RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Alert. Alert. The Clones are coming to the IMAX in Raleigh.

Exploris, which operates the IMAX downtown in the capital city, has signed a contract to premier Episode Two in the Star Wars saga on Nov. 1 — the date for its premier.

So kudos to the folks at Exploris for bringing sci-fi fans the big treat. According to, which tracks IMAX theaters, only five other screens are currently scheduled to show Clones.

When Fox and IMAX announced last month that Clones was being reformatted for showing on the mammoth, digital screen, Exploris wasn’t among the theaters signed on. But Chris Schmidt, the public relations spokesman for the museum, called Tuesday to say a contract had been signed.

“Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones” is among the first Hollywood hits to be transformed quickly for showing on IMAX theaters. “Apollo 13” opened Sept. 20 at some theaters. As we noted on Sept. 13, the process isn’t cheap. “Clones” cost $20 million.

November will be a big month for the local IMAX. It’s also rolling out “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees”.

Charlotte’s IMAX already is showing the Goodall flick.

Apollo 13 is showing at the Mall of Georgia IMAX.

For IMAX listings, visit:

Plastina fallout at Nortel

The Canadian press and analysts jumped all over last week’s story that Frank Plastina was stepping down as Nortel’s top executive in RTP and that the company was launching a reorganization.

Noting that Plastina headed Nortel’s Metro and Enterprise Networks division which is now being split (Wireline and Enterprise), a technology portfolio manager told the Canadian Press: “I almost wonder, looking at this, if this is slapping on a lick of paint before you sell part of the company.”

Duncan Stewart, who works for Tera Capital, also was quite blunt when asked about what would sell. “I don’t think anyone would buy Wireline networks,” he said. So what about Enterprise? “Cisco is killing them there, so maybe they’ll just sell it.”

Another analyst said Nortel will make more cuts. “It is very likely that Nortel will have to cut down on — I wouldn’t say fat, because there’s nothing much left.”

So why did Plastina really leave? Stewart had his own candid opinion:

“Maybe the board or management is disappointed with the job Frank has been doing,” he told Canadian Press. “On the other hand, maybe Frank is tired of getting his a…handed to him in a cling by Cisco, and maybe he just wants to do something fun for a change, like smashing his head into a brick wall.”

IT spending — picture not too bright

So what happened to the predicted “recovery” in the IT sector?

Forget 2002, says Gartner Dataquest. Let’s try 2003.

Given the state of the economy, it should come as no surprise that IT spending will increase only modestly this year. But the picture is brighter for 2003, according to a new study from Gartner.

The firm says IT spending will increase 3.4 percent this year, hitting $2.3 trillion worldwide.

Next year, Gartner says, expect a 7 percent increase.

In hardware, sales actually will fall this year — 1.3 percent — due in large part to falling prices, Gartner adds.

At least some people are still buying.

Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.