Monthly Archives: July 2014

Today Is Famed Trial Lawyer, Jack Ruby’s Pro Bono Attorney, Melvin Mouron Belli’s Birthday. He Would Have Been 107.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.... .. ... .. . . . . . . .
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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Melvin Belli 18th anniversary of demise — July 9, 2014.
2. Paul Monzione & MH17 — July 23, 2014.
3. Exxon Valdez anniversary — June 24, 2014.


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Click to ENLARGE. Melvin Belli with Paul Monzione in front of a Superior Court. [Probably California.] This picture was sent to me by Paul’s wife Darla Monzione.

I, alas and alack, did NOT know the man. I wish I did. Any man who would publicly accuse his 5th wife of having an affair with Desmond Tutu is my type of guy. I know we would have got on like a house on fire. I hear, from who else other than Paul Monzione, that Belli was BIG into ‘publicity’ and had teams of ‘PR’ folks working for him. I know that Belli would have hired me.

Well, most of what I know about Belli is from Paul. One of these days I might buy one of his many books. I am sure I would enjoy reading about his exploits.

So he died 18 years ago. He was 20 days short of 89. It is always a coincidence but the notion of people dying on the same month as that in which they were born intrigues me. So, I wonder, was his upcoming birthday on his mind? I have a spreadsheet of all the pertinent dates I have been able to find about popes. A number of popes died close to their birthdays. That is how this ‘close to birthday’ thing got in my bonnet.

Well, I can’t wish him a happy birthday. That would be inappropriate. But at least I will mark this date.

Melvin Mouron Belli, THE MAN.

I love that middle name. Wow. ‘Mouron’. So close to ‘moron’ but yet so far. It is French. I am not going to have anymore kids. But there is a chance that I might get another dog — and the next one will be another Golden. I might name him ‘Mouron’, though I can see people thinking that I am calling the dog ‘moron’. Hhhmmm. That alone might be fun.

This is NOT Belli — but he was a Belli client. This pictures also came to me via Darla Monzione.

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Will Pope Francis, Now Becoming Noted For His Candor, Admit That His Prayers Are Going Unheeded?

popepray891Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.


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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Did Francis pray for Argentina
>> — July 5, 2014.
>>
PLEASE pray for Argentina —

>> July 15, 2014.
>> Francis’ prayer at Wailing
>> Wall
 — May 30, 2014.
>> Francis prays for Iraq —
>> June 16, 2014.
>> Francis “Prayer of ‘WHY’” —

>> Nov. 22, 2013.

++++ Search on ‘pope‘  & check Category ‘Religion’  for loads of other pope related posts >>>>

ψψψ Search on ‘pray‘ for a ton of posts about prayer, across religions >>>>


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Click for “New York Times” coverage. You have to study the expression on Shimon Peres’ face. It is a classic. You can just imagine what must have been going through his head as he sat among the grandeur of the Vatican.

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Click to access coverage, today, from ‘Haaretz’.


Though he loves to say the darndest things, and whatever you may think about this pope, you cannot deny that he sure does appear to have a heart of gold.

Plus, as pope, as I know, he is supposed to pray. That is definitely in his contract. So, I understand that he has to pray and do so publicly.

And, yes, yes, yes … I am more than aware of the “God doesn’t micromanage”, “God gave us free will”, “All part of God’s grand plan”, “You are much too stupid to understand what God has in store for us” etc. etc. Fine. In that case why does the Pope pray? He should keep quiet!

If you check my posts on this blog about prayer you will see that I did grow up in a house where I was surrounded by grownups that prayed, incessantly, and made vows to various gods, probably on a daily basis. So, I got to see prayers in action first hand. That is why, as I got older, I became skeptical. Then there was the November 2012 Catholic debacle. The U.S. Catholic bishops had a campaign of prayer to ensure Mormon Mitts victory. Again, this surprised me, because these are the same folks that say “God doesn’t micromanage”. So why pray? So we all know how successful those prayers were.

Then Francis. He is trying. But his prayers does not seem to be working. I feel BAD for him. It must hurt him, deeply. It must keep him up at night. 

I, of course, have my own thoughts and ideas about prayer — which must be fairly easy to workout. What I want to know is whether this pope, with his fondness for candor, will ever make a statement that questions the efficacy of his prayers. 


Threatened Strike By FairPoint Communications Could Impact New Hampshire TDS Customers!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
++++ Search ‘TDS’ for other related posts >>>>


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Click to access full coverage by “NH Business Reviews” (NHBR). Google for more.


