The establishment of Australia (aka a Storm about a T-Shirt)

Disclaimer: I am a New Zealand citizen who has adopted Queensland as my new home, started a family here and a business. This does not make me an expert on Australian history. (Actually it’s really expensive & almost impossible for me to get citizenship here).

Ever written a controversial blog post that makes you want to disable the comments and your social media accounts, in preparation for the backlash that may come? This is the one for me. Deep breath, here goes.

Social debate is raging over Aldi stocking a t-shirt stating ‘Australia Est. 1788’. After some negative feedback, they pulled it. Some other retailers are stocking Australia Day merchandise with the same slogan (but a different design).

What saddens me is that the debate really isn’t a debate, it’s name-calling & trolling. Like kids in the sandpit, the ‘conversation’ around this issue is infantile and doesn’t seek to explain or understand. It’s not helped by the limitation of the length of social media posts.

From what I can see (and this is why it’s called an opinion piece), here are the two sides:

A) The use of the word ‘established’ is unfair because Australia existed as a land with worthy people on it before the Europeans landed on it. To say the Europeans established it somehow implies it was ‘less than’ a country before, that’s it’s history prior to 1788 is irrelevant.

B) Australia was established by the Europeans. It didn’t exist in it’s current form with states & government and stuff before that. It wasn’t even known in the rest of the world as a country, and it wasn’t called Australia previously either. So what’s wrong with Est 1788?

Are we arguing over the good old English language? Are we looking at established:to cause (someone or something) to be widely known and accepted versus established:to bring into existence?

The land existed. It’s people existed. In 1788, it changed. One side seeks to make sure that’s well known & accepted. One side isn’t debating that but is celebrating the Europeans settling a new home.

I’m not going to draw a ‘right vs wrong’ line here about the different side of this issue (which may even be overly simplified here). I’m just really really sad that we couldn’t have a civil conversation about it. “What do you mean? Where are you coming from? What are you saying? What do you think?” Seek first to understand. And maybe it’s because I’m slightly removed from the topic that I’m looking beyond the comments and the emotion to get to the actual meanings.

No doubt this will rear again in a couple of weeks on Australia Day, our Public Holiday which falls annually on that same 1788 day/month. There’s certainly been debate to move that to Federation Day (but it gets in the way of New Years Day).

New Zealand has it’s own controversial European settlement, brought into the media spotlight annually on Waitangi Day. Don’t think I’ve ever seen (or ever would see) a New Zealand Est. 1840 t-shirt over there though, perhaps because the signing of NZ’s ‘founding document’ is so well known as being culturally sensitive.

Breathe out. So, there it is. Regardless of your perspective on the date, air your views/opinions/thoughts & feelings without putting the other side down. You’re better than that. 







Quickbooks crashes on reconcile reports or saving as PDF

Do you know the saying about builder’s houses? It refers to tradies that are so busy repairing other people’s places that their own home has a few things that need attention, but they never make the time to fix. IT people have the same issue with their own computers. I’d been putting up with a problem in Quickbooks Pro 2012-2013 for some time and finally decided to research it.

When my bookkeeper reconciled the accounts & wanted to print the reports, Quickbooks would hang. Same symptom if I tried to save an invoice as a PDF (using the inbuilt QB feature, not a third party PDF printer). My computer is running Windows 7 64-bit.

Your errors may include:

  • Could not print to printer. Check your printer selection. Printing may have been cancelled from another program’
  • QuickBooks PDF Converter Activation Error -20: You cannot print directly to the QuickBooks PDF Converter. Try using QuickBooks Save as PDF menu option or Activation error. Printer not activated. Error code -20.
  • The device is not ready.
  • QuickBooks could not save your form as a PDF file.
  • Unable to save as PDF.
  • Other .PDF file-related errors may occur when you email transactions.
  • QuickBooks stops responding when you try to reconcile accounts.

I knew if I went into the queue for the Quickbooks V303 PDF Converter, I’d see the document sitting in an Error state. If I deleted it from the queue, Quickbooks would become responsive again and carry on.

