We’re all just lab rats to IBM

When I was growing up in Ohio, ours was the only house in the neighborhood with a laboratory. In it the previous owner, Leonard Skeggs, had invented the automated blood analyzer, pretty much creating the present biomedical industry. Unwilling to let such a facility go to waste, I threw myself into research. It was 1961 and I was eight years old.

I was always drawn to user interface design and quickly settled, as Gene Roddenberry did in Star Trek half a decade later, on the idea of controlling computers with voice. Using all the cool crap my father (a natural scrounger) dragged home from who knows where, I decided to base my voice control work on […]

Magical thinking at IBM

Third in a long series of columns about what’s wrong with IBM

The current irrationality at IBM described in my two previous columns and in the comments so far from about 300 readers is not new. Big Blue has been in crazy raptures before. One was the development of the System 360 in the 1960s when T.J. Watson Jr. bet the company and won big, though it took two tries and almost killed the outfit along the way. So there’s a legacy of heroic miracles at IBM, though it has been a long while since one really paid off.

There are those who would strongly disagree with this last statement. They’d say that with its strong financial […]