June 10, 2019

Being there now, right where we expect him

Birket-Chamber
Where Are They Now
?

Fifteen years ago, Birket Foster had an opening line for a history of the 3000 world. "It was a marketplace of names." Birket's is one of a group of well-known first-only names, along with Alfredo and Vladimir and Eugene. Earlier this spring he commemorated 42 years in the market. Every one has included a week of business serving HP's business server community.

In a few days he'll be doing what he's done, and in the same places, as he's done for years. There's a webinar that covers the promises and practices of application modernization and synchronization. Systems that look and behave like they're old are made new again. You can register for the June 12 event, to be held at 2 PM Eastern.

Right at the heart of the MB Foster business, though, pulses UDACentral. "We have completed its shakedown cruise at the Government of Canada in a BCIP program, and of course are moving another group of databases for customers that contract MBFoster to do the work using UDACentral."

Moving and managing data has always been at the center of MB Foster's competency. "We have been adding databases to the mix: Aurora (for AWS) and MongoDB are now part of what we are serving. We even did a paid Proof of Concept for UDASynch taking MongoDB back to Oracle."

The company's core team has been steady, but what's ahead is pushing UDACentral's wide array of improvements "to change them from a project to a product. That process will need additional sales talent and trainers, as well as more support and programming talent, so my hobby is expanding again." That's a hobby of assembling resources for new ideas.

In the meantime there is family life for Birket, the pleasures of two daughters and a son already old enough to be expanding and embracing lives in medicine and business, as well as building families of their own. Fishing the Ottawa River's massive muskies remains a passion, one he's pursuing this summer with HP 3000 tech guru Mark Ranft. Birket often has a hook in the water.

Posted by Ron Seybold at 08:40 PM in Homesteading, News Outta HP, Newsmakers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pivital Solutions: Your complete
HP 3000 resource

May 29, 2019

Wayback: HP's piggy ain't coming back, Dad

Elephants
More than 15 years ago, 3000 customers were searching for a undo. HP had recently announced the end of its road delivering and supporting the MPE/iX server. At one point after another, the customers raised hopes that this decision was a mistake HP would roll back. The reality of the finality took a while to seep in after it had stained the community.

I'm reminded of that plea for a redo after reading about email services and elephants. Ringling Bros. cut off the dates for its circus two years ago this month. Loud outcry about the lives of elephants unmanned the circus, in part because the gentle giants were so iconic to the big top experience. This month a documentary, produced by the circus, told the story of the final performance on Long Island.

A New York Times article about the last circus show for Ringling included a comment about a return to the ring. One middle aged fan said, "If it's gone for good... well, I don't want to know about that." Similar words were spoken about Hewlett-Packard's 3000 support, development, and hardware.

A tech story with a lot less heart just emerged about an undo, too. Mailchimp, which delivers plenty of email newsletters you've subscribed to and maybe forgotten, is scuttling its popular pricing in favor of a more monetarily rewarding scheme. Users of the service went into immediate outrage. It sounded a lot like what 3000 customers did in 2002, 2003, and so on, until it became plain there was no HP tomorrow for your server and its OS.

Like the 3000 folks I know well, I had to make changes to my book author outpost and my writer coaching-editing business. I was luckier than my 3000 readers. Something newer that did all I needed to stay in touch with customers was right before my eyes. In a bit of irony, I discovered my migration target through a newsletter about publishing tactics — an email delivered without Mailchimp.

The 3000 community was on the lookout for every instance where HP could relent and return MPE/iX to the vendor's futures. In one memorable wish, the change in CEO leaders for the company from Carly Fiorina to Mark Hurd led the rise in hope. Fiorina, after all, was leading HP when the company chose to cut off its 3000 prospects and customers. The HP-Compaq merger was a spark that lit the firey exit. Fiorina was said to have commanded about every HP product, "If it's not growing, it's going."

Foolish business sense for any company with customers who'd been loyal for nearly 30 years. Mistakes are often made in the computer industry. The howls of outcry become pleas and then fantasy before long. Well, it took eight years, and in some quarters a fever dream of a 3000 return has not died.

Piggy's gone
And the headline above? Another icon, The Simpsons, includes an episode where Homer's suckling BBQ pig is hurled away from his feast. Vegetarian Lisa, as intent as any HP top manager of 2001, engages her rage and pushes the grill on its wheels downhill, where it careens out onto the street, and then into the river and then sails out of a hole in the dam. It's a hilarious metaphor for customers' last-ditch hopes of getting HP to retain its legacy. Homer says while chasing after it, "It's just a little dirty. It's alright, it's alright."

As if a customer's pain and loss can ever be funny. Bart replies, "Piggy ain't coming back, Dad."

The elephants are resting in retirement in Florida. Mailchimp's subscribers are settling on the free and simple MailerLite. And those 3000 users — well, they're doing fine with the support of independent system experts, or the virtualized hardware of Charon in some places. More every month, it seems. The 3000's not gone. Piggy, that fattened beast of grow-or-else thinking at HP, isn't coming back to your market, dad.

Posted by Ron Seybold at 09:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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