Today In The News

Some news items that caught my eye, for various reasons:

  • From the “If You Build It, They Will Come” Department: The international developer Hines (no, he’s not named Duncan) has just bought some property in Santa Monica to build an office project, according to the LA Times. Now, normally this wouldn’t be news to most folks, but it caught my eye because of the location. You see, this project is going to be on a 7-acre site at the northeast corner of Olympic and 26th Street. Hines plans to remove the three industrial buildings on the site and build two- to four-story office buildings totaling about 300,000 square feet for entertainment use.

    Here’s where it gets interesting to me. The land is the site of the former Paper Mate plant, and is across the street from the Water Gardens. The seller was a family trust that had held the land since the 1950s, specifically, the estate of John M. Stahl. Why is this of interest? The “Water Gardens” land, according to the article, was “developed into an industrial park for use by Rand Corp.” In 1958, it was actually spun off into a little company called System Development Corporation, where I used to work.

    SDC has seen its former buildings wiped off the map. The Colorado Blvd site held one of the first SAGE computers, as well as the Q7A. 3000 Olympic is gone. 5151 Camino Ruiz has been subdivided (although I think the building is still there). Ah, memories.

  • From the “And Then There Were Two” Department: I remember many years ago when I bought my first computer. There were all these companies building and selling their computer. You never went with the name brands, because you could get so much more with the small shops. I remember working with Advanced Computer Center in Pasadena (now gone) buying my first Sager 8200 laptop. I mention this because today’s news reports that Acer Computers is in the process of buying Gateway computers, of the formerly cow-decorated boxes. Just like HP has done with Compaq, Acer will be targeted as the consumer line, and Gateway as the higher-end corporate line. Of course, Gateway owns emachines, and is in negotiations to buy Packard Bell. More and more consolidation in the business. I’m not sure this is a good thing.
  • From the “Perhaps Stan Freberg Was Right” Department: Advertising is everywhere these days. According to the New York Times, it is in the air, as planes replace their livery with ads, put ads on the tray tables, have advertisements on napkins and on the overhead bins. It is on cars, as people wrap their SUVs, and Chevy has even introduced the HHR Panel, which is easily wrapped (just like the Scion xB was). You can’t escape it. So what’s the funniest place you’ve seen an ad?