If you live in New Hampshire and have a TDS telephone line (‘landline’) — as I do — I can tell you for a fact, irrefutable to beat, that when you make ‘long distance’ calls, even intra-state, at some point, your traffic will go across FairPoint Communications’ “lines”. Yep. You think you have TDS, but TDS subcontracts with FairPoint. It even gets better, though we are paying for a ‘landline’, thinking that we will still get good old-fashioned POTS, that is NOT the case. At some point there will invariably be SOME VoIP (Voice over IP), i.e., digitized voice across the Internet, involved!

I am not making this up. I was told all of this, quite recently, by a friendly and helpful, local TDS technician who helps us quite a bit with our multiple TDS lines.

If you have a TDS phone line and occasionally experience dropped calls (just like on a cell) — particularly when the call is getting connected — BLAME VoIP! It is actually part of a devious plan by the Telcos. They use a ‘least cost’ algorithm when establishing and maintaining calls across VoIP. Basically a standard feature of routers — which can then be ‘provisioned’ and programmed. Part of the algorithm, and I kid YOU NOT, is to drop calls. That saves money.

From what I can gather TDS is not alone in this. All of this now applies to all Telcos. There are no ‘dedicated’ phone lines so to speak — at least for consumers. I am sure that they have them for certain U.S. ‘agencies’ and for the DoD — as they should. But, VoIP is here to stay.

So the FairPoint strike could have broader repercussions, in New Hampshire, than people realize.

Coincidentally, or otherwise, FairPoint customers, over the last week, have had Internet issues! Hhmmm.

I haven’t checked the law but I hope that there are some laws that say that UTILITIES, think ‘electric’, cannot be turned off due to a labor strike. IF so I would hope that ‘telco’ is considered a utility as it is — and by that also Internet access. I don’t know what I will do if I lose Internet access for more than a couple of days due to a strike. Yes, I have gone for 3 days or more without Internet, but that is about the limit. 


The New Hampshire Pig Roast — The Video.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.
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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:

>> The Pig Roast Pictures <<

++++ Check Categories ‘New Hampshire’ & ‘Events’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


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Click to access MUST WATCH video, a photo montage, to music.


A Classic Rural New Hampshire (Private) Pig Roast, Saturday, July 26, 2014 — 180 Pounds, Cooked For 18 Hours.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.
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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
++++ Check Categories ‘New Hampshire’ & ‘Events’ for MANY other related posts
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Click to ENLARGE.

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Talk about succulent!

It was divine.

It was a BLAST. Non-stop live music. Wonderful gathering.

That is something about New Hampshire pig roasts. You tend to get the Salt of the Earth.

There is a video — a must watch video. Click here.



The Non-Stop Live Music

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The Party that went with Pig Roast

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Impressive Google Doodle For 2014 Commonwealth Games In Glasgow.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
1/ 2014 Commonwealth
> Games
.May 21, 2014.
2/ Opening Ceremony — July 24, 2014.
3/ Rod Stewart & Susan Boyle
>  at the Games
 —
July 15, 2014.
4/ 71 nations at 2014 Commonwealth Games — July 23, 2014.

++++ Search on ‘commonwealth’ & check Category ‘Sri Lanka’ for many other RELATED posts >>>>

Last Google Doodle Post:
>> Nelson Mandela, 96th — July 18, 2014.


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Click to access original and background from the Google Doodle archives.


Just visible in the Commonwealth Countries. Here is the map.

comgamesreachgdt671


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Click to ENLARGE and read. Clicking on Google Doodle above will take you to original.


“Market Basket” Fort Eddy Road, Concord, New Hampshire — The Boycott Is On & We Are 100% With The Loyal Employees.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.… .. ... .. .
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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Demoulas firing impact in N.H. — July 21, 2014.
>> Arthur T. Demoulas firing over 4% — June 24, 2014.


On Friday, July 25, 2014, after the Lisa DiMartino award ceremony with Governor Maggie Hassan at the State House (and after a delightful lunch at ‘Olive Garden‘ on Loudon Road with Lisa, friends and family) and before going to see “Planes: Fire & Rescue” we stopped by the “Market Basket” at Fort Eddy Road to show our solidarity with the protesting staff. As I have previously admitted one of my manifold foibles is my inability to be within 5 miles of this store and not get drawn to it — like a bee to honey (a moth to a flame being totally the wrong picture). Deanna and the kids now understand this ‘addiction’ and kind of think it is funny. The kids even start going “Doesn’t Daddy have to go to Market Basket?” So we drove in. The parking lot was basically empty. We actually have a friend who works at the store. She was outside pushing a few cards back. We tried to intercept her but didn’t succeeded. [I spoke with her inside.]

