Focus Forum on 2009 Telecommunications Reform Package" presenting on the "Perspectives on the Telecommunications Reform Package".

Reg is recounting about how the government made a "courageous decision" to implement the NBN with FTTP, rather than FTTN. The Broadband Panel of Experts went beyond its brief and rather than selecting a broadband provider, recommended a new network strategy. The previous government proposed a wireless strategy for regional areas, which was rejected by the new government.

Tasmania is taking a "Tasmanian solution" with green and brown field implementation. Tasmania has the lowest current Internet penetration, lowest income and oldest population.

Reg commented that the government is not doing anything to address broadband to the 10% of the population in beyond where the fibre network will reach. This applies not just to regional areas, but to some areas of capital cites, such as Adelaide (the government is funding WiMax).

Reg joked that to solve the problem of pair gain on Telstra lines consumers should order an ISDN line. Telstra will then wire a direct, good quality copper cable to your premises. Then cancel ISDN and use the line for ADSL.

The report of the expert panel is still confidential but an "Extract from the Evaluation Report for the Request for Proposals to Roll-out and Operate a National Broadband Network for Australia" was published. Reg commented that it took the media some days to notice this and its implications (I have appended the text of the report to make it easier to find).

Reg recommended the Communications Alliance NBN Discussion Paper (14 May 2009). He commented that due to AUSSAT, satellite service sin Australia have a poor reputation. However, new technology used in other countries provide a flexible and popular service. He claimed that problems of latency with satellites could be overcome. He argued that satellite should be part of the NBN.

Reg mentioned the role of wireless, with WiMax, HSPDA (3G). Possible LTE, using old analogue TV spectrum (700MHz) for fixed wireless. This would use 2.6GHz for short range and 700MHz for long range. Reg argued that this could be a useful separate competitive alternative to the NBN and wireless should not be part of the NBN.

Reg argues that the NBN should be structures as a network, not links. There should be 25 equivalent POIs, with a cross-subsidy to provide the same network charges nation wide.

Reg mentioned the AFACT v iiNet court case currently under way. He commented that while media content owners are complaining about their content on the Internet, other arms of the same companies are keen to distribute content online.
    1. Background

On 7 December 2007, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, (the Minister) announced that the Commonwealth Government (Commonwealth) was committed to building a national high-speed broadband fibre-to-the-node network, and that it would run an open and transparent process to determine who would build the network.

On 11 March 2008, the Minister announced the appointment of a Panel of Experts to assess the Proposals received in response to the Request for Proposals (RFP), to be released at a later date. The Panel of Experts comprises:

    • Ms Patricia Scott (Chair)
    • Mr John Wylie AM
    • Mr Tony Shaw PSM
    • Dr Ken Henry AC
    • Mr Tony Mitchell
    • Professor Reg Coutts
    • Professor Rod Tucker

On 11 April 2008, the Commonwealth released an RFP seeking Proposals to roll-out and operate a National Broadband Network (NBN) in a single stage process. To facilitate the roll out, the Commonwealth indicated it would offer up to $4.7b to the successful Proponent(s), and consider making necessary regulatory and legislative changes.

On 26 November 2008, the Commonwealth received Proposals from six pre-qualified Proponents:

    • Acacia Australia Pty Ltd
    • Axia Netmedia Corporation
    • Optus Network Investments Pty Ltd
    • the Crown in the Right of Tasmania
    • Telstra Corporation Ltd
    • TransACT Capital Communications Pty Ltd

On 13 December 2008, the Panel met and considered the future of the Telstra Proposal in the NBN RFP process. The Panel considered legal and probity advice and Telstra's response to the notification of the Panel's preliminary view on the matter and concluded that Telstra had failed to submit a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Plan as required under the RFP.

On this basis, the Panel and the Commonwealth concluded that the Telstra Proposal had not met the conditions of participation for the RFP and Telstra's Proposal was excluded from further consideration in the RFP process.

