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September 2006

HP's been tracing for years, employee testifies

News from the Congressional grilling that HP faced yesterday revealed the company has sent spying e-mails — HP calls it "tracer technology" — at least a dozen times in the past, according to an HP security worker. Such e-mails report who reads them and how they are forwarded.

Fred Adler, who was involved in HP's sting of illegal used 3000 brokers in 1999-2000, said the tracers have been used in cases where HP was working with law enforcement. Although Adler's testimony did not mention the spy-mails in conjunction with the 3000 investigation by the High-Tech Task Force, HP did work with the California law enforcement team in that matter. Several HP 3000 vendors were either jailed or put under house arrest in that 1999 case. A law enforcement official part of the Task Force, Adler has since joined HP as a security employee.

In a story published today by CNET — which saw its reporter Dawn Kawamoto tailed, her phone records nabbed through pretexting, and delivered a bogus HP e-mail — Adler's testimony sounds a good deal like HP's stance while it cracked down on 3000 companies like Hardware House six years ago.

HP security worker Adler said, under questioning, that he was the one who came up with the idea to include a software-based tracking device in the e-mail to Kawamoto. "That was my idea," Adler said. "At the time I understood it to be a legally permissible way to obtain information, and I still believe it to be."

Adler said it is a tactic still sanctioned by HP, and one they have used in past investigations. He said he knows of HP using the tracing technology a dozen or two dozen times, including instances when the company was working with law enforcement.

HP CEO Mark Hurd pledged to make internal changes at HP to stop what he called a "rogue operation." His pledges from prepared testimony included the statements below (click for a larger version):

Hp_pledgeHurd said that HP's policies will include language "related to inappropriate practices in obtaining confidential records or personal information. HP has a Privacy Training curriculum and a Chief Privacy Officer, Scott Taylor. The curriculum will be updated, and Taylor will be included in "review processes related to HP's accountability in the collection and use of sensitive information, including how such information is used in investigations.

In June, Taylor testified before a subcommittee of this week's House committee . He said then that HP considered privacy a core value. "At HP, we stand ready to serve as a resource to you, so that working together, we may find meaningful, functional ways to protect the privacy of American consumers and realize the full potential of e-commerce."

Continue reading "HP's been tracing for years, employee testifies" »

HP testifies today on probing privacy


Both subpoenaed and volunteer HP witness at today's US House hearings — from HP board members to foot-soldier private eyes accused of violating privacy rights — invoked the Fifth Amendment at today's investigation into HP. HP's testimony about its pretexting probe that nabbed personal data using a ruse consisted largely of pre-submitted statements from CEO Mark Hurd and former board chair Patricia Dunn.

In addition to HP's general counsel Ann Baskins, Security Outsourcing president Ronald DeLia invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify at the hearing. Others who exercised that right included Anthony Gentilucci, former head of global security for HP, and HP ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker. HP fired both Gentilucci and Hunsaker last week.

HP denied reporters to the right to ask questions at a press briefing last week, in deference to its testimony and questions it said it would hear today before Congress. Members of the House committee blasted the company's leadership and decisions after hearing a string of Fifths.

"To go to this level to try to find out who might be leaking something, there's just no excuse for it, there just isn't," said Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden, .

"We have before us witnesses from Hewlett-Packard to discuss a plumbers' operation that would make Richard Nixon blush were he still alive," Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan said.

Panel chairman Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., asked why, "No one had the good sense to say `Stop.'"

"It's a sad day for this proud company," said Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, the panel's senior Democrat. "Something has really gone wrong at this institution."

Baskins_annWhile Congressional questions went answered about who knew what, how much, and when, HP released advanced testimony yesterday which Hurd read before the House committee.

This morning, HP's general counsel Ann Baskins (left) resigned after 24 years of service to the company. The company's resigned chairman, Patricia Dunn, launched the investigation in 2005, and today said that she had cleared the probe with HP CFO and interim CEO Bob Wayman in that year. HP denied Dunn's statement. Dunn said that Security Outsourcing Solutions, which ran the pretexting hoax, was virtually a part of HP, according to a story from the Associated Press, through Forbes:

So closely tied was DeLia's firm, Security Outsourcing Solutions Inc. of Needham, Mass., to Hewlett-Packard - for which it worked almost exclusively for eight years - that Dunn refers to the firm as a "captive subsidiary" of Hewlett-Packard.

