Australian software awards 2004

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Was on a judging panel for the Australian Consensus Software Awards yesterday. It is fascinating how much really good software is out there, innovative and clever stuff. The winners are not announced for a few weeks – but info will be on the Consensus site fairly soon.

It is also interesting the variety of business models people in IT are using. The smaller companies (really micro businesses) often have a great idea & excellent development work but sometimes there is little idea about of how to bring the idea to market effectively.

I think there is a real market niche for a shared marketing resource across a number of these micro businesses. They clearly need help and probably don’t know how to get it, on the other hand, they may not even realise they need that kind of help.

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Good post on women in security

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There is an interesting commentary on women in security on www.oneeyedcrow.net

“Okay, rant time. In quick succession, the subject of women in the security field has come up several times this week. Many of the male security geeks I know have no idea why there aren’t more women in the field. Well, in a nutshell, this post and others like it are why. Pathetic script kiddie bullshit like this drives women out of the field.”

Sometimes the boys just don’t get it!

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Good quote about self esteem and talent

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Found a great quote about self esteem yesterday:

“Where talent is a dwarf, self-esteem is a giant.” (J. Petit-Senn, Conceits and Caprices)

This seems to encapsulate my feelings about the current obsession with building up self esteem even in the face of indubitable evidence as the individual’s incompetence in a particular area. We are so busy building up self esteem at the expense of true self knowledge.

There is no point having good self esteem if (a) it has no basis in fact, and (b) you know in your heart it is not true.

Is it not better to teach people to understand and value what they are good at and to build on and improve the other stuff?

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Women in technology – is it really as bad as they say?

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There are a number of womens’ groups that I participate in, several of these are related to women in technology. The feeling seems to be that hardly any women are in positions of influence and that there is something wrong with this.

There was a recent article by Bob Weinstein (Monster.com “IT Glass Ceiling: Permanent Barrier or Temporary Obstacle for Women”). There has been some discussion online about this article, saying things like “Wonderful. An article by a man suggesting that if women just acted more like men, they could get ahead just fine. Men have been in charge long enough, and look where it’s gotten us: shaky economy, environmental collapse, a culture of fear.

I can’t help but think that if women were encouraged to approach everything as women being women and not masquerading as men, things might be different. ” (kittiarra).

This got me thinking – should this lead us to rehash the old women are better than men farago, the idea that men have stuffed up the world & if only they’d let women run things everything would be beautiful?
Or is it an insight into the power structures of our organisations? That is, the power structures remain predicated on people devoting their lives to the company, usually (if they are men) supported by a full time carer (stay-at-home wife).
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Bushfire blog – 10 Dec 2002

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This is one of my old blog posts from the 2002 bushfires.

Yippee!!!! It’s raining & it has been doing this since last night. The heavy rain has put out the last of the fires near us. The house still smells strongly of smoke, but the sound of the rain is a great comfort.

It’s funny a friend at work told me today how his son was bushwalking down south in the Snowy Mountains at the same time we experienced the fires – they had snow (even tho’ it is the middle of summer here). Australia has really strange weather some times.

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Bushfire blog – 9 Dec 2002

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This is one of my old blog posts from the 2002 bushfires.

We went for a drive north of the town at lunch time today – everything is burnt out & there are still small fires burning by the roadside.

The main fires seem to be several valleys to the north west of us now, and with southerly winds we should be out of trouble from them. There is still a lot of sirens & helicopters around, but the fires are under containment. South of us the fires are still smouldering but nothing too serious.

The house & contents now completely reek of smoke, luckily we can now open the windows to clear it (& there is no more smoke outside). This morning the smoke was so thick that even with all the doors & windows shut there was a smoke haze inside the house. Thankfully, this is clear now.

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Bushfire blog – 9 Dec 2002

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This is one of my old blog posts from the 2002 bushfires.

Good news! The road north & south of town is now open, but there are still smallish fires burning beside the road in both directions.

There are repair crews everywhere along the highway, fixing power cables & phone lines. The heavy smoke from last night & this morning has dissipated and the major fires are burning several valleys to the north west.

All looks good for the town from now on.

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Bushfire blog – 9 Dec 2002

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This is one of my old blog posts from the 2002 bushfires.

Managed to get out of town to the south for church last night, but was afraid I might not be able to get back. As I left the fires were burning to the south of town & along the west side of the highway, right next to the road (quite scary stuff). There were 5 fire trucks there fighting the fires.

When I returned they were still there & the fire was burning with black smoke, I just managed to get through before they closed the road again. So I am not off to work today. At about midnight last night heavy smoke & some ash came over the town, I went out to see if I could find out where it was coming from but it was too thick. The smoke was so heavy you could only see half a car length in front of your face.

This morning it is not so heavy but still quite thick. The road to the north remains closed as does the railway (although there is a 24 hr gang working to open the rail link). Most people in town seem to have stayed home, the community feeling remains strong. We are conscious that the fires still burn not too far away & we cannot remain complacent.

The fire fighters have done an excellent job, people have written thank-you signs to them on sheets & hung them outside their houses.

Yesterday I found out that some people just to the north of town lost their houses, they were right in the bush & did not have any water. Everyone in town really needs a swimming pool for bushfire season as we lost water pressure when the fires were at their worst. We plan to install a pool as soon as we can.

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Bushfire blog – 8 Dec 2002

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This is one of my old blog posts from the 2002 bushfires.

Fires are still burning to the east, north west, south west & west of us – but no immediate threat to us. The air tankers have been water bombing the fires to the east of us all day.

The road to the north is still closed as far as Hawksbury River, and south is open for residents. Many sirens sounding all day & lots of helicopter activity in the air overhead, & one just landed in the oval across from our house to meet some National Parks Fire Brigade personnel – no one is sure why.

The smoke from the fires is very thick & black, which we are told means it is burning very hot. At the moment the wind remains favourable to us, God willing it will stay that way, but we cannot be complacent.

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Bushfire blog – 8 Dec 2002

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This is one of my old blog posts from the 2002 bushfires.

I knew it was a bad sign on Thursday when I went to the Rural Fire Brigade shed in the village & there were five NSW Fire Brigade trucks & their crews just hanging around waiting.

And by Thursday night the fire from the south turned north east & surrounded the village to the south, it went behind houses in the main street, across behind the railway station & cutting across the Pacific Hwy & F3 towards Brooklyn.

This cut off road access for us from the South. Then the fire from the west was heading east towards us on Friday, but the winds changed to southerlies & blew it north of the village at the bottom of the gully to our west along the ridge. The wind then changed to a south easterly & it then went across the gully behind the football field near our house, this also cut the roads to our north completely.

If the winds had not remained SE we would have been in serious trouble. As it was we were very lucky, the fire came up to the back doors of some houses nearby. We were without power for a few days also.

It was amazing how the community pulled together, and the Fire Services were great. I don’t think anyone in town has had a proper sleep for a few days, the smoke hurts your lungs & sinuses quite a bit. Next time I think I will get goggles & breathing mask.

Anyway we have power now & the fires have largely moved north to Brooklyn. Although the Berowra fires are still a concern if they head north to us, they would come across an area already burnt. Although, the Firies say that because everything is so dry they are finding that burnt areas are burning again.

Basically the fires came at us from the south & west, then wrapped around the village on all sides. Luckily for us the winds were very favourable. Not sure how things will go over the next 48 hours – if the weather remains benign we should be OK. But if the weather deteriorates it is in the hands of God.

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