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Digital-Daily : Editorial : it-stories

IT-stories. Part 1

Author: Andrey Kuzin
Date: 09.02.2005

Every time returning from business travels, my boss hands me out just another batch of tissue paper sheets, restaurant menus, adverts and whatever leaflets finely written all over the clean surface. Those are "short stories". It's beyond my comprehension why one has to write them with a regular pen on a scrap of paper if the person has got a notebook PC. But that has always been the way it is. My job is to keep it all, sort out, make head or tail, retype, and ... not to show to anyone. While the first ancient folios can be found online (Roman holidays, The light side of the Earth, Comdex Fall (2) (3)), hundreds of others were persistently kept in the dark and not published. Even if they really were published some time, but only for the "private eyes", nor were announced elsewhere, although the employees and friends were looking forward to seeing them and preferred reading such "cuff notes" rather than official coverage reports.

A real pity... They tell a lot about the real people, real events, the IT high-life chronicles of the world - the Silicon Valley, Hanover, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Las Vegas, Toronto, Moscow.. While decoding and retyping those itineraries and recollections of Comdex'es, Computex'es, CeBIT's and simply all our IT "merry-go-round" in Moscow and other cities, I often giggled alone at especially well-done extracts.

In the end, I persuaded the boss to consolidate that all, add tons of available photos and arrange in sensible order. So today we are publishing the first part of five true-life IT stories. Others will appear soon once ready. Our lives are not only about announcements of new hardware rigs and their tests, it is much more amusing.

Aleksandra Ordzhonikidze

Mason's heartaches

Taipei; May 2004

Still a year ago, as many as three of our ladies worked in the IT industry in Taiwan - Natasha Beluga and Vika Kulikova at Iwill, with Jannet Webskowski at Abit. Jannet was the first to leave - hear American husband simply grabbed her and escaped to his home country. Natasha was the second to give in - got married to a German who immediately took his beauty away to his private residence near Berlin.

Finally, Vika took up Jannet's job at Abit, and poor Mason is still sad recollecting the fabulous Russian flower garden at his company and is begging me to find some in Moscow nice to look, educated, unmarried, with good English, educated marketing expert and knowledge of IT industry.. Isn't that too much for a young charming lady? What a hard nut to crack you are asking me to do, Mason!

Mason Su & JP
Mason Su & JP

Mason is actually a very good man. He himself is the owner and manager of his company, which is not typical of Taiwan at all. Let's put it straight - by investing money into a project, the businessman is first of all after profits. And he does not care at all what to produce - be it condoms or video cards. The only what matters is money - dollars, NT, even rubles will do.

Mason is different - he is in love with his own small factory, he adores every PCB produced by his conveyer and is willing to tell and show round his "farm" for hours. Employees, even former workers, adore him.

- Vika, I've been to Mason's today.
- Wow, that's cool! Have you passed my regards over to him?

Now his company occupies a building. Several of stories for engineering services, marketing department, sales. One storey is taken by two production lines.

The day I visited them they were involved in a big order for US Army, so it was forbidden to take any pictures, but no problems with covering the production process itself. I remember that board was for a dual-processor Xeon and cost the American military merely 1600$ a piece. A really good order, isn't it?

US Army

Iwill specializes at workstations and servers for as many as eight to sixteen processors. They are also ready to supply assembled systems with complete debugging, which is preferable for systems of such level. They look so formidable that you don't dare to come up to them. Imagine yourself assembling a multi-processor Xeon or Opteron, fitting 4-8 CPU pieces, 32 bars of register memory 1 GB capacity each, controllers, a bunch of hard disks, exotic adapters, a lot of system coolers. In the end, you get a multi-storeyed system for 6 units with a pair of 1 kW PSUs.

And all that rig worth 30,000$ won't start up! The debriefing may last as long as a whole week until the tiny faulty connector is found. Then there goes another week of tests.

In the basement, there is a free canteen for the employees, where they serve regular meals the way it is for factories, not a restaurant of course. But it is free. Everyone has own named dish, and Mason used to run around a lot before they found "public" plates for JP and myself.


On the huge display screen of the canteen at IWILL, there is a local news program. The plot is simply fantastic! Taipei taxi-drivers are demanding the government to make part of them redundant.

- JP, I didn't catch the idea - is that a strike of taxi-drivers?
- Yep

JP is also watching the screen bewitched. He has already acquired a good command of the Chinese language.

- What do they want?
- They say, there is a fierce competition. They are asking to take measures.
- Which? Shoot down half of them?
- Well, I really don't understand myself.

After Moscow, it's all paradise over here - always warm, the food is cheap (a lunch in a restaurant is worth 150-250 Russian rubles), taxi is real cheap and always metered. They don't beg tips on principle, no crimes about that at all.

Every second car in the street is a yellow taxi. While standing at the crossroad, you see that the whole street is yellow. Once you get out of the hotel, you immediately find yourself in an air-conditioned taxi and often with a LCD TV-set. Prices are three times as low than in Moscow, whereas petrol is twice as expensive.

Now it came to strikes...


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