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C:\> cd \memories\ibm\1981. By Austin Modine. Excerpts: It's time again to rewind that fleshy cassette storage device in your head to yesteryear. This week, we're headed back to August 12, 1981 — the date IBM introduced its Personal Computer, a system that would shape the industry and make the term "PC" synonymous with home computers. ...
IBM assembled a 12-person team with the goal of bringing a product to market as quickly as possible, dubbed "Project Chess." At first, they considered buying Atari to assimilate its fledgling line of computers. But IBM instead decided to pursue its own offering — while saving money and time by building the machine with parts bought from a variety of OEMs. The company had previously developed its own components in-house.
Editor's note: A tidbit about the first IBM PC that most people aren't aware of is that the PC might have set a new standard for diskette storage had many of us in Boulder (and Rochester, prior to moving diskette drives from there) been able to develop an IBM internal drive faster. At the time, IBM computers (and other brands, too) used 8 inch diskettes. 5.25 inch drives were not common, and were unheard of inside IBM. I worked on a project code named "Foxtail" that was for a drive that used 4 inch rigid diskettes, much like the 3.5 inch drives that would come several years later. Had Boulder been able to finish development of Foxtail in time for the first PC, Boca would have shipped the first IBM PC with internally-developed 4 inch drives, instead of the 5.25 inch drives bought from a third-party vendor.
I still have a development-level Foxtail drive and diskette. It was quite revolutinary for the time. Instead of using rails and a stepper motor to control the head placement, it used a cheap motor and a precision-machined cam. Instead of MFM encoding, it used a more sophisticated algorithm to increase data storage density and error recovery (not just detection). And, if memory serves me right, it stored nearly 500 KB on a single side instead of the 160 KB of the original, single-sided 5.25 inch drive.
Trying to understand the pros and cons of the new Aetna offering was rediculous. After 4 calls to the help line I finally realized my wife and daughter were covered under the Aetna Open Choice PPO and not the Aetna Medicare Open Choice Plan (PFFS). But the real hooker is that the Guide to IBM Benefits Enrollment (Blue cover page) for IBM Retirees gives no detail on the Open Choice PPO even though page 10 tells you to consult your 'Health Plan Detail Sheet' for specific covergae information.
So how do you make a choice?? It turns out they never sent that sheet to us according to the retiree help line.
NEEDLESS TO SAY IBM NO LONGER MEANS ANYN OF THE BASIC BELIEFS I LEARNED IN 1965 WHEN I JOINED.
One steamed retiee after 5 hours of useless work, Jay
Another thing. Aetna mailed a packet out with a disk explaining their coverage. I haven't looked at it as yet.
I also talked to someone at the IBM Retiree Hotline. He said that one gotcha of the Aetna Open plan is that you have to spend about $1100 before the plan goes into 80/20 mode.
He also said that under that plan, each doctor accepts or rejects the plan on a visit by visit basis. That simply means more uncertainty when you seed medical services. Doc says Yes today and No tomorrow.
There is also an appeal process for denied claims that rivals anything the US Gov throws at you.
The cost to me is about $110/mon. over what I would pay for IBM Medicare Supplement. Then add the $1100 and that's the increase to me if I choose Aetna.
The reason I'm looking at Aetna is because my wife is not eligible for Medicare yet and there is a $3500 cap on drugs under the IBM plan. To eliminate the cap would cost me an extra $350/mon.
Should she have a serious illness like cancer, the cost of chemotherapy drugs would exceed that cap in a heart beat. So far, we are both in good health and have a good family history. Still, that doesn't rule out catching something because of what someone put in the water or the nearby landfill over the years.
You place your bet and spin the wheel.
The real root cause is that IBM did not assigned any knowledgeable professional (I guess they all left or retired) who would be capable of developing and implementing an effective quality plan for this so complex endeavour and then verifying and auditing it's execution.
We are lucky that we are not getting free food rations from IBM yet. They could pack in the cans all that discarted dog food plus some lead to spice things up...Milan Miklos
I encounter enough problems with UHC's handling of Medicare stuff. Big insurance co.'s like AETNA and UHC scare the hell out of me and Aetna is really a big insurer in multiple fields. Empire BC was a dream compared to UHC. I'll keep good old standard Medicare and the IBM "max oop" and suck up the 20%.
I agree that attracting more girls and women is a must for the technical workforce that invents new tools, games, devices, software and hardware (to be used and consumed by, among others, women). But this emphasis on programming, robotics, computer science and engineering won't get women interested in working for your IT organization. In fact, it is exactly that tech focus that obscures the true nature of enterprise IT jobs (which we'll call business technology) and the background and skills necessary to excel at them. ...
