Thursday 28 August 2008

New Zealand Digital Strategy 2.0 – Smarter through Digital

Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe launched Digital Strategy 2.0 today. He said, “This Strategy provides a bold vision and concrete actions to help New Zealanders become leaders in the digital world.”

“Revolutionary change has occurred since the 2005 Digital Strategy. Robust competition is driving a wave of investment to build super fast broadband networks,“ said David Cunliffe.

“No country has more to gain from this digital revolution than New Zealand. Through it we overcome our remoteness, leverage our inventiveness and show off our uniqueness.

”The building blocks of the Digital Strategy remain relevant: super fast connection, enhanced user confidence and cool content. DS 2.0 sets out targets and actions that take these to the next level and emphasises the importance of collaboration to get there.

“DS 2.0 challenges us to go further to secure outcomes from this technology: new digital productivity; reduced environmental footprints, and communities that are locally networked and globally connected.”

“To do this we are introducing a number of exciting new projects such as Connected New Zealand and the Digital Content Innovation Cluster. We’re also expanding successful initiatives, such as videoconferencing and teleworking, the Aotearoa People’s Network and the Community Partnership Fund.”

Broadband Investment Fund
A major initiative of the Strategy is the $340 million for the Broadband Investment Fund over three years from Budget 2008 to enable affordable broadband roll-out based on competitive open-access principles. This is part of the $500 million the government has committed to investing in broadband infrastructure over the next five years. DS2 sets updated targets for connection speed and super fast broadband rollout.

David Cunliffe said the government was committed to creating digital opportunities by bringing the benefits of ICT to all New Zealanders.

“The Digital Strategy is about people and their ability to connect to the world. It’s about bringing all New Zealanders on the journey by breaking down the digital divide, and building their capability and confidence in using ICT. The future belongs to us all.”

The Digital Strategy 2.0 is available online at

Background information for Digital Strategy 2.0
The Minister's office issued a backgrounder FAQ whih I quote in full below.

Where did it come from?
The development of Digital Strategy 2.0 has been informed by the Digital Future Summit 2.0, over 40 pre-Summit stakeholder workshops and engagements with stakeholders, and submissions to the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0.

What’s new?
Digital Strategy 2.0 maintains a key element from of the original Digital Strategy - that the enablers of digital development such as connection are important. It builds on this by focusing on how we can maximise the potential of digital technologies to increase productivity, improve environmental sustainability, and build social inclusiveness.

The vision for the Strategy is for New Zealanders to become leaders in the digital world. To achieve this vision we need to understand how being smarter through digital contributes to a high-value economy, vibrant culture and communities, and a healthy environment.

Drivers: The purpose of Digital Strategy 2.0 is to:

• provide a national vision;
• highlight opportunities and challenges;
• provide a call to action;
• articulate the government’s role; and
• outline the actions through which government will fulfil that role.

Three core ideas underlie the Strategy:

• Unleashing the web’s full potential
• Using digital technologies to drive productivity and economic growth
• Bringing everyone on the journey

The key outcomes of Digital Strategy 2.0 are:

• Economy - increased productivity and new business models and opportunities
• Healthy environment - reduced carbon emissions and sustainable resource use
• Communities and culture - locally grounded, globally connected communities and culture

The Strategy also identifies four enablers with associated goals and targets (goals in brackets):

• Connection (widespread, affordable, fast broadband and access to content across multiple platforms using multiple devices);
• Capability (the digital skills of our population create a competitive advantage for New Zealand);
• Confidence (secure and trusted digital networks and universal understanding of online safety, security and privacy issues);
• Content (unlock the creative potential of New Zealand’s content, both digital and non-digital).

The headline actions in the Strategy centre around:
• Responding to the infrastructure, security and regulatory implications of Web 2.0: a bandwidth-hungry, content-rich environment.
• Facilitating a step-change in broadband performance.
• Harnessing digital technologies to transform our economy, through supporting digital research, innovation and commercialisation, and through working with SMEs to increase ICT uptake and smart use.
• Bringing everyone on the digital journey, through a nationwide network of digital hubs, digital literacy for all and a continued focus on supporting community initiatives.
• Transforming government, by making the back office and frontline services (in particular health and education) more effective, responsive and productive while protecting the privacy and security of personal information.

The actions identified in the Strategy are only those which will be led by government, in collaboration with other stakeholder groups. The Strategy cannot be delivered by government alone. Digital Strategy 2.0 lays down a challenge for all stakeholders to work together to make New Zealanders leaders in the digital world and create a prosperous, sustainable and vibrant society.

The Digital Strategy 2.0 is available online at

A summary of submissions to the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0, and a copy of all submissions [link to page] is also available from the Digital Strategy website

Questions & Answers

Why do we need Digital Strategy 2.0?

Feedback from stakeholder workshops, including the Digital Future Summit 2.0 in November 2007, was clear: the 2005 Digital Strategy needed updating. Many of the targets have now been achieved, while others remaining are not ambitious enough in the current environment.

The new digital world presents immense economic, environmental and social opportunities for New Zealanders. More and more users are able to produce their own content; the convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and the Internet are connecting more New Zealanders; and new business models are being created, stimulating creativity and innovation across our economy and society. New Zealand must now capitalise on the potential of digital technologies to increase productivity, if we are to increase our absolute, and relative, standard of living.

The outcomes of the Summit, some 40 pre-Summit stakeholder workshops and engagements with stakeholders and submissions to the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0 have informed the development of this Strategy.

How is Digital Strategy 2.0 different from the 2005 version?

The 2005 Digital Strategy talked about connecting to each other and the information we need for our everyday lives. This Strategy goes beyond looking at the factors that enable digital development, to the creativity and opportunities for collaboration unleashed by the digital world. Digital Strategy 2.0 focuses on what we can achieve by being smarter through digital - how we can maximise the potential of digital technologies to increase productivity, improve environmental sustainability, and build social inclusiveness.

This Strategy still identifies four enablers necessary to be smarter through digital – connection, capability, confidence and content, but sets new goals for these enablers to carry us into the future.

What did the first strategy achieve?

Revolutionary change has occurred in telecommunications since the 2005 Digital Strategy called for rapid progress on connection issues. Robust, pro-competitive settings have been put in place, following the 2005/06 Telecommunications Stocktake, resulting in the urgent passage of the Telecommunications Amendment Act 2006. The Act marked the beginning of a new era in New Zealand’s telecommunications environment – the unbundling of the local loop, the operational separation of Telecom New Zealand, and a much stronger role for the Telecommunications Commissioner.

Significant progress has been made through some 70 government initiatives implemented as part of the Digital Strategy. These include investments in shared public sector networks; partnerships with businesses and communities to stimulate investment in open-access fibre networks and improving digital skills in the community; improving online security; and the launch of the Digital Content Strategy, and significant initiatives in broadcasting, including the launch of free-to-air television via the Freeview platform.

The total investment has been considerable – since 2005, the government has committed about $400 million to Digital Strategy initiatives, including baseline funding.

For a more detailed account, you can download the Digital Strategy Report on Progress 2007 from the Digital Strategy website,

What will Digital Strategy 2.0 achieve?

Its purpose is to:

• Provide a national vision, supported by outcomes and goals, for New Zealand’s digital development;
• Highlight opportunities and challenges presented by the digital world;
• Provide a call to action for all stakeholders to rise to these challenges and opportunities.
• Articulate the government’s role in digital development; and
• Outline the key actions through which government will fulfil this role.

