I hosted a group from Singapore Management University today, at the request of a former IBM colleague who’s now a professor there. He’s leading about 30 students on a tour of Silicon Valley; they spent yesterday at Apple, and today, they came up to the IBM Almaden Research Center.

I was able to put together what I hoped would be an interesting morning for them — they’d asked for a talk on IBM’s history in Silicon Valley, and that was fun to do. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do the research from scratch; instead, I was able to draw on the work of other IBMers and weave together a Research overview and selections from the Almaden Timeline — then I added my own take (including the Browser Wars). I was very happy to get questions from the students during the presentation — it made me feel that the effort was worthwhile.

The next talk was about Project Zero, which is attempting to provide a simpler development environment with an interesting mixture of open and closed source components. Again, the students were engaged and asked good questions (and this time, I didn’t have to answer them!).

Since it’s summer, Extreme Blue is in full swing, with six projects in the Almaden location alone. The MBA students gave brief talks about their projects and about their experiences — it’s an intense program, and I was lucky to be able to get all six of the MBAs away from their teams!

alphaWorks is another good IBM innovation program; its manager talked about its in-progress evolution from being a download site to including interesting and useful services, such as ManyEyes. And once more, I was impressed with the quality of the questions from the students.

I got to close the day with “Web 2.0: A Conversation”, which was just that, a conversation with no slides. I learned a lot from the conversation, too.

And then it was over…except for lunch, where the conversation continued (not just with me — several of the speakers joined us, and the students took advantage of their availability).

It was an intense morning, and I found it quite enjoyable. Who knows, perhaps I’ll get to do it again sometime!

NewsGator for iPhone — I like it!

This was one of the first things I saw when I got back to my office after lunch:

NewsGator Daily: “This morning we announced the release of NewsGator Mobile for iPhone, a free newsreader that takes advantage of the unique design and user interface of Apple’s wildly popular new device. The free service, which works with iPhones and other mobile devices is accessible at http://m.newsgator.com.” [via Brent]

So naturally, I had to try it. I like it…a lot! It won’t replace reading blogs on a real computer (especially those only available inside the firewall), but it’s sure convenient and makes it easy to zip through an accumulation of items in a few spare minutes. Very cool indeed!

The spell is broken

My copy of HP7 arrived while we were out and about yesterday, so I didn’t get to pick it up until about 4:30pm. I finished it just about 24 hours later — I did manage to eat, sleep, hit the JCC, watch a little TV, and run some more errands in the meantime.

I think JK Rowling did a very commendable job of answering the questions and there were only a couple of times that I had to really step around a big expository lump, and they only slowed the action a little.

I was amused by the inside jacket blurb: “We now present the seventh and final installment in the epic tale of Harry Potter.” I guess there wasn’t much need to explain more.

I was also amused when one character said to another that they were on a Quest. Y’think?

Further deponent sayeth not.

The wait is over!

I’ve been waiting a long time, and today was the day: I saw my first California license plate in the ‘6’ series.

I’m still waiting for the book to arrive….

Preserving vital information

One of the many ways I use this blog is as a dumping ground for information I might need again later. Sometimes, it’s helpful to other people; other times, it’s just for me.

So I was shocked to discover that I hadn’t blogged about the most important datum I acquired on my trip to Scotland back in July/August 2005: the name of the brand of sherbet lemons I’d been hunting for a decade.

The subject came up in conversation today with a friend who’s about to leave for two weeks in Scotland; since he lives in Massachusetts, it’s not really convenient for him to bring me a couple of pounds of candy, but it would be impossible without the name. I checked my blog, and couldn’t find it. Eventually, I dug it out of my Lotus Notes mail, but that was by sheer happenstance.

So I shall blog it here. I strongly recommend Tilley’s Sherbet Lemons, as found in Woolworth’s in Glasgow.