Meanwhile, the collection of jobs that saddled business technology with its geeky image—network and data center administration, code maintenance, programming and help desk—may soon be centralized, automated or offloaded to outsourcers. The stereotypically inarticulate men with pocket protectors who hold these jobs—and who defined the image of the profession way back in the '70s—will soon retire en masse (taking with them their pocket protectors). ...
Now you need business analysts, program managers, vendor managers, relationship managers, information architects or process analysts. These jobs (any of which can lead to CIO) demand employees with excellent communication skills that many of the women you know have: the ability to speak, negotiate, influence others, write, analyze, manage projects or programs, and lead cultural change. These jobs are not about writing operating systems or learning programming languages. They are about helping companies change the way they work. "Driving changes that help the business generate more revenue, lower cost or improve customer service—cracking these business problems—that's fun!" says June Drewry, CIO of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
“There were pretty stringent rules back then,” recalls Ms. Fitzgerald, now 50 and a grandmother living in Dallas. “It was really clinically driven.”
But she says those early lessons didn’t serve her so well when she went to work on the other side of the table in 1998, in health care purchasing. Going by the book, and expecting her colleagues and employer to do the same, cost her a job, most of her friendships and several years of her life, she says.
Eventually, Ms. Fitzgerald decided to file what could become one of the largest whistle-blower lawsuits on record. And her case, which names more than a dozen companies as defendants — some with well-known names like Johnson & Johnson, Becton Dickinson and Merck — offers a window onto a little-known world, where billions of dollars’ worth of medical products are sold each year to institutional buyers like hospitals.
The suit, filed in 2003 in federal court in Dallas, and unsealed this year, argues that improper sales practices, together with erroneous accounting, are invisibly draining millions of dollars out of vital public programs like Medicare through overcharges or unauthorized uses. While whistle-blower cases typically involve, at most, a handful of companies, Ms. Fitzgerald’s alleges systemic fraud across a whole network of companies and more than 7,000 health care institutions.
In a lucrative new form of fiscal alchemy, a growing number of hospitals, working with a range of financial companies, are squeezing revenue from patients with little or no health insurance. April Dial's dealings with Hot Spring County Medical Center in Malvern, Ark., illustrate how the transformation of medical bills into consumer debt means quicker cash for medical providers but tougher times for many patients of modest means.
Dial, a 23-year-old truck-stop waitress who earns $17,000 a year plus tips, suffers from Type 1 diabetes. Sudden drops in her blood sugar level have sent her to the emergency room four times in the past three years. In September she spent three days at Hot Spring, including two in intensive care, fighting complications from her ailment. The bills came to more than $14,000. Dial's job offers no health insurance.
Until recently her mother, Carolyn, who waits tables at the same roadside diner, sent Hot Spring $100 a month under the nonprofit hospital's longstanding zero-interest payment plan. Dial says she couldn't make payments herself because she spends more than $150 a month for other treatment and insulin.
In October she learned that Hot Spring had transferred her account to a company called CompleteCare, one of the many small firms fueling the little-known medical debt revolution. Enticed by the enormous potential market of uninsured and poorly insured patients, financial giants such as General Electric (GE), U.S. Bancorp (USB), Capital One (COF), and Citigroup (C) are rapidly expanding in the field or joining the fray for the first time. CompleteCare informed Dial that under the complicated terms of her newly financed debt, her minimum monthly payment had shot up more than fourfold, to $455. Dial says she doesn't have anywhere close to that amount left over after rent, food, and other doctor visits: "Every extra dime I have goes to paying medical bills."
The Commonwealth Fund's 2007 International Health Policy Survey released in October—our 10th annual international survey—reveals that, while no one health system provides an ideal model, we have much to learn from the other countries. The complete results of the survey of 12,000 adults in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States were published as a Health Affairs Web Exclusive authored by Cathy Schoen, Robin Osborn, Michelle M. Doty, Meghan Bishop, Jordon Peugh, and Nandita Murukutla.
The survey found that financial barriers prevent many U.S. adults from getting the care they need. Thirty-seven percent of all U.S. adults surveyed skipped medications, did not see a doctor when sick, or did not obtain recommended care because they could not afford it. Despite going without care, 30 percent of U.S. adults reported paying more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs in the last year. By contrast, only 5 percent of adults in the Netherlands and 8 percent in the U.K., reported problems accessing care due to costs. And only 5 percent of adults in the Netherlands and 4 percent of adults in the U.K reported paying more than $1000 in out-of-pocket costs.
