How to schedule on MPE/iX using MPEX

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By Shawn M. Gordon

Inside VESOFT covers tips and techniques you can use with VESOFT’s products, especially MPEX. 

Some pretty sophisticated job scheduling abilities are inside MPEX/Streamx. They don’t get talked about often, but they are really very cool to use if you don’t already have a scheduler. Since this does rely on Streamx, it will be necessary for you to own Security/3000 for it to work. The SHOWJOB was enhanced to support this, a new command (SHOWSCHED) was added to give direct support, and a new parameter was added to STREAMX, ::SETSCHEDULE, that does some basic interfacing.

First let’s take a look at the SHOWJOB command below.:

Syntax:   %SHOWJOB [mpe showjob parameters]
                    [;[email protected]]
                    [;NOSEC]

Examples: %SHOWJOB [email protected]
           %SHOWJOB SCHED;NOSEC
           %SHOWJOB [email protected];*LP

%SHOWJOB

JOBNUM  STATE IPRI JIN  JLIST    INTRODUCED  JOB NAME

#S2     EXEC        20  20       WED  7:41A  SHAWN,MANAGER.SYS
#J3     EXEC        10R LP       WED  7:43A  BACKG,MANAGER.VESOFT
#S3     EXEC         2  2        WED  8:05A  SHAWN,MGR.SMGA
3 JOBS:
     0 INTRO
     0 WAIT; INCL 0 DEFERRED
     3 EXEC; INCL 2 SESSIONS
     0 SUSP
JOBFENCE= 6; JLIMIT= 2; SLIMIT= 40

JOBNUM  STATE R SCHED-CONDITION  SCHEDULED-INTRO   JOB NAME

#A1     SCHED +                   SMTWRFA  0:10    FYIMAIL8,MGR.SMGA
#A2     SCHED +                   -MTWRF-  0:15    DAILY,MANAGER.SYS
#A3     SCHED +                   S-----A  0:35    DISCLEAN,MANAGER.SYS
#A4     SCHED +                   -MTWRF-  1:30    BACKUP,MANAGER.SYS
#A5     SCHED + WHENEVER BETWEEN(HPDAY,2,6) AND...  DBTREND2,MANAGER.SYS

#A6     SCHED + WHENEVER (HPDATE=1)                REPORT,MANAGER.SYS
#A7     SCHED                FRI  9/16/94 10:00    TESTSCHD,MANAGER.SYS

7 STREAMX SCHEDULED JOBS.

The MPE :SHOWJOB command has been enhanced to display STREAMX scheduling information as well as MPE :SHOWJOB information. When appropriate, STREAMX scheduling information is automatically displayed after the status section of the MPE :SHOWJOB command. In addition, VESOFT has created a new %SHOWJOB userset of @A to represent all STREAMX scheduled jobs.

The SCHED-CONDITION/SCHEDULED-INTRO columns display different information depending upon whether or not the job repeats on specific days, is scheduled to submit on a particular day and time or if the job should be launched when a particular condition occurs. Repeating jobs are indicated by a “+” character after the word “SCHED”. For jobs that are scheduled for a particular day and time, that information is displayed much the same as MPE scheduled jobs. For conditional jobs, as much of the condition that can be displayed on one line will be printed, followed by “...” if the conditional expression is longer.

This is essentially the same format as the %SHOWJOB command, and shows the same information as the %SEC SHOWSCHED command. %SEC SHOWSCHED, however, will display the entire condition under which a job will be submitted, as you can see here:

Last -Days-
                                        #A Job Name Submitted By Job
# SMTWRFA-Time-

                                        6 REPORT,MANAGER.SYS
SMG,MANAGER.SYS J1032
                                        WHENEVER (HPDATE=1)
                                        CHECKEVERY DAY

Since the default is to display both jobs and sessions, simply typing %SHOWJOB alone will display MPE jobs and sessions, MPE scheduled jobs, the MPE status block, and STREAMX scheduled jobs in that order. To display only STREAMX scheduling information, type %SHOWJOB [email protected] To suppress STREAMX scheduling information, include ;NOSEC as part of the command.

