Sydney Business School Co-Working Report features CoWS Near The Coast

PHD Researcher, and regular visitor to the Bega Valley, Tim Mahlberg (, has co-authored a compelling ‘state of the nation’ report on coworking in this country entitled ‘Coworking Spaces Australia’.

The document is available to the public here (

The report is choc full of data-based determinations, anecdotes, insights and commentary on the diverse range of coworking spaces that have been springing up all over Australia for almost a decade now.

The team at CoWS Near The Coast are deeply honoured that Tim and his co-author, Kai Riemer, saw fit to feature CoWS as an archetype of ‘genus’ Townhall Terminal. They sum up one of the chief drivers behind our space very well when they say ‘ the locals are fiercely proud of what this space stands for: taking the local economy into their own hands and not waiting for government or corporates to lead the way’.

As the very first ‘hand-cranker in chief’ of the high profile NAB Village in Melbourne Docklands, Tim Mahlberg is one of the most qualified people in Australia to chronicle and comment on Coworking in this country. His strong links to the activator community, those poor burdened souls who do much of the heavy lifting to create the spaces, makes him a popular figure, keynote speaker, and frequent panellist at coworking events and activities in both regional and metropolitan areas nationwide.

Thanks Tim and Kai for the acknowledgement of CoWS Near The Coast, one of the first ever regional co-working spaces to be set up in Australia. We wish you every success in your future endeavours.




Regional Pitchfest Information Night at CoWS – Thurs April 27th at 6:30PM

Regional Pitchfest ImageA nationally significant StartUp pitching event visits Bega in a fortnight’s time, on April 27th. The Regional Pitchfest ( team, headed by Di Sommerville will present an information evening on the programme, and, for maximum fun, oversee some practice pitches on the night.
Pitches are only 1 minute long…so get practicing if you would like to do one on the night, or just rock up and pull one out of your proverbial there and then.
Please register here –
The competition has a finals event in Wagga in August.
Let us know if you are attending – we are expecting to have about 10 to 15 people pitching on the night.
 Please circulate this PDF Poster to anyone you may know – PF020 Workshop Poster A3 S2V1

CoWS Breakfast Event “The Twelve Skills of Christmas” (compered by Brendan Yell)

brendanyell reduced sizeWe are delighted to host Brendan Yell ( representing SoftLayer (an IBM company – Not only is Brendan sharing his insights and experience, SoftLayer provide a range of free introductory offers for Cloud Services to budding StartUps.
Listen to Brendan’s radio interview recently in the Hunter Valley –
Format as follows :
08:30 AM Breakfast and Networking
09:15 AM Brendan to compere…
    • The 12 skills of Christmas’ – introduce the new batch of skilled sea-changers…one by one…and they speak for 3 minutes…and perhaps, for another minute they field a question from the audience, or chat with Brendan

10:15 AM Quick break to refill people’s coffees?

10:30 AM Brendan to deliver 30 mins ‘How to run a startup from the regions – tips and tricks’
11:00 AM Brendan to live mentor 3 lucky people…we can organise them prior, or pick them from the audience.
11:30 AM More Networking
We are offering breakfast to the attendees (or at least the first 20 to register on Eventbrite)….
More details about Brendan…here are the details of his previous visit in August…
“How to be a Rockstar Founder”
Brendan Yell
Director, Community Development, SoftLayer
Mentor @ Muru-D, Amcomm Upstart, Slingshot, Jumpstart, TechBeach
After creating an online service for use of his friends at age 14, working at CompuServe at age 21, running Optus Interactive Strategy at age 25, then founding and lauching at age 27, there is not much Brendan Yell has not seen. In this talk, Brendan will walk you through some of his successes and failures as a founder, and teach you some key lessons to being a rockstar founder. He’ll also relay some great stories of working with iconic rock band INXS, when he looked after their Internet strategy and digital rights.Plus

Intro to the SoftLayer Catalyst Startup Program
Who qualifies?
What credits can I apply for?
How does the mentoring work?
Leveraging the global network

Bega High School Work Experience – A Load Balanced Web Server

This week we have been given the opportunity to conduct our work placement for I.T VET at 2pi Software. Within these days we have been able to set up a small web server running an Odroid as the master system, which had a load balancer installed, using Nginx, to evenly spread the traffic from incoming requests.

A load balancer is a device that evenly distributes incoming traffic between nodes. This increases the amount of requests and will increase the reliability of the server, which is critical for a company’s efficiency for their online presence. A company that uses load balancing is Google, which would have a massive load of requests being sent to the servers, which will then have to be evenly distributed across all their servers.

The requests were then distributed across 3 different Raspberry Pi systems, low cost, high availability micro computers that allow users to achieve goals such as learning basic coding to more experienced projects like creating a mini arcade machine.

These were then benchmarked to see how much stress the server will be able to take when under a heavy load of requests. We recorded our results and then compared the data to make sure the nodes were running at the same efficiency.

Also during the week we were given the task of making a MySQL database which was hosted on the Odroid to observe how the web server could handle the load of running a MySQL database with PHP.


