Jobs I have known before… St Kilda Council

In a team meeting today, a manager reflected on how we were working in the bowels of the organisation (as in we are an important part of keeping things working). Given it was a fairly relaxed team meeting I was able to offer a story of when I actually worked in the bowels of an organisation.

When the St Kilda Town Hall burned down in 1991, they moved me and my temporary photocopier over to the basement of the library. Right under the sewer pipes. It was a dark basement and the repetitive flow of water flushing down drains was quite depressing.

Did you know they recently commemorated 30 years since the town hall fire? There’s even a 11 minute video with 5 minutes of organ music in it –

I did get a “I survived” t-shirt. Who knows where that ended up!

The library did get upgraded to a new and innovative analog photocopier with a touch screen and an auto stapler, one of the first in Australia at the time, and for which I had to go attend a special course to learn how to use.

am image of the xerox 5100
photo of my xerox 5100 certificate


Learning as a Service

Learning as you go…

TLDR: I have fixed a leaky wiper water thingy in the car after watching a YouTube video. 🤞

My partner drives a 2004 model Audi sedan. It was a well looked after used car and we have had it serviced regularly. First we went to the Audi dealer for the services but the car always came back with something randomly broken. First it was the cup holder, next time the glove box, the next the air con air hose split. So we decided to get the car serviced locally instead. The local was great. Always fixed things we asked him to, and believed he was reasonably priced.

the car – image owned by me

Between services (and through the Victorian Covid lockdowns) he has moved premises. The latest service we requested for 2 extra things to be completed, when booking the service, – fix the leaky window wiper reservoir that leaked, and fix the electric window. He did neither. And suggested the would have needed to put the car on the hoist as the excuse. 🤨

The wiper reservoir keeps running out of water. So I googled and found a YouTube video.

It’s a 6 minute video. I watched it once to make sure I has the skills required. Then I watched it a couple if times, with many pauses and rewinds, to follow his guidance. Our cars were not exactly the same but I felt confidant enough that I was doing a similar thing. And I’m pretty sure I got it. There’s no leak.

This guy taught / mentored me from a static video. That was loaded onto YouTube in March 2018.

What’s my point?

Like many, at home, I learn new things from watching a quick YouTube or reading a quick blog entry. They are usually short (this was 6 minutes), easy to digest and understand and we can then undertake the task at our leisure.

Why then, in our respective workplaces, do we demand formal training courses to up-skill ourselves? Using these digestible nuggets, chunks, snippets (call them what you will) provides for quicker learning and enabled me to embed that learning but actually doing it when I was ready to undertake it. The only things I might have added – subtitles, a tools checklist, and perhaps a checklist of activities.

image from:

What have you learned today?

Watching the world go by

Like many writers I often look out my window seeking inspiration (or procrastinating!). I have a pretty good view, trees that often have local birds, views of the hills and the sky. I cannot complain.

View from my office as I turn to my left. Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia

But if you haven’t seen it, yet, there’s a site that allows you to see the view out of other people’s windows around the world. It’s called WindowSwap and it’s a delight.

Supporting Local

These are challenging times, filled with much uncertainty and stress. In particular, the small business owner is going to struggle and so there are ways we can support them. Shop local…

I’m working from this week, so ducked out at lunchtime to say thanks to the local collectibles store owner (JaJas Collectibles) and pick up some more cricket cards for Tash.

And then dropped down to our local small nursery (Bacchus Marsh Seedling Farm) for another native plant and and an orange tree for the vegie patch. I’ve heard that it will soon become too expensive to produce orange juice so I figured if we had small tree then we could produce our own if ever needed.

So I’m going to try and post frequently whilst I am working for home, telling you what I am working on, things I have learned and what I do when I get distracted during the day!

I started creating some videos too.


Thursday 26 March

I had originally scheduled this day off to accompany my mother to a medical appointment but that was postponed at the last minute so I needed to look at some of the activities I had putting off.

As it happens I had offered to fix up my mother’s church website, but given all that was going on I knew that it no longer needed a lot of content. So I used one of those online providers to build a quick site. I had already registered a domain name.