With the ::SETSCHEDULE command, the job stream can specify its own scheduling parameters, e.g.

!JOB DELSPOOL,MANAGER.SYS; OUTCLASS=,1
::SETSCHEDULE AT=02:00
or
::SETSCHEDULE AT=?When would you like to schedule this job for?

What follows the ::SETSCHEDULE must be the :STREAM command scheduling parameters, exactly as they’d be specified after the “;” in the :STREAM command (e.g. “::SETSCHEDULE AT=02:00;DAY=MONDAY”).

Note that if the user explicitly specifies scheduling parameters when he runs STREAMX (e.g. in the STREAMX UDC), those parameters will be used and any ::SETSCHEDULE command in the file will be ignored. This lets a user override the ::SETSCHEDULE settings in the file.

Also note that if you specify several ::SETSCHEDULE commands in one job stream, the FIRST one will take precedence. It’s important to note that the new parameters can be specified at submission or with the ::SETSCHEDULE. So the STREAM command through STREAMX now supports the following syntax:

:STREAM filename
[;REPEAT= [DAILY|WEEKDAYS|day of week[, ...] ] [;WHENEVER=
condition]
[;WHEN= condition]
[;CHECKEVERY= minutes| DAILY ]
[;MPE SCHED PARMS]

It’s the “condition” that is so flexible in this new format. Check out some of these examples:

• ...stream a job at a scheduled time each day:
:STREAM MAINJOB ;REPEAT=DAILY ;AT=01:00
• ...stream a job several times each day (once each hour):
:STREAM XPMAIL.MAILJOB.SYS;&WHENEVER=
(BETWEEN(HPHOUR,6,17) and (HPMINUTE=0))
• ...stream a job once a month:
:STREAM REPORT.JOB.SYS;WHENEVER=(hpdate=1);
CHECKEVERY=DAILY
• ...stream a job if another job fails (aborts):
:STREAM RECOVER.JOB.SYS;
WHEN=JSCOUNT(‘POST,MGR.PAYROLL’)=0

The hard part really is just in making sure that your syntax and parameters are exactly what you want. Some trickier stuff you might try to do would be when you want to stream job A when job C finishes with no errors, but stream job B if it fails for some reason. All of this can be done, it just takes a little think time.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels


3000 sites miss progressive tactics, then vendors

Puzzle pieces with hands
The word progressive is on the rise again in our vocabulary. The term rose at first in the turn of the 20th Century, when it signified something that envisioned a better future. In some cases, those progressive tactics were aimed at reforms. You might compare reforms to removing old, buggy versions of compilers to replace them with newer, more capable ones. If you go back far enough, people running HP 3000s were replacing FORTRAN 66 with FORTRAN 77, or replacing MPE written in SPL with MPE/iX in Modcal.

Then there's the progressive tactic of devising something new to meet a need where no solution is in place, old or otherwise. Progressives in the first decade of the 20th created the US Food and Drug Administration. Today, 114 years later, the FDA will be gatekeepers to our survival in the US. All COVID-19 vaccines pass through the FDA.

The HP 3000 equivalent of such a progressive tactic might be MPE/iX source code licenses. Nobody knew why the market would need access to the innermost code for the 3000's OS. Then the HP business changed, dropping 3000 future development. The hit on the market meant more internal designs had to become external tools. Independent support companies, as well as some well-schooled utility vendors, earned the right to read trade-secret code for MPE/iX.

While there's very little need today for that sweeping kind of progressive behavior for an HP 3000 customer, the other kind of forward-looking progressive plans have become too short in supply. Running an HP 3000 in a production environment with mission-critical duties isn't an automatic trigger for support anymore. This isn't true in every production case, but the decline of this progressive investment outlook is costing the community, even while it saves some dollars in operating expenses.

One notable loss is that our most stalwart sponsor, Pivital Solutions, is shifting its resources away from the HP 3000 starting in January. Other support companies have already sidetracked or ended their offerings. Pivital held on longer than nearly all of 3000 expert companies. It remains well-stocked with know-how, not to mention one of those rare MPE/iX source licenses. Source solves problems HP did not anticipate. But the growth of its 3000 customers stopped several years ago, president Steve Suraci reports.