But here’s a bit of Bushite health-care callousness that is not generally known, and it might both surprise and appall you. The number of uninsured veterans has jumped dramatically on the Bush watch, with nearly two million vets now without health coverage. Indeed, the number of uncovered veterans has risen twice as fast as the number of uninsured in the general population, according to a report in the American Journal of Public Health.
But wait, you say – isn’t Bush the guy who’s always saying, “Support the troops, support the troops?” Surely there must be some mistake. He wouldn’t turn his back on the troops once they come home, especially not sick and wounded vets – would he?
Sadly, appallingly… yes, he would. And this is not an oversight on his part either, for his administration has actively pushed policies to limit the number of vets eligible for coverage. In 2002, even as he was revving up the war machine to send our troops into Iraq, Bush administrators at the VA quietly stopped marketing health coverage to veterans, citing the need to constrain spending. A year later, they went further, actually cutting off access to future vets who earn more than about $30,000 a year. The result is that most of today’s uninsured veterans are lower-middle income workers who are too poor to afford private policies, but not poor enough to qualify for free health care.
This is beyond shameful. No Bushite should be allowed ever again to mouth the words: support our troops.
"Here's the potential for a whole new pool of lives for them to cover, with payment behind it," said Benjamin Isgur, assistant director of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute, which examined the presidential health plans' impact on industry. The study, a comprehensive look at health-care plans offered by candidates in both parties, also concludes that doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers would likely benefit since more patients with insurance suggest more would seek care and be able to pay their bills. ...
Democrats are promising to get tough with insurers, principally by requiring them to cover all who apply and preventing them from charging those who are sick more. Those proposals are anathema to the industry, but less so when they are coupled with a mandate that everyone buy insurance in the first place. Without that mandate, insurers fear that sick people will disproportionately seek insurance, without healthy people in the pool to balance them out financially. With a mandate, that's less of a problem.
Today, the former New York mayor joins two other cancer survivors in seeking the Republican presidential nomination: Arizona Sen. John McCain has been treated for melanoma, the most serious type of skin malignancy, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson had lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.
All three have offered proposals with the stated aim of helping the 47 million people in the U.S. who have no health insurance, including those with preexisting medical conditions.
But under the plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors such as themselves could not be sure of getting coverage -- especially if they were not already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek insurance as individuals.
"Unless it's in a state that has very strong consumer protections, they would likely be denied coverage," said economist Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who has reviewed the candidates' proposals. "People with preexisting conditions would not be able to get coverage or would not be able to afford it." ...
Republicans want to expand the existing private insurance system, offering new tax breaks as a way of helping people buy insurance individually. But they also want to avoid federal regulation that would tell insurers whom they have to cover and how much they may charge.
That means the self-employed and others seeking individual coverage would be subject to a marketplace in which insurers generally pick the healthiest applicants and turn the rest away. Cancer survivors -- even if they have been free of disease for several years -- are routinely denied health insurance when they try to purchase it as individuals. ...
Even if coverage is offered, it often comes with restrictions or high premiums that many find unaffordable. In the individual market, coverage rules "are really quite fussy," said Karen Pollitz, a Georgetown University research professor who specializes in the field. "Most companies won't touch you if you have a cancer history within five years, and with some companies . . . if you've ever had cancer, you can't get coverage."
Dear Friend of NotesBuddy,
First of all, I apologize for contacting you directly and taking your time. I requested a list of the users that were still using NotesBuddy 15 days ago so I could communicate with you directly about the transition to Sametime. I realize that some of you have already made the switch to Sametime, but nevertheless I wanted to send you a note. First and most importantly, I want to thank you for hanging in there 'til the end. NotesBuddy has been a great ride for Craig Swearingen and myself. We got a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment from the project and from watching the sat and "delight" numbers grow. When NotesBuddy achieved the milestone of being used daily by 100,000 IBMers and thousands of customers (by word-of-mouth, the best measure of success), with sustained high satisfaction numbers, Craig and I were asked to come and bring some of that phenomenon to the commercial Sametime product by leaving our posts in Software Group Strategy (Ease of Use) and joining Lotus. I felt strongly enough to move my family from Austin to Westford, Massachusetts.
18 months later, many of the more popular features of NotesBuddy, some still not found in competitors' products, have found their way into Sametime. Admittedly, some of the more experimental, albeit popular features, are not there yet, including the performance characteristics, but of the 110,000 users at the peak, more than 80,000 have moved to Sametime with relatively low numbers of complaints. Of course there are some pet features that even I miss, but by far, the core set is there. Remember, we have to integrate on a world-wide basis, with high quality, and some of the features were a bit too radical to make it into the first roll-outs.
