Nerds

05/20/2005 3:37 pm
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For some in the tech industry, the chance to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in its opening couple of days is just not something they're willing to pass up—at any cost.

And while that early viewing may be a badge of honor for geeks around the world, the "Star Wars flu" may pull down productivity figures, analysts warned.

"There's nothing like being here for the first showing," said an IT manager for a financial brokerage firm on Wednesday, while standing in line in front of the Metreon theater complex in San Francisco.

He had called in sick in order to see the midnight showing on the DLP (digital light processing) cinema screen. After spending quite a few hours in the cold and drizzle, he added that he might not make it to his job on Thursday, as he felt a "second day" of his cold coming on.

Pointing to some attendees dressed in Star Wars costumes, the IT manager said, "Look at these guys. This is what it's all about, and you can't get that unless you're down here now. And being able to be first and see it in a digital cinema is just the coolest."

Acknowledging the trend was The Geek Squad, the new tech support operation of Best Buy Co. Inc. The Web site now offers an easy, printable form to help you explain your predicament to your employer.

Not only that, knowing that the Star Wars movie is likely to attract a large number of IT workers, the Geek Squad said it is helping small businesses in need of emergency IT replacements by auctioning the company's Geek Squad Agents on eBay. Auctions are to take place in major high-tech markets, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston.

In a growning number of theaters, viewers can see Star Wars with a digital cinema projector. Click here to read more about the advances in the digital movie market on Publish.com.

The losers, ultimately, may be the employers. According to movie industry watchers, more than 9 million people will be in theaters nationwide on Thursday and Friday to see the next—and supposedly last—installment of Star Wars. Some viewers will take vacation days to stand in line to get in, and some will call in sick.

According to a report released by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., workers who blow off work to wait in line for tickets, catch the movie, or recuperate the day after a midnight screening will set their collective employers back at least $627 million.

The findings are based on the assumption that attendance during the first two days will match that of the last Star Wars blockbuster, which attracted 9.4 million people in 2002.

"Already, we were looking at huge opening-weekend audiences who have long anticipated the grand finale in this 28-year journey. However, the early positive reviews are likely to reignite interest among some fans who were disappointed in the first two chapters of the trilogy," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement.

The firm estimates that 4.8 million of those opening-day attendees are employed at least 35 hours per week. With full-timers earning an average of $130.60 per day, the two-day cost in terms of lost wages and productivity would be a staggering $626,880,000.

Read a PCMag.com story here about the creation of digital special effects in the new epic.

Are temp agencies picking up the slack? Most hadn't seen an uptick in business on Wednesday.

"There hasn't been an impact," said a manager for a local Kelly Services Inc. branch who asked not to be identified. "Business has been the same."

Meanwhile, Eugene Lupario, co-founder of Silicon Valley Staffing Group Inc. in Emeryville, Calif., said that business has been busy but felt it was not in any way related to the opening of the movie. "We've seen a growth in business since the beginning of the year. Most of our contracts are long-term."

However, according to the results of an online survey conducted by Ziff Davis Internet, some 27 percent of respondents were planning on seeing Star Wars this week. In addition, 8 percent indicated they planned to watch an early morning show on Thursday.

Check out eWEEK.com's IT Management Center for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from CIO Insight.

scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
05/21/2005 @ 11:28:08 PM
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Yea, Star Wars is sooo cool
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3403 Posts
05/22/2005 @ 01:50:44 AM
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Not as cool as copyright infringement though.
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
05/24/2005 @ 08:40:47 PM
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As of right now, Carlos Lee is the Major League RBI leader with 41
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2887.gificbeast - I don't need to get steady I know just how I feel
05/24/2005 @ 09:22:58 PM
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The Bucks finally win something!
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scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
05/24/2005 @ 10:27:41 PM
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ok, carlos lee is first in the NL, not the League. But still, for a guy who almost seems to be underperforming, he's doing pretty good.
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newalex.jpgicbeast - 3618 Posts
05/25/2005 @ 01:40:28 PM
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I read today that there is some bill in the House to ban players in the major sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) for 2 years for a positive test of banned substances on the first offense and for life on the second offense. Is it just me, or is that way too harsh?
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matt.jpgMatt - 3403 Posts
05/25/2005 @ 03:32:34 PM
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No, that is too harsh... I have no problem with strong penalties for the 2nd offense, but the first offense should be something like a quarter of the season, long enough to be noticed, but not long enough to hurt the players career for one mistake.
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - So's your face
05/26/2005 @ 05:17:23 PM
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If one of us got caught taking drugs, we'd lose our jobs. Just because they're in the national limelight does not mean that they should get preferential treatment. I say career over. Athletes are really stupid anyway. They do some dumb things but it's ok because they're famous. Ricky wants back into the league. Screw him.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Pie Racist
05/26/2005 @ 05:25:34 PM
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You would lose your job, yes, but not banned from ever working anywhere as an accountant ever again.

Teams could always cut a player for the infraction if they so chose, that's different then a lifetime banishment.

I think Quarter Season, Season, Forever is approproate.

However perhaps they could define forever as "Until you have done N number of community service hours and have given X amount of dollars to charity". They could earn their way back into the league by helping society, perhaps.

I also think they have to reorder their priorities. An over the counter supplement that turns up trace amounts of banned substance X should not be treated 3 times harsher than getting busted with something that is just flat out illegal.
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scott.jpgScott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.
06/02/2005 @ 05:08:24 PM
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agreed with Jeremy and Matt. Come down hard, but leave room for improved behavior.

If the baseball season were to end today, and thanks to a strategically placed meteor this is very possible, Derrick Lee would win the Triple Crown, that is leading the league in Home runs, Batting average, and RBI's. This hasn't happened since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967. This would be quite a feat if Lee could accomplish it. Of course I he plays for the Cubs so I can't possibly root for him, but if it nears the end of the year and he's close, I'll pull for him. Carlos Lee is close behind him for HR and RBI's. and get this: Doug Davis is having a better year than Johan Santana in terms of Wins and ERA. The Brewers pitching staff trails only the Twins in total team ERA, and the brewers are number 1 in BA against and fewest hits allowed. Pretty cool
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