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December 15, 2008

A generation grows proud of its grey

    This month I went to a supper of congratulations to celebrate my advent of becoming a grandfather. My son Nick and his wife Elisha are expecting a baby in July, a mitzvah that will launch a new generation of Seybolds. When I first wrote in this 3000 market, Nick was just a baby of 2. Now he and his bride are having a baby of their own.

    I don’t feel like it’s time to get a new job. This one keeps changing enough to remain fascinating and entertaining and enlightening. Change is most of what I’ve reported in this decade. The world of our industry has changed so much since Nick’s birth marked a new generation, the Millennials. Now his world doesn't even marvel at the Web, a word I hear less today as our online lives meld more into real life.

    The transformation of communication has helped your community. This season saw an historic election aided by the influence of the Internet, technology that all of you helped to cement into the world of 2008. If not for your long nights over the ENK/ACK debugging, finding the X.25 cloud, planning the networking protocol stack and tuning those Ethernet LANs, I couldn’t check on the vote predictions (remarkably accurate) at fivethirtyeight.com.

    Over this weekend, the NewsWire's co-founder Abby helped me celebrate my mom's 83rd birthday. Ginny Seybold has spent about as much time living in Las Vegas as the HP 3000 has spent on HP's non-strategic list, between the system's doghouse status as a non-Windows, non-Unix solution and the Transition Era of more than seven years and counting. Mom tells us she never figured to have a good run well into her middle 80s. Everything ends, but the matter of when is rarely something we know for certain.

   

It seems like every month there’s a new toy to be launched in a browser, another word that feels more like a throwback to the nascent days of the Internet. After my grandchild arrives next summer, I’ll have old toys that I’ll be eager to share, some like curious slot-car sets and others as redoubtable as Dr. Suess and Goodnight Moon.

    Each time I share the news about becoming an expectant grandpa, people ask if it makes me feel old. The happy event has more of an impact of pride, accomplishment, and faith in the persistence and luck of parenthood. People may be asking if you’re feeling old now that HP’s given up on the 3000, a good run of 30-plus years. But HP cannot create the next generation of 3000 use, a time when the vendor will only stand by and watch what will be born.

   I believe in the Afterlife, as I call it in another article this month, only because of the Internet. Were it not for the magic of file servers archiving across the planet, free advice delivered in minutes with detail, and the adoption of this technical chariot by your community, you would have declared your 3000s dead long ago. As it is now, the system that proves your accomplishments will go on further than anyone could have imagined in that year of 1984, when Nick was a baby himself. I consider what comes after HP’s 3000 time in 2010 to be a new generation of users, the ones who will toddle and then walk on their own without Hewlett-Packard to hold their hands.

   Consider sites like Facebook and Linked In and even Connect’s myCommunity as your cradles in these times of growth — plus the older outposts of newsgroups and mailing lists, and yes, even focused blogs like ours. Out on Linked In, the HP 3000 Community Group is now more than 90 members strong, full of advice and experience and a link to making 3000 skills work in new opportunities. Being older doesn’t become an insult when you’re rebirthing the rules for elder-hood. You gotta grow to gain that grey.

10:31 AM in History, Homesteading, Newsmakers, Web Resources | Permalink

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