It was late in the evening, Texas time, when my phone in the office rang. I answer if I'm not writing, or near enough to hear the ring. The caller caught me.
"Hello, Ron," said Vladimir Volokh in his inimitable Ukranian accent. The co-creator of VEsoft and its MPEX flagship was on the road as usual. His custom, for more than a decade now, is to visit his thousands of customers in person. He travels in a modest rental car and even more modest hotels, but the road life can leave a warrior alone. Vladimir was reaching out, connecting.
He thanked me for including his name in the "Dropping Names" entry in our latest printed issue. Vladimir had sent us the letter to Yale New Haven Hospital, the correspondence that thanked the hospital for the very first order of any HP 3000, more than 35 years ago.
Years were on Vladimir's mind that night. "Do you know how many more years until the HP 3000 stops running?" It was a good question, and the answer is one that homesteading customers should know by heart.
"It is 20," he said. The MPE CALENDAR intrinsic will only display dates until Dec. 31, 2027, he reminded me. "I tell the customers don't worry — you have 20 more years. And by then, we may think of something to get us beyond that date."
That year, 2027, will put many of the 3000 managers beyond US retirement age. And the number, 20, is not one you will hear from Hewlett-Packard without prompting. The vendor still reminds its customers to complete their migrations as soon as possible, onto another HP platform.
With two decades until the machine absolutely fails, a customer manages risk in continuing — but largely from its application supplier. It the app creator is you, or your company, then 2027, or 20, is a significant number, the date of the last tomorrow for the MPE we know today.
Vladimir reminds his customers that migration deadlines, HP's and other vendors, seem a lot like the horizon. "You know what the horizon is," he tells them. "It is something that, the closer you get to it, the farther away it moves."