28 November 2006


I've just spent four days in Melbourne with Julie to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. The kids were dropped at friends and relatives (their godparents for two days, then their granddad for the other two), the dog taken care of, the garden watered, and the car stored away. We bought flight tickets online (which turned out to be a mistake) and booked and paid our hotel online as well (which turned out to be a smart thing to do).

We arrived at Melbourne Airport on friday morning, taking the SkyBus which dropped us to Spencer Street Station, and we walked to our hotel on Dudley Street. The hotel had a good reception area but really bad rooms and was located quite a big walk away from pretty much anything (and both of these things are not good factors when you're pregnant, so, yes, Julie is pregnant again), so we cancelled the next two nights, went to an internet cafe and booked ourselves into the Crossley Hotel on Little Bourke. Many thanks to the fantastic WotIf.com.au service for online hotel bookings, and the fantasticly friendly staff at our first hotel (which I won't mention by name).

I'm not going to go through all the little things we did and saw throughout the city, but I'll try to summarise it as best I can; we loved it! Melbourne is a beautiful city with a European feel to it, lovely people, not too busy (as Sydney, for example) and fantastic architecture and art everywhere you turned. I was quite taken with it.

One of the highlights for me was visiting the State Library of Voctoria, a fantastic building situated centrally and close to the university. What a feel and ambience! I spoke to some nice reference librarian about various bits and pieces, even talked about E-Resources and new search engines / interfaces, so if the library needs an manager / techie / EL1-2, I'm right there. :)

We ate and we ate and had coffees and drinks everywhere, too many to mention. the food was great everywhere, but the coffee highlight was indeed Pellegrino's (corner of Little Bourke and Crossley) who knew exactly how to make a mocha right! Thanks.

The Melbourne Natural Museum was also great. So was the art centre, although we missed most of the Australian Art that's somewhere else. I loved going on the trams, as Oslo (my hometown) also is a tram-town. I loved the arcades and the alleyways. We ate in one of them with live jazz music one night. Fantastic!

We went to Bennets Lane Jazz Club to see and hear Elena Stone Band which we knew nothing about. It turned out to be freakin' fantastic! Elena was a fantastic performer, singer and composer, and we enjoyed the concert so much. I noticed that the drummer was not only damn good and played smack on to my liking, but also a leftie, which of course made me warm and fuzzy inside, as I'm a leftie percussionist myself. (Wish I could remember his name, though)

The only negative thing on the whole trip was that we misinterpreted the flight details, and missed our flight. Because these tickets were bought online (but not cheap!) there was nothing they could help us with, and we had to buy new tickets; 600$ later, and the vanishing of our christmas budget. So the take here is that Qantas sucks, and don't buy your tickets online.

Thanks, Melbourne, for a fantastic four nights. It certainly gave us a craving for more. See you in a little while.

22 November 2006

Need unique talent?

There's a distinct chance that in about two months I'll be out of a job. I've worked for the National Library of Australia for three years now, and after such a time on a contract the job needs to be made permanent. But because I'm not an Australian citizenship they can't employ me permanently due to Australian law (which requires citizenship for permanent jobs). And I can't take out dual citizenship because Norway doesn't support it, nor do I think I'm willing to screw up my identity and future planning based on a quick and possibly stupid decision. So.

So, if you're looking for unique talent, this may be the perfect time to talk to me. I'm not so much your standard programmer as I'm a problem-solver, project manager and the sort of person that aren't afraid of huge problems and unknown territories. In fact, I think I thrive on the really big stuff. I've been in the IT industry for almost 20 years, doing all sorts of stuff, but have a knack for practical knowledge management, team development work and product design. And good ideas.

I have a CV you can peek at. It's reasonably up to date, although I'm working on it. I've also got a LinkedIn profile page you can view. You could read this blog, too, to get an idea of what I could be useful for.

I'm not stuck in Canberra even though right now that's the easiest option (as we have a house here, and somewhat of a network of family and friends). For the right job I'll move around, even back to Norway. We do have a plan of moving down the coast to the Wollongong / South Coast area (more family down there) from which I can commute to Sydney, and if we can make a deal where I work some hours on the train and some hours in Sydney, I'm your man.

Start-ups and consultancies is fine by me; I've been doing that in the past for many years. No more public service, though, and no huge companies unless in brings some serious challenges with it. I'm into everything from information architecture and usability to semantic data modelling and Topic Maps to knowledge management and project management. Feel free to ask. I'm easy to get along with.

Feel free to point people to this blog post, and post any good pointers if you find them. But no general job databases; I hate those, and that's not where the interesting jobs are found. Wish me luck. Cheers.

Update: my email is alexander dotty johannesen at gmail dotty com, where 'dotty' is a dot. Just thought I'd add that.

15 November 2006

Sniggleboffs and crimblecakemix

Ouch! I'm rather busy these days, with too many projects and too little time in which to do them. Even on the homefront there are lots and large changes going on, some secret, some not so secret. Each and one of these happenings and projects deserve their own blog post, and now that some of them are nearing completion, I might get time to knock out some proper information on them. What follows are just a few highlights ;

IT Architecture Project is a project that summarises all the best thinking in a library technology kind of way, from future business models to service oriented architectures to federated searches to innovative thinking in the interface domains. Wow, there is just so much good stuff going on. Watch this space for a better explanation of what it is and how it will turn heads both internally and externally.

Atlassian's Confluence Wiki is used at work as an enterprise knowledge sharing space / wiki playground. The out-of-the-box interface sucks big time and isn't anywhere near what you could give to normal people out there. So I've spent a very long time creating a totally new interface that both looks good, extends the functionality and ease of use, and makes more sense of the Confluence Wiki world. I'll be presenting our "Wiki as a intranet sharing tool" as a use-case at a conference in Kuala Lumpur early next year. Again, watch this space.

Meta-rain is a project that I created to try and make a prototype that cheaply and effectivly uses natural vaporization to turn sea-water into fresh-water. Grant applications aside, this is a really interesting project I wish i could spend more time on. Watch this space.

SLRXTM : I'm using the Topic Maps Reference Model to create a rather complex model for library business processing and modelling, coupled with a clever schema-design that swallows MARC, MODS, XOBIS and others with ease, creating a singular model. Watch this space.