I also gathered some info and some videos on how to use both Zoom and Skype. For some reason I think Skype will be easier for the church than zoom and maybe it is because of the 40 minute time limit.

And because an image helps, here’s me participating in a video call just the other day!

I had originally scheduled this day off to accompany my mother to a medical appointment but that was postponed at the last minute so I needed to look at some of the activities I had putting off.

As it happens I had offered to fix up my mother’s church website, but given all that was going on I knew that it no longer needed a lot of content. So I used one of those online providers to build a quick site. I had already registered a domain name.

I also gathered some info and some videos on how to use both Zoom and Skype. For some reason i think Skype will be easier for the church than zoom and maybe it is because of the 40 minute time limit.

And because an image helps, here’s me participating in a video call just the other day!

Updating my habits – 10 Feb

Changing habits update:

  • A kilo per week – achieved
    • I fast one day per week, reducing carbs and will t20190210_201958.jpgry to also not each after 8pm. It’s a good start and is keeping me on track to this habit change
    • Also the reduction of carbs / sugars is also reducing my blood glucose levels – I can monitor these myself
    • I had my annual blood tests done on Friday so results dshould be sent to me in next few days. Love that my preferred GP clinic sends results by text rather than me having to go back for a visit.
  • Read a page per day of a bookScreenshot_20190210-195344.jpg
    • I partially cheated at this as I also have some books on audible and getting towards the end of Michelle Obama’s Becoming book.
    • I have a few other books lined up on audible as well as a load on my kindle.
    • Currently reading “Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney
  • The blog post is achieved – Image result for check
  • Logged into Coursera and reset the deadline on the Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential course – this is another course by the team from the Learning How to Learn team which I loved and highly recommend every one undertake.
  • Resources / links

Hey you guys – have great week!

Baby steps to personal change

It’s a new year, dang it’s February already.


Creator unknown – found on google

And so there are things I have been avoiding that I need to do. And as the Queen of  Procrastination, they have not been getting done.


I resolve to fix that.


So I plan to do a few little things to help fix that.

I believe these are called Tiny Habits – there’s a site and a5 day program for this – check it out.

Anyway my habits:

  1. Lose 1 kg per week for 20 weeks
    • seems perfectly achievable rather than focusing on a larger weight loss goal
    • I’m fasting one day per week – which is working
    • And reducing my carb intake – which is challenging as I love bread and potatoes and rice 🙂
  2. Read a one page per day of a book – will try at bedtime
  3. Write a blog post at least once per week – I want to enter a short story contest so I need to start somewhere.
  4. I should do the 5 day course for tiny habits as I think I am only supposed to share 3 but my 4th tiny habit is to make time to do some of the online learning I have registered in on coursera and udemy.


Other Resources:


Virtual Reality – a taster

@SamuelTates sets up the VR gear for us to trial

A couple of months ago I participated in a VR Bootcamp at AcademyXI in Melbourne – side note – Academy XI is great for providing boot camps and events to give you an understanding of relevant topics and then you can opt-in to take on their more extensive courses.

I thought I’d summarise some of the things I learnt during the day that may help your thinking around using VR for learning or gaming in your organisation.

There were 13 attendees in the room, mainly creatives – designers, developers, artists and our guide for the day was Sam Tates, an experienced mixed reality designer.

First we discussed how we have been exploring different realities through the years:

  1. The ‘stereoscope’ in the 1800s which messed around with depth perception and parallax
  2.  the ‘sword of damocles‘ a head mounted display device invented in the 1960s
  3. the headsets without computing power that started appearing in the 1990s

Sam shared with us his thoughts that “the future of #VR is social and shared”

We talked about the types of applications where VR would be useful including Real Estate, Therapy, Travel, Retail, Entertainment, Education, Architectural visualizations, rural / remote education.

