Posts Tagged ‘ibm’

Seven years at Hursley

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Seven years ago this week, I started at IBM. Two years ago this week, I started my current job. Thought those were worth noting.

ETS cake

I joined IBM thinking it’d be for a couple of years to get training and experience before going to do something more fun at a start-up.

But seven years (four changes of jobs, three promotions, six changes of office and nine changes of manager) later, I’m still here and still loving what I do.

What do I do at work?

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

I’ve been an Emerging Technologies Specialist for about a year and a half now. As I mentioned when I got the job, I don’t know of anywhere that I can point people at that explains what my team do.

I’ve been wary of filling this gap myself, partly because the work that the team does is so diverse that I’m not going to do us justice. But, allowing for the fact that I’ll miss a ton of cool stuff that my colleagues do, I figure that I should try and describe what I do.

I work in the Emerging Technology Services team.

How to explain this?


Writing an offline wiki client

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Friday was the seventh IBM Hack Day, and I again got the chance to spend a day playing with some random ideas.

As Hack Days go, I had a surprisingly productive day! I had four ideas on the day:

  • two mobile hacks (both of which I wrote a chunk of code for),
  • a twitter hack (which never got off the scribbled diagram stage, but it’s an idea I definitely want to come back to), and
  • a hack to extend an IBM product (which I created an alpha version of)

In this post, I’ll describe what I did for the last of these ideas: writing a client app for the wiki that comes with IBM’s Lotus Connections.

The idea

In the same way that I am writing this post in an offline blogging client, I wanted the same for using wikis: read and make changes to a wiki while offline, with changes uploaded to the online wiki the next time you are online.

This wasn’t a new idea. In fact, I tried it at IBM HackDay 4 back in 2007 but the wiki we used at work at the time had no API access for retrieving or updating wiki pages. So I sort of gave up and forgot about the idea.

But now I use Lotus Connections wikis at work. And Lotus Connections does have an API – an AtomPub API that gives you feeds to know when pages are changed, and a way to publish changes.

So I decided to revisit the idea.

The “finished” (ish) hack

It’s still very rough around the edges (this was a HackDay – I wrote the client code in under a day!) but it already shows the basic idea.

Offline wiki client

The top left view shows the list of your wikis.

Clicking on this fills the list below – a list of pages in the selected wiki. Clicking on a page in that list opens the contents of the page in the main view on the right.


My HackDay hack – see where your friends are

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Today was IBM HackDay 6 – an internal HackDay run across IBM‘s many labs – and I managed to spend a bit of today hacking something together.

PhotobucketIn a nutshell, it’s kinda like Plazes, brightkite, dodgeball and others… find out where your friends currently are. And see where they are from your mobile.

The twist is that it gives you quite precise locations for friends within a known indoor campus – such as Hursley Park.

Hursley, like many IBM locations, is a campus, with thousands of employees in a 100 acre site.

What if you’re trying to find someone? Say you’re in a meeting, and a colleague hasn’t turned up yet. Where are they? Are they on their way?

Or you’ve arranged to meet a colleague for lunch or a coffee, and you seem to keep missing each other.

The idea of this hack was to build on the Hursley Maps tool to come up with some way for you to be able to quickly check where your friends are while you’re at work.

Okay… so it’s a fairly flimsy scenario. 🙂

But I’ve enjoyed playing with location-based services ideas before, and thought this would be an interesting twist. Plus, it was an excuse to play with Django which I’ve wanted to try since hearing about it at BathCamp.


Five years at IBM, and a new start

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Five years ago today: 6 August 2003, 9am. I turned up at main reception in IBM Hursley Park for my first day. I was excited, dressed far smarter than I have for work since, and had absolutely no idea what I was going to be doing.

Five years later, today is the (official!) start of my new job in IBM, and a shift in my career: I’ve joined the “Emerging Technology Services” team.

I tried to find a good description of ETS on the interwebs that I could link to, but not had any luck. I found a description on a few intranet pages, which I’ve managed to mangle below:

Part of IBM Software Group’s Strategy and Technology Division, ETS focuses on emerging technologies and how they can be used to meet business needs. They work on customer problems to create innovative, bespoke technical solutions, which can include “architectural consultancy, technical solutions, demos, proof of concepts, pilot systems, and reference architectures” combining experience of working with customers with first-of-a-kind technologies.


PowerShell: Providers vs Cmdlets

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

When I wrote the PowerShell snap-in for WebSphere MQ, I chose to implement it as a set of cmdlets.

PS C:\> $myqmgr = Get-WMQQueueManager DALE
PS C:\> Get-WMQQueue -Qmgr $myqmgr

They are new commands for WebSphere MQ – commands that let you get, create, modify new objects representing WebSphere MQ objects.

The commands are consistent with existing commands in syntax and style, to be sure. But, they’re still new commands.

I didn’t have to do it this way.


Thinking out loud: PowerShell support for DB2?

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

My PowerShell library for WebSphere MQ has been out for a month or so now, and it seems to have been well-received. I’ve seen a surprising amount of blog posts and news articles about it, the download stats for the SupportPac are very encouraging, and I’m getting a steady (if slowly growing) stream of emails with requests for help and new features.

There is still more to finish with the WMQ library – the biggest piece of outstanding work is adding support for z/OS queue managers, but there are a few other bits and pieces to do as well.

But even so – with my usual attention span of an easily distracted child, I’m starting to look at what I might try next.

I’m thinking a PowerShell extension for DB2 might be a good next step.


  • Like WebSphere MQ, the prospect of writing it is made much easier by the fact that there is already a .NET API and support for building C# applications for DB2
  • Database administration seems to lend itself quite well to PowerShell’s object-oriented nature. Using Select, Where, et al. still reminds me of SQL pretty much every time I type it
  • I know very little about DB2, and it’d be a chance to learn something new

Okay, so my third reason sounds a little weak, but on a personal level, it’s a consideration.

But would there be a demand for supporting DB2 administration using PowerShell? I don’t know… I’ve not heard anyone ask for it, and other than a post on a developerWorks forum, I haven’t been able to find much of a call for it.

Still, it’s an interesting idea.

Explaining PowerShell for WebSphere MQ

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I’ve made a start on a series of posts designed to introduce how to use Windows PowerShell for WebSphere MQ admin. There is a bit of a learning curve for people new to PowerShell, so rather than try to explain everything in one go, I’m planning on breaking it down into bits, covering one topic a day.

If you’re curious to see all this PowerShell stuff I’ve been working on for months, head on over to the WMQ blog: