Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for the ‘Information Management’ Category

Not tweeting … buzzing plus good

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-07-23

I’m finding Buzz and the public posts (easily separable from private posts) in Google Plus a hell of a lot more conducive to short comments than Twitter.

So, if you want some of my shorter thoughts and notes …

  • Google Buzz has all my shared gReader items, with a few comments, as well as other links I find interesting.  (Mind you, most of those I follow have their Buzz feed from their tweets.)
  • Short Posts (well, the public ones unless you are in my circles) are for short posts, links, and the occasional personal comment.

Oh, and regular readers here, if you still need an invite to get into Plus, get a gmail address to me one way or another and I’ll send you one.

Impressions of Plus

GooglePlus isn’t all prettily wrapped up yet, and it’s an odd mix of twitter, newsfeed, email and blogging with a bit of linkedin thrown into the mix – even without blogger.  The one thing I really like is the way it is well integrated into gmail – add posts, get notifications, respond to comments, all without leaving your gmail windows.

And yet, if you expect a facebook clone, you’ll be disappointed.

It is, however, already very good at letting you choose what bits are seen by who – public, one circle, or another circle.  At the very least it means I can easily choose to not annoy my younger friends with geeky science posts, not waste more politically-oriented interlocutors with posts about funny things my grandson said when I came home that night… that’s a real boon.

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Posted in Information Management, Media, Society | Leave a Comment »

Most Oz Auditors-General do not provide RSS feeds

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-04-13

It’s bleg time… for people who’d like to get all Auditor General offices to provide an RSS feed of announcements and reports.  I’m after ideas (a list of questions near the bottom of the post) and even cosignatories for a request that each audit office provide such a feed.

These days, with Gov 2.0 a buzz-word, and given the excellent work by Club Troppo‘s own Nicholas Gruen, you would expect almost all agencies to provide RSS feeds, and preferably, like the parliament, a range of news feeds for different purposes.

You might expect that an Auditor General would provide RSS feeds, as such an agency is not responsible to the executive, but to the parliament.

Yet only the audit offices of Western Australia ( and the federal ANAO ( provide RSS feeds, or are getting them set up.

I’d searched both with Google ( and visually through the Victorian Auditor General’s site ( for news feeds, with no joy, so sent a nice polite email to the office asking for a link to their feed for new reports and/or media announcements.

I received a polite reply as follows, but no joy. (I’ve linkified the relevant bits).

Dear Dave,
We do not have an RSS feed for our reports as we have a subscription service.
We use this purely to send alerts when we publish our reports.
You can subscribe vis this page:
Lesya Bryndzia
Communications Assistant
Victorian Auditor-General’s Office
Level 24, 35 Collins St. Melbourne Vic. 3000
t: (03) 8601 1666 f: (03) 8601 7010 e:

Well, I knew all about the subscription service – I get those emails.

But I want an RSS feed, easy to read, easy to share, and would have thought any agency would want their work spread easily – unless burying something is an aim.

I want the same in RSS as I get via email, a paragraph or two per report, and a link to the main report page – but one RSS item per report, and with a useful subject line.

<p>Because setting up an RSS feed is pretty trivial compared to an email subscription service (with all the costs associated with keeping an address list of private citizens private), I’d have thought the agency responsible for reviewing value-for-money issues would jump at the chance for a cheap way of making it’s work well known.

The privacy issue of an email subscription list is non-trivial – especially as subscribers are likely to be a grumpy bunch, wanting the official dirt on government – a list of people of interest to political minders.

It is hard to think of a valid reason why an audit office cannot or should not provide RSS feeds – after all, the audit offices federally and in WA do, or are in the process of doing so.

So… the bleggy bit…

  • Do you think all audit offices should provide RSS feeds?
  • Do you think RSS feeds are trivial to implement?
  • Should a common letter be sent to all audit offices, (excluding the "good guys" in WA and the ANAO)?
  • Should the national Auditors General Club ( get a copy?
  • Should government and opposition spokespersons get a copy of the letter, (and if so, in your state, who are they)?
  • Would you consider being a cosignatory to the email I plan to prepare?
  • Do you want to write individually, to the office in your own state?
  • Do you have an draft fragments you think should be included?

I’ll probably work on a draft, putting it in a follow-up post for further comments.


I used the google site: operator to search for "RSS" at most government audit offices – all but the NT had their own domain.  Here are the results (and follow the links if you want to know how to do such searches – very handy):

Posted in Australia, Governance, Information Management, Politics, Victoria | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Last on-site mention of IPv6 by relevant Minister was … Coonan not Conroy

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-06

With the last IPv4 internet addresses having been allocated, and the only way forward being IPv6, it’s obvious that the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy should be on top of this issue.

Hunt around and you might wonder if he has ever heard of it.

