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New Deal work programs to lead IT out of recession?

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Taking its cue from Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal, CNET has embarked on a massive works program to revive the technology sector.

At least that's what we assume from the site's prominent new 'Vision Series' of thirteen "surprisingly candid" profiles of tech CEOs.

Ah well, maybe candid isn't exactly the right word. For our money, a "candid" profile would reveal at least two undisclosed insider trading deals, one lovechild and possibly a history of STDs to justify the description.

While the first example - a profile of Sun's Scott McNealy - has plenty of stuff you've already heard countless times before. Sun took its name from the Stanford University Network, doncha know? Scott has a "cheeky personality"! Well, I never. And he's apparently regarded as a "Don Quixote" of the industry! It's leavened with the obligatory quotes from analysts: one of whom likes Sun, the other doesn't. But that's balance.

So without being too picky (it doesn't mention the dramas of the 1980s that contributed to the UNIX world's love/hate relationship with Sun) it's a short, and thoroughly respectable 1,400 word romp through the clippings cabinet by the ever-reliable Stephen 'Scooter' Shankland. The typical sort of assignment that a features editor would pass to a cub reporter, to fill a page at short notice, when a terminally-ill celebrity fails to croak in time for the first edition..

So, what's that? A couple of hours of cut and paste? Oh, think again:-

The series credits no less than eight editors: Charles Cooper, Mike Yamamoto, Jeff Pelline, Andrew Madden, Evan Hansen, Jennifer Balderama, Christina Chavira, Julie Laing; four copy editors: Lisa Denenmark, Desiree Everts, Dina Gachman, Scott Martin; two designers and two production staff. Making a grand total of sixteen staff involved before a single word has been written - as it doesn't include the reporters, such as Scooter - who've filed the copy.

Not since the WPA, or the massive nationalization programs of forties Europe, have so many jobs been created so rapidly. It's an effort that Stalin's works bureau would have been proud of.

But it's much needed, given the perilous economic situation, and is sure to leave us its landmarks, too: just as the great 1930s employment programs gave us the Hoover Dam, the first manning overdrive of the new century has given us a fine new um... "Vision Series", to be sure. There are twelve more to follow.

Comrades, we salute you. ®

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