Tag Archives: ITT Data Systems

Crew Filming Latest ‘Jeep’ Commercial Driving Around In A Mercedes Benz Van!

by Anura Guruge


The German wagon being used by the crew. You can see that they (like I did a few years ago) drove it across the sandbar when the tide was coming in or going out (i.e., when part of the sandbar was under water).


Click image to access my post from a few days ago.


Click to ENLARGE.


Click image to access my post.


This was kind of disappointing, ironic and amusing in equal measures.

I guess Jeep does not bother to impose criteria on the film crews they hire.

In the early 1980s when I worked as the Customer Support Manager for ‘ITT Data Systems (UK)‘ ‘British Leyland‘ was one of our big customers (as was ‘Ford‘). I used to have to go visit them often at their various locations — many of them manufacturing plants. A few of these plants, especially up north, would NOT allow non-Leyland cars into their main parking lot. You had to park across the road and walk over. They wanted their main parking lot Leyland only. I had no problem with that since I liked Leyland and owned Triumphs (Spitfires & a TR7) at the time. But, most often I would be driving my company car — which was often a Ford. I thought this was cute on the part of British Leyland. Some of my field support engineers thought otherwise — and, to be fair, unlike I they usually had to lug some ‘heavy’ diagnostic equipment with them (e.g., datascopes). So, they would swap company cars with a colleague, if they could, just to get around the restriction.

Maybe Jeep, now part of ‘Fiat Chrysler‘ should think about a similar policy. I am sure you could find Chrysler vans that could fit the bill.


Related posts:
Search ‘German Cars’.


by Anura Guruge

When Did Built In Cup Holders Become Standard On Cars — Particularly British Cars?

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail.
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by Anura Guruge


cupholder1

Click to access “Bon appetit” article.

Related posts:
>> Black XJS.
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Burgundy 202 red Jaguar XJ8.
>> 2015:
Green 1968 MGB breaks hibernation.
>> MGB: Dec. 30, 2014 in 18°F.
>> ‘The B Hive’
for MGB parts.
>>
MGB gets Steve Barlow treatment.

>>Brit Bits” in Rye, N.H.
>> Jaguar Association, Andover, MA.

++++ Search ‘MGB many other posts >>>>


It is funny isn’t it how we take certain things for granted and give no thought to how they came to be. Though I am known to ponder many aspects of life until yesterday I had never given any thought to when I STARTED using built in cup holders.

Today I rarely go anywhere without coffee or tea in an insulated mug — and the normal one I use, which I got from the camping section in a Walmart, is HUGE. But until yesterday I never had given thought to all the thousands of miles I had driven, prior to the mid-1990s, in cars that did not have built-in cup holders.

It all came to a head yesterday afternoon when I took the new 1989 Jag XJS to fill her up (given that with her notoriously thirsty petrol consumption habits I wasn’t sure how far we could really go and gas gauges on all British cars are known to be extremely fickle). Since it was afternoon, it was time for my cups of tea — caffeinated and decaf. So I made myself one and took the precaution of putting it in a small insulated mug, as opposed to my giant mug, because I knew that IF the XJS had cup holders they would be for normal size cups — as is, ironically, the case in the 2002 XJ8. But I had feeling that the XJS might not have cup holders. So I sent Devanee, who was coming with me (since she hates not going in ‘her’ cars), to check. She confirmed my worst fears. No cup holders. No big deal. She already knew the drill. No cup holders — she becomes my automated cup holder. She is getting good at it. She holds it, more or less at the right height, without spilling it and puts it into my hand, with the right orientation, when I reach out. She does have her uses, which is good.

Got me thinking. The thousands and thousands of miles I MUST have driven in cars with no cup holders and NEVER gave it a thought. Scary. 1980 to 1983 I was driving 500 to 2,000 miles a week. As customer support manager for ITT Data Systems UK that was my job. Visiting customers all around the country. I had a company car and unlimited petrol (and for that matter an unlimited expense account). I drove. In the UK it did not make sense to fly (especially if you drove like WE (i.e., the professional company car drivers did)). I must have been in the car for 40 hours a week — EASY. But I am sure, though they were all mid- to top-tier company cars of that era (e.g., 2L Ford Cortinas, Rovers etc.) that they did not have cup holders. It also meant that I did NOT drink coffee, tea or soda while I drove. I AM GLAD ABOUT THAT. Because with all the driving that I did I would have drunk way too much caffeine, sweetener and dairy. So it really was sobering.

I can’t now believe how blasé I am about my coffee or tea while driving. As of yesterday I am never going to take it for granted.