Testimony_2SOS, as HP's statements have called the Needham, Mass. firm, investigated Hurd before he was chosen to replace CEO and chairman Carly Fiorina in 2005. Hurd has said in the advance release testimony that HP feels embarrassed about the investigation misconduct which it has funded. A full 12-page document of HP's statements for today appears on a US government Web site. You can download the PDF file to read along with the congressmen, still waiting for more testimony on how the hoax kept gaining momentum.

Continue reading "HP testifies today on probing privacy" »

Taking time change into your own hands

Last month we posted a story about the changes to Daylight Saving Time coming up in the US. A few customers have asked HP to make changes in the TZTAB.LIB.SYS file in MPE/iX, because DST will  start and end on different weekends in 2007 than it has up to now. TZTAB carries the keys to the HP 3000's time zone information. The HP-UX environment already has its zone patches.

But our advice which told users they'd need a C compiler to make these changes themselves was off base, according to one customer. A well-informed customer at that. Walter Murray used to work in HP's languages lab on the 3000 and other servers, including expertise on HP's COBOL II. Murray cleared up the confusion for us.

In the article “OpenMPE thinks far ahead of time changes” (August, 2006), you imply that a customer would need a C compiler to make the necessary changes to the file TZTAB.LIB.SYS to accommodate the change in Daylight Saving Time rules.

Not so! TZTAB is an ordinary ASCII file. You can update it with the editor of your choice.

Another important point is that it’s not just C programs that are likely to rely on the TZTAB file. For example, COBOL programs that use the CURRENT-DATE function will also want the TZTAB file to be correct.

Thanks to Walter for making this issue clear. HP still has a little while to apply such a patch to MPE/iX TZTAB —  a change that ought to take place for all supported MPE versions, 6.5, 7.0 and 7.5.

But it's good to know that the capability to do the work yourself lies in the hands of many users who don't have C compilers on hand.

Another user group struts its content

Just as HP's Technology Forum was wrapping up, the leaders of ERP user group CAMUS dropped a newsletter in our mailbox about its late-August conference. CAMUS is heading for another year with a user conference, thanks to prudent management of resources and active interest from the customer community.

Camuslogo The CAMUS board has taken on more vendor members, just as the Encompass user group's board has done. Several of the CAMUS directors hail from HP 3000 backgrounds or companies. A trio of them included a summary of their key experiences from their San Francisco show.

There's still a way to capture this year's user experience and vendor training from the CAMUS meeting. Join the group for access to presentation slides, especially if you're on the lookout for ways to extend your use of MANMAN, or sizing up replacement applications.

Articles by Terry Floyd of the Support Group, Terry Simpkins, Director of ISIT at MANMAN user Measurement Specialties (both board members) and Ed Stein of Magic Aire — all 3000 shops — gave the impression that a few days at a CAMUS show delivers a lot.

Excepts from the CAMUS newsletter:


The highlight of the conference for me was the ASK Reunion and Keynote speech by Marty Browne at the Opening Exhibitor Reception Wednesday Night.  Although I learned a lot at the free Training Day all day Wednesday and the attendees were all pleased with the presentations by Alice West, Chris Jones, David Cervelli, and Terri Glendon Lanza, seeing thirty or forty of those people who created and sold MANMAN software (most of whom I had worked with at ASK) was an emotional experience for me.

Although all of the presentations I attended were excellent, I thought the best one was Ed Stein’s “Responding to an Internal Audit for MANMAN.”  I always enjoy presentations by users because although they are not always the most polished, the content is meaningful and there is usually no hidden agenda or sales pitch going on.  Ed’s presentation was polished, his style was relaxed, and the content was exceptional.  Mr. Stein’s slides were varied, with actual examples of MagicAire’s internal documents as well as listings from various tools they use to manage and secure their hp3000 MANMAN site.  Although you can learn a lot just by reviewing the slides (which are posted at the CAMUS web site), the many things Ed told the audience were invaluable.

Continue reading "Another user group struts its content" »

HP calls off conversion kits

At last week's HP Technology Forum customers learned that their HP 3000s are more worthy candidates for trading than conversion. HP is cancelling its conversion program to turn 3000s into HP-UX servers, after converting only about 20, according to Transition Center director Alvina Nishimoto. The HP-UX systems created from a conversion kit would already be discontinued in the HP hardware line.

