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Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 225: Baking, baking and more baking, with a spot of scootering thrown in

Fri, 2014-09-12 08:25

I've decided I really despise bake sales as a fund raising exercise. I actually totally hate fund raising that requires excessive parental input, and for me a bake sale is way over that threshold.

A bake sale to me is a double whammy. You donate your time to do the baking, and you donate your money on the ingredients. It would be more time efficient if I just donated a bunch of cash and skipped all the baking.

With that rant off my chest, I spent most of yesterday baking. I baked my late grandmother's traditional date roll, in some of her heirloom date roll tins (they're just old school tin cans that are taller than your contemporary tin cans). I baked some red velvet cheesecake brownie, and this time I made sure it set properly in the middle. I've made a massive batch of Quirky Cooking's gluten free bread dough, which I'll bake today, and I'm also going to bake some of Flo's pumpkin scones. I've deliberately tried to make some more uncommon stuff in the hope that it sells.

Zoe handled the inside day pretty well. She did a good job of entertaining herself for most of the morning. She helped me with the baking for a bit, but at the moment, the novelty value is washing up. She loves putting on my rubber gloves, and actually doesn't do too bad a job, considering the handicap of massive over sized gloves. I did need to mop the floor afterwards though.

I let her watch some bonus daytime TV after lunch, and by about 3 o'clock I was ready to get out of the house, so I suggested she scooter with me to the health food shop to get some ingredients for the bread. She wanted me to rollerblade with her, so I put on my rollerblades as well and that was a great way to kill the better part of an hour. It was a good bit of fresh air, sunshine and some exercise.

She watched a bit more TV after that while I worked on the bread, and then Sarah arrived to pick her up.

WordCamp 2011: More Mini Sponsors

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

Some more mini sponsors, Flight Centre, The Events Centre, Dejan SEO & 123SEO

As you probably already know, WordPress is the leading content management system in use on the web today. Dejan SEO consistently uses WordPress when managing clients’ web pages, finding it’s user friendly attributes an advantage when collaborating with clients. Dejan SEO, always keeping on top of the latest in WordPress, also utilises a broad range of Word Press plugins, even creating several WordPress plugins of their own, with more to come in the future. Dejan Petrovic, founder of Dejan SEO will be making a presentation for the Gold Coast weekend.

123 SEO is a sister brand of Dejan SEO, focusing on providing SEO services to smaller businesses. Realising a neglect of specialised services for small businesses in Australia at a time when such businesses should be focusing on internet marketing more than ever, 123 SEO was created to fill the gap, helping to help small businesses fulfil their potential.

Dejan SEO and 123 SEO are happy to sponsor the WordCamp Gold Coast weekend, being thoroughly impressed with the speakers and topics alike.

Flight Centre Australia’s website is and continues to be one of the strongest online booking agents for flights and holidays in the Australian market. Having a massive online presence, it is usually a web surfers’ first port of call when seeking out the latest flight deals and packages.

Flight Centre is proud to be involved with WordCamp, noting its significant influence on the Word Press community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WordCamp 2011: Thanks to our Mini Sponsors

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

A special thank you to our mini sponsors. We want to thank them for coming on board to help make WordCamp possible:

EscapeTravel.com.au is a provider of package holidays, cruise holidays and more. Having a strong online presence, their website delivers an experience that is pleasant for people seeking the cruises and flights on the web.

GetPrice.com.au is a free online service that serves to compare prices of products across Australia. Done in an independent fashion, without corporate influence of product placement, the site helps consumers determine the correct product for them and the cheapest way to obtain it.

CompareCourses.com.au was set up to give prospective students a chance to learn about courses they may want to do in the future in a way that let’s them peruse the many options available. Giving web searches a comparison between different TAFE institutes, Universities and online modes of delivering study, people wanting to start study are well informed of their choices before making a decision.

YourLocalMovers.com.au is a removalist service that has taken the initiative to handpick their staff members and hire them full-time, rather than using sub contractors. This unique quality makes them a rarity in the industry, actually offering staff reliable in house jobs and, making the business solid and passing on the reliability to customers.

Dejan SEO has enlisted the help of the above sites, who are long term business partners of Dejan SEO, as sponsors of the Word Camp Gold Coast event.

TheEventsCentre.com.au  was built and officially opened in 1980 by the former Landsborough Shire Council. In December 1999 Caloundra City Council set up a task-force to investigate the concept of the Caloundra Cultural Centre being transformed into a not for profit, separate legal entity, for the purpose of managing the Centre on Council’s behalf.

WordCamp 2011: Sponsor: BigCommerce

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

We are very excited to announce another sponsor, BigCommerce, who has graciously helped us make WordCamp Gold Coast even better.