The fix is actually pretty straightforward. It involves creating a new local port for the printer, rebooting, and setting the Run As Administrator & Compatability options for the program. If that sounds like German, here are the detailed instructions from Reckon:

Just completeing Stage 1 did the trick for me. Finally. I should have fixed it months ago!




Beware LinkedIn scammers wanting your company’s services

Just a quick heads up on this one. I was sent a LinkedIn connect request by someone from a state-level sporting organisation who had a title of Finance Manager. We had a Group in common, so I accepted.

This was quickly followed by a message from him, stating that he was interested in our IT services. I was a bit surprised as he was in a different state, but the main alarm bell ringer was the slightly poor English phrasing. He made a point of telling me that NSW is in Australia. Would you seriously do that to someone you connect to who is in Queensland?

So I visited the official website for the organisation, found a contact email address and asked them if the guy really worked for them. Surprise surprise – they’d never heard of him. And you would think they’d know who their finance manager was.

Delete. Un-connect. Good-bye, mate.

Moral of the story – when those spidey senses are alerted, do some research before proceeding!



TitStare – Why women don’t feel comfortable in the tech industry.

It’s not like me to rush out a blog post. I don’t leap to my keyboard everytime something in the media has people crying out against it. But today I just felt so compelled to write about TitStare.

At TechCrunch’s ‘Disrupt’ event in San Fransisco, audience members were presented with the TitStare app by two guys from Sydney, and another app called Circle Shake by a guy in Adelaide where he pretends to jerk off. Part of that audience was a 9 year old girl. Part of that audience was female. Part of that audience was self-respecting men who couldn’t believe what they were seeing. And yeah, it was a little bit funny, but totally inappropriate for a professional industry event.

For more info on the presentations, see

TechCrunch immediately published an apology. They stuffed up. Red faces on both sides of the stage.

If I was TechCrunch, I would be furious. Furious that nobody had checked these submissions first. And they are furious. 

But that sadest thing is .. that they have to screen. That there are men in the IT industry that think it’s ok to create something about tits and s*x and present it on stage to an audience. That they think the women in the audience will laugh it off and the men in the audience will applaud.

And now, the women will complain and will be labelled as uptight and told it was just a bit of fun. F*ck off.

So TechCrunch, I’m sorry that you should even have to screen for stuff like this now. I hope that one day society will get the fact that women in tech have enough trouble being stared at in mainly-male events without having to put up with this kind of content too.   

I’ve worked in this industry for 17 years. I used to be the email administrator that sat around with the boys and had a laugh at some of the stuff we trapped in the email filters. But as technology has progressed and society’s morals haven’t, I get enough tits & ass messages on billboards, magazines, pop songs, music award shows & superbowl halftime acts. I don’t need it at work too. And I especially don’t need it at tech events.

What a stark contrast to Microsoft’s recent TechEd in Australia. Their brand is so valuable that they wouldn’t even dare risk anything onstage that hadn’t been QAed first. TechCrunch have now learnt that lesson … but sadly it’s going to take a lot longer before some men in the industry get the concept.

Kudos to the tech guys that already do – it’s awesome to share a community of respect with you.





Exchange mail delivery stops on Windows SBS 2003 with AVG

We have AVG 2013 successfully running on a number of client’s servers and our own servers, with no problems. However one particular client with SBS 2003 experiences intermittent email problems which always co-incide with an update to AVG.

Symptoms include: Users saying they haven’t received any emails recently or their recipients haven’t received emails that they sent, failed SMTP test on (indicating the Exchange server is not accepting messages for delivery).

Restarting the Exchange services does not fix the problem – a full server reboot is needed.

In the most recent occurrence, we performed some updates in the evening & rebooted the server and tested email – all ok. However the next morning, we received a call from the client when they arrived in the office. Checking the server logs, Exchange had started to fail at approx 6am. Once again, a reboot got email moving again.

Talk about frustrating! I HATE ‘reboot’ as a solution.

