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Proud to have known Alan

From: Jim Melton <jim.melton@acm.org>
Date: Sat, 03 Jun 2006 15:28:59 -0600
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To: public-memoria@w3.org

I had the great pleasure of working for Alan back in the mid-80s when we 
were both at Digital. He was, for my personality, the perfect manage: he 
demanded results, excellence, and timeliness, but otherwise left me 
completely alone to do my job. The only real "management" he ever exhibited 
were the times when I needed something to get my job done and he ensured 
that I got it.

One late evening, I wandered into Alan's cubicle to find him hacking DEC's 
telephone system, adding some new feature or other.  I expressed some 
curiosity and, before the evening was over, Alan gave me the codes 
necessary to access DTN (the Digital Telephone Network) from any outside 
phone.  I was at that time dating a woman who lived in France (and who is 
now my wife) and it was getting awfully expensive to call her.  I was up 
front with Alan that I intended to use the capability he gave me to phone 
this woman's office from my home during her work day in France, and he 
thought that was not unreasonable.

Imagine my dismay ("stark terror" was more like it) when I was "invited" to 
meet with the DEC security people in our building.  Turns out they'd been 
monitoring my phone activities and were on the verge of firing me on the 
spot.  I protested that my boss had given me the codes and knew what I was 
doing, so the security people agreed to let me talk to Alan and then let 
him tell them whether or not he had done so.  When I discussed this with 
Alan about 30 msec later, he mused for a minute, then said "I don't 
remember doing it, but it sounds like something I'd do", and promptly 
called Security to tell them that he had indeed given me the codes.  I 
didn't get fired, but Alan changed the codes within the hour.

I am so pleased that, entirely due to a coincidence, I was able to attend 
the recent AC meeting in Edinburgh, where I was able to chat with Alan one 
last time.

You'll be missed, Alan!

Jim Melton --- Editor of ISO/IEC 9075-* (SQL)     Phone: +1.801.942.0144
   Co-Chair, W3C XML Query WG; F&O (etc.) editor    Fax : +1.801.942.3345
Oracle Corporation        Oracle Email: jim dot melton at oracle dot com
1930 Viscounti Drive      Standards email: jim dot melton at acm dot org
Sandy, UT 84093-1063 USA          Personal email: jim at melton dot name
=  Facts are facts.   But any opinions expressed are the opinions      =
=  only of myself and may or may not reflect the opinions of anybody   =
=  else with whom I may or may not have discussed the issues at hand.  =
Received on Saturday, 3 June 2006 21:30:56 UTC

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