BigCommercer is an e-commerce platform that lets you setup your own online store. It also has over 25 built-in marketing tools to attract traffic and drive orders, such as the ability to sell on Facebook, list your products on eBay, rank in the search engines, push your products to Google Products and much, much more

BigCommerce makes it easy to setup your own professional online store – no coding or design experience required. Using our built-in marketing tools, you can also drive lots of traffic to your new online store from places like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, eBay, Shopzilla, iPhones, iPads and more.

BigCommerce have been in business since 2009 and have two offices – one in Austin, Texas and one in Sydney, Australia. They serve over 20,000 clients in over 65 countries and they are passionate about e-commerce and what it means to business owners.

Make sure you check out the BigCommerce website. If you have a blog with WordPress then why not compliment it with your own online store, powered by BigCommerce?

BigCommerce is currently hiring talented software engineers in their Surry Hills office in Sydney. Go to http://www.bigcomerce.com/careers.php if you’re interested!

WordCamp 2011: WordCamp: What you need to know on the day

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

With WordCamp this weekend, here’s some handy tips you’ll need to know:

Schedule
  • Registration is @ 8:30am and the event will commence @ 9am sharp!
  • The speakers schedule and happiness bar schedule show the times that speakers and happiness volunteers are available over the course of the weekend
Getting there

Coming from South:

Coming from North:

  • Take the Robina Parkway exit (The 2nd Robina Town Centre exit)
  • Turn Right at the 2nd Roundabout
  • Follow the Bond University signs,
  • Map: http://g.co/maps/ssb9d

Coming from the Coastal areas (Via Gold Coast Hwy): http://g.co/maps/5ckfq

Once you’ve reached Bond University
  1. You’ll enter via 2 large roundabouts drive straight through the first
  2. Turn right at the 2nd (This is the Bus Drop off zone as well)
  3. Coming up on the right after 100m is a (well hidden to some) turn off
  4. It’s requested that you park in the 2nd parking lot here (PG3) as this is the closest to the venue, and is reserved for Events usage. (If it’s full, please just park in the vicinity, being a weekend there should be plenty of parking)

PLEASE NOTE: The Google Maps satellite imagery is out of date, There’s no signs of construction work to give you a reference point!

Parking

Please park in PG3 (or vicinity) parking lot.

Train / Bus

For those of you catching Public Transport (good on you!) there’s 2 bus routes which service Bond University, 748 (Robina) & 750 (Broadbeach/Main Beach), be sure that you’re looking at the weekend schedules. It’s suggested that you aim to arrive at Bond University at 8.30 if you’re arriving by bus, as the next bus arrives at 9.10, which is when the days schedule is starting!

Once you’ve arrived at Bond university, you’re only be a short walk away from the venue. To the right of the main entrance there’s a smaller shaded path heading into the uni along one side (not along the road!) which will take you to the venue (which is inside the second set of buildings you arrive at, just follow the signs to the “Cerum Theatre”. If you’re not sure of where you are, have a look for a directions sign, there are plenty, and most people you come across will be able to give you directions if need be!

If you’re staying at a hotel which has organised a bus for transport, please check with the hotel as to the departure times of your bus.

Taxi

Gold Coast Cabs: http://www.gccabs.com.au/ 131 008

Bond University is a well known location in the area, Your Cab driver should have no problems with finding the venue, Once you’re at the venue, Just follow the on-foot directions above for public transport.

Map of the venue

http://www.bond.edu.au/about-bond/campus-map/index.htm

Wifi

There’s Wifi available on the day, but it never hurts to supply your own, so please bring your own 3G wireless adapter if you have one!

We’ve arranged for there to be wireless available on the day (What would a Blogging conference be without internet access?), however, we’d ask that if you have access to a 3G connection, that you please bring it along to lighten the load on the wireless. We’ll have limited bandwidth unfortunately due to the number of you coming so every user counts! The Wireless Network and Pass-phrase will be available when you arrive (Ask at registration if you’re not sure!)

Didn’t get your ticket in time?

Don’t worry, Walk-in Tickets ARE available at the door, $50/day, Just show up (But be early and bring the correct change please!)

Early Bird Shirts

For those of you who have ordered a shirt, They’ll be available for pickup in the morning during registration. If you haven’t pre-ordered one, we have very limited number of extras available on a first-come first-serve basis, however, those who have pre-ordered will get priority.

If you’re not at registration in time, flag down one of the Organisers during morning tea and we’ll fix you up.

Food

We’ve arranged for morning tea and lunch to be provided on the Saturday and lunch and afternoon tea on the Sunday (Check the schedule for the options)

Morning Coffees

If you’d like your morning coffee, this will be available for purchase in the registration foyer on both mornings. If you’ve got special dietary requirements (and have noted on your ticket) we’ll be accommodating you. Check with one of the organisers on the day if you’re unsure of the deal.

