So I'm back in Australia again. This makes it my third trip to Australia in 18 months. It's no Amsterdam, but I am finding that I am starting to appreciate this place. I'm learning new words: Stubby. Punter. Wild rocket. I verified that water from the bath drains counter-clockwise. I feel I should apologize to previous bosses about my years of refusing to travel down under. So if anyone sees Rich, tell him I'm sorry!
My hotel room is right on the beach - beautiful to look out at the Pacific when I get down time in the room. It's odd to be looking east over the Pacific and not west like we do from California. This morning there were surfers and dolphins visible from my window, as well a ships in the distance queuing to load up on coal. Although after a while of watching the waves crash I remember that I'm irrationally afraid of whales (too many Jonah stories in my childhood or something), and close the curtains. It is a fun phobia to have, particularly that year or two I worked offshore oil rigs.
Anyway, this time I'm here to teach a seminar to first year engineering students at University of Newcastle. I am amazed at how fast these students pick up software. Rarely have a had a class that everyone kept up as I introduced entirely new software concepts - but this group of 40 stay right with me, and sometimes get rather a bit ahead. They remind me of some annoying Whitney Houston song or something. It certainly is a different experience for me to talk to university students - they are so quick with the technology, but clearly have no idea what I mean when I start using industry terms like loop or spec or pig. (I did spend some time defining the pig for the class.)
It's a 12 hour course on P&ID, and I took the liberty of expanding the scope to cover the broader topic of Plant design - discussing the FEED stage, PDFs, P&IDs, 3D detailed design, Orthos & Isos, procurement, fabrication and construction. When I studied engineering we never had much of the "real world" sort of overview. I'm hoping at least some of it sinks in. This is is the first University where we present Autodesk Plant software, although we do have intentions to get it into other institutions. If you happen to know of others that may be interesting in such a session, please let me know.