HP is discontinuing the newest entry-level Integrity Servers about three years after they roll out the door. Rust never sleeps in HP's hardware hangars.

3000 customers can get 26 percent off the price of a new Integrity server for their 9x9 systems, including the price of the software license. Those lucky few who own N-Class or A-Class HP 3000s can count on a 40 percent discount off the price.

Continue reading "HP calls off conversion kits" »

Dunn resigns; Hurd tells HP's take on snooping

HP received its second resignation in as many years from a chairman of its board today, when Patricia Dunn quit the board after she admitted to launching HP's "pretexting" investigation of directors, journalists, employees and families. Dunn was to retain her board seat but give up the chair by January, 2007.

The last HP chairman to resign, Carly Fiorina, was included among the targets investigated by an outside firm which HP hired to snoop. HP's new chairman, CEO Mark Hurd, gave an 8-minute statement today of HP's facts in the matter, although Hurd admitted the full details of the snooping might never be known.

HP declined to let journalists ask questions at the press conference, conducted just after the stock markets closed Friday. HP cited Hurd's forthcoming testimony before the US Congress, set for Sept. 29, as reason to forestall questions from reporters.

Hurd reiterated that the actions of the investigation have nothing to do with HP's operations or business strategy, "or frankly, the vast majority of the people at HP." He offered an apology to the journalists and others whose privacy was violated by HP's hired investigators. HP also named a handful of employees who were briefed fully on the tactics involved.

Until October 6, an audio replay of Hurd's statements — as well as a discourse from an outside law firm he hired to investigate, starting Sept. 8 — is available online. Windows Media Player is required to listen.

OpenMPE gathers help, hope at Forum

The Campground (Special Interest Group) meeting of OpenMPE here drew only a dozen attendees, a number not far off the average crowd for all of HP's e3000 breakout sessions at the Technical Forum. But rather than count numbers to gauge relevance of OpenMPE, it may be more important to see who attended the one-hour meeting.

Openmpetx HP's business manager for the e3000 Dave Wilde (far right) was in the meeting room, one that user group Encompass divided into two parts for multiple campground meets in the same hour. Also present were OpenMPE's directors including chairman Birket Foster (above, left) and Speedware's Jennifer Fisher (above center) Encompass director Chris Koppe, and Dave Spear of the former HP North American distributor Client Systems. One customer on hand, Ralph Berkebile of Data Management Associates, stepped up later in the day to pledge $100 toward contacting the 3000 customer base.

"I want to be involved in this," he said to me at lunch, "and I want to offer some help. Later on, once [our consultancy] is more established, we can do more." DMA is starting up this fall, has just one Series 928, but many years of HP 3000 experience and one client at the moment.

Of such modest, grassroots effort is today's OpenMPE made. A recent upgrade to the group's Web site will enable polls of its membership, to help decide which projects to pursue first in its "virtual lab" of 30 experts. Questions have already been drafted for the first interactive survey, according to board director Fisher. Foster said the group's plan to create a virtual lab "has been treading water for the last year, while waiting for HP." But those in the room here in Houston remained upbeat and could make the group's goal of acquiring MPE source a reality, sometime in the future.

Continue reading "OpenMPE gathers help, hope at Forum" »

Customers moving, HP exits

Here on the fourth day of the HP Technology Forum, customers have told stories of their plans and accomplishments moving off the 3000 and onto other platforms. Attendees at the Forum are migration-minded, mostly, some with field experience in moving apps to HP-UX and Windows. Others are still in the planning stage, but nearly every body in the lightly-attended e3000 sessions kept migration as their primary mission.

At the same time, most of HP's 3000 experts have taken to the skies by today. The exhibition floor closed last night with a well-attended food and free drinks reception: Asian shrimp salad (some wags warned their pals to 'watch the spinach") well-heeled wedges of cheeses, fruits and assorted pastry confections, beers from Bud Light to Heineken and Texas' favorite, Shiner Bock.

While we all held what must have been the smallest reception plates in my memory, we talked about the future for the moving 3000 shop. George Willis of investment firm Fayez Sarofim said his multiple N-Class installation will become an HP-UX Integrity shop in 18 months. He's moving an application with some modules more than 20 years old, taking the transfer as the first phase of his project. Willis has been a happy 3000 user, but simply faced with needing IT resources a homesteaded site would struggle to provide. Like many, Willis says he will shed a tear when the 3000 lights go out, sometime in 2008.

