Editorial 16th March 2001

Hello there once again!

Welcome to the third millennium. I trust you all had an enjoyable time and if staying home with the family was your scene or you just went off to some quiet spot far away from the madding crowd, I hope you are now happily recharged for yet another year.

Not, I suspect, that there has probably been too much to have been overly happy and joyous about, around the upper reaches of High Holborn just recently! Times they are a changing - or, for some at least, they have already been and gone! I guess we can't say too much over the airways - know what I mean! - but it's probably rather unfortunate that they - whoever 'they' might be of course! - hadn't gone a darn sight sooner, then the recent events might never have happened. More's the pity in fact that 'they' ever came in the first place!

It is a far cry from those Great James' Street days - I would just like to think that, just maybe, something good might still yet rise from the ashes - otherwise all that will be left will be CAPnews, and a host of really good memories. Even more reason for dusting some of them off, and letting the rest of us know about them. So there - that's one resolution to get back out of the cupboard - keep those old stories of happy and often barmier - and that is a deliberate 'r' and not an 'l' - times coming in. CAPnews will publish, so we will, hopefully, all have something to brighten the day.

Talking about taking down the decorations, I trust you had a chance to read the Christmas Chronicle edition of CAPnews before our web-master confined it to the archives - he had this thing about it having to be packed away by the 6th January, or else we would all be struck down with some terrible bug during the coming year. If you didn't manage to catch it (the Chronicle that is, not the bug) before the ritual purging, you can still take a look on the archives pages. For those that did have a browse I trust it managed to bring back some happy memories - as well hopefully, a smile or two to your lips!

There are two future events on which I would like to appeal, namely the ex-CAP Open Golf on Friday June 8th., and CAP40 - albeit that the latter is still over a year away.

On the former, can I request that all those who are hoping to attend, please let me know fairly soon. You won't need to pay anything yet, but I would like to get more of an idea of who is likely to be there. Apart from anything else the club are beginning to agitate about numbers - so please come back to me if you think you are going to be able to make it. I appreciate that circumstances can change, so should you need to drop out later it wouldn't be too great a problem - you aren't so much committing yourself, just putting down a marker! It will also give me an idea of what prizes to start organising. Incidentally, if there is anyone who may not play golf, but would still like to come along for say, the meal afterwards, so that they could meet up with a few old friends - as long as there are not too many - then I'm sure that the club would be only too pleased to accommodate you! So maybe that is an option.

As for CAP40, I have a small survey that I would like to conduct. After CAP2000 I had a number of suggestions, which while very welcome, have left me with a couple of quandaries for this time. So before I go rampaging off to start arranging next year's celebrations, I would like to ask a few questions. It's not a long list - indeed just three - but being that we are a democratic lot, I feel some consultation would not be inappropriate. So here goes:

1. Would you prefer CAP40 to be a Dinner Dance, including therefore partners - despite the fact that would significantly increase the cost per person/couple?

2. If we were to retain more or less the same format as for CAP2000, would you prefer to cut out the sit down meal, and just leave the eating to a finger buffet - thus leaving more time for the mix-and-mingle chat?

3. Bearing in mind the general travel implications, would you prefer the event to be out of London - if so, in which area would you personally favour?

I don't know if I'm making all sorts of rods for my back, and certainly can't promise everyone that they will get their particular preference, but if enough people come back with opinions then I promise to try and accommodate - and if possible (and practical!) the consensus will prevail.

Well that's about it for this month. I look forward to receiving all your CAP40 poll emails and or your golf responses - and indeed, if you have anything else you'd like to say, about anything, particularly material for, or comments on, the CAPnews web-site, then please let either Arthur or myself know - whatever you have to say, will be very much appreciated.

So all the best for now - may you stay happy, healthy and one step ahead of the tax man!

Mike West

Previous News 16.3.2001

Schlumberger takeover of Sema

There is no doubt that this is THE news item of the moment.