The vision of the Digital Strategy 2.0 is that: “New Zealanders are leaders in the digital world. We live in a prosperous, sustainable and vibrant society”. And achieving this vision requires New Zealanders to understand and consider about how being smarter through digital contributes to these outcomes.

High-value economy:
• Increased productivity across the economy
• New business models and opportunities
Healthy environment:
• Reduced carbon emissions
• Sustainable resource use

Communities and culture
• Locally grounded, globally connected communities
• Local grounded, globally connected culture

What concrete actions does the Strategy contain?

The Strategy includes a number of bold actions that will help achieve the Strategy’s outcomes. The key actions are:

a. Digital Content Innovation Cluster, to build international connection, foster business capability and links between researchers and firms to support the development of commercial digital content, including broadband applications, in New Zealand;

b. Connected New Zealand. Grass-roots level programme to be driven by the Digital Development Council in conjunction with the Ministry of Economic Development. The purpose of the programme is to increase the uptake of digital technologies through small and medium enterprises (including not-for-profits, cultural and voluntary groups). The programme will be based around a community-development model of using e-champions or digital development teams to drive local understanding and uptake of digital technologies.

c. Highlights government use of digital technology to increase productivity and effectiveness – for example through Connected Health, the National Education Network and video conferencing.

d. Highlights the potential of integrated digital systems to enable monitoring and innovation in the area of sustainability, and includes initiatives to increase uptake of teleworking and environmental management systems across the economy.

e. National network of digital hubs, based around the successful Aotearoa People’s Network (APN). APN will be expanded into more libraries and into other venues such as marae. This will be supported by the ongoing Community Partnership Fund, to provide funding and support for community-level activities.

Why is the Aotearoa People’s Network a model to build from?

The Aotearoa People’s Network provides computers, training, mentoring and internet access in public libraries. It has proven highly successful, with 22 libraries already online and another 70 expected to be online by the end of 2008.

Does New Zealand have enough skilled people to deliver the projects in Digital Strategy 2.0?

ICT practitioners are in short supply globally. We need to promote, develop, attract and retain ICT professionals, such as network architects, application developers and security specialists, to perform high-value and creative digital work. We also need technicians to develop and maintain our ICT systems.

The ICT industry, wider business community, education sector and government need to work together to ensure our skills are up-to-date and world-leading. The Strategy includes a number of actions designed to address the current skills shortage by promoting digital careers and skills, matching tertiary courses to industry needs, and attracting more skilled ICT practitioners to New Zealand.

How were people consulted on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0?

The development of this strategy has been an ongoing conversation and involved consultation with, and input from, many different groups and individuals, particularly from 40 stakeholder meetings and the Digital Future Summit held at the end of 2007 and the submissions to the draft in May of this year.

In total 124 submissions were received which included input from the wiki, online forum, email and paper submissions.

What has changed from the draft Digital Strategy 2.0?
Feedback received on the draft Digital Strategy 2.0 covered the six broad themes of broadband, digital skills and education, digital content, security and safety, collaboration and sustainability. Some of the key points that have been reflected in the final Strategy are:
• More aspirational targets in the Connection section;
• The importance of developing ICT capability;
• The continuing need for collaboration between government, industry and community groups; and
• The need for greater access to digital content vs protection of digital content
The submissions and the Summary of Submissions are available on the Digital Strategy website: [link]

How was the Digital Strategy 2.0 developed?

The development of the Digital Strategy 2.0 was informed by:
• the Digital Future Summit 2.0 held in November 2007;
• 124 submissions and various meetings with stakeholders on the Draft Digital Strategy 2.0;
• the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy in Seoul, which the Minister for Communications and Information Technology attended in June 2008;
• feedback from government agencies represented on the Digital Strategy Steering Group and other relevant agencies;
• feedback from the final meeting of the Digital Strategy Advisory Group; and
• feedback from the newly formed Digital Development Council

What is government’s role in the Digital Strategy 2.0?

Government’s core role is to provide the basics that enable creativity, innovation and collaboration – fast, accessible broadband, a digitally skilled population, secure infrastructure, and support for an access to New Zealand content. Government also has a role supporting businesses and communities to be creative and innovative in the digital world, e.g. by supporting digital content firms to grow.

This strategy includes a number of actions for government, in partnership with other stakeholders, and government will monitor and evaluate the targets and goals in the Strategy.

Will New Zealand get better broadband?

Yes. The connection section of the Strategy includes ambitious targets for the employment of broadband over the next 10 years. Digital Strategy 2.0 aspires to have all homes, businesses, schools, marae and farms connected to high-speed reliable broadband within a decade. This requires significant investment from the private sector and government. Recent private investment announcements top $2.5 billion. The government’s contribution through the Broadband Investment Fund and investment in the health and education sectors adds a further $500 million for the next five years, to be matched with at least another $500 million from private investors.

How does improved digital technology contribute to environmental outcomes?

Digital technology can be used to monitor and report on resource use, energy consumption and carbon emissions across the economy, for example in transport, energy generation, buildings and ICT itself. This will help us to identify possible innovations or efficiencies, and monitor their effects. Innovative and creative digital products and management systems can allow us to transform our lives in a sustainable way – including the ways we do business, manufacture products, use water and fertiliser on our farms, and transport items, as well as where and how we live.

Will there be more Community Partnership and Broadband Challenge funding?

The Broadband Investment Fund replaces the Broadband Challenge and focuses on providing high-speed connections to high-bandwidth users in a manner that supports future network extensions by all technologies

The Fund will provide immediate benefits for high-bandwidth users and puts New Zealand on a pathway to the widespread deployment of high-bandwidth connection to the home. We will be supporting the roll-out of ducting and dark fibre through urban centres and extending network availability in rural regions.

We see three immediate priority areas for further investment for the Fund:
• improving the availability of very high speed services to businesses and local public facilities in urban areas
• improving rural broadband infrastructure (backhaul and ‘last mile’) by supporting fixed, wireless and satellite solutions; and
• improving resilience and competitive discipline of our international connections.

The Broadband Investment Fund applications opened on Tuesday 26 August 2008. Applications are due on 30 September 2008.

Further funding of $6 million for the 2008/09 Community Partnership Fund (CPF) was announced in Budget 2008, and the Strategy indicates that funding options will be developed to enable CPF to continue beyond next year.

Expressions of Interest for the new round of CPF open on 6 October 2008 and close on 10 November 2008.

What is the Digital Development Council and Forum and what role will it play?

In May 2008 the Digital Development Council was established. The Council was established before Digital Strategy 2.0 was finalised so that it could provide input into the development of the Strategy and be ready to ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as the Strategy was launched.

The first meeting of the Digital Development Forum is due to held by the end of September 2008. The Council is busy organising this.

Together the Council and Forum provide a national framework for collaboration on New Zealand’s digital development. The Forum is open to any group with an interest in digital development. It will set the priorities for the work programme of the Digital Development Council. The Forum and Council will be important collaboration partners with government in implementing Digital Strategy 2.0.

For further details see:

How will we know Digital Strategy 2.0 is making a difference?

The Ministry of Economic Development will update and report on progress against the targets in the Strategy every two years, starting in 2010. This will be undertaken in collaboration with stakeholders, the Digital Development Council, and with support from the OECD.

Do other countries have digital strategies?
Many countries around the world are recognising that a national digital strategy, which coordinates and provides focus for digital initiatives, is valuable in realising the significant potential of digital technology. All countries recognise the ability of digital technologies to transform their economies. Many of the advanced strategies focus on the ICT industry as a key economic base (Singapore’s iN2015, U-Korea, U-Japan, Hong Kong’s Digital 21 Strategy).

