Monday 31 December 2018

Oliebollen and appelflappen

My Dutch Opa used to make these every year on New Years Eve, and I've done them a few times since. This year, my son and I made them together for the first time.


500 g of self raising flour
0.5 litre of milk
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 egg
100g raisins (or currants/sultanas)
1 litre of cooking oil (all the recipes online say 1l but we use a 2l bottle in a bigger saucepan so we can do more at once)
Icing sugar


  1. Sift the flour into a bowl, make a hole in the centre and pour in half of the milk, the salt and the sugar. 
  2. Stir with a wooden spoon to create a smooth batter. 
  3. Next, beat the egg together with the rest of the milk and stir into the batter. 
  4. Stir in the raisins so they are relatively evenly-spread.
  5. Cover the batter with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour. 
  6. After an hour you are ready to begin frying. The batter will be quite sticky. (Do not stir the batter any more). 
  7. Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan or deep fryer – you will know it is hot enough when smoke begins to rise or when you dip a spoon into the oil and it forms bubbles. (If the oil is too hot, the first oliebollen will cook fast on the outside but still be uncooked on the inside - if this happens, turn the oil off for a few minutes).
  8. Create round balls using two tablespoons of the batter and drop one by one into the pan of oil. 
  9. Fry for about 6-8 minutes or until a light golden colour. If the oil temperature is right, and the size of the ball is right, the oliebollen should automatically turn themselves over.
  10. Drain on paper towel to remove any excess oil. 
  11. Sprinkle the oliebollen generously with icing sugar and serve hot or cold.


Use the same dough minus the raisins. We made a double-batch of dough and split it, then only added the raisins to one batch.

Additional ingredients:

6 Granny Smith (green cooking) apples
Ground cinnamon


  1. Prepare the batter as above.
  2. Peel and core the apples and cut each into 4-5 slices.
  3. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and leave for 15 minutes.
  4. Coat the slices of apple with the batter and fry them, a few at a time, until golden brown.
  5. Drain on paper towel to remove any excess oil. 
  6. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve hot or cold.


Wednesday 5 December 2018

Recommended Read: What younger people can learn from older people about using technology

"older people can and do use technology – and younger generations could learn a thing or two from them about how to have a healthier relationship with digital technologies like social media"


Tuesday 27 November 2018

Recommended Read: High score, low pay: why the gig economy loves gamification

Really interesting #longread on how industry is using #gamification to "incentivise" workers - I'm more inclined to describe it as "manipulate" but anyway...

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Recommended Read: What's an arts degree really worth?

For me, it's been incredibly valuable.

"Increasingly, the business world is realising that the skills of most value in the new economy will be those of critical and analytical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills – skills that humanities subjects deliver in spades."

Thursday 1 November 2018

Recommended Read: Say no to meetings! And 3 other ideas to keep your workplace happy and healthy

Some good ideas here. I like reading stuff like this to remind me that it's OK to shut the phone off and just focus on one thing at a time.

"There are lots of ways to slice 60 minutes.

1 × 60 = 60
2 × 30 = 60
4 × 15 = 60
25 + 10 + 5 + 15 + 5 = 60

All of the above equal 60, but they’re different kinds of hours. The number might be the same, but the quality isn’t. The quality hour we’re after is 1 × 60."

Wednesday 5 September 2018

"Well, yes, we CAN do that - but a better question is, SHOULD we?"

One of my favourite questions to ask in the tech world is:

"Well, yes, we CAN do that - but a better question is, SHOULD we?"

This article brought that to mind for me.

"The future of web design is no longer about what we can do, but rather about what we should do. That means being considerate about how design can affect the people who use it, and designing websites that result in positive experiences for users."

A nostalgic journey through the evolution of web design:

Thursday 19 April 2018

Presentation: "Website Protection - Joomla Security and Backups"

Last night I was very pleased to chat with Nic from Akeeba Ltd, during a Melbourne Joomla User Group presentation on Joomla Website Security and Backups.

It was a great meetup with lots of good discussions and questions.

There's a transcript of the "Top 10 Security Tips" and the slides at


Thursday 12 April 2018

Password Security

Some information about Password Security for clients and potential clients, via the WebSolutionZ blog.

