Welcome to 2002,

Hope you have had a good start to the year, and all those silly ideas about resolutions have been safely put to bed for another year. I made only one resolution, namely not to make any others!

I have begun the new year by being stricken down with the dreaded lurgy that appears to be sweeping the country. It is not particularly debilitating thankfully but does have one plus side, in that it seems to have taken away my appetite - given the difficulty that normally I have in resisting food, I am hoping that by the time I reach full fitness and health once again, I will have managed to shed most of the excess poundage gained from the over indulgences of Christmas. Possibly not a dietary program to be recommended by the best Health and Efficiency regimes, but hopefully effective!

As many of you may have noticed CAPnews has had a Christmas sabbatical, albeit not exactly scheduled. Apologies to all for whom this lapse caused undue distress. I don't for one second understand why or what, suffice to say we are back and hopefully here to stay for a while yet. Thanks of course goes to our wonderful web master, who worked unceasingly (in true CAP tradition) in our interests to get the job done. He will have none of it and modestly says it was nothing to do with him, but it is his daughter, who it seems has ways of being able to get things done - he tends to go a bit coy at this stage! - that we have to thank.

Not a lot to report so far into the year, except thank you to all those who have inundated me with CAP40 registrations - well lets say that at last they are starting to come in. At the last count we had topped the hundred mark, so I guess we can at least say we have a quorum. However please keep them coming, and keep passing the word around - we can never have too many. Preparations are however progressing nicely. A note incidentally to those who have requested local hotel accommodation - as per previous functions of this ilk - it is in hand.

Anyway once again I trust you all had a good festive break, and that 2002 brings you all you wish yourself, but particularly good health and safe keeping. Cheers for now

Mike West

News 25th January 2002

This year's CAP Financial Reunion Night (Reporter Bob Brock)

This was held on 5 December in the Shakespeare's Head in Kingsway (it's where Africa House was).

It was a good evening - about 20 ex-CAP chaps and chapesses attended. People there included Richard Allen (now at the National Gallery), Tony Bosworth (Friends of the Earth, down from Yorkshire for the evening), Diana Piper, Les Sheppard, Richard Collymore, Tim Stevenson, Ros (Lake) Sluman, Pat Cooper, Brian Morris, Dave Sultanti, Cath Flynn, Judith Agafonoff and hosts of others whose names I seem to have temporarily forgotten. I also had a last minute apology from David Kemper, who'd been called to a late meeting. Apologies to anyone else whose name I've missed!

I'm sure we'll be doing it again next year - the first Wednesday in December is becoming traditional, though there's a move to find a better venue. Plenty of time left to plan (watch the web site).

Lacey Immegrates (from our CAP Northern Reporter)

We learn that Michael Lacey (the artist previously known as Mick) has tired of wearing the kilt, eating haggis and listening to those awful bagpipes and has left the "fringe" to settle once more in the wilds of Bramhall.

West Nowhere in Sema Open (from our Sports Correspondent)

The winner of this year's Sema Open played last September was Dominic Smith - apparently playing off some ridiculous handicap like 3!!!!!! Well done Dominic - did they cut your handicap? West was nowhere!

French in Retreat (Foreign Office Press Release)

The news desk understands that Monsewers Bonelli, Bitan, and a Marie Claude Bessis (whoever she was) have apparently all left Sema Schlummy!!!!!

Sema Schlummy Downsize Plans Revealed (Property News)

It is believd that the London offices of High Holborn and Farringdon Road are both due to be dropped next year, leaving just Killick Street, Triton House, and Lindsay House as the London based offices - although a rumour from elsewhere discloses that LH was also supposed to be going, so what can you believe!

Vicious Rumour Denied (as misreported in the Sunday Sport)

Pat Cooper, CAP/Sema's longest serving Staff Manager (and subsequent titles) has definitely NOT recently been promoted to Director of Human Resources, Sema Schlumberger as some rookie reporter filed with some dubious rag, believing he had a world wide scoop!

