goal setting for 2018

I’m generally not one to set new year resolutions but it’s a time of year for reflection. At the beginning of this year I set myself 3 main goals;

  1. Beat obesity (have a BMI of less than 30)
  2. Cut my credit card debt in half
  3. Maintain an average daily step count of above 10,000 for the year

I realistically only achieved the first one which I managed to do by June. I made progress towards the other two but I didn’t fully achieve them. As a career goal later on in the year I told myself that I wanted to speak at 1 international conference and I got to 2 which I’m happy with achieving. For 2018 maintaining a healthy lifestyle and looking after my debt should remain my focuses. Recovering from a broken ankle is going to introduce it’s own challenges. So I need to come up with ways to make these measurable.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle; failure here for me would be falling back into an obese category so at least that will be easy to measure and monitor for when I might be coming off track. Success is pretty flexible though. I would like to get back into weight training and I’ll need to experiment with finding exercise that works for me while I recover. Maybe my goal should be to find a new exercise activity and stick to it for 3 months?

Managing my debt; I’m already managing this a lot better than I have been historically and even if I do nothing progress will be made. I think the goal I’ll give myself is; make an extra payment towards my debt for 10 out of 12 months. I have automatic payments that cover my minimum contributions but I’d like to make extra payments to get this debt paid off quicker. I won’t completely clear out my debt in 2018, that’s too unrealistic of a goal but making extra contributions is achievable. Maybe reducing my debt by half.

Should I set any career goals? I’ve already been invited to speak at 1 international conference and I don’t want to overload myself with too much travel this year. How about community goals? How do I want my involvement with Sydney Testers to grow/develop? How about mental health goals? Maybe actually finish an online tutorial or read a particular technical book? I was thinking of starting a masters in Data Science but probably not for 2018, my recovery from a broken ankle and maintaining my health are more important for now. There’s also an interesting TED post on creative New Year resolutions which is good for inspiration. How do you make your goals measurable and accountable?


Cheats ricotta/paneer

You can make fresh ricotta* (or paneer) cheese from powdered milk. It’s pretty amazing and very easy. You can have fresh cheese in 5 minutes.

You will need:

Milk powder

Boiling water

Acid (up to a few tablespoons depending on strength) (e.g. citric acid, lemon juice, vinegar)

Cheese cloth/fabric cloth for straining cheese (I reckon a blue chux cloth would also work)


Food thermometer

Use a 1:2 ratio of milk powder to boiling water. Boiling water helps quicken the process. E.g. if a recipe calls for 5 cups of milk to make Chena for a rasgulla recipe, I used 2 and 1/2 cups of powdered milk to 5 cups of boiling water. I also used 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water for this recipe.

Combine water and milk powder on a stove top set to medium heat. If it’s a little lumpy that’s ok, the stirring in the next step should help smooth it out.

stir the mixture until it gets to 95 degrees Celsius, or until it’s just boiling if you don’t have a thermometer

Add the acid

Stir and watch the milk seperate into curds and whey, you are now just like little miss Muffet

Poor mixture into your cloth over a bowl/container

Squeeze the cloth to get out extra fluid (this will be hot, be careful. You can cool it down by running it under cold water)

Optional: let it hang for 30 minutes

Voilà, you now have cheese and it took about 5 minutes to make.

*Technically it’s not ricotta as ricotta means twice cooked and it’s actually made from the left over whey from making other cheeses but I won’t tell if you don’t.

If the thought of making cheese is still a little daunting, I actually started with a mad Millie italian cheese making kit. This kit comes with all you need to start making cheese in your own kitchen, the ricotta/Mascarpone recipes are pretty similar. One uses milk and the other uses cream and Mascarpone takes a little longer to seperate.

You can reuse the left over whey as well, I usually don’t but a quick Google search will turn up many results from beauty therapy to gardening.


My values and goals


Experiences over things

I enjoy new experiences, this is almost to my detriment. As an example, I find it hard to walk past a new fancy cafe without walking in. I try not to be materialistic and attached to my possessions. I do not achieve this all of the time but it means I prefer to buy second hand, I’m not sentimental towards my possessions and I try to buy only what I need.

Community and culture

Adding value to others

Continuous learning and growth

Sustainable living

Now values don’t have to be perfect, they are inspirational. This is what I aspire to be. Sometimes I don’t get them right all of the time but when faced with a difficult decision, hopefully I can use my values to help guide me.


Short term (within 3 months)

  • Learn iOS app development

medium term (within 5 years)

  • build up to a sustainable social enterprise that is focused on running a robotics roadtrip around Australia
  • get the vine tattoo idea out of my head and onto my body
  • pay off credit cards
  • pay off motorbike
  • speak at international software testing conferences
  • Own land in Tasmania

long term (before turning 70)

  • Get European citizenship
  • Build a sustainable living complex
  • Own and run a cafe
  • do a 6 month road trip around the America’s
  • do a 3 month road trip around India
  • Live in Japan for a few years working as a freelancer

Vandalism and street art

I look at vandalism in sydney and I wonder why is it seen as a bad thing? Instead of cleaning it up, what if we gave people the skills to turn their scrawls and tags into Street art? Give people the tools and resources to practice and perfect their style.

What if we studied Street art in highschool? How to utilise different techniques and explored some ideas that people were trying to portray in their Street art. Or what if we tried to add personality to concrete walls. Would that be a bad thing?

