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April 2009

California aims at changes for offenders

CDCRLogo HP 3000s track offenders in California prisons. Ever since he left HP's COBOL labs, OpenMPE director Walter Murray has worked in the Enterprise Information Services division of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. HP has announced a big contract to revamp the department's computing through the vendor's EDS subsidiary.

HP's press release says that the engagement "streamlines dozens of databases, record keeping processes and systems with a single integrated solution. The resulting highly-automated environment will include software, hardware and processes designed to transform paper-based adult and juvenile offender records into digital records."

The HP release calls this work "applications modernization services." Making applications more modern in the prison system probably won't eliminate their building block: COBOL.

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HP pushes blades with solution blocks

Blocks Hewlett-Packard enjoys a leading position in blade server market share. The company's margin is a key element in the message that bladed servers are the vendor's new heartland for IT enterprise solutions. Both Windows and HP-UX can be deployed on blades. The former represents the bigger part of HP's blade share, so the latter was the topic for a recent Webcast hosted by the Connect user group.

Connect has posted the slides for the Webcast, a 60-page deck that might have been difficult to finish during the one hour time slot. One at the end stood out as a new offering, packaged like old 3000 products. HP calls these Solution Blocks, "hassle-free ordering, configuring and customizing of multiple applications. Starting with... HP-UX 11i on an HP platform provides a foundation for adding the required server, storage and tape backup blades to complete your infrastructure."

Solution Blocks are packed and deployed by HP's application resellers, so the business model aligns with the part of the HP 3000 customer base that purchased turnkey solutions, like Summit's Spectrum credit union app. HP's Webcast stressed that Solution Blocks reduce risk while optimizing deployment. Mitigating risk is high on the typical management list when a 3000 shop chooses to migrate.

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Size up maximum drive capacity

Hewlett-Packard created a forward-looking feature for the HP 3000 before its lab retired. One of the biggest enhancements gave MPE/iX the ability to use drives sized up to 512GB. Getting this size of drive to work involves going outside of the 3000's foundation, both literally as well as strategically.

External disc drives supply storage beyond the 73GB devices which were fitted inside the HP 3000 chassis. This Hewlett-Packard part numbered A6727A was an off-the-cuff answer from Client Systems to the "how big" question. Client Systems built HP 3000s with this part installed while the company was North America's only 3000 distributor. But nothing bigger ever came off a factory line before HP stopped building 3000s in 2003.

Outside of HP's official channel, however, a drive twice as large is installed on a N-Class. Two, in fact. Matt Perdue reports that his Hill Country Technologies site boasts a N-Class with a pair of 146GB drives inside. The Seagate ST3146855LC spins at 15,000 RPM, too, a faster rate than anything HP ever put in a 3000. Perdue said he picked up his drives from online reseller

Older 3000s, however, need single-ended drives for internal use, according to Allegro Consulting's Donna Hofmeister. She says the 3000's drive size limit is controlled by two factors: internal versus external, and HP "blessed," or off-the-shelf specified.

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Oracle buys MySQL, to ease moves to 11g?

Oracle is purchasing Sun Microsystems, a transaction which includes acquiring control of the popular MySQL database that's been freeware for many years. There's some possibility that Oracle might be killing off MySQL, a relational database that's been attractive because it's a no-cost platform for the frugal business computer enterprise.

But Charles Finley, whose Transformix firm migrates HP 3000 customers to platforms including IBM and Linux, says that MySQL probably doesn't sit on Oracle's hit list once the Sun deal goes through. One reason for MySQL's safety is that Oracle has improved the entry-level cost of using the 11g version of its database. Oracle hasn't reported what it intends to do with MySQL, but one possibility is to create an automatic converter to bring MySQL databases into Oracle.

How can a solution like Oracle present a value proposition to compete with a free relational database? Finley says the vendor has made good strides toward affordability for Oracle 11g.

"On the low end they've got some interesting pricing," Finley said. "If you've got fewer than 20 users and an Oracle license for a single application, if you get the license through an Oracle partner the price is very reasonable."

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Keep 3000-Mac emulation up to date

Macs aren't in wide use as HP 3000 clients, but the popular publishing and Web design computers do work for a number of 3000 community sites. One such is the US Cat Fancier's Association (CFA), where manager Connie Sellitto needs an emulation program built for the Mac's modern-day OS X.

We do not have the option of moving the Mac applications to a PC -- our publications (Web site and printed materials) department is firmly entrenched in the Mac camp. Makes for an interesting day!

The most straightforward solution comes from Minisoft. Its MS92 software, a longtime competitive solution to WRQ's Reflection, is designed and maintained for Macintoshes. Sellitto says that MS92 "is what we're using on the newer Macs. Excellent product."

But Reflection's scripting is entrenched at CFA. That developer's Mac emulator long ago lost its development team, in the same way that the WRQ brand name has disappeared into its new owner, Attachmate.

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How to Peer Into TurboIMAGE databases

I am looking for a way to permit ordinary users (programmers and support staff) to see who is using a TurboIMAGE database, and what locks are in effect and are pending -- the information you would see with DBUTIL using SHOW ... USERS and SHOW ... LOCKS or SHOW ... ALL.

I have to work within these constraints:  (1) Can’t let them log on with SM capability.  (2) Can’t let them log on as the database creator.  (3) Can’t reveal the password on the MPEX GOD program.  (4) Can’t reveal the password on DBUTIL. Is there a utility to do this?

