Inaugural Editorial 2/9/2000

Hi there, and welcome to the new CAP NEWS web site.

On May 3rd. 1962, in a small office in the City, three aspiring young Accountants, called Alex d'Agapeyeff, Barney Gibbens and Harry Baecker, started the company, which to-day we still fondly know of as CAP.

Actually, as some will recall, it started out as Computer Analysts and Programmers Ltd., which, while descriptive, was perhaps a bit of a mouthful when you wanted potential customers to remember who you were. So it soon became known by its acronym, which in turn then became the official company name, and CAP was born.

The early pioneer days were, to say the least, uncertain - and that was particularly relevant to those toiling away into the nights, when it came to getting paid at the ends of those formative months. When there is little money coming in, I guess there can be little going out. Good for the weight but not so amusing for the bank manager! Maybe Barney will tell us about it sometime - it could make for interesting reading!

Very few outside those attempting to start the new industry had heard of computers, or what they could do and how they could be applied to business. There were even fewer managing directors who were prepared to put their heads on the block by paying out large amounts of dosh to bring these chaps in to try out this new computing stuff on their businesses!

Fortunately, some did and the ball slowly began to roll. Cards were being punched and sorted (and mis-sorted!), tapes and then disks were getting mounted, and throughout many nights computers everywhere were churning out so much paper that trees throughout the world were beginning to feel like turkeys at Christmas time!

It was a very exciting time, especially for those fortunate enough to have joined what rapidly became one of the market leaders in the 'new industry'. The financial world of banks and stockbrokers were the first to see the benefits of computing and thankfully were prepared to back their judgements, albeit with their customers cash! Fortunately, many others in industry and commerce were soon to follow.

There were so many good things to come out of those early (and latter) days, but none more so than the bonds and friendships (many still very active after all these years) that built up between the people who joined CAP. People were not just colleagues but friends. It was a unique company, full of exciting and interesting people - as anyone who has ever managed to get to any of the numerous get togethers and re-unions, large and small, will know. The people who wanted to work for a company like CAP were a very special breed and it is perhaps only now that we appreciate what it was that had been started.

It is out of re-unions like CAP2000 that the idea for this web-site was spawned. Like many of the other functions before, it ended almost before it had begun and many were left with a feeling that there was still so much more to talk about. Now hopefully we are going to have somewhere that will enable us to meet whenever we want to. We will still no doubt have our get togethers, but in between times, if you want to talk over old times at Redcar, Willesden or Phoenix, or discuss who it was that crashed the system on BOAC's IPARS project - or just want to know where old so-and-so is or what 'what's his name' is up to - is he/she even still alive! - then this is the place for you.

We expect to run the site a bit like a local newspaper with regular features and sections. Not coming out every day or week, but certainly being updated regularly. How regularly will depend, to a large extent, on you. We will go out looking for interesting things to 'write' about, but hopefully many stories will come from visitors to the site.

We will maintain a 'Register' of those who wish their where-abouts to be known. So that should open up a whole new level of communication.

A regular feature will be an Events page, which will tell all about anything and everything (that we get to hear about) that has happened, is happening, or is going to happen, anywhere around the world where exCAPers may get together.

Similarly we hope we can get a Letters page going, where we can include stuff that you send in. It can be on anything really - if you have a problem or a query, or simply want to tell someone that your woofer is the biggest in the whole world, then the
CAPnews letters page is the place for you!

Certainly nothing is set in concrete, and while we have ideas of what this is going to be like, we hope (and indeed expect) that it will develop as we go along, and we get other and better ideas from yourselves. Indeed we really do want contributions from other people - while we may be doing it, really we want it to be seen as being open to everyone to have their say.

So if, for instance, you are now doing something really different which you think would be of interest to other people, then why not let us know. You write it up, and (as long as it's clean!) we'll put it in! Seriously, we would like to hear what people are now getting up to - whether you're working or even retired you will almost certainly have something to say that will interest other people. Likewise if you hear of any exCAPer who may be seriously ill, and for whom some support might be needed, please let us know.

On a more sombre note, one section that we do intend including is an obituary column. Sadly, as we are all getting older, all too regularly we hear of dear friends who have passed away and even if there is not a great deal we can do for them, we may wish to pass on our respects to their families. So again if you do hear of any exCAPer who has died, please let us know and we will make sure that we let other people know.

