[LINK] CeBit Sydney Opens with Innovative Thinking

Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Mon May 24 10:30:02 AEST 2010

Greetings from the opening of CeBit Sydney: 

I arrived a little late, towards the end of the opening plenary session. 
David Gonski, from Investec was answering a question on education for 
innovation: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gonski>.
He was arguing against closed book examinations: it is not about the 
memorisation of facts, but what you can do with the information. He was 
also arguing against short term-ism. This stuck a cord with me, as I am 
have told my colleagues at ANU I will no longer set closed book paper 
based examinations: 
I am talking on this nxt month at the Moodle conference in Melbourne: 

Dr. Werner Vogels, from Amazon Web Services was the next speaker and was 
a disappointment: 
He claimed cloud computing is a new and disruptive technology.  However, 
cloud computing is a reworking of the idea of computer bureaus, which 
are decades old. This concept is so old than many now in IT and business 
are not aware of it, as computer bureaus died out long before they were 
borne. Cloud computing is different in that it provides higher levels of 
standardisation and has a standard network technology (The Internet). 
But otherwise cloud computing is just 21st. century computer bureaus.

It would be useful to look back at the literature and see what 
experience showed about the benefits and problems of this, one of the 
oldest concepts in computing. Professor Roger Clarke will be doing that 
28 May 2010 at the ANU in Canberra with a seminar on "User Requirements 
for Cloud Computing Architecture": 

CeBit Sydney are running seven parallel conferences over several days as 
well as a trade exhibition. The plenary session I am in seems to be 
about half full. I am speaking tomorrow in the enterprise conference on 
mobile web (at last I think that is what I am speaking in, as it was 
changed and I find the parallel conference streams bewildering).

My presentation is about how to optimise web sites for mobile devices 
and search optimisation: 
As usual, I prepared my presentation as a web page of notes which, via 
some extra CSS and Javascript turns into a slide show. Ironically for a 
conference about use of the web, this is something the CeBit organisers 
have been unable to cope with and keep asking for Powerpoint slides.

In contrast to CeBit, the Moodle Moot in Melbourne in July is a good 
example of this new approach. The Moot is doing the obvious and using 
Moodle to help with the organising. Each speaker gets a Moodle "Course" 
on the conference web site to provide materials about their presentation 
(mine is: "Using Moodle for Postgraduate Professional Education with 
eBooks and Smartphones". The course is pre-filled with the abstract for 
the presentation, but the speaker can add other materials and use 
Moodle's interactive features to contact the delegates, before, during 
and after the event: <http://moodlemoot.org.au/course/view.php?id=44>.

The CeBit event has partners including the Department of Defence (DSTO), 
NICTA and CSIRO. It is not clear why these organisations are spending 
funds on such an event. These organisations are not in the business of 
selling products and there does not seem to be a good reason to spend 
public money on such promotion.

However, these are minor quibbles over what is the least important part 
of a conference. Unless I am speaking, I usually avoid attending the 
formal presentations of a conference. What is important for me are the 
informal contacts outside the sessions and the trade exhibition. By 
these criteria CeBit has already been a success. As I was queuing to get 
my badge I saw two people I needed to talk to. I have not been to the 
exhibition floor, but expect it to be as good as usual.

More in the blog at: 

Tom Worthington FACS CP HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/user/3890

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