Water good idea: pilot your own mini-sub
Downtime was thinking just the other day that life online is often as humdrum as the real thing, being mostly taken up with checking bank accounts, buying groceries and the like.
Then Plymouth National Marine Aquarium came into view to change all that. It is offering intrepid web surfers the chance to pilot a mini-sub around an underwater assault course - all from the comfort of an open browser.
Using software from KMS Internet, remote users can view the mini-sub online and move it in all directions, as well as open and close its pinchers and control its lights. Once they've got the hang of it, they can then tackle the assault course in a race against two other vehicles under the control of visitors to the aquarium.
May the best remotely operated vehicle win!
BCS egroup puts IT women in the pink
Good to see that the British Computer Society is moving with the times, with its BCSWomen egroup now approaching its fifth birthday. The network, which is open to women working in IT worldwide, is run by Sue Black and embraces workers from every field of IT.
However, given the relatively small number of women who still work in the profession and some of the stereotyped attitudes they still encounter, Downtime can't help feeling the heavy emphasis on pink across all of the BCSWomen pages doesn't help the cause.
What next, a fluffy bunny for every new member?
Cheery glasses for synchronised swigging
Up until now, it has proved tricky to share a glass of wine with your beloved if you are in different places. Downtime is pleased to hear this particular difficulty will soon be put right.
US scientists have created a set of wine glasses that glow with red LEDs when lifted simultaneously by both partners, even if they are in different places. This piece of ingenuity, which will go on show at a conference in Montreal next month, comes courtesy of the Wi-Fi links in the glasses.
Downtime is gratified to see technology being put to such life-enhancing use. Cheers!
Life is sweet at local authority workshops
Socitm, the public sector IT body, has just put out some invaluable insights into how IT managers should make their pitch when trying to sell the benefits of a new system to the wider organisation.
The advice goes like this: "Metaphor is a powerful way of communicating a vision of the newly transformed organisation to the entire workforce. The facilitator [in a workshop] can ask participants questions such as 'If our council were (for example) a chocolate bar, which would we be? Why is that? Which brand ought we aspire to be?'"
Given the notable lack of IT-related success in some local authorities, Cadbury's Flake might well feature prominently in any brainstorming sessions.
Golden handshake too shiny for HP investors
Quite why two HP institutional investors have taken issue with the board for approving the severance package paid last year to ousted CEO Carly Fiorina is beyond Downtime. Fiorina's departure package was only worth £24m. What do they expect her to live on, fresh air?
This was first published in March 2006