People think that a computer system like the 3000 — to be cut loose by its vendor sometime in 2008 or later — doesn't need much. Those people would be wrong, most of the time.
Unless 3000 customers have their systems sealed up in a wire cage, their 3000 still requires know-how and training. (We're not kidding about the wire cage. More than 300 HP 3000s sat in such cages across the Long's Drug chain during the 1990s. Store owners could do little more than feed a backup tape into them, according to legend.)
But your system probably isn't caged up. You still need to maintain it, learn how to solve problems and update things. Like what? How about a Daylight Saving Time change? Betcha remember that one. (If you don't know what we're talking about, have a look at our articles from earlier this month. Your clock on the nightstand wasn't the only thing that had to be reset back on March 11.)
One of my favorite pieces of advice is based on something that our At-Large Editor Birket Foster says all the time, giving talks about the 3000. In many cases, if the 3000 were an airline aircraft, "the flight attendants are flying the plane now," he says. So you need to train them, or they need to keep in touch with an expert, or keep up support, to ensure nothing goes down.
That's what a user conference does well. Especially if it's got a "flight attendant" track.
One way to keep the flight attendants trained is to look for HP 3000 conferences, or at least education. There's some of that education resource out there, supplied by third parties. But the conference? Well, Encompass will have some HP 3000 education in June at the HP Tech Forum. But there's a more affordable venue, too. Someplace that has more 3000 on its mind than migration. We reported on the first meeting of the HP 3000 Conference last November.
Don't misunderstand. For the right kind of customer, the HP Tech Forum is a good place to go get trained. Just the thing for the customer who will follow HP into the future — a long ways, well up to the 20-teens.
It's just that the 3000 market needs more than that kind of training. Chalk it up to those flight attendants, if you like. Nothing wrong with those maintainers. Your business server, after all, was supposed to be like an electronic filing cabinet, if the software got set up right and kept up to date.