Fortunately AVG Support have now acknowledge that they are aware of this problem and the developers are working on it. The workaround is to go back to running the AVG 2012 engine, only on the Server, until a fix is developed for 2013.

The risk of running an earlier engine (with the latest viruses definition files) is a trade-off and is neglible when considering that the workstations still have AVG 2013 (which will scan email attachments on open or save anyway).

Will post an update when we have one from AVG, but for now if you have an SBS 2003 Server with AVG experiencing the same symptoms, stop tearing your hair out and searching the internet for hours/days/weeks etc for an answer.




Last week, on three separate occasions, I was given feedback by people I admire. Two of those were part of a formal assessment process. One came out of the blue. I respect the skills, opinions & experience of all three people. And I was glowing.

‘Exemplary’ ‘A style that’s yours – don’t ever change it’ ‘Have you considered contacting this publication’

To say I was on Cloud 9 is an understatement. And then, in that same week, I had an opportunity to speak into a few people’s lives. An opportunity to sow some seeds of encouragement, build some people up, cheer for them on the sidelines. Not to give advice, not to solve anything, but just to reassure.

It made me think that this is what the world should be like. In fact, despite of the public and not so public face of ‘trolls’ this is generally what my social media experience is like (especially with my online ‘girl mafia’). The receiving and giving of this encouragement just felt so damn good.

This week, the echo has continued .. authentic, authentic. It’s in my inbox, in my twitter feed, in my facebook timeline. Different authors, different messages, same theme – be authentic.

I’ve never really struggled with the concept. I’ve never felt a desire to try and fit in (apart from my teenage years when I just wanted to feel accepted by my peers, but that’s high school for you). But the workforce just came with a desire to feel acknowledged for what I was capable of. I never felt like I had to change who I was or what I did. So I’ve always been authentic.

Clearly, it’s an important theme though and something I need to take conscious notice of. I’ve no idea why or how it may serve me, but I’ll hold tight to it.

Be Authentic. There’s no-one else in the world like you. And that’s important. 


P.S. Before you go thinking how perfect I must be, I yelled at my kids today in the supermarket. Authentic also means human.

Why I’ll never have a Filing pile again.

This post is going to be short & sweet, as a grocery list is staring at me & the school pickup is also looming. Being self-employed means sneaking into the supermarket BEFORE pickup, so as not to drag two kids through it afterwards & it take ten times longer. But hey, if Seth Godin can write short daily posts, so can I (just don’t expect them daily)!

A business expert once said ‘do your filing once, each week’. Another business expert said ‘never handle a piece of paper more than 3 times’. I tried the former, and ended up with a pile called ‘Filing’ that NEVER got emptied, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that it was the perfect Friday job with some great music playing loudly.

So, I got rid of my Filing tray. And now, it doesn’t stare at me every day. Yippee!

Step 1: Clean out your vertical files. Only keep stuff relevant to that financial year (like current insurance certificates). Yes, you can scan them & keep them electronically if you’d prefer.

Step 2: Place everything else in archive storage boxes. Shred box contents of expired financial years (keep the last 7 years).

Step 3: Make sure your vertical files are organised & labelled.

Step 4: Use Ring Binders for A4 receipts with monthly tabs (split into half-year if necessary) and ring binders for bank statements & BAS return paperwork (worksheet & reports).

Step 5: FILE AS YOU GO. Yes, once a piece of paper has been dealt with & no longer needs your attention, throw it straight into your vertical suspension file or ring binder. Filing done at the cost of an extra minute.

This works for me because I hate seeing papers on my desk. The only things on my desk are things that need my attention or need putting into a reminder system so I remember to do them later (eg bills get entered into financial software & paper copies thrown into a red Bills to be paid manila folder on my desktop vertical file holder.

Getting rid of my filing pile was one of the best things I’ve ever done as it makes me feel in control. How do you handle the filing of your paperwork? Do you scan, save & shred everything or do you have a pile of unfiled papers like I used to?


(not really being a short post at all!)