Whose life is ending, and when
No joke: The wrong HP computer?

3000s don't add up in migration

One element working against the HP 3000 in 2008: Novice owners.

In the El Defensor Chieftain, official newspaper of Socorro County, New Mexico, we read of a faulty tape on a 3000 that is giving the County Treasurer fits.

"The problem seems to once again be the officer's HP3000 hardware. "I think the tape drive is running out," said computer technician Joe Franklin.

Joe's expertise might lie in Windows, and if that's true then he's better-skilled than a lot of the world's workforce. But unless the Chieftain's reporter Evelyn Cronce's quote is in error, then Joe the technician is typical of a lot of the HP 3000 customer base. These are people who know just about everything better than managing an HP 3000.

The 3000 was adopted by a lot of entities like the County Treasurer, places where steel filing cabinets were probably the previous data information system. Since the 3000 is so reliable, and the software vendors and HP itself were spot-on about support, the County and many 3000 sites never needed to know that a tape drive can't fill up, but a tape will. Or that backing up to tape is pretty much out of date now, since tape drives can go belly up on any system.

Novice owners might not know that a disk drive — and I'm just guessing here, but in Sorocco there's probably one of those venerable 2GB drives that HP included in the elderly 9x7 computers — well, those can fill up, but can be replaced.

What will be replaced someday at the County Treasurer's office is the HP 3000, to nobody's surprise. Data Now, the company which has specialized in apps for municipalities like Socorro County, wanted to do a replacement of its own 3000 installation. But at a total contract of $48,000 for two years, the county balked.

So now the County awaits the new AppLogix system, which is getting close to a year overdue. Oh, and a new tape drive is on order for a "no-longer-supported HP 3000."

In the meantime, in between time? "Intermittent computer problems... but the problem is under control, for the moment."

Migrating customers, as well as those who are reaching for a migration solution right now, will recognize the minor drama going on in the County office this month. From the El Defensor Chieftain report:

In May 2007, AppLogix Chief Executive Officer Scott Ballard told the Socorro County Commission his software company would have their new software running in the County Assessor's Office in 30 days, and in the County Treasurer's Office in 90 days.

AppLogix’s Computer Assisted Mass Assessment software was a finished project when the county purchased it. The system only required installation, customization and employee training. The Treasurers’ software was being developed. Both systems were purchased together so the two offices could share data seamlessly.

Basing their decision heavily on that information, commissioners voted to not pay $2,000 per month for a minimum of two years to DataNow to upgrade the Treasurer’s existing system and get rid of the no-longer-supported HP3000 hardware.

The software for the Treasurer’s Office was not functioning in 90 days. “I think their development cycle is just running long,” Franklin said.

That'll happen, Joe. For all intents and purposes their HP 3000 is truly no-longer-supported. Third-party support in Socorro County — total population 10,000 — is bound to be spotty at best. That's what will happen when a computer vendor makes an exit from a working marketplace, and then spends more than six years talking about how their HP 3000 will be no-longer-supported.