Do you have any CAP news story for us?

Letters 25th January 2002

From: Alan Moseley

Hello Mike (and Arthur)

I worked at Reading from 1976 until 1985, I'm pleased to have found this site as I've often wondered what happened to everybody, and currently have experienced a 'Full Circle' as I am now interviewing Client managers, Project Managers and programmers from System/Software houses. Applications can be made directly through: http://www.cordis.lu/fp5/protool/job_advert.htm

Apart from that I'm very interested to hear more and will start a scan through the site

Best regards

Alan Moseley

Panoramalaan 12
3080 Tervuren
Office: +32 2 296 3475
Home: +32 2 305 0163
Mob +32 495 304 807

From: John Rolfe Skeels

Hi Mike,

I found CAPnews while Googling. Great!

I started my DP/EDP/IT/IS career in Lambs Conduit St. in 1973. After an intensive 4 week COBOL course, I was assigned to the all-Assembler Video-4 project for JCCC Southend (Mike Elson, Gordon Henson, Esmond Hart, Bill Austin). Since then I think I've earned my bread and butter full time for the last 28 years on Assembler, but one day I may need to revise those COBOL notes! (How many times has COBOL been written off?)

I resigned from CAP 3 times before finally becoming a contractor in 1979. CAP had really great STANDARDS. Since then every site I've worked at has been a downward step.

I'm currently working for Computer Associates in New York. My CAP career consisted mainly of body-shopping, but always in extremely pleasant locations and on what seemed to be extremely lavish expenses.

I was assigned to EuroControl near Paris for two years. Chris Letocq, Graham Fearnley, James Windle, Malcolm Fowles, Mike Gooding, Roger Wright were also there. And project Manager Lawford Russell made the monthly sacrifice of visiting us in La Belle France to read our status reports. Incidentally, I've found that Google is a good means of finding ex-CAP chaps because a lot of them are big honchos now.

I also have fond memories of the 2B project in Knutsford and A.G.('Agroboots')Roberts, Dave Gray, Dave Best(?), Ken Lovatt.

Glad to see you're reprinting articles from the CAP Christmas Chronicle. They were real gems and I kept mine, but over the years they've disintegrated and gone astray. And it's great to see pictures of ex-colleagues. Bill Austin hasn't changed at all in 22 years! In fact I'm sure he was standing in exactly the same spot the last time I saw him. Did you airbrush the alcoholic beverage out of his picture?

John Skeels

From: Keith Gathergood

Mike James's picture ( first shown in archive 18/1/.01 - Ed) is a very historical one. I thought you guys were golfers, surely you recognise the hotel!! It is the hotel at Royal Troon on the Ayrshire coast, the Ailsa course etc etc.

This was the first senior management conference that took place after the agreement to the merger of Sema-Metra and CAP Group - christ knows when this was but Barney would know, mid 80's I guess. If I collectively recall the ink was not yet dry on the agreement so this was still a UK conference with only token presence from France. Look at the right hand end of the photograph and you can see Francois Dufaux.

This venue was chosen by YARD (remember them) as they were hosting the conference and the highlight was an England v Scotland golf match on the Ailsa course. I remember it well not only because the zee Englanders lost but because we played on the Ailsa course (not a flat lie in sight) and everybody had to have a proper caddy. In my case on the first tee my caddy got my Driver out the bag and handed it to me. I politely advised the chap that I didn't actually use woods and certainly not off the first tee. He swore abuse at me or something in some scottish dialect I could not understand and gave me up as a complete waste of time - puts a chap off his game a tad! I am sure this was a ploy by the YARDy boys to make sure they got the upper hand. Still I got my own back at the end of the round as he expected a tip in addition to the company fee he was paid - I told where to get off in an english dialect I hoped he understood. Have thought it best not to return to Troon.

