- Bicycle Bag for Aircraft
- Regatta Point Hotel to Eagle Street Pier
- Online Opinion
- Presenting the ANCCAC Medal
- Visit to Australian Creative Resources Archives
Bicycle Bag for Aircraft
15 June 2003
In the past I have prepared "live to web" technical travelogues from exotic locations across the world. These usually combine a visit to an information technology event or institution, with some travel photos and cultural activities. But some of where I live is normal to me, but will be exotic to many others. So here is a short travelogue from a trip to Brisbane 2003.
First of all to get my Folding Bicycle to Brisbane I needed to get it on an aircraft. There are many web pages and newsgroup postings about how to do this.
The bicycle maker sells a nylon bag which can be carried over the shoulder or as a backpack. However, these is designed to be folded small and carried, rather than provide protection to the bicycle in transport. The home made bag is two layers of heavy cotton cloth with closed cell foam between, closed with “Velcro” and with a webbing strap for carrying.
- 3.5 m of Cotton Drill (AU$4.50 per m),
- 1.5m x 20mm “Velcro” hook-and-loop fastener tape (AU$3.50 per m),
- 1.02m x 2.4m x 3mm closed cell foam (AU$7.00),
- 1.5m x 3mm Webbing strap with clips (AU$8.00).
The bag is just a big rectangular sack, padded to protect it and to protect other luggage from it. It is possible to place the bag on top of a wheeled suitcase for easy transport.
Qantas airline have an very enlightened policy where a disassembled bicycle with all of the parts strapped together is exempt from the usual luggage size restrictions. With a home made carry bag it was just a matter of folding the bicycle for transport at no extra charge.
There was no problem checking the bicycle on as luggage, or getting off the baggage carousel at the other end. The Brisbane Airport taxi queue was a bit long, so I took the Airtrain instead, to the city centre. This involved going up an escalator and across a foot bridge, which worked okay with the bicycle bag balanced on top of a small wheeled travel bag.
Regatta Point Hotel to Eagle Street Pier
Brisbane now has an excellent set of bicycle paths (which don't quite link up yet). One of the most pleasant follows the North bank of the Brisbane river as it meanders around the city centre. I travelled from the Regatta Point Hotel (favourite drinking spot of University of Queensland students) a few kilometres under a number of bridges and a freeway, through the Botanic Gardens to a coffee shop.
For most of its length the bicycle path is on the river bank, below the level of the parallel road. Around the city centre a wide path has been built on piles over the river below the expressway: almost a bicycle expressway. You can't see the city above, but get a good view of the cultural "south bank" with the Queensland State Library, arts centre and an artificial swimming lagoon. Also there are commuter and tourist ferry terminals very few hundred metres and a floating heliport on the riverbank. These each have a pedestrian path providing access to the city from the bicycle way.
Past the business hub of Brisbane's city centre is the administrative area with Parliament House, government offices, and the Queensland University of Technology. At this point the path nestles in between the freeway and mangroves growing on the riverbank, creating a green tunnel. A large footbridge at the point under the freeway crosses to the cultural precinct on the other side of the river.
The path leaves the freeway at Kangaroo Point on the edge of the Queensland University of Technology Campus and then follows the river around the point into the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. Past the gardens the path becomes a wooden boardwalk built out over the river, next to new apartment buildings and outdoor restaurants. My destination was a coffee shop at Eagle Street Pier. I couldn't find any bicycle racks, but it was easy enough to chain the folded bicycle to a pole next to the table. I was there to meet the people behind Online Opinion, which styles itself as "Australia's e-journal of social and political debate"(somehow I ended up on the Editorial Board of it).
The coffee was good and the conversation ranged widely. One issue was if the ACT Government's secure open source e-voting software could be adapted for collecting opinions on-line. There have been doubts about electronic voting software used in the USA and even more doubts over systems used for informal on-line opinion pools. The ACT software is engineered to provide confidence by the community and might be of use for Online Opinion to collect opinions on-line. Research is underway at the ANU into the rapid development of such software using some new technology called xtUML.
Another topic was how to expand on-line social and political debate to the wider community. While Online Opinion is available free to anyone on the web, it tends to be read by academics, politicians and journalists. If you aren't working in the political area, or passionately interested in particular topic, it can tend to be a heavy read. My suggestion was to look at using the broadband and multimedia technology being developed for scientific applications and film production.
Several research projects, such as GrangeNet and the Australian Creative Resources Archive (ACRA) have already invested heavily in broadband infrastructure. So it should be relatively inexpensive to adapt this infrastructure for social and political debate. The text based Online Opinion could be supplemented with digitised audio and video. Using the metadata search facilities being developed for ACRA it should be possible to produce a custom made TV documentary for each reader on a particular topic. Using GrangeNet it should be possible to deliver global videoconference debates.
At present this broadband infrastructure is not affordable or available for the general population. But the techniques may be adaptable for narrower band communication and might be made available at sites such as public libraries. That may sound farfetched, but in 1993 when Roger Clarke and myself suggested Internet access from public libraries, that sounded a pipe dream, but is now an everyday reality. Home broadband systems such as Canberra's Transact may make this more feasible
The discussion of digital futures went on until dusk and I rode back along the riverbank to my starting point in the twilight.
16 June 2003
The main purpose of the trip to Brisbane was to present the ANCCAC Medal to Dr Catherine Middleton for her paper Who needs a `Killer App`? Two Perspectives on Content in Residential Broadband Networks. The award was formally made at a meeting of the Australian Computer Society Queensland Branch, but we had the photo taken in front of the Wickham Terrace Windmill in Brisbane. This seemed appropriate as it was the site of experimental radio and TV broadcasts in the early 20th century.
Visit to Australian Creative Resources Archives
17 June 2003
On Tuesday I went by train and shuttle bus to the site of the new Australian Creative Resources Archives (ACRA):
Welcome to UQ Ipswich - the newest Campus of the University of Queensland. We began operations in February 1999, offering contemporary courses with the latest technology in teaching, course delivery & research infrastructure.From: UQ Ipswich, University of Queensland, 2002
The campus is a spacious mix of modern buildings and sensitively renovated historic ones:
Its facilities date from the opening of the Ipswich branch of the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum in 1878. Seventeen of the surviving buildings have been heritage-listed. Many have been restored and are now used as teaching space, computer laboratories, library space and staff offices. For details, take our campus tour.From: UQ Ipswich History, University of Queensland, 2002
Notable is the purpose built library building, which has a small goldfish filled artificial stream running through the floor. Through a glass wall the refurbished cafe building is visible. The business faculty is housed in a less interesting, but still functional modern building.
The ACRA is under construction on the floor above the former mortuary of the asylum (make of that what you will). There is a pile of video, audio and computer equipment in boxes and workers demolishing walls. Purpose designed video and audio studios will be installed and should be completed within a few weeks. The building already houses computer labs and so has a good network connection to the UQ main campus and from there to the world.
- Online Opinion
- Australian Creative Resources Archives
- ANCACC Award: Media Release and Speaker's Notes.