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Mainframe Meets 'The Office' 50

BBCWatcher writes "Tom Foremski (a.k.a. Silicon Valley Watcher) claims that IBM is doing some guerilla marketing for the mainframe. The three videos, now on YouTube, show how IBM allegedly trains new mainframe salespeople, in the style of the BBC's "The Office." IBM's videos arrive in the midst of a Microsoft "Office" controversy. Microsoft was not amused when somebody leaked internal training videos from 2004 that feature Ricky Gervais, The Office man himself. Gervais wasn't happy either."
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Mainframe Meets 'The Office'

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  • As long as guerilla marketing is entertaining, I'm all for it. Anything to stop the never-ending stream of "apply directly to the forehead" and the like.
  • Funny? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by homer_s ( 799572 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @11:47PM (#15987686)
    It is as funny as a coporately funded, PHB-driven campaign could ever be.

    But the IBM employees who are forced to watch this will laugh though. They better.
  • Just curious (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @12:00AM (#15987766) Homepage
    How naive do you have to be to be a Microsoft employee that had this brainchild and think that wouldn't get leaked about 5 minutes after video was made available to programmers? The most powerful government in the world leaks shit all the time; I read the whole MS reaction as more of a predictable corperate response for the benifit of shareholder confidance than I do an actual admission of surprise.

    Maybe thats even sadder, that this is a good proof of existance of people who hold stock who interpret this kind of leak to be a reflection on the internal controls of corperate communication.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      How naive do you have to be to be a Microsoft employee that had this brainchild and think that wouldn't get leaked about 5 minutes after video was made available to programmers?

      Well, considering TFA says that the videos were made in 2004, it took about 2 years before the programmers got their hands on them...
  • Lies! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ImTheDarkcyde ( 759406 ) <ImTheDarkcyde@hotmail.com> on Sunday August 27, 2006 @12:07AM (#15987799) Journal
    This article has NOTHING to do with a comibinatin of Reboot and The Office
    • Oh my gosh. You TOTALLY had the same thought as me.

      I was thinking ... they could have some sort of computer crash, and Enzo and Bob could come in and save the day. Heh. :)
  • by TopSpin ( 753 ) * on Sunday August 27, 2006 @12:10AM (#15987812) Journal
    Remember the Enron "Why" campaign? When corporations have so much dead wood wandering the halls that this sort of stuff begins to emerge, you should expect mass layoffs. I don't like being the pessimist, but I'll need this on the record when I say I told you so.

  • You mean... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @12:28AM (#15987907) Homepage
    Those IBM ads with the helpless I.T. folks in the trade magazines aren't fake?!
  • Oh wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 27, 2006 @01:12AM (#15988086)
    It's nice to see some coverage of mainframes here on Slashdot once and a while. Even more so when it's these videos.

    The mainframe market tanked in the 90's. In the past year it's starting to see some life in it again. There's even one company of former Amdahl people who are doing mainframes with Linux (and z/OS on top of it). Here's the link: http://www.platform-solutions.com/ [platform-solutions.com]

    Disclaimer: I know some of these people.

    Honestly, without some sort of life, and especially competition, the mainframe market was looking quite dead. Which would be a pity, as mainframes are still quite cool in the niche they fill.

    • Are mainframes a realistic alternative to clusters of cheap servers for virtualization? I would assume that the cheap, easily replaceable hardware is better but am not sure of all the niche uses of virtualization and know that Sun tends to push the mainframe solution for this. Anybody got any educated opinions on this?
      • Re:Oh wow (Score:5, Insightful)

        by btarval ( 874919 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:52AM (#15989028)
        Mainframes are absolutely competitive. The main reason why people have stuck with mainframes is IO bandwidth. The PC solutions (even clustered) just can't touch the channel architecture, and never have been able to.

        The second main reason why people go with mainframes is that it's more cost-effective to centralize your compute resources in one system, when it comes to maintenance, for many solutions. One single rack or so is a heck of a lot easier to maintain than a Beowulf cluster of boxes, particularly if the latter are scattered.

        So yes, for certain niches, mainframes are the way to go.
        • I know a business that replaced several super computers with clusters.

          1. They saved money (they were paying $100,000 per month for support - once the cluster was in place they managed their own support at a fraction of that cost).

          2. They saved time (jobs that took the super computer 48 hours to complete, were completed by the new cluster of Linux machines interconnected with fiber in 1 hour). So they could do more work.

          From my own experience, using mainframe equipment has drawbacks - the major one being
          • Mainframes and super computers are two different types of computers and are targeted and two different markets. In fact the super computer market is gone. I'm not even sure when the last "super comptuer" was built. Today's "super computers" are nothing but clustered smaller computers, either Intel/AMD x86 or PowerPC based, have been for at least 5 years. Mainframes are not targeted for compute intensive only work. They are targeted as a general purpose computer that can run multiple types of workloads
          • by btarval ( 874919 )
            I'm sorry, but I have to strongly disagree. Decentralization is NOT good. Centralization is NOT good. Both are good at times, and bad at times. The trick is that you have to know when to use each, and when to avoid them.