Some of the amazing examples of VR included:

  • Tilt Brush by Google – for 3D painting
  • Cinematics – check out the Lone Echo game ( the 1st 25 minutes of game play is available on YouTube)
  • Simulations (job simulations which are  supported by gamification elements such as rewards and encouragement)

The challenge with creating VR applications is that there is a variety of mechanics and elements that need to be considered. For example, consider how you might interact in a virtual environment: levers and buttons, sound & music, hand position, voice activation, brain patterns, bio-rhythmic. Check out the video of Mike Alger’s VR Interface Design Pre-Visualisation Methods

Additionally, there appears to be no single agreed method of iconography or instructions to help build a shared understanding of design mechanics when creating a design brief. This an example of what might work and is the copyrighted work of Jeanelle Mak – 


Some of the things that you may need to consider when designing interactions in a VR environment

Application Interactions
  • Sequence (order)
  • Queues
  • Aesthetic (mood)
  • Limits / Layouts
  • Accesibility
  • Real vs Fake view
  • locomotion
  • visual queues (a user guide in the VR environment)
  • hotspots (triggers)
  • manipulation of objects
  • gaze / focus

Get started using Unity for creating VR & gaming applications or Blender for creating animations.

Finally, Sam Tates, who ran the boot camp, was a keen and passionate instructor with tangible experience in creating virtual environments. And Academy Xi is a funky training group, partially hidden away in Exhibition St, Melbourne and offers some great learning opportunities, both single events and more detailed training. Thoroughly recommend both and their links are contained above. Pretty sure they are running more of the these VR boot-camps if you want to get a taster.

KM lecture – student questions – 1 of 4

A couple of weeks back, I was invited again to provide a practitioner perspective to the postgraduate Knowledge Management students undertaking their Masters Business Information Technology at RMIT – shout out Professor Vanessa Cooper.

What I do is cover some of the experiences I have had in undertaking KM solutions in the different organisations I have worked for, and aligned with the student’s goal of creating a KM strategy, provide examples of the strategies, challenges, successes and learning opportunities I have experienced.

And gosh, I could go on for hours about those. However, at the end of the lecture, there is an opportunity for questions. And each time I have participated, I am prompted and reminded about the fun and exciting challenges I have faced and the ability to share with peers through the various networking opportunities that are available around Melbourne and online.

I listened to the audio recording of the lecture so I could remind myself of the questions asked and thought I’d share those questions, and my responses in a post.

1. User design – student noted from my LinkedIn profile that I had undertaken a human centre design course. How did that impact my work?

Firstly shoutout to EA Learning and their Design Thinking in Business course, which was facilitated by Helen Palmer.

so, human centred design – a series of methods and concepts that starts with people and trying to understand their process or problem. What can happen during this understanding/learning phase is the problem or process may be bigger or smaller than previously anticipated. but by utilising s series of techniques to extrapolate the problems and gain insights, you may well solve a problem or create fantastic new ideas.

But throughout this series of techniques, experiments, ideas, concepts etc, the focus must remain on the human elements – the user- and ensuring that they desire the problem you are solving / ideating.

The impact of this course on my KM work is that it reminds me that the user (whether employee or customer) is at the centre of whatever KM solution or system I am endeavouring to implement. Plus I have a new swag of methods to gain insights into what the end user may need.


I did blog about the course I did a couple of years ago here and thoroughly recommend you undertake this or something similar. There is a couple of great MOOCs available too

25 more real-world examples of Virtual Reality

E-Learning Provocateur

A couple of years ago I started up Virtual Reality Working Out Loud Week to promote real-world applications of virtual reality.

The inaugural #VRwolweek unearthed 20 real-world examples of the emerging technology, and the enduring popularity of that blog post tells me that we are hungry for more.

Loath to disappoint, I hereby present 25 more real-world examples of virtual reality, drawn from this year’s and last year’s events. I thank everyone who contributed to the following list.

A virtual hand grabbing a virtual drumstick.

  • Kicking off with the Colonel, it would be remiss of me to omit KFC’s virtual escape room The Hard Way. Widely criticised for its evil genius paradigm, I urge us to appreciate the game’s otherwise authenticity. If used as a primer for training in real life, then it’s an engaging example of setting up an employee for success.

  • Anchor Construction uses virtual reality to train its construction workers, while UPS…

View original post 600 more words