Still it was a good conference and there was an awakening at this conference of what was actually happening in Europe (under the banner of Europeanisation as opposed to Globalisation) and how the Sema Group was positioning and aligning itself to this movement. Some may not like the actual implementation but I always felt (and still do) it was the right strategic move for CAP at that time to give the company a chance to be a Division 1 player and not drift into oblivion. That of course took another 15 years to engineer!

Will see if I can write down as many names of the people in the photograph as possible.


Keith Gathergood (Standing next to Mike James, who is next to Julie Baddeley)

And again from Keith Gathergood

My names as promised

Front Row Left to Right

??, ??, Stuart Smith, ??, ??, ??, ??, Guy Warner, Tina De Zabala, Barbara (Ed - we think Reid), ??, Philip Gregory, Mike Smith, Peter Weston, ??, ??, Frank Jones, ??, Martin O'Byrne, ??,

Middle Row Left to Right

Graeme Ferrero, ??, ??, David Victor, John Wilson, Roger Pepperell, ??, Dermot (Ed - we think Rice), ??, Keith Gathergood, Mike James, Julie Baddeley, Harley Atkinson, John Ockendon, Alex Dorrian, Dick Strong, Godfrey Thomas, ??, Lawford Russell, Francois Dufaux,

Back Row Left to Rights i.e. all the heads

Mike Hawthorn, Tidu Maini, Peter Howson, John Chisholm, Mike Elson, Paul Archer, ??, ??, Mel Bass, ??, ??, ??, ??, Mick Lacey, John Ritchie, Alan Benjamin, Peter Dukes, Barney Gibbens, ??, ??, ??, Andrew Carrington

Best I can do about 60% hit rate!!

(Ed - you win the prize whatever it is(?) as you were the only one to respond

Where Are They Now? 25th January 2002


From the secret files of CAP Inform (courtesy of Bob Malcolm) we can reveal very worrying pictures of suspicious individuals who could be you know who.

Was the dreaded terrorist Bin Liner himself plotting the downfall of CAP back in the eighties?

Perhaps these spooky individuals were known to you then!

Personally I suspect top left rather than the guy in the bottom row (private opinion of Webmaster)!!

An e-mail to the Editor revealing their genuine identities will be rewarded with yet another outstanding prize!

Future Events 25th January 2002

1. CAP40 Reunion

Date : Friday. May 3rd. 2002.

Venue : The New Connaught Rooms (the "Old" done up!)

Details : Anniversary Re-Union to commemorate the founding of CAP, 40 years ago to the day.

Format :similar to CAP 2000 but a mix and mingle reception, with a running buffet of a variety of "cultural" dishes.

Open to : Anyone who has ever worked for CAP or any of it's derivatives.

Cost : £20, excluding a cash bar.

Action : If you wish to attend, please registeron attached form, sending £5 deposit plus s.a.e. plus s.a.e

Organiser : Mike West

Notes :

If you know of anyone who either does not have access to the Web, or doesn't know about the site, will you please pass the above information on.

2. The ex-CAP Golf Open 2002 (Advance Notice)

Date : Thursday. June 13th. 2002

Venue : Sudbury Golf Club

Details : Morning Coffee, 27 holes of golf, Ploughman's lunch, Evening meal, Prizes

Cost : Anticipated around £50 (to be confirmed later)

Organiser : Mike West (email : westm@aol.com)

Notes : There is no need to apply yet. Attendance details will be advertised early next year. But why not make a diary note now, so you don't forget!

If there is anyone out there who either does not have access to the Web, or doesn't know about the site, will you please pass this information on.

Yesterday In CAP (Sema) 25th January 2002

Not strictly "Yesterday in CAP but stretching a point to Sema, this amusing list of observed quotations from a well known project (discovered in a dusty attic) circulated some while ago in Scientific - authorship unknown but possibly attributable to a man from Colchester who knew a bit about railway signalling!!!

"You don't have to be right, but at least be consistent."