"We will continue to honor our obligations to support our remaining base through 2027," he told me this week, "but we can no longer limit ourselves by our 3000 tethers." 

The situation may be different at other companies, but my experience and reports show that eliminating 3000-related budgets is everywhere. "The sites that remain are no longer looking to be progressive," Suraci says. "The vast majority of the remaining customers still use the 3000 for mission-critical functions, but they no longer invest in the platform. They make no pretense when it comes to budgets."

Suraci and his company have been ardent supporters of the 3000's mission ever since the company entered the market almost 30 years ago. At first, there was its work in the GrowthPower ERP market. GrowthPower was an MRP II system with integrated financials that ran exclusively on the HP 3000. There was, at one time, over 1,000 customers for GrowthPower.

About a decade later, Pivital joined the ranks of vendors who sold new HP 3000s as an authorized reseller. This promised to open the doors to sales to even more 3000 use that went beyond MRP. Less than a year after Pivital joined HP's reseller lineup, though, Hewlett-Packard canceled its future development for the 3000.

Pivital was being progressive about its role in the 3000 market. HP didn't reward anyone who stepped out like that, especially so in the case of Pivital. The company was the last one joining the reseller ranks. It didn't rattle Suraci and his team much. They stood their ground on support and remained exclusive to the HP 3000. Many support companies try to maintain a wider range of expertise. Sometimes that means the knowledge base isn't as deep.

It's better for the customer that we specialize, he told me more once. He also reminded the market that its support vendors need to have parts in a depot, rather than shopping for a replacement at the last minute.

"Customers are all too willing to risk their support on a pipe dream that a capable closet technician will show up at a moment's notice, with no service level agreement or parts inventory to support them," Suraci says. There are plenty of parts in the market — but having specifically what a customer needs within a four-hour response time means that the right way to support a site is with a depot.

HP abandoned its 3000 base almost two decades ago, "but we embraced the remnants," he said. "Initially, it was a great match. There was still a progressive base, and we were a willing partner capable of helping them reach their initiatives. "

Over time, he says, things changed. Suraci is unique among support firm presidents. For many years now, he's advised his customers to move onto a computing solution that's supported by a vendor or a marketplace. Something other than an HP 3000 and MPE/iX, to be precise. "For all the right reasons," he says, "the base dwindled as users migrated to more current technologies."

It might have happened more gradually without that vanishing progressive strategy. A site committed to a support budget, with some designs on refreshing architecture where they can, will still be able to rely on the HP 3000 for a good long while. There are seven more full years of MPE/iX use before the 2028 date decision looms. There are even solutions announced or in development to clear that hurdle.

What's not been done, however, is the adoption and practice of supporting every mission-critical 3000. That would include the archival systems holding key data, the kind that regulators demand. Since the progressive tactics have faded, these plans are sending 3000 vendors into new directions. Good vendors like Pivital are curtailing their connections. Supporting your vendor is good for your future.


Legacy systems remain ramparts of IT

Notre dame architecture
Earlier this month, a long-time 3000 migration firm pointed to an IEEE article about legacy IT investments. Inside the Hidden World of Legacy IT Systems quotes a study by Statista that reports that three-quarters of all IT spending since 2010 goes toward operating and maintaining existing systems. The numbers throughout the IEEE article tell a story that's familiar to legacy managers like those who maintain HP 3000s. $2.5 trillion, out of a total IT spend of $35 trillion, has gone to trying to replace legacy systems. Nearly a third of that has been spent on failed efforts.

Fresche Solutions' co-founder Jennifer Fisher pointed at the legacy link. The company was once called Speedware, selling development tools and experience with legacy systems. By today, the company's got 22,000 customers, many in what 3000 managers would call the AS/400 space, and it sells X-Analysis, onboarding software that delivers reports on what's inside a legacy installation's many software modules.