Continue reading "Customers moving, HP exits" »

Smoke off the show floor

The HP Technology Exchange was tranquil this afternoon, the third day of exhibiting at the HP Technology Forum. HP laid out its 500 square feet of thick-padded gray carpet in the rear center of a floor with 107 vendors, more than 50 new faces from last year's oft-moved show. Tonight's wrap-up reception on the floor should pack in enough customers to "brick up the aisles," as one exhibitor said of the opening event Monday evening.

Oddly, the exhibition space was closing at 3 PM today, but will reopen at 6 for a reception. Some conferences schedule the other way, stopping talks in mid-day to give exhibitors better traffic through their booths.

The modest-sized DSPP technology kiosks, available for less than $3,000 to HP partners, found a few 3000 suppliers, such as migrations company DB-Net and Quest Software.

Smoke Show gimmicks were in easy view. One vendor who specializes in repairs of printers and computer equipment rigged up a dry ice trick to make it look like a printer was burning. The smoke was pouring out of an IBM printer — just about the only non-HP equipment in the exhibit hall. HP was serious about keeping the gear at this conference limited to HP and partner models. One presenter was told to leave his Sony Vaio laptop at home.

HP 3000 allies and suppliers Transoft, Genisys, Acucorp, Bradmark and Speedware are exhibiting on the floor, all with 10x10 booths except for Speedware -- which is sharing its 10x20 space with arch-rival Cognos, of all companies. Cognos brought two sizes of banners in accepting Speedware's invitation, but decided to post the smaller flag on the outside edge of Speedware's space.

The two companies are still in negotiations to work together on migration projects, according to Speedware's president Andy Kulakowski and Cognos technical account manager Charlie Maloney. Speedware's had a meeting at the Cognos facility in August to combine forces on migrating PowerHouse customers to other platform versions of the 4GL. Speedware's Kulkowski said that 55 percent of his company's revenues now come out of the professional services work. Speedware's Chris Koppe said yesterday that for a PowerHouse customer, moving to PowerHouse on a non-3000 platform is the lowest risk migration.

3000boothHP's booth for 3000 customers catered to the migrating kind, with a green sign among a forest of sea-green banners called "HP Transition Services." No 3000 hardware sat on the show floor, but a Web browser stood open to HP's migration customer success stories.  HP's Colleen Mueller (left) stood in for HP group managers and engineers while we snapped our photo. She was preparing for a few dates on the HP Integrity Road Show starting up next week, coming to a town near you. 

No 3000 hardware sat on the HP Technology Forum show floor, but a Web browser stood open to HP's 3000 migration customer success stories.

HP throws strikes, OpenMPE gets to bat

Forumcrowd HP's VP of its customer solutions group Jack Novia threw a strike last night in a ceremonial first pitch at the Houston Astros baseball game. The hospitality event brought more than 1,000 HP Technology Forum attendees to the Minute Maid ballpark as HP's guests, sitting in sky-high $6 seats and eating a spread of barbeque laid out for HP Certified Professionals.

Novia's pitch offered the only mention of the HP spying scandal here. HP CEO Mark Hurd, who dodged a reporter by jumping into a waiting Lincoln SUV just minutes after his speech to open the forum (speaking to the packed hall above), said "I asked him not to embarrass the company, given the press coverage we've  gotten over the last week." The latest reports on the scandal include news that HP placed spyware on a reporter's computer and that it studied a ruse to infiltrate news offices with investigators posing as janitors or clerks.

On the 3000 front here, HP tipped off its pitch it will throw this fall. 3000 managers Dave Wilde and Jennie Hou explained that a policy statement on HP 3000 licensing rules is forthcoming "because customers have asked us to clarify the issues" Wilde said. He explained that some customers either never heard or don't recall HP's licensing policies in the wake of the vendor's suits against hardware brokers in 1999 and 2000.

The OpenMPE meeting, one of only two here at the Forum without a 3000 migration theme, reported than an OpenMPE volunteer is reviewing the source code build process at HP this week. The group has been waiting for months to place its volunteer as an observer to the process, which will assure OpenMPE the process can be duplicated by an outside entity.

At the meeting HP explained that it is looking at which third parties will be able to help support the system once the vendor leaves the market. One key issue is which firm might be able to administer the changing of stable storage information to modify PA-RISC system personalities. HP does such changes now through its support operations, and third party IRS4HP offers stable storage reconfiguration using its SSEDIT software.

