Tuesday 29 November 2016

Free Wi-Fi in public places

This article about free wi-fi in public places, and how it is used by the providers, appeared on Choice.com.au today:


A very basic free VPN that can be installed on Android/iPhone is OperaVPN (www.opera.com/apps/vpn). The Opera browser for Windows/Mac/Linux also includes free VPN, good for travel (www.opera.com). There are much bigger and better paid VPN options (links in the article), but a free one is better than nothing at all.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Joomla! World Conference 2016 #JWC16

On 11-13 November 2016, I attended the 5th annual Joomla! World Conference (#JWC16), in Vancouver, Canada.

After a 17 year IT career and much playing with HTML/CSS, I started using Joomla! around 2005/2006, but never really had time to get involved in the community. I attended an Australian Joomla!Day in 2013, and the Melbourne JUG a few times, but that was about it.

I couldn't get to a JWC in previous years so I set my sights on #JWC16. I decided on 2 main goals - to network and meet some of the international community and learn a bit more about it (with a view to possibly becoming involved), and also attempt to gain the new Joomla! Administrator certification.

The first goal was simple - the #JWC16 crowd were a wonderful bunch of people who were very welcoming and keen to network. As an open source community, everybody is a volunteer and without question, everybody I met was happy to answer questions and explain their own involvement. It certainly made walking in without knowing a soul, far less scary than I'd anticipated.

The second goal was a little more difficult. The certification exam wasn't easy - it requires an 80% pass mark. So no matter how much you think you know - it requires study. I heard stories on the first 2 days that only 1 person passed the last time the exam was offered. I also heard there would be questions on implementing a multilingual site which, being an Aussie and living in a country with only one official language and no neighbours, is not something I've ever had to do before!

Happily, the study paid off and I passed! (Along with these 3 other lovely ladies). This means I'm officially the first person in Australia to gain this accreditation, which I'm quite proud of. :)

At the final keynote, we were encouraged to blog about our #JWC16 experience, and consider our biggest takeaway. I make the following observations:
  • The #JWC16 had a nice balance of "business" and "technical" - I was mildly concerned it would be more technical than I was capable of / interested in but this was certainly not the case.
  • There was a good range of sponsors supporting the event.
  • The location, venue and food was fantastic (although I'm not sure I'll be able to face "breakfast potato" again anytime soon :/ ).
  • The workshops I attended were all excellent, conducted by people clearly knowledgeable in more ways than just technical geekdom (and now all available on YouTube).
I guess my main takeaway is that I haven't really been very involved to date, and don't know many Joomlers from my part of the world. (To be fair, I've spent the last 6 years studying part-time, working part-time, and raising 2 kids so I've had other priorities). But now I've completed my degree and my kids are a bit older, I've signed up to attend the next Melbourne JUG meetup, and made contact via social media with some of the Sydney JUG. And I've spoken with a couple of people I met at #JWC16 about areas I could volunteer in, and signed up at Joomla's Volunteer Portal. Who knows where this will lead?!

I really enjoyed the whole #JWC16 experience and got a lot out of it, and will definitely be back for #JWC17 in Rome next year. If anybody reading this is on the fence about attending - just do it! And I'll see you there. :)


Wednesday 7 September 2016


In 2010, I enrolled in WEB101 - Web Communications, via Open Universities Australia. From the beginning I'd decided that if I ever finished this degree, I'd go to Perth to do the whole "graduation" thing properly at Curtin, because I'd never done it before - third time lucky! 

I started my 1st degree at 17 straight out of high school, but had to defer for 12 months due to a bout of glandular fever that only lasted 2 months, and never went back. I started my 2nd degree when the first IT degrees started to appeared in the 90's, but it was more programming than IT back then so I left and never went back.

And so I found myself in Perth last weekend. :)

We arranged to take the kids out of school for 3 days, and flew to Perth on Friday. The first thing we did was get our hire car and drive to the Bentley Campus, to pick up my graduation regalia and tickets.

Quite surreal, studying here for 6 years without ever setting foot in the place until today!
Finally Sunday arrived. I got dressed and we drove to the Perth Convention Entertainment Centre. I left the family and was directed into a big "holding pen" with all the other graduating students, and we were put into lines. This is when I met some fellow students for the first time!