Christine McDowell, VP of marketing at Fresche, says that legacy systems got themselves into a jam because they've run so effectively up to now. "The systems ran so well that they didn't change a lot," she says. "Time has caught up with them." Older languages, such as RPG in the IBM Series i space that's the modern name for AS/400, are providing a lot of the pain for legacy refreshes.

The company is still managing HP 3000 resources, along with Series i systems, as part of its solutions. There's no more growth in the Series i market than in the HP 3000 space: "We don't see net new IBM i," McDowell says. The growth has been negative in the HP 3000 world. Legacy is holding its own overall, but some platforms are more fixed in place than others.

Many legacy systems, though, share one common element that makes them continued ramparts. "The need for an integrated system is just as great as before," McDowell says. As one of the original group of HP 3000 Migration Partners in 2002, Speedware sold its customers on the advantage of having 100 percent referenceable projects. The Fresche customer base today is many times the size of Speedware's. "It's always been a part of our DNA to strive for 100 percent referenceability," McDowell says. "I never say 100 percent now, because I haven't talked to every customer."

Legacy is surviving in large measure because companies are facing what's called the succession problem. "It's the reality of the people who built and managed these systems," McDowell says. "There was often no succession plan."

To keep the legacy technology relevant, it's got to be modernized. Not everyone needs every aspect of modernization. For the a la carte shoppers, a subscription service can now take the place of capital expenses. IBM's Series i market is distinctive because it still enjoys the support of its creator. More than two thousand business partners and vendors still sell into that market. It's a multi-OS chip ecosystem, supporting a Unix variant, the AS400 environment, as well as mainframe-style systems.

There's proof that the HP 3000 remains in use as a legacy solution, McDowell says. Dun and Bradstreet Asset Reports still show a large number of companies reporting 3000s in service. "Companies still get value from these systems," she says. "They just need to figure out which pieces they will leverage." 

 


Giving gratitude for 3000s and survival

Thanksgiving-1680142_1920
This holiday weekend, many of us can give thanks for surviving a year unlike any other. A pandemic is one way to learn how deep your fortitude can go. It was easier to love a business computer that was still being manufactured and sold. Even if the sales were disappointing and irregular, newer systems were still going into the world.

In love, we find out who we want to be. In war, we find out who we are. This has been a year of war for health, and it brings us close to two decades of battle to keep resources at hand for 3000s.

By this weekend, the only systems headed into the world running MPE are the new releases of the Stromasys Charon emulator and some experimental installs of a Classic 3000 emulator. The latter SIMH software runs MPE V and it has devoted hobbyists around it. That emulator is not a production asset. The one from Stromasys is proven.

On a holiday invented to promote thanks as well as outsized eating, Thanksgiving reminds us of what a 3000 user can thank the gods for — and something to envy, too.

Prolific commenter Tim O'Neill has asked, "Can you write about the current futures of other no-longer-supported systems such as HP 1000, Alpha, and old HP 9000s?"

We can write some of that. The HP 1000, a product line that HP turned off just after Y2K, still has third parties who will maintain and support RTE operating system applications. The HP 1000 got a proper emulator from Strobe Data, engineered just in time to capture the business of companies who couldn't part with RTE apps.

A similar story is true of the AlphaServer line from HP. Killed off in the last decade, Alpha is a third-party supported product. No other Alpha computers were built after HP shunted Alpha users to the Integrity line, a migration path of now-dubious future. Alpha has a good emulator in the AXP version of Charon from Stromasys. The presence of Charon also prompts thanks from companies who can't support the concept of 17-year-old HP hardware running MPE/iX.

But while the Alpha and the 3000 live on in the virtualization of Stromasys, both communities can be envious of the deal another retiring environment received from HP. OpenVMS lives on in an exclusive license to VMS Software Inc. The company got a 2013 arrangement to carry OpenVMS forward with new versions using the HP source code for the operating system.

OpenVMS futures have some tantalizing what-if's, both for the OS as well as for the 3000 users who wanted more MPE/iX future from HP back in 2002. OpenMPE campaigned for use of HP's source code for MPE and got an arrangement that was announced 13 years ago this week. That source was limited to a technical support resource, however.

