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Posted: 16 June 2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

Can Big Blue survive another century?

100 down, 100 to go




Big Blue, which more than any other company defined the modern IT industry, turns 100 today. Such longevity is an accomplishment that most corporations can only aspire to, and there is no guarantee, as IBM's near-death experience in the early 1990s aptly demonstrated, that it will be relevant, much less viable, for the next century.

A hundred years ago, on June 16, 1911, Charles Flint, also known as the "father of trusts" because of rubber and chewing gum conglomerates he created in the late 1890s, did a mashup of a bunch of hardware companies that sold meat scales and cheese slicers, time recording equipment (the punch clock), and Hollerith tabulating and punch-card equipment that had been created to automate the tabulation of statistics for the 1890 US Census. Data from the Census was punched on stiff paper cards by human operators and then run through mechanical tabulators that were a derivative of programmable looms; the Electric Tabulating System, which Herman Hollerith patented after writing his PhD thesis on the machine design at Columbia University, is the foundation of what would eventually become data processing and then turn itself into information technology.

Flint may have put the Computing Tabulating and Recording Company together, but chairman George Fairchild ran it for him and perhaps the most important other founding element that gave what would become IBM longevity was the hiring of Thomas Watson, the top salesman at National Cash Register who left that company under a cloud after being convicted of felony charges relating to dubious business practices against other makers of cash registers. It was Watson's second chance at the big time, and he did not blow it. CTR went public in 1916 and when Fairchild died in 1924, Watson took control of the company and changed its name to International Business Machines.




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Posted: 16 June 2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

IBM is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding Thursday. Led by American capitalist icons Thomas J. Watson, Sr. and Thomas J. Watson, Jr. until the 1970s, the company grew from a pre-World War I conglomeration of companies making tabulating machines and time-keeping devices into a globe-spanning technology behemoth that pioneered the development of electronic computers and dominated the mainframe era.

The company holds a mind-boggling array of patents and pioneered advances in a wide range of technologies including punched cards, processors, transistors, storage, word-processing, databases and OSes. As one of the emblematic 20th-century corporations, IBM also went through turbulent times. The U.S. government brought several antitrust lawsuits against the company, and critics have attacked it for alleged cosiness with repressive regimes. After Tom Watson Jr. retired in the 1971, the company seemed to lose its way as mainframe computing began to face competition from smaller, more modular systems. Increasing bureaucracy contributed to missteps during the PC revolution, and IBM suffered a series of annual losses in the early 1990s. Under the reins of then-CEO Lou Gerstner, starting in the mid-90s, the company bounced back to profit by focusing on software, system integration and other services, which remain key to the company's growth today.


100 Years of IBM: Milestones


Though Hewlett-Packard, after its acquisition of Compaq, overtook IBM as the world's largest computer company by annual revenue, IBM's global reach and broad product portfolio still make it one of the largest and most profitable IT companies in the world, with about 427,000 employees and a profit of US$14.8 billion on sales of $99.9 billion last year. The following is a timeline of milestone events in one of the quintessential U.S. corporate success stories.

--1889: Time-recording equipment maker Bundy Manufacturing Co. is incorporated.

--1896: Punched-card, electric tabulating equipment maker The Tabulating Machine Co. is incorporated.

--1911: Incorporation on June 16 of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (C-T-R), which merges Bundy, the Tabulating Machine Co., the Computing Scale Company and the International Time Recording Co. Headed by trust organizer Charles Flint, the company has 1,300 employees.

--1914: Thomas J. Watson, Sr., joins C-T-R at age 40, after learning aggressive sales tactics at the National Cash Register Co. that led to his conviction on antitrust charges. The verdict was set aside after an appeal. Within 11 months of joining C-T-R, Watson became its president. His focus on marketing and sales and large-scale tabulating solutions for businesses helped company revenue more than double in his first four years at C-T-R, to $9 million. Over the next four decades as IBM CEO Watson became an American business icon, pioneering worker benefits such as paid vacations and group insurance while instilling discipline and loyalty in generations of IBM workers.

--1923: The first electric key punch is introduced, representing an advance on mechanical systems.

--1924: Taking the name from a Canadian affiliate, C-T-R formally becomes International Business Machines.

--1928: The 80-column IBM punched card, doubling prior capacity, is unveiled and remains a standard for 50 years.

IBM's Harvard Mark I was 51 feet long and weighed nearly 5 tons.IBM's Harvard Mark I was 51 feet long and weighed nearly 5 tons.--1931: A watershed year in advances: IBM 400 accounting machines offer alphabetic data, the 600 series calculating machines perform multiplication and division, and the first automatic multiplying punch and reproducing punch machines are introduced.

