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18.04.1975

Fever in the Veins

Mostly the patient just lies there, attached to all those grim life-support systems. Bottles of RJE and IMS and JCL drip into every major vessel. Frequent PL/I doses are administered orally - cheaper than electroshock, and just as effective. Heavy OS and VS straps pin the poor devil down. The plan at the nurses' station is to strenghten him for tbe forthcoming major surgery: FS lobotomy.

His old friends fear that if he doesn't die, he will emerge from "treatment" a zombie dehumanized, a walking corpse. But as the crisis nears, and fever rages in the veins, consciousness reappears. For perhaps only a few days, the patient revives, rebels.

This particula zombie candidate is, mirabile dictu, the IBM Computer Users Association of the United Kingdom. Not Guide, not Share, but CUA. So irate are the members at IBM cost increases that they have offered to testify - over here ve call it "squealing" - before the Common Market commission investigating whether IBM is a European monopoly, in the Treaty of Rome sense.

Turns out that IBM has jacked up maintenance charges 50 percent in the last year, as well as increasing prices for new equipment substantially.

Of course there is fantastic inflation in Britain, but the game of shocking it to 'em where price controls and competition don't apply - well, it's not unknown over here either! And not just in computer country.

The CUA plans to collect horror stories from its members and spoon-feed them to EEC (Common Market) investigators. Like the Justice Department here, the latter are spread pretty thin. I'm happily reminded of preShare and early Share days, when rambunctious 701 installation managers attacked Poughkeepsie, Endicott and Galactic Headquarters in platoon strength, armed to the teeth with nasty letters from Jack Northrop and telegrams drafted by Wild-Duck-inTraining Grosch.

That is the proper relation between a user group and a supplier: suspicious antagonism. None of this nambypamby mutual-admirationsociety stuff. The DCA (Drunken Computer Association - erstwhile "Digital") will meet in Anaheim on May 23. The old Share founders will be there. We'll drink a toast - one of very, very many - to the CUA. May the patient prosper!