Continue reading "HP throws strikes, OpenMPE gets to bat" »

Contributor of the year, roadmap of years

Chrisawardsm Before we head off to the Migration Success roundtable, we'll share a pair of photos from yesterday's HP 3000 news. At the e3000 Update, HP 3000 Business Manager Dave Wilde (left) presented the latest Contributor of the Year award. This is a plaque that HP has passed to many storied hands over the last 10 years, including Adager's Alfredo Rego, MB Foster's Birket Foster, Lund's Bill Lancaster and OpenMPE director Donna Garverick-Hofmeister, to name just a few.

This year's winner is Speedware's Chris Koppe (center, with HP lab liasion Jennie Hou at right) the only member of both Interex and Encompass boards of directors. Wilde said that Koppe has a long history of service to the 3000 community, "and we haven't always agreed" over the years, a sign of a good advocate for the customer. Koppe said afterward that he was completely surprised by the award.

HP also showed off history of the platform as well as the future of its involvement with the 3000 in a summary slide. At the moment, HP is calling December of 2008 the "current end-date" of support, leaving the door open for more years of HP involvement.


HP quiet on boardroom, speaks on SSEDIT

After HP CEO Mark Hurd stayed mum on company boardroom misconduct during his opening speech of the Technical Forum here in Houston, the 3000 group inside HP said the company would issue a statement about modifying 3000s without HP support help.

Hurd said only that HP "had gotten a lot of press last week" before beginning his prepared remarks. The company's stock is at five-year high, despite the threat of indictments of HP employees over the "pretexting" scam that snooped into private phone records. Over the weekend HP revealed that it had tailed a reporter and one of its board members during its leak investigation.

The vendor's employees closer to the 3000 community had more to say about the privacy of data, this time in the systems' stable storage. HP's Jennie Hou said during this morning's e3000 update the company will be releasing a statement on HP's policy regarding changes to the stable storage contents of HP 3000 systems. Such changes are possible, without HP support intervention, using the SSEDIT software from IRS4HP and Advant support.

"Our customers have recently requested more clarity on e3000 upgrades in terms of hardware," Hou told a meeting room of about two dozen attendees in the session following Hurd's speech. "We're working on releasing an official policy statement, later in 2006. We will reiterate the things that are very consistent with HP's expectations. For example, for systems that running MPE/iX, the need to have the right level of software licensing. Upgrades to the hardware should be through an authorized path."

Continue reading "HP quiet on boardroom, speaks on SSEDIT" »

OpenMPE stirs the emulation pot

A new member of the OpenMPE mailing list has posted a fistful of proposals for the advocacy group — enough that some group members want to nominate Pete Eggers for the open spot on the group's board of directors.

Much of what Eggers addressed has been discussed before by group members, but it's always a good thing for a new spark of energy to reverberate through an all-volunteer group. Unlike Encompass, nobody is getting paid for being part of this user group. But the work goes on. John Dunlop was working this afternoon to bring the Web site up to complete operation after an upgrade.

Eggers' emulation discussion, and other related messages, are available on the OpenMPE mailing list archives. Send your browser to the archive page to read where Eggers tees off a lively chat among 3000 devotees, some of whom believe in a future for your enterprise server beyond HP's plans.

Continue reading "OpenMPE stirs the emulation pot" »

Amisys gets traded, again

While we wait a little longer for your comments on HP's boardroom blunder (keep those cards and letters coming folks), I'll turn for a bit to the world of migration and healthcare applications. AmisysSynertech, the owners of the Amisys/3000 customer base, have been acquired by a healthcare firm called DST.

The transaction, expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter, will be the fifth sale of Amisys since 1997 — moving from an independent company to a minor group at HBO, which merged with McKesson, then sold Amisys to Platinum Equity, which sold Amisys LLC to Whitney & Co. for an undisclosed amount in 2003. Now that Amisys has been paired with Synertech, that firm has been acquired by DST. Not bad for a company whose 3000 application customer base never reached more than 120 organizations.

Of note: The press release that unveiled the transaction also put a number on AmisysSyntertech revenues. The combined numbers — accounting for support fees for 3000 sites, sales and support of the new Amisys Advance replacement app, and oh yeah, all that hosting revenue from Synertech — came to $103.4 million for fiscal 2005 and $65.1 million for the seven months ended July 31, 2006.  Amisys has approximately 1,400 employees located in three principal locations: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Rockville, Maryland; and Hyderabad, India.

