CeBIT, work and play

Last week was pleasantly quiet at work as many staff, including the others in my group, were involved with CeBIT Australia. The CSIRO had a large stand there, part of whichwas used to display the (externally) popular Air Hockey Over a Distance demonstrator. I had a brief look around CeBIT one afternoon and was not paticularly impressed with most displays. LG had a really nice ultra-portable notebook PC even "cooler" than my Sharp Muramasa - it had a Nvidia GeForce graphics chip as opposed to my out of date Radeon Mobility. I was tempted to buy a small solar powered battery back, but the 500 charges limit put me off.

Website content management systems were pretty thin on the ground. A couple of .Net solutions and a Squiz MySource display lacking brochures and operated by someone new to the company. I see it as my duty to scope out the products on show so that I will be prepared in case someone else from the work comes in and says "I saw this great product at CeBIT..." One rumour has it that this was how the CSIRO ended up spending millions on Vignette. I don't want to be involved in that kind of mistake.

I enjoyed the lack of interruptions last week as it was far easier to concentrate on getting real work done. I have been writing an online editor to allow wiki administrators to edit MediaWiki LocalSettings.php files while not requiring access to the filesystem. Nothing too mentally challenging. A registration form and database for a divisional conference in September has also been giving me grief, mainly because the organising committee continually wants to change it. If I had known this in advance I would have spent more time developing an elegant and flexible application rather than the quick form I gave this. Getting superiors to understand why such quick and dirty solutions can cost more time in the long run can be difficult (and that's why you can't do it in FrontPage, okay!).

Finally, I have a great idea for a sophisticated online travel planning application that I want to scope out this weekend, the product of my previous experiences plotting trips. I guess it's on way to keep thinking about travel!