Imperial MEng Presentations

IBM Hursley invited three final-year MEng students from Imperial College to give us presentations on their individual MEng projects today (mine, from several years ago, can be found here). They were:

I had the chance to meet these folks briefly (Marc and Matthew had also been here previously, when they were part of the team from Imperial who won the Thinkpad Challenge). It was interesting to see some academic work for a change - whilst I’d never be able to make a career out of that, bringing academia and business together always seems to reap benefits.

I wish Marc, Matthew and Francis luck if they choose to develop their projects further.

Future of the Mainframe

Many folks have written the mainframe off for years. And it certainly seems true that it isn’t as compelling as it once was with respect to performance or capability; it’s complex and most people don’t understand it, despite the potential TCO advantages. But I attended an introductory course on z/OS (IBM’s ‘standard’ mainframe OS) some months ago, and it’s striking how much the mainframe still has to offer that other platforms don’t, particularly with respect to the *ilities that Richard was writing about recently - mostly due to the superior architecture and hardware. Of course mainframes can be arcane, and in some cases actually backward, but it seems like plenty of people aren’t willing to give up on them just yet. However, it’s a known problem that those with expertise in mainframes are leaving the workforce. So it’s refreshing to see that IBM is committing to simplifying the platform. This is going to be a challenge - changing the platform whilst keeping its reputation for stability is going to be hard - but it’s necessary for IBM to keep the platform alive, and necessary for the mission-critical systems that our customers run that still rely on this knowledge. So I look forward to seeing how it changes over the coming years.

Screenselect Merges with LOVEFiLM

Screenselect, the DVD rental service I was using, has finally merged completely with LOVEFiLM, under the latter brand. I was very happy with Screenselect, so it will be interesting to see if this changes anything, for better or for worse. I was using LOVEFiLM up to about a year ago. I left because they used throttling, but denied it when asked and blamed delays on the Royal Mail instead. I hope I don’t begin to experience this again, because I’m going to struggle to find another rental service with such a wide range of film I tend to like (including the more ‘arty’ stuff). Time will tell.

Sign of the Killer

This film makes no sense.

Toto, I've Got a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Nope, not The Wizard of Oz. One of the characters in The Cat Returns is a crow named Toto, but he helps out Haru (not Dorothy) when she is kidnapped to the Cat Kingdom (rather than, er, Oz). Yep, this is a kid’s film. It’s entertaining and well-executed, as one would expect from another film from the Studio Ghibli production team, and light-hearted too, but there’s nothing deep, nothing glittering, and nothing rich like one might get from a Hayao Miyazaki film (such as Howl’s Moving Castle, which I wrote about the other day). A good film, but not one with a soul.

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