    1. Observations
  1. Since the Panel was appointed in March 2008, and the RFP issued in April 2008, the environment surrounding the process to select a Proponent to roll out and operate a NBN for Australia has changed dramatically.
  2. There has been a once-in-75-year deterioration in capital markets that has severely restricted access to debt and equity funding. As a result all national proponents have either found it very difficult to raise the capital necessary to fund an NBN roll-out without recourse to substantial support from the Commonwealth or have withheld going to the market until they have certainty that their Proposal is acceptable to the Commonwealth.
  3. All Proposals were to some extent underdeveloped. No Proposal, for example, provided a fully developed project plan. None of the national Proposals was sufficiently well developed to present a value-for-money outcome.
  4. While no Proposal submitted a business case that supports the roll-out in five years of an NBN to 98 per cent of Australian homes and businesses with a Government contribution of $4.7b, each Proposal contained attractive elements that, taken together, could form the basis from which a desirable outcome might be achieved.
  5. The Proposals received through the RFP process, the public submissions received on regulatory issues and the report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have been highly instructive. They provide a good evidence base for the Government as it moves forward.
  6. The Proposals confirm there are multiple approaches to delivering high-speed broadband and that, with the right technology mix and incentives to create sound business cases being developed, the goal of providing high-speed broadband services to 98 per cent of homes and businesses can be reached.
  7. In particular, the Proposals have demonstrated that the most appropriate, cost effective and efficient way to provide high-speed broadband services to the most remote 10 per cent of Australian homes and businesses is likely to be a combination of next generation wireless technology (supported by appropriate spectrum) and third generation satellites.
  8. The Proposals have also demonstrated that rolling out a single fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network is:
      • unlikely to provide an efficient upgrade path to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), because of the high costs of equipment associated with rolling out a FTTN network that would not be required for a FTTP network (i.e. FTTN is not a pre-requisite for the provision of FTTP); and
      • likely to require exclusive or near-exclusive access to Telstra's existing copper sub-loop customer access network (CAN), the so called 'last mile', thereby confirming that strong equivalence of access arrangements would be essential. As well, providing such access to a party other than Telstra runs a risk of liability to pay compensation to Telstra. The Proposals have this risk remaining with the Commonwealth but they have not addressed the potential cost to the Commonwealth of any such compensation. In any event, the Panel considers that no Proponent could accept the cost risk and continue to have a viable business case.
  9. The Panel's analysis of the Proposals has highlighted the importance of competition and not just technology to drive improvements in services; the need to improve competition in backhaul supply, particularly in regional areas; the desirability for a wholesale-only provider of any bottleneck infrastructure; and the desirability of improved regulation of the telecommunications industry to provide investor certainty and speed of outcomes. The Panel was not attracted to what it saw in some cases as proposals for excessive overbuild protections. Focusing on using next-generation technology solutions may reduce the need for such protection.
  10. The Panel can see a way forward to achieve the outcomes sought by the Government and has provided that advice in confidence to the Government because of the commercial sensitivities arising.

From: Extract from the Evaluation Report for the Request for Proposals to Roll-out and Operate a National Broadband Network for Australia, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy,20 January 2009

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Filtering of Web Content by Internet Service Providers

