September 10, 2019

Why I didn't GovHack this year.

GovHack happened September 6th to 8th 2019. The Northern Territory was represented by events in Darwin and Alice Springs.

I wasn't there.

I participated in the inaugural 2017 GovHack in the Territory, ensuring that Central Australia had a presence in this National event. I wrote about my experience here. In the next iteration I took the position of assistant director for the regional event, securing Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) as an Event Partner. I attended the red carpet awards evening in Sydney and had a great time meeting other competitors, volunteers and sponsors. This year I assisted in hosting the Information Evening and created a mini-series of promo videos discussions on Twitter. See the "What is GovHack" moment. The official 'What is GovHack' video is linked on this About page.

I didn't hack.

I'm never short of ideas and GovHack 2019 was subtitled 'Festival of Ideas'.In the last #GovHackNT interview (see the moment linked above) Shannon Loughton (Director for the NT) said 'this is definitely the best thing to do, in the Territory, on this weekend'. However, for me, that was not the case. Alice Springs is spoilt for choice and maybe overrun with festivals at this time of year. Desert Mob (Indigenous Art), Desert Song (music and singing), Bush Bands (more music) and King of the Mountain (fitness) were four of the events that I knew were running on the same weekend.

There is no flexibility in dates with GovHack as it is an international competition and people are vying for prize money. Prize money was not a motivator for me. It is a team sport and my tentative team members fell away with other commitments and priorities. It is a full weekend commitment and an ideal team has a variety of skills to complete a project and a pitch video. The data available for the challenges is perpetual. The NT Government released the Open Data Portal which is documenting a growing feast of data. I can use that at any time.

The main reason that I didn't participate in the hack-a-thon, is that the ideas I have for a project might take longer than a weekend and not be relevant to a sponsored challenge. Like any hack-a-thon, it is short in time and there is no space to learn new skills. For the project I have in mind, there is a few new skills that I need to acquire, test and review.

I support the ethos of the hack-a-thon to be legal, inclusive, free and open. I'll be supporting those that participated by working with the NT Directory for the Territory awards ceremony with a presence in Alice Springs. I support this free and open format for those that want to give it a go in 2020 and create a project to improve your community!

Projects: (Up for judging)

July 23, 2019

Angry bird


I'm an angry bird

Angry at Google

Google Plus was knocked into the tech bin

All the comments on my blog posts were binned

All the interactions, lost.

Every day

I have a few moments


Why have I spent my whole career staring at a glass screen?

For what?

Where is the profit?

Where is the life?

What have I got to show for that?

Then I find myself

Lifting the net curtains

Blowing away the grime



Responding to others


Learning from others



Is there life beyond the dust soiling our net curtains? Simon asked

Photo by Vivek Doshi on Unsplash

How silent is silent?

From: Manifesto by David Gasca

The Silent Meeting format recently came across my Teams feed (silently). I picked it up and ran with it for an online meeting last week. Here is a Three Bears* Reflection.

Baby Bear: There were five of us in the online meeting. We have worked together for at least 12 months with two members working together on projects for a bit longer. I allocated myself as the facilitator (with agreement) and started with the objectives of the meeting and what was not up for discussion. Each person then had a minute to express ideas or their contribution so far.

Father Bear: The Table Read for this meeting was an academic paper that we are trying to collaboratively write. We had a draft to read and comment on. This was in Teams Wiki which has an easy commenting feature that shows who said what and allowed threaded replies.

As a facilitator, I needed to reign people in from the talk-fest model of previous meetings. The bulk of the meeting 30 - 35 minutes was taken up with the table read. We transferred our attention from video images and talking to reading and commenting. Comments flowed thick and fast like good porridge and maple syrup.

Mother Bear: There was only about 10 minutes left for the last section of the meeting and this was not long enough. As the facilitator I found it difficult to synthesize the amount of comments in a short time. Even the first section in the wiki needed longer than 10 minutes. However this provided fodder for continuing to write the document asynchronously over the following days.

Online meetings always have the challenge of setup, testing sound and coping with locations or when the mic stops working. Overall, I would say that this format of meeting was very successful and matched our requirements. The silent read and online commenting allowed each person to express their ideas or correct assumptions by others. This meeting definitely progressed the paper writing in a collaborative way even though the end discussion was not long enough. A follow-up meeting will be held this week (non-silent mode) to discuss.

* No chairs were broken in writing this blog, no porridge spilt and no bears were left hungry.

Post Script: Goldilocks is running a marathon through the forests of the world.


July 4, 2019

Small perambulations

In #CLMOOC we are looking at the small things. It is called the Feldgang Variations with the subtitle 'exploring the world'. I have created two collages so far.

1. Getting to Work
2. Bamboo and Bark

In the grand style of perambulation, rambling and taking a break, I slow my breathing, open my eyes, take my lens and capture the things that I see everyday but mostly step over. This is a solo adventure.

I was inspired by Simon Ensor's painting and drawing and responded to his Tweet:
I’m hoping to see the abstract in the real in . Thanks for the inspiration of drawing as a way to spend time and observe the small.
Capturing the image with a lens is far quicker than drawing but the composition of the final piece takes time. I'm aiming to compose them with an avant garde lens, making the ordinary become new by the fact of the way it is presented.


May 8, 2019

Anchor Points

Anchor Points

In the anchor points of life
we hold
In the memories we have
tales are told
In the experiences we never ask for
is gold
In the crashes we nearly had
but didn't fold
In the buzz of creation
we are sold
In the notes we didn't play
silence is bowled
At those moments of flow
we enfold
Keep the anchor points of life.

by Wendy Taleo

A response from The Art of Is
Kevin Hodgson story of improvisation.