--1933: IBM acquires Electromatic Typewriters, acquiring entry in the typewriter business, which ultimately leads to innovations in word processing.

--1936: Tom Watson, Sr.'s, insistence on making machines during the Depression, even when demand dried up, pays off when IBM is in a position to participate in what was then billed as the biggest accounting operation of all time, supplying punched-card equipment to the U.S. government in the wake of the 1935 Social Security Act.

--1937: Tom Watson, Sr., is elected president of the International Chamber of Congress, and at a Berlin meeting promotes "World Peace Through Trade," taken on as a slogan by the ICC and IBM. Germany awards him with an Order of the German Eagle medal. He returns the medal in 1940, enraging the Fascist government, but IBM's business in Germany in the 30s stirs criticism over the years.

--1944: IBM's first large-scale computer, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator or the Mark I, is the first machine to accomplish long operations automatically, using electromechanical relays.

--1946: IBM's 603 Electronic Multiplier is the first commercially available machine to offer electronic arithmetic circuits. It is more than 50 feet long, eight feet high, and weighs almost five tons.

--1948: IBM releases the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator, a large-scale digital calculating machine that uses electromechanical relays and offers for the first time the ability to modify a stored program.

--1952: The IBM 701 is IBM's first production electronic computer, featuring tape-drive technology that ultimately led to the ascendance of magnetic tape.

--1952: Thomas J. Watson, Jr., becomes IBM president. He was a force behind the 701, essentially a bet-the-company stance on electronic computers before they became more cost-effective than electromechanical machines, leading the way for IBM to dominate computing for the next few decades during the mainframe era.

--1956: Consent decree ends a 1952 U.S. antitrust suit, as IBM adapts a more liberal policy toward licensing equipment.

--1956: Tom Watson, Jr., takes over as CEO in May, before the death of his father in June. Tom Jr. moves to reorganize IBM along divisional lines, based on a "line and staff" concept that is adopted by American business at large.

--1957: IBM introduces FORTRAN, which becomes the main language for technical work and is used to this day.

IBM Selectric

IBM Selectric--1961: The Selectric typewriter is released; later models offer memory and give rise to modern word processing.

--1964: The IBM System/360 uses Solid Logic Technology microelectronics and introduces the concept of a family of computers that share compatible technology, in what was essentially a $5 billion bet on future trends.

---1966: IBM's Robert Dennard invents the Dynamic Random Access Memory cell, which remains an industry standard.

--1969: IBM technology including an onboard computer used in first manned flight to the moon.

--1971: Tom Watson Jr. steps down, is succeeded by Frank Cary, and the floppy disk is introduced; it later becomes the PC data storage standard.

--1975: The IBM 5100 Portable Computer enters the market, weighing 50 pounds and priced at $9,000 to $20,000.

--1981: The IBM Personal Computer becomes the smallest, and at $1,565, the lowest priced PC to date. IBM's deal for Microsoft to supply the operating system and allow competitors to buy it for "IBM-compatible" clones fuels a growing industry and paves the way for competitors such as Dell and Compaq.

--1982: A U.S. antitrust suit filed in 1969 is dismissed, but arguably pushes IBM to further separate hardware from software, allowing customers to increasingly mix and match products from different companies, a trend that takes off during the PC era.

--1984: The Personal Computer/AT, IBM's second-generation PC, runs on a 6MHz Intel 80286 processor.

The ancestor of Watson, the Jeopardy-winning machine.

The ancestor of Watson, the Jeopardy-winning machine.--

1987: The IBM Personal System/2 (PS/2) is launched along with the OS/2 operating system, jointly developed by Microsoft and IBM. OS/2 offers multitasking capabilities and in six months one million PS/2s are shipped. But while IBM PC chief James Cannavino wants OS/2 to maintain compatibility with the AT going forward, Bill Gates wants to move on to machines built around the Intel 80386 chip. Windows 3.0, released in 1990, offers crude multitasking features but makes use of '386 memory management and becomes a hit, leaving OS/2 in the dust.

--1990: IBM releases the System/390 family, comprising midrange machines and supercomputers, calling it the company's biggest product development in 25 years. New technology includes high-speed fiber optic channels, ultra-dense circuits and extended supercomputer capabilities.

--1991: As Microsoft and PC clone makers rake in profits, client/server architecture takes off and IBM shocks long-time industry insiders by announcing an annual loss of $2.82 billion, the first of three annual losses in a row. Under CEO John Akers, IBM considers breaking up into smaller, nimbler companies.