After a small hiccup (where I'd been given the wrong sash, which was quickly replaced), we were shown a short video which included instrutions on how to "doff" at the Chancellor, walk towards him, shake with right hand, turn to face the photographers and then continue across the stage, down the stairs and back around to our seats.

We were then led into the main hall, where all the friends and family were already seated, and down to our seats. I was lucky to spot my family in the crowd on the way in so I knew where to look for them! And we were off!

Welcome to Country / Official Welcome
It's fair to say that the production line of students filing out of their seats, around to the stage, up, across, down, back to seats, wasn't that thrilling. And there's that deep-down fear that YOU'LL be the one who trips over on stage (thankfully not!). But when it was my turn, I heard my kids shouting and cheering which made it all worthwhile.

Crunch time!
Honestly, it was one of the best things I've done and I can't recommend it enough. Being an online student has many, many perks, but the downside is you tend to not really feel a part of anything significant. After 6 years of study, I'd never met a teacher in person, only met 1-2 fellow students and never set foot on campus. The pomp and ceremony added a nice full-stop to my whole study experience and somehow made it all feel a bit more worthwhile. If you're thinking about going and aren't sure - go for it! You won't regret it. :)


Thursday 28 July 2016

Is netball a feminist triumph? Let’s discuss (via theconversation.com)

Combining 2 of my worlds - Netball as seen by academia:

Is netball a feminist triumph? Let’s discuss


Monday 18 July 2016

Rockup Netball with Karyn Bailey

Awesome fun at Doncaster #rockupnetball with the lovely @karynlbailey

And via the Doncaster & Districts Netball Association:

Karyn Bailey led a fantastic Rock Up Netball program this morning with some hard working and committed participants. The program continues for the next three weeks, from 10am-11am on Monday mornings. We hope to see some more people there next week!


Friday 15 July 2016


The Australian Bureau of Statistics is implementing a significant change for the 2016 Census...

via Electronic Frontiers Australia


Thursday 14 July 2016

Perth, here I come!


Saturday 9 July 2016

Just one reason why I don't let my 12yo Snapchat

Snapchat Sued For Showing Kids Sexually Explicit Content Against Their Will, via gizmodo.com.au



Monday 4 July 2016

I thought I'd turned off as much "Google tracking" as I possibly could, but nope

Google launches new My Activity site, reaffirms Google knows basically everything about you. Via androidpolice.com


Monday 30 May 2016

Rockup Netball

My friend and I decided to try out Rockup Netball at Doncaster. Linda (the trainer) took our photo, my friend Instagrammed it and somehow we ended up on the Rockup Netball website social feed for a couple of days! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


Thursday 19 May 2016

F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. !!!

6 years, 2 months and 18 days ago, I started my first Internet Comms unit. Just now, I submitted my final assignment, for my final unit. F.I.N.I.S.H.E.D. !!! πŸ˜‚ πŸŽ‰ πŸ·πŸŽ†


Tuesday 17 May 2016

WEB300 - Web Production

My final unit! Assignment 1 was a team-based Brief to create Assignment 2, our Web Media Production (WMP).
Each team of students will create a Web Media Production (WMP) intended for web distribution, developing the visual, textual and audio content of the publication to suit a chosen subject and audience. Teams are asked to consider integrating a range of converging and participatory media (such as Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, a forum or mobile technology), and also to consider incorporating audio and video components.

The WMP should be an innovative online media product that explores and embodies convergence and participation. Students will have self-selected into groups of three preferably with a mix of strengths, which will have been outlined in the Brief. Communicating regularly and drawing on the one another's stengths and interests will help the team to work together effectively in creating the WMP.

The nature of the chosen topic will determine whether the content of the WMP is completely developed by the students or if students use photographs, images, graphics, audio, video or multimedia material sourced from the web. If students use work that is not their own original work then it MUST be attributed appropriately.

Our team, 3XMelbourne, created a WordPress website and integrated YouTube video and SoundCloud podcasts, as well as a Facebook Page and Twitter.

