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Think! Friday

One of the things I like about IBM is the Think! Friday initiative, which encourages people to use their Friday afternoons to learn about something new.

My job is to think all the time—ah, the life of a grad student!—and Think!Friday gives me that additional impetus to go out there and do something.

A few Think!Fridays ago was Hack Day, an ad-hoc 5-hour hackathon across IBM. I built a social discovery web application that took a list of e-mail addresses, names, Lotus Notes mail IDs and even community IDs. Given a list of people, the tool displayed the latest three blog headlines and bookmarks for people who used the internal blogging and bookmarking services. I'd been meaning to build it for a few weeks, and thanks to the enthusiastic Hack Day vibe, I finally made the time to hack it all together.

Fast forward to today. IBMers voted on their favorite Hack Day hacks. Mine won Best Mashup! That made me ridiculously happy. It was a simple hack—most of the time was spent writing libraries to interact with IBM's services and figuring out how to resolve different kinds of names—but it turned out to be quite useful for finding people. Throwing it all together in Ruby was a lot of fun, too. Ruby makes my brain happy.

Hack Day was a terrific way for me to meet a lot of other early adopters and geeks within IBM. We presented our hacks in two teleconferences, and that was awesome.

Today, I decided to deal with some of the other little projects I'd been meaning to do. I set up RSS2Email (Python) and made it easier for people to have comments on their blog e-mailed to them. Again, a simple hack (took me a leisurely hour or so)—but I think it will have a lot of benefit. I also wrote a little Ruby script that summarized my bookmarks in bloggable form. Happy!

I like days like this a lot. I like sensing the need for a little tool and writing that tool. I like being in the zone, trying things out, geeking out, creating something useful...

Happy girl. =)

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Random Japanese sentence: この鼠は私の猫に殺されました。 This mouse was killed by my cat.