What the acquisition means, for the 3000 customers who plan to migrate to Amisys Advance, remains to be seen. There are two kinds of acquiring companies: those who loot the assets to strenghten existing lines of business, and those who buy successful companies to offer and integrate a new line. DST has a DST Health Solutions wholly owned subsidiary, which will assimilate the Amisys staff and customers.

Continue reading "Amisys gets traded, again" »

AG office finds evidence to indict inside HP

Even after HP announced it would remove Patrica Dunn from the chairman's seat on its board of directors, the company got another signal the "Pretext-Gate" mess in the board room won't go away anytime soon. Although CEO Mark Hurd told employees that its subcontractor's blunder to probe personal phone records "has nothing to do with HP operations," California's attorney general has announced it has "sufficient evidence for indictments both outside and within HP" over the matter.

Hurd's statement will only turn out to be true if no indictments are filed against an HP employee. Dunn is not an employee; neither is chief counsel Larry Sosini, who told the board the hoax was within the bounds of the law.

Hurd is right in one aspect: this behavior has nothing to do with the operations of the part of HP still serving the homesteading 3000 customer. We should all keep in mind there are two HPs: the one that allowed this blunder to happen, without adequate oversight; and the one that still serves the 3000 community at the "worker bee" level.

The 3000 customer who plans to move to HP's other servers must take Hurd's statement to the press yesterday to heart: "These tactics have no place at HP." The California AG's office says it believes someone inside the company harbored and aided this hoax. Customers may have a different view than HP shareholders about Pretext-Gate. The market bid up HP's stock price to a five-year-high yesterday.

Continue reading "AG office finds evidence to indict inside HP" »

And how was your day?

[Editor's note: OpenMPE chairman Birket Foster offered us this Open Mike column this morning, based on his reflections while in flight yesterday, Sept. 11. Open Mike, and this newsblog, are forums for the 3000 community.]

By Birket Foster
Chairman, MBFoster

Yesterday marked the five-year mark since the 9/11 event in 2001. A lot has changed since that year. I thought it ironic that my flight was at 9:11 yesterday morning – the airport was busy, almost back to normal (noticeably absent were liquids and gels). The PA system was used to call for a moment of silence – and that was certainly different. All pages and flight announcements stopped for a moment as the concourse quieted. People primed by CNN and the perhaps their radio in the car or taxi on the way to the airport, all reminded of the changed world we live in.

The in-flight movie was Poseidon, a re-made movie about people who took a risk to escape a disaster. I am not sure I like the idea of a disaster movie on a plane, but it inspired me to write this piece.

I was thinking about parallels with the HP 3000 market, and how disastrous the changes have been for many since the announcement in November 2001. There are many members of the community, both customers and suppliers, who have moved on. Some have tried a couple of times to escape from the platform — only to discover there were pieces missing in the intended solution, or that the solution was too expensive or complex to implement.

Continue reading "And how was your day?" »

Update: HP's lead attorney said investigation tactics were legal

In a Tuesday story, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that HP's chief counsel Larry Sonsini approved the "pretexting" hoax to swipe phone records, a blunder that has sparked SEC, Justice Department, Congressional and California state probes of HP.

Sonsini is also leading HP's deliberations on the HP board of directors, now two days old, about what action to take. Patricia Dunn, the chairman who started the probe, isn't attending the meetings. Also recusing himself: George Keyworth, the director linked to the leaks to reporters from the WSJ and

HP's hired investigators pretended to be the reporters to gather call records.

Today's WSJ's story quotes a dean of Yale's business management school as saying it's "extemely uncommon" to let an outside attorney lead a corporate board meeting. Frankly, Sonsini seems like the right choice to sort out this mess, considering he dubbed the hoax legal.

HP faces state, federal probe on privacy hoax

In the weekend before new Congressional and US Justice investigations into its "pretexting" hoax, HP's CEO Mark Hurd said in a company-wide memo he believes "this has nothing to do with the strategy or operations of Hewlett-Packard."

The US Justice Department and US Congress have both asked for information on the relationship between HP and its hired investigation firm, which authorized bogus calls to phone companies to tap reporters records. The HP-funded sweep even raked in the phone records of one reporter's father at, according to one story at that Web site.

