Sunday, August 17, 2014

50th-3 Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)

Both Ira and Vi had great careers involving computers. In 1978, we purchased one of the first 3000 Apple II home computers and introduced our children to it, well before most Americans ever considered the idea of owning a computer.  We also purchased one of the first IBM Personal Computers when they became available in 1981.


Our children's knowledge of computers was big news at the time, and the subject of two stories in the Binghamton newspaper.

LEFT: Lisa demonstrates a computer at her school in Owego, NY.
RIGHT: Rena and Sara demonstrate our Apple II at home.
BOTTOM: Vi, Rena, and Sara were interviewed about our computer.


Ira joined IBM-Owego in 1965. In 1994, IBM Federal Systems Division was sold to Loral, and then, a year later, to Lockheed-Martin. Ira was 55 years old and had 28 years with IBM when our facility was sold, so he took early retirement from IBM keeping his job and seniority at the new company. Seven years later, in 2001, he retired from Lockheed-Martin.

Ira lugged our Apple II into the IBM facility to teach a course on Artificial Intelligence. When IBM came out with the PC-1, Ira was assigned the job of teaching engineers how to use this new tool and was the first person at the facility to have a PC in his office.  We also purchased one of the first IBM PC's for home use.

TOP LEFT: Ira used the PC to develop and demonstrate Advanced Visionics concepts for helicopter pilots.
RIGHT: Ira's innovative use of the IBM PC to develop and demonstrate Multi-Purpose Computer Display concepts, and his role as the Lead Engineer for IBM's HH-60 Technical Proposal, resulted in an IBM Federal Systems Division Golden Circle Award that included a trip for Vi and Ira to Hawaii.
BOTTOM LEFT: In 1984, an issue of the IBM Federal Systems Division "Technical Directions" magazine was devoted to "The Rational Cockpit and Advanced Automation" based partly on Ira's work.

TOP: Vi & Ira in HH-60 lab at IBM (1986) 
BOTTOM: Pave Low Night Training Mission (1986). Ira, Blake, & Murchie ("IBM" - get it?) used night vision goggles to experience low level flight over Dobbins AFB. The second night we witnessed an in-air refueling from a C-130. IMPRESSIVE!
RIGHT: Five US Patents, issued 2001-2007, with Ira's name on them.

LEFT: Ira's retirement plaque (2001). 
MIDDLE: Suspended in air at SF Science Museum.
RIGHT: Ira's first two jobs were in NJ & CT. Ira designed and hooked this small rug in 1976, based on a US postage stamp issued for the 200th birthday of the USA.


Vi got a job at IBM-Owego in 1984 and retired from Lockheed-Martin in 1999.

TOP LEFT: As a result of our getting an Apple II home computer, Vi earned her Masters Degree in Computer Science from Binghamton University, taught there, and then got a job at IBM Owego. (Keeping up with Vi, Ira earned his Masters Degree in System Science in 1990 and his PhD in System Science from Binghamton University in 1996.)
BOTTOM LEFT: IBM Marketing award.
MIDDLE: Vi was the Lead Software Engineer for the Army Special Operations Project, and received an Appreciation Award.
TOP RIGHT: Ira and Vi on vacation in Tahiti.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Lockheed-Martin Recognition Award.

LEFT; Vi and Ira in the Owego Artificial Intelligence laboratory in 1986.
TOP RIGHT: An issue of IBM FSD's "Technical Directions" included an article by Ira about "AI Aids for the Pilot".
BOTTOM RIGHT: Ira taught a course on "Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life" at the Brandeis University (Boston) "Summer Odyssey" in 2000 and 2001.
(No Photo) While working and after retirement, we each taught online graduate courses for the University of Maryland University College up until 2013. (Ira in System Engineering and Vi in Software Engineering).
  1. Wedding and Farm Days 
  2. Passing the Genes and Memes
  3. Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)
  4. Retirement in The Villages, FL
  5. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Air Travel and Shipboard activities)
  6. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Land-Tours)

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