Wednesday, September 30, 2009

data.australia.gov.au and MashupAustralia competition

data.australia.gov.au – beta
Data.australia.gov.au is the home of Australian government datasets. The site is currently in beta stage, so consider this a preview of what’s to come. Some features are not yet fully developed. There may be some bugs or other issues.

The datasets provided through data.australia.gov.au have been created by many different government agencies. Because of this, we cannot guarantee the quality or timeliness of the datasets. While we welcome your feedback, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to correct any problems identified with the datasets. For more information see our Disclaimer.

The Department of Finance and Deregulation is responsible for the development and ongoing operation of this site.
The gov2.0 task force has also launched a MashupAustralia competition - inviting everyone do something creative with the data.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Museum of HP Calculators

The Museum of HP Calculators:
The Museum of HP Calculators displays and describes Hewlett-Packard calculators introduced from 1968 to 1986 plus a few interesting later models. There are also sections on calculating machines and slide rules as well as sections for buying and selling HP calculators, an HP timeline, collecting information and a software library.
Mine was a 41C :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Objectivity launches Federated, Distributed Database Product to the Cloud Computing Environment

A press release - Objectivity, Inc. Becomes the First Company to Bring a Federated, Distributed Database Product to the Cloud Computing Environment:
Objectivity, Inc. is providing a new way for customers to use its unique distributed database, Objectivity/DB, by making a free 60-day evaluation of the product available on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). The launch makes Objectivity/DB the first federated, distributed database product accessible in a cloud computing environment.

Cloud computing has rapidly gained popularity as an efficient model for application development, and Objectivity's management team recognized that with Objectivity/DB's flexible architecture, deploying in a cloud environment was a natural progression.

"Launching our product in the cloud represents an exciting step for our company," said Jay Jarrell, Objectivity's president and CEO. "The cloud computing environment is an ideal distribution platform for us to gain new users and increase awareness, and it is also a new way to prove to potential customers that we are the best choice for large-scale, distributed applications."

Developers who want to try Objectivity/DB on Amazon EC2 can access the product via two Linux-based Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with bundled software for both 32 and 64 bit platforms. Both are based on the CentOS 5.2 operating system - a binary-compatible version of RedHat Enterprise Linux. Objectivity/DB images may also be used in other cloud environments, including Savvis, TerreMark, Mosso (RackSpace), and others.
I'll leave you to guess the word of the day...

Google's g-cloud coming in 2010

From the Google Public Policy Blog: Google Apps and Government - two steps towards a government-specifc cloud infrastructure for the US:
  • FISMA certification for Google Apps. In July, we announced our intent to secure certification for Google Apps to demonstrate compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the law defining security requirements that must be met by all US Federal government information systems. Our FISMA process is nearing completion. We will submit a Certification and Accreditation (C&A) package to the U.S. Government before the end of this year. Upon review and approval of the Google Apps C&A package, agencies will be able to deploy Google Apps knowing that it is authorized to operate under FISMA.
  • Dedicated Google cloud for government customers in the US. Today, we're excited to announce our intent to create a government cloud, which we expect to become operational in 2010. Offering the same services and features as our existing commercial cloud (such as Google Apps), this dedicated environment within existing Google facilities in the US will serve the unique needs of US federal, state, and local governments. It is similar to a 'Community Cloud' as defined by the National Institute for Science and Technology. The government cloud will allow Google to manage and meet additional government policy requirements beyond FISMA.
I wonder how long before the other cloud vendors get in on the act.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My photographs have won a place in the LUMIX Life exhibition in Sydney.

A little while ago Panasonic Australia set up a Flickr group and announced a competition to select fifty photographers - open to all those using Panasonic cameras in Australia. Like my TZ-7.

It seems I was one of the 50 who received the most votes from the general public (thank you all!).

The exhibition details are here. My images will be on display at:
Global Gallery
5 Comber Street, Paddington NSW

Date : Sunday, October 4, 2009
Time : 2:00 - 4:00 PM
See my selection of images for entry in the competition.


My favourite:

Bike Rack

:)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

They Might Be Giants - I am a Paleontologist

I've loved They Might Be Giants for a long time - and now I see they have done a couple of albums aimed at kids.

The clip below is from their latest album "Here Comes Science". Skip to 0:26 for the beginning of the song - and enjoy...