If, as happened with OpenVMS, that source had been promised to a single third party, six years before HP would drop support like it was for OpenVMS, there could be more to be thankful for by now. Extensions of some third-party applications. Support for newer technologies. A replacement OS vendor, blessed by HP, to mention in boardroom meetings about the 3000's future.

Perhaps OpenVMS customers should be thankful for something else, too: lessons HP faced about ending the life of a business operating environment, delivered from the OS that had brought HP to the computing game. Third parties who love and care for a legacy computer were at the ready for the 3000. They fell short of convincing Hewlett-Packard to turn over a marketplace. It seems HP learned that leaving customers with no better choice than replacing a 3000 with Windows was not business that anybody feels thankful for.


Application portfolio work helps with moving

Moving van

Using the analogy of moving out of a house, an MB Foster Webinar shows how application portfolios can tell a company when it's sensible to move apps. Sometimes it's off the 3000 altogether, and then it triggers retirement. Migrations can lead that way. At Boeing, as well as TE Connectivity, retiring a 3000 app led to retiring longtime staff. It's better to have a plan of succession than no plan at all. Everyone's got to prepare for change, even if the preparation is just where to set up the man cave in the house.

It's possible to see a portfolio as the same kind of tool for IT that it is for personal finance. With the stock market roaring at present, more than a few 3000 experts are looking at cashing in to wrap up long careers. Deciding which portfolio elements to convert and migrate to no-risk instruments aids in the changes. MB Foster has made its bones mitigating risk. It's one of the original HP Migration Partner firms.

A classic four-quadrant chart outlines the scoring of applications. One axis shows a business fit, the other a technical fit. Nobody wants an application in the bottom left, low in both aspects. A business decision should drive most of the changes in IT. Score the business fit of applications in a portfolio first, Foster says. If it scores well there, go on to the technical fit.

The portfolio is the tool of governance, he added. Governing often ensures the neediest get resources as required. Application Portfolio Management is only possible if a company knows its applications very well. Very well requires documentation that can be shared over time. The assets in a portfolio can be judged to be worthy of migration based on their risk-benefit-value. What helps a company most, and what could you least afford to let fall into that inevitable lower-left box? Quadrant
It's usually a low number of apps that can fall off that chart completely, ready for retirement. The largest group is often suited for same-capability migrations when they creep downward. That 70 percent of the apps can get a lift-and-shift of their functionality, usually through replacement.

Working in advance makes it less painful and swifter. "It's like moving out of a house," Foster says. "If you go through your closets regularly, you'll be moving less of what you don't need." In this analogy, the closets are your data, which "has to be made available to the new app. It's not automatic."

When deciding whether to re-host (lifting code to another computer) or replace, the full range of software assets is inventoried. The real answer about what needs to be moved, and in what priority, comes from asking about the whole portfolio. While that study's going on, there are those closets to be cleaned. Few people do such cleaning, VEsoft's Vladimir Volokh says.

"They see a list of 100,000 files and do not want to scrap any of them," he said. "So they move everything to the new system." A tool like Vesoft's MPEX assists by managing those files. That's work that can take place even before a transition is underway. There's no such thing as Data Portfolio Management, but the governance of data is one way to practice for the informed choices of application governance.

Retiring applications is part of a succession plan. The aging of the HP 3000 workforce is upon us. Today when people refer to senior staff, they're also thinking senior citizens. Setting up an application two decades ago, or four, gave companies a durable asset. In time, the moment arrives for change. It can be transformation or elimination. When to set up an application portfolio? When assets degrade through declining business fit, agility, and maintainability.

Photo by HiveBoxx on Unsplash


HP Enterprise reclaims 3000 manual library

HPE Documentation interface for support

HP 3000 and MPE/iX manuals might be found anywhere these days. It's a common request to hear from a 3000 pro, "Where can I find that manual?

HP is back in this business with a new interface. These webpages at HPE's website are a high-value address to locate documentation and make it available to a new 3000 administrator. Or a migration team trying to understand how something like TurboStore/iX works.

There's no guarantee of how long HP Enterprise will keep this library open. Get it while you can.


