The meaning of recognition
And on some less appropriate ones as well. For example, last night I was taking part in a choir rehearsal as part of the preparation for a well-known religious leader's visit to the UK later this year. Not having had time to get changed after work, I was wearing The Shirt as we collectively negotiated the joys of counting bars, leaping fourths, subdividing triplets and other more applied forms of numerical analysis. Approaching the conductor - who'd been brought in from another parish in order to adeptly marshal our enthusiastic but slightly unfocussed efforts - with a technical question at the end of the rehearsal, I was a little surprised when he asked if I worked for NAG. Wondering if he was about to quiz me about - say - our optimization routines, I replied - somewhat cautiously - in the affirmative. "Great stuff," he responded. "I used the NAG Library all the time at university when I was programming in Fortran - it was really, really good." Owing to the context, the generous and unlooked-for compliment was so surprising that I forgot to say that these days, the Library wasn't only available to Fortran programmers (on reflection, perhaps that was just as well on this occasion) but I was also reminded that this kind of encounter isn't at all uncommon. Given the remarkable age of the company, perhaps it's only to be expected that you frequently bump into users - or ex-users - of your products, but it's still gratifying when they're able to share positive experiences - or happy memories - of it. Maybe I should start work on that Company Song after all.