When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everybody knew everybody else by their name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. It was mind boggling.
Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a party flight. We simply stayed out of their way. The passengers had totally bonded and they were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. And then a strange thing happened.
One of our business class passengers approached me and asked if he could speak over the PA to his fellow passengers. We never, never, allow that. But something told me to get out of his way. I said “of course”.
The gentleman picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He further stated that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of the town of Lewisporte. He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide a scholarship for high school students of Lewisporte to help them go to college. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers.
When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, it totaled to $14.5K or about $20K Canadian. The gentleman who started all this turned out to be an MD from Virginia. He promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.
* * * * *
HP and a French national lab create a supercomputer for $210,000. The kicker is that they used Mandrake Linux for the OS and made no tweaks to the hardware to get it running.
The idea was to build a supercomputer out of standard hardware components like those that might be found in the typical big business.
They started with 100 of Hewlett-Packard’s e-PCs–simplified PCs with reduced expandability–and finally worked up to the present configuration of 225 nodes, which is near the cluster’s physical limit.
The researchers plan to release the tools they developed as open-source software for anyone who might want to build a supercomputer themselves. The whole project, minus network cabling, cost about $210,000.
* * * * *
Businessweek on Sony
Unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that Idei didn’t do nearly enough. Although the company still projects a net profit this year of $83 million, on sales of $62.5 billion, analysts say it will be lucky to break even. Masahiro Ono of UBS Warburg expects a razor-edge profit of $1.7 million. Investors are fleeing: Over the past month, Sony’s stock has plunged 25%, to $33.
Much of what afflicts Sony, of course, is beyond Idei’s control. The global technology crash has eroded demand for its computer-related components and certain types of chips — and the September 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. is bound to hit sales of movies, video-game consoles, and other consumer-electronics products in Sony’s biggest overseas market. But that doesn’t take Sony executives off the hook.