Coffee ride to Caroline Springs

Today was an easy going regular ride with my adult son to Caroline Springs.  It was a cold start but the sun was shining and as we rode along it became warmer.


The path taken was well known and meanders along Taylors Creek in the first part and then, for our area, has reasonable off road paths for bikes.  Being a bike advocate and being an active member of Brimbank Bike User Group BrimBUG I often can’t help myself but at times inwardly grumble at the very car centric infrastructure and lack of consideration for anything but cars as one rides around the suburbs.  Poor maintenance of paths, lack of connection at road crossings, misalignment of ramps and links to go around intersections and bike/pedestrian paths, no pedestrian/bike road crossings at busy shopping centre intersections and road crossings.  Maybe I was a bit more grumbly inside having read a tongue in cheek article with a provocative title just before going out.

As we travelled along a dog walker totally refused to get out of our way even when we politely gave a friendly ring on our bell as we approached.  Encountered pedestrians on a shared path who walked in front of us and then gave us dirty looks for thinking they might have to stop and let us pass.  We did encounter one driver around a round about who actually gave us right of way and a wave which was nice.  Across one bike/pedestrian path a worker just put down a couple of witches hats and blocked the whole path with a little bulldozer expecting us to dismount and walk around.  He certainly had not been on the path only 30 minutes before when we had travelled down the same path!


Overall it was a good ride with good coffee and good company.  I should chill more.  STRAVA result



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Possum visitor



Over the weekend we had a surprise visit from a possum.  Unusually to spot them during the day.  Have occasionally heard them scurry over the roof at night and seen in trees or on power lines at night over the years.  We have two cats so tried to keep them indoors whilst we dealt with our visitor.  On sight the possum froze I guess just hoping we would go away.  It then turned around and got caught up in the shade cloth we have on our fence line for privacy between our neighbours.


With a bit of coaxing it eventually worked its way out of the netting and slowly made its way down the fence and under the house.  So very cute.

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Viz Lab can we use Zoom?

Zoom has become the preferred software for video conferencing in my institution.  For meetings the Viz Lab was becoming popular having good clear and available Video Conferencing facilities.  The next natural progression was Zoom.  To both instigate a meeting and to join in on a meeting a major hurdle was to engage the room camera and the sound system.  This lead to a number of fails and a number of call outs to ICT and AV sometimes under pressure to fix on the spot or respond to crisis situations where meetings or seminars had started but connections had failed.  It also led to a number of frustrating instances where people had tried and tested it out before the event, but then on the day it failed.

A couple of champions persisted and found work arounds.  One found an ability to instigate the meeting from their laptop, use the Clickshare software in the room to project their screen onto the Viz Lab wall and run the meeting in that means.  Through ICT intervention we had the Viz Lab added as a room that could be invited to participate in Zoom.  This added to making the zoom experience more stable.


At one stage we had the complete audio unit break down and need replacing.  This put the Viz Lab out of action for a few weeks which was not a good look and awkward to have to inform potential users that the Lab was out of action.  In more recent times after almost a  year of trial and error we have had a complete refresh so that now we have a dedicated presentation computer to run meetings and a separate 4K computer for data visualisation purposes.  To instigate the meeting be it just a presentation, a video conference, a web conference using Zoom or to use the 4K data visualisation computer it is now a more streamlined process to instigate from the iPad that runs the Viz Lab


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Next phase of Viz Lab

In the develop of the Viz Lab and research commons the model and proposed use was  based on existing campus VisLabs  on campus.  These labs are set apart from general areas, isolated, and not used much.  The concept of having a very open and central facility was purposely made to draw attention. In the early phases of introduction to high level research groups from faculty and school  the space was introduced as meeting space utilizing the video conferencing facilities.  This took off quickly but with it inherent IT issues and having to quickly learn new and additional capacities to meet expectations.

