10 Days a Week

Enviro Health Manager

We were all told that as technology advanced we would have more leisure time, time to spend with loved ones and pursuing our recreational desires. So why do I now find that I need a 10 day week so that I can get through all my work and still end up working most weekend?

Well in my case I can’t really blame anyone else for my need of more days in the week or working through the weekend. I have been in the last stages of software development for the Mobile Audits program that I have developed in my business About Data to be used by Environmental Health Officers of Local Governments.

This enables them to complete audits of Food Premises, Lodging Houses, Public Buildings and General Premises all through a PDA. The information is collected in the field and then on return to the office the PDA is connected to the desktop computer and then all data is synchronized to a SQL Server database.


My business partner Sandra Morley from Sanmor Computing has developed the desktop component of the software. The Enviro Health Manager system that is on the desktop is very complex and includes, Health Notice, Pest Management, Unit Cost and Waste Management.

The software with the PDA component has been tested in the field by the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder over the past two years.

On October 4th and 5th we visited the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder and installed the latest version of the software. It has been upgraded to now include:

: Property based data

: SQL Server data file

: PDA component to manage in the field audits

: Proprietor/manager signature capture

: Fully compliant with the new legislation

: Health Notice, Pest Management, Unit Cost and Waste Management

: Onsite Training

: Ability to integrate the EHM application with LGA’s financial management system

It has been a massive project, and we encountered several hurdles but in the end we have come through it all with a solid product that allows Local Government to manage their data in an efficient and effective manner.

So now all the hard work is done we are on the marketing trail, flyer’s have been produced and are in the process of being sent to all Local Governments in Western Australia. This will be followed by information packs to be delivered in early 2008.

So now you know why I haven’t been around online, and may not be around much in the nest few months. I will now start working on Swimming Pool audits and the list goes on, but I do really enjoy my work so it is all worth it in the long run.

Blogging good or hell?

blogit e-consultation

The Australian Federal Government is preparing itself to enter the blogging realm. An article in the online Australian IT titled Canberra plans citizen sample blog yesterday states “FEDERAL plans to enter the world of blogging are well under way, with a discussion paper due soon on the proposed “rules of engagement”.” The blog will be up and running by March and will be a place that the public can comment on policy, it wont be a free for all and genuine and constructive comments would be welcomed!

They have concerns that the lobby groups or other anonymous identities may infiltrate and manipulate the blog. Will this just be another place on the web that the government places information for us to read and if we wish to place a  positive/constructive comment then that comment may appear on the blog? Censored comments – that’s an interesting concept, we have the ability to censor, delete and even change comments that are placed on our blogs but most of us would only use these options if we get comments that detail illegal activities, pornographic, spam or are racist and discriminatory.

At the end of the day a blog provides a place for conversation and I would have thought that e-consultation would benefit from conversation not censorship, will we see a spin off of blogs that will continue the conversations? Just by denying it they will in fact make it flourish elsewhere way. I suppose that is just another case of  “not in my backyard”.

The article states that a spokesman for Special Minister of State Gary Nairn said ….”genuine and constructive comments”, I could not find another mention of this, a speech delivered by Mr Nairn in August mentions the possible introduction of blogs and talks about the things like the need for  moderation of comments would need to be looked at. I hope they do look at this and not take the Big Brother attitude and take the time to consult with people from the blogging communities both users and readers, not people who “know” about these things about do not “participate” in them.

I have tried to stay pretty much on track with this blog and that hasn’t been too hard as technology is a wide and varied field. I don’t want to get into political discussions (am I now censoring?) but as this does loosely relate to technology I thought I would place it here.


Bar Camp Perth 07

Yawn 6am get up for trip from Mandurah to Perth on a Saturday and first day of my holidays was hard to take but it proved well worth the hassle. After much trepidation about attending a new event where I only would know a couple of people I walked in the doors of Central TAFE to attend the 1st BarCampPerth on Saturday. I had recently become a Twitter convert or maybe addict just days before the BarCamp so was good to get the f2f experience with these people.

I Googled most of the names that kept appearing on the Wiki as presenters and read through their blogs to find who what etc about them, what I found before I went was that they all had far more experience in web than I did. Other than when I attended the MEDC in Melbourne this would have to be the best event I have attended, cant really call it a conference as it is classed as an unconference. It was well organised and thanks must go to Myles for all the great work and of course to Jordan for the constant supply of coffee. I have never met such a relaxed group of people willing to share and listen to others, no cliques here and because of all the wonderful sponsors it was free and Bronwen handed out free PerthNorg t-shirts.

Coffee TShirt
mmmmm Coffee                           TShirts


Sue Waters started off with a session on MLearning and roped me in to do it with her but I just added a few side comments. As usual she did a excellent  presentation and we had lots of group discussion about the issues that we are all faced with when trying to “engage not enrage” with these new technologies and ways of teaching.