One OpenMPE legacy: Deep data on 3000 hardware's power

OpenMPE logo
It was easy to complain about OpenMPE's unmet hopes and dreams. HP never gave the small collective of ardent MPE veterans a chance to change things top to bottom. Hemmed in by non-negotaible NDAs, and sequestered to the corral where smaller customers live, OpenMPE didn't do what everybody wanted. Good-hearted and high-minded people came to the board and left, sometimes dismayed.

However, OpenMPE became a harbor for the schooners of 3000 capability. The OpenMPE website recently came under the curation of Keven Miller at 3k Ranger. He's rehosted and returned many of the assets of information OpenMPE created.

For example, there's a great grid showing the relative performance of HP 3000 hardware. Why might anybody need this in 2020? We live in a world where reusing assets is more possible than ever. These MPE systems remain for sale at hardware brokerages. the 3000-L newsgroup doesn't get many new messages these days. One regular post, though, comes from Jesse Dougherty. Systems like A-Class, N-Class, and even 9x9s remain for sale.

Comparing these is a lot easier with a performance chart. So 3k Ranger helps out, forwarding the research collected by OpenMPE. Knocking at the web address of "openmpe.com" doesn't deliver an answer anymore. The work remains at another address, still serving a purpose more than nine years after OpenMPE disbanded.

The aims of OpenMPE were high. At one point in 2009, the group was in line for a source code license. Even 11 years ago, the phrase succession planning was in the lexicon of 3000 owners. Succession was a part of MPE's future, since it's a long-serving asset.

 


Damages and desires got stamped from HP's decision

EFORMz flyer

Paper, printed with barcodes or mailed, still plays a role.

Nineteen years ago, Hewlett-Packard rocked the 3000 world with a fateful announcement. "No more new 3000s," the creator of the system said. "December of 2006 marks the end of HP's MPE road. Your ecosystem has been shrinking for some time." And so on.

How bad was that decision, really, in the long view from 2020? It killed companies, cratered careers, made vendors vanish. The world's landfills and scrapyards gathered tons of aging 3000 iron, over the next decade and beyond. What good came of it might be measured in how companies and experts rebuilt their prospects and skill levels.

Not many injured parties fell immediately from a mortal wound. Like COVID, though, the news attacked those whose careers or business models were already vulnerable. I was tempted, in the years that followed, to compare the HP choice as another kind of 9/11. I didn't go there, and I won't try to equate that business decision with a pandemic that's killed close to 1.5 million people worldwide.

The pain of a loss, though, isn't so easily defined. For some people and companies, November 14 was the wildfire that cleared out the old forest floor to make way for new trees. Minisoft was roaring along with its terminal emulator and middleware business. Its founder Doug Greenup summed up the firestorm and the aftermath eloquently.

"At first our business was not really affected," he says. "In fact, our sales actually trended up slightly with upgrades. We were faced with a critical decision to either let our company fade slowly away with the declining MPE business, or reinvent ourselves. I remember that 90 percent of our total business at the time was MPE."

"We decided to take Minisoft in a radical new direction going back to our old word processing days. We originally produced a product called Miniword which competed with HPWord and TDP on the HP 3000. Based on our long lost past, we created a document management suite written in Java that was operating system agnostic. We then marketed this software suite into several new non-HP worlds: QAD, RedPrairie, Manhattan, STW, and Microsoft Dynamics."

"It was very difficult to reinvent, and it took several difficult years," Greenup wrote to us on the 10-year anniversary of the announcement. "HP's decision almost killed our company. But we survived and are stronger as a result."

A few weeks ago, Minisoft dropped a marketing flyer, full color and tri-folded, into my mailbox at the curb. The flyer updated me on eFORMz, its solution for printed forms. It emerged in the years after 2001. Minisoft says, "The world's great brands run on eFORMZ" with a list: Petco, Tiffany, Office Depot, Adidas, Victoria's Secret, Mrs. Fields. The lineup reminded me of the Who's Who list that Ecometry boasted during the year of that 2001 HP announcement. Known brands, the Ecometry sites, all using the HP 3000.

eFORMz doesn't require a 3000. If a company has one, the software integrates effortlessly. The non-HP worlds began to open up as opportunities for Minisoft after Nov. 14. The fact that a printed flyer could promote software in 2020 is a tip of the cap to the continuing power of paper. When the HP news of 2001 arrived at the NewsWire, we were as deeply invested in paper as a little business could be.