The ACS has released the report "Thechnical Observations of ISP Based Filtering of the Internet" (12 October 2009). This discusses how well filtering of web content works, rather than the political or ethical issues of if it should be filtered. Some of these are discussed in my ABC Radio talk "Filtering Porn on the Internet:Imperfect by Necessity". The ACS report is 22 pages (300 kBytes of PDF), but the findings are summarised in a media release "ACS ISP Filtering Report: No Silver Bullet".
The ISP Filtering Report highlights the current challenges associated with filtering or blocking of internet content, which include:
  • Lack of a clear definition of the types of content that are subject to filtering
  • Limitations of automated techniques for analysing video, pictorial and audio content
  • Need for clear and consistent criteria behind labelling and rating of content
  • Where filters are placed within the network architecture, there is an impact on network performance (efficiency, speed etc)
  • Avoiding ‘over blocking’ and ‘under blocking’ and achieving consistency in blocking of material
  • The rate at which new Internet-accessible content is being generated makes it difficult to maintain up-to-date black lists, white lists, keywords and phrases etc used by analysis algorithms
  • Effectively managing user-generated material, which is created ‘on the fly.’ The labelling/rating of these sites and content is practically impossible; and
  • How to deal with encrypted traffic and secure channels, as encryption impedes filtering....
The Taskforce makes the following recommendations for progressing the debate and some issues surrounding ISP filtering. These recommendations aim to reduce the likelihood of inadvertent exposure to illegal content on the Internet:
  1. Multi- faceted approach using filtering technologies to address the distribution of illegal material - A multi faceted approach is needed to address filtering out or blocking of illegal material on the Internet using filtering technologies at the ISP, user and enterprise levels. This includes increased professionalism and tighter controls around domain name registration, education at all levels of society and oversight by parents.
  2. Education and oversight are the best methods to ensure online safety for children - There is no technological substitute for appropriate education and parental supervision of young people who are using the Internet. Education and oversight remains the best method of ensuring that children (and other end users) are aware of online safety and are not deliberately viewing inappropriate material or engaging in inappropriate behaviour online.
  3. Objectives of any ISP filtering program should be clearly defined. Based on recommendations 1 and 2, the Taskforce believes the policy objective for filtering should be clearly articulated; for instance, whether it is:
    • to avoid inadvertent or unintended viewing of Refused Classification (RC) or illegal content while surfing the web;
    • to prevent, detect, block and prosecute delivery, access, publication or circulation of RC or illegal content;
    • to deter both inadvertent and/or deliberate interaction with a wider ambit of RC, illegal or prohibited material using any method of Internet access.

    In addition to clear objective(s), this program should also include: performance standards, clarity around the definition of material to be filtered, reporting processes, type of traffic and filtering mechanisms to be used.
  4. Development of minimum standards to measure filtering efficiency - Different filtering processes achieve varying results in terms of impacts on speeds, resource usage and accuracy of filtering (over blocking and under blocking). In mandating or regulating for ISP level filtering, the Federal Government should develop a set of minimum standards to be achieved against which the efficacy of filtering can be measured.
  5. Planning for location of content filters - The Taskforce believes considerable thought needs to be given to location of filters within the ISP architecture (depending on the size, speed and level of redundancy) to avoid multiple filtering of feeds, filter failure which causes service disruptions and significant performance reduction due to filter operations.
  6. Implementing a national, voluntary content rating system - As part of any ISP filtering program, a national, content rating system could allow content providers to rate the material on their sites. Any rating scheme used should be standardised and easy to use so content developers can self-rate their content.
  7. Transparent guidelines and auditing process - The Government should establish clear, unambiguous guidelines on sites and material that will be included on the ACMA black list. In addition, there should be an independent and transparent auditing process for the black list and an ability for complaints about those sites included on the black list to be lodged and assessed in a timely manner.
  8. Ability to customise filtering levels - The Government should strongly encourage ISPs to provide products that allow users to select/customise their preferred level of filtering (above that which is mandatory).
  9. Education on protection and threats – As filtering is only one level of protection, the community needs to better understand the factors associated with threats, computer and network vulnerabilities and how countermeasures work and what they can do to protect themselves, if they are going to adequately protect their identities and their activities online. ...
From: ACS ISP Filtering Report: No Silver Bullet, Media Release, Australian Computer Society, 12 October 2009
The table of contents from the report:
1 Introduction 1
2 Background 2
3 Key Issues Addressed by the Task Force 3
3.1 What Are the Goals/Objectives of ISP Filtering? 3
3.2 What Type of Content Should Be Filtered? 3
3.3 Where Should Filtering Occur in the Network Architecture? 4
3.4 What Type of Internet Services Should Be Filtered? 4
3.5 Nature of Internet Filtering 4
3.6 How Is Illegal Material Distributed? 5
3.7 What Are the Criteria Behind the Black List? 5
4 Technical Issues and Filtering Techniques 6
4.1 IP Blocking Using IP Packet Filtering/Blocking 6
4.2 Domain Name Server Poisoning 7
4.3 URL Blocking Using Proxies 8
4.4 Hybrid System 8
4.5 Content and Site Labelling Based Filtering 9
4.6 Other Methods of Content Control 9
5 Issues and Design Choices for Filtering 10
5.1 Content Classification Issues 10
5.2 Criteria Enforcement 10
5.3 What Traffic to Filter 11
5.4 Encrypted Traffic 11
5.5 Filtering and Network Architecture 12
5.6 Implementation Issues 13
5.7 Addressing P2P and BitTorrent 13
5.8 Circumventing Filters 13
5.9 Over Blocking and Under Blocking 14
6 Other Issues 15
6.1 Improved Control Over Domain Name Registration 15
6.2 ISP Filtering Trial 16
7 Awareness and Education of Users 16
8 The Way Forward 17
Task Force Members 18 ...

