Abbott and Costello on buying a Computer

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help  you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I’m setting up an office  in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.

COSTELLO: No, the name’s  Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy  one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why?  Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a  computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don’t know.  What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind  the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO:  No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track  expenses and run my business.  What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my  office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I  just did.

COSTELLO: You just did  what?

ABBOTT: Recommend  something.

COSTELLO: You recommended  something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my  office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I  recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I  already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my  computer and I want to type a proposal.  What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in  Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is  office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for  Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for  windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click  the blue “W”.

COSTELLO: I’m going to click your  blue “w” if you don’t start with some straight answers.  What about  financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money  with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to  track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with  your computer.

COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my  computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I  get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn’t it  illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us  a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give  you a license to copy money?


(A few days  later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I  help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer  off?

ABBOTT: Click on  “START”………….

IBM Software Group Surpasses Oracle in SW sales to become Number 2

Usually, I wouldn’t view being in second place as something to brag about, but let me develop the thought.

The first point to this is that IBM is not a Software Company.  Although we have a good Software business, we are about solving customer problems with a myriad of solutions.  Unfortunately, upwards of 80% is legacy solutions that only works on an IBM mainframe.  That is the big lie not told.  I’m not looking to debate semantics here, we are a technology company, leader in Innovation,  IT player, call it what you want here.  I will say that customers have driven our business since Watson built it.

Next point, there was a long time that IBM was the largest SW company, but that was when we had proprietary solutions such as SNA and based a lot of revenue on maintenance.  What is interesting here is that the current leader is following the same path towards license based, proprietary offering.  I’ve been on record that Microsoft is going down a similar path as IBM in earlier years and the market/customers will ultimately rule or change the rules (name your open std or platform here).  They will then have to re-invent themselves as IBM has done a number of times.  Further, Software as a Service and the related SOA capability will likely take us away from the packaged application tradition….speculation here on my part.

Nuther point, acquisitions are in vogue, and Oracle bought their way to their postion.  IBM has made numerous acquisitions also, but they were based on a different model.  I don’t want to debate this issue in this blog, but going back to a Lou Gerstner quote, “you make acquisitions to position yourself for the next wave of growth and to protect yourself from economic fluctuations”.  That is a lot of what is behind the IBM strategy (my opinion only here) vs. what seems to be happening at Oracle who are buying marketshare (again, my opinion only).  Many of their acquisitions are neither technically nor customer related to their core business.  I realize you could argue this from a grand vision, but that is for greater minds or richer lawyers to do (or analysts).

So being number 2 isn’t really that bad.  In fact, when you are dealing in the multi-billions, and when software is only a piece of your overall business (IBM has services, hardware and financing for those that didn’t notice), it’s a pretty good number.  Given my statements on Microsoft’s issues, either IBM or Oracle (or SAP or some other) may be number one in the future.  I wonder if you added up all the open everything out there if that was really #1?

IBM and Amazon in Patent conflict, Goliath vs. Goliath

IBM has entered into litigation with Amazon over violation of Patents.  Here are the facts:

1. Some legal cases are complicated — but this one is very simple.  It’s about IBM not being compensated for the use of its R&D. IBM spends about $6 billion on R&D each year, and we’ve had more U.S. patents than any other company in the world for each of the past 13 years.  Last year IBM was granted nearly 3,000 patents for its inventions and innovations.

2. IBM has tried more than a dozen times since 2002 to get to pay for using these patents. has refused every time.

3.  IBM has been a leader in sharing intellectual property in ways that foster collaborative innovation.   But a key tenet of IBM’s IP policy is “mutual respect for intellectual property rights.”  Other companies license and use these very same patents, and IBM is entitled to protect its inventions.

4. We would have preferred to deal with this without litigation… it’s not what we do.   In fact, many companies have licensed these high-quality patents from IBM, as well as other patents, in “field of use” patent licenses.  Those companies value the quality and innovation of these inventions.   To not enforce our patent rights would be a discredit to those who  have fairly and lawfully taken these licenses.