--1993: Louis Gerstner, former chief executive of RJR Nabisco, takes the reins as chairman and CEO. At his inaugural press conference, Gerstner plainly states his intention to keep IBM together as an integrated company, and his belief that there is a need for a broad-based IT company that can serve as both supplier and systems integrator to customers.

--1995: IBM acquires Lotus Development Corp. and its Notes collaboration software, making IBM the world's largest software company.

--1995: IBM introduces the ThinkPad 701cm, which runs on the Intel 133MHz Pentium processor. The sleek black design is a departure for IBM and wins accolades.

A Lenovo ThinkPadA Lenovo ThinkPad--1996: IBM's launch of the DB2 Universal Database, capable of querying alphanumeric data as well as images, audio and video, marks IBM's firm embrace of the Internet.

--1997: Deep Blue, an IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer able to calculate 200 million chess positions per second, defeats grandmaster Garry Kasparov.

--2001: The publication of Edwin Black's "IBM and the Holocaust" coincides with an Alien Tort Claims Act claim, later dismissed, against IBM for allegedly suppling punched card technology that enabled the Holocaust. IBM's response points out that along with hundreds of foreign-owned companies in Germany at that time, its affiliate came under the control of Nazi authorities prior to World War II.

--2002: Sam Palmisano becomes CEO in March, and in July IBM signals it is further strengthening its services business with a $3.5 billion acquisition of the PricewaterhouseCoopers global business and consulting technology unit.

--2005: Though IBM has sold more than 20 million ThinkPads, it announces the sale of its PC business to Lenovo in an effort to further focus on software and services.

--2011: Watson, comprising 90 IBM Power 750 servers, shows off IBM's artificial intelligence and systems architecture expertise by defeating two Jeopardy game show champions in a two-game match.

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Posted: 20 June 2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

The ANCYL rhetoric, in their extraordinary statement which follows, is  reminiscent  of the European Trotsky student protests of the 1970's.


They call for the following :


1. An 'Urgent amendment of Section 25 of South Africa's Constitution.  The State should be empowered to expropriate all property in the justifiable interests of the people of South Africa without compensation.'



Section 25 enshrines the right to property, which is a standard international human right. The Section is very detailed, making it unique among human rights instruments. The Section amongst others covers arbitrary deprivation of property and compensation in great detail, which is in the context of the South African post-apartheid era and the Black Economic Empowerment program.


The Section sets out the context in which these provisions may be of relevance, in stating “For the purposes of this section the public interest includes the nation's commitment to land reform, and to reforms to bring about equitable access to all South Africa's natural resources; and property is not limited to land. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to foster conditions which enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis. A person or community whose tenure of land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to tenure which is legally secure or to comparable redress. A person or community dispossessed of property after 19 June 1913 as a result of past racially discriminatory laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to restitution of that property or to equitable redress.”


2. 'Continue to relate internationally with progressive formations, particularly former liberation movements such as Zanu PF in Zimbabwe',




3.  'Lodge a criminal case with the International Criminal Court against Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy for launching an unprovoked war, destroying civilian infrastructure, killing innocent civilians and attempting to assassinate a foreign head of state.'


·          On 17 March 2011 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 with a 10–0 vote and five abstentions. Resolution 1973 sanctioned the establishment a no-fly zone and the use of "all means necessary" to protect civilians within Libya.[76]


Aren't we complicit?


Remember this is  the 'Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya' we are talking about.


·         He announced the suspension of all existing laws and the implementation of Sharia. He said that the country would be purged of the "politically sick". A "people's militia" would "protect the revolution". There would be an administrative revolution, and a cultural revolution.

·          Gaddafi set up an extensive surveillance system. 10 to 20 percent of Libyans work in surveillance for the Revolutionary committees. The surveillance takes place in government, in factories, and in the education sector.[42] Gaddafi executed dissidents publicly and the executions were often rebroadcast on state television channels.[42][43] Gaddafi employed his network of diplomats and recruits to assassinate dozens of critical refugees around the world. Amnesty International listed at least 25 assassinations between 1980 and 1987.[42][44]

·         The eastern parts of the country become impoverished under Gaddafi's economic theories.[

·         Much of the country’s income from oil, which soared in the 1970s, was spent on arms purchases and on sponsoring dozens of paramilitaries and terrorist groups around the world.[45][48][49][50] An airstrike failed to kill Gaddafi in 1986. Libya was finally put under United Nations sanctions after the bombing of a commercial flight killed hundreds of travelers.