After Party!

We’re all heading to Hotel CBD immediately after WordCamp on Saturday for a few beverages and some networking. Sunday speakers be careful how many beers you have because we need you in great form on Sunday…Saturday speakers, please drink away and be merry and all attendees can drink away to their hearts content!

Map: http://g.co/maps/6uhwk

WordCamp 2011: Sponsor: GetShopped.org

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

We’re less than a week away from WordCamp Gold Coast 2011 and we have yet another fabulous sponsor to announce! Please welcome aboard GetShopped.org, who make the wonderful WP e-Commerce  plugin!

WP e-Commerce was the first WordPress e-Commerce Plugin to embrace Custom Post Types, making it the perfect choice for WordPress developers and theme creators alike!

WP e-Commerce is just like WordPress. From a user perspective, adding and managing your product catalogue couldn’t be easier. Use WordPress? Use the WP e-Commerce Plugin. The GetShopped crew takes every possible precaution to make sure WP e-Commerce is as secure as it can be.

WP e-Commerce is a free WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin that lets customers buy your products, services and digital downloads online. We make setting up a shop easy, and with over 1.3 Million downloads, we have unparalleled experience.

WP e-Commerce has the best Payment Gateway API out of all e-Commerce Plugins.

You can follow GetShopped on Twitter. You should also follow WordCamp Gold Coast on Twitter.

If you want to join the awesome line-up of WordCamp Gold Coast sponsors, apply now!

WordCamp 2011: Speaker: Andy Henderson – SEO For WordPress Workshop

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

Andy Henderson

Andy Henderson has been involved with the web since the mid 1990s (yes, they even had search engines way back then), has run his own Web Consulting agency for the last 10 years, (specialising in Search Engine Optimisation for 8 years) and has been using WordPress for the last 6 years – so is very well qualified to present Sunday’s SEO for WordPress Workshop.

More recently Andy has co-founded a training organisation called In a Day – which focuses on Hands on Training Workshops – (with a BIG emphasis on Hands On), where students don’t just learn how to do stuff.. they actually do it – and at the end of the day have actually achieved something.

Their flagship workshop – Website In a Day – (which is ONLY possible because of WordPress), guides students through the process of Domain registration, Hosting setup, WordPress installation, Theme selection and customisation, and Content creation – so at the end of the day, they have a fully functioning website , that they have created themselves. Graduates also have the skills and experience to be able to continue improving and maintaining the sites themselves.

In a Day also offer WordPress Training/ Consulting, SEO, Marketing, and other courses aimed at dragging guiding small businesses into the world of the web.

The SEO for WordPress Workshop will include sections on SEO Friendly themes, and “must have” SEO Plugins (and how to configure them properly), but also includes tips, tricks and tactics for using standard WordPress functionality to maximise your online exposure.

The workshop topics include:

  •          SEO Fundamentals
  •          WordPress Out of the Box
  •          Basic Configuration
  •          SEO Friendly Themes
  •          SEO Plugins (of course)
  •          SEO Content Strategies

WordCamp 2011: Speaker: Dan Petrovic – Google, Angry Panda & WordPress

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

Dan Petrovic

Before you begin reading this in detail, take a moment and follow these steps:

  1. Open a new tab in your browser
  2. Go to Google
  3. Type in ‘SEO’
  4. Scroll down just a fraction and notice where DejanSEO is placed for ‘SEO

Based on that quick task you have verified results that Dan Petrovic is one of Australia’s most creative and leading SEO specialists. Dan is completely obsessed with search engine optimisation and all things that relate to Google’s wonderful algorithm, so much so that it only takes a trip to his office at Brisbane Technology Park to see the equations scribbled in whiteboard marker on the office walls! This is either the work of a genius…or a crazed madmen! I’d definitely say it’s a mix of 95% of the former and 5% of the latter.

Dans’ team at DEJAN SEO has consultants in Australia and Europe who all collaborate to deliver results for all kinds of businesses, from all over the world. Dan prefers an open and transparent approach to his work, choosing to involve clients at every step of their SEO campaign, which is why he is a known and trusted entity when it comes to SEO.

We asked Dan a few questions in the lead up to his talk which he has kindly answered below:

You’ve been working with SEO ever since your university days, what was it that caught your interest about search engines and their ranking algorithms?

I was going to be a scientist you know, but my creative drive lead me to study multimedia instead. I soon realised that SEO satisfies both the scientist and artist in me. It was an obvious choice when I think about it.