A customer may ask what this has to do with the HP 3000 community. That depends on your firm's future relationship with Hewlett-Packard. If a customer is homesteading, there's a good chance HP's misconduct or blunder means little — except to reinforce the ill will some of these customers feel about the vendor. Longtime customers may understand there are two HPs — the boardroom level one that cancelled the system's lifespan at the vendor, and the 3000 division loyalists who still tend to customer needs, even in transition.

As for the migrating 3000 customer, they may be measuring HP's conduct in its response to this error in judgment or ethics, depending on how culpable Congress, the US Justice Dept. and California's Attorney General find your vendor to be. HP is saying it will take appropriate action. Who determines what is appropriate? Those injured by "pretexting" investigators, unleashing a coordinated hoax to get at private records and paid with HP's revenues?

The hoodwinked media companies — the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and — have been like hornets swarming from prodded nest since the revelations. Forgiveness is not automatic in a healthy relationship. It's an outdated belief that a person injured, like these individuals whose phone records got the snoop from HP's prowlers, ought to forgive to move on. Unless HP can admit what it did — in the best light, fund an investigation with a disregard for tactics — then customers and the marketplace don't have to forgive the vendor. Reparations are in order for healthy forgiveness, too.

At the moment, HP's leadership believes this incident has nothing to do with the company's operations. Some media companies might disagree, if the matter of trust and responsibility is an element in a company's operations. If HP hopes to repair the damage and earn back the trust of news gathering organizations, bigger changes than blaming this on their subcontractor are needed.

Continue reading "HP faces state, federal probe on privacy hoax" »

Speaking of the Houston RUG, and HP's got the problem

Two items surfaced this week that show the wide gulf of the HP experience for users of the 3000. In Houston, volunteers have announced there is one week left to submit a proposal for a talk (PDF file with details) at "The only HP 3000 Conference in North America" in November. Here's to the cheek and moxie of a 3000 community that — five years to the month after HP said the 3000 was kaput — continues to teach homesteading skills to managers. (There are migration talks planned for the GHRUG event, too.)

There is still room at the GHRUG event for speakers, according to conference coordinator Judy Reustle, a volunteer who works for NASA in the Clear Lake area, where the conference will be held. Details on conference registration costs and a speaker list should be emerging shortly, after a GHRUG board meeting next week.

From another state of HP's mind, California — where HP's exit of the 3000 community was executed — we hear news that the private investigators hired by the HP's chairman of the board pretended they were board members to get the directors' phone records. Using that personal information, HP "out-ed" director George Keyworth for leaks after 20 years on the board. HP's chair Patrica Dunn said she was "appalled" at the news.

It's difficult to imagine either of HP's founders, who both served at the chairman post, uttering such a statement. If Dunn was foolish enough to accept an investigator's report without inquiring about tactics used to gather such personal information — this kind of subtrefuge is now called "pretexting" — then she ought to clear her board seat as clean as George Keyworth leaves his.

Update, 5 PM: The story gets worse, at least for anybody who still cares about privacy rights., one of the companies Keyworth talked to, has reported that "The [investigation] company in turn hired a contractor that used "pretexting" to scrutinize board members, HP said. The technology giant acknowledged on Thursday that the phone records of nine reporters, including two from, were also accessed.

Continue reading "Speaking of the Houston RUG, and HP's got the problem" »

SWAT team arrives on 3000-L

Although the HP 3000 mailing list 3000-L only goes out to 581 e-mail subscribers today, many more use and contribute to this online resource through the Web or newsgroup readers. This ready resource for 3000 help acts as a virtual support team for the community, and it swung into action for users of Samba this week.

Our entry yesterday on Samba included references to use the Samba Web Administration Tool (SWAT). In the last 24 hours the 3000-L experts added even more detail. Frank Gribbin, whose company was one of the Java pioneers in the 3000 world, posted his experiences with SWAT. Then OpenMPE director Donna Hofmeister added some updated testing of SWAT on her 3000.

Gribbin put his useful info online, then Donna commented and updated:

Here's some useful info when getting SWAT going. In SERVICES.NET you'll want a line that reads:
swat   901/tcp   # Samba/iX Web Admin Tool

In INETDCNF.NET you'll want:
swat  stream tcp nowait.400 SAMBA.ORG /SYS/SAMBA/SWAT207L swat
(adjust the path to your SWAT NMPRG)

The above comments for seem to be pretty old. If you're running 2.2.8, you'll want:

swat stream tcp nowait MANAGER.SYS /usr/local/samba/SWAT swat

Continue reading "SWAT team arrives on 3000-L" »

Taking a SWAT at Samba

For many years HP 3000 sites wished they had what they saw on other systems. Then in the late 1990s the community got a lot of what it wanted. By 1999 the platform got the Samba file sharing system, a universal utility you find on nearly every computer.