From: Thechnical Observations of ISP Based Filtering of the Internet, Australian Computer Society, 12 October 2009

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Canberra Launch of 2009 Australian ICT Trade Update

Professor John HoughtonProfessor John Houghton will present the results of his "2009 Australian ICT Trade Update" in Canberra on 6 October 2009.

Canberra Launch of 2009 Australian ICT Trade Update

A Joined Event between Australian Computer Society and Australian Services Roundtable

When: Tuesday 6 October 2009
Time: 6pm for 6.30 pm start

Where: Australian Service Roundtable (ASR) 2a Mugga Way, Red Hill, Canberra (closest corner Tennyson Street Red Hill/ACT Chapter Australian Institute of Architects Building)

Presenter: Professor John Houghton

What: The findings of the 2009 Australian ICT Trade Update, revealing a growing annual ICT trade deficit of $28 billion, reflecting Australia's increasing demand for ICT equipment. Despite the global financial crisis, Australia's ICT exports continued to grow, reaching almost $6.6 billion in 2008 around 2.3% of Australia's total export earnings.

The Report shows that in 2008, Australia's ICT exports increased to $6.6 billion while imports cost $34 billion, creating an ICT trade deficit of $28 billion. Strong export growth and surpluses on trade in computer services stand out. It is the only area of ICTs in which Australia has a surplus on trade and is clearly an important area of local strength.

Commissioned by the ACS and authored by Professor John Houghton, the Report identifies computer services as holding Australia's greatest domestic performance promise. It also highlights innovation and a slowing of risk-oriented seed and venture capital investment as areas that Australia's governments and ICT industry stakeholders must support,
to improve the ICT Trade Performance and enhance Australia's competitive advantage.

Australian ICT Trade Update 2009 Report can be downloaded at

About the Presenter:

Professor Houghton is a prolific author and commentator on ICT. He is currently Professorial Fellow at Victoria University's Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) and Director of the Centre's Information Technologies and the Information Economy Program. He has significant experience in information technology policy, science and technology policy and more general industry policy related economic research. He is a regular consultant to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris and was a co-author of the
recent Centre for Innovative Industry Economic Research report for the Federal Government, "The Australian Software Industry - Globally Competitive - Domestically Undervalued".

To confirm media attendance: Seni Murni,, 02 8296 4433 or 0410 029 706 / PR and Special Projects Executive

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ICT Statistics for the National Broadband Network

Greetings from the ICT Statistics Reference Group Meeting at the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra. Major federal ICT agencies and industry bodies are represented in the group (I am here on behalf of the ACS). Major items discussed were the rollout of the National Broadband Network in Tasmania (where I was last week) and the creation of the NBN Company. I talked about the Australian ICT Trade Update released yesterday. Another item was that the Queensland Government has released a "ICT for tomorrow's Queensland - Strategy" and Action Plan.

One issue which keeps coming up at these meetings is the lack of resources for the ABS to collect ICT statistics. One suggestion I have made is to ask the new NBN Company for funding. The NBN Company has a very close interest in the use of ICT in Australia and is well funded by the federal government. An extra ten million of dollars per year spent on statistics may save tens of billions of dollars on misdirected investment in broadband infrastructure.

