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IBM History

Forgotten Voice

Prue King
Date Joined:
Date Left:
ATS Data Entry

Once I moved to system support I looked after the first data entry program ATS allowing programmers to input their work via a very noisy 2741 typewriter or later a primitive graphic screen (2703?). Programmers had the option of using Keypunch still but most soon moved over to using ATS. I was also asked to develop a program which produced Braille on the 1403 printer using a wide elastic band over the printer chain. Later I developed a program to plot the salaries of everyone at Hursley on a plotter. I had to produce every movement of the plotter including developing a typeface. It went quite well but occasionally went haywire. After a week I discovered that the Patent Agents based at Hursley were paid so much that they went over the top of my scale.

Going back to ATS ( Administrative Terminal System, later ATMS), it was used all over the site by programmers and secretaries alike. I was asked to write a Telex system which took the punched paper tape from the telex machine, loaded it on to ATS and sent it to the secretaries. This saved them from walking up to the Telex centre in the basement of Hursley House.

ATMS was a CICS program that took over from ATS. It was used by the publications department to create their manuals as well as by programmers and Secretaries. I was asked to demonstrate it to many customers including the 5 Nordic countries broadcasting service and the BBC world service. They even thought of putting parliaments Hansard onto it but I donít think that happened.

Over the years many programming aids were developed such as Z which I hated, structured programming which was brilliant and then going on to OO. I think it was OO which precipitated my early retirement! I learnt many programming languages including machine assembler for the 1401 and 360, autocoda (for the 1401), PLI, PLS, fortran, cobol etc.