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Three community projects with Jim Mora - Radio New Zealand National

I have just had a lovely 30 minute interview with Jim Mora of Radio New Zealand National talking about three online projects I think exemplify the best of community lead web projects.

One Laptop Per Child - Niue
The first is the news out of Niue [from the BBC] that they having taken delivery of 500 One Laptop per Child machines. This translates to one laptop for every child in this tiny Pacific Island country. This is the first of a number of different island initiatives which will see 500 laptops being distributed around the Pacific Islands.

The project is being lead by the the SPC [ Secretariat to the Pacific Community], as part of their Pacific Rural Internet Connectivity System. One of the key people on the team is the kiwi Ian Thomson who also worked, here in Aotearoa with the Tuhoe iwi on their project to wire their tribal mountain area - the Ureweras.

I love talking about this project - which is tasked to deliver fast/free Internet access, plus new machines, plus some open source community story telling software , Kete, to a growing number of public libraries in New Zealand

The current offerings are primarily rural. There is a blog, here, which tells some interesting tales. also, a map of the project libraries, here, plus the official site is here.

I blogged about the micro lending site Kiva recently. In addition to explaining how it works, in the interview Jim and I talk about the logic of bringing the principles of micro financing closer to home here in Aotearoa in particular and the Pacific in general.

Google Generation is a Myth
The the interview you will also get the familiar Reynolds refrain - when was it okay for this generation to give away the responsibility to invent the future for our kids. And by the by - our kids are stumbling around and need some help.
The research I quote out of the UK is , of course the now famous study from British Library and JISC, here.

Audio Links
The streaming audio link to the interview is here. MP3 link here
The RadioNZ programme page is here

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Digital Stategy Refresh - pre launch musings 2 - enterprise 2.0

New Zealand - small- smart country
One of the key issues facing the notion of New Zealand as a 'small smart country' is how to help SME's [small medium enterprises] make use of digital tools and frameworks - whether for increased productivity or innovation.

Way back in the mists of early Internet history [ i.e. ten years ago] creating a company intranet was a core deliverable. Many local companies, like their offshore counterparts devoted lots of time, attention and indeed budget creating large intranets whose task was to be the virtual home to the enterprise.

The Intranet - version 1
Lots of these did work - at least for a while. I even helped to build some of them. However, it's fair to say that apart from becoming really great places to find the office notice board, or the leave forms, or indeed product, or training material, many of them failed in terms of the big vision - i.e. become the place for new kinds of collaboration and innovation.

Enterprise 2.0
Depending on your point of view the new field of Enterprise 2.0 has the capacity to revitalise these ambitions. As to the meaning of the term - well how knows - but basically we can agree its definitely all about using the collaboration tools and frameworks that have come out of web 2.0.

I'm still working my way though that. This report looks like it might be worth studying. I especially like the notion of a formal methodology to isolate both the outcomes and the potential learning's.

Social Media Tools Report and Tool Kit
To blog or not to blog that’s the question that many organisations have asked themselves. They recognise that it’s time to embrace social media tools (SMTs) such as wikis, shared bookmarks, blogs-with-comments and peer-to-peer communication. At the same time, they may feel unsure about choosing which SMT best fits their situation, how to launch a successful project, or how to measure the success of their efforts.

Patrice Curtis takes away much of the mystery of SMTs for business purposes. Her report provides businesses with a framework for understanding the value of SMTs to their objectives, case studies of organisations that have achieved success, and a series of practical, hands-on worksheets to put project teams on the path towards success.

Curtis focuses on business-related uses of SMTs - understanding how they can impact productivity, efficiency and customer relationships. She also attends to the internal needs of an organisation, with tool kit activities that tie an SMT project to business objectives, assemble
project teams of business stakeholders, and emphasise measurable outcomes for a business.

The report covers the following:
* How are enterprises using social media tools today?
* Assessing enterprise need
* Building the business case
* Choosing the right application
* The project team
* Vision and action statements
* Social media policies
* Encouraging adoption
* Monitoring use

The following activities are included in the Social Media Tools Report
and Tool Kit:

1. Define the Pain Points
2. Develop the Problem Statement
3. Map SMTs
4. Choose the Project Team
5. Write the Vision and Action Statement
6. Identify the Internal Social Media Influencers
7. Measure Impact


Single-Site License
The report can be redistributed to anyone on a single site of your organisation (including being printed and placed in a single site library and/or made available on a single-site intranet)
£39.00 - Price excludes VAT, for UK customers. Approx. EUR62.40, US

The report can be redistributed across up to 5 sites with your organisation (including being printed and placed in a multi-site library and/or made available on a multi-site intranet (5 site maximum)) £110.00 - Price excludes VAT, for UK customers. Approx. EUR176.00, US

Enterprise License
The report can be redistributed to anyone on any of your organisation's sites (including being printed and placed in a multi-site library and/or made available on a multi-site intranet)
£215.00 - Price excludes VAT, for UK customers. Approx. EUR344.00, US

end quote

SOURCE: FreePint Bar Digest, 15 August 2008 and The Source, NLNZ

Monday 25 August 2008

NZ Digital Strategy Refresh - pre launch musings - part 1

David Cunliffe, NZ Minister of Communication is definitely going to be announcing the The NZ Digital Strategy refresh this Thursday at the Beehive in Wellington. He gave a few signals as to what might be in it when he spoke at the Digital Future Now conference in Auckland recently.

Soft as well as hard infrastructure initiatives?
Let's see what happens Thursday. However, personally, although I expect some strong statements on broadband, pipes and infrastructure, I am also hoping for a strong statement, or indeed a series of statements/initiatives which acknowledge the parallel need for 'soft infrastructure' i.e. projects and initiatives which build capability and creativity at all stages of the economic, cultural and social value chain.

Also, among other areas he may or may speak to I'm hoping he touches on how best to make government a better user/maker and distributor of public data.

I know who I am - prove your an airport!
This could/might include ideas on how to make government data available through open API's, innovative ways for citizens to see and comment on the data held by government agencies, or even more adventurous, ideas like creating whole streams of software innovation based on mining data and data relationships, especially around citizen authentication and personal data.

UK Power of Information Taskforce
On that note, I have just come across a really neat idea/competition out of the UK from the Power of Information Taskforce - the outfit tasked to "help government become more open, transparent and effective through better use of published information"

This competition is asking for help in developing better ways to publish the vast swathes of non-personal information that the UK government collects & creates on behalf of the UK citizen

Public Data is Your Data
Their mantra is " Public data is your data." , and in a innovative way of engaging with the developer community [ qv BBC Backstage] they have put together a competition for ideas on how to work with public data, with a prize of £20k to develop the idea to the next level.

About the Competition
Given that the UK government produces masses of information on what is happening around the UK, the competition is about information, about communication and above all about making government information more useful. This includes information on , for example, crime, on health, on education.

So the Power of Information Taskforce want to hear ideas on how to reuse, represent, mashup or combine the information the government holds. To provide people with some raw materials they post some example links to information sources here.

The Prize - £20,000
To make things interesting, they are introducing a competitive element. They will take the best ideas from the community commenting on the website and put them to a judging panel selected by the Taskforce. Both technical and un -technical entries are welcome - the strongest ideas will win. Depending upon how the entries develop they might create some categories as the competition rolls on.