More Tips On MASTERING E-Mails: The 3rd MOST Valuable Piece Of Professional Advice I Received.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Getting your FACTS RIGHT re. e-mails — Nov. 2, 2013.
++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Alton Central’ from Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

I was told this, one morning in 1981, in Cockfosters (I kid you not), N. London, by Chris James, my 2nd-line manager (actually a Director) at ITT Data Systems (U.K.) [by FAR the BEST and FUN company I have ever worked for and I worked for quite a few including IBM, Wang, Northern Telecom & BBN.]

telex-largeChris, who went onto become a mega success in networking was a remarkable man; beyond clever, very funny and extremely kind. He taught me a lot about a bunch of things — plus some very valuable pointers I never forgot about how to fill in expense reports, ‘correctly’, so that they would never be denied! In my youth, I really was blessed. I had some AMAZING bosses who went out of their way to help me — given that I needed as much help as I could get.

In 1981 there was no widespread e-mail per se (though I had started using a very primitive messaging scheme at IBM in 1976 to communicate with R&D peers at a sister IBM Lab. in Japan about the new 3270 system we were working on). Instead what we had was TELEXES — ITT a leading provider of Telex solutions. Telexes were a grandiose form of telegrams. It was all paper and paper tape. I still get very nostalgic when I think of Telexes — since, as you might have guessed, I was a huge user of telexes. At ITT we had a Telex room with a bunch of very nice young ladies. We also had Telex forms. You wrote out your Telex on a form, with the ‘To:s’ and the ‘CC:s’ AND their Telex phone numbers, and then took it down to be typed; BCC was a bit difficult with Telex. In my case, given that I would have a long distribution list and my propensity for resending stuff etc. etc., the girls wouldn’t bang it out and transmit it (there being a small amount of memory to retain a copy). They would first transcribe it onto paper tape. Then they could reuse it! It was very clever.

So on that day I was sitting in Chris’ office and he got a long Telex delivered. He started reading it … That is when he looked up, with his habitual grin on his face, and told me the above … The next few days I put it to the test. Chris, as ever, WAS RIGHT.

Even today, 30 years later, as soon as I get an e-mail the FIRST thing I read is the DISTRIBUTION LIST.

Ditto when I send an e-mail. I check the distribution list carefully BEFORE I hit send. I might forget an attachment BUT rarely, if ever, do I screw up when it comes to who I send e-mails.



The 2nd most valuable piece of professional I got was also at ITT, Cockfosters. This time it was by my 1st line manager, Steve Kane. Steve was amazing. He had a degree in philosophy and was incredibly astute. He really understood who people thought and as such knew exactly who to deal with them. Steve was VERY GOOD TO ME. He made me the U.K. Customer Support Manager for ITT Data Systems (U.K.) the night before my 27th birthday — so that I would be able to boast that I became an ITT Manager at 26! That is Steve. Always thinking of how to motivate and reward people.

As Customer Support Manager, with about 6 top-notch software engineers working for me, and a client base that included Xerox, Exxon, Ford, British Leyland, British Petroleum etc. etc., I used to have to deal with a whole bunch of ‘problems’ on a daily basis. One day I was getting beaten up, badly, by Ford. We were having a problem and we just didn’t have a quick fix. So as the Support Manager they were unloading on me. I was 27 and was getting ‘upset’. Steve calls me in. He then basically told me, his training in philosophy again at the forefront:

“Anu, there is really NO POINT worrying about work-related problems. If you want to worry about things worry about stuff that is not work-related. Work-related problems come and go. A year from today I can call you in and ask you what you were worrying about ON THIS DAY — and you will NOT REMEMBER. In the same way IF I asked you what you were working on a year ago today you won’t remember unless you go look it up. So, REMEMBER THE ONE YEAR RULE. You will not remeber work-related problems a year from now. So don’t let them bother you.”

Yes, of course, I know that there can be exceptions. But, this made sense — like nearly all things Steve Kane would tell me. I paid heed. I even, given my then very good, semi-photographic memory, tried to keep track of work-related ‘problems’ on a year basis. In those days I never maintained a paper appointments book or diary BUT would remember 3 weeks of travel, appointments and meetings in my HEAD (to the annoyance of all, especially my dear Secretary). My memory was that good. I or my secretary wrote all my commitments on a huge, purple, wall chart in my room. I would look at it when I was in my office and I could then SEE IT in my minds eye just like a photograph! But, even with that memory Steve Kane’s 1-year rule was good.

In the ensuing 3 decades I have conveyed Steve’s words of wisdom to hundreds of others.

Many have agreed that it made sense — and that it helped them.

Thank YOU, Steve. So that was #2.



The very, very BEST professional advice I ever had, and I would NOT BE HERE if not for it, was from my 1st ever boss, the inimitable Les B. of IBM Hursely.

I have told this story in print a number of times, so I am going to keep it short.

