Tag Archives: ATM

IBM, IF It Has Any Sense, Would Resurrect ‘Grid Computing’ To Augment ‘Cloud Computing’.

gridibmstock

IBM’s latest stock price. From ‘marketwatch.com’. 52 week high was $176.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
>> IBM, Bob Dylan & Watson.

>> Donate Hursley House …
>> Get rid of unproductive R&D.
>> IBM’s 26% layoff is NOT enough.

>>
Punch-drunk IBM, 40% layoff.

>> “Think” sign — Aug. 28, 2014.
>> Hursley’s John Fairclough …
>> Mainframe 50th.
>> Gene Amdahl & I.
>> IBM Hursley pictures.
>> Malaysia flight 370: And ‘Poor’ IBM.

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Search on “Hursley”, “IBM” & “mainframes” for other IBM (Hursley) related posts … and also ‘Dylan’ >>>>


gridibm

IBM ‘RedBook’ on ‘Grid Computing’ from 2005. It is still on IBM’s Website. Click image to access (the PDF).


gridanu23424

Click to ENLARGE and read. First two pages of a book I started to write in 2004, with encouragement from IBM, on ‘Grid & Autonomic Computing’. I was glad I managed to find a copy on this PC after 11 years!


Cloud Computing‘, nebulous as it is, is the latest IT ‘very hip’, ‘ultra-cool’ buzzword — in the same league as some of those from the past, such as XML, ATM (for Asynchronous Transfer Mode), OSI and OS/2.

95% of those that glibly bandy the term ‘Cloud Computing’ have absolutely no idea what it means! It is the hip term to drop. ‘Cloud Computing’ is a the latest way to describe a decades old methodology, i.e., server-centric processing and storage. ‘Cloud Computing’ as such is NOT new, not by a long chalk.

‘Cloud Computing’, at IBM, is just the latest of a long list of futile, high burn projects that IBM never was able to capitalize on. Everybody else may have forgotten, BUT I still remember Nways. And I also remember SAA, Liza (no, no, not that one), NetView.

And then there was ‘Grid Computing‘. ‘Grid Computing’ makes sense and is more relevant TODAY than it has ever been.

Google and Amazon understand that and they have now stolen IBM’s march on ‘Grid Computing’ — though way back in 2002 – 2005, this was IBM’s bailywick.

‘Grid Computing’, see MY definition above, goes hand-in-hand with ‘Cloud Computing’. It is a way to make ‘Cloud’ more efficient and as such cost-effective.

IBM, if it had any sense, would resurrect its Grid initiatives. IF they can’t remember what they are they should give me a call.

Grid …

That is what can SAVE IBM.

Remember, in July, I already told you that IBM revenues would continue to decline. 


August 27 — The Important Anniversary In My Life, And This Year I Will Talk About ‘APL’.

ibmhursley

IBM Hursley per Google Maps. Cricket pitch & local pub highlighted.


.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail

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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:hursley_site_detail
>> IBM’s 1st ATM in the U.K.
>> Donate Hursley House To The National Trust.

>>Think” sign — Aug. 28, 2014.
>> Hursley’s John Fairclough
>> Mainframe 50th.
>> Gene Amdahl & I.
>> IBM Hursley pictures.
>> Malaysia flight 370: And ‘Poor’ IBM.

++++
Search on “Hursley”, “IBM” & “mainframes” for other IBM (Hursley) related posts >>>>


For the last few years I have been trying to ‘put a stake in the ground‘ every August 27th. It is an important anniversary in my life. I left Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), for what turned out to be for good (though I had no idea that it would be thus then), on Sunday, August 27, 1967. I was a week shy of my 14th birthday. I left on (what I think was a Pan Am) Boeing 707 from what was then ‘Katunayake Airport’ to Athens (Greece). It was my first trip outside of Asia.

Seven tumultuous years later, during which I lived (at least for 11 months at a time) in three different countries, viz. U.S.A. (Buffalo, NY), France (Paris) and the U.K. (London & Swansea), on Tuesday, August 27, 1974 I started working for IBM — at Hursley in the U.K. Well since my birthday is my birthday (though due to the hospital mix-up it could be +/- 2 days), I joined IBM a week shy of my 21st birthday. That it was the 27th, as I have talked about before, was CUTE and neat. I had NOT planned to start work — the VERY FIRST working day of my entire life (having never worked, for pay, in any capacity prior to that) — on a Tuesday. But, for the second year in a row I was spending my Summer in Bangkok, Thailand — and what Summer it was with the Vietnam war coming to an end ‘right there’! [That is another story.] I had sent a telegram to IBM saying that I planned to accept my job offer (from nearly 18 months previously) and start work on Monday, August 26, 1974. Got a neat telegram back saying basically that that was good, and that August 26th will be my official start day (in terms of salary) BUT since that Monday was ‘August Bank Holiday Monday’ would I please not come into work until Tuesday, August 27. That was how I started my working life. Getting paid for a day that I didn’t work — and spent most of the day watching cricket on TV. (Well, to be fair to IBM, IBM also paid for many days when I was not at work — though I was supposed to be — but was in Southampton watching Hampshire play! That is another story too. My work didn’t really suffer and that is all they cared about. Performance reviews were BIG in those days. I had 7 reviews in the 5 years I was at IBM. The reviews were graded from ‘1’ to ‘5’. ‘1’ basically said you walked on water and ‘5’ meant that you passed water when you realized that your review was done. Of the 7 reviews I got a ‘1’ in 5. So I guess the time I took off, without telling anybody, during the Summer, to watch LIVE cricket, really didn’t affect my performance. I did, ALWAYS, make up the time — albeit working late into the night (and as such getting overtime). What can I say.

