OK so it’s not the actual HAL, as that’s a ficitious computer from Arthur C. Clarke’s fevered imagination. But everyone must by now be familiar with the old, old story.
Which, for those who are not, goes much like this:
Way back when, in those olden days that everyone is so keen on talking about, Art Clarke and Stan Kubrick came up with an idea for a jolly fine space sci-fi movie. With this in mind, they put together a storyline and included, for want of a better baddie, an eViL cOmPuTeR.
The computer was to be a main character in the film, would have a personality and be able to interact with the human stars. To this end it would need a name. A plan formed in the minds of the film-makers and they approached IBM. The name of the computer was to be the IBM-9000.
IBM were, of course, up for this. A lovely bit of PR. Some wonderful advertising and the opportunity to have a bit of a guess as to what the future holds.
And then they say the script: IBM-9000 was to go mad and kill everyone.
IBM said: “Ho-ho-NO.”
Stan and Art shrugged their shoulders and decided that instead of worrying too much, they’d just move the letters of the IBM-9000’s name back one character in the alphabet, and so the HAL-9000 range of computers was born.
And went on to kill the crew of the Discovery (except for Dave).
Ok, there’s the background.
So, er, “HAL” wrote me a letter demanding (with menaces) an entire thousand pounds and further fifty-six pounds. You see they feel they overpaid me. I told them this back on November 4th when I was sent a pay slip detailing a full month’s pay. “Some mistake,” I wrote. “I appear to have been paid for a full month”.
I HEARD NOTHING BACK.
Until yesterday. Bless ’em.
I’ve got 21 days to pay up otherwise I’ll have the ol’ kneecaps broken by a man called Vinny and his mate Keith.