Like Minisoft, paper lined my path away from the loss. Books, to be specific, paper that's more durable than periodicals.

I think of books as the HP 3000 of communication. Steady, knowing, rich with data that becomes knowledge and then wisdom. I had to write my way out of the trouble. The Web, as we called it in 2001, became the bridge.

It's been 19 years since HP canceled its future for the 3000 and changed ours. Our lives stopped building on the success of periodical editing and publishing. We still did our 3000 storytelling, of course, and I keep doing it. But every Friday now, for six of them in a row, I write a little newsletter about writing and editing, instead of coding or managing an enterprise system. In the work of becoming a book editor, and the author of a novel and a memoir, I’m not a reporter any longer, not about the book work. I’m an author, as well as an editor and evaluator of other authors.

And Abby? Whoa — a yoga teacher who's produced three DVDs and is now in her 15th year of leading classes. Now people can attend her classes over Zoom. Students come from around the country, where they once had to show up at our address, or live in Austin for private sessions. People who don't think they might do yoga can practice Heavyweight Yoga. Thirteen retreats, too. A Fitness Magazine Fit 50 member, alongside notables like TV anchor Robin Roberts. Obesity Action Coalition's Bias Buster of the Year.

Could I see the way to this day if HP hadn’t ever stopped its 3000 business? Would our tribe instead be like the OpenVMS people who still have vendors and customers, but the latter isn’t spending much anymore, and so the former doesn't have money for ads? That all began in 2013 for VMS, when HP announced the end of its unlimited service to the Digital community. My new cattle drive toward books would’ve started 12 years later than it did. I’d have been 56, just beginning my journey. In that future, we might've had more in our retirement account. Or, we might have looted it for experiences, as we did through the years. What trip, Abby always asks, would you have not gone on?

I can think of a few, but they all promised to be delightful in the cozy run-up to each experience. Were there some lemon meringue pie slices we could have left in the San Antonio Tip Top diner’s cold case? To be sure, there were. How could we know which ones we didn’t need as comfort food for the soul, though?

There are, of course, other ways to measure how things worked out because HP lost its faith. We bet on a business that we didn’t think would last so long. You would've had to ask us on a really honest day in 1996, say, to hear me say this venture had about five good years in it. The unfettered, blue-sky time amounted to six years or so. The next 19 after 2001 have had some seasons better than others. You won't mistake technical publishing for the creative compensations of books and yoga. The satisfactions, though, are a different element to measure.

Many an MPE expert made this kind of transformation. John Burke became a mathematics professor. Some just branched out further, like Birket Foster and his Storm rural internet service company. He's still serving 3000 sites with data migration, too. Fresche Solutions waded into the IBM i Series market and held on to its 3000 work that'd begun while the company was called Speedware.

It’s an alternative history game, this one. However, it’s also a commemoration report. What did we do for Christmas in 2001, versus Christmas of 2000? I always mark what we are spending with the high water mark of the holidays. That was a time that always included the Dec. 31 birthday of my boy, the rock star who was proof I could create something warm and attractive and funny and smart. Amid my obvious failures, Nick is my durable success. And my marriage to a partner both special and true.

We got the Nov. 14 news a few days ahead of the vast majority of our customers. Some of the bigger vendors knew about it days or weeks ahead of us. I've written about hearing about the 3000's end of HP days while holding a payphone receiver with a cord on it. Fitting, considering how classic the 3000 was then and remains today. Wherever Nick and I were headed in Switzerland that night, we kept our appointment. A train station with a payphone on the platform led me to this New Tomorrow. We're all headed there by now because of COVID. Survival is going to be the outcome for so many of us, just as it was after 2001. 


HP pays $1.45 million to settle female pay charges

Hundred dollar bills
Served from a deep cup of irony comes the report that HP, both Enterprise and PC-printer arms, will be paying $1.45 million in a penalty for illegal treatment of its female employees.