"There are challenges and opportunities, and challenging opportunities."

"I know it's fact, but it's not true."

(Always in the shit, only the depth varies)

"A cynic is what an ideallist calls a realist."

"Real men don't need niches."

"At least it will never be done for speeding." (FB about SSCS)

"Good ideas sink projects." (FB about SMCS)

"Truth is nothing, perception is everything." (note on AH's whiteboard)

"All you have to do is..." (Everybody to the DAT)

"Bad ideas also sink projects." (RW about life)

"Assassination is an option." (PW regarding SCITF)

"What is a byte." (PD)

"How will you get the Apps Analysts to understand the use of a cache." (PD to DAT presentation
"Get better Analysts." (RW)

"Don't you patronise me." (SG to RW about performance)

"Come off the fence - say what you really mean."(Anyone about anything)

"We have to get to August by June." (TB at PD Board)

"The System Design Process is just an electronic filing system." (JR at PD Board)

"Forget about practicality." (MOD at PD Board)

"We have the makings of a real shambles here." (TC at All Team Meeting)

"We need some management priorities like.....like.....oh shit....what are the management priorities?" (TC under pressure from FB and RW)

"What the (censored - Ed) are Sema doing?" (Someone important questioning a nobody about something important)

"And I thought we had a problem." (FB being cynical)

"When do you have to go?" (MGS to TC)
"I'll come back and tell you in a minute." (TC)

"It's amazing how I latched on to that from just a simple facial movement." (FB to RW)

"I got out of bed an hour early just to have fun with you two." (SB to FB/RW/TC at 8.30 am)

"It's no good, I can't do it with three of you watching!" (SB to FB/RW/TC maybe using Powerpoint)

"We must be pre-emptive here." (JW to SS about SCITF Presentation)
"Yes - we mustn't be co-operative!" (SS response - comment about scheduling methods)

"Diane's going to have a baby and I'm not reponsible for her being pregnant." (GW defending lack of financial information at a Dowty-Sema Board)

"More freeze points than an Artic winter." (customer speculating on DESs)

"Not so much Master/Slave - more intellectual equals!" (RW being prosaic about Resilience)

"You can't go around with PMP dates in your head." (JM to RW about the state of the plans)
"No - that would break with tradition." (RW's response)

"To increase resilience we will implement non-resilient datastreams" (TN re SMCS resilient datastreams)

"Sloping shoulders let the rain run off (and drip into your wellies)" (GB about lame excuses)

"How do you succeed in business?" "Well, first you have to master honesty and sincerity - once you can fool people with those, then you can really succeed in business."

"....or will they have to read the documents?" (PD asking how Application Analysts will find relevant design documentation)
"Yes Phillipa, your Analysts must be able to read!" (Speculative response)

"We can deliver you an Infrastructure, but it won't have any services." (FB to PCz about early releases)

"We can understand this...it's better than all this JSP rubbish!" (MoD customer comparing Infrastructure documentation to MoD standard JSP188)

"Does HOOD impact our Integration Strategy?" (SS asking a sensible question)
"If Robin Hood is a G12 and has management experience, then he can have the job!" (GDB's not so sensible response)

"Modification Failed - Abstract syntax of the current formalism is not respected." (An ultra-meaningful CONCERTO error message!)

"In my experience....." - Damon Hart-Davis ("I've told you a million times Damon, don't exaggerate." - FB)

"Oh, what a surprise, I'm right again...." (SB about heaven knows what!)