Our setup looks like this:

Our load balancing system

Odroid on top of the switch

The 3 Raspberry Pi’s


We ran multiple tests using different types of media, these include:

  • Static HTML
  • Static HTML with an image
  • PHP
  • PHP and MySQL

The results we collected are below, where data presented ranges from the 50th to 100th percentile. The number on the right of the percentage indicates the response time in milliseconds.

Odroid w/PHP & MySQL (3 nodes)

Odroid w/ static HTML

Odroid w/ PHP

Odroid w/ image HTML

50%   1510

  66%   1546

  75%   1563

  80%   1573

  90%   1597

  95%   1619

  98%   2139

  99%   2387

100%   2690 (longest request)

50%    211

  66%    245

  75%    301

  80%    322

  90%    358

  95%    394

  98%    453

  99%    528

100%   1493 (longest

  50%    962

  66%   1031

  75%   1069

  80%   1092

  90%   1150

  95%   1193

  98%   1235

  99%   1306

100%   2288 (longest request)

50%    214

  66%    239

  75%    275

  80%    304

  90%    339

  95%    403

  98%    651

  99%   1201

100%   1273 (longest request)


These results show that using more complex web tools will slow down the web server significantly. This is shown in the odroid with PHP & mySQL  which has results that are double of the static HTML.

Cool Digital Music Demo and Project at upcoming coding night (Thurs 7th May)

The centrepiece of this upcoming coding night is an exciting project…and will be delivered by Steve Ryan. Please read Steve’s description below…it’s a terrific project….


Hey all,
so having met Scratch for drag and drop programming I wanted an easy way to enter longer pieces of music as Scratch blocks so I could integrate animations with the music. is a javascript app ( to help by taking abc notation, rendering as music notation and offering export to scratch blocks. describes the text based ABC format for writing music and provides heaps of examples.

I’m running a demo next coding night taking an ABC tune from the web, adding parts and animating it in Scratch.

I’ve recently aquired a Lego EV3 and I’d love to connect scratch and coreograph dancing robots. I’m having trouble getting s2bot working to extend Scratch to provide EV3 blocks. Any experience out there?

Having had trouble with quicktime playback of midi, I’ve included a pure javascript midi playback solution using soundfont files. (currently broken but I have had it working – pull request on git anyone?). Scratch seems to do timing well when playing generated notes but not so well on the timing of playing back recorded sounds. Any experience ?

If anyone is interested I’d like to arrange a Scratch band by combining a bunch of musical sprites into a composition. To get the ball rolling I’m calling for musical sprites

  • The must in the key of C so all the sprites overlay in harmony (more or less). Mostly this means that the sprites last musical note must be C.
  • The sprite must be 1,2,4,8 or 16 bars length.
  • The sprite must be categorised (in it’s filename) as rhythm, bass, harmony and melody. Typically a melody part would be 16 bars.
  • The sprite must have costumes indicating active/inactive that are shown when the music starts/stops. More costumes or other animations throughout the musical fragment are encouraged.

For those with skills in music notation, another project could be a 12 bar blues.



NSW Governor His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) – visits CoWS Near The Coast Digital Co-Working Space

The NSW Governor, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), popped in to visit CoWS Near The Coast Digital Co-Working Space on Friday the 20th of Feb 2015.

Look inside CoWS – thanks to Google’s ‘See Inside’

In another first for the Sapphire Coast, the team behind CoWS Near The Coast are delighted to be chosen as the first site in the region to benefit from the Google Inside treatment.

Thanks to Chris Sheedy from Reflexe Content for his drive and energy in pushing this forward.

Check it out :-

Coding and StartUpSmart article – not bad for a day’s work at CoWS Near The Coast

CoWS Coding August 2014

Harry running his Clojure programming Workshop as part of National Science Week.

Having fun at CoWS!!!

Scratch and some Raspberry Pi hacking scheduled for tomorrow too.

And CoWS also featured in an article in StartUp Smart – some insights into tech ‘in the sticks’ and the plus’s and minus’s of trying to create disruptive businesses in regional Oz. Check out the link here.

August Coding at CoWS – Clojure, Scratch and a Raspberry Pi Project

As part of the Regional Science Hub Science Week, Harry Binnendijk and Karl Auer are stepping up once again for a mega-coding triple header across 2 days.

Friday 22nd from 4:30pm to 8PM…Harry will teach coding (through Clojure)

And will be back on Saturday the 23rd from 1:30 PM to 5PM to do some more.

And Karl will get some Scratch teaching going on Sat 23rd from 10 AM to 12 Noon

And…we are hoping to squeeze in a 1 hour ‘How to create a Raspberry Pi WiFi Access Point network’ at 12:15 PM on Saturday the 23rd too.

Because the sessions were so popular last time…people will be required to book online (all free)….

Here are the links for booking….

Harry Coding Session I – Fri 4:30 to 8 PM –
Karl Scratch Session  – Sat 10 AM to 12 Noon –
Raspberry Pi Networking – Sat 12:15 PM to 1:15 PM –
Harry Coding Session II – Sat 4:30 to 8 PM –
Hope you all can make it!

‘Famous for Jousting’ – CoWS features in Inside Business article

Alex Heber at Inside Business wrote an article featuring 10 regional Co-Working Spaces. It was nice to be included…amongst some great company.

Here is the link –