An initial hurdle was the fact that the Viz Lab had been locked down to only allow Video Conference out of the room as instigator of a session and having to know the exact IP address of where you were dialling too.  This information had to be sort from ICT and there seemed to be a resistance to hand over an address book of room IP addresses.  The compromise was to introduce a generic room address book onto the controlling iPad.  This was far superior, however one had to work out exactly what room one was dialling to, and to get people to double check these from regional campuses.  It was also found to be limiting in that if you were dialling multiple rooms one had to sequentially dial in each room but if you connected with a wrong room one had to hang up all rooms and start again.

One other limitation we learnt was that it was not possible to directly dial into a teaching room.  Even if  one had booked a teaching room only AV could link your room to a teaching room.  What we learnt was to get the Viz Lab accessible on the address book, and to strongly suggest users book Video Conferencing in advance via AV using a form This has proved to be more reliable however one still has to be on stand by to ring up ICT or inform remote users about muting and/or turning on speakers plus to re inforce the use of microphones for sound in the Viz Lab.

After a year of operation and review we have refocused the purpose of the Viz Lab and consequently allowed it to function more purposely as both a meeting space and as a research space.

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Queens Birthday.. an additional bike ride

Today I rode part of the Ring Road path and due to road works a detour to the Moonee Ponds Creek path through the Jacana wetlands under the Ring Road


I then rode to a favourite bakery in Westmeadows for some lunch and coffee.  From there went via Greenvale on some not so bike friendly roads towards the airport to Bulla.  The hills in Bulla are challenging


From the other side of the valley you could get a view of the city and in this shot an airplane taking off from the airport above the city.


And then from here another challenging hill after going over a narrow bridge.


Then some country kms seeing some new born lambs and then coming out near the Thunderdome onto Calder Highway and then via Taylors Lakes back home.  STRAVA result

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Airport spin. On a clear day you can see the city

What a great afternoon for a ride.  The air was crisp in the morning with fog about.  By mid morning the fog had lifted and the sun was out for a lovely winter’s day.  Today’s ride included my standard, what I usually refer to as, the airport spin.  Through the area that still has some aspects of the Keilor market gardens, up through the valley and up a hill via a vineyard to another hilly dead end road that comes out near the airport observation towers for the air traffic controllers.


From the end of this sealed road then back past the vineyard and up another steep hill past a quarry.


Then past some courier distribution centres and the QANTAS staff car park and shuttle to a busier road that then turns off to another deadend road past a golf course to the other end of the staff entrance to the observation towers.


This road is very close to the airport run ways and from here you often see domestic and international flights taking off or landing.

Today rather than just returning home I went via a section of the Ring Road Trail to Brimbank Park for two thirds of a loop and then up a few hills over the top part of Keilor to return home.  Overall around 37 kms STRAVA result.







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Molly Mazda my first car

Molly Mazda

I think there is generally a deep affection and happy memories about your first car.  I got my license while doing my year 12 HSC in 1983.  When I got near the end of the year I approached my mum and asked how much I might borrow to buy a car.   When I was younger I had quite an interest in Alfa Romeo but maybe I had enough knowledge of reliability and convention to choose this car from a local second hand dealer.  The 1971 Mazda Capella 1600 had a normal piston engine not the more racy rotary engine which for this body style & model equivalent was the RX2 which looked the same as the Capella but had round tail lights and a different engine tone.  I got the car around the same time as doing HSC exams so it was quite thrilling to be able to drive to school.

Post exams and before starting University my first big trip where this picture comes from was travelling to Adelaide for a Church youth convention and then home via Mildura to drop off friends.  I also travelled up to Sydney a couple of times in the early days.

I can only ever remember the car being reliable and faithful with good fuel economy.  It was a good size to accommodate and drive around with friends in it and had a reasonable sized boot for luggage.  I did have a couple of minor accidents one where a car came through a red light when I was doing a right hand turn and hit the tail end, and another with a minor nose to tail at an  intersection. It served me well until I traded it in on a 1980 Renault Virage wagon in 1988.

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