Ranking so incredibly highly for the term ‘SEO’ is an amazing achievement in itself, however I would imagine that remaining in that position would be an ongoing task. How much planning and monitoring takes place in your office to maintain your ranking?

Our strategy has always been to stay focused, work hard and share all the awesome things that we discover. My team and I spend a fraction of our time each day to write something of value. This is not only good for karma, but it also generates free links.

The HTML5 standard now allows multiple heading tags <H1> tags because of the new HTML5 <article> tags. Have you conducted any experiments with this to see if Google ranks HTML5 markup in a different way because of these new tags?

No. There are much more exciting experiments in our queue at the moment. Contrary to belief of many webmasters H tags are not as potent as they are believed to be. Although they do help a fraction, I recommend that you do not obsess over it and maintain a good semantic structure of your headings to benefit both search engines and users. Here’s a good example:

-H1: Vehicles

–H2: Cars

—H3: Sedans

—H3: SUVs

–H2: Motorbikes

—H3: Dirtbikes

—H3: Roadbikes

—-H4: Harley Davidson

—H3: Sportsbikes

—-H4: Suzuki

—–H5: SFV650

——H6: SFV650 Engine Specifications

What has been your favourite SEO campaign for a client and why?

How do you pick a favorite child? But if I had to highlight one cool company we worked with it would have to be Atlassian. I think those guys have a healthy corporate culture and support their products well. It’s good to work for a brand that others love.

You can follow Dan on Twitter. You should also follow WordCamp Gold Coast on Twitter.

WordCamp 2011: Speaker: John Ford – How Automattic Works Across 20 Countries With 95 Employees

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

John Ford

We’re very lucky to have another international speaker on our fabulous lineup for WordCamp Gold Coast 2011! John Ford can’t get enough of Australia so he’s back again from North Carolina, USA (via Budapest). John works for Automattic on VaultPress which is an invaluable WordPress plugin that provides real-time backups and security scanning of your WordPress site.

Automattic are a distributed company with employees all around the world. Running a distributed company is a rather unusual concept for anyone who isn’t running a business that revolves around technology and the internet. Automattic explain the way they work briefly on their website:

Everyone works from their own home or office, and we’re spread out all over the world — California, Texas, New York, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Bulgaria, Australia, and more. We track about 70% of our projects on P2-themed WordPress.com blogs, 25% on private IRC channels, and the rest on Skype or AIM. Because of the geographic variance, we’re active pretty much 24/7. You’ll set your own hours — what’s important is what gets done, not when or where it got done.

John will be giving us an insiders look into ‘How Things Work At Automattic’ and he’s summed up his talk as follows:

There are a number of benefits and challenges in a distributed work environment. At Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, nearly 100 employees interact on a daily basis while living all around the world. The heart of the operation is fueled by constant communication and open source tools that help build awesome products. We’ll look at how the Automatticians work on a day-to-day basis, the tools they use, and ways to collaborate on projects when you’re not in the same location as your colleagues.

I know this is a session that I can’t wait to participate in as I’m a director in a WordPress based web design firm and I’ve always wondered how challenging it would be to manage a team of developers in remote locations.

You can follow John on Twitter. You should also follow WordCamp Gold Coast on Twitter.

WordCamp 2011: Speaker: Timothy Ferguson, Running an Online Bookclub with WordPress

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

Timothy Ferguson

The wonderful thing about WordPress is that there are an infinite number of ways that the software can be used on the internet. WordCamp Gold Coast 2011 already has a number of amazing uses of the software ranging from: capturing memories right through to running a business based around WordPress!

One usage of WordPress that I’d never considered before is using WordPress to manage and online bookclub! Timothy Ferguson is one of the maintainers of the Gold Coast Library WordPress site gcbooks.wordpress.com. The Gold Coast Library setup their online book club as their staff training platform for Web 2.0 and are using WordPress as part of their new Online Branch strategy in 2012! Timothy and his team have also trained people on how to set up blogs and post on a regular basis.

Timothy has been an IT trainer with various library systems for fifteen years. In his session he’ll share experiences about building communities of readers online. Timothy even uses WordPress for his own freelance writing, (19 non-vanity published books so far) at timothyferguson.wordpress.com.

WordCamp 2011: Some more last minute Mini Sponsors

Fri, 2014-09-12 03:26

Thanks to Vroom Vroom Vroom, Student Flights and Dejan SEO for coming on Board with Mini Sponsorship Tickets:

VroomVroomVroom.com.au is an innovative website idea, comparing the prices of car rentals for web users. This save customers valuable time, replacing numerous phone calls with a few simple clicks on the internet. VroomVroomVroom is the leading web site offering this kind of service in Australia and continues to progress in making the car rental process more transparent, nationwide.