Well last year, on August 27, I talked about John Fairclough who was the lab. director during my whole tenure at Hursley.

aplbook

Ken Iverson’s 1962 book, the TITLE of which begat the language …

This year let me talk about ‘APL’ — A Programming Language — the BRILLIANT coding system, for mathematicians, engineers and scientists, that was developed in the early 1960s by Ken Iverson. I can’t be 100% certain of this BUT I think I once ‘spoke’, obliquely (if I remember right), with Ken during my time at IBM. I will get to that in a second. Looking after APL was the first task I was given upon joining IBM (at Hursley) and going through about 10 days of orientation. I had been hired to work for the ‘System Support Group‘ (SSG). That it was called the ‘Swapping Society Group‘ had a lot to do with the 1970s and I will have to tell that story in a later post. So looking after APL meant that I was responsible for making sure that APL, which was an interpretive language, was readily available, 24×7, for all the hundreds of very clever engineers who used it for their work at Hursley — mainly for modeling engineering designs.

Though I was a programming language freak at the time — which is why IBM offered me a job during my 2nd year at University — and was proficient in about 5 languages, I did NOT know APL. Knowing APL was not a requirement per se. My job was to support the system — not write code. But I set out to learn APL and that was HUGELY rewarding and fun. I was never a master APL programmer (as I would be in Assembler, FORTRAN, PL/I, COBOL & PL/S) but I could get by — and most importantly those that used APL, in anger, at Hursley, knew that they could talk ‘APL’ to me and I would not be clueless.

I loved APL. It was so compact and terse. Not verbose like today’s programming languages. Much of it was done with SPECIAL mathematical symbols. Here are some examples of APL code. Neat … right?

aplexample1

***********

aplfragment2

So given all the special (Greek) symbols involved you needed a special APL keyboard to program in APL. 

aplkeyb
IBM’s APL interpreter, which was very clever, was also VISUAL. That meant that you could create symbols by OVERTYPING and the system would recognize what it was. Well, in 1974, we, at least in Hursley, did not have any electronic terminals — i.e., (3270-like) displays. We used selectric teletype terminals for interactive programming and system management. Yes, we also, in 1974, used punched cards and paper tape. Given the symbols you needed a bespoke APL Selectric Golfball for APL. IBM, of course, made and sold them. You just needed to order them IF you planned to use APL. I kept a whole drawer full of APL Golfballs as part of my job for those that came by asking for one. I would also carry one in my pocket. Carrying a Golfball in your pocket really gives meaning to the expression ‘playing pocket golf’.

aplgolfball

Selectric Golfball.

Well, soon after I joined Hursley we were tasked with implementing the new “APL Shared Variable”, APL SV, system. APL SV, like all of the IBM APL systems was developed in the ‘States’ — I think, at the time, in ‘Yorktown Heights’ in New York. SV was new and had some issues. There were a number of times I had to call the ‘States’ to report problems or ask for workarounds. My contact was Adin Falkoff, Ken’s collaborator and right hand man. Adin was very nice and always helpful. It was during one of these calls that I think Adin said “Ken says ‘Hi'”. Wow. [I always admired Adin’s last name.]

There was one printing problem in APL SV that had gone for over 6 months without a fix. The Hursley users were constantly bugging me about it. Though it wasn’t my job to FIX problems in APL SV — that being the prerogative of the ‘States’ — I decided to have a look. In those heady days ‘we’ — meaning anybody that worked for IBM — basically had ready access to the source code of more or less anything that IBM created. So I had the source code and I went digging. I found the problem. I fixed it. Even patched it locally on our system. Then I called up Adin and told him how to fix it. He was very pleased. BUT, not as pleased as my BOSS. He was ecstatic. It was funny. But in those days there was REAL competition between the ‘States’ and the non-U.S. labs. So now we had the situation that Hursley had fixed a bug that had foxed the ‘States’ for 6 months. This was why I could go off and watch cricket during the day and nobody complained! 

I miss APL. I keep on thinking about installing it on my PC.