I went, pressed the flesh and chatted with the good folks standing outside holding signs. Some were on their break. The young lady had come into ‘picket’ though it was her day off. They were nice, as Market Basket staff always is. The manager came out. We chatted. I told them that we were 100% behind them. We also talked buyout options. I had, as you can check, already said on July 24 that the only way out of this mess is for one side, ideally the “Arthur T.” side, to buy the other side out. Well the offer got made that morning. Knowing what I know of this family, on principle, they will haggle and be cussed. Arthur T. might want to consider a private buyout — and give employees and customers the chance to buy say 35% of the company. Yes, I will buy shares in an Arthur T. ‘Market Basket’ — and so will a LOT of others. So, I hope Arthur T. considers that. That will make me very happy. It will be cool to be a ‘Market Basket’ shareholder.

It was very sad to go into the nearly empty store. There were maybe 10 customers. Lot of staff milling about. I spoke to a number. Nobody said anything about me taking pictures. I was kind of leaving through the produce section that being our normal route through that store. I was still taking pictures. The manager, very dapper and smart-looking, with whom I had spoken outside stopped by, and asked whether I needed any bananas. Wasn’t sure for a second whether he was being funny! As it happened we needed bananas — and were going to buy some at Walmart since I was NOT going to break the MB boycott. The manager says: ‘Take some. Take a whole bunch”. I say: “No. I don’t want to pay for it and look like I am not supporting you guys”. He laughs, and says: “No. No. Take it for FREE”! I guess they are giving away the perishable goods. Another great gesture. So as I go through the checkout I make a point of telling the girls that I am NOT breaking the boycott that I was told to take the bananas for free. They knew. They laughed. It was a very nice atmosphere.

Market Basket employees ‘picketing’ — but doing so as nice as can be. I chatted with them for about 10 minutes. CLICK TO ENLARGE.


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Click to access a 1:48 minute photo montage, with music, of the pictures I took of an empty Fort Eddy Road, Concord, N.H. “Market Basket” at YouTube.


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Click for latest coverage from Portland, ME Chanel 6.


Disney “Planes: Fire & Rescue 3D” — Cute & Clever, But Is Not Another ‘Frozen’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.
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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> “Frozen” — Mar. 3, 2014.
>> “The Lego Movie” … — Feb. 24, 2014.
>> Two other Lego movies — Feb. 6, 2014.
>> “Ice Age III 3D” — Aug. 4, 2012.
>> “Brave 3D” — Aug. 4, 2012.


disney-planes-fire-and-recsue-giveaway

PLANES FIRE & RESCUE


Taking the kids to see a Disney 3D movie in the Summer is somewhat of a ritual. Plus we had seen all of the ‘Cars’ movies and the first ‘Planes’ movie. Liked them all — and to be fair what is there NOT to like. Plus we saw a fair amount of Cars and Planes memorabilia in April when we were down at Disney World. So on Friday, July 25, 2014, after the Lisa DiMartino awards ceremony at the State House in Concord, and lunch at ‘Olive Gardens’ we went to see “Planes: Fire &amp; Rescue 3D” at the “Regal Concord 10”.

The movie was cute and clever. As with all Disney movie the humor and messages are at multiple levels. This was NOT ‘Frozen’. This was really a tribute to Fire and Rescue folks and in that it was good and powerful. Rather a ‘deep’ movie for kids — with lots of actions to distract them from the serious themes being presented. Not really sure what age range Disney is aiming this movie at. The kids, of course, thought it was “OK”. “OK” when it comes to a Disney movie is “OK”. It is not a resounding vote of confidence. I did not hear Teischan say she wants to see it again. I doubt whether she will ever ask me for the DVD. I guess if it ever comes on ‘TV’ they might watch it again.

It is THE Summer Disney movie for kids. So what choice do you have.

We went to the 4:50 pm showing — the ONLY one that was in 3D. It was us and 6 others — 4 of them that got to see it at non-3D prices because the cashier screwed up. So it wasn’t packed. But, then again it was 4:50 on a working day.

It was OK. Very clever. Great animation. Beautiful rendering. So, if YOU have to take the kids to a Disney movie over Summer — take them. You might be able to forgo the 3D. Not that much 3D in it. << See Below >>


Full Disclosure

We ended up getting 100% of our ticket price, i.e., $66, back on this movie!

As I have shamelessly admitted in prior posts, I am a sucker for 3D. I like 3D, I enjoy 3D and I will gladly pay for 3D.

