15 condoms and a dead dog

MCG people looking at projected displays at the Maritime Museum, Swansea

I just sat through an excellent session by Steph Mastoris from the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

They’ve got a 35 million pound museum here, and it’s been built with new media at its core. Some of the interactives here are very cool (wave your arms and spin a virtual object); others are a bit more pedestrian and a couple are, frankly, slightly baffling.

The point – as illustrated by the extraordinary statistic that the museum spends £27k a year (wait for it) on projector bulbs (!) – is that new media is a vital component to interpretation here.

So far, so good. But Steph then pulled up a slide about the issues: changing those lightbulbs, for one – but also the notion of identifying critical paths. And the one example he used (hence the title to this post) was that the cooling system for the museum relies wholly on waterflow from the Swansea marina. So when “15 condoms and a dead dog” (Steph’s words..) get stuck in the water intake, the cooling fails, the servers crash, the museum interactives go down.

The point (apart from a great post title): the critical path for your IT systems may be somewhere you least expect it, and that path might be nothing whatsoever to do with technology…

1 thought on “15 condoms and a dead dog”

  1. That’s a great post! Especially for all the devotees of interactive multimedia extravaganza. Good to realize the value of traditional museums which can run unplugged. Actually cooling is a very important part of IT technology and any gamer will admit that.


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