They are offering up to £20,000 {NZ$50k} to take ideas forward with a development team. That may be time with a designer to create a professional mockup that can be pitched to organisations, or some programmer time to create a working prototype.

The competition will close at the end of September, with an announcement of the winners by the end of the second week in October.

I like this idea - I like it a lot - maybe this could be one of the foundation ideas of the new Digital Development Forum - Minister Cunliffe might want to give it a bit of a push as well on Thursday?

Inaugural Meeting NZ Digital Development Forum, Tuesday 23 September 2008, Wellington

This morning the Chair of the NZ Digital Development establishment Board, Fran Wilde issued an invitation to stakeholder organisations interested in participating in the set up of the NZ Digital Development Forum, the body which it is envisaged will guide the activities of the operational arm, the NZ Digital Development Council.

If interested people are asked to register their interest in attending a stakeholder seminar/conference on the 23d September, 2008, at the Duxton Hotel in Wellington. The agenda is still under development, however, I understand the plan is to have a series of sector meetings in the morning who in turn will present their thinking to an extended meeting with Minister Cunliffe in the afternoon.

The sector groups will roughly follow the proposed outline for Forum Members, and are expected to include representatives from a wide spectrum of stakeholder organisations including, for example, business, ICT professionals and suppliers, local and regional government, community and voluntary organisations, Maori, Pacifica, creative and cultural.

The Background
The background to this is a little complex, but easily separated out. Thus in April 2008 David Cunliffe, the NZ Minister for Communications and Information Technology, announced support for the formation of a new participant-led Digital Development Forum including the delivery arm of the Forum, the Digital Development Council.

To get things going he set up an establishment board led by Fran Wilde. Members and details, here.

The Digital Development Forum is the core membership body, and is intended to be an 'association of associations' bringing together a range of organisations with common interests in progressing New Zealand's digital development.

It is proposed the core role of the Digital Development Forum will be to provide a coordinated voice and recommendations on strategic priorities to the Digital Development Council and to the Government. However, David Cunliffe has also made it clear that the Forum will not be "tied to the apron strings of any government agency" but will be run by the stakeholders involved.

The meeting in September in the Duxton hotel is the first attempt to bring the stakeholders together.

There is more detail on the Digital Development Council web site. Interested organisation, especially those who want to participate, are being asked to register an interest, here

Creative/Cultural Sector
One of the big criticisms of the makeup of the foundation board was the lack of representation from the creative/cultural sector. The message back was that these organisations would be offered full stakeholder partnerships when the arrangements for the Forum came into play.

Well this is it - the meeting on September 23d is where people who have a stake in this project need to be. So declaring an interest might be a good idea! That link again, here.

Saturday 23 August 2008

Read while Waiting - Auckland

Well it was, shall we say, a "select gathering" for the Auckland end of the Read while Waiting project - but it was raining - and it was definitely fun. I took some fotos and added a couple of random ones from my flickr stream just for fun. And - if you totally love books you have to check the UK Guardian- out of Christchurch City Libraries blog at the end . And good old christchurch City Lib - they have just blogged the Christchurch end of the Read While you wait, here

The Guardian UK
Christchurch City Libraries blog report on the Guardian weekly story on the quest to find the oddest book title in the last 30 years. Past winners:

Past winners in full

1978: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice (University of Tokyo Press)
1979: The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution (Transaction Press)
1980: The Joy of Chickens (Prentice Hall)
1981: Last Chance at Love: Terminal Romances
1982: Population and Other Problems (China National Publications
1983: The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling (MIR)
1984: The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History and Its Role in the World Today (Constable)
1985: Natural Bust Enlargement with Total Power: How to Increase the Other 90% of Your Mind to Increase the Size of Your Breasts (Westwood Publishing Co)
1986: Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality (Brunner/Mazel)
1987: No Award
1988: Versailles: The View From Sweden (University of Chicago Press)
1989: How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art (Ten Speed Press)
1990: Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual (Lace Publications)
1991: No Award
1992: How to Avoid Huge Ships (Cornwell Maritime Press)
1993: American Bottom Archaeology (University of Illinois Press)
1994: Highlights in the History of Concrete (British Cement Association)
1995: Reusing Old Graves (Shaw & Son)
1996: Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers (Hellenic Philatelic Society)
1997: The Joy of Sex: Pocket Edition (Mitchell Beazley)
1998: Development in Dairy Cow Breeding and Management: and New Opportunities to Widen the Uses of Straw (Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust)
1999: Weeds in a Changing World (British Crop Protection Council)
2000: High Performance Stiffened Structures (Professional Engineering Publishing)
2001: Butterworths Corporate Manslaughter Service (Butterworths)
2002: Living With Crazy Buttocks (Kaz Cooke – Penguin US/Australia)
2003: The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories (Kensington Publishing)
2004: Bombproof Your Horse (J A Allen)
2005: People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It (Gary Leon Hill – Red Wheel/Weiser Books)
2006: The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification (Harry N Abrams)
2007: If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs (Simon & Schuster US)

Friday 22 August 2008

Read while Waiting - part 2

Okay - this is my final Friday afternoon attempt to drum up interest in the Read While Waiting project which is happening at 3pm tomorrow , Saturday, 23rd August, 2008

Basically its easy - at 3pm tomorrow , wherever you are in the world, or closer to home, New Zealand, you stop what you are doing - head to a public space, either alone or with friends and start reading for 15 minutes.

The idea being to celebrate and participate in the world wide happening, Read While Waiting project, being organised globally by the lovely people at Random Alphabets in Malaysia

The detail - Auckland - Wellington - Christchurch
You can do this anywhere - either alone or with friends. However, if you live in Auckland , Christchurch or Wellington and want to make it more of a group happening thing - then head to either Aotea Square - Cathedral Square or Civic Square -- i.e outside the City Gallery.

The guys from Random alphabets have also set up FaceBook pages for each location, here . As well as KL,Sydney, Melbourne, Perth etc, there are pages for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch

Random Alphabets
There are also a whole bunch of new videos and other news at the Random Alphabets site. check them out afterwards for photos etc. Even better take a camera and take some photos/videos of your own.

There you go - spread the love!! I will be at the Aotea Square one. Hope people join in. Here is one of the new videos ...

Copyright owners must consider "fair use"

One of the big take outs from the recent visit of Richard Stallman to New Zealand was his bringing into focus the potential of the USA Digital Millennium Copyright Act to inhibit fair use of copyright - i.e. the right to use a snippet of someone else's copyright for our own purposes whether for leisure or research.

Until now much of this debate has centered around how to allow students academics, columnists, journalists et al to continue to enjoy the right to quote from an article or whatever as a way of critiquing either the work or the issue.

DRM - Digital Rights Management
The debate around fair use gets much more intense and interesting when you start bringing in the impact of DRM systems - i.e. those inbuilt software locks and gates which manage my/your rights to access and enjoy a piece of music, or film, or written work, after I/you have purchased it.

Kim Hill - NZ National Radio
As may be imagined Richard Stallman has strong views on this, especially around the crucial test as to whether I still have the right to share the same with my friends. He shared some of these with NZ broadcaster Kim Hill. She in turn did him the courtesay, at his request, of putting his audio up in both MP3 [ the usual] and Ogg Vorbis - here

Buying food at the supermarket
I too have strong views on the sharing and exchanging digital goods with freinds et al. For example, one way of looking at this is to imagine a trip to your local supermarket. You buy the ingredients for a meal and take them home and then cook them for the evening meal.

