IBM's Brackenbury comes home

Ian Brackenbury lives in Hastings, is employed by IBM UK and is technical executive of the company's high-volume websites team in San Jose.

Ian Brackenbury lives in Hastings, is employed by IBM UK and is technical executive of the company’s high-volume websites team in San Jose.

A Kiwi who left New Zealand 28 years ago, Brackenbury was a founding member of the IBM Java design council and is credited with having “discovered” Java for IBM. He led the development of the first Java ports to the IBM platform and also commanded the IBM team which, with Sun, defined Enterprise JavaBeans v1 specification.

He knows a thing or two about teleworking, having consulted on numerous projects spanning the UK and US but moving from the US to Hawkes Bay has meant adjusting to greater time zone differences (“a wee bit irritating”) and giving up cable for a dial-up connection. He would consider it a “great step forward” if Telecom would install JetStream on the Flaxmere Two exchange.

“Especially as everyone else in my world has high-speed connections and they’re sending 11MB and 12MB emails with presentations attached.”

Still, he’s glad to be back and when he told IBM he wanted to move it had no option but to let him go. Eschewing the more obvious choices of Auckland or Wellington, he chose rural Hawkes Bay because his family has land there.

Brackenbury’s IT career hasn’t always been overseas. In 1969, having graduated with a BSc in psychology and computer science from Victoria University, he started work for the Statistics Department and computer services division.

“I left for the bigger horizons provided by a large company overseas but since then I’ve found I’ve been more and more able to work anywhere in the world and be connected. And my home is New Zealand, that’s where I wanted to be.”

In fact it’s fitting that Brackenbury should be an uber-teleworker, seeing as he has a special interest in collaborative computing.

“One of the most interesting technologies I’ve ever worked on with was called Person-to-Person. In 1986 I built IBM’s own collaborative technology so people could share data, graphics, sound and video. That got taken over when IBM bought Lotus.

“I run my own Lotus QuickPlace website and use AOL Aim. I’m also very interested in Microsoft’s Hailstorm and Passport.”

Brackenbury says the major issue with teleworking is the personal discipline, not the technology. “I’ve been teleworking since 1983 and for the past seven years I’ve spent at least a third of my time working from home.”

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