One statistical detail which may become important is that the ABS will start recording the number of home fibre optic connections in Australia (currently there are only though to be about 400). ABS will look from the home point of view, as a result a fibre termination to cluster housing will not count as fibre to the home. This has very significant implications for the statistics and for pubic policy. As an example, there is a fibre node in the basement of my apartment building, with copper cable the last few tens of metres to the apartment. This would not be counted as fibre to the home by the ABS. In my view it should be counted as this is fibre to the premises and provides essentially the same service as if the fibre was terminated in my apartment. This will skew the statistics, and undercount the FTTP statistics. It is very much cheaper and easier to use copper for the last tens of metres, than fibre, so there will be a lot of this. It would be unfortunate if many Austrlaias missed out on better broadband because of a statistical definition.

Here is the agenda for the meeting, I will comment on other items as we go along:

ICT Reference Group Meeting

23 September 2009


  1. Welcome – 5 mins

  1. Minutes from last meeting and action item status – 5 mins

  1. ICT Strategic issues – current and emerging (for discussion by group members) – 50 mins

    1. Updates in policy landscape and priorities since the last reference group meeting.

    2. Emerging regulatory priorities and trends in technology.

    3. Future directions for ICT statistics from a user perspective.

    4. Other, as identified by members.

  1. Updates on ABS business collections (for information and discussion) – 40 mins

    1. ICT Industry Survey (ICTIS): Developments since the last reference group meeting.

    2. Development of 2009–10 Business Use of Information Technology (BUIT) survey.

    3. Changes to Internet Activities Survey (IAS)

    4. Update on Farm Use of Information Technology (FUIT)

  1. Data in respect of Government Use of IT [update by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO)] – 15 mins

  1. Update on ABS collections relating to Non-business Use of IT (for information and discussion) – 15 mins

    1. Census of Population and Housing: Developments in relation to 2011 ICT related questions – update from previous meeting – 5 mins

    2. Developments in Household Use of Information Technology (HUIT) statistics – 10 mins

      1. Status of development for 2010–11 HUIT.

  1. ICT related statistics produced by other organisations (for information) – 15 mins

    1. Cyber Crime Survey by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) – update on status (presentation by AIC)

    2. ICT compendium and ICT Remuneration Survey by the Australian Computer Society (presentation by ACS)

  1. Analytical projects undertaken by ABS (for information) – 20 mins

  1. International developments – 10 mins

    1. Working Party on Indicators for the Information Society (WPIIS) meeting in Paris 23-24 April 2009.

    2. OECD Project on Analysis and Classification of Internet activities – status on ABS contribution.

  1. Recent developments: work underway, recent releases and upcoming releases (for information) – 10 mins

    1. Work underway: Surveys and other work currently in development.

      1. BUIT 2009–10

      2. HUIT 2010–11

    2. Recent releases (since March 2009):

      1. Internet Activity Survey, Australia, December 2008 (6 April 2009)

      2. Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, 2007–08 (25 June 2009)

      3. Use of Information Technology on Farms, 2007–08 (17 August 2009)

      4. Business Use of Information Technology, 2007–08 (20 August 2009)

      5. Internet Activity Survey, Australia, June 2009 (14 September 2009)

      6. Selected Characteristics of Australian Business, 2007–08 (17 September 2009)

    3. Upcoming releases:

      1. Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2007–08 (25 September 2009)

      2. Business Longitudinal Database, Confidentialised Unit Record File (October 2009)

      3. Household Use of Information Technology, 2008–09 (16 December 2009)

  1. Other business and Conclusion

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2009 Australian ICT Trade Update

The Australian Computer Society released its 2009 Australian ICT Trade Update on 22 September 2009. This is really for 2008 and shows a ICT trade deficit of $28b for the year. It is not all bad news with Australian ICT exports being $6.6b, 2.3% of the total Australian Exports. There is a one page summary "2009 Australian Trade Update" as well as the full 96 page "2009 Australian ICT Trade Update" (2.2 Mbytes of PDF).