I joined IBM on August 27, 1974 — exactly a week ahead of my 21st birthday. It was my very 1st job of any sort.

A couple of months into the job a uniformed security guard came to see me and handed me a REGISTERED CONFIDENTIAL document — one of the highest levels of secure documents at IBM, hence the personal hand-delivery by a uniformed guard. WHY I got that Registered Confidential document that day is still a mystery! I think it was a mistake. IF I believed in spiritual stuff I would call it providential.

The document was about something called ‘SNA‘ — and that henceforth it would stand for ‘Systems Network Architecture‘ as opposed to ‘SINGLE Network Architecture‘. This had to do with the anti-trust law suit that plagued IBM in those days and influenced each and every decision.

I was NOT working on SNA. I had never heard of SNA. I was still brand new.

I went to see Les. Les was the epitome of an ‘open door’, very relaxed, VERY SOCIAL manager. I walk in with the document in my hand … and start: “Hey, Les, I just got this about S.N. …”

I never got to get out the “A”. Les, waving his hand dismissively, cut me off.

He said:

“Ahh! Forget about it.
It will NEVER CATCH ON”.

I was 21. I had been a rebel for the last 5 years. I might have got my hair cut (after 2 years) and was wearing a tie — but the rebellious instincts were still there.

Something told me that this was my destiny.

I walked straight out of Les’ office to the Hursley Library — which happened to be nearby. In those days before the Internet, I used to spend a lot of time in libraries. So already the Head Librarian knew me well. I went up to her and asked her to order me (as all of us IBM employees were allowed to do) any INTRODUCTORY manuals that IBM had on SNA.

Two weeks later I got, in an envelope, a thin 32 page, RED covered “SNA: An Introduction”. I read it in one go. Made sense though I wasn’t sure what it was all about!

Over the next 30 years SNA made me what I am.

SNA from the early 1980s to 2000 was HUGE.

It was THE networking scheme prior to the Internet.

Thanks to Les’ advice I was, the uncontested, ‘Mr. SNA’, during that time.

Google it.



Filligar — This Band Should Go Far. We Saw Them At Dartmouth’s HopFest On July 20, 2012. Very Impressed.

Click for the official Web site.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Filligar

These boys (slightly older than my oldest daughter) should do very well. Outstanding personalities. Their parents should be so proud. Three of them, two of them twins, are brothers; the twins Teddy and Pete, and younger by 2 year, Johnny Mathias. They, along with their childhood buddy, Casey Gibson, who make up the quartet, all hail from Chicago, though they now spend a fair amount of time in L.A., the place to be when you are on the cusp of making it big.

Their music was loud, vibrant, vivid and pulsed to an irresistible beat. Not the music I normally listen to, but I can appreciate the contemporariness of it. The kids definitely gave them 2 thumbs up and thought they were the BEST group of the day. Who am I to disagree? They are the new experts.

Given that their merchandise table was right behind me while I was doing my 3-hour Information Booth shift, I got to talk with some of them; with Johnny in particular. Boy, was I impressed. All three brothers are Dartmouth graduates, and it shows. Johnny graduated just 2 years ago, with a degree in history, majoring in American-Arab relations. I am sure that there are a couple of 3 letter agencies in D.C. who would love to offer him a job.

I have to confess that I have always, since my late teens in the late 60s, been bit of a groupie. I used to follow Steeleye Span and Lindisfarne around the U.K. — lucky enough to have a job (with ITT Data Systems, as their UK Customer Support Manager) that enabled to me travel the country on official business during the day. More recently, Deanna and I got a chance to meet and spend some time with Alison Krauss and Union Station. Also during my 20 years of attending the NH Highland GamesI have had the chance to talk with members of many an upcoming band.

The Mathias brothers, especially Johnny, the most down-to-earth, unassuming ‘superstars’ I have had the privilege of talking to. They were great. Realistic, good heads on their shoulders. They even made their own tie-dyed Filligar T-shirts to sell to their growing band of fans. I wish them well. They deserve it.

I see that their Wikipedia entry says this about the name of their band: They invented the name Filligar (based on the Mathias brothers’ sister’s childhood pet).

I did not know the origins of the name, and given my noted interest in names asked Johnny about what it meant. He gave me a longer, more detailed and awfully cute explanation. Their sister is a ‘few years’ older than them. A ‘long time ago’, in Chicago, at a fair she won a goldfish. She wanted to name it after the cat, Figaro, in Pinocchio. The name, however, came out (as is the wont with kids) ‘Filligar’. Isn’t that cute. I like their sister. Wanting to name a goldfish after a cat shows an interesting line of thought. These kids have good genes. It made my day.

So … here is to … Filligar. We wish them all the very best.


Filligar on YouTube. Click to play YouTube video.

Click to access the official Filligar Web site.