eMail: Fabio Pondi
It has been always in me the desire to contact and have news of "friends" I spent some time with and to receive news from them and send my news to them. Yes, because for me a "friend" is everyone I spent some time with, sharing experience in the everyday business activity or in the free time. It's not important how long that time has been: if I can still remember him after so many years, it means that he left something inside me, and for sure I can say he is a friend. During my residencies in Raleigh I met many friends and, never, will I forget them. I would be very happy if I could have news of them.
I'm still active with my job in the computer area (commercial software) even if I'm almost 68 (next September 29th).
I will definitively retire at the end of the year 2010. Then, I hope to have good times with my hobbies (fishing, mushrooms,..) and mainly my 3 year-old nephew Lorenzo, whom I have a lot of things to teach.
I'm well and looking forward to next year.
(Repeated here from the assignee's part of this Web page, as I participated as both an assignee and a resident).
1974 & 1980-thru-1983, 1997
Plus Residencies in-between those time periods.
From the end of June 1974 for five months, I worked primarily as a programmer on a project to produce a very fast, efficient, "communications front end" for CICS. The project (initially called "NCS" and later "EXTM") was run by the US Domestic support centre but coming from Australia, I was managed through the ITSO. My objective in being there was to gain the skills necessary to build a similar "front-end" for a banking software application owned by a large customer.
I think I was the very first "resident". There were no residency rules and conditions, so Australia sent me under the "Business Trip" plan. This suited nobody and so I ended up negotiating my ability to rent an apartment etc. with Jim Sepich over a desk.
Later, I supervised one of the "beta-test" sites (in Perth, Western Australia) on behalf of the development group.
In early 1980 I joined the ITSO as an assignee responsible for X.25 (both architecture and products) and SNA Architecture. This lasted until the end of 1984. On return to Australia the ITSO kept me on the "retainership program" - this meant completing a number of overseas consulting projects under the auspices of the ITSO.
1986 brought another 3-month residency in Raleigh - the first of another five. These were all related to ATM and High-Speed Communications protocols but were not specifically product oriented.
In 1997 I re-joined the ITSO for one year as an "assignee" but did the work from Australia (with a few trips to various labs in between). This was related to fibre-optic communication and resulted in an externally-published Red Book that is still used as a text in several Universities around the world.
Throughout the 1990's I spent the intervening time (when not involved with the ITSO) attending International Standards meetings (on behalf of IBM) and making technical presentations to international conferences. For a time I was IBM Asia-Pacific "Product Manager for Communications Products".
After the Ball:
In mid-1999 IBM decided to get out of the Communications business. I took an early-retirement severance package.
After leaving IBM I joined Optus (Australia's second-largest Telco) but found the work totally sales-oriented and not at all interesting. I took a severance package from them in April 2002.
For a few years I picked up my Flute again and began serious practice and even had regular lessons again for a couple of years. For a while I even attained a reasonably good standard. However, the world has changed and there are very few opportunities around to play at concerts and the amateur orchestras are besieged by young enthusiastic players who are a lot better than I could ever be.
I then picked-up the study of Family History. I found it fascinating BUT I am not at all interested in Births-Marriages-Deaths. You have to have them but they are only the skeleton. I started choosing individual relatives, studying them and writing short biographies. For most people this is impossible. Most people leave very little record. However, for some - especially the "black sheep" - quite a lot of information can be found. I ran out of relatives some time ago and right now I am writing a biography of a lady who is a relative of a friend of mine. I don't think these biographies are magnificent pieces of literature. I think of myself as a passable decent technical writer but I am NOT at all good at story-writing.
Of course, we have had at least one overseas trip per year. I resist these but my wife insists. I did all the travel I ever want to do in my IBM days.
We still live in the same house in Sydney. Our kids live in Brisbane, Melbourne and Manilla (the Philippines) and so we have to travel to see any of them - and the eight grandchildren.
I still look back on my years in IBM and especially on my ITSO years as amazing. I LOVED my job. I liked everyone I worked with. The management was excellent. Jack Miess, Jim Sepich and later Dick Hippert were superb managers and I liked each of them a lot on a personal level.
I found the technical aspects endlessly fascinating and challenging - the right word is "fun". The opportunity to write it all down and explain technology to others was just mind-blowing. Every month or two I needed to visit a group who worked in one of the buildings in RTP. This building was isolated from the others, on top of a hill, immediately surrounded by the ubiquitous car park but with the whole completely enclosed by the mixed Pine and Oak forest typical of the area. I would leave the building sometime around midday and as I walked down to the car the thought would strike me of just how lucky I was to have this job and to do it in this beautiful place. But the world moves on.
eMail: Walter Mowat
1978. We arrived around Labor Day, and were there till mid December.
I worked along with Stuart Rees, also from UK, and with Marcus Wernli
and Didier Van der Straten on network startup modelling for which we
used Snapshot. If I recall correctly it was focussed on the NOSP Network
management software. Great fun, great people, only drawback was that the
Snapshot work always had to be overnight, after the customers had gone
On return from Raleigh I remained in IBM for some time, initially
continuing some of the Snapshot work using the Croydon System Centre to
make the assignment results more specific for my customer, the Royal
Bank of Scotland. I moved around technical specialisms and customers in
the IBM Edinburgh branch several times, until joining the Royal Bank,
initially as technical support manager then working in several strategy
areas. I took a package from the bank to retire, but was persuaded to
work a further few years as a consultant for Opentext, with whom I’d
worked closely in the bank.
I’d always been interested in music, and while at RBS I had joined a
bluegrass band for a few years with a couple of vendor colleagues, and
also started playing violin in The Really Terrible Orchestra. So when I
stopped working I joined an already established folk group (we get
paid!) and also formed a country band with some fellow retirees. I also
am a trustee and director of the Scottish and UK Slow Food movement and
spend time growing my own vegetables on our allotment.