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The National Amateur Athletic Union League, By Ira Smolev

The National Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) League gives amateur athletes the opportunity to compete in a variety of sports. Individuals interested in enhancing their skills, garnering leadership abilities, or learning about good sportsmanship and citizenship can volunteer with or sign up for the National AAU League. This entity operates throughout the United States and runs baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, and other leagues for people of various skill levels and ages.

Founded in 1888, the National AAU League was originally developed to promote uniformity in amateur sports and serve as America’s representative in international sports. Today, more than 500,000 people participate in events that include the AAU Junior Olympic Games and its 250 national championships. Moreover, the organization is affiliated with Walt Disney World, and many of its national contests are held at the theme park’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

About the Author:

Over the past 50 years, Ira Smolev has worked in the computer, telecommunications, and publishing industries. While earning his Bachelor’s degree at City College of New York, Smolev played basketball in the National AAU League and ranked as an All Star for three consecutive years.


Ira Smolev: A Short History of the IBM 360 Series

Although computers have been of use to businesses since the mid-20th century, they existed in a very different form prior to the technological revolution of the 1980s through today. Early computers were not standardized and were often modified for particular customers. The IBM 360 series, introduced in 1964, brought some standardization to computer sales and manufacture. The Model 91 was billed as the fastest computer of the time and was able to perform 200 billion calculations daily.

These computers were made available in a number of different ranges, from lower-end systems used for specialized applications to higher-end, more versatile machines. This practice allowed customers to purchase smaller systems with the understanding they could purchase more complete ones at a later date. As with other computers of the time, IBM 360 series machines were very large and required entire rooms for storage and use. Today, there are few of these computers still in existence and none are operational.

About Ira Smolev: A graduate of the City College of New York, Ira Smolev is a business professional with decades of experience in a variety of fields. At the start of his career, Smolev installed the first consumer IBM 360 and created a conversion utility from older IBM series 1400 computers.

How the Thomas J. Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory Shaped History, By Ira Smolev

Founded in 1945, the Thomas J. Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory played a major role in the development of the modern computer. Used by both Columbia University faculty and IBM researchers, the Watson Laboratory housed classrooms, a reference library, and equipment rooms laden with heavy computing machinery. Additionally, such industry pioneers as Herb Grosch, Eric Hankam, and Wallace Eckert maintained offices in the building. These renowned scientists collaborated with their Watson colleagues to design the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC), which is considered by many to be the first true computer. Laboratory researchers also developed the first personal computer, the IBM 610.

Furthermore, the Watson Laboratory offered the world’s first computer training course, a three-week program taught by Eric Hankam. This class drew more than 1,500 students from nearly two dozen countries and provided an introduction to large-scale computing methods. The Watson Laboratory continued to operate and educate until the mid-1960s when IBM moved onto its own site and Columbia University opened a computer center on campus.

About the author: Trained as a mechanical engineer, Ira Smolev launched his career as a Systems Engineer at IBM in the mid-1960s. After writing a critical conversion utility program for the company, Smolev joined a leading software company and eventually started his own marketing firm.

The Evolution of the IBM 1400 Series By Ira Smolev

First introduced in 1959, the IBM 1401 Data Processing System consisted of a stored-program transistor-logic computer. One of the company’s first general purpose computers, the system replaced accounting machines and calculators at an affordable price of $2,500 per month. IBM sold and rented thousands of 1401s before developing the 1410, 1440, and 1460. Initially, the 1400 series relied on machine or assembly languages, but it evolved over the years to run on Autocoder; FORTRAN; and Report Program Generator (RPG), a high-level, business-oriented programming language.

A constant innovator, IBM eventually announced the release of its IBM System/360 in 1964. Marketed in large part to users of the 1400 series, the 360 series offered radically increased performance levels and a greater memory capacity all in a single system. The new computer also marked a distinct shift from the 1400 series in terms of its internal architecture. Finally, the 360 series featured a greater range of applications and appealed to even more professionals in business, government, and science.

About the author: An early systems engineer, Ira Smolev wrote the conversion utility program that allowed IBM to convert its 1400 series applications into 360 assembly language. Smolev also installed IBM’s first 360 computer purchased by a private consumer.

The Earliest Programmable Computers

By Ira Smolev

The predecessors of the computers we know today came about in the 1940s, though the first man to create a programmable computer, Konrad Zuse, was mostly ignored by his German countrymen. Zuse built his computer in 1941 and dubbed it the Z3. Used to design aircraft, it was nevertheless deemed unimportant to Germany’s future and not mourned when it was destroyed in an air raid.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, American researchers were developing a computer of their own. In 1944, they completed the Mark I, which remained intact. With this development, the field of computer programming blossomed. Programming pioneer Captain Grace Murray Hopper discovered that individual programmable commands could fit together to create longer strings of information, which proved important to the development of later programs.

At first, the people who wrote computer programs were academic specialists rather than computer specialists. Because of this, many early programs were able to achieve only one task and had little transferability. The trend toward widely usable programs started in the 1970s, as computers took on a more prominent role.

About Ira Smolev

After earning an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, Ira Smolev took a job as a Systems Engineer with IBM. In that capacity, Mr. Smolev developed a conversion utility program that IBM distributed widely to allow conversion to a newer computer model.

Advertising as an Investment, By Ira Smolev

For individual businesses, purchasing advertising space (or airtime) can be calculated both as an expense and an investment. Because an initial cash payment is required to purchase ad space, and further money is needed to create the ad itself, advertising can seem like a costly proposition. The returns come as ads reach and win over new customers or bring returning customers back to a business.

More sophisticated business investors, however, can invest in advertising to yield even greater returns. Those with adequate capital can purchase advertising space and time beyond what they need for their own purposes (potentially at a discount, when the space is purchased in bulk) and then resell it to smaller businesses on an as-needed basis. In any space they don’t sell, investors can advertise their own goods and services, thus maximizing the potential return on their funds.

Alternately, companies can make large media purchases to make big-statement ads, as car company Maruti did with The Week magazine in 2003, buying every ad slot to promote a new car.

About Ira Smolev:
After a stint as a Systems Engineer with IBM, Ira Smolev branched into a variety of investments, including cable TV and print advertising. Mr. Smolev later expanded his investments to include real estate, import concerns, product development, and Internet ventures.

A Brief History of the AAU, by Ira Smolev

The Amateur Athletic Union, or AAU, began in 1888 with the goal of improving amateur sports around the U.S. During its first year as an organization, the AAU held championship matches in boxing, wrestling, and fencing. By 1897, the organization added basketball to the sports it oversaw. At the time, the goal of improving amateur sports meant those for men and boys, but change would come to the group in succeeding decades.

By 1915, before women had the right to vote in the United States, the AAU began recognizing women’s sports. The group’s efforts helped the U.S. win all but one Gold Medal in women’s swimming events at the 1920 Olympics. In 1925, the AAU expanded its offerings for women, adding track and field, fencing, volleyball, dodge ball, and basketball. The following year, the group held the first championship tournament for women’s basketball.

As the country’s needs changed, so did the AAU. In 1942, it introduced a program to promote all-around physical fitness, and in the 1990s and beyond, it started partnering with corporations to promote its message of health and fitness around the country.

About Ira Smolev:
As a college basketball player, Ira Smolev won All City honors and had the opportunity to play in three National Championship games. Mr. Smolev earned recognition as an All Star in the AAU League three years in a row.