Check out the rest of the TMBG YouTube Channel.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

At the car wash again...


At the car wash again..., originally uploaded by justinKnol.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Give Way


Give Way, originally uploaded by justinKnol.

Always carry a camera....

Friday, September 04, 2009

What you can learn from employees with autism

Entrepreneur Thorkil Sonne on what you can learn from employees with autism - Harvard Business Review:
Four years ago Thorkil Sonne realized that his young autistic son possessed an extraordinary memory and a remarkable eye for detail. Those traits are prevalent among people with autism, and Sonne saw an opportunity to help individuals with the disorder find productive employment. As the technical director of a Danish software venture, he knew those qualities were critical in software testers. So he went out on his own and launched Specialisterne, a Copenhagen-based software-testing firm that now has 51 employees, including 37 with autism, and revenues of $2 million.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Another Take On Whether Cloud Computing Is Killing Open Source in Government

Gartner's Andrea DiMaio says Is Cloud Computing Killing Open Source in Government?:
But the new buzzword, both in London and in Washington, is cloud computing, and in particular the definition (and – maybe – development) of a government cloud (nicknamed G-cloud). So open source software is certainly losing momentum and political appeal, while cloud computing is gaining press coverage and executive interest.
I think that there is a large body of IT infrastructure folk here in Canberra who are not keen on Open Source platforms - as there is no bum to kick when things go wrong. They'll be more interested in elastic cloud-type services from the same vendors they are comfortable dealing with -witness the Microsoft and IBM cloud offerings.

Combine this with the current trend for centralistion and standardisation of services & I think the first G-cloud (or G-clouds) will be based on vendor cloud platforms. Mail would be my first bet.

NIST Working Definition for Cloud Computing - Version 15

NIST - Cloud Computing:
NIST is posting its working definition of cloud computing that serves as a foundation for its upcoming publication on the topic (link). Computer scientists at NIST developed this draft definition in collaboration with industry and government. It was developed as the foundation for a NIST special publication that will cover cloud architectures, security, and deployment strategies for the federal government.

NIST’s role in cloud computing is to promote the effective and secure use of the technology within government and industry by providing technical guidance and promoting standards.


Gartner Identifies Ten (very obvious) Enterprise Architecture Pitfalls

A new press release from Gartner Identifies Ten Enterprise Architecture Pitfalls. The list seems like a standard checklist of project/program governance & covers the obvious basics.
  1. EA Leadership - get someone with communications skills, not a tech focus!
  2. Stakeholders - duh!
  3. Business Engagement - see above
  4. Don't just focus on technical domain - consider business and information context too
  5. Focus on end-state - rather than spend an age documenting the current mess
  6. Don't let EA become an ivory tower - ensure the work with business and technical folk
  7. Measure it
  8. Don't focus on business units or boxes - how about processes and integration!
  9. Governance - get this sorted before starting the process, duh!
  10. Communication is important
I suppose this is a good summary, but it's hardly earth-shattering news or anything innovative.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

UK Gov's Digital Britain Implementation Plan calls for 'Establishment of G-Cloud'

We've been discussing the very same thing at work over the last couple of weeks. A dedicated government-scale private cloud which could support most agencies.

The Government’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and CIO Council has consulted with high tech industry trade body Intellect and has commissioned a strategy study to investigate the use of cloud computing in Government, which will be called a ‘G-Cloud’.
“The strategy study has established a route-map towards the creation of a G-Cloud, as part of the rationalisation of data centres used by Government and the wider public sector,” it said. “This would both allow Government to benefit from the core attributes of Cloud Computing e.g. enhanced user experience, flexible pricing, elastic scaling, rapid provisioning, advanced virtualisation while also maintaining the appropriate levels of security, accountability and control required for most Government systems, and lead to substantial savings in costs.”
“The establishment of a G-Cloud will however require investment in technical development and physical facilities, and the CIO Council and the Intellect Public Sector Council are now developing the strategic business case to justify funding the G-Cloud,” it said.
The Government said that if the business case is proven then it would expect a G-Cloud to be saving money in procurement and IT projects within three years.

My entry in the LUMIX Life Exhibition

I've submitted a few of the recent photos I've talken with my new LX-7 to the new LUMIX Life - Gallery being run by Panasonic.

You can vote for a favourite, if you like......