5. We did what we had to do to protect IBM’s interests. (yes it’s rhetorical, but facts are facts)
My personal view is that in drawn out cases, the only winners are the lawyers who bill.  This will be complicated as IP law is a specialty that few are experts in.  It appears from the early facts that IBM has a good case, as it also has had with SCO.

I’ve been a part of 2 separate IP cross licensing issues that started as patent infringements, once with a software company in Redmond and once with Cisco.  What started out not on the right foot ended up as a positive for both companies so I know that IBM tries very hard to work these out if both parties will cooperate.  This leads me to think that Amazon is not trying very hard, except to not cooperate.

These usually drag out over years and are not fun nor pretty nor are they a PR dream.  I wouldn’t keep any hopes up for a fast resolution.  I do know that having worked with the IP lawyers at IBM, they are some of the most competent and well versed groups you will find, so don’t look for any unturned stones on this one.

I’m sure there will be plenty of updates to follow, but if I had to pick sides, I’d like to be on the IBM version of this one.  I’m sure that Amazon has a big team of lawyers also, but ultimately it has to be settled, in front of a judge, or by working together.  There are too many instances of IBM trying to work these out…Amazon, are you listening?

If it’s Tuesday, I must be in Paris, no Chatham County

Well, I finally made it. We’re swimming in a sea of boxes of the stuff we’ve collected for decades, despite trying desperately to weed out any unnecessary items for months prior to the move.

It looks like it will take months to fully get moved in. When you’ve moved multiple times and owned multiple houses, you just seem to collect stuff.

I’ll post some before and after pictures just to get a feel for it, but due to DSL (all I can get in the country) downtime, I haven’t been online much. Stay tuned.

Lastly, for the testosterone fix, I’m getting a John Deere Tractor on Thursday, complete with front end loader, 62 inch mower and rotary cutter (bush hog) and tiller.

Moving, update 4, out with the old, into the new, oh and I managed to do some Analyst Relations also

Out of the old house with 200 boxes and furniture, my old house is now empty. Here’s my buddy Wes who helped schlep close to 15,000 lbs of my junk.
In with the new, although nothing arrives until tomorrow, there is a mad rush to get it ready, including contractors for kitchen, landscape, carpenters, electrical, plumbing, fence, and others.

Here they are trying to get the kitchen ready.

And best of all, here is the future office of IDR Analyst Relations, that by Monday has to be up and working. But we did narrow the list of technology for the showcase at the SWG A/R meeting. The current issue is how bleeding edge to balance out the middleware capability is at stake. Also, blogging issues and a technology jam are on the table being decided. This is good for interaction with the analyst’s with our software capability. Stay tuned, or weigh in.

But as I said yesterday, I get my dog back tomorrow.

Moving, update 3, new garage floor, we're camping now, and I actually got work done

If you’ve ever seen the commercial with the guys that admire how good the garage floor looks, it worked on me. Here’s a couple of shots of the floor. Since it’s made of epoxy, it is hard. If you see the specks in the floor, it hides dirt real well.

garage 2.JPGgarage floor 1.JPG

On the moving front, our life is in 169 boxes of any shape and size. This doesn’t count furniture. So for the next 2 days, we’ll be camping, Sleeping on the floor like during the big apex explosion day 2 weeks ago. We have what little we packed and that’s it. Like traveling, we’re eating out every meal. Total life distruption. Just to add to the fun, a tire blew out on my wife’s car causing me to have to buy 4 new tires and 2 new wheels (it was a pothole) to the tune of more money than I needed to spend. Moving allows you to run through your savings like hot water on ice counting contractors, movers, other parasites that attract themselves to this adventure.

Unbelievable as it seems, I’m able to work some as I have a broadband card that’s a gnat’s toenail faster than dialup, but it works. Steve, since you’re at ODC, maybe you can get with Sarita to discuss the tagging and farming…..your call, just let me know in comments.