Using strong and unique passwords can be one of the key differences between being hacked, and not

Wednesday 11 April 2018

How our JUG worked towards 7 new Aussie Joomla! Certified Administrators

Me writing in this month's Joomla! Community Magazine: How our JUG worked towards 7 new Aussie Joomla! Certified Administrators #Joomla #JoomlaAu #JoomlaCertification #JCM

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Recommended Read: 12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech

"Technology isn’t an industry, it’s a method of transforming the culture and economics of existing systems and institutions."

There are so many things I like about this article - it basically outlines the reasons I chose to do a humanities-based degree rather than a technical one, despite 25 years of tech roles. #LongRead but a very good one 😀

Sunday 18 March 2018

Recommended Read: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

All the worst suspicions about how your Facebook data can be used, confirmed. PLEASE, stop doing quizzes, surveys, questionnaires and anything where you have to click OK on permissions! This gives access to your profile AND often your friend's profiles, to 3rd parties! (It's also how you get hacked).

“We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

Thursday 8 March 2018

Banyule Business lunch

Nice way to spend #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2018 😍🍷


Wednesday 14 February 2018

Digital distance in an internet age

Last month, I was extremely honoured to be nominated for the position of "Operations Department Coordinator" for the Joomla project. This is a Board level role, so I was very pleased that somebody thought highly enough of me to take the time to send in a nomination. 

In my pre-WebSolutionZ, pre-children life, I worked in global/corporate IT in a variety of roles including IT Operations Manager, so this seemed like a great opportunity to contribute in a way that I could really utilise my professional experience. Granted, it was just a nomination, but initially I was quite excited at the potential opportunity.

Regretfully, I had to decline the nomination, for a very simple reason - where I live. The majority of Joomla volunteers and Board members are in either Europe or North America, which basically means when they're awake, Australia is asleep, and vice versa. The Board meetings are voice meetings, scheduled for 18:00UTC every fortnight - 5.00am Melbourne time in summertime, 4.00am in winter! EVERY. FORTNIGHT. I enquired as to whether the time might change depending on the people involved - no. So, not something that can be easily committed to on an ongoing basis… 😴😢

As an Aussie, this is quite a common situation and no criticism of Joomla specifically. I know many people who work for global companies (as I used to myself), where conference calls mean getting up at 6am, or trying to discuss business requirements at midnight when the brain has already gone to sleep. I've done my share of 7 day business roundtrips, where 2 of those days are fully travel and the end-of-trip jetlag is horrendous and lasts another week. It's one minor downfall of living in the best country in the world. 😀

The difference is - that's all paid, so it can be justified. A friend suggested - "push them to change the time", but when everyone is a volunteer and it's all running along nicely already, I wasn't comfortable with that. Anyway, it's hard enough to find a time to match with one other timezone, let alone several (this is a good site if you ever are in the unfortunate position of having to try to work this out). So… it had to be a no, but it was a reluctant one.

The situation got me thinking about some academic articles I read during my Internet Communications studies. One of my teachers, Dr Tama Leaver, has written some good stuff about "The Tyranny of Digital Distance", specifically in relation to digital distribution, which I encourage you to check out. (Basically, Australia gets screwed by global digital distribution agreements that often mean we get digital media long after everybody else - and in the 21st century with social media, that means Actively Avoiding Spoilers is a skill some of us have had to become all-too-good at). Dr Leaver poses the question "what distance means when information and communication can be transmitted at the speed of light" and is "interested in the way that older business models and practices are (and largely aren’t) responding".

There's an assumption in the 21st century that the Internet can be used to solve all problems - we now have a massive amount of technology available which means we can all communicate instantaneously and virtually for free, with anybody anywhere in the world. And while theoretically we CAN do this - there are a bunch of non-technical reasons why we still can't.

Digital distance is a variation of the digital divide (one which I freely acknowledge is a relatively "first world" issue in contrast with the actual digital divide). According to Wikipedia, the digital divide "is an economic and social inequality with regard to access to, use of, or impact of information and communication technologies". What this means is, not everybody in the world has the financial means to have access to the Internet, or the technical skills, or the government willingness, or a bunch of other things. A lot of technology is just plain not accessible to those with special needs, or to the elderly, or the indigenous, for a whole variety of different reasons. There's a large percentage of people in the world that don't have access to the internet at all, to whom timezone differences mean very little, or if they do have access it's at such low speeds that "modern" websites won't even load.