You call the family together and you sit down to eat. Nothing contentious there - you have bought the food and have the right to enjoy it as a family.

The door bell rings
But imagine the door bell rings. It's your son's best friend. You invite him to sit down and share the meal. Under many DRM systems, at that point, you would have to stop everything and go back to the supermarket to either ask permission to share the food, or more likely, pay another fee for the food because you are now extending your use to include external people. In short you are sharing it to the community.

DRM destroys community
Sounds a little fanciful, and to be fair to Stallman, the example is mine, not his. His best line is even simpler - when you restrict the users ability to share - you restrict the whole idea of community - in short it is an attack on a basic human right.

Stephanie Lenz
This morning I came across this news report from CNet News. In it they report the welcome news a federal judge in the USA has given fair use a boost when he refused to throw out a lawsuit from a woman who is trying to stop Universal Music's demand that YouTube take down a 30 sec video of her child dancing in the kitchen to the muffled sound track of one of their artists. In this case Prince.
In what CNET reckons to be the first ruling of its kind ruling (PDF) , Judge Jeremy Fogel held that copyright owners must consider fair use before sending DMCA take down notices.

Let's be clear what the issue is here . A song is being played in the background. The video is about a wee kid dancing to the music. In other words a little family having a dance and a play in the kitchen. They wanted to share this moment. The moment - not the music!

I don't know about you - but I think this US judge deserves a medal. As for Universal Music - you have to ask what planet these guys live on. You make up your mind? So, at the risk of infringing yet another copyright - "lets hear it for the boy"

Thursday 21 August 2008

Bandwidth to burn - Orcon gets VDSL2 closer to New Zealand

When people think broadband in New Zealand they almost always are thinking ADSL, i.e. the tried and proven modification to the ordinary copper phone line. In contrast to other faster/thicker jurisdictions, here in New Zealand a typical plan for a well wired domestic household would be 2Mbit/s contested. In other words, being contested, you don't ever get that because you have to share it with other people in your local hood.

Moreover, this is asynchronous [hence the A in ADSL] - which means the upload is a lot slower than the download. Real time gamers hate this for obvious reasons. But less vocal but equally frustrated are the people trying to do anything remotely interesting with so call user generated content [UGC] - e.g. legal file sharing [and yes there is such a beast ] posting to YouTube - Flickr or whatever.

Recently there have been a flurry of activity in the enhanced ADSL2 space - basically the same gig to you and I but this time the speeds [both up and down] are better - with the promise of up to 10Mbit/s.

I/we recently switched to Orcon here in the central CBD Auckland for our home broadband offer. It came with a nice new modem and a built in wireless setup. And yes, despite it still being a contested offer, so far it gives me really good speeds, especially of an evening.

Little Dorrit
Last night for example, as I was batching at home because my partner has swanned of to Wellington for a design/information architecture seminar with Donna Spencer , myself and Ming the cat, sat companionable together in front of the fire in the library space listening to a new radio version of Little Dorrit from UK BBC 7.

Perfect reception - no buffering, top quality stereo quality audio, and Ian McKellen as the narrator came over like liquid pavlova.

But that's radio - and no matter how much I love it, I have an equal passion to see some of the BBC content on their iPlayer in due time when they have sorted the rights. For example, did you know they were showing a whole dramatised series of Lonesome Dove?

Triple Play
But if they do sort the rights, how am I to get it ? This after all is the true meaning/impact of the so called "triple play" scenario - voice - video and data tailored for me, you, and of course, not forgetting Ming!

Would ADSL2 cut it? I totally expect not. Not for video to the tele. So is it all over for DSL - and are we to wait for some TUANZ inspired new dawn when we all get a fibre connection to the home?

Or are you like me, in your heart of hearts just plain old fashioned disbelieving/cynical as to how that is going to happen?

Well perhaps there is a Santa Claus, or at least a revitalized Rudof. As Wikipedia will quickly tell you VDSL2 is capable of offering anything up to 50Mbit/s [and has a theoretical limit of at least twice that] More cautiously it also goes on to talk about major drops in speed the further you get out from the exchange.

The same article tells you that NZ Orcon , and our local Vodafone are trialling VDSL2 here in New Zealand.

Orcon trialling VDSL2
I'm just off the phone from Scott Bartlett the CEO of Orcon. He confirms that they have trials in play right now in a test site in Auckland. They also have plans to extend the number of sites in the next few weeks. He also reckons there will be a very competitive small business offer out in the market, at least for Auckland, by the end of this year. And for sure he is looking for a domestic offer as soon as is practicable.

VDSL2 speeds
So what are we talking about here. Well it would appear that getting past 30Mbit/s is proving a little problematic. Moreover, the distances from the exchange are a tad variable. However, apparently the surprising good news is the test data from the upload end of the test - 15/20 Mbits/s in some instances.

This is seriously interesting data. Moreover, it does confirm that not only is VDSL2 a contender for your next broadband option [both domestically and for SME's] it can in turn be piped onto or alongside a remapped backhaul landscape options which could see fiber pushed back up the line closer to the exchange.

Note that's not what Scott Bartlett said - its my reading of the landscape.

It also means , and again this is me not Bartlett talking, it means that you can start seeing some new thinking in the public/private partnership ideas floating to the surface, especially around remapping the neighborhood point where fibre needs to sit as a feeder to a re-energised DSL unbundled local market.

The upshot for the user, whether at home or in their workshop/studio/small business is a revitalized local infrastructure in which decent broadband at an affordable price both up and down the pipe becomes genuinely flexible as well as ubiquitous.

And by the sound of it - at least for some parts of the Orcon Auckland market - this might be by Christmas. Bring on Rudolf.

And when he comes - one of the more interesting parts of the present will be I get to go to conferences and forums to share the task of creating and sharing the economic, social and cultural wealth that comes out of the pipes, instead of listening to how they should run.

Wednesday 20 August 2008

IDEA.: Factors that improve online experiences

I have just come across IDEA, The Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement, a nonprofit organization that recognizes the Internet’s potential to transform the learning process by making information accessible and engaging. Their site is useful and engaging.

They also run a journal called the Journal of Interactive Recipes which has some really interesting material . See for example this report on Factors that improve online experiences Some people I suspect might go through it and wonder what the big deal is about. Those who build good online properties will recognise some hard won wisdom.

The authors are Sathish Menon and Michael Douna. The text below is theirs - the full pdf report is here.

quote ...

Executive summary
This report outlines " key findings from surveys that explored factors that drive online experience as expressed by the three different subject groups – nonprofit organizations and cities, web designers and firms, and the general public. The survey’s major findings are:

  • Designers underestimate the thresholds for an effective site. Respondents consider a site “effective” when visitors are satisfied with respect to enjoyment, can find information somewhat easily, and never get lost in the site. By at least one point on a five-point scale, visitors have higher expectations for effectiveness than do designers.

