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Posts Tagged ‘IBM

The heavy hand of Microsoft

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In my mind it begins with the image of Steve Ballmer heaving chairs, which is either a myth or too true to type. Then there are those ads that now maintain the a desirable PC is all about size of RAM, Hard Drive et al. Now there is the new ad for IE 8.0 and it reeks of fear-mongering to a ditzy female PC user who appears stupid and half mad.

Is it just me or does MSFT today act like GM did for the last 50some years!

There are companies that pay attention to unproductive methods/attitudes and remake their image, like IBM. And others that do the right thing naturally ala Apple and Google.

And then there is Microsoft big and bad!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/06/12 at 08:12

45th anniversary of JFK’s assassination

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Quebec City

Image via Wikipedia

45 years ago, I was 28 yrs old and I was living in Québec City with my young family. I was the primary IBM systems engineer dealing with the main computer facility of the Québec Government. On that day, 11/22/63 I was walking towards that computer centre when the radio blared out the news of JFK‘s encounter in Dallas, TX with a lone or multiple assassins. Another phrase from that time comes back to me, The Texas Book Depositary.

I mostly remember the next three days that ended on the Sunday funeral and burial ceremonies in Washington DC. Only Caroline Kennedy survives today. It is saddening to think of all that happened to the US, the world and to me since that stomach churning day, November 22, 1963.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/11/23 at 06:38

The mechanization of counting, or an early version of computing

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On this day (1889/1/8) from Wikipedia:

Electronic tabulation of statistical data

Being urged by John Shaw Billings[2], Herman Hollerith developed a mechanism for reading to make electrical connections to trigger a counter to record one more of each value. The key idea (due to Billings), however, was that all personal data could be coded numerically. Hollerith saw that if the numbers could then be punched in specified locations, the now familiar rows and columns, on the cards, the cards could be counted or sorted mechanically. On January 8, 1889, he was issued U.S. Patent 395,782 , claim 2 of which reads:

The herein-described method of compiling statistics, which consists in recording separate statistical items pertaining to the individual by holes or combinations of holes punched in sheets of electrically non-conducting material, and bearing a specific relation to each other and to a standard, and then counting or tallying such statistical items separately or in combination by means of mechanical counters operated by electro-magnets the circuits through which are controlled by the perforated sheets, substantially as and for the purpose set forth.

And now I use my iMac, a 20th century artifact, to write and archive this piece of historical information, which I read a few minutes ago on a 21st century information artifact, Wikipedia.

I can still remember a short assignment I had in the early winter of 1960 to assist in the installation of an IBM electromechanical punch card reading automated tabulator in an old machine shop in Brockville ON. This speed reduced tabulator was replacing a semi-mechanical tabulator, whose underlying techonology was not too far removed from the Counting, Tabulating, Recording devices invented and developed by Hollerith et al.

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/01/08 at 10:37