"Don't bark up the wrong end of the stick until the horse has bolted." (TR's poorer attempt at the same thing)

"We need creative programmers like we need creative bricklayers." (LA about working to a design)

"You use the full power of the Infrastructure, switched to submarine mode, and the ship ducks." (MB's assessment of the benefits of a Common Infrastructure for frigates attempting to avoid sea skimming missiles)

"Each of the components in this schizophrenic situation should be combined with its non-identical twin." (IN making a plain statement about something normal)

"This system is so bloody resilient that you'll need a fire axe to shut it down." (MB talking about reliable systems)

"My network's got no nodes" - "No nodes? How does it smell?" - "Terrible!" (DW resurrecting something said by FB over 18 months earlier)

"Slaver - oops - I mean Fraser said..." (DR - many a true word apoken in jest)

"Don't sound pedantic - you sound like me." (SS being honest)

"There is work to be done to make it VOID." (FB also being honest)

"He's like a cowboy who rides into town with both 6-shooters blazing, but doesn't realise that his saddle girth has come undone - yet!" (AT concerning a well intentioned senior member of another project in another place)

"There's so much shit flying around at the moment that all we can do is to go through the motions." (A news item NOT talking about SMCS or SSCS)

"Resilience is a protection racket." (SW talking about level of service)

"Real programmers randomize memory, then start debugging!" (SW telling it like it is)

"I don't want you at the meeting - you're just a nuisance." (MGS making another "seriously off the fence" remark)

"Furious activity is no substitute for understanding!" (Someone pointing out something relevant learnt by someone else)

"The meaning of this is that we have a design on the back of a fag packet." (FB referring to the overall HOOD design of CI - later reduced and copied to fit on the back of a fag packet)

"Watching a whole load of people who don't know how to drive trying to find a way round a roundabout." (GDB being dismissive of motor racing)

"You mean we have to spend £2.7m to allow people on SMCS to write assignment statements." (AT realising what DCT and code generation means in the context of Release W+)

"OR. Is that Observation Report or Obnoxious Residue?" (GDB making an observation that was reported)

"When I asked "How could anyone be so stupid enough to do that?' you said 'on SMCS they have'!!" (CL reporting what DW said about the applications plane)

"If you feed carrots (CARETS) into one end of a donkey, what do you get out of the other?" (RLS making a pointed and smelly remark)

"Bloody hell - 'Blue Peter Jackson' - here's one I did earlier!" (GDB christening Lee for being too quick at producing an update 'like a rabbit from a hat'!)

"What do you want and when do you want it." (KA being accommodating to CS)

"I have noted the fact that Steve likes being beaten by women!" (AR taking notes for use by KA and JT)

"I definitely have a problem with sharing a folder with you (Ho! Ho!)" (SAS winding up AR)

"Oh you mean Dirty Den!" (KA christening DP)

"One man's peculiarity is another man's feature!" (DW noting a feature of a CARETS release - or otherwise making a personal remark)

Anyone guess the project and the ginger bearded note taker throughout its earlier life. Even better can anyone put names to the initials (yes we all know PD is Phillipa Davis). Anyway - thanks Fraser!

Articles 25th January 2002

A prize for the first mathematical proof of this curious conundrum


For example:- take the date 23 September 1959.
Take the final two digits of the year e.g. 59
Divide by 4 ignoring remainder e.g. 14
Add back the two digits of the year e.g.14 + 59 = 73
Add to this the day of the month e.g. 23 + 73 = 96
Divide the result by 7 e.g. 13 remainder 5
Take the remainder and add the month "number" from the table below

JAN 6(5 in leap years)
FEB 2(1 in leap years)

And then add a further 2 e.g. 5 + 4 + 2 = 11
Divide by 7 keeping only the remainder e.g. 11/7 = 1 remainder 4
unless 7/7 = 0 remainder 7. The remainder is the day of the week. Thus the 23rd of September 1959 was on the 4th day of the week e.g. Wednesday
(Note for 21st century dates add 100 to the last two digits of the year in all relevant steps and use three digits)
e.g. for say 23rd September 2001
101 divided by 4 gives 25 remainder 1
101 + 25 = 126
23 + 126 = 149
149/7 = 21 remainder 2
2 + 4 + 2 = 8
8/7 = 1 remainder 1
1 = Sunday
Thus 23rd September 2001 was indeed a Sunday