StudentFlights.com.au is a website geared towards budget travellers. With customers such as students, backpackers and under 25 year olds; the site remains relevant to a younger, more internet savvy and price conscious customers.

Dejan SEO is pleased to be able to give back to WordCamp by securing these three internet businesses to as mini sponsors.

Freenet Antennas came to our rescue to help out with getting Wireless access for the weekend, without them, we’d have had more Wireless problems over the weekend than we had!

linux.conf.au News: Announcing The Sysadmin Miniconf for Linux.conf.au 2015

Thu, 2014-09-11 12:27

The linux.conf.au 2015 organisers are pleased to announce the Systems Administration Miniconf will be part of the programme at LCA in Auckland, New Zealand during January 2015. lca2015 will be the miniconf’s 9th year and it has previously been one of the most popular miniconfs at LCA. Previous years' programmes with slides and video are available on the miniconf’s website sysadmin.miniconf.org.

The Systems Administration Miniconf focuses on professional management of real-world Linux and open source environments, both large and small. The miniconf aims to include a diverse range of tools and techniques that will help keep your entire environment functioning smoothly, and accomplish more with less effort. An important goal will be to provide talks directly useful to professional Linux administrators.

Ewen McNeill is the 2015 Sysadmin Miniconf organiser. Both Ewen McNeill and Simon Lyall have worked together to organise the eight previous miniconfs, and alternated running the miniconf. Both have attended linux.conf.au each year since 2004.

Ewen works as a consulting sysadmin, network admin and developer -- and increasingly finds these are all merging into different specialities of programming, with the increase in configuration management automation and Software Defined Networks. He has been involved directly and indirectly with production operations since the early 1990s, mostly in Internet-related networks and organisations.

A call for presentations at the Sysadmin Miniconf will be issued later in September 2014. Anyone interested in presenting is encouraged to visit the Sysadmin Miniconf website later this month for more details.







Simon Lyall: NZ banning photography from polling places

Thu, 2014-09-11 10:28

I just saw on reddit that the New Zealand electoral commission is banning photography from polling places under the grounds that they impeded other voters at the polling and could influence other voters who see the photos. Specifically they say:

Photography in a voting place and sharing photographs on social media

While the Electoral Commission encourages people to take and share photos of themselves with their ‘I’ve voted’ sticker once they’re outside the voting place and unlikely to interrupt or inconvenience other voters, the Commission will be putting up ‘No taking photos’ signs inside all voting places and advance voting places.

The increased interest in voters taking ‘selfies’ inside voting places raises concerns about congestion and disturbance in voting places and can breach other rules in the Electoral Act regarding campaigning on election day and protecting the secrecy of voting.

Voting Place Managers have to ensure that voting proceeds smoothly, that voters are not impeded, and that order is maintained in voting places.  Voting places are for the purpose of voting and people should not remain in the voting place for other purposes.  The increased interest in voters taking ‘selfies’ inside voting places has the potential to create congestion and disturbance and for this reason Managers will be putting up ‘no photography signs’.

Publishing anything on election day that could potentially influence another voter is strictly prohibited, and photos taken earlier in the voting period that are shared, re-shared or reposted on election day could fall foul of the Electoral Act.

If a person posts an image of their completed ballot paper on social media on election day or in the three days prior to election day this is likely to be an offence under section 197 of the Act, which carries a potential penalty of a fine not exceeding $20,000. Section 197 of the Act prohibits a range of activities including:

  • the publication of any statement on election day that is likely to influence voters (section 197(1)(g); and
  • the distribution of an imitation ballot paper on election day or the 3 days before election day indicating the candidate/party for whom any person should vote or having thereon any other matter likely to influence a voter.

It also potentially exposes the voter’s friends to the risk of breaching the rules if they share, re-share or repost the voter’s ‘selfie’ on election day.

As there are risks of congestion and disturbance to other voters and risks with publishing or distributing material that includes a ballot paper, particularly in a medium where material will continue to be published– the Commission will not allow voters to take photos inside voting places.  We will be placing ‘no photos’ signs up in voting places.  Returning Officers will still be able to give permission to candidates for filming in voting places.  Permission for candidates will only be given on the condition that there is no filming behind voting screens, no filming of completed or uncompleted voting papers, and no activities that disrupt voting in the voting place.

I found the reasons they give a little dubious and a complete ban overkill so I’ve written the following to them:

Hello,

I am concerned about the recently published social media policy:

http://www.elections.org.nz/parties-candidates/all-participants/use-social-media

specifically the section banning all photography from polling places.

In the past two elections I have taken photos of the polling place I attended and my unmarked ballot paper and uploaded these to the Wikipedia. These photos (and similar ones) have been used to illustrate photos about elections and even cardboard furniture as well as being used on other sites. Even the official blog of the NZ ambassador to the Philippines used one. http://blogs.mfat.govt.nz/andrew-matheson/elections-theyre-important.

