I’m emerging

For the past couple of years I’ve been working in the Pervasive Messaging Technologies team. This has been a great time for me, for so many reasons. The team is fantastic and my manager (who recently posted here himself) is not only a great boss but also a Master Inventor. What a title! It is refreshing, in a company where you can describe your cupboard as a TSU and most people will know what you’re talking about (and many will not assume you are joking), to work in Pervasive Messaging Technologies – one of the few departments which did not reduce itself to an acronym.

Recently, and very suddenly, I was invited to participate in a twelve month job-swap with Martin Gale from Emerging Technology Services. Despite being insanely happy where I was, it seemed to good an offer to pass up. Having moved in, met new friends and learned more about old friends, posted on the department’s wiki and blog and had a crack at a couple of rather fun demos (which I’ll to post more about one day) I’m now three weeks in. Here are some observations on the move.

  • ‘Upstairs’ in Pervasive Messaging, people went for coffee. ‘Downstairs’ in ETS people go for a tea. I assume this is because of the relative proximities of the coffee bar and the Cha Bar. I have finally discovered a taste for tea without sugar.
  • The S in ETS stands for Services, and being a services team has meant I get to see more customers in the flesh. This is a good thing by the way. Being close to our customers and personally understanding what they want and need is not only essential but fun. I’m averaging over one customer meeting per week already, and I’ve barely started yet.
  • The E and T stand for Emerging Technology. This means we’re interested in new, cutting edge, innovative things. And everyone really is interested in these things. People ‘get it’, where it can be anything from how to make this server perform better to why tagging is more powerful than catagorising and why AJAX, despite being an overused buzzword, is important and useful. Hobbies and work time overlap pleasingly in an environment where today’s part-time project could be part of tomorrow’s customer demo.

So I’m enjoying it. I feel at home. The only worry so far has been this falling clock.

Fortunately Ian and I were safely in the lab at the end of the hall, but the noise of crashing metal and breaking glass was impressive.

– Roo Reynolds (Emerging Technology Services, IBM Hursley)

Update: comments closed due to oddly high levels of spam on this particular post.

More IBM Blog Visualisation

A few months ago I wrote about a visualisation of IBM’s blog social network. Using information about who commented on who in our internal blogs, I generated data for a social network diagram. It was kind of interesting, but not very user friendly. It quickly developed into a complicated diagram (as the nodes and links built up) until it became hard for a normal user to tell much from it.

So, I decided to play around with a new way of visualising the same data, showing pictures of the people commenting, scaled to represent the strength of the link between that person and the blog. More comments, in both directions, strengthens the relationship and makes the picture bigger. It’s also more personal, as each IBM blogger gets their own page with pictures of all their connections. Apart from the information contained in the image scaling, it’s nice just to be able to see on a single page what all your blog contacts actually look like.


– Darren Shaw (Emerging Technology Services, IBM Hursley)