Well that was 1974 to 1975, in Hursley, working for IBM when I wasn’t watching/playing cricket.


Unveiling Of IBM’s First ATM Machine In London (U.K.), mid-1970s — A STORY.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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.
.
.

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by Anura Guruge


Related Posts:hursley_site_detail
>> Donate Hursley House To The National Trust.
>> Get rid of unproductive R&D.
>> IBM’s 26% layoff is NOT enough.

>>
Punch-drunk IBM, 40% layoff.

>> “Think” sign — Aug. 28, 2014.
>> Hursley’s John Fairclough …
>> Mainframe 50th.
>> Gene Amdahl & I.
>> IBM Hursley pictures.
>> Malaysia flight 370: And ‘Poor’ IBM.

++++
Search on “Hursley”, “IBM” & “mainframes” for other IBM (Hursley) related posts >>>>


The story in the January 26, 2015 issue of the U.K. “Daily Mail”, that I talked about here, which memorialized IBM in terms of ‘floppy disks and the first modern ATM’, brought to mind this story. With the book in the works I had been too busy until now to get around to sharing it with you.

My business cards from the mid-1990s to about 2003 used to say: ‘analyst, author and raconteur’. The latter in the main was to embrace the fact that a major part of my then life was about relating stories — verbally and in writing. Doing standup seminars was a huge part of my life and I used to write even more than I do now!

I still think of myself as a raconteur though most of my storytelling is now restricted to my writings. But sharing stories, especially those with historic significance, is important to me — because I do NOT want them to disappear. So it has been very gratifying, especially this year, that my story about what happened in 1948 during Ceylon’s Independence Celebration has now received significant coverage in Sri Lanka. That is the point. I would have hated for that story to have died with me.

So, this story, is in the same spirit.


Unveiling Of IBM’s First ATM In London, mid-1970s,
The STORY.

Background
I heard this story, c. 1977, while working for IBM (U.K.) at Hursley. I can still remember the event, vividly, in my mind’s eye. It took place in the Hursley ‘Special Engineering’ lab (in the low-slung, single story, bunker like building in which all of Hursley’s ‘Special Engineering’ group was housed at the time). We were all gathered around, informally, around an 8100. There was about eight or nine of us from various projects. I think we were just taking a break. The story was told by a ‘Planner’ (IBM terminology at the time for what today would be a ‘Product Manager’). Hursley ‘Special Engineering’ would have, of course, played some role in the U.K. version of an ATM. IF nothing else the ATM, most likely an IBM 3614 or 3624, would have had to have been customized for ‘UK English’ and to handle UK Sterling currency. That would have been done by Hursley ‘Special Engineering’. So the Planner telling this story probably was involved with this ATM unveiling from the start. As with the Ceylon story I never tried to verify it — at the time. It was no big deal. We were a group of friends, chatting. Nobody was trying to score points. So the chances are that this story, like the Ceylon story, is true. It is even possible that the Planner had been there. Again, I never asked. I, alas, no longer remember his name (and folks know how bad I am with names). I can, however, visualize him.

I found this story online. The timeframe ADDS up. Again this was not the first ATM, first ATM in the U.K. or first ATM in London. It was IBM’s first ATM in London. Got that? OK.

3614_960x750

IBM 3614 — one of the first IBM ATMs.

The Story
The unveiling was a ‘big deal’. I think it was a Monday at the City. There was a Royal involved. It might not have been the Queen per se. It might have been Prince Philip, Princess Anne or a second-tier Royal such as Prince Michael of Kent. [IBM, at in those days, did NOT have trouble getting Royal patronage given their clout in the U.K.]

The ATM is installed in the lobby. On a wall, IBMers had been working on it all weekend to make sure it worked perfectly. But as was fairly normal they did all of the testing using ‘mock’ paper currency. The unveiling is close. The ATM is behind a curtain. There are cameras. Speeches are being made. An IBM engineer loads the machine, behind the curtain, with REAL money. It is now ready for action.

Lots of fanfare. The Royal is given an ATM card. IBM VIPs are at hand, at the Royal’s elbow, to offer instructions on how to use the machine.

The Royal inserts the card, types in a pin and enters a cash amount.

The machine ‘whirrs’ into action and suddenly everybody hears VERY CLEARLY the dreadful sound of paper being ripped. Nothing is coming out. Just this awful ripping sound from within the ATM.

The IBMers are looking at each other — mortified. Eventually they jump into action — like all good IBMers are expected to do. They escort the Royal backwards and draw back the curtain.

The engineers immediately open the side of the ATM and dive in.

To their horror, but also to their amusement, it is very obvious what had gone wrong.

The person loading the ATM with £5 notes, in his excitement and nervousness, had FORGOT to take off the rubber bands that held the notes together.

That was IT.

So per the story, and I am sure it is true, that was what happened at the unveiling of IBM’s first ATM in London, U.K.