[Ed. note: Roy Brown, one of our favorite writers in the HP 3000 world, penned a little poke in the ribs over the holiday weekend in honor of HP's announcement of more time to catch the migration stage out of Old 3000 Town. Brown wrote a bang-up set of migration articles for the NewsWire in the fall of 2004, stories you can find on our main Web site August, September and October '04 editions. This time out, we'll let him kick off your new year with this tale of old behavior from the New West.]
By Roy Brown
We've heard tell that the preferred metaphor for HP's extension of HP 3000 support for two more years is kind of like where there's a queue for the stagecoaches out of Dodge. With only a few stages leaving town each day, and all full of migrators when they leave, the customers still standing in line waiting need to be protected.
And now it's come to the notice of those kind folks doing the protecting that not everybody that wants to can get out of town by sundown, when the protection stops. So the protectors decide to work later into the night.
So we sent intrepid reporter Ron Yesroman, from that well-known stockfeed journal The Haywire, out to Dodge to interview the Sheriff and report on the situation first-hand. Here's what he just filed:
"Greetings, Sheriff, and thanks for talking to me. First off, I'd like to know about the queues for the stagecoaches. How long do you think it will take to get all the citizens out of town?"
"Aw, hell, Ron, ain't no queues out there. Not of townsfolks, leastwise. Mebbe there's a queue of *stagecoaches*, wantin' to take folks out of town. And mebbe one or two folks go out and ask how long the journey might be, and what it's likely to cost. But when they git the answers, there's precious few of them seem to want to rush to be leavin' right now".
"Well, I see Sheriff. But I though migration was supposed to be easy — isn't there a straight road out of here to Unix?"
"Yes, sure, that's the trail we want them to take, and we've made it as easy as possible — fresh horses at every stop along the way. But we ain't paying no fares, and they still got to build anew when they git there. Puts a lot of folks off."
"But migration is still the safest option, isn't it?"
"Hell, yes, Ron, and if they know what's good for them, it's what they'll do. No, hang on, that din't come out right — I mean that's what's in their best interests. I just wish we had more citizens like those fine upstandin' Donners, who took their party out with high hopes, not a day or so back."
"Well, yes Sheriff, I guess that's so. Just as long as they reach their cut-off by the due date.... But tell me again, Sheriff, why are we in this situation now? I mean, a few years back, you announced the end of your official peace-keeping support and security in Dodge, as so few citizens were left. And yet here you are, keeping it going for another two years."
"Well, yes, we thot it would all be over by now. But there's still so much potential revenue out there — naw, scratch that out, I mean there's still so many concerned citizens here, that we felt we'd better keep right on goin'. After all, we take our responsibilities very seriously. Hell, that's my department's motto y'know - you must have seen the signs everywhere — 'Dodge - our responsibilities'."
"Yes, Sheriff, I've always though that was very apt. But what about the private security firms — they've always said they were keen to protect the homesteaders who stayed on, and now they have to wait, and survive, two more years if they want to do that".
The Sheriff raised his eyebrows at the mention of the private security firms, leaned in very close, and said, conspiratorially: "Earp!" And then, somewhat embarrassed, "Oh 'scuse me! I guess it ain't just my rifle that's repeatin'!"
"But, y'know, Ron, they really depend on us for supplies and ammunition. And without us here, they just know that the Sarbanes-Oxley gang will ride right in just like they weren't there, and pick their prospects off one by one."
"Yes, Sheriff, I heard about the supplies and ammo thing. But it seems to me you are just sitting on your arsenal, when you could be opening it up to everyone right now. But you've chosen not to do that. And what about these magazines — I hear a lot of those you have sold are crippled down to only take one bullet where they could perfectly easily hold four, if only you would release the lock on these?"
"Hell, Ron, you don't want to believe everything you read in magazines - but yes it's true. Some people bought cheaper rifles, that was one of the ways we made 'em cheaper. Gotta shell out, if you want the shells in, huh?" (chuckles) "Just my little joke.... Of course, there are no more rifles, so we can't sell 'em the dearer ones now, even if we had 'em and wanted to sell 'em, and they wanted to buy them. But we gotta keep the faith with the people who paid extra for the dearer rifles, y'know. It's important to us, keepin' the faith. Well, keepin' the faithful, anyway."
"So, no opening up and releasing the lock, then, Sheriff? I know there's a group of concerned townsfolk been pressing you to do just that."
"Well, not right now, for sure. I mean, we've talked to them a whole bunch. But doing what they want? It has to be lock, stock, and barrel. So we've looked at the lock, we've taken stock — and figured we pretty much have 'em over a barrel."
"I see... Well, finally, Sheriff, what happens over the next two years, before you and your deputies finally light out for Tombstone?"
(Sheriff chuckles). "Funny you should mention tombstone(s). See over yonder?" (Gestures towards Boot Hill). "I figure everyone will git out of town one way or another. And with all these graybeards around, and none of 'em gittin' any younger..."
(Ron shudders) "You don't mean..."
"Yes, Ron that's exactly what I mean. Most of they HP 3000s just run and run and run, and it's only when you stop and restart them that they finally peg out. Still, it shore is an honorable way to go — and folks will say of those ole processors — "They died with their boots on'".
"Well, I guess that about wraps it up. Thank you Sheriff, for being so candid".
"Thank you Ron, fer givin' me the chance to put the record straight."