Monthly Archives

November 2016

fSpace (Wiki) Talks– Wikimedia

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It’s fair to say that Sam Wilson is part of one of the bigger organizations in fSpace. Sam works for the Wikimedia Foundation, a company whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world. If this nonprofit business sounds familiar, it might be because Wikipedia, the 6th most visited website in the world right now, is part of it.

In addition to Wikipedia, Wikimedia has 11 other active projects, from Wiktionary (free dictionary), to Wikibooks (free textbooks and manuals), to Wikisource (free source documents). They even have MediaWiki (free software), a name that Sam even admitted was a bit confusing at times.

Sam’s analogy was Wikipedia could be thought of as the encyclopedias of a library, however a library has many other sections such as archives of photos, newspapers and transcripts. All these other Wikimedia projects share the same vision to freely share information with every person on earth.

Wikimedia projects cover 250 languages and have 75,000 active editors who contribute and edit the content of almost 40 billion entries each year. In case you’re wondering how your website traffic compares, English Wikipedia (which is just one of the 294 language editions) has nearly 5 billion page views each month.

Sam is one of just seven Wikimedia software engineers worldwide, though he prefers the title ‘computer programmer’ since they are allowed to make more mistakes. This team’s work largely consists of creating tools and programs for editors that help manage harassment & plagiarism, research tools, and integrations with partnering galleries, libraries, archives and museums around the world.

Wikimedia operates in a transparent and public forum as nearly everything the organisation does (including the work Sam does) is in the public domain. Wikimedia uses a lot of tools and programs it has developed internally, but also open tools that are available to all. An example of this is Turnitin, a program that automatically checks content for plagiarism against its own database and other records around the world.

Sam’s team works towards completing a list of 100 projects each year, a list that is created through votes by all the editors. One example was Google Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Software for Indic languages that has enabled books to be scanned rather than manually transcribed. Another was a program that automatically scans dead links in Internet archives and updates/restores those links.

Wikimedia has about 300 fulltime employees worldwide and operates on a budget of approximately $85M per year, all of which is publically funded through an average donation of just $15 each. Unlike most other nonprofits, Wikimedia does not rely on grants or large corporations for funding.

Sam also explained that Wiki is Hawaiian for ‘quickly’ and, since it is just a word, any business can use it. This explains the popular confusion over WikiLeaks, another nonprofit organisation that has no association with Wikimedia whatsoever.

Sam concluded his presentation by confirming that, despite what some children of some fSpace members might think, Wikipedia is not evil. While it is true than anyone can post anything and those things could be lies, all content should have at least one reference that represents the academic consensus. He also explained that most of the obvious lies or misstatements for personal gains are spotted by bots and removed within 10 seconds. Wikimedia editors are automatically notified of edits to articles and they obviously have the opportunity to review these. This underlying flaw of access is part of the beauty of the Wikimedia vision: to have an inclusive international community working together to share accurate information to everyone on the planet.

Thanks to Sam for sharing some insight into his work and how he contributes to one of the most incredible organisations in the world.

Visit www.wikimedia.org for more information. Then, for fun, visit their page on Wikipedia to see which one is better https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation

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fSpace Talks – Bilanz Bookkeeping

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Annelise Mauritz ventured back into fSpace to update us on her bookkeeping business, Bilanz. Annelise started her business working from fSpace earlier this year and has already added an employee with plans to hire 1-2 more staff in early 2017.

Blianz offers several bookkeeping services including BAS & IAS filings, bank reconciliation, full accounts management and cash flow forecasting.

Annelise reminded us that bookkeepers are not accountants and that most businesses require both. In addition to taking care of many often frustrating and time consuming tasks, bookkeepers can offer advice to ensure that businesses are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They can also ensure a business bookkeeping system and all the processes that go into it are set up correctly. This prevents any headaches and time wasted to dig into records to fix mistakes that could have been prevented.

Annelise works with most accounting packages but has a particular preference for Xero. She can also advise on the more than 100 add-ons available to bookkeeping/accounting software – add-ons that can help save time and money.

While she is not a payroll or tax specialist, she knows enough to spot opportunities and offer advice on areas such as tax codes that a business owner might miss. With more complicated accounting structures or situations, she recommends getting expert advice to avoid potential penalties and fines. She also recommends all businesses have a quarterly review with their bookkeeper.

Thanks Annelise and best wishes for your continued success!

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fSpace Talks – Nano Solutions

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Petr Cervenka & Saulo Onze were the latest to present their business, Nano Solutions, to fSpace. Both Petr & Saulo have a passion for technology and innovation and they combine these passions as they solve business problems with web and mobile technology.

With a master’s degree in project management, Saulo also specializes in quality control. Petr, a former chef, now calls himself the ‘geek’ as he brings a background in systems administration and software engineering.

Nano Solutions focuses on developing customer relationships, communication and quality assurances as they create systems that solve problems for their clients. Services include cloud computing (moving systems to cloud platforms) and applications through software development. They also offer maintenance services on applications and systems.

As one would expect from a couple of tech gurus, they use a lot of cool software, including some of their own creation. All is used to improve efficiency and communication with the customer, such as their paperless system to approve and monitor projects. They also use detailed development and process software to help clarify and confirm expectations with customers. All these systems support their focus of ensuring the projects they work on result in a business value and return for their customers.

Nano Solutions is also strictly committed to quality control. In addition to software and peer review on new code development, they apply extensive testing throughout the development process. They even have bug-detection software that alerts of any problems.

A major project over the past 18 months is Beachsafe, a website (and soon to be app) that combines weather reports, tide & hazard information, and beach patrol schedules that enables people to make the best choice on which beach to visit. www.beachsafe.org.au

Always looking for new technology challenges, side projects include building a small satellite that will be launched into space and exploring virtual reality products.

Check out www.nanosolutions.io for more information. Thanks Petr & Saulo!

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fSpace Talks – Outcrop Consulting

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Thanks to eternally groovy Ward Scarff for dusting off his presentation skills and sharing a little about the journey that has taken him into his current role of owner of Outcrop Consulting, a company that specialises in Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Ward spent much of his career as a Human Resources Generalist until 1994 when he changed paths to focus purely on learning and development. This coincided with his then employer’s adoption of a wide area network in Australia. As the modern Internet was in its infancy in the mid-1990s, ‘on-line’ learning largely took place in learning centres – rooms with PCs & laptops lined up with courses on CDs (kids, ask your parents what those were).

When his employer needed to provide uniform training to about 17,000 learners in 2004, Ward became the senior administrator on this LMS.

Nearly everyone has encountered an LMS of some sort, be it to learn the policies or procedures of an employer, complete compliance training, or simply industry specific training. These programs often save time and money through reduced travel and are of particular interest to larger organisations that have reportable compliance training requirements, remote employees or high staff turnover.

Outcrop Consulting originated in 2014 after some relaxing and adventurous times up north in the Kimberley region of WA. Named after a rock formation at the end of his street in Kununurra, Outcrop Consulting helps clients select and implement an LMS from the more than 700 available worldwide. However, the true value comes from Ward’s expertise in support and developing the learning content that maximises the efficiency, effectiveness and inherent value of the LMS.

In addition to state government and large insurance companies, Outcrop Consulting has also collaborated with fSpace’s very own AdHippo. Ward is currently focusing on the franchise industry as a target market.

Visit www.outcropconsulting.com for more info. Thanks again Ward!

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