The US Department of Labor levied the fine, which will cover back pay for 391 California women who suffered "systematic pay discrimination" while employed at HP.

The irony bubbles up because HP's two longest-serving CEOs this decade were Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. The fine includes interest, to be paid to the affected female workers.

Under the settlement, in addition to the settlement payment, the two arms of HP agreed to analyze compensation and take steps to ensure their employment practices follow US law. That accounting will include record-keeping and internal auditing, all to ensure HP's compensation practices are legal.

A Labor Department news release says HP has cooperated. But the arm that sells servers that replaced HP 3000s, Enterprise, says it disagrees with the allegations.

HPE has "settled in the interest of putting this matter behind us.” This enterprise HP, whose HQ address is now San Jose rather than Palo Alto, says it is “committed to unconditional inclusion, including pay equity regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation.”

The other HP, headquartered in Palo Alto, says "the charges in this case are without merit. We felt it was in the best interests of all involved to resolve this matter as quickly as possible through a voluntary settlement agreement. HP does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

The Hewlett-Packard that developed the HP 3000 might not have hired as many women as the newer HP arms. However, the classic HP never was investigated by the US government about hiring misdeeds.

The Labor Department alleges that through routine checks for compliance with employment laws, it found “disparities in compensation between male and female employees working in similar positions.” HP offices in San Diego and Boise, Idaho — the latter where HP board kingpin Dick Hackborn headquartered himself throughout the 2000s — as well as HPE offices in Houston and Fort Collins were the sites where illegal compensation was discovered.


How a 3000 news blackout helped preserve owners

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I’m writing to you from a blackout. It’s a willful one, because I’m staying clear of the election vote totals until later today. It’s too soon to tell what the results might mean to people like me, hoping for change, or at least trying to hold back the chaos.

HP 3000 owners were in blackouts back at the start of this century, the last era we had a contested election. It wasn’t all that rare to hear about somebody just learning, quite late, about the November 2001 HP decision on the 3000. A few years later, even into 2005, a vendor would tell me they’d run into another site where time had stopped at the early-2001 marker.

They were so isolated we might have called them willful in their blackouts. They self-maintained, so the greatest source of news, from people like any indie support company on first response, was outside their view. These blackout customers had long ago left HP in all but spirit, buying hardware from the used market. The newer stuff would’ve returned their investment faster, considering parts and repair time they’d spend on their own. They shopped as if it was the Depression and they were strapped for cash.

Their software vendors hadn’t heard from them in a long time. Not because the support from the vendors had lapsed, although it often hadn’t been renewed. When you buy support as if it’s insurance you never use, not much changes in the viewfinder.

While I didn’t expect this blackout to last as long as it did, the lack of death march music helped preserve all of us in the 3000 world longer, so we could grow stronger. I stood on the train platform in Switzerland with a phone in my hand on the 2001 night when Abby told me what HP was about to do. “Don’t worry quite so much,” I said in the dark. “Lots of people are going nowhere soon.”

I then applied the term "homesteader" to those who would choose to push back migration. Eventually HP adopted the term, because their customers started using that. Once in awhile, something from the press sheds a new light on a decision.

There was a virtual blackout, too. Those who knew that HP’s tastes for MPE had run dry didn’t think that would alter their career or their company. HP said most would be migrated in five years. It was more like 10. At the end of that blackout run, lawyers might have become involved. Companies needed valid support contracts from HP, some of them. I guess leaning on lawyers at the end, and then judges, is the endgame for lots of important decisions and turning points.

In a few hours, I’ll wire back in and see what has happened in the election. So far, anyway — it's easy to believe this one will have a long road to settlement. Things will change a lot less than we think, no matter what the courts give us later on. Come to think of it, for quite awhile, 3000 things changed a lot less than Abby thought.

Customers didn't get a vote in that 2001 decision. Democracy promises everyone's voice will be heard. Capitalism and commerce doesn't operate by democracy, though. We'll see if we can manage our government any better than HP handled its 3000 endgame.