On the positive side, I get my dog back in 2 days……a big 🙂 on that one.

I’m moving this week, update 2


My house has become a sea of boxes. I’m still working as much as I can, especially on the SWG analyst conference (Steve O’Grady, we need to talk about the tag farming with Sarita soon), but it’s getting more and more difficult to work around the growing mountains of boxes.

It’s amazing how much you can accumulate, even when we spent months throwing as much away or donating to Goodwill as we could. But we have tons of stuff. One of the things you accumulate is dust in places that you can’t clean, like behind bookcases and places you can’t get to. I’ve cleaned enough to stuff pillows for most of my rooms, and I have allergy filters on my a/c and in rooms in my house.

So one more day of packing, then hauling it to the new house.

If your a guy and you’ve seen the commercial about the garage floor, I did it and will post photo’s…it’s as good as the commercials say.

I'm moving this week, update 1

Total disruption in my life this week is about to begin. I’ll be finding things I didn’t know I had, recovering lost items I thought were lost forever, and it looks like staying on top of contractors who are trying to finish my house on time for me to move in will be my toughest task.

I bought a new camera also (Sony W70) which I hope to document the pandalerium (a redneck term meaning total chaos for those above the Mason-Dixon line).

So blogging will be mostly personal, although I do hope to do an ABC on the longtail podcast series at some point. I’m tagging this series screw ups because I expect a lot of that to happen.

developerWorks Podcasts, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Rod Smith, Gina Poole

Podcast:  developerWorks interviews Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Rod Smith, Gina Poole

Three critical players in alphaWorks history reflect on IBM’s highly regarded early adopter program
Live landing page
Review URL:
Live mp3 link

Podcast: alphaWorks devotee segments with Bob Schloss, John Feller, Chieko Asakawa, Marshall Schor
Four interviews with software architects whose applications and teams have benefited through alphaWorks

Live landing page
Review URL

And now, a small diversion from analyst relations and technology. The trailer for Season Six of 24!

There are times that it is good to clear your head, just so you can focus.  I rarely get to watch TV anymore (not that it clears my head, but it does keep me from obsessing about work), but I’m a fan of 24.  So here is the link to season six of 24.

Most disapointing to me is that the whole business of the Chinese capturing and interrogating, torturing, umm politely questioning Jack will not be explored.  Way to wimp out.
I like this show because like life, there are good guys and bad guys, and we have to deal with situations that confront us.

A new record for Windows patches, fixes? Screw ups?

Microsoft today sets a new record for 26 patches, many for security.  I’m for getting my system working and secure, but the installation kills my productivity.  How do you make something so faulty? (that’s my pointer to screw ups).
It’s not giving me a whole lot of confidence that my system will function right either.  Why can’t we have something that works?  Or better, let’s have an OS that hackers don’t find so easy to mess with, or find out why they hate the company that produces it so much they want to hack it.  My choice at work is Windoze, I’m stuck with this at work.  Home is going to be different if this keeps up.
Powerbooks are looking pretty good to my right now.

The Top 50+ Geek T-Shirt Slogans

1. Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.2. COFFEE.EXE Missing – Insert Cup and Press Any Key

3. Buy a Pentium 586/90 so you can reboot faster.

4. 2 + 2 = 5 for extremely large values of 2.