I am thus concerned that there appears to be a new policy that bans all photographs except limited ones by members of the media. This seems to go against the openness of our electoral process and the grounds that are given for the ban are very weak.

The matter of influencing other voters can be dealt with by requesting that photos only be published after voting has closed. Similarly I’m sure there are already rules to handle people who take too long to vote when there are long lines. A specific rule against photographing filled out ballots will also address concerns about voters proving to others they have voted a specific way.

In summary I very much hope you can replace a ban of photography with a more targeted rules against specific problems.

Simon Lyall

 

I receive a reply back from the Electoral Commission:

Dear Mr Lyall,

Photography in the voting place has only ever been allowed with the prior permission of the Returning Officer, but the number of photos being

taken without prior permission has increased hugely this year.  I understand that you feel that people could be allowed to take photos but be

advised not to publish the photos until after 7pm on election day – but unfortunately this is not what voters were doing.

Photos within the voting place, and particularly those taken of marked ballot papers and behind voting screens, have generated a large number of

complaints to the Commission already, and as a result we have re-looked at our rules around photography.

Voting Place Managers have to ensure that voting proceeds smoothly, that voters are not impeded, and that order is maintained in voting places.

Voting places are for the purpose of voting and people should not remain in the voting place for other purposes.  The increased interest in voters

taking ‘selfies’ inside voting places has the potential to create congestion and disturbance and for this reason Managers will be putting up ‘no

photography signs’.

Returning Officers will still be able to give permission to candidates for media or campaign managers to organise filming in voting places.

Permission will be given on the condition that there is no filming behind voting screens, no filming of completed or uncompleted voting papers,

and no activities that disrupt voting in the voting place.

We absolutely encourage people to take and share photos of themselves with their ‘I’ve voted’ sticker once they’re outside the voting place and

unlikely to interrupt or inconvenience other voters, however people taking selfies while behind the voting screen is not a good idea.

 

 

Gary Pendergast: Let’s have a chat about Reddit

Thu, 2014-09-11 00:26

Before I start, I should warn you that I’ll be commenting on some of the awful things that Reddit implicitly condones, which include sex crimes, animal abuse and what can euphemistically be described as “disrespectful” behaviour towards the dead. I know these topics can be traumatic for people, so if you’d prefer to avoid reading them, please close this window.

(For reference, when I say “Reddit” here, I’m referring to the owners and administrators, not the vast majority of users. I’ll also be posting examples of subreddits (though not linking to them) which I strongly advise you do not visit.)

Many of you will be aware of “the fappening” that occurred a couple of weeks ago – this is the name for the mass leak of celebrities’ private photos to the internet. While the photos were hosted on various sites around the internet, it was primarily Reddit.com that was a focal point for dissemination of these photos, on the /r/TheFappening subreddit (“subreddit” is the term that Reddit uses for “sub forum”).

Reddit’s initial response to this was minimal. They were clearly aware of it, they apparently set new traffic records thanks to people trying to view these photos, but they chose to not do anything about it. This has been Reddit’s modus operandi for its entire history – hiding behind weak “freedom of speech” arguments until the pressure becomes too much – for example, they refused to delete /r/underage (a child porn subreddit) until massive public outcry forced them. It wasn’t until it became apparent that some of the photos in “the fappening” were of underage celebrities that they actually started to delete them en masse, previously choosing to force the victims to submit DMCA requests to have them taken down. The DMCA is a fairly useless tool in this respect, as Reddit users would simply re-upload the photos to a new location, and re-post them.

In this case (unlike many other cases), the victims of “the fappening” are actually able to take action, as they can afford lawyers to force Reddit’s hand. Victims of /r/PhotoPlunder, a revenge porn subreddit, often cannot afford lawyers, or aren’t even aware that their private photos have been posted to a public forum. There are subreddits like /r/PicsOfDeadKids and /r/CuteFemaleCorpses, which, while not containing any illegal content, would clearly cause trauma for friends or families of the deceased.

Then there’s the plainly illegal content, such as /r/SexWithDogs and /r/BeatingWomen2, which contain exactly the content their names describe. Despite being made aware of such subreddits many times, Reddit’s leadership refuses to act on them.

So, what can you do?

If you’re a celebrity (and I know my little blog has many celebrity readers!), it’s likely that you’ve been approached by Reddit, or your publicist, to do an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) thread. Until they change their policies, I’d encourage you to refuse all such requests. If Reddit will happily exploit your privacy for a few extra page views, why should you legitimize them?