Gaddafi assumed the honorific title of "King of Kings of Africa" in 2008 as part of his campaign for a United States of Africa.[51


4. Congress further disapproves of State power as a tool to dispense patronage and empower friends and families.



.....unless the ANCYC take their god-given right to take a cut !!!!!! ........  must be what they mean.



But for an email from a friend based in Australia describing the difficulties and risks of investing in SA Mining versus the rest of Africa (accompanied by a malema article advocating Nationalisation .) this might be funny.


t's not. This stupidity has consequences.


Zuma wrong to side with imperialists - ANCYL

ANC Youth League
19 June 2011


League asks SA govt to lodge case with ICC against Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy for Libya bombing


ANC Youth League 24th National Congress Declaration

We, the delegates from branches, regions and provinces of the ANC Youth League across South Africa, gathered for the 24th National Congress of the ANC Youth League in Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, to map out a concrete programme on how we galvanise youth to attain total economic freedom in our lifetime.

The 24th National Congress is the biggest Congress of the liberation movement in South Africa, attended by more than 5000 delegates from branches of the ANC Youth League across the country. The 24th National Congress was ideologically, politically and organisationally the most definitive in the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime.

The 24th National Congress received inspiring and decisive messages of support and addresses from our fraternal organisations, and progressive organisations from around Africa. We appreciate the inspiration and agitation that we should never give up on the struggles for economic freedom in our lifetime. The National Congress was further graced by the presence of ANC leadership, former leaders of the ANC Youth League and representatives of business, religious sector and traditional leadership.

As we gather, we salute the 1976 generation of freedom fighters who fearlessly confronted the repressive apartheid regime and agitated South Africa's youth to fearlessly confront the regime until it was collapsed.

We appreciate and applaud the fact that the ANC Youth League continues to qualitatively and quantitatively grow and expand to exert hegemony in our communities. Congress appreciates that as compared to 2008, the ANC Youth League has more than 900 additional audited branches, meaning that the ANC Youth League now exists in areas it previously never existed.

The National Congress re-affirms the centrality of the Freedom Charter as the strategic goal of the African National Congress and entire national liberation movement, and that everything we do should be directed towards attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives. We therefore commit to ensure that the 53rd National Conference of the ANC in 2012 should re-assert and concretely programmatise the Freedom Charter as focus of the ANC post its centenary celebrations.

Our strong conviction is that in the spirit reflective of the founding generation of the ANC Youth League in the 1940s, our generation should do everything in its power to radicalise and re-energise the African National Congress to be a fighting force for people's political, social and economic freedom.

Like the 1944 generation of the African National Congress Youth League, this generation will fight aggressively the tendencies in the ANC to intimidate the ANC Youth League through disciplinary action, particularly through the use of rule 25 of the ANC Constitution.

The National Congress affirms the view expressed in the Political Report that part of re-energising and radicalising the African National Congress will include election of younger, more energetic and militant leadership into senior leadership of the ANC. We therefore call on younger and more energetic members of the ANC with plausible and adequate organisational experience and understanding to lead the ANC at regional, provincial and national level.

The 2012 ANC 53rd National Conference should epitomise the programme to re-energise and give new impetus to the African National Congress both with regards to the political programme adopted and leadership elected by that Conference.

Congress believes that discussion of ANC leadership should be opened and members should at all time be at liberty to discuss and deliberate on the leadership question, particularly for the 53rd National Conference of the ANC in 2012.

Putting timeframes of the leadership question disadvantages members and structures of the ANC to honestly reflect on the kind of leadership needed to lead the ANC post 100 years of its existence. Congress further disapproves of State power as a tool to dispense patronage and empower friends and families.

Congress disapproves of all manifestations of social intolerances, in particular, racism, xenophobia and tribalism. The ANC Youth League will intensify the struggles against social intolerances because they undermine efforts to realise the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution. Congress is firm against these intolerances because certain sections of society utilise tribalism and racism as tools for political mobilisation and support.

The National Congress calls on all members of the Youth League to join the African National Congress and ensure that more than 50% of the 1 million membership of the ANC are young people. This will assist in placing the Youth Development agenda at the forefront of all government programmes, because young people in South Africa are the least beneficiaries of economic opportunities presented by the democratic government.

National Congress instructs all structures of the ANC Youth League to build the Progressive Youth Alliance in order to strengthen the revolutionary alliance now and in the future.