5. Computers make very fast, very accurate mistakes.

6. Computers are not intelligent. They only think they are.

7. My software never has bugs. It just develops random features.



10. <——– The information went data way ——–

11. Best file compression around: “DEL .” = 100% compression

12. The Definition of an Upgrade: Take old bugs out, put new ones in.

13. BREAKFAST.COM Halted…Cereal Port Not Responding

14. The name is Baud……, James Baud.

15. BUFFERS=20 FILES=15 2nd down, 4th quarter, 5 yards to go!

16. Access denied–nah nah na nah nah!

17. C:\> Bad command or file name! Go stand in the corner.

18. Bad command. Bad, bad command! Sit! Stay! Staaay..

19. Why doesn’t DOS ever say “EXCELLENT command or filename!”

20. As a computer, I find your faith in technology amusing.

21. Southern DOS: Y’all reckon? (Yep/Nope)

22. Backups? We don’ NEED no steenking backups.

23. E Pluribus Modem

24. >… File not found. Should I fake it? (Y/N)

25. Ethernet (n): something used to catch the etherbunny

26. A mainframe: The biggest PC peripheral available.

27. An error? Impossible! My modem is error correcting.

28. CONGRESS.SYS Corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/n)?

29. Does fuzzy logic tickle?

30. A computer’s attention span is as long as it’s power cord.

31. 11th commandment – Covet not thy neighbor’s Pentium.

32. 24 hours in a day…24 beers in a case…coincidence?

33. Disinformation is not as good as datinformation.

34. Windows: Just another pane in the glass.

35. SENILE.COM found . . . Out Of Memory . . .

36. Who’s General Failure & why’s he reading my disk?

37. Ultimate office automation: networked coffee.

38. RAM disk is not an installation procedure.

39. Shell to DOS…Come in DOS, do you copy? Shell to DOS…

40. All computers wait at the same speed.

41. DEFINITION: Computer – A device designed to speed and automate errors.

42. Press — to continue …43. Smash forehead on keyboard to continue…..

44. Enter any 11-digit prime number to continue…

45. ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI!

46. E-mail returned to sender — insufficient voltage.

47. Help! I’m modeming… and I can’t hang up!!!

48. All wiyht. Rho sritched mg kegtops awound?

49. Error: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue.

50. “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates, 1981


52. Hidden DOS secret: add BUGS=OFF to your CONFIG.SYS

53. Press any key… no, no, no, NOT THAT ONE!

54. Press any key to continue or any other key to quit…

55. Go ahead, make my data!

I’m alright, don’t nobody worry ’bout me

Today’s music themed blog brought to you by Kenny Loggins is about the explosion that happened next to my house last night. Fortunately, we grabbed kids, dog, sleeping bags and high tailed it out of dodge (actually in a Dodge Truck).

The story says that 17,000 had to evacuate Apex, my hometown…and 4 of them included my family. Here’s what it looked like last night.
apex nc_plant_fire1.jpg

Here is a map of where the explosion took place. If you look just above ten-ten road and US 1, you’ll find hillsford lane, where I used to? live. so the net is it happend about a half a mile from my house. As I type this from another town, I have no idea whether my house is ok or when I can go home, but the net is my family and I are ok, thanks to my neighbor Perry who woke us up after midnight.

So I have very limited access to anything, in fact I’m blogging from an empty room right now where I’ll be for who knows how long.But I’m Alright……….

Talk about getting the 3rd degree.

I’ve been hesitant to blog about this, but at the request of some others and in the spirit of transparency, here goes.


I finally got promoted to 3rd degree black belt in Karate last Friday night. It’s been a long struggle and I’ve learned so much about myself, my ability to exceed perceived limits, tenacity and of course martial arts.

While it was a tough test consisting of many Kata’s, weapons Kata’s, many self defense sets, line drill, sparring and teaching requirements, the best part about it was that my Mom, Sister and Brother-in-law took the time to come to the promotion. I usually only practice with other karate students and keep everything in the dojo (where it belongs), but I was able to share a side of me that they hadn’t seen before.


Finally, here is a break I did, just for fun.

Gina Smith; Author of iWoz, TV celebrity, Radio Personality, CEO, Journalist but most of all Friend


Photo Of Gina

As with all my bloggerviews, I try to talk to interesting people. Up until now, they were from IBM, but I ventured outside for this one as it goes back to my roots. Although we grew up in towns not very far apart in Central Florida, Gina and I met at Core International in Boca Raton, which Gina describes below. We were both young and worked together with some other talented folks who have gone on to many tech companies.