If you’re a person who contributes to one of the many legitimate subreddits, perhaps it’s time to look for a new home for your contributions. The StackExchange network has many sites (both technical and non-technical) that reward experts for their contributions. If you’re after a creative outlet, there are many communities built up around writing, art, music, and every other creative activity you can think of! (If you have a favourite, post it in the comments!)

And if you just read Reddit for the entertainment on the front page, perhaps it’s time to reconsider supporting them with your clicks and page views. I promise you, there are many other sites that are willing to provide you with entertaining cat videos, without also implicitly supporting illegal or abusive behaviour. (For example, Fark have excellent policies, not allowing abusive or illegal content.)

Finally, remember that Reddit won’t be around forever. Just like Digg before them, something else will come up and become the new place for pop culture on the internet. With a bit of luck, you could be one of the people who get to influence the next big thing for the better.

Andrew Pollock: [life] Day 224: School information, play dates galore and swim class

Wed, 2014-09-10 23:25

Today was a very busy day. I think Zoe was pretty knackered by the end of it.

First up was the parent information session for kids starting at school next year. Jason had kindly agreed to look after Zoe for me, and even pick her up, so after a full night's sleep and a quick breakfast, she was picked up.

I then walked to the school in time for the information session to start. I'd already done a fair bit of research into the school, so most of the administrative stuff wasn't news for me. It was nice to get a bit more of an overview of the curriculum, though. I remain very happy with the school.

Next up was a play date at Vaeda's house. I picked Zoe and Megan up and we headed over there. I think that despite Zoe sleeping all night, her constant coughing had meant she hadn't had good quality of sleep, so she'd been a bit clumsy at Megan's house and hurt herself, and was generally a bit grumpy.

Zoe and Megan's friend Ivy was also at Vaeda's house, so the four girls were happy having a play together. They all got in the pool after lunch, but it was a bit cold. Zoe wasn't really keen on staying in, but the other girls were.

The trampoline was a big hit, as were all the dress ups. Unfortunately Zoe had a bit of a tumble in some high heels, and I briefly had visions of her splitting her head open on a wall corner again, but fortunately she didn't. She also narrowly managed to avoid losing an eye to a spinning fairy helicopter-like toy. Poor kid, it just wasn't her day today.

Vaeda had a tennis lesson to get to, so we headed off in time for her to get to that. As there was only about 45 minutes until Zoe's swim class, and Megan's was directly after Zoe's, I took the girls to the park for a bit, and then to the pool, and Jason met us there in for Megan's class.

Sarah finished work early, so picked up Zoe directly from the pool, and I headed home.

Somehow I managed to find enough fuel in the tank to do a 10 km run in the evening. The time was pretty dreadful, but I was happy I lasted the distance.

BlueHackers: Losing weight

Wed, 2014-09-10 19:39

Today I officially have begun trying to lose weight. Medications and poor lifestyle choices have put me at very.high risk of diabetes. I also have high cholesterol. Not good. I did 30 minutes of intense boxing exercise. Thanks Ben S. He’s my best man for my wedding and a friend for roughly 8 years.

Ben Martin: Getting a feel for Metapolator and Cascading Parameter Values

Wed, 2014-09-10 16:03


Metapolator is a new project for working on font families. It allows you to generate many fonts in a family from a few "master" cases. For example, you could have a normal font, modify it to create a rather bold version and then use metapolator to generate 10 shades on the line between normal and bold.



I have recently been reading up on metapolator and how to hack on it. So this post describes my limited understanding of what is a fairly young project. So warnings inline with that are in place; errors are my own, the code is the final arbitrator etc.



Much of the documentation of Metapolator involves the word Meta, so I'm going to drop it off this post as seeing it all the time removes its value in terms of semantic add.



At the core of all of this polating are parameters. For example, after importing a font and calling it "normal" you might assign a value of 100 to xheight. I am assuming that many of the spline points in the glyph (skeleton) can then be defined in terms of this xheight. So the top of the 'n' might be 0.95*xheight.



A system using much the same syntax as Cascading Style Sheets is available to allow parameter values to be set or updated. Because its parameters, its called CPS instead of CSS. So you might select a glyph like 'glyph#n' and then set its xheight to be 105 instead.It seems these selectors go right down to the individual point if that's interesting.



In order to understand the CPS system I decided to start modifying a basic example and trying to get specific values back out of the CPS system. The description of this is mainly to see if my playing around was somewhat along the lines of the intended use of the CPS system.



For this I use a very basic CPS



$ cat /tmp/basic.cps

 

* {

     label : 1234;

     xx    : 5;

}



glyph#y penstroke:i(0) point:i(0) {

     xx    : 6;

}



$ metapolator dev-playground-cps /tmp/basic.cps



The existing dev-playground-cps command makes its own fonts up so all you need is a CPS file that you want to apply to those fonts. In my case I'm using two new properties, the label and 'xx' which are of type string and number respectively.