    Nonprofit organizations believe that effective sites do not have “information gaps between what visitors want and what the site provides” and that visitors are at least “somewhat satisfied” with their sites. Designers should give greater consideration to overall effectiveness, thereby reducing the chance of failure for a user to find the information they seek.
  • Easy access to complete information is key to visitor enjoyment. All three survey groups believe that the ease with which visitors can find information and the ability to maintain orientation is critical to enjoyment. Both organizations and visitors believe that reducing the gap between what web sites provide and what visitors seek is critical to enjoyment.
    These variables explain 25% to 30% of the variance in visitor enjoyment; hence, ease of finding information is an important foundation for most sites.
  • Good visual design and up-to-date information are critical.
    Over 80% of designers and organizations believe that good visual design is important. A healthy 50% of the visitors agree.
    Fully 80% of visitors and organizations believe that up-to-date information is very important.
    Only 60% of designers believe that to be the case.
    When budgeting for your project, don’t be overly seduced by fancy graphics and multimedia. Invest in strong, clear design and simple methods to quickly deliver current information to your visitors.
  • Visitors want information fast.
    Web site visitors are looking for simple, accurate, fast, and easy to navigate web sites - preferably with links to information they seek. A significant number of comments revolved around the need for speedy access, including but not limited to download speed, in order to find the information visitors are looking for. Even in a broadband age, visitors value fast sites, both those that are fast loading and those that quickly deliver sought-after information.
  • Visitors want a broad range of topics.
    Relative to designers and organizations, visitors more strongly believe that a broad range of topics is important. Visitors believe sites can be more effective by helping visitors find interesting information - even if they are not looking for it. Designers and content developers can provide ample sidebars that link to other recommended pages, and extensively cross-link to other pages based on keywords.
  • Designers are overly optimistic about visitors’ ability to maintain orientation.
    In the survey, the ability to maintain orientation was defined as visitors’ ability to know “where they are, where they can go next, and which pages are related.” About 70% of designers believe that visitors are almost always able to maintain orientation.
    That drops to about 30% when non-profit organizations express their view. In contrast, only about 10% of visitors report being able to almost always maintain their orientation. Fewer than 5% report that they tend to get lost frequently.
    Said another way, your visitors don’t know your site as well as you do, so make sure it is obvious how to find information through meaningful menus, prompts, and not too much clutter.
  • Visitors still need handholding.
    The study asked about hypothetically providing visitors with personal assistance using a site. About 70% of organizations and visitors believe that a personal guide would increase the effectiveness of a web site. Only about 50% of designers believe the same. Designers tend to overestimate the clarity of their designs.
  • Visitors point to the lack of breadth and depth of site content as causing an “Information Gap.”
    Although over 90% of visitors say that they are able to find the information they are looking for, over 50% report that there is a gap between what they are looking for and what typical web sites provide, and 60% think that a personal guide would help them navigate web sites.
    The reported gap is negatively correlated to visitors’ ability to find information, and positively correlated to the need for a local search engine. This indicates that most web sites are unable to provide the breadth of information that visitors seek. Visitors often request broader and deeper information, when in fact they need to find existing information more easily....."


Read while Waiting project starts this Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

The Read While Waiting project comes out of the Random Alphabets group in Malaysia. The YouTube video below explains it - of how this Saturday they are hoping to start a world wide movement encouraging people to pick up the practice of reading while waiting for buses etc, or wherever they are with time on their hands.

Curiously I have always been someone who gets twitchy if I don't have something to read in my shoulder bag. However, these days I get equally, if not more stressed, if I don't have a a pen and notebook to hand as well. So a parallel campaign to reassert the power and influence of the 'common place book' might also be fun. In short, for me, its increasingly a read/write world.

"When I was 5 I was given a present..."
That said - lets hear it for the RWW posse - definitely worth three minutes of your attention if only for the quote from Sean Connery - 'it's that simple, and that profound'
And thanks to Paula E from NZ School Librarians Group for the reference.

Sunday 17 August 2008

Exploring the thinking inside web 3.0

Sunday night here. I am preparing for a session tomorrow with the New Zealand School of Broadcasting in Christchurch. It occurs to me that I am spending more and more time looking for, thinking around, and exploring my own and other peoples thinking on web 3.0 - the semantic web, and how it fits to the social ecology of web 2.0, and beyond.

As part of this I am coming across presentations which are full of insights to the same kind of thinking I am going through. This one, from Marta Strikland is one of them.

The Evolution of Web 3.0
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: iptv mobile)

Public Sector Australia - whatever happened to frank and fearless

In what may prove to be a seminal study of the Australian public servic , 'Whatever happened to frank and fearless' , Kathy MacDermott of ANU plots the changes in the culture of the Australian Public Service.

According to the APO weekly briefing, her study includes an evaluation of the lament of many contemporary commentators of the purported loss of traditional public service values of impartiality, intellectual rigour and - most importantly - the willingness of public servants at all levels to offer frank and fearless advice to their superiors and their ministers.

APO also cites MacDermott as bringing to her analysis an insider’s sensibility and a thorough forensic analysis of the impact of some 20 years of relentless administrative ‘reform’ on the values and behaviour ofthe APS.

The study begins in the Hawke-Keating eras, with MacDermott arguing that structural and cultural change compromising the integrity of the public service reached its apogee towards the end of the eleven years of the Howard government.
Copyright of The Australian National University, ANU E Press
SOURCE: APO Weekly Briefing, 7 August 2008

Also acknowledgments to The Source, NLNZ

Wednesday 13 August 2008

Kiva - micro lending that just might work

Like many other people involved in the New Zealand digital landscape I hear, and indeed contribute, to a lot of debates around economic transformation and how ICT can be used as both a business enabler and a tool for community empowerment.

Often these ideas are talked about as if they are either in conflict, or governed by separate rules. One ruled by the market. The other by sentiment.

Although there is sometimes merit in this separation, and although , for sure, in many instances this stuff gets complicated, just now and then something pops up in your porridge pot which kind of makes instant sense as well as offering a place for head and heart to hang out together.
The Kiva project is one of these projects. Billed as "the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website", it allows the likes of you and me to lend directly to known, or what they call 'unique' entrepreneurs in the developing world. In other words when you offer the money [say $25 dollars]- you know what project it is going to and to whom.

Real Individuals - real project.
Even though I was never a fan of the sponsor a child idea, I like this idea. I like the notion that what I am offering is something I can afford - while the person who gets the support just might make it - i.e. find a way to make a living, feed and educate their family, etc.

Kiva on Facebook
They also seem to be quite a smart outfit. Their web site offers lots of links to main stream news stories about their activities thereby, at a stroke, sorting out your first concern, "are these guys for real".

They have also recently extended into Facebook, as of an hour ago had over 12,000 fans , plus one new one - me. You might like to check them out here.

If you go there have a look at the You Tube embed to a USA Frontline documentary. Or if you like, click here.

Mohammad Yunis - Nobel Prize Winner.
Micro financing is nothing new of course. Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank has been a strong advocate of this for a few years now. The story of this man is of course well known - of how, in the face of a famine in Bangladesh, he abandoned the teaching of economics as irrelevant, went down into the slums of the poor, listened to the problems and then started lending small amounts of money, mostly to women. His vehicle, the Grameen Bank. has now lent over 7 billion dollars - and even more impressive the repayment ratio was 98%.

The embed below is from Skoll World Forum 2007. This years forum looked at the growing importance of incorporating cultural literacy, into social change planning. The 2008 proceedings are online here. In the meantime, here is Mohammad Yunis.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Web 3.0 - from the POV of the stamp

I'm preparing for the Digital Future Now conference in Auckland tomorrow. I am speaking on a panel with Simon Young of iJump and Nicholas O'Flaherty of BulletPR. The topic is "Making Social Networking Work for Business"

While looking though some potential sources I came across this lovely little number on the semantic web and web.3.0 , It's a little geeky, but well worth your next four minutes. especially in the way it puts a whole bunch of emerging standards into context. And if you have time take the opportunity to scroll through some of the related sideshows at the end.