She has gone on to a fantastic career at Ziff Davis, IDG, ABC, MSNBC, CNBC, SF Chronicle, and was the youngest Female CEO of a tech company. Just last week, she released iWoz, the story of Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple Computer which she discusses. In one week, it shot to number 20 on Amazon and is still climbing. I recommend that you buy a copy and enjoy both the story and her talent. For more information and updates, check out her blog at

Gina was gracious enough to grant this interview and while we covered the questions, we caught up on life since CORE, friends and family and life’s experiences. She has always been down to earth and I’m proud to call her a friend.

Describe your life travel from a hometown girl from Ormond Beach to be a famous Good Morning America (GMA) personality, CEO, and Author?
I grew up in Ormond Beach, FL. Not far from where you grew up in Winter Park, John! I used to sit on the beach as a kid and squint, pretending the hotels were high-rises and that the sand was snow. My dream was to grow up and live in work in a major city like New York, Boston or San Francisco. I wanted out and up. And I’ve been lucky enough to live in all of those places!

How did it happen? Long story, but here’s the gist. Remember how I was working with you at CORE International as a tech writer making 14K a year? Thanks a lot for that great salary. Anyway, one day I wrote a press release and the tech journal PC Week ran almost without a change. I wrote a letter to the editor (on peacock blue paper — I was 23!) and enclosed copies of my press release and the article, saying they should hire me if they wanted a journalist who understood technology. To my total surprise they did hire me about a year later, and I covered the Microsoft beat at PC Week in Boston from 8/8/88 to 1993. (author – here is the actual story from my clipbook)

After that, I just worked non-stop. I covered hardware for PC/Computing in San Francisco, started a magazine for IDG called E2 (which in turn started the tradeshow E3), did a radio show with Leo Laporte (On Computers), wrote a column called Inside Silicon Valley for the SF Chronicle for about a dozen years, a bunch of things. Constant working! Then, one day, a producer asked me to come on a show then called Macneil Lehrer to debate Steve Ballmer about Windows 95, which was about to come out. I argued that Microsoft was not pointing out to people that their 1 MB PCs were not going to be able to run it, that they would need new apps and so on. A talent scout at ABC in New York saw it, and I ended up on Good Morning America, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and Nightline for the next five years.

When did you know you had a talent for being in the media?
When the talent scout called me! : ) But I’ve always been a ham. And after talking tech to live callers on the radio about technology for so many years, I felt very comfortable with the subject when people like Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings were throwing me softballs.

What were some of your experiences on GMA?
In the green room, where the celebrities wait before going on, I met such an amazing variety of people. I was able to ask the OJ Simpson trial jurors what they were thinking when they acquitted him. I met Milton Berle and told him a joke he laughed at. (Two atoms are walking down the street. One says, uh, oh, I think I lost an electron. The other says, are you sure? The first, says, I’m positive!) I was privileged to meet Harry Belafonte, whom my mother followed around for a bit as kind of a groupie in the 50s. And he remembered her! I met Bill Clinton, who was so impressive, so articulate and so much imposing and better looking in person than he was on TV. For Nightline, I had the amazing experience of working with Ted Koppel and his incredible producers. What they were doing over there was true broadcasting art. The night that show went off the air, something in journalism died.

What technology stories did you break that you felt were important?
I broke the first story on Windows 3.0 at PC Week, and also the first story about PM Lite (Presentation Manager Lite), which IBM was secretly producing to compete with Windows after Microsoft switched horses on them and started developing its apps for Windows instead of OS/2. I broke the first story about Pixar for the Chronicle. At ABC, I broke the story about those kids who committed suicide in Southern California, thinking they were going to reunite on a spaceship. I was the first to find the website they left. I broke lots of stories. It kind of became my specialty, to get THE story first.