Samba arrived because of two community coding kings: Lars Appel, who ported the Samba open source package to the 3000, and Mark Klein, who ported the bootstrap toolbox to make such ports possible. As John Burke said in the sunnier year of 1999:

Without Mark Klein’s initial porting of and continued attention to the Gnu C++ compiler and utilities on the HP 3000, there would be no Apache/iX, syslog/iX, sendmail/iX, bind/iX, etc. from Mark Bixby, and no Samba/iX from Lars Appel. And the HP 3000 would still be trying to hang on for dear life, rather than being a player in the new e-commerce arena.

So Samba is there on your HP 3000, so long as you've got an MPE version minted in the last six years or so. But getting started with it might perplex a few managers, like the one who just asked how to get Samba up on its feet on his 3000. One superb addition is SWAT, the Samba administration tool. Yup, the 3000's got that, too.

Continue reading "Taking a SWAT at Samba" »

Board fights replace clubby HP history

The Wall Street Journal reports that HP's board of directors is refusing to renominate a director in next year's election because he has leaked information to the press.

No, not The 3000 NewsWire. But the Journal's story, which anybody can read online until Sept. 13, covers the fall of the board member most responsible for HP's move to exit the 3000 market: Carly Fiorina. "If it's not growing, it's going," was Fiorina's motto in the years after taking the HP reins. The 3000's limited growth made the platform a candidate for discontinuance, using her standard. Now the board member who wanted Fiorina's power de-centralized is on the chopping block.

Newsweek has a report on a Web site that headlines HP chairwoman Patricia Dunn as the person who has "spied on the home phone records of its board of directors to catch a leaker."

The WSJ report sketches a board running an HP far different from the one that created that HP 3000. Keyworth has been on the board for 20 years, almost since the time HP released the "Mighty Mouse" Series 37 HP 3000, the industry's first office server that could be used outside a computer room, on carpet with standard AC.

"A board can't serve effectively if there isn't complete trust that what gets discussed stays in the room," said Dunn in the WSJ article. Dunn became the non-executive chairman of the HP board last year, once Fiorina was ousted from the chairman and CEO posts. Before Fiorina was fired, HP's board never had anything but an executive chairman.

Keyworth wanted Fiorina's grip on the company loosened, the WSJ said in its story. Now HP will be discontinuing his service on the board, by next spring, for talking about HP's plans with the press.

Continue reading "Board fights replace clubby HP history" »

The Labor of Your Love

Here in the US we celebrate Labor Day today, a tribute to the respect workers earned in the labor movement of the 20th Century. It's a holiday with most offices closed, but much labor in the shops and boutiques across Austin and elsewhere.

Homesteading customers face labor too, and they often seem to struggle for respect from the HP computer community. Their work is no less important than the heavy lifting of migration. It's just as necessary, too.

If you were lucky enough to have a holiday today, thank your precursors in the labor unions. Those organizations are as derided now as 3000 customers who stick with the platform and polish MPE skills. For a good look at what labors a homesteader should work on, I offer Paul Edwards' homesteading primer from early in 2004. Homesteading tasks are little changed by this year, with one exception. Many more customers have moved the labor of their 3000 support to third parties.

Training savings still online

TrainingmapHewlett-Packard continues to give its 3000 customers some breaks on the fundamentals of migration. A few weeks ago the company's Alvina Nishimoto reminded managers who were listening in on the SIG-Migrate Webcast that free training is still available to customers bound for HP-UX.

A special password makes as much as $2,000 of online training free. HP began the online fundamentals classes for migrating HP 3000 sites back in 2003. As an example, there's HP-UX from an MPE perspective, network usage and configuration. HP's description:

An online, self-paced course is intended to provide a linkage between the MPE and HP-UX networking computing environments as approached from an MPE perspective.

Price $379, unless you've got the coupon code: ENT96SN02. Look for the pop-up box in the registration pages that says you've got a coupon.

Have a look at the free training available at It's worthwhile, self-paced time spent learning a target environment. Hard to beat the value, too, according to our review in 2003.