This is especially so for many current Sema share holders who bought shares when Sema was CAP and share values were a lot lower than now.

Suffice to say that considerable concern over the financial implications of the deal is being expressed by many exCAP-chaps. Much discussion has taken place over the net on CGT, indexation, taper relief, timing and valuations throughout the history of the shares.

Below for those who missed it is the e-mail from Dave Woolley which has generated so much e-mail and resulted in fifty odd ex-CAPers joining his mailing list to date.

For many reasons (not least disc space and available time) we will not replicate Dave's information exchange on this site.

However when the dust has settled and the dirty deed is done, perhaps we might do a review of the whole CAP/Sema share saga from 1962 until this March.

By e-mail from Dave Wooley

Those who have received the recent communication about their Sema shareholding might appreciate a forum to discuss the implications. I've therefore set up a mailing list for that purpose.

If you would like to be on it, please send an e-mail to Dave as plain text, with the first line in the body being the word subscribe.

For legal reasons, please do not subscribe if you are in Australia, Canada or Japan. I will refuse requests that I believe to have come from one of those countries.

The list is currently unmoderated, although I will change that, at some cost in responsiveness, if it is abused or if people request it.

Subscription is currently manual, but I may move it over to majordomo, which is why I ask for the subscriptions in a particular form.

I will try to forward mail at least twice a day.

Previous Obituaries 16/3/2001

Sadly, we have to tell you that Kath Pasfield died on Friday 16 March 2001. She started at CAP in the Directors Dining Room at CAP House, Great James Street in the early 70's as a silver service waitress. She went on to organise all the catering in many of the other CAP sites over the years, and was still working at the time of her death.

She is survived by three sons of whom she was extremely proud, and she considered many of the CAP chaps as her extended family, remembering their favourite foods, fads etc. She was an amazing lady, much loved and will be greatly missed.

Her funeral will be on Tuesday 20 March at 1 p.m. at St Pauls Church, Lorrimore Square SE17, followed by cremation at Honor Oak Crematorium, Brenchley Gardens, SE23, and then back to the Beehive pub 60 Carter Street SE17 to join her family and friends. Although there is a single yellow line round the church, the local council have given permission for guests to park there.

Flowers should be sent to 28 Forsyth Gardens SE17 on the day by 12 midday. Should anyone wish to write to the family this is also the address for letters.

Continuing in this rather sad vein, Lawford Russell's beloved wife Anne also died last week. If anyone wishes to write to Lawford his address is 14a Hawthorn Road, Caversham, Reading, Berks

Yesterday in CAP 16/3/2001

In the Spring of 1978 100 CAP staff enjoyed the luxury of the Grand Hotel Eastbourne (prior to IRA bombing!) for the four days Annual Conference. They listened to a series of breathtaking state of the art presentations and participated in discussions on "the strategic way forward for the company".

Here are some quotes from the Branchline report to all staff.

"The aim of the current development work is to move reality closer to sales claims" - Esmond Hart on Microsoft products (CAP ones of course!).

"We need to charge intelligently and adequately to make profits" - Graham Samuel on Time & Materials.

"We must be beware of all-embracing packages and of on-going support" - Clive Hart on Hewlett Packard, Ventek and Burroughs.

"Users in large organisations are desperately looking for advice and help against their DP departments - Bob Cooper on small business systems.

"We have the world's only completely portable program development system" - Mike Ballard on Microcobol.

"In a revolution it is better to be a revolutionary rather than a victim" - Alex D'Agapeyeff on microprocessors.

Pretty powerful stuff, eh?

Yes, those were the days. But it wasn't all intensive work at Eastbourne in the "good old days". There was plenty of time to play as well as can be seen from the pictures below.

Poker session - George Brown scoops up, David Victor, Ben Bartle (training for "Who wants to be a Millionaire"?), Clive Hart and Mel Bass count the cost.