Monday 11 August 2008

Google Streetview in Australia - hallo Melbourne

This morning had me on New Zealand Breakfast TV to discuss Streetview Australia, the latest out of the local Google stable of applications and ideas.
At its simplest you can describe it as another layer of Google Maps to complement the existing Map. Satellite and Terrain views.

By choosing the now additional Streetview option and then going to, for example, downtown Melbourne or Sydney, you get to put your self on La Trobe Street or Lonsdale, Melbourne,or Oxford Street, Sydney, click the button, and there you go - a wrap around picture view of the street in pictures - complete with passing cars and pedestrians.

The images have been taken by Google staff and the panorama of street-scape created by Google. There are even pictures of the Google cars on Flickr, here.

And yes, although initially skeptical, it does become strangely compelling - you can move yourself up the centre of Oxford Street, in Paddington, Sydney, have a look in the shop windows, look out for the buss of the day, and, if you have fond memories of Oxford Street on a Saturday immerse yourself in a quasi virtual version of Saturday in Paddington.

And yes there is to be a New Zealand version. The UK version is currently in development.

Privacy concerns?
To combat privacy concerns Google reckon they have smudged out both the registration numbers on cars, as well as peoples faces. I'm not so sure how successful this is, or how useful.

For example, most people are recognisable by the shape of their body, the way they hold themselves. Moreover, on the Internet surely identity isn't just about the sharpness of the image. It's also about who owns and controls yet another piece of the digital landscape, and crucially it's about trying to figure out where all the little bits of digital me are stored and distributed.

I discussed some of this with on TVNZ this morning. The video is here if you care to go and have look. I even made one of the editors picks!

EPIC - the great mash up of all time
As for Google, one the GREAT mash ups of all time is EPIC - a piece of video art which conjectures one scenario for the future of media in which Google and Amazon rule the world!

Since its first outing a couple of years ago, there has been a bit of a backlash as to whether it is too simplistic. Too authoritarian - doesn't allow us the ability to intervene, change the frame - or in the jargon, no room for 'agency'.

Whatever, it still works for me. It's real home, with Creative Commons imprint, is here. But Youtube also has a version which I have embedded.

Saturday 9 August 2008

Monitoring US politics - follow the money - - from Scout Report

The Internet Scout Report has been one of my Saturday sources for as long as I can remember being online. Though the mileage can vary, especially around its USA centric viewpoint, it does offer a weekly round up of some interesting sites and projects of interests, especially around the humanities, politics and cultural/heritage collections.

This week they have this little jewel which I thought, given the upcoming US election might be of interest. It also fits nicely with the widely held view that US politics has to be carefully monitored in terms of special interests and big corporates ability to control, or shape the political process inside the USA, and, as a consequence the globalisation agenda whereby other states have to sign up to the US way of doing something.

So thanks Scout for this one. And never fear, I will do the obligatory Scout acknowledgement at the end.

" Every citizen of the United States (and anyone else with an interest in politics) should take a close look at the website. This rather innovative database brings together three unique data sets including bill texts, legislative voting records, and supporting and opposing interests for each bill.

This data allows users to determine the contributions given by interests supporting and opposing each bill and the average donations given to legislators voting "Yes" and "No" on each bill.

Currently, covers the California Legislature and the U.S. Congress and first-time
visitors may wish to start by watching the six-minute introductory video which explains all of the bells and whistles on the site.

After that,visitors can click on either the "California" or the "U.S.Congress"sections of the site to learn about current voting patterns related to interest groups (such as teachers unions and the health insurance industry), legislators, and pending bills. Moving on, the site also offers up a presidential money race widget that can be customized in a variety of ways.

Visitors may also wish to sign up to receive email updates and they are also welcome to send along feedback. [KMG]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2008.

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Australian-New Zealand newspaper digitsation projects

Australian Newspapers Beta
The National Library of Australia, in collaboration with the Australian State and Territory libraries, are creating a free online service that gives full-text searching of newspaper articles. This will include newspapers published in each state and territory from the 1800s to the mid-1950s, when copyright applies. The first Australian newspaper, published in Sydney in 1803, is included in the program.

On 25 July 2008 the Australian Newspapers Beta service was launched to the public. The Beta service contains 70,000 newspaper pages from 1803 onwards and additional pages are being added each week.

The Library is looking for feedback, and will continue development of the beta service over the next few months. Check it here.

An hour ago, they launched a Facebook supporters page. I like this idea. The project lead is Rose Holley who used to be at the University of Auckland Library team, and was a key supporter and advocate for the NZ National Digital Forum.

NZ Papers Past
And yes , I know I should mention that if people, especially offshore are keen to follow this link, they should also be advised that the New Zealand effort, Papers Past is also well worth a visit, here.

Papers Past contains more than one million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1920 and includes publications from all regions of New Zealand.

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Innovation in the UK creative industries, and other excerpts from the reading pile

Currently sitting to hand in the reading pile are three hefty, but nevertheless useful reports which I intend studying in depth. The first, on Innovation in the creative sector has a useful set of definitions on both the sector and the concept of innovation.
The second offers an important insight into some Australian policy frameworks around the digital divide.
While the third goes global with a challenging set of assumptions and targets on the the ongoing fight against global poverty.

The first, Hidden Innovation in the creative industries report by Ian Miles and Lawrence Green
July 2008 offers a comprehensive analysis of hidden innovation practice and theory inside the UK creative sector.

They start from the assumption that though the concept and practice of innovation has been a subject of serious academic and policy interest for several decades, the 'creative industries' have been studied for a shorter period of time, but perhaps more intensely.

Their opening premise is that we do not understand well the process of innovation within the creative industries, nor how waves of innovation from elsewhere impact upon them. Since they represent a large and fast-growing part of the UK economy, they beieve this gap in understanding needs to be remedied.

Working with the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, the research project uses the tools of 'traditional' innovation research to explore, analyse and compare innovation in four sectors that are critical to the UK's creative future: videogames development, product design, advertising, and independent broadcast production.

[Source - Simon Riley, Net Impact]

Extending Australia's digital divide policy: an examination of the value of social inclusion and social capital policy frameworks

Digital divide policies have been historically rooted within the information society / knowledge economy credo and as such they have been largely motivated by the anticipated value of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) diffusion.

In Australia, a range of government policies have attempted to address inequalities in ICT access and use since the late 1990s. Despite these attempts, key determinants of internet access such as age, income, educational attainment and Indigenous status are proving to be persistent, while more complicated and nuanced factors are likely to be determining the way people use the internet.

In order to examine how the social benefits of internet accessand use can be understood and harnessed in Australia, this paper explores the implications of adding two concepts to
policy deliberations: social inclusion and social capital.

In line with the network society thesis, both concepts highlight the way social,political and economic practices, institutions and relationships are increasingly organised through ICT mediated network structures.

APO Weekly Briefing, 24 July 2008 via, The Source, National Library New Zealand
2008 State of the Future
The Millennium Project was commissioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2002 to develop a concrete action plan for the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

It publishes a report periodically assessing the current state of the world and projecting developments in the future.

The 2008 report is to be published in August 2008. Currently available is information on the report and a ten page summary.
While it does not claim to predict the future, the 2008 State of the Future report hopes it helps us to think analytically about crucial global challenges.