Our final grade was an outstanding 85 - HD! Thanks to Ian and Brett. :)

Friday 6 May 2016


More like a Cliff Young gumboot shuffle minus the gumboots, but anyway... the physio requested video. My husband asked if it was for biodynamic evaluation, or proof. Then he suggested accompanying "Benny Hill" music. Somebody else suggested speeding it up 2x before sending it. Haha, everyone's a comedian. :)


Wednesday 27 April 2016

Hip rehab - 11 months post-op

Visited Amir this morning. He tested everything hip-wise and was looking quite pleased with himself, everything looks (and feels) great and he's declared me "like normal"!

However, my knee has continued to play up so this next month is all about sorting that out. Apparently when a tendon is taken from behind the knee, it heals a bit shorter, so I've effectively been walking around with a slightly bent knee all this time.

He did this horribly painful stretching thing and it DOES feel better and I can now lift my leg the same way as the right side - but it made me realise I have virtually no muscle in my left quad/hamstring, compared to the right.

Hilariously, I now have to start jogging... behold my schedule for the next month!

Yes, that is a football oval, and yes, the numbers represent the number of times I need to JOG around one.

If anybody sees me, please try to contain your amusement. :)


Tuesday 29 March 2016

Hip rehab - 10 months post-op

Nothing much has changed since my last post, except that I've started Lite n Easy and it's Easter. So that's going to go well. Goal is 10kg (which I've put on since the operation) and maybe a few extra for good measure. So far I've lost 3kg...

I had a fall down the stairs a couple of weeks ago. I was hosing down the front porch and slipped right off the edge and down the stairs. I remember being really conscious of landing on my left hip so I twisted a bit mid-air and landed halfway across the bottom step. Lovely bruises on my butt, but no hip damage!


Tuesday 22 March 2016

APC100 - Academic and Professional Communications

In news that will surprise nobody who knows me - I didn't enjoy this unit much. Sometime in the last year or so, it became compulsory but because I started studying in 2010 when it wasn't, I'd missed doing it.

After having written countless essays with countless references and used the library countless times, I had to do an introductory unit aimed at first-time students fresh out of high school, which taught how to write an essay, how to reference and how to use the library. It was incredibly difficult to maintain motivation.

On top of that, we had to do a group project, which supposedly helps us learn how to work in group projects in the workforce. Except I've been in the workforce for 25+ years and I've never worked anywhere where they force 5 people from 5 separate departments to create a random project with nobody in charge. Recipe for disaster. Anyway...

Happily, I finished the unit with a High Distinction. I have nothing to post because I didn't create anything I'm interested in sharing. Waste of $795, IMHO!

Monday 29 February 2016

Hip rehab - 9 months post-op

After several attempts at physio, which seemed to fix the back problems but not my sore neck, I decided to try something different. I visited a remedial massage therapist, who also specialises in acupuncture and shiatsu, and had a full body treatment that lasted 90 minutes. It was amazing! I stood up and felt like my left leg was finally the right length, and all the back & neck pain was gone.

A few days later and I'm sleeping well, and really, the only ongoing problem I'm having is with my knee where the graft was taken from. It's funny but after the massage I'm no longer subconsciously protecting the hip, but now my knee keeps catching in quite a painful way.

Exercise-wise, I probably only get onto the exercise bike once a week, as it's hurting my knee and I have to let it settle down. But I'm walking 2-3km every day so hopefully that makes up for it!


Wednesday 27 January 2016

Hip rehab - 8 months post-op

I've been having some problems with stiffness in my hip the last couple of weeks and Amir is away so I've seen Michael a few times. Physically the hip reconstruction part is fine, but I think my body has been so used to leaning on the "good" leg for such a long time, that now it's hard to go back to level. I'll be standing there talking to somebody and suddenly realise I'm leaning to one side, so I try to balance out and five minutes later, I'm leaning again.

There's a spot in my lower back on the "good" side that wasn't painful at all, until Michael started working away at it and I was almost in tears. Apparently it's called the psoas muscle. If you can visualise, it was like that part of my back had locked up and was causing my spine to bend, so all the pain was on the other side, around the reconstructed hip. But it wasn't really the hip causing the problem at all.

Good time to visit Peninsula Hot Springs with the family for the Australia Day long weekend!