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Today was the annual ICTF meeting. This is an annual gathering for the wide variety of IT support staff at Oxford and Cambridge universities. In part it gives a welcome day away from staring at a computer screen but also creates opportunities for valuable networking of the social kind and some fascinating talks.

In the latter category, I think Professor Paul Newman on the subject of the Oxford Robotic Car (and assorted other work in practical robotics) stood out in terms of “I want one now” or “We are living in the sci-fi age” but I also found the session on choosing between Python 2 or Python 3 (conclusion: go for 3, which can be run in parallel, unless major problems mean it is necessary to hold a particular script back for a little longer) most directly useful and The Drama of Kerberos (several colleagues acting out how the Kerberos encryption protocol works) most entertaining. A mention should also be made of the Pecha Kucha talks, several back-to-back talks with 20 slides apiece each shown for 20 seconds, was also a good way to finish the afternoon and to get a wide range of ideas in a concise fashion.

All in all, a very worthwhile day out of the office.

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