Well, the Minister has his own site:, and Minister Stephen Conroy doesn’t mention it according to his search engine, while going out to google and entering "IPv6" does find ONE mention, by Helen Coonan, way back in 2005 (see images below, taken 2010-02-05).

W…..T…..F…..!!!  I rarely use such words, even those acronyms, but ONE F***ING MATCH for IPv6???  On the site of the Minister who has to get IPv6 in urgently?  And it ISN’T from the Minister since Howard got booted out a parliamentary-term-and-a-bit ago?  W….T….F…..!!!

On, there is one mention of IPv6 - not by Conroy, but Coonan, in 2005 - Google Search

One mention of IPv6 in the site of the relevant Minister

And what if we search inside Conroy’s own webpage?

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Information Management, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Choices Left Conroy

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-06

It's time to kick ass and assign IPv4 addresses - and I'm all out of IPv4 addresses - said by big tough guy

Mind you - some IPv6 would make me calm again

Who is our Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and what has he done to address this by bringing in IPv6?

Isn’t he one of the righties in the ALP who is so against acting on climate issues?

For more background – go to: "Internet runs out of addresses: a model for climate policy inaction" (2011-02-04) and follow the links.

Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Humor, Information Management, International, Politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Internet runs out of addresses – a model for climate policy inaction

Posted by Dave Bath on 2011-02-04

I cannot imagine a better model of the political response to climate change than the way IPv4 internet addresses have just run out.

Domain experts warning for years about a crisis: but politicians doing nothing, powerful businesses charging big bucks for resources running dry… Sound familiar?

The only difference between the political inaction making the shift to IPv6 is that the perfect solution was already in place years ago, pretty soon after the geeks started worrying.

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Posted in Economics and Business, Environment, Information Management, International, Politics, Science and Tech | 7 Comments »

Timing is everything

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-09


Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today launched "The Insider Threat to Business – A Personnel Security Handbook", designed to help businesses understand and protect themselves from the security threat of insider activity.

New ‘insider threat’ to busniess resource launched
– Australian Labor News 2010-12-09

Horse bolt. Gate shut.

Posted in Australia, Information Management, Politics | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

With friends like these

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-09

Could there be a better strategy to taint Wikilieaks than associating Wikileaks with a bunch of crackers hitting MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, making everyone feel their money might be unsafe from Wikileaks supporters?

If I was a perception manager for those scared by the truth about governments (and the upcoming Bank of America megaleak), I’d be organizing or egging-on bunches of nutters like the Anonymous group that claim to support Assange.


See Also:

Posted in Information Management, International, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Metaleaks and metanews

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-12-08

We need leaks about the leaks.

We are used to the story-about-the-story phenomenon about general news items, but there is now a twist to this waiting to happen.

There will necessarily be a difference between what governments say to public and each other about their attitudes and actions regarding Assange.  Leaks about these will be telling and newsworthy – and give a very accurate understanding of how dissembling works, and why such secrecy is actually necessary.

Are the publically stated reasons justifying secrecy and the seriousness of Assange’s actions the same as the real reasons?

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Posted in Australia, Ethics, Governance, Information Management, International, Media | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

ICANN makes it trivial to block pr0n

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-06-27

Finally!  The net can get a proper red-light district, where R-rated stuff can be regulated, and from which innocent eyes can be easily protected.

Many geeks of my vintage have long advocated a top-level domain (TLD) especially for pr0n, with ".xxx" for such stuff, just like we have ".com", ".org" and ".edu".  ICANN (a peak naming authority) has just approved ".xxx" TLD applications, after the process for rejecting xxx applications was shown to be flawed.

With only a bit of co-operation between international governments, it is not difficult to make all legitimate content of a sexual nature live in the ".xxx" domain (or maybe "", "", "", etc), and come down hard on any content coming from more normal "com" TLDs and such like.

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Posted in Civil rights, Information Management, International, Politics, Science and Tech, Society | Leave a Comment »

Conroy – ruling out the impossible

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-04-17

We know Conroy’s insistence on introducing mandatory internet filtering, despite all concerns and technical assessments, cannot be because he believes it can stop obnoxious internet material from reaching Australia.

He explicitly mentions 335 sites as carrying such material, and yet, rather than simply get international law enforcement agencies doing what they are good at, shutting down the sites at their sources and prosecuting the criminals, he carries on.

What possible reasons might Conroy have for his stance.  I can think of two that haven’t been given much play:

  • Conroy does NOT actually want to stop the production and transmission of this noxious material, nor does he want offenders prosecuted.
  • Conroy is taking instructions from Beijing

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Posted in Australia, Civil rights, Information Management, Politics | 6 Comments »

Jewish Lobby a bit player in Israeli power

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-03-29

The recent actions of Israel in using fake official documents of "friendly" countries to commit murder in another state not at war with Israel would have been treated seriously by countries such as the US and Australia were it not for the power Israel has over many countries, not necessarily through the power of well-financed lobby groups, not through a misplaced respect on the part of many Christians for an older Abrahamic religion, but by Israel’s expertise in dark arts that can destroy other nations almost instantly, using powers that terrorists can only wish for.