Sue                                 Sue Presenting Me with PDA

Web 2 for n00bs (which is defiantly includes me) was presented by Constance and Kate and made the mud a little clearer for me.

I have had a small introduction to Second Life when I watch the SBS series on Future Focus and was interested to hear what Kathryn Greenhill had to say about its place in education.What’s the use of Second life in Education ? It is certainly a very controversial topic as to whether education has a place in the virtual world and the debate on this is sure to continue for a while. Kathryn summed it up well with her opening statement “I am really into Second Life, and I am going to explain why but I don?t necessarily expect you to share my excitement.?

Problems with the Mobile Web was presented by Nick Cowie and he had some interesting facts about the number of these devices being sold, in the classroom situation most students will own a mobile phone but some may still not have access to a computer at home. Developing web apps for mobile devices is a virtual minefield with so many different devices and OS and mobile browsers that are available and the speed that these devices are being released to the market is mind blowing. I have also come up against these issues developing applications for PDA’s but not to the same degree, think I will stick on my side of the fence and leave web development to these guys.

Then we had lunch…. Pizza Subs, Coke, Coffee and Redbull gave us all a chance to chat and spring back into action for the afternoon sessions. Me right down the back pizza and a chat with Nick Cowie.

All ready to go again and I went off to the presentation on Running successful industry projects with Software Engineering Students. by Tiang Cheng It was interesting to hear the Uni way of handling industry projects with their students. Our TAFE diploma students also have industry projects for their major assessment in the last semester of their study. Our industry clients end up with a finished product while the Uni seems to head towards proof of concept outcomes. Uni and TAFE both have different ways of operating but they are both engaging the students with industry in “real world” projects before they have finished their study. This is an essential part of their study as it brings home to them that this is where they have been heading all these years, there is a “real world” out there and if they think we are tough as lecturers wait until they are in the workplace. It also gives many of them a boost as they realise that they are capable of completing the projects and have come a long way since they walked through the doors to start their study.

The last presentation I attended was by Ruby On Rails by Matt Didcoe and Myles Eftos. Excellent presentation that outlined the strong and week point of using ROR. Before reading the Barcamp Wiki I had heard of ROR but not taken much interest, well that has definitely changed now. I have three weeks holidays now so this is something I will be getting into. Great job guys!!!

So summing in up one sentence says it all for me “When is the Next BarCamp guys?” Well Done by all 🙂

There are lots more photos from the day on Flickr

I even got my son Harri to come along for the day.

Backs of the Geek’s Harri Me and Sue

BarCamp here we come

Well I have done it now, I have registered to be part of BarCamp Perth

I am going along to the BarCamp in Perth on Saturday June 30th and will meet up with my friend Sue, who sort of “suggested” we go, and then we dobbed ourselves in for a couple of presentations. A BarCamp is described as an unconference where  you can share and learn in an open environment with lots of demos, discussions, presentations and interaction. Among some of the rules of a BarCamp are:

That you do talk about the BarCamp -( the reason for this post)

You do blog about BarCamp – ditto

That if it is your first time at a bar camp you are supposed to present…So I will be involved in the presentations on

Podcasting 101 & Learning Systems / Design for eLearning / Education and web apps

I think Sue and Kate who are also part of these presentations are more expert on these particular topic but I will tag along and put in my two cents worth. I have even talked my teenage son who is studying Computer Science at Murdoch Uni to come along for the day. he can decipher some of the Open Source stuff that I am not up on.

so if you are free on Sat June 30 between 9am and 5pm, interested in web development, web 2, elearning, Open source and more have a look at the Barcamp wiki and register and come and join us in what looks like a great day of interaction for all

Cool Places To Work

I have just read a post on Probable Distractions blog about an really cool workplace that is fitted out to look like the Nautilus from Jules Verne?s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Just imagine how inspiring it would be to work in a place like that.

This got me thinking about what other great workplaces there must be. I remembered seeing a  documentary on The Googleplex that showed bright colours fun  games and  staff moving around on scooters

Cool Google Desk

so I decided to “Google” fun workplaces and I found some really cool places to work and some fun ways to organise your office space. I also found some cool desktops at nownow.com.au , I did note that they seem to be predominantly macs!

Red Bull in London has a 29 foot slide that staff can use to go between floors

Red Bull London Office Slide

We mere mortals can but dream 🙂

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Have blog will travel….too much

I started this post to create a set of links for How To’s and interesting articles about Blogs, Wiki’s and all things related. I had a list of links that I have emailed to others when asked and thought I would add to this and that is when the trouble started. The more I looked the more I found. So I just kept adding and adding links. Sometimes I would stop and read articles and even found a comic that certainly rings true with me and I was very restrained and only added one comic. This post was getting very large so I decided to add a What is that? page and have placed all the information there.

So go have a look, any additions welcome.

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.