So, when the CIO set plans to "sunset" NotesBuddy, I asked for the list of remaining users (about 45,000, including YOU), and I meant to send out this note right away. But since then, the world has turned upside down for me, and a few things have happened to the NotesBuddy sunset plans. Because of some technical glitches with Sametime on ISSI, and some accessibility issues, the "sunsetting" (I love that term... so peaceful, so final; going-going-gone ) of NotesBuddy has been delayed at least a week, and maybe longer.
On a personal note, I have been selected for a resource action (lay off) after 33 years. This came out of left field for me. The Lotus team has been great in listening to ideas, and I can't fault them for not moving as fast as we had the freedom to do with NotesBuddy as a self-motivated side-project for Craig and myself. Craig will remain to bring the NB quality to the product, and because of that, I am hopeful. I leave behind a decent list of NB features still to make it to the outside world. Whether or not I should have physically moved will be revealed with time. I'm a short-timer now, and ironically may even leave before NotesBuddy does.
I have had a lot of dealings with the CIO team that help maintain the servers. At times rolling out new NotesBuddy iterations was difficult (understatement), but looking back, the whole system improved because of it. Even the dichotomy of NotesBuddy and ICT (another IM client and set of people that moved to Lotus) improved the system. Many features from NotesBuddy influenced Sametime directly, and some indirectly through the adoption by our ICT colleagues. Both NotesBuddy and ICT are in the fabric of Sametime.
Discussion of Sametime and NotesBuddy items takes place in the IBM forums, but I recognize that only a handful of you follow those. If you want to discuss performance or features or stay up to date on CIO actions, please look into that venue. I take a lot of pride in knowing that NotesBuddy helps make people feel that they communicate better, and that they "enjoy" using it; a sentiment rarely found in a business tool. I have had several other radical tools, such as the first popular IBM spell checking editor called PROOF, probably before your time (although the code and dictionaries still run today in Notes and Sametime), and in all cases, excellence and "delight" of the users were the goals.
I have had a great ride at IBM, working on and/or managing popular commercial products, too. Most of all the people I worked with, locally and around the world, made my stay at IBM worthwhile. I feel very connected to the NotesBuddy community, and at times I felt like I knew all of you.
Would you do me a big favor? Would you spend 4 minutes of your busy day and let me know how NotesBuddy affected your work or your life or your state of mind? Just a few sentences will do. And, as much as I would like to fix all the evils of the world, I can no longer impact the present or future of Sametime, so let's try to block those urges, just for the moment, OK?. Wouldn't it be nice to have a binder of positive notes I can look back upon 10 years later? If you feel inclined, you might even copy my manager(s).
I hope you have as long and as great a time in IBM as I did. Keep innovation alive.
All the best, Alan Tannenbaum.
I wonder how many other folks in the IBM WebAhead team also got the ax. There is absolutely no fairness left in Big Blew. The only thing IBM consistently produces is rigged financial engineering so the IBM upper management from IBM Director on up gets more and more filthy rich. Of course this includes Nick Donofrio. Everyone else can suffer and everyone else has to watch their back. Without a union even watching your back will be futile. Just take a guess when you will be RA'ed since it WILL COME without a collective voice! -keep Alan_RA Nick-
I'm glad it was posted, because I think it says something significant about the current IBM. It should also provide some small comfort to sub-band-10 folks who have also been kicked to the curb. Again, folks, it's not YOU, it's THEM. They don't understand the business, and they don't have to care, since they--Nick, Sam, etc.--win, regardless of what happens to IBM. IBM is not unique in the way it is managed. The US is goin' down, and Sam and Co. are playing a part in its destruction. -alreadyGone-
It has been reported that:
To "Job Hunting": thanks for the data point re FA's starting pay in MN. Have you been looking for another opportunity elsewhere? A colleague of mine in Rochester just got RA'ed last Friday. -Anonymous-
Alliance Reply: Once again, we thank you, on behalf of all Alliance members for keeping this data up to date. We encourage you to join Alliance@IBM, and help us build this organization for the purpose of helping ALL non-management IBM employees gain a collective voice to collectively bargain a contract that includes fair wages and benefits for IBM workers.