What if we had highschool competitions around Street art?

What if we encourage people to vandalise with respect, seek permission first and talk about your art idea with the person who is responsible for the wall that you want to decorate?

It seems our educational is actively trying to beat creativity out of people (reference sir Richard so Ted talk on creativity), so what if all I want to do is create? Wouldn’t it bring joy and new thoughts to the world? Maths and sciences are highly creative, why isn’t it portrayed that way?

The first question to ask is why do people vandalise? I know I start doodling when I have a pen near by and my mind is wondering. It’s a way to engage my mind. I imagine people are disengaged with society, they just don’t care and society doesn’t seem to care about them either. I think we all
want to do something, to create, to feel useful. Could this help engage people?what are your experiences with vandalism /Street art?


Robots Are Cool – Social Enterprise

This is an executive summary of my idea around a social enterprise, this is open for discussion and your feedback/ideas/questions will be greatly appreciated.


To create a social enterprise around promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through hands on Robotics workshops. This social enterprise will focus on reaching out to remote and rural communities in Australia.


Products that support the mission

1) Robotics Road Trip around Australia

2) creating an online community ( around sharing of robotic related resources. Will include lesson plans for teachers, robotic workshop videos for students and a social aspect to connect remote communities around robotics. This would start off as a YouTube channel. All of the resources will be released under a creative commons license and the videos will contain minimum spoken/written language so they can be used by a non-English speaking audience.



1) Enroll in a masters in teaching by distance at the University of Tasmania in mid-2015 doing 3 subjects per semester, this course will take me until the end of 2017 and will allow me to

    a) keep Centrelink off my back about not earning an income

    b) apply for scholarships that I can invest in the idea

    c) build up the products while living in the NW coast of Tasmania

    d) have credibility when I approach communities about running robotics workshops

    e) expand Robogals UTas to the NW coast of Tasmania

2) Start my first crowd funding campaign in mid-2015 to raise funds for a van, four Lego EV3 robotics kits, four laptops and a projector, also will be a marketing campaign to gauge how much interest is out there. A stretch goal of this campaign is to buy a Nao Humanoid Robot.

3) Start the actual road trip around mid to end of 2017 depending on course commitments, consider a second crowd funding campaign for the launch of the road trip. Spend at least 2 years executing the road trip

4) assess at end of 2019


Success indicators

1) An income of $30,000 for 2018 to 2019 financial year

2) Able to expand to New Zealand in 2020



I’m a believer in the “pay for what you can afford” mentality. That means my services will be free for the communities that need it but if they would like to pay I can charge for:

1) an amount of their choosing

2) expenses incurred while in their community (e.g. Fuel, Food or Accommodation)

3) a base amount of $40 per hour (business expenses $10 + salary $30)

Q. Hang on, if you worked a 40 hour week, you could earn $62,400 in a year and have $20800 for business expenses. Isn’t this more than your target income of $30,000?

A. Yes but this “base rate” will allow me to “work” for half the year and to “volunteer” for the rest or to hire someone as an assistant.


Business expenses

1) Fuel, Food and Accommodation

2) Phone and Internet

4) Police checks

5) Van services and tires

6) Professional indemnity insurance

7) Contents and vehicle insurance

8) Accountancy/Tax returns

9) Travel to/from key events like the Sydney educators startup weekends or python conferences



1) Robogals

2) CodeClub Australia


Strategy for keeping business expenses as low as possible

1) charge for fuel used while in a community

2) charge for fuel that is used to get to a community

3) request to be hosted by people in the community

4) stay in hostels/air bnb places

5) sleep in van at a camp site

6) request Robogals covers the expenses that the community can’t cover


Sources of income

(* = pay for what you can afford services)

1) Community Contributions*

2) Online subscriptions*

3) Professional development courses*

4) After school/school holiday programs*

5) Tutoring*

6) Grants

7) Scholarships

8) Crowd Funding



Social Enterprise: A for profit business that is focused on maximizing social impact rather than profits

Community: a school or group who will benefit from my services. A group could be a home school meetup, a council, a business, a learning centre etc


Workshop ideas

This robot will be a basic robot that can be built in less than 30 minutes, preferably 20 minutes the average 10-12 year olds. I haven’t come up with a design yet, this will be one of the first workshops I create next year. The robot will have a pen attached and will be like a turtle program (anyone remember those?). This robot will be used to explore ideas such as geometry, algebra and fractions. Non technical skills include art, team work and communication. The robot will draw pictures on a very large piece of paper. I’ve got some cool ideas for this workshop and maybe a social media page, which takes me too the next topic:

With this turtle robot people can tweet pictures of their art work creations. There could be a page under the workshop dedicated to picking up the twitter feeds with the hashtag and having a dynamic collage of images. There could also be an upload section to the site which could generate a tweet. Anyone posting would have to agree with the general openess of the idea.

a large group activity with everyone’s robot doing a mexican wave. Lots of algebra involved. I have a whole lesson plan already in my head around this idea. I’ll develop it soon.


Licencing brain dump

The content on my tutoring page, workshop ideas the tech based education tool that I want to create will all be creative commons. My brand and image belong to me (Samantha Connelly). It’s something I’m quite protective and fond of.

I feel like I would need to expand my definition of content, I want to try and be as open as I possibly can. You can even have the code of my website, all you have to do is ask. So I want to share all of my content for free. HOWEVER, I need to make money so my brand is there for that part of my life.