Professor John HoughtonProfessor John Houghton has done his usual thorough analysis for this annual report for the ACS. Unfortunately the news has not changed over the years this report has been done: ICT still holds promise for the Australian economy. It would be interesting to see what the figures were if ICT education was included, with Australia's large intake of overseas students studying computing (I am contributing to exports by educating international students in Australian and other overseas via the Internet).

Unfortunately, as with previous reports, the material is published as a poorly formatted, difficult to read PDF document. This makes it very much harder to disseminate the information and must be resulting in much of the impact of work being lost. The summary document suffers from this problem with a lesser extent, with the table of figures not being correctly marked up in HTML for web display.
Summary of 2008 ICT Trade Figures & Findings




ICT equipment


$29,719 m
$8,276 m
$5,485 m
$3,511 m
$6,047 m
$6,402 m


$3,571 m
$1,058 m
$697 m
$521 m
$410 m
$885 m

ICT services

audio visual
software royalties

$4,896 m
$1,162 m
$1,543 m
$1,250 m
$941 m

software royalties

$3,006 m
$924 m
$1,673 m
$214 m
$195 m

Note - 1,000 million = 1 billion

Key Import And Export Trends
  • ICT goods and services are amongst the top ten principle exports for Australia - accounting for around 2.3% of Australia’s total export earnings.
  • The largest markets for Australian ICT equipment exports are New Zealand, USA, China, Germany and Singapore.
  • The largest recorded markets for ICT services are USA, Hong Kong, UK, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan. China (incl. SARs) is also a major market.
  • Computer and information services exports are the biggest category of exports for Australia, having increased three fold in the last decade. Major markets are the US, UK and New Zealand.

  • Imports of ICT goods and services accounted for around 13% of Australia’s total import debits.
  • Largest ICT equipment import sources are China, USA, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Germany.
  • Largest ICT services import sources are USA, UK, India, Germany, New Zealand Hong Kong and Singapore. ...
From: "2009 Australian Trade Update", Media Release, Australian Computer Society released its 2009 Australian ICT Trade Update on 22 September 2009

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Enterprise Social Networking for Business

Greetings from the 2009 International Young ICT Professionals Conference in Sydney. 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. I am speaking Social Networking for Business" at the social networking stream. Currently Benjamin Patey, CIO of CSC Australia is talking on "Enterprise Social Networking for Business". He is taking an interesting and entertaining approach of some role playing and participation. I was worried that my talk may repeat what Benjamin was talking about, but it appears the two talks are complementary: he is talking from the corporate point of view, whereas I am talking from the individual professional and their development.

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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

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

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

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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

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Monday, May 25, 2009

New Zealand Join International ICT Training Standard

The New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS) has joined the International Professional Practice Partnership (IP3) for international professional ICT standard. NZCS joins the Australian Computer Society (ACS), British Computer Society (BCS), Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS), and IEEE-CS (USA) in the IP3 partnership. The accreditation covers ACS members holding the ACS Computer Professional (CP) status, which includes the Green ICT Sustainability course I designed for the ACS.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Historical Tour of Computing in Melbourne

At the ACS Victorian Branch 2009 Conference someone mentioned there was an Historical Tour of Computing in Melbourne. Unfortunately I missed the tour as I was at the conference. The next one is Sunday 31 May 2009. The tours are run by Caulfield School of Information Technology (Monash University) and are free, apart from your tram ticket. Many of the sites on the tour are accessible without the tour and the tour guide web page provides a useful self-guide. The highlight of any such tour has to be CSIRAC at the Melbourne Museum, the fourth computer in the world and the best preserved.

The Tour:

  1. Monash Museum of Computing History
  2. Site of Albert Park Barracks and DSD
  3. Melbourne's Silicon Mile: St Kilda Road and Fitzroy Street
  4. Stanhill
  5. Melbourne Observatory: Melbourne's first computer room
  6. Victoria Barracks: Australia's first supercomputer
  7. St Paul's Cathedral: the Babbage connection
  8. National Mutual: Smalltalk-80's Australian debut
  9. ICI House
  10. Melbourne Museum: CSIRAC
  11. Physics Museum, University of Melbourne
  12. Old Physics, University of Melbourne: CSIRAC's first Victorian home

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