Assiduous readers will have noticed the news and Anchordesk articles I wrote about my visit today to HP's Cooltown demo facility in the depths of Wokingham. It was a jolly affair, with a handful of journalists and PRs bundled into a coach with fizzy pop, crisps and sandwiches -- it was all I could do to avoid bursting into song a la school outing (to the tune of Viva Espana -- "We're off to sunny Wokingham. To see Hewlett-Packard!").
Cooltown itself, as reported, was a good demonstration of what you can do with open systems in the name of commerce and professional lifestyles, and a chilling vision of a future theocracy run by the twin gods Efficiency and Conformity. Brush off those old hippy vibes and fear of The Man, chums, we'll need them where we're going.
But the trip itself was as much of a gas as any trip down the Thames Valley could possibly be. Some of the best bits were chatting to HP's R&D engineers afterwards, in conversations that went veering off in all directions. The Bristol research centre the company runs is in its way as exciting as the famous American edifices of Xerox PARC, Bell Labs and IBM's Thomas J. Watson. We've got a few of these centres of excellence in the UK, and not nearly enough people know about them: if you know a commissioning editor on Channel 4 or BBC 2, give them a nudge. Stories await!