Can’t look back, nope

Well, well, well. This caught my eye in yesterday’s Major Sacramento Metropolitan Newspaper in the business section.

And here is the full press release.

I worked for them twice – 1996/97 and 2003/04. I left due to various reasons, the two biggest being not being given training that I had been promised in Windoze, and taking away systems management from me even though I was the best qualified. But I have to assume that even if I’d stuck around and became part of IBM, I would not have been able to get into the area I really want to, because IBM operates like a group of independent fiefdoms, and to transfer from Tivoli into z/OS development would be nigh impossible.

I have to give my congratulations to the Lynch family. I’ve e-mailed a couple of my ex-colleages (including the father) to see if they’re free for lunch next week. And I’m happy for everyone there. IBM is an excellent company to work for, even if you no longer get the defined-benefit pension plan.

The more things change, the more they remain the same

So the movie we rented last week from Netflix…

Desk Set is one of the better Tracy/Hepburn romantic comedies. It is based on William Marchant’s play of the same name, and was directed by Walter Lang. The screenplay was by the husband and wife team of Henry and Phoebe Ephron, whose daughter Nora has had some success over the years. *g*

It was Spencer and Kate’s first colour film and first wide screen film, and the penultimate film where they starred together (the last, of course, was Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?, sadly also Tracy’s last). It was also Dina Merrill’s first film (although she’d done a lot of theatre before this) and Sue Randall’s only film as well (she’s better known for being Miss Landers on Leave It to Beaver).

Although the film is a rom-com, the original play is a black comedy. The plot centers on installation of a new computer to “help” in a TV network’s research department, and the thoughts that the staff may be laid off. The latter is not as prominent in the film, but based on the commentary it’s more up front in the play.

The film is fascinating on several levels. For the movie buff, it’s Tracy/Hepburn. For the computer historians, it’s a classic interpretation of computing of the mid 1950’s In fact, IBM gets an up front credit for assistance, and gets a couple of mentions in the script (although it is implied that the computer is not from IBM). There’s some great mid-century modern decorating schemes.

But – and I’m sure this is more prevalent in Marchant’s play – the constant theme is the spectre of being laid off, made obsolete, replaced by automation…which is still very much a worry today. In fact, as I was listening to the commentary soundtrack, I realized that the play could take place in 2006, with some updating, and it would be timely. There’s even cynical comments about the executive leadership of the company, and a merger. But there is a good ending besides the Tracy/Hepburn inevitable pairing – the computer is to help free the research staff to allow for more productivity, despite a merger with a rival television network. Today, we know that is BS.

Anyway, I recommend seeing it – it works on many levels.

Oh, yeah, also saw Brokeback Mountain last week.