I wasn’t thrilled about going to see a 3D movie at the “Regal Concord 10”. We had seen 3D there before and didn’t think it was very good — with the quality of 3D, of course, dependent on the technology and up to dateness of the projection equipment. Given a choice I go to Cinemagic Hooksett or Portsmouth — but Cinemagic Hooksett did NOT have Planes in 3D for Friday! So, that is why we went to Regal 10.

As soon as the 3D Previews started I could tell that the 3D projectors were out of synch. So I got up went out and told one of the kids. He came in, watched the trailers for a few minutes, and then whispered to me that: “sometimes the trailers have ‘trouble’ with the 3D BUT that the movie will be in 3D”. I knew that that was garbage. So we endured 20 minutes of out of focus trailers. Then the movie started. It was out of focus. Deanna got up to go complain. I followed. One of the other parents had beaten both of us. The same kid who told me the original garbage now told us that he would tell the manager.

We went back. Seven or eight minutes into the movie the focus got corrected and we had ‘OK’ 3D. But they never rewound it! That we had watched 10 minutes of it, out of focus, seems have been take as ‘tough titties’.

I don’t pay $66 to watch 3D movies that are out of focus.

So when the show ended I marched out and asked to see the manager. Then I found the kid that I had told me that it would be ‘OK’ and told him that I want him to explain to the manager what he had told me. He went and saw the manager ahead of him talking to me.

I was my usual congeninal self BUT I told him upfront and straightaway, with my credit card already in my outstretched hand, that I want ALL my money back. He was in his middle ages. Nice guy. He looked at me askance. Not sure how many people ask him for ALL their money back AFTER they have watched a movie. But I mastered preemptive closing decades ago. He looked at me and said: “OK. OK. I will refund the whole amount”. He did. I kind of felt bad for him. I would have settled for a $20 refund, BUT I, given my decades as a high-power salesman had to start high. By now the kids were back from the bathroom. They like to watch me in action. They were impressed. So, we got to see the movie for free — just paid for the popcorn. The manager probably would have given me the money back on that too, if I had asked. But I am very reasonable.

Bottom line. Good manager. Did the right thing. Kudos to him. But, we will never be going to Regal Concord 10. They are not up do date when it comes to 3D. Cinemax it will have to be.


Lisa DiMartino, NH State Rep., Belknap County, District 2 (Gilford & Meredith), Receives Governor’s Accessibility Award 2014 On July 25.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.
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Related Posts:
>> Lisa DiMartino to get award 
July 23, 2014.
++++ Search on ‘Lisa’ for MANY other related posts
>>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

Lisa, 3rd from left.


Congratulations Lisa.

Thank YOU Governor Maggie Hassan.

Happy Birthday Lisa. What a wonderful birthday present.


We were not sure whether we could make it to the awards ceremony, at the Concord State House, on Friday, July 25, 2014. We had to juggle around a couple of prior commitments. Deanna wanted to go. She is very fond of Lisa. I wanted Devanee to go given that Devanee campaigned with Lisa, all day, on election day 2012 when Lisa won. I also thought it would be good for the girls to see Lisa and the Governor in action. Wonderful role models. Though I had seen the governor, up close and personal, a couple of times when I did my GSA shifts at the State House, the girls had never met her and Devanee in particular has started keeping tab of all the famous people she has met (and she always adds, charmingly, ‘other than Dad’). It all worked out. We were able to go and even take a friend of Devanee’s from Alton.

Nice group of people. Got to chat with some very warm folks. Great upbeat atmosphere. Everybody was happy, pleasant and collegial. It was, as it should be, like a family celebration. That it happened to be Lisa’s actual birthday was a bonus. We did not know until folks suddenly started singing ‘Happy Birthday’ as Lisa walked to the podium. It was very touching. We were very proud and happy. [We ended up going to lunch, after the awards ceremony with Lisa, her ever delightful family and some of her other friends. That made it even more special.]

Wonderful event. Wonderful people. Wonderful service to the community.


Anura Guruge, Devanee Guruge, Teischan Guruge & Kyle with New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, at the State House in Concord, July 25, 2014.

Us with Governor Maggie Hassan.


Facebook (FB) Market Cap Exceeds That Of IBM.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.… .. . . . ..

