Don't get me wrong I really admire IBM and much of the work it does.
For a giant company they remain innovative and competitive. There is nothing like a tour of one of IBM's many labs to leave you in awe.
However, some things about the company never change.
Back in the mid 80s I worked for a mag, Computer Buyer's Guide and Handbook, that compiled specs on every printer currently for sale in the U.S.
In those early days we would send to the PR department of each printer manufacturer a disk with the blank forms and they would fill them out and mostly mail them back.
Every manufacturer complied. But it was only IBM that sent us a stack of manuals six feet high along with a note saying, "all the information you need is contained in these books."
Thanks but no thanks.
Now fast forward to 2007 and Lotus, an IBM division, is holding a teleconference to announce new products about to be introduced at Lotussphere.
Here's how the notice starts out:
"To participate in the Web conference you will need an IBM ID and password. If you already have an IBM ID and password" -- now why in the world would I have that? -- "you may proceed directly to the Web conference. If you do not have an IBM ID..."
And then it goes on to say setting one up is "quick and easy" and it will only take 10 minutes and then it will be activated in another ten minutes.
So that means I need to be aware of this teleconference at least 20 minutes before the darn thing starts.
After all these years Big Blue still doesn't get it. Being a reporter on deadline doesn't usually give you 20 minutes to play games with passwords and user IDs.
I almost forgot. You can also test your system for compatibility with the ID, password and Web conference by clicking on a "Test meeting" icon.
They didn't say how long that would take.
Every other company on the planet gives you the phone number, hands you a password and ID and away you go.
Big Blue, you gotta lov'em.