Snooker - Alex completes a 100 break, taking the money from John (with hair!!) Ritchie.

John Richards, Martin Cross, Dave Philpotts, Alan Bowie And Mike Flavell absorbed in backgammon.

Mike Elson, Paul Radcliffe and Harley Atkinson - the end of a long day.

Letters 16/3/2001

Apart from all the takeover letters - see News - there are a few others this month

By e-mail from Wojtek Kwiatkowski


I've just moved companies, and therefore have a new e-mail address and contact details which are shown below.

For those interested I have joined Protek as MD of Infrastructure & Messaging Division. We specialise in the implementation of basic IT infrastructure such as Windows 2000, Thin Client, network management etc. We are currently developing higher value propositions to build on these core services, such as collaborative working to extract greater value for our customers from their investment in the basic infrastructure. If anybody has a need in this area, or indeed a desire to work in this field, I'd obviously be interested to hear from them.


Wojtek Kwiatkowski
Managing Director
Protek, Infrastructure & Messaging
E-mail: wkwiatkowski@protek.com

Ed - Thanks Wojtek. I have updated the register. Good luck with the new job - although I was never really up on these things, somehow what you describe sounds a tad like what we all used to call 'Middleware' in the 'good old days'. What goes around, eventually comes around!

By e-mail from Tony Browning

Subj: Looking for a Paul Hissett (ex Hull University early 70's)


I've stumbled on your website as I try and search for an old university friend. I typed in Paul Hissett and then your site appeared with a photo with a Paul Hissett in the bottom left corner. He looks very similar to the one I knew. Hull University, from Houghton le Spring, married to Christine, likes Newcastle Brown and supporter of Sunderland.

If it is him. Could he email me on thebrownings_uk@yahoo.co.uk I'm Tony Browning. I'm trying to find my old mates. Have lost touch

The site I found was www.capnews.org/news.htm

Ed - Hi Tony - I hope you've found your man. I forwarded your email on to Paul, so hopefully he has got back in touch. Sorry I couldn't give you his address - after all I'm not to know if he can afford to pay you back that fiver you lent him! Good luck anyway, and thanks for getting in touch.

By e-mail from Steve Wells


Hello to anyone who remembers me - and the same greeting to those who don't! I'm still living in Reading, but work most of the time near Bristol. These days I don't have a lot to do with computers. I'm more into the Human Factors side of things - at present I'm one of a team of one and a half looking at such things for a new warship for the Royal Navy.

Apart from that, life goes on. Mary who seems to have been born only a couple of years ago is now studying Civil Engineering at Birmingham, and the boys will soon be leaving as well.


Steve Wells
Bristol: chez.wells@virgin.net
Reading: steve@chezwell.demon.co.uk

Ed -Thanks Steve for getting in touch. Sounds good to me, although what Human Factors have got to do with warships, I'm not quite sure. Still it's very reassuring to know that the Royal Navy is still out there defending the nation!

Where Are They Now? 16/3/2001

Simon Carves

Reminiscing through an old 1978 Branchline I came across the following (edited) article. Seems a good follow on from the BSC Redcar "where are they now?" in a previous issue of CAPnews

"Britain's largest computer support group - CAP-CPP - is to build the software for part of a giant computer controlled rubber tyre factory in Russia.

This is a distinctly Northern project and it is envisaged the team will build to 40 people.

The Client Manager is Mike James (Ed - really!!), with Stuart Lovell as Project Manager, Peter Russell Middleware Project Manager and Frank Agnew Applications Project Manager.

So who were the other 36? Did it end up with an even bigger team? Who went to Russia (is it Belarusse now?)? And who never made it back?"

Come on you northern guys and gals, were you on it, who else was, where are you, where are they now?

Articles 16/3/2001

Some have been promised but unfortunately we have received none to date.

Do you now do something different that might be of interest. If so we would be delighted to receive a piece from you for inclusion in CAPnews