Besides the point

by Rich Brueckner

The Curse of Lone Oak

Is there such a thing as a curse? I asked myself this the other day when I read of Wam!Net’s troubles. If you haven’t kept up with current events, Wam!Net is the the third company facing extinction at 655 Lone Oak (formerly Cray headquarters).

While the struggling SGI and Cray Inc. have downsized considerably in recent years, it seems to me that all three companies were growing like crazy before they came to Eagan. Was it because of markets forces and management blunders, or could this sargasso of real estate be the real reason?

You might argue that Cray was doomed by the ending of the Cold War. Sure, it took for few years for military budget inertia to wear down, but that’s when growth really stopped.

The products? Well, they did get faster and the software got better. By the time the T90 came out, though, they also got much harder to manufacture. In a world with Moore’s Law expectations, it also took Cray four or five years double system performance.

Silicon Graphics, on the other hand, thought they were doing pretty well when they decided to buy Cray Research. By the time they got around to putting their own sign up at Lone Oak, it was clear that SGI was choking on the ashes of her enemy.

I watched all this go down from within the very walls of 655. Having spent nearly seven years there, I think I had a real feeling for the place. Who knows? Maybe the home of Ducky Day was once an ancient burial ground or something.

I tell you this now because the time has come to lift the Curse of Lone Oak.

Rumor has it that Dick Cheney wants to build a nuclear power plant there.

So I heard anyway...

A letter from the editor:

Much has changed since Cal Kirchhof and company launched this site. At the time, Cray was still part of SGI and then-CEO Rick Belluzzo was still busy trying to wipe the word Cray from the face of the earth.

Luckily, "Rocket Rick" failed, lost interest, and headed off to Microsoft. As someone who now works for his competitor (Sun), I can only hope that he does just as good a job botching .Net

Today, Cray Inc. lives on thanks to the buyout and name change by Tera Computer. They have a familiar web site, which is nice, but it does raise the question of why there needs to be an

Cray Research was made up of a group of very talented people. We were unified in a simple mission and it just felt good to be part of it. While Cray the company lives on in today's scaled-down incarnation, I think the folks that are still there can take heart in the fact that they have one hell of a rooting section here to cheer them on.

To that end, I have elected to take on the job of news editor for I'd like to make it a place where crayons can keep track of what's going on in the company and the HPC industry as whole.

We'd also like to hear what's going on in the lives of our former colleagues. So, if you've had a baby, launched a startup, or just happened to have sighted John Rollwagen at the Guthrie, drop us a line here:

Best regards,

(hired 1986, laid off via voicemail 1998)

News Editor,





"SGI Announces Sale of Cray Vector Supercomputer Business to Tera Computer Company"
PR Newswire, Thursday, March 02, 2000 at 07:18



Back to