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Posted in Information Management, International, Middle East, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Real computing power for students – while cutting spending

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-02-09

If KRudd (or state governments) wanted to improve educational use of computers in schools (and kindergartens), and wanted to DECREASE the government spend on IT in schools, all he’d have to do is point schools to the pages where Google offers schools a near-enterprise-level service free of charge: Google Applications for Education and Google Apps for Kindergartens through Secondary.

Then, there’d be no need to fund laptops – just low-end "diskless" (actually a flash disk) netbooks and a means-tested basic internet connection (enough to be ok for google apps, wiki pages, etc, but a bit painful for music/video).

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Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Education, Information Management, Politics | 7 Comments »

The best phone accessory ever?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2010-01-06

The new Google phone (the Nexus One) is certainly causing a stir… and it certainly looks neat, but at the launch (see the photogallery at ars technica), it seems that Google have come up with a stylish and very useful accessory for mobile phones that Apple hasn’t thought of, judging by the following unaltered photograph.


Photograph from the launch of the Google Nexus One phone with what appears to be a tinkerbell by the phone (actually the phone is a giant live model)

Google Nexus One phone and Tinkerbell Accessory

Posted in Humor, Information Management | Leave a Comment »

A Climate-Model Wizard for the rest of us…

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-16

PLoS One has a newly published paper: (2009-12-15) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008320 "Applied Climate-Change Analysis: The Climate Wizard Tool" that delves into Climate Wizard, a free web-based tool that lets you choose the region, the models and datasets, whether you are interested in rainfall or temperature, averaged over the year, the season or a particular month, and get an easy-to-understand graphic out of it.

Here is a wide shot of the whole of Australia, using a CSIRO model, one particular emissions scenario, and looking at winter rains during the 2050s, showing the controls you have to generate your graphic:

Sample of ClimateWiz looking at winter rain in 2050s Australia

2050 Winter Rain IPCC A2 Scenario CSIRO Model Whole of AUS

Zooming in on one region and turning up the transparency so you can see towns gives you something like the following:

ClimateWiz 2050s Winter Rain, West Vic, A2 Emissions, CSIRO Model

ClimateWiz 2050s Winter Rain, West Vic, A2 Emissions, CSIRO Model

Damn… the dairy sector between Colac and Warrnambool, the milk I love from the places I love, is screwed BIG time under the A2 scenario and CSIRO modelling unless we quickly develop genetically-engineered cows that produce powdered milk.

Yes, it’s uses a lot of the same stuff as the IPCC, but accomodates newer data.  It’s so simple that even 10-year olds and politicians could use it.

Citation: Girvetz EH, Zganjar C, Raber GT, Maurer EP, Kareiva P, et al. (2009) Applied Climate-Change Analysis: The Climate Wizard Tool. PLoS ONE 4(12): e8320. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008320

From the abstract….

Although the message of “global climate change” is catalyzing international action, it is local and regional changes that directly affect people and ecosystems and are of immediate concern to scientists, managers, and policy makers. A major barrier preventing informed climate-change adaptation planning is the difficulty accessing, analyzing, and interpreting climate-change information. To address this problem, we developed a powerful, yet easy to use, web-based tool called Climate Wizard ( that provides non-climate specialists with simple analyses and innovative graphical depictions for conveying how climate has and is projected to change within specific geographic areas throughout the world.

The results of these analyses are consistent with those reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but at the same time, they provide examples of how Climate Wizard can be used to explore regionally- and temporally-specific analyses of climate change. Moreover, Climate Wizard is not a static product, but rather a data analysis framework designed to be used for climate change impact and adaption planning, which can be expanded to include other information, such as downscaled future projections of hydrology, soil moisture, wildfire, vegetation, marine conditions, disease, and agricultural productivity.

Posted in Australia, Economics and Business, Environment, Information Management, Politics, Science and Tech, Victoria | Leave a Comment »

Low bar for overblocking in the net censorship test

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-12-15

Rather than go on about the offensiveness and cost-ineffectiveness of the KRudd/Conroy net censorship effort, and discussion of better approaches, I thought I’d look at one particular aspect – the design and results of the overblocking test.

Bottom line: Low bar, and even then, the results weren’t great.  Lots of evil stuff still got through, and too much innocent stuff got blocked.

Overblocking, the prevention of access to legitimate content, can be a problem with blocking based on the URL (the requested address), and is always a problem with content-based filtering – even when automagically deciding to block based only on text content rather than trying to analyze images, sound or video.

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Posted in Australia, Civil rights, Governance, Information Management, Media, Politics, Science and Tech, Society | Leave a Comment »

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