Jocks And Computers: The NFL Story

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2014 – 4:16 pm
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nflFootball is big business, and the Super Bowl is the biggest of the big. The National Football League, a PC Week Corporate Lab Partner, spent two weeks building a miniature village near the site of the Super Bowl, complete with stores, houses, offices, an amusement park and a satellite-dish forest. And this village is becoming increasingly computerized.

The day before the Super Bowl, NFL officials took us on a tour of the official statistics control center. During the game, this small room is a hotbed of activity as each play, participant and result is entered into a Xenix-based multiuser …

R:Base Was Pure Dopeness

Posted in Uncategorized on October 20, 2014 – 3:07 pm
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dosWhen DOS 2.0 was brand-new in 1983, I was using Lotus 1-2-3 to maintain a mailing list. It was easier than using EDLIN and the DOS Sort utility, but it still seemed like a clumsy, error-prone approach.

That’s when I decided to get acquainted with my first database package — Microrim’s R:base. My reaction was love at first prompt.

That early experience with R:base gave me some convictions about the proper way to configure a database. Those convictions persist to this day, although I was often forced to use other tools because of a client’s preference.

When I recently had …

IBM Still Powers The IT Industry

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2014 – 2:54 pm
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ibmspIBM is on a roll, at least as far as PCs are concerned. Granted, the company has just announced the Mother of all Corporate Losses, and John Akers has joined the ranks of presidents without portfolio. Nevertheless, there’s one part of the company that appears to have gotten its act together and is competing effectively — the Personal Computer Co.

The descent into the netherworld of non-competitiveness took a while: After all, IBM has always been a force, and what might have killed other companies just weakened Big Blue.

Yet from 1988 to the end of the third quarter of …

Chipmakers Have Come A Long Way, Baby

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2014 – 11:06 am
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cmaThe U.S. semiconductor industry has staged a startling comeback from its dark days of the mid-1980s.

It was in 1986 that American semiconductor companies, which had once enjoyed a 70 percent share of worldwide sales, watched their market share slip below 40 percent and their number of dynamic RAM manufacturers dwindle from 11 to two. Japan quickly capitalized on the erosion of the U.S. semiconductor industry and vaulted to the top.

“People seriously thought there wasn’t going to be a semiconductor industry in the United States by the end of [the 1980s],” said Dan Hutcheson, president of VLSI Research Inc., …

Oracle “Glue’s” It All Together

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2014 – 10:44 am
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orclOracle Corp. customers will see the benefit of the company’s new Glue middleware immediately: Glue’s architecture is built to take advantage of the optimization features of the Oracle database server. But while Glue has a strong architecture, its success will depend on its acceptance and use by other software vendors.

PC Week Labs examined a beta version of Oracle’s middleware, a software layer that allows front-end software to talk to back-end databases. Glue takes middleware a step further by including E-mail and personal digital assistants (PDAs) as data sources that can be linked into the corporate data network.

Oracle’s …

Tough Times For Windows Developers

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2014 – 10:34 am
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 “Survival of the Fitters.”

wdevI don’t know whom to credit for that wonderful line. I first heard it from Fred Snow, a vice president with the distributor TechData, but he says he picked it up somewhere else.

In any case, I’ve been stealing the line with glee, for not only is it a nice play on words, it’s a perfect description of the PC marketplace these days. It describes the results of both last year’s downward pricing pressure on PC hardware vendors and the market’s swing to Windows applications on software vendors.

That phrase came to me again last …

Reviewing Classic DEC Hardware

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2014 – 6:57 am
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rcdhDigital Equipment Corp.’s upcoming desktop systems, based on its new Alpha processors, will be the dream machines of the Windows NT world, according to an examination of a preproduction unit by Geekstir.

Expected to be released when Microsoft Corp.’s Windows NT is announced in the second quarter, the Alpha AXP 21064-based system examined by the Labs uses a minitower case and standard PC components and will cost between $7,000 and $10,000, depending on configuration. DEC also has plans for both lower- and higher-end Alpha systems.

Side-by-side comparisons with a 25/50MHz 486DX2-based system running our test release of Windows NT were …

IBM Shifts Its Sales Force Into High Gear

Posted in Uncategorized on August 5, 2014 – 6:45 am
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ibmsWhile all eyes focused on the management shake-up at IBM last week, the struggling computer giant was zooming in on another target: the vaunted IBM sales force.

IBM is quietly working to further split its “Blue Suit” sales team along product, geographic or vertical-market lines, sources said last week. The moves continued amid a week of turmoil following John Akers’ announced plans to resign as the company’s CEO (see story, Page 14).

Much like the increased autonomy being given to IBM’s product units, dividing the sales force will give IBM’s developers more freedom to sell their own products instead of …