Vaccine Eligibility checker fails those who need it most

The Vaccine Eligibility checker is too complex for many Australians with a level of literacy required that is beyond many.

According to the Info Access Group, 14.1 per cent of our population have very low levels of literacy, and over 40% have literacy levels below what is considered enough to get by in everyday life. So groups that are least most likely to need vaccines are the least likely to be able to complete the checker successfully.

At a time where we have not enough Pfizer in the country and AstraZeneca readily available, more should be done to make the form simpler, more accessible to the point and not confusing for Australians. There’s an understatement to say that there is a lot of streamlining for AZ that could be done, as you’ll be prompted by your doctor or nurse giving the vaccine anyway, helping you make an informed choice.

As one example, its easy to think in the below part that the Yes and No refers to do you need help deciding rather than are you willing to consider AstraZeneca – leading to you ruling yourself out.
#covid19vaccines Healthdirect Australia

Two ideologies intertwined

Two ideologies intertwined
Who perceive themselves as poles apart
Meet in righteousness indignation
Staring down in the safety of distance
Dismissing the other
As too radical for a country
Torn asunder.

Photo by Gerritt Tisdale on
Two ideologies intertwined
Who perceive themselves as poles apart
Meet in righteousness indignation
Staring each other down
With the safety of distance
Dismissing the other 
As too radical for a country 
That's been torn asunder.

A country where
Thousands needlessly die each night
In agonising pain alone
With machines switched off
A silence too familiar
To be quickly reused again.

But in truth 
These two pillars of democracy
Of boundless virtue 
Were never so far apart
Unrecognising that special interests 
Hold them in thrall
Their opinions bought and paid for
Many years ago.

The Grand Old Party
To its shame has abandoned its proud legacy
The party of Lincoln
Moved to unrecognisable extremes
Paranoia now its staple 
Paying its dues to special interests
Of what was once considered the extremist right.

And the Democrats
Sidestepping the pleas of its base
Unsurprisingly fails again 
A party who has become
Due to its genuflections
A pale and mediocre simulacrum
Representing the same rich constituents 
The allure of money
Intoxicating power of the Establishment
Oblivious to the needs of the many.

What of those who were proudly proclaimed around the world
The protection of the huddled masses
The tired
The poor
The wretched refuse washed up upon its gallant shores?

Those who for decades have been ignored 
More precarious year after year
There is no place for them
Those perceived as a rounding error
That ignores all math
On silent lips
Once more.

Grasping scale using animation and storytelling

I thought I’d try something different, and post updates on progressing an idea of grasping scale through animation and storytelling and at the same time do something that might be useful to alerting people of the issues of Covid-19.

I thought I’d try something different, and post updates on progressing an idea of grasping scale through animation and storytelling and at the same time do something that might be useful to alerting people of the issues of Covid-19.

This data visualisation from Dr Eric Ding really struck me at odds with the indifference shown by so many Americans advocating personal freedoms over taking simple measures such as wearing masks and social isolation.

A story and and an animation perhaps could be helpful to highlight the issue and get people think twice about their behaviours and its impact on their country. I don’t want this to be macabre of sensationalist but to get an important story across.

My current thought is to show a cinematic visualisation of American football fields full of people.

At the time of writing there’s been 296,000 deaths due to Covid-19.

As a field length is 120 yards (109.75m), width 53.3 yards (48.8) that comes to 5355.8 people per square metre and 55.27 fields.

Using Unity

Do I use Unity or Adobe After Effects?

I’ve opted for Unity to advanced cinematics, 3D capabilities and AI possibilities for the engine.

I’ll have to dust off old skills and learn a number of new ones which maybe a challenge.

Showing 5k+ animations on a screen may be too much for my old mac and I may have to ask a favour of one of my children to get some time on their GPU card enabled gaming desktops!

The Steps in the Journey

  • Ragdolls
  • Multiple characters
  • Animation controllers
  • Grass
  • American football field
  • Football stadium
  • Multiple stadiums
  • Lighting effects
  • Cinematics
  • UI interactivity
  • Recording

Multiple Characters


First step is how to show a character falling down realistically…

The ragdoll feature in Unity animates characters falling down and also reacting to objects that they collide with.

Multiple Characters

Now where to get multiple characters?

Unity Asset Store has a few free character assets.

Another great source is Adobe Mixamo where you can download fbx based characters with animations using their web based tool. For some crazy reason Adobe have decide to end-of-life Muse which means you can’t create your own and upload them.

I also create my own character using the much improved MakingHuman open source tool. It offers great diversity and I suspect I’ll generate many characters using this tool.

With these four characters at hand, the next was to create a simple animation loop using a single animation controller with an idle animation.