The National Congress expresses displeasure with the re-emergence of a political tendency in the ANC of politically and ideologically associating with imperialists on foreign policy decisions, particularly as it relates to Libya and Ivory Coast. We call on the South African government to delegitimize the NATO military campaign by publicly declaring it criminal neo-colonial venture against defenceless people and undermining of the sovereignty of a nation-state.

We further ask the South African government to lodge a criminal case with the International Criminal Court against Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy for launching an unprovoked war, destroying civilian infrastructure, killing innocent civilians and attempting to assassinate a foreign head of state. We call for the immediate end to the NATO bombardment.

The sovereignty and independence of African countries should never be sacrificed in pursuit of pleasing the narrow interests of investors and imperialists. This notion should altogether be defeated in the African National Congress as it has potential of donating our country to the whims and needs of imperialists.

Congress vehemently disagrees with the justification and explanation given by the President of South Africa on the decision of South Africa to support a UN resolution that called for the imperialist invasion of Libya by neo-colonial forces.

The National Congress adopts the programme of action for economic freedom in our lifetime, which is the guideline of our struggles in the war for economic freedom in our lifetime. The ANC Youth League will rally the ANC, the South African society and the African continent behind the seven cardinal pillars in the programme of action for economic freedom in our lifetime. In the absence of the vanguard of the working class in South Africa, the ANC Youth League commits to be the vanguard of the working class in the struggles for total social, political and economic emancipation.

This means that from now onwards, the ANC Youth League's political and ideological focus will be about the protection of the working class and the poor and active mobilisation of particularly vulnerable workers who are exploited as petrol attendants, waiters and waitresses, mine workers and farm workers.

The National Congress re-asserts the importance of Discipline as a weapon of the struggle and transformation, which does not exist for its own sake, but to safeguard the unity of the movement.

It is through discipline, focus and persuasion that the ANC Youth League will triumph in the battle to realise the seven cardinal pillars for economic freedom in our lifetime, particularly the Nationalisation of Mines and expropriation without compensation.

It is the National Congress's conviction that Nationalisation of Mines and expropriation without compensation will happen because the balance of forces in South Africa are in Youth League will therefore mobilise the whole of society to support nationalisation of Mines, as a component of the struggles to realise economic freedom in our lifetime.

As part of struggles for economic freedom in our lifetime, the ANC Youth League calls for the urgent amendment of Section 25 of South Africa's Constitution, because it prevents progressive programmes and interventions by the State to drive redistribution of wealth for the benefit of all our people.

The State should be empowered to expropriate all property in the justifiable interests of the people of South Africa without compensation.

The ANC Youth League and ANC should through action and concrete tangible programmes, consistency and accountability, work towards attainments of more than 75% victory in the 2014 general elections.

The 75% victory of the ANC will re-assert the hegemony of the ANC in society and give the movement the power to amend the Constitution for progressive purposes.

Congress supports all efforts and actions to align local government and general elections into single elections.

The 24th National Congress is of the view that the ANC Youth League is far much stronger and better positioned to lead struggles for social and economic transformation and will intensify in all fronts to ensure that young people have access to better education, healthcare, housing, and many other social needs.

Our branches of the ANC Youth League should be at the forefront of the struggles against crime, alcohol abuse and rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. Multi-sexual relationships cannot continue to be fashionable amongst the youth and should be combated.

The ANC Youth League will continue to relate internationally with progressive formations, particularly former liberation movements such as Zanu PF in Zimbabwe, SWAPO in Namibia, Frelimo in Mozambique, Chama Chama Pindudzi in Tanzania, MPLA in Angola, POLASARIO in Western Sahara and many other progressive formations across the world.

The ANC Youth League will also campaign for a better world and social justice across the world in the international organisations we participate in, particularly World Federation for Democratic Youth, International Union of Socialist Youth and Pan African Youth Union.

As an immediate focus, the ANC Youth League will campaign for social and political justice in Swaziland. We cannot continue to behave like all is well is Swaziland because political parties remain banned and political activists are brutalised and killed by the Monarchy.

The ANC and South Africa's leadership role in the African continent should be re-asserted. This leadership role should be defined by a clear agenda to re-affirm the political and economic independence of the African countries and the continent.

In this regard, the ANC Youth League will convene all progressive youth formations from all countries in the African continent to develop political and ideological programmes to reclaim Africa's wealth in particular mineral and land from colonial masters.

The ANC Youth League will continue to be a robust, honest and leading youth formation in South Africa and is now more than determined to fight all battles in the war towards attainment of total economic freedom in our lifetime. 


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