I'm very fortunate, that I only have this first world digital distance issue to contend with, and I don't pretend to have the answers to fix all the other things. I guess the point of this post is that thinking about communications and the digital divide, and taking into account the things that still separate us in spite of the internet and all its promise, is just as important as creating more/better technology. This is why I chose to study a humanities-based Internet Communications degree, even though I've spent the majority of my working life in technical roles, and why I like to contribute to an open-source software project in non-technical but communicative ways, when I can.

Congratulations to the new Joomla board members - all volunteers doing a fantastic job for our #opensource community - work which enables people all over the world to make a living using Joomla, no matter what timezone we're in.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Setting Gmail up to auto-forward to multiple recipients

My husband and I both have our own email addresses, and the "Compass" management system at our kid's school is for some unknown reason incapable of consistently sending notifications to both of us. Their solution is "both parents should use the same email address". Alrighty.

Usually it's not me that receives the notification, but randomly it is, which means if I don't remember to log in every week, or my husband doesn't remember to forward every single email just in case, I miss stuff. Then there's all the sporting club emails that only allow one registered email address field, so I spend time every week just forwarding emails and logging into systems to make sure I know what I'm supposed to know.

Today I set up a new Gmail account. I chose Gmail because (a) I already use it, (b) it allows forwarding and importantly, also filtering, and (c) Gmail has good spam filters (which is also why my kids got Gmail accounts when they were old enough to first get email). Neither of us wanted one more account to check, so I've set this new account up to automatically forward anything sent to it, to our usual email addresses.

Most email allows forwarding, but only to one address. Here's how I set up Gmail to forward to both of us:

  1. First - go to "Settings" and then "Forwarding and POP/IMAP". The bad news is, you can't just enter the multiple email addresses in here because it only allows one.
  2. Click on the "Add a forwarding address" button and enter the first email address you want to forward to.
  3. Click on the "Add a forwarding address" button again and enter the second email address. (Keep doing this for all subsequent email addresses).
  4. Ensure that "Disable forwarding" is ticked and click on "Save Changes".
  5. Each email address you've entered as a forwarding address will receive an email with a link to click, which confirms they are willing to be forwarded-to.
  6. Once all the email addresses have been confirmed - click on "Filters and blocked addresses".
  7. Click on "Create a new filter".
  8. Enter a very long and random set of characters in the "Doesn't have" box (I used a 50 character string generated via my password manager). This is the matching part of the filter, so you're effectively saying "forward everything that doesn't match this 50 character string". Click "Continue".
  9. Click on the "Forward it to" checkbox and click to select the first forward-to email address. (You may also like to check "Skip the Inbox" and "Mark as read" - it doesn't affect the forward but keeps the inbox of your generic account empty, so if something goes wrong you'll be able to log in and see what you haven't had forwarded). Create the filter.
  10. Create another filter (I used the same 50 character string) in the same way, and select the second forward-to email address. (Create as many filters as are required).
  11. Test your filters to make sure they're working. Send an email from a different email, to the new generic address. Then check that all of the forward-to recipients have received the test email.
  12. Start using your new generic family email address in situations where you both want to get the email.
Seriously, it's 2018, shouldn't technology be better than this by now?!

PS: If you're thinking of setting this up for a sporting organisation or not-for-profit, take a look at Google Groups instead. A Google Group can be created to act just like the old-style mailing listings, where everybody sends email to a single address, and everybody in the group gets the email. It also keeps a copy on the web, so it's easy to go back and find things later on.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Presentation: "Joomla Certification Program"

Tonight I did a presentation at the Melbourne Joomla User Group on the Joomla Certification Program. My daughter says I need to stop waving my arms around so much. Duly noted 😂 #joomlaAu #JoomlaAustralia

Slides at

Sunday 14 January 2018

Recommended Read: Social media companies should ditch clickbait, and compete over trustworthiness

"Just as society expects oil companies to take moral and legal responsibility for environmental pollution if they spill in the oceans and aquifers, we believe social media companies must help fix and fight the social pollution that their platforms have enabled."