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ACS Week In Review: 1 November 2013

Friday, 01 Nov 2013

Canberra Conference a great success

The 2013 ACS Canberra Conference was held at Old Parliament House on Wednesday October 30 and was hailed a success by those in attendance. With industry leaders such as Graeme Philipson, Dr Ian Opperman and Mark Toomey presenting keynote sessions, the conference gave delegates a chance to discuss how ICT is shaping our future and how professional associations can work with Government, business and the community to better promote ICT.

Following the conference a dinner was held in the Member’s Dining Room where guests enjoyed lively discussion from a panel of experts, facilitated by Graeme Philipson. You can catch up on what was said by searching #acscancon on Twitter.

The ACS is now on YouTube

Did you know that the ACS is on YouTube? You can enjoy engaging, entertaining and informative content presented by the ACS. Weekly news, live streaming and historical events are all available for free. Visit and subscribe today!

Melbourne firm adding IT jobs, 100 at a time

As more organisations undergo business and technology transformation to cope with renewed economic pressures, one Melbourne company is reaping the rewards.

DB Results, a consulting firm whose work its chief executive Andrew Dean says is 90 per cent dependent on new technology implementations, has doubled in size two years ahead of schedule.

In August 2011, it told the Victorian government it would create 100 new local jobs by 2015, but having done so by now, on Thursday it committed to a further 100, with 80 or more of those in a technical capacity. The 220-staff outfit has an annual turnover of $40 million derived from large clients in the utilities, telecommunications, banking and insurance sectors including Telstra, Sydney Water and Origin Energy. It has smaller offices in Sydney and Hong Kong.

"Fundamentally we provide big transformation services. We typically follow a company like [consultancy firm] McKinsey, who's done the strategy, and we plot out a complete transformation program and business and IT process change," Mr Dean said.

The company has always been able to source talent locally, he said, going overseas for staff only on "odd occasions". It favours candidates within "two degrees of separation": those recommended by current employees or associates, or by someone they know. It also takes in eight to 10 graduates into its graduate program every year.

The Audio Cassette tape is 50 years old

When I bought the original Apple II with a 6K integer basic and 2K assembler/disassembler built-in, the big choice was between 4K of RAM or 16K. I splurged.

But the bigger problem was mass storage. A 140K floppy drive and controller cost $600 back in 1978. That was real money - and almost what the computer cost.

5 1/4 inch floppy's were still new and rare on home computers in those days. The hobbyist alternative? A Panasonic portable cassette recorder.

Even Apple distributed software on cassettes: the floating-point basic that required a 16K RAM Apple II came on cassette as did other hobbyist programs and games. And Apple wasn't the only user of cassettes as a mass storage device.

World first machine bypasses cochlear ‘distortions’

A WORLD-FIRST brain scanning machine, unveiled yesterday at Macquarie University, will allow therapists to do something they haven’t been able to do before - analyse neurological activity in people with cochlear implants.

The new magnetoencephalography or MEG machine, which can measure brain function despite electronic interference from the implants, means therapists will no longer be operating “in the dark” when they fine-tune the devices.

Blake Johnson, chief investigator with the Centre for Cognition and its Disorders, said the machine could also give rise to a new generation of implants capable of dealing with people’s idiosyncratic responses to the devices. “(And) there are vast opportunities for research,” Dr Johnson said.

“If you take away sensory information from the brain, what organisational changes does that cause? That’s resulted in Nobel prizes in some very important lines of research.”