Includes chapters and insights on/into:
* Science and Technology
* Nanotechnology: Future Military Environmental Health Considerations
* Education and Learning 2030 (59 pages)
* Measuring and Promoting Sustainable Development
* Environmental Security
* Future Ethical Issues
* Factors Required for Successful Implementation of Futures Research in Decision-making
Executive Summary: (10p)

dgAlert_Knowledge Economy, 27 July 2008 via Source, National Library, New Zealand

Monday 4 August 2008

NZ Olympics - the last 100 years from NZ History Group

I have a great deal of time for the NZHistory Group. Over the last couple of years they have consistently planned and executed first class online features to match either an anniversary or an upcoming event.

The Editorial Plan
Apart from the quality of the offer, this track record is a welcome example of an annual editorial plan - where features and online exhibitions relates to the world outside - a tactic I'm afraid all to often missing from many of the web sites, both local and global, of our big museums, galleries, archives and libraries.

Olympics - NZ last 100 years
This new feature is tied to the Olympics, and though pitched to all, the focus is on schools.
It begins with the pioneering efforts of Harry Kerr, Violet Walrond and Arthur Porritt, moves through the great track triumphs of Lovelock, Snell and Walker, and includes the achievements of NZ rowers, canoeists, equestrians and yachties.

For example, swimmer Violet Walrond was New Zealand's first female Olympian at the 1920 Antwerp Games. Travelling for nine weeks with little chance for training, Violet and her team mates, including bronze medallist rower Darcy Hadfield, were severely disadvantaged.

Darcy Hadfield had been to Belgium before but in very different circumstances. In 1917 he was wounded at the horrific battle of Passchendaele. With more than 4600 Kiwi soldiers lying in Belgian war graves, the Antwerp Games were laden with meaning for many New Zealanders.

Although New Zealand will compete in Olympic soccer for the first time this year, in 1956 a Kiwi soccer referee, Morrie Swain, found himself ‘the least popular man in the stadium’ as his offside decision helped hand the gold medal to the USSR team just weeks after the brutal Soviet invasion of Hungary.

New Zealanders had more problems at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Not only did they face resentment from African nations dismayed at the All Blacks decision to tour South Africa but technical problems meant Keith Quinn was unable to broadcast much of the opening ceremony to Kiwis eagerly awaiting the first live television coverage of the Games.


Media Gallery
The media gallery showcases the best and worst of Olympic history with footage ranging from mid-air shots of 1954 gold medallist long jumper Yvette Williams to that famous radio commentary of the gold medal runs of Peter Snell and Murray Halberg at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

The Classroom
Invites students to examine not only the place of the Olympics in New Zealand's history but the many intersecting historical events that have contributed to the international fascination with the Olympics - the political wrangling, boycotts, controversy and tragedy.

Other features include, “16 Olympic Stories” , with one story one for each day of the 2008 Games, an Olympics quiz tests with a virtual gold medal for those who score over 80% plus a Community Contributions section invites visitors to challenge well-known sports writer Joseph Romanos’ list of New Zealand’s best Olympians.

First class effort. Perhaps their masters, the NZ Ministry of Culture and Heritage might care to give them a chest of gold to keep up and extend the good work.


Christchurch City Library
See also these resources from Christchurch City Library who, inter alia, have devoted their regular online Edition feature to the Games, here.

They also have a general Beijing Olympics backgrounder here.
Also see their backgrounder on some of the controversies surrounding the Beijing
Game , here .

Friday 1 August 2008

Friday Walrus -

Friday afternoon here in a very wet Wellington. I have been here for two days. I've enjoyed it. I spent time in the NLNZ in the Adjunct Director role, as well as taking the chance to go to the Internet NZ AGM last night.

Digital Development Forum
Also had some interesting meetings today, including a catch up on the new The Digital Development Forum and Digital Development Council who are tasked " to work together to help realise New Zealand's Digital potential" They are independent bodies not tied to any government agency. However, the NZ government is offering some solid financial support for the first few years.

Those following this issue will know the new bodies are being coached into life through a foundation board led by Fran Wilde. If you want more on what they are up to , head over here.

Digital Development Forum.
Right now I want to briefly touch on the plans for the Digital Development Forum. This is the wider stakeholder group which will, in time, or so we hope, drive both the composition the membership , and the work plan and direction of the Digital Development Council.

Curiously this reminds me of the early learning's around MMP - i.e. when we all had to learn that the real vote was the party vote - so in this case the smart money says keep your eye on the plans around the formation and makeup of the Forum.

There has been nervousness around the NZ rialto, especially from the creative/cultural/content industries that the proposed set up is too ICT focused and doesn't allow enough space for the interests of the wider sector groups to get involved.

Again the mes age is - make sure you keep focused on the formation meetings to the Forum, because that's where the real stakeholder representation will be thrashed out.

Today I learned a date for the first cut of this process has been set for 23rd September, where people and their organisations get to understand and contribute to the structure and work plan of the Forum.

One of the already identified sectors is the creative/cultural / content sector. I will post more on this when details emerge - however, it is good to hear that plans are afoot.

Internet NZ new Board members
I'm also planning to to post more on the Internet NZ AGM next week. Herewith, however, the results of the vote for new board members.

Jamie Baddeley (3 years)
Michael Wallmannsberger (3 years)
Chris Streatfield(3 years)
Donald Clark(3 years)
Jonny Martin(2 years)
Neil James(2 years)

Oxford Internet Institute

From the mailbox overnight comes this update from the Oxford Internet Institute. Many of their sessions are webcast - check here.

OII often debates on issues that are of similar concern or interest to NZ. For example they report the UK's Minister for Digital Inclusion, Paul Murphy, came to the OII recently to discuss how the UK Government plans to tackle digital inequalities.

They also have some great events coming up, and the new Digital Forum might consider emulating some of the topics they bring out for discussions. For example:

Tues 12 August:
Future Directions for US Public Media
Dr Walter Baer

Thurs 11 - Sat 13 September:
Oxford e-Research Conference 2008

Wed 17 September:
Anti-war activism: New Media and Protest
Dr Jenny Pickerill

Wed 24 - Thurs 25 September:
GikIII Workshop

Mon 6 - Tues 7 October:
Fourth International Workshop on Human-Computer Conversation

Thurs 23 October:
Lecture by Professor Manuel Castells

Thurs 30 October:
Addressing Your Email Productivity Paradox: A Master Class
Dr Monica Seeley

While in the pipeline they have Vint Cerf (Chief Internet Evangelist, Google) (23 Sept) / Prof Manuel Castells on the political implications of the network society (23 Oct) / Prof Eli Noam (Columbia Business School) on Ultra TV for Ultra Broadband (13 Nov)

Applications for visiting fellows OII also have an active visitors fellows programme. Its been going strong since the early days of the OII, with 53 academics, industry leaders, practitioners, Civil Society advocates and policy makers have also spent time with the over the years. Latest visitors include:

Dr Linda Jean Kenix (Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand) who will be examining how particular Internet blogs may facilitate, or conversely, hinder the process of social change. Are many of the most 'popular' political blogs actually functioning as an inhibitor to deliberative democracy?

Dr Jenny Pickerill (Lecturer in Human Geography, Leicester University) who is currently exploring anti-war activism in Britain, and anti-capitalist activism and everyday life.
[Note her event: 'Anti-war activism: New Media and Protest' on 17 Sept above]

Dr Tanai Khiaonarong (Senior Lecturer, Westminster Business School) who has research interests in the impact of ICTs on financial services: his work focuses on how central banks use the Internet to support their monetary and financial stability mandates.

They are inviting applications for a limited number of places on their Visitor Programme for 2009:

Have a safe weekend. I am off to Napier to do the whanau thing.