A default value of 3 is assigned to xx for all points and each point and glyph get a unique label during setup.



I found it insightful to test the below with and without selectors that modify the 'xx' property in the CPS, and at both levels. That is, changing the xx:5 and xx:6 in the above CPS to be xxno1:5 and xxno2:6 and seeing what the below printed out. The xx.value makes the most sense to me, show me the default value (3) if nothing is set in any CPS to override it or show me what the CPS has set if it did any override for the point.



element = controller.query('master#heidi glyph#y penstroke:i(0) point:i(0)')

console.log('element:', element.particulars);

console.log('element:', element.label);

console.log('element:', element.xx);

computed = controller.getComputedStyle(element)

console.log('label: ' + computed.get('label'));

console.log('xx.base   : ' + computed.getCPSValue('xx'));

console.log('xx.updated: ' + computed.getCPS('xx'));

console.log('xx.value  : ' + (computed.getCPS('xx') ? computed.getCPS('xx') : computed.getCPSValue('xx')));



The above code is also pushed to a branch of my mp fork at cps.js#L213



I found that a little tinkering in StyleDict.js was needed to get things to operate how I'd expected which is most likely because I'm using it wrong^tm.

The main thing was changing getCPSValue to test for a local entry for a parameter before using the global default StyleDict.js#L93.



I might look at adding a way to apply a CPS to a named font and showing the resulting font as pretty json. For reference this will likely have value and valuebase showing the possibly CPS updated value and the value from the original font respectively.



linux.conf.au News: Astronomy Miniconf at Linux.conf.au 2015

Wed, 2014-09-10 14:28

The Linux.conf.au team are please to announce the Astronomy Miniconf will be part of the Linux.conf.au 2015 conference to be held in Auckland, New Zealand this coming January.

Linux and open source technologies are used extensively in large-scale astronomy projects within Australia/New Zealand and throughout the world, and to a lesser extent in amateur astronomy. The Astronomy Miniconf will be a one-day stream at LCA2015, focused on the use of Linux and open source technologies in astronomy. It will primarily focus on the technical aspects of large-scale professional astronomy projects, but will include sessions on topics of interest to amateur astronomers.

The Astronomy Miniconf programme will include presentations from New Zealand professional astronomers on Linux/open source aspects of their work, as well as from LCA2015 delegates who will present on their own open source astronomy projects. Most of the more technical sessions will be of interest to the full range of LCA2015 delegates, not just those with a particular interest in astronomy.

Last year's inaugural Astronomy Miniconf was well attended and widely considered successful by attendees and LCA2014 organisers. You can sample videos of presentations from last year's miniconf on youtube.

Jessica Smith is the 2015 Astronomy Miniconf organiser, and will be coordinating the CFP (call for papers) for the miniconf. Details of the Astronomy Miniconf CFP will be posted on the LCA2015 mailing list

Organiser: Jessica Smith

Twitter: @itgrrl





Linux Users of Victoria (LUV) Announce: Software Freedom Day Meeting

Wed, 2014-09-10 11:29
Start: Sep 20 2014 10:00 End: Sep 20 2014 16:00 Start: Sep 20 2014 10:00 End: Sep 20 2014 16:00 Location: 

Electron Workshop 31 Arden Street, North Melbourne.

Link:  http://www.sfd.org.au/melbourne/

There will not be a regular LUV Beginners workshop for the month of September. Instead, you're going to be in for a much bigger treat!

This month, OpenTechSchool Melbourne[1], along with Free Software Melbourne[2], Linux Users of Victoria[3] and Electron Workshop[4] are joining forces to bring you the local Software Freedom Day event for Melbourne.

The event will take place on Saturday 20th September between 10am and 4pm, and this year we have a new venue:

Electron Workshop

31 Arden Street, North Melbourne.

Map: http://www.sfd.org.au/melbourne/

LUV would like to acknowledge Red Hat for their help in obtaining the Buzzard Lecture Theatre venue and VPAC for hosting, and BENK Open Systems for their financial support of the Beginners Workshops

Linux Users of Victoria Inc., is an incorporated association, registration number A0040056C.

September 20, 2014 - 10:00

read more

BlueHackers: 7 Things You Shouldn

Wed, 2014-09-10 10:20

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/17/things-not-to-say-to-some_n_4781182.html

If you’ve ever suffered from severe anxiety, you’re probably overly familiar with the control it can have over your life. And you’re not alone — it affects a sizeable percentage of the population.

Learning more about anxiety and stress can be really helpful.