Whyalla – Signwriting Capital of the World?

Day 5 – Tuesday 17th July – 763 Km – Port Lincoln to Adelaide

Whyalla, second largest city in SA, has an amazing collection of signage and fonts on shops and pubs. I couldn’t work out if they were conserved for heritage reasons or had just never been repainted.

A small sample:

Whyalla Signs

Whyalla Signs

Spencer Hotel – a lovely Art Deco building with brilliant signage.

Starting Out

Spencer Hotel Whyalla

The Whyalla Hotel looking a bit worse for wear. The verandah posts are rotting and the balconies are collapsing. Can someone help?

Whyalla Hotel

Skype Test in Arno Bay

Day 5 – Tuesday 17th July – 763 Km – Port Lincoln to Adelaide

Every 2nd Tuesday, at 9am WA time, I have a Skype call with Atomic Learning in the US. On this occasion I was half way up the Eyre Peninsula at Arno Bay so I thought I’d give it a go. Why not? – Sol said it would work.
Arno Bay

And it did – no problem – even with my modest 256Kbps connection we had a 35 minute chat with no drop outs at all and very good sound quality. And it only seemed to generate about 5MB of data.

Does anyone have data rates for Skype calls?

Ceduna Sunset

Day 3 – Friday 15th July – 521 Km – Eucla to Ceduna

Arrived at Ceduna and were welcomed by an amazing sunset. I was told they are quite common here and there are a number of amazing photos around the town to confirm it.

Sunset at Ceduna Jetty

Sunset at Ceduna Jetty

Sunset at Ceduna

Testing NextG

Day 3 – Friday 15th July – 521 Km – Eucla to Ceduna

I wanted to put NextG to the test. Here I’m using it at Eucla with the antenna and it worked fine despite antarctic temperatures.

It is quite an experience to plug into the Internet anywhere, even whilst driving along.

Someone told me it only works up to 160kmph but I don’t have any way of testing that theory. iVan peaks at 110Kmph.

Testing NextG Eucla

Funny what you see on the Nullarbor

Day 2 – Saturday 14th July – 1050 Km – Southern Cross to Eucla.

Crack of dawn start to get as far as possible on day 2.

Mostly you see this on the Nullarbor (but sometimes no trees).

90 Mile Straight

But there are also other things.

A railway engine at Balladonia Roadhouse

Train on the Nullarbor

A big bucket taking up both lanes.

Big Bucket on Nullarbor

A plane taxiing round the petrol pumps at the Nullarbor Roadhouse.

Plane in Nullarbor Roadhouse

Towards sunset we saw these lights which were visible for many minutes. I can’t work out what caused them. We were heading due East away from the sun towards Eucla. I can’t see how sun rays can reflect up from the East in that situation. Any ideas?

The effect was the same outside the van so it has nothing to do with the windscreen glass interfering with the camera. It was much stronger to the eye than it appears here. I haven’t touched the photos at all.

IMG_5429.JPGStrange lights in sky heading East at sunset on Nullarbor

Almost dark and it was still there.

Strange lights in sky heading East at sunset on Nullarbor

There was a town in the distance but it didn’t generate much candlepower.

Fremantle to Southern Cross

Day 1 – Friday 13th July – 422 Km

We left after lunch and made it to Southern Cross the first night. Most of the road follows the Golden Pipeline Trail which I’ve been reading about recently. It follows C.Y O’ Connor’s legendary water pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie and much of it it is along the main highway. The ABC recently had an excellent documentary on this in the Constructing Australia series.

The Golden Pipeline

In this town they have painted the pipeline gold to make the point!

Stayed the night at the Yellowdine roadhouse which was very friendly and had a great sign.

Yellowdine Roadhouse Southern Cross

Catching Up


At last I’ve got organised to post to the blog. We left home on 13th July (despite being Black Friday) and are now in Melbourne, 4250km later. I made the mistake of choosing a time based plan at NextG Bigpond and that doesn’t allow for the browsing around and cutting and pasting that you need to do for blog entries. I’ve now changed to a Gigabyte a month plan which is much better as I can leave the modem on all day.

Otherwise the NextG account has been amazing. We have connected to the Internet everywhere except the centre of the Nullarbor and only needed the antenna once. The Beta software for the Mac is a bit buggy but works OK. The main problem being that it won’t reconnect after a sleep and you have to restart the computer and reset the preferences. There is a now an official Mac release on the Bigpond site which claims to fix this.

If Telstra got their pricing right and made the plans a bit more flexible, they could make it very hard for any competitor to get into this market but at this stage the plans are very limited. $35 for 10 hours a month and $9 an hour for every hour over! $55 for 20 hours a month and $9 an hour for every hour over! And that’s it – no plan over 20 hours a month.

$85 for 1 GB at slow speed (256kbps) or 500MB at high speed (1.5Mbps). Bigpond plans are different to Telstra plans and the modems are a different colour!

Who at Telstra dreams these things up?

Next entries will back track and fill in the gaps.

8, 10 or 11 Things That Make a Difference

Chris Betcher blogged about a conversation we had at the Little Creatures Brewery some years ago where we discussed the common themes that emerge from research about the lack of ICT uptake by schools and teachers.

Sadly little has changed. The main difference now is that most teachers use ICT in their preparation and administration. Still relatively few use ICT regularly in the classroom.

Chris listed 8 things that he remembered from the conversation. I had 10 things on my original list and Chris wrote this article based on it at the time (PDF). I later modified his piece to add Flexible Learning Spaces as an 11th thing. The modified version (PDF) is now part of my ICT Integration Guidebook which is quite popular and is used by schools and in several tertiary courses.

What we underestimated at the time is the importance of time for teachers to be free of the “daily press” (Fullan) to reflect and plan for change. May be it’s time for a 12th thing!

Are IWBs number 13?

Education Kills Creativity!

This was recommended twice last week so I thought I’d take a look.

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it.

Compulsory viewing for your next staff meeting. particularly liked the bit about the ballet dancer towards the end.


TED Talks are all available via Podcast at http://www.ted.com/index.php/