If you have children considering a career path, tell them the truth about IBM. Why would anyone want their children suffering such a fate? IBM lost its soul long ago. They're incredibly talented at smiling for the camera, playing the good corporate citizen game, all the while, treating their citizen employees as sub-human. They are merely "widgets" after all. I'm embarassed of the company that I used to be so proud of. I left IBM and survived, You will as well. My health and mental sanity are far better for it. Truth be told, IBM is indeed the EVIL EMPIRE. May the force be with you. -BackdoorBlue-
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC. A few sample posts follow:
The best part is that there is no way to ever calculate the post-acquisition economics, because everything just gets swallowed up into the collective, or the blob, depending on which era you like your science fiction.
Don't you just love strategic BD guys. What do you suppose the bonuses were on getting those deals done, not to mention the IB fees. Over 90% of all acquisitions fail to meet their target economics, and over 75% are net earnings dilutive.
The real answer for the acquisition? One or two more quarters where the measurements can be obfuscated and Sammy can keep his job.
It seems they purchase a business, then talk it up, rip off it's assets, and send the workers away. In the meantime, they sell their ideas to the market who raise the share price speaking effusively of IBM's direction . Then the big knobs sell their shares to the unsuspecting public and plan their next rape and pillage.
First...GBS. IBM has struggled mightily with the integration of PWC into the business...particularly with S&D account coverage. IBM is simply not structured to accommodate the boutique type of thinking and account relationships that PWC brought to the table. In addition, the IBM pay grid does not allow for competitive pay given its' overhead and GEB assigned to this business. The discussion point is to spin off GBS into a 'wholly owned subsidiary' but an outright sale is remote.
GTS has many product lines...some are doing quite well with maintenance and BCRS leading the way. SO has several troubled areas that are a direct result of SOX non-compliant pricing processes that expose IBM to US Government procurement rules that dictate that the US Government be the lowest purchaser of service. this issue is huge and senior leadership is exposed here. All that aside...the big issue with GTS is that that have two SPLs, (server services and software services) that are hemoraging money. 2,900 practioners creating 80 million dollars in revenue makes you wonder what they are doing....mowing lawns for customers perhaps? IBM set them up by refusing, as another poster points out, to address the Software and Hardware Lab Services doing the exact same work....at cost!! Stupid....yet no action after 6 years of this practice. However there is nothing to 'sell'...there are no hard assets...just the IP of the wonderful folks that try to make that business work. It simply is not going to happen until IBM gets to one model in the marketplace. The SPLs will be, yet again, re-swizzled to mirror the big plays IBM is chasing including security and 'Green' and virtualization...etc.
S&D account coverage may change as suggested by more than one poster. Actually more direct sales,account based with far fewer staff sales functions are in the cards. Yes....leveraged sales plans will be sharply curtailed and limited to reps that cover cash producing accounts.
I hope this helps...December 10th or so for internal announcements...
The salary difference is pretty significant. Including bonuses, IBM is offering $8,000 more and might possibly negotiate higher. The big four job is for a plethora of different tech related jobs which could really help to make one a jockey of all trades. The IBM is secular and just involves working in an ERP.
Please let me know what you guys think would be a better pick. Also the IBM job staffs nationally, and the Advisory job staffs regionally with less travel. If were to go with IBM, do you feel I would be less valuable in the market place in say 2-3 years than if I were to go with the Big Four firm.
When you compare packages, assume that the bonus “target” included in your offer will not get paid out. They are always contingent on divisional profitability, and the targets are always set so high so as to never get paid. BEST case is 1 – 3%, unless you have a sugar daddy (or mommy).
The IBM brand has deteriorated, and the worst is yet to come. We are a third rate, third world tech shop – forget all the marketing hype. The PwC influence is long gone.
Big 4 would be a better choice – at least there the work is grounded in business process, and the recruiting standards are higher.
If you really want to work in this industry, acquire skills, and learn how to consult, the best thing to do is to work for a boutique.
Spend some time reading the old posts on this forum, and you will get a very complete, and often humorous picture of the environment here. Ignore it at your own peril. Dozens have done so, and returned to this forum kicking themselves for getting suckered in by the IBM brand. Good luck!
Based on my experience, if I were to employ a person, it's unlikely I would view an ex-IBMer favourabley (unless they had experience outside of IBM). They really don't consult - they implement technical solutions. They don't look to add business value, so you won't develop business consulting skills - which are arguably more important these days in the eyes of potential employers than the technical skillset where you can get cheaper resources in the market to design and code from a well tailored functional/business specification (that's the ideal, the reality is though that outsourcing is sub-standard and is unlikely ever be as good as or cheap as in-house development).
Choose an employer that will offer a well-rounded career - mid-tier/boutique is the way to go in my opinion.
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