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D > DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION > DECMATE II


Digital Equipment Corporation
DECMATE II

John Meola reports:
This machine came with a word-processing system called "WIPS". (I forget what the acronym meant.) I believe it was ROM-based, so there was no need for floppies to load the program. It loaded on power-up after POST. As I recall, when you turned it on, the machine would present the WIPS menu and you could either use it as a word processor or as a VT100 terminal. Obviously, this limited its functionality.

My cousin worked for Digital as a sales rep in Cleveland when this came out. Frankly, it was the best and easiest-to-use word processor of its day. Commands were printed on the keyboard and were executed by pressing the "Gold" key that you see on the keyboard and a letter. For instance, to center text, you would type the line and then press Gold-C. To change tab setting, you would access the rule by pressing Gold-R. The numeric keypad was not for numbers, but for moving around the document and editing.

Compare that, of course, to WordStar, which relied on a cryptic combination of CTRL characters for formatting, or WordPerfect which presented you with a high user-friendly (sarcasm here) blank screen.

Jim Jennis specifies:
I used one of these for many years. The Word Processor was WPS (prounounced "WIPS") and it stood for "Word Processing System". It was the basis for DEC's All-in-One product (a character based predecessor to MS-Office) which is still used today.





 
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