Animation Controllers

Here I’ve added an animation controller – a state machine with events from keyboard input to drive idle, fall down, stand up and walk animations. I used a common avatar body for all the models and animations clips from Mixamo.

I had to experiment a bit to get the Y Root Transform correct as characters were not staying correctly on the ground. I also had some issues with models and copying from common avatar rather than from each model… luckily Penny De Byl’s Unity animation course came to the rescue for me!

I’ll have to look at different randomised animations so that movements are not exactly the same.

Next step maybe will be modelling an American Football stadium pitch.

Authentic university experience down, educational experience up.

Even though students are being deprived of that authentic university experience they won’t be deprived for the educational experience.

Photo by Pixabay on

A study by the Australian Catholic University shows slightly improved learning outcomes for uni students provided a video instead of a physical or live class.

The article from The Conversation by authors from the Australian Catholic University is a cause for celebration as even though students are being deprived of that authentic university experience, they won’t be deprived of that educational experience.

The Conversation’s article goes on to provide resources on improving videos such as giving students more control, making videos more authentic and interactive.

Having recently edited a video for an education institution I’d also add a couple of simple but important tips for online recording for lecturers.

Editing is your friend

Review your video and edit out extraneous detail and repetition. It can save student’s time and improve their learning experience.

With live recordings you may find that some of the informal chat between lecturer and participants can be removed if they aren’t adding any significant value.

So don’t simply record and publish, take a little time and use simple editing techniques that can make a big difference to the student.

Thinking out loud

Watch out for umm’s or err’s!

Too many of these can distract the viewers and drive them a little crazy. Just catch yourself and try pause as you think. Try to edit them out if its an issue.

Watch your video and note how often you do it.

It’s all about the audio

Your students can live with poor visual quality but not with poor audio quality.

In the age of Zoom we are saddled with an unreliable NBN with lags and disruption in recording common. Record in tandem using a second hardware source – maybe your smartphone and the worst case you can substitute in backup audio.

Audio software can also be used to dramatically improve the sound quality.

You won’t go wrong investing in a decent microphone or headset with built in quality microphone.

The empty classroom

The empty classroom by Vinod Ralh
Photo by Barry Zhou on Unsplash
Tables of stature half height
Dust settling on mornings glow
Chairs tucked in 
For once 
Lined in a row.

Silence deafeningly unnatural 
Fills the room
Remnants of children's laughter 
Poignant reminders
Remnants that reverberate
Faint shadows.

Dusk pervades the classroom
Teachers weep at time now frozen
As a generation now chilled
For their time has been stolen
Lives full of promise 
Remain on hold.

Our new world order

Photo by Steven Erixon on Unsplash

Chained to the spot, eyes puffy and bloodshot, looking as disheveled as a night on the turps. The computer demands to be fed and its veracious, insatiable appetite consumes all before it. For it does not sleep. So day turns into night and again into day.

Who would have thought that remote work would chain us all to new set of office chairs – a new form of virtual open office? One in which we communicate to the outside world through a pane of glass, a tenuous NBN connection, our private lives oh so on hold while in the background, the spy-cam, the blue eye, innocuously is available for all to behold.

Left to our own devices and an overly optimistic internet, to find new ways to reach out and communicate, to hear, to empathise and to be understood.

What replaces that great leveler, that oh so perfect coffee, informally chatting to clients young and old? How do I form those invisible bonds that used the senses, that tie us together, not stagnating in the superficial, as strangers, but latching on to the truth my friend. Ties that do not break?.

How can we optimise our style and collaborate? Use the tools that bind us but not strangle our creativity? How do we pass that talking stick, in means and ways that dissolve the barriers in our minds, those in the way… in the way of progress… to new authentic way of working in our new world order.

I traced your fingers in the air

My fingers achingly trace a path in the air
My fingers achingly
Trace a path in the air
Imagining your fingertips
Touching tentatively
A fleeting apparition
No longer there.

Spoken word on Covid-19. Its easy to forget how blase we were all about this before X-mas when it was something happening in a far away land. Now the whole world has been turned upside down.

I used stock video from Pexels site which I made black & white and added a number of effects in Adobe Premiere Pro. I liked how it started and ended with the same footage, but with the ending in colour.

The music was Royalty free music from which I treated in Adobe Audition to add effects such as coughing and laboured breathing… I hope I didn’t overdo that!

The poem was written over a few weeks as I tried to figure out what message I wanted to give. I guess I opted for realism. The future is uncertain and we can all hope and pray for the best. Hopefully, we’ll all learn from this and become a fairer and just society.

Take care of yourselves and your families!