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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts: ++++ Search on ‘IBM’ & ‘mainframes’ for MANY other Wolfeboro related posts >>>>


The historic “Hursley House”, the centerpiece of the enchanting ‘Hursley Park’ IBM R&D Labs. where I worked from 1974 – 1979. Knew the House well. c. 1976, many days in the ‘Summer’, I used to have lunch on this lawn with the then head of security for the site, a retired Colonel. We became friends through our common interest in guns and target shooting. IBM Hursley had a gun club — and I founded an archery club. There was a period, of about 2 years, when 3 or 4 times a week, around 5 pm I would go down to the ‘shooting range’, on the property, which also serve as a reinforced bomb disposal site, and shoot 100 rounds (sometimes 3x that) — and then come back and code till 7:30 pm or later. Bullets were subsidised by IBM per their policy towards all sports clubs. I think it cost me 2p a bullet. So UK £2 for 100 rounds. It was very therapeutic.

Market Caps [viz. all outstanding shares x current stock price] are kind of funny though there is no denying that they do tell a very telling tale. After yesterday evening’s stellar, ‘blow-out’ 2Q results by Facebook it now has a Market Cap higher than most companies — including IBM. To me that is sobering and scary. I used to own IBM, but never on a large scale and never for long. I have been in CSCO and AAPL for longer and for larger positions. But, IBM, as I would often write in my various columns and articles is, or definitely was, in my blood. My claim used to be, in the context of where I stood when it came to IBM vs. the ‘rest’ [and I am old enough to remember the ‘BUNCH‘], was that when ‘cut’ I always bled ‘dark blue‘. IBM was my life from 1974 to c. 2004. Though I only worked for IBM, as an employee, for 5 years (and a part-time consultant for a year), my expertise in many things IBM, in particular mainframes and networking, and I was, “Mr. SNA” for two decades, was how I made a living from 1980 to c. 2010. I followed IBM like there was no tomorrow. I had to. That was what was expected of me.

<< BUNCH = Burroughs, Univac, NCR, CDC and Honeywell. RIP. >>

To see IBM missing out on ‘social’ and ‘mobile’ distresses me. I still care for IBM. It is part of my life and legacy.

IBM screwing up on technology trends, of course, is not new or news. IBM, though it came up with the term ‘PC’, in the end missed out on the PC revolution. OH, do I remember OS/2! Missed out on minis too — and I speak as one that worked for Wang and DG. Lost networking too — and that is what hurt me, in every sense, psychologically and financially. I won’t even mention (bloody) ATM (and NO, we are not talking cash dispensing ATMs) or the (damned) nWays. Talk about Lost Opportunity Costs! Oh dear.

IBM should have, could have, acquired any of these ‘social’ companies if it really tried.

IBM's magnificent Somers Park in NY. Looks like something from the Jetsons. I used to visit it, often, 1995 -- 1997. Click for Wikipedia entry on the Park and more pictures.

IBM’s magnificent Somers Park in NY. Looks like something from the Jetsons. I used to visit it, often, 1995 — 1997. Click for Wikipedia entry on the Park and more pictures.

‘Cloud’ is now its big thing. I smile. I have seen this all play out before. Grid Computing, Autonomic Computing (and I even started writing a book on ‘Grid & Autonomic’), SAA … the list goes on.

But what the Market Cap does not reflect is IBM’s continued revenue stream and real, tangible assets.

Facebook, per yesterday’s run-rate, probably will end up with 2014 revenues of around $15 Billion. That is good. IBM, on the other hand, will end up close to $100B!

IBM’s balance sheet states that it had, in 2013, $51B in assets. Facebook, in 2013, had $13.7B.

But here is where I, having had first hand experience of SOME of the amazing properties, see a huge difference. IBM, like the Vatican, has some dynamite real estate investments. ‘Hursley Park’ where I worked is a gem. But, they have so many like that — many in the U.S. Yes, they have divested themselves of MANY since the 1980s. But, per the balance sheet they still have over $50B in property, buildings and land. Facebook $6B.

But, Market Cap does not lie!

Market Cap reflects investor sentiment and belief — and therein lies the rub. Investors, rightly, think of FB as the future, IBM as the past.

Shame.

I own 5 FB shares! I didn’t bother with the IPO. I knew I wouldn’t get any. Instead, just for fun, I bought 5 shares, on the IPO day for “free” (i.e., using money from an AAPL options call I wrote), at the IPO price,  just to say that I had participated in the IPO of the ‘year’. Yes, now it is up 91% — which, alas, is still not that great!

Anyway just was just a ‘stream of consciousness’ because it bothers me to see IBM continuing to lose GROUND.

Some of IBM's past glories when it came to Real Estate. So technology. IBM was genius when it came to Real Estate. That was then. The Hay Day of antitrust, non-compete and all that fun.

Some of IBM’s past glories when it came to Real Estate. So technology. IBM was genius when it came to Real Estate. That was then. The Hay Day of antitrust, non-compete and all that fun.