Letters (May 1-8)

mailThoughts on IBM

In your April 24 article on IBM Kingston, you mentioned that “they would recruit their researchers and engineers … to the new suburban campus … from cities to the new pastoral environments.” I was one of those researchers! With a BS in physics from Queens College and a MS in electrical engineering from Columbia University, and living in Queens, I came to IBM Kingston in late-1963 after an 18-month stint in IBM Poughkeepsie. After 25 years in IBM Kingston, I transferred to IBM Research. I was very fortunate to come to IBM Kingston in 1963, and during those years I worked on wide range of products and technologies, and have absolutely no regrets from coming to IBM Kingston at that time.

IBM Kingston had an especially fine management team with the key criteria being “the respect of the individual.” Bud Howe, who was mentioned in your article, was a perfect leader a number of those years and, as a senior technical manager in his organization, I knew him very well. The IBM Kingston Laboratory, with about 2,000 employees on average, was relatively small. The lab team developed many diverse technologies such as magnetic core memories, display products, flat panel displays, FET logic chip rapid turn-around system, small systems such as banking systems, as well as large systems. I had the good fortune to work on many of these systems and technologies during those 25 years I was in Kingston.

Unlike the “modern IBM,” IBM Kingston during those years encouraged everyone to enhance their skills to be able to tackle future assignments effectively. Management encouraged further education and paid the bills. In addition, they also provided opportunities to go on temporary assignments at other locations to enhance skills and assist in the transfer of future Kingston products. Personally, I went on assignment to Silicon Valley and to England as well as spending a year at IBM for post-graduate work, all paid for by IBM Kingston.

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In your article you mention that “IBM realized that young programmers, marketers and designers won’t come to work in isolated suburban campuses” and hence they located the Watson Group in Manhattan. I think that is short-sighted, because when these young employees get married and have children, they will realize — due to the extremely high housing prices — that they can only live in small apartments on busy streets or spend 1.5 hours or more commuting.

I have my own theories for why IBM Kingston failed in 1995. For one, there was no university nearby which offered advanced degrees (RPI is 1.5 hours away). The university could be a source of advanced education of the employees, a source of new employees and future technology ideas. Secondly, the New York State tax structure caused display products to move to Raleigh, which was an enormous blow. After display products moved out, the development efforts focused mainly on large systems and that leadership team was in Poughkeepsie, so effectively, IBM Kingston became a subset of Poughkeepsie, eventual leading to its closure in 1995.

In summary, at the time it was established in the mid-1950s, IBM Kingston was a great place to work and live nearby, and if the New York State had been pro-business during those years as they are now (as with the Nanotech center in Albany), by providing an adequate nearby university research center and tax breaks for small systems manufacturing, Kingston might still be here and flourishing.

Thor A. Larsen
Fishkill

 

A dog owner’s responsibility

Dear fellow dog owners: Happily, the winter snows have finally melted away. Unfortunately, it has revealed a bounty of dog droppings — not a pretty sight. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to pets, neighbors and the community at large to pick up after our pets.

It isn’t just about the unsightly mess. It is also a health issue. Many a stroll through the village or fun kids’ game at the cow flop field has been ruined by owners who enjoyed a walk or romp with the family pet and failed to clean up what their dog deposited.

As pet owners we are obligated to follow the laws in place regarding owners’ responsibilities. I live in the village of Saugerties, and a quick trip to the village clerk’s office provided the requisite ordinance.

Section 66-3. Control of Dogs

To paraphrase and limit the legal terminology the law states:

A. No person in charge of a dog shall allow it to run at large and such dog shall be restrained by a chain or leash not exceeding eight feet in length.

B. No owner shall permit their dog to “create any unreasonably loud or disturbing noise of such an intensity and duration as to be detrimental to the life, health or welfare of any individual.”

C. No owner shall permit any dog to deposit any droppings on any public road, sidewalk or adjacent area or public grounds, parks or private property. “Such soiling action shall be deemed prevented if such owner shall immediately clean up all such fecal matter” by collecting in a simple bag and disposing of in a safe and sanitary manner.

Many thanks to dog owners who make every effort to abide by the laws. Perhaps you know a newcomer to the area or live near an owner who could use a reminder. Hopefully, this will help all owners step up and do a better job of taking care of their responsibilities. If not, cut this out and share it with them!

Jeanne Schlosser
Saugerties

 

Hope for the humor impaired

I had no idea that so many of you here in Saugerties suffer from the same disorder that I myself once suffered from, but have worked hard to overcome. My fellow citizens – there is hope for you!

I am originally a New Englander, and this malady is endemic in New England. Although we don’t realize we suffer until we encounter people from New York, or move away from our safe havens of fellow sufferers (to New York), as I have. It’s a particular problem for those of us from Maine. Very few people outside of Maine natives really get Down East Humor.

The condition I speak of is called, simply, “humor impairment.”

I still have to ask my husband, who is a master of irony and New York common knowledge, to explain some cartoons to me. But I’ve learned to not get angry and exercised about it. You can too!

Those of you who wrote letters to the Saugerties Times, or called our unsuspecting Town Board members in response to the recent witty and deadpan April Fool’s joke regarding Saugerties’ name change, have already admitted your condition to the general public. But it’s even more important that you admit it to yourself.

Just look yourself in the mirror and say to your reflection: “I am humor impaired!” You may feel a great sense of relief and liberation. You do not have to feel ashamed or embarrassed. But there is work ahead of you, and no matter how funny you eventually find some jokes, you will always have to stand up and fearlessly admit that you are intrinsically humor impaired.

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This is just the beginning of a long journey to recovery and re-integration into the wonderful world of humor. Your life will seem less troubled, your anger will lessen, your relationships will improve, and you might even take yourself less seriously. Believe me — I know from experience!

Did you know that Norman Cousins cured himself of a fatal illness by sequestering himself in a hotel room and watching old Marx Brothers movies? Humor is medicine!

I suggest we ask Bill Schirmer and Will Dendis, as a public service to Saugerties, to organize a series of 12-Step-type group sessions where we can start with standing up and confessing to each other. Or see if Lifespring, our Saugerties Adult Learning Center, would provide the safe space to explore and recover together. We could start with understanding and appreciating the most simple of practical jokes. We can later move on to more sophisticated and specific forms of humor. Check out the 20 types of humor we could study at this website: dailywritingtips.com/20-types-and-forms-of-humor.

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

Susan Weeks
Saugerties