Talk about your time as the youngest female CEO in the Tech industry.
It was tough. I was 33. Larry Ellison, whom I’d interviewed a few times, called me out of the blue and asked me to meet. When I arrived, he offered me the job as co-founder, CEO and president of his second business to build network computers (NCs). I said, “Why me?” He said of all the coverage he’d read on his network computer idea, I was the only one who seemed to understand it. He was right about that – I thought thin clients were the future and I still believe that. Anyway, he gave me a fat check and I restarted the company and renamed it NIC (New Internet Computer Company). We sold lots of computers and broke even – we never lost money – but though the idea was prescient, we were way too early. Lots of fellow journalists took potshots at me – assuming I was either a bitch or involved with Larry – but that is how it goes with women in power, I think. My husband was really hurt about it, but whatever. I used to tell people: If I were involved with (the then richest) man in the world, why would I be putting in 16 hour days? Ha! But in the end, it was the experience of a lifetime. I learned Mandarin (well, business Mandarin), traveled extensively in Asia for contract negotiations, managed a team of 70 people. And these were the brightest and nicest people you’ll ever meet. The NIC team was like no other. But when NIC went down at the dot com crash, an era was over me. That’s when I had my baby – Eric is now 3 – and I started once again doing both what I used to do and what I think I was born to do…. Write.

I finished The Genomics Age – a book that explains DNA sciences in plain English for business people – before Eric was one. That was my fourth book. My fifth is out now! It is the co-written autobiography of Steve Wozniak, iWOZ. (WW Norton 2006)

Where do you get your ideas for books?
When I am interested in something and I go to a bookstore and there are few or no books on the subject, I pitch a book. That’s how The Genomics Age happened. It is selling all over the world now.

You just completed the book iWoz. Talk about that book and Woz himself?
Steve Wozniak is unquestionably among the greatest living inventors today. He invented the personal computer, which so few people know. He was the first to combine a keyboard and screen with a computer – that’s the modern paradigm. To write the book, I met with him 54 times and interviewed him. Then, I took printed transcripts and used his words – he is a hilarious and plain-spoken guy – and wrote the book in his voice exactly. Some of his stories are just priceless. Especially the ones involving the early days with him and Steve Jobs building Blue Boxes, devices to make free phone calls. Also, the book talks about why Steve believes IBM overtook Apple with its IBM PC. Steve thinks the fault lied with the faulty Apple III, which was designed by committee.

What’s your next project?
You can see my series, Tech Tour, right now at We are going city to city show-casing inventions. My next book is tentatively titled Five Threats to Global Civilization, but I am taking a bit of a break before starting that. I am also doing lots of work with Link TV, a satellite channel, on American Ramadan and other Arab-related issues. Most people don’t know this, but I am a major ethnic mix. My mother was half Muslim, my father was half Jewish and I was raised Catholic. So covering Islamic issues and other topics outside of science and technology is a real treat for me.

More on the Meet the Experts analyst relations tactics

ananlyst partner01.JPGananlyst partner02.JPG

I received a comment from ARonaut (see below) regarding whether our new tactic of putting analysts with our partners without us being in the room to monitor what was said. Since not everyone read comments on blogs, I decided to blog it instead.

Here is a list of comments from both the partners and analysts:

“excellent opportunity to speak with analysts” & “best part was partner one on ones”

“was excellent on all counts, I like the transparency – Very important!”

“this was probably one of the most high value initiatives of our IBM relationship so far”

“more time in each session”

“great one on one format; good opportunity for candid conversations”

I knew going in that there would be sticky subjects, which there were as there always is with analysts… like how big IBM is and how easy/hard it is to work with us on some things, what is the best model for SaaS, and others. That just made it real for everyone. We wouldn’t have been sincere if everyone was a shill for us and there weren’t any warts. So it worked because we talked real life experiences.

So net-net, it is a good model and we will use it again as it’s a forum for the open exchange of ideas and issues.