            Just saying one is always good is just plain silly. And, no disrespect intended, it indicates to me that you don't understand all of the variances which go one.

            A case in point is your strawman argument. All this says is that your main application is naturally parallel, nor IO bound. I ca

    • ok, so as you're in the business, and I'm not :) I have a small question. I once by curiosity found this excellent article [itjungle.com] describing AS/400 pricing systems. And I was shocked. If you buy the low-end version, you already have the full power chip, but just slowed down. For about $ 20k per processor you can unlock that, but that will also require you to buy another license, for several additional k$ per processor. Also check the price/performance comparison for competing UNIX and Linux systems shown there. Wh
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I once by curiosity found this excellent article describing AS/400 pricing systems.

        AS/400s are mini computers, not mainframes..

        And I was shocked. If you buy the low-end version, you already have the full power chip, but just slowed down. For about $ 20k per processor you can unlock that, but that will also require you to buy another license, for several additional k$ per processor.

        Usually that also comes with on-site service and the like of a kind that Dell and friends haven't heard of yet.

        Also check the p
  • by brennz ( 715237 )
    Both of these videos series are great.

    Initially I watched the IBM videos and I was very impressed.

    The first episode of the Microsoft video though, was beyond incredible, i'm talking about Heat gang exfiltrating the bank gunfight in LA kinda of quality.

    Definitely worth watching.
  • by Sean0michael ( 923458 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @04:08AM (#15988575)
    No need for alleging here. When you go to IBM's Site for Mainframes [ibm.com], you see that the tag line under the photo is "Breakthrough Economics, Security, and Energy Efficiency." They are the three points from the three videos. It doesn't get any more plain than that.

    ...and the IBM website at the end of the clips.

  • So, does anyone know how to get the video file from youtube? I hate to think they might some day remove this content from their site.
  • So that's the new sparkly type of humor that's supposed to have all programmers giggle of joy and sell mainframe products? Or not sell mainframes? I mean what was the purpose of it? Everyone pretty much knows about IBM anyways, and those stupid printed ads for servers are all over the IT press (also not so funny, though once in a while that little chubby guy does something funny, say one out of 10 of those I saw).

    I am so out of touch with the funny bone in this type of humor. I had to google for Ricky Gerva
    • Re:Eek. Boring (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @05:44AM (#15988786) Homepage
      I am so out of touch with the funny bone in this type of humor. I had to google for Ricky Gervais to find out who he is. I know some of my friends love the Office but... I tried to watch that "Microsoft video" and wanted to snooze after five minutes. The IBM one was even faster.

      Ricky Gervaise is brilliant at what he does, but I'm in the same position as you and can't really appreciate it. Slightly different reason though - I find comedy that makes me squirm hard to watch. The Office (UK, I've never seen the US version) is very cutting and accurate for so many places. Trouble is, being in those places makes me want to squirm and so seeing it reproduced on screen also makes me want to squirm.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • by niceone ( 992278 )

        You are not alone - I can't watch that stuff either - for exactly the same squirmy reasons.

        A lot of UK comedy seems to be going that way too unfortunately

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        I love "The Office" (the British version is better than the American knockoff, IMHO). But I have a similar squirmy reaction to "reality" comedies where someone isn't in on the joke ("Punked," "Candid Camera," "Man Bites Dog," etc.). I do occasionally laugh at them, but I find them uncomfortable to watch. I had a friend in college who had the same reaction to any comedy where things went "haywire" at some point do to complications and misunderstandings (he would have HATED "Three's Company").

        I guess everyo

    • by florin ( 2243 )
      Ah well, I spose it's not for everyone. Perhaps they should've brought in some Friends cast members and have them apply their hilarious 'here comes a punchline' mimicry to these clips. Maybe follow with some canned laughter to cue merriment for those who still didn't get it.

      The IBM one was tame. I completely loved the Microsoft one.
  • From TFV:
    • There are farmers, there are ranchers.
    • The mainframe is like a factory.
    • Put the farmers into the factory.
  • Could somebody post the microsoft ones to youtube? , as google video doesn't work in a lot of countries, whats that about anyway? its not like google don't have the money for the bandwidth.
  • First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're FIRED.
    • Nice to see a "Glenngary Glenn Ross" ref. Mod parent up please! (And rent the movie already.)

      Seriously, though: My younger brother was in sales for a while, and he claims that this speech adequately reflects the attitude. Which is why he left that line of work forever.

  • And here I was expecting to see Phong as David Brent.

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