BritBreak's IT Fair has just closed, and I think all concerned will consider it a huge success. Well, almost all concerned. I'm afraid that I have lost face with my main ally, IT Director, Mike Rapton. The MD of BritBreak opened the fair, and was interviewed by BBC News - a real coup. After Sir Sidney left, Rapton was extremely shirty with me. His PA filled me in. It seems that he had expected to appear on TV. And when the MD congratulated me on the fair, Rapton was disappointed that I didn't say he was responsible for it. Well, of course, technically it was his idea, and he did fund it, but I've done all the work. Anyway, a good consultant has to balance opportunities: I might have lost favour with Rapton, but Sir Sidney thinks the sun shines out of my laptop, which could be good for business.
There was also the matter of the finance director, who the over-officious staff on the front desk wouldn't let in because he wasn't wearing his ID badge, but that was easily smoothed over. It seems his little boy always wanted an Apple Mac; when I mentioned this to the nice people on the Apple stand, they were more than willing to help. In fact, the Apple stand was the most popular of the lot. Inevitably their professional approach left the BritBreak IT department teams looking a bit weak. I mean, when you are up against multi-screen video, free games, a virtual reality demonstrator and presenters in grass skirts, what hopes have you got with a 3270 dumb terminal, free cups of Ribena and a stand made of washing-up liquid bottles and sticky-backed plastic?
I was unprepared, though, for the pitched battle that occurred on the second day. Apart from the presenters, the Apple stand was populated by the usual mix of groupies (the ones wearing the "Gates is the Devil" badges) and ordinary folk, impressed by the razzmatazz. Suddenly there was uproar.
Leaflets and badges went flying in all directions.
When I fought through, I found the IT standards team. I should have guessed.
These are the people responsible for establishing the hardware standards for the company. Sometimes they get a little carried away - they were trying to insist that BritBreak staff wore a blindfold, so they wouldn't get any ideas about buying non-standard hardware. I managed to encourage them into the games corner and left them happily playing something called Manga Stormtrooper 18 - they seemed to relate very easily to the idea of suppressing the masses, and were still playing at the end of the fair.
Glancing at the feedback forms, there was a split of opinion. IT users thought the fair was great, and wanted to see the new technology deployed in BritBreak.
IT staff thought it was risky, as the users might want to see the new technology deployed in BritBreak. Isn't education wonderful?
Molybdenum ditelluride is a two-dimensional material that can be easily stacked into multiple layers to create a memory cell
New light-guiding nanoscale device can control and monitor a nanoparticle trapped in a laser beam with high sensitivity
Optical traps are scientific instruments in which a focused laser beam is used to exert an attractive or repulsive force on a microscopic object to hold it in place
Scientists estimate that the exoplanet has already lost up to 35 per cent of its mass over its lifetime
The observations were made using the Atacama Array in the Chilean desert