Anyway I must go (I was told not to make this introduction too long!). But before I do I would like to thank the many people - far too many to mention individually by name - who have encouraged us to do this and particularly Arthur Trice for all his efforts in actually setting up the site. Without all their help, support and encouragement it would frankly not have been possible.

Hopefully this gives you the flavour of what it is that we are trying to do. I hope you enjoy it and find it both interesting and useful. How much so I guess depends in no small measure on how our enthusiasm for the venture infects you, so please do try to help us - I can assure you that your contributions will be greatly appreciated. I guess we will be able to gauge whether or not people want what we have to offer by (among other things) how many 'hits' the web-site takes, so please keep hitting, and most of all, enjoy.

All the very best for now - looking forward to talking to you all again shortly.

Mike West

(Jeepers, I hope mext month's is shorter - Webmaster)

Previous News 2/9/2000

John Weeks Retires!

Yes, the rumours were true. John took early retirement on the 31st of July 2000, exactly 33 years to the day after joining CAP as a wet behind the ears sprog programmer.

On Friday 7th July old and not so old colleagues from Reading and farther afield gathered at the site of the Ship Inn in Reading (now a refurbished hotel) to talk about how it used to be and wish John a happy retirement as an expensive free lance project manager!!

Other Recent Retirees!

We don't have a comprehensive list, although we do know that notable names, such as Peter Weston, Adrian de Baat and Stuart Garside have also retired out to more leisurely pastures this year. They presumably threw the traditional retirement bash and were appropriately sent off in the time honoured manner.

If you know of anyone who has recently retired, or indeed if you are likely to be moving on shortly yourself, and would like to inform your old friends, why not let us know. We'll tell the world!

Previous Letters 2/9/2000

By e-mail from Keith Gathergood

Dear Webmaster

How about developing this super web site into a Super Portal and taking a cut on the e-commerce trade through the site and making us all Bill Gate-aires! Should be enough ex-CAP folks to create a market. A sort of "Are you being Server'ed idea. OK OK ! Just keep it to a spot of publishing!


By e-mail from Mike West 2/9/2000

Can someone advISA me, please!

Let's assume that I have got say £5000 (or even the maximum £7000) to spend. I am being told by everyone that ISAs are a good thing to get into. Well if so, can someone please tell me - in the simplest terms - what sort of ISA I should be getting, and come to that, just where should I go to get it? Or does it even matter where you get them from - are all the ISA providers much the same.

I know that such questions will seem small beer to many of you, but remember I was just a simple 'buildings' man, and the question of high finance was never one to really bother such lowly paid stock before, but now that those little nest eggs are starting to come through, well prudence suggests that I should do something with them. You can email me direct so we can keep it between ourselves, but if you don't mind your comments being shared around, just let me know and we'll put your answer onto CAPnews Letters, so others can perhaps also benefit.

Thanks, in advance for whatever help you can give

The CAP2000 Reunion Report

@ the New Connaught Rooms on March 31st 2000.

Somewhere around 245 turned up, with some even flying in from the States, and Australia. While on the down side, there were a few who couldn't make it in from closer to home because of a rail strike that was very inconveniently called for that very night.

The night started with a reception, during which everyone armed themselves with a glass of some beverage, and just mingled around, bumping into people who they may not have actually seen or spoken to for many years. One of the most amazing things was that while everyone naturally looked older and had changed in some way - less hair, more weight, and more lines - most people were immediately recognisable.

Names could have been a problem but everyone was armed with a label, in big print, which was displayed on every chest. However much the eyesight may have deteriorated, the print was large enough to enable the name to be clearly visible at ten paces.

Following the reception, everyone adjourned to the next room for a sit down meal. Nothing too grand, but it gave everyone an opportunity to at least say more than just a couple of words to the people they had met. This was followed by a short address from Barney Gibbens - actually by popular demand, he regaled the assembly with the 'White Knight' joke, which although many had probably already heard it at least half a dozen times before, as Barney tells it so well, is always worth a repeat rendition.

Before the evening was wrapped up there was time for further mingling, before the hotel regretably called 'Time!'. It had all passed so very quickly, while email addresses were exchanged, and promises made to stay in touch abounded.