Eric Sand replies

To keep things simple, I would just create a “RELEASED” job that can execute DBUTIL with the proper passwords to the DB that you want to examine and direct the output to a file that anyone can read.

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HP serves up Integrity blade broadcast

Hewlett-Packard will promote the virtualization features of its bladed Integrity HP-UX servers in a Webcast tomorrow (April 23). The broadcast begins at 11 AM CDT (1600 GMT), led by HP's Tom Vaden, who works on HP-UX architecture.

Registration for the Webcast is available at Web site. You won't need anything special to access the Webcast other than a recent Windows or Mac OS version. A VOIP option is available for audio in addition to a standard phone dial-in number.

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Community needs HP support users to test final FTP patch

A new patch to repair a broken command in FTP/iX needs testing now, but the 3000 community must now rely on HP support customers to test HP's lab work. The FTPHDK7A patch repairs the MGET command in the 3000's FTP file transfer program, the industry standard to move files between servers. But like a significant number of HP's 2007-08 lab projects, this patch is trapped in beta-test limbo.

HP's release policy remains unchanged about the patches it's created. Each one must be tested by 3000 owners before the vendor will release the patch to all 3000 sites, even the customers who don't use HP support. The beta-test limbo has seen a lot of patches check in, and far fewer checked out for public release. HP was supposed to be considering reducing the test requirements. But the vendor closed its lab without altering the policy.

OpenMPE has a list of unresolved 3000 issues like this one that HP left behind. MGET isn't critical unless a customer needs bulk transfer of many files in a directory. The bug also existed in last year's HP-UX version of FTP, according to Allegro's Donna Hofmeister. But the HP-UX version of this patch received the tests needed for a full HP release.

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HP-UX sidesteps system vendor bullet in Sun deal

Oraclelogo_small Oracle announced today that it will purchase Sun Microsystems. The deal dials down the competition to HP's Unix solution. IBM was near a deal to buy Sun last month, but talks fell through. Oracle said that the $7.4 billion acquisition brings it the most important piece of software Oracle ever purchased: Java. But the world's biggest database supplier sees the Solaris operating system, key to Sun's server solution, as an important prize, too.

There are substantial long-term strategic customer advantages to Oracle owning two key Sun software assets: Java and Solaris. Java is one of the computer industry’s best-known brands and most widely deployed technologies, and it is the most important software Oracle has ever acquired.

Oracle's statement goes on to place the Solaris-Oracle combination of OS and database as the best possible for a company choosing Oracle. The future seems to hold special features for Unix customers who choose Sun's hardware.

The Sun Solaris operating system is the leading platform for the Oracle database, Oracle’s largest business, and has been for a long time. With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle can optimize the Oracle database for some of the unique, high-end features of Solaris. Oracle is as committed as ever to Linux and other open platforms and will continue to support and enhance our strong industry partnerships.

There's nary a mention in there about HP's HP-UX, but this is an announcement to validate a $7.4 billion Sun purchase. Sun shareholders, and stock regulatory agencies, still have to approve the deal. An HP Unix customer might be glad that Java isn't going inside IBM, but to another software company. Oracle's efficiency, however, has sold and retained many HP-UX customers.

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Migration good for Ecometry's economy

HP 3000 customer migrations are pushing business higher for Ecometry, the e-commerce/retail solutions vendor with scores of 3000 sites still running MPE/iX. Birket Foster, just returned from his annual trip to the  Escalate/Ecometry conference, said the vendor's 3000 unit is enjoying business growth better than the Escalate units which serve the retail consumer market.

In a recession which is acting like a depression in some markets, retail sales have driven down revenues for software that serves consumers. Ecometry, retooled for Point of Sale as well as online and catalog business, has been pushing transitions to the Unix or Windows versions of the software. Foster's company does data migrations as well as datamarts for Ecometry sites, and he said those migrations have contributed significantly to net a good 2008 for the supplier.

"Ecometry is doing really well, and part of that is because so many people have to do the migration," he said. "In the other divisions, their job is to hold their own." The consumer durables, or "buy now pay later stores, are down 21 to 30 percent," he added.

Migrations are a pressing issue for Ecometry customers because of changes to the credit card industry banks' policies. Visa, Mastercard and American Express will soon require security features unavailable in HP 3000 versions of Ecometry. The only homesteading solution will be to outsource the credit card part of transactions, Foster said.

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Open source sites losing free resource

One of the few Web sites hosting genuine freeware for the HP 3000 removed its open source software this spring. After discussion with Speedware's product manager Nicolas Fortin, Mark Bixby decided to remove the copies of programs such as the Apache Web server that he'd ported to the 3000. Bixby, who also worked on HP 3000 Internet and networking software at HP, said that neither Speedware or HP asked him to thin out his versions of the open source software.

The thinning out was of my own accord. Mostly I pruned away everything that was either on Jazz or in the 3000's FOS. I did this cleanup after Nick Fortin contacted me about their takeover of the Jazz content. I felt it was confusing for me to still be providing outdated/duplicate versions of stuff. So the conspiracy theories can put be away. There was absolutely zero HP involvement in this decision.

Speedware's Fortin said he e-mailed Bixby "to ask if he was interested in having us host some of his files, as a backup to his own site, or even just point a link to his site. I never would have asked him to remove his content; that, surprisingly, was his suggestion."

Removing the open source software is only an issue for anyone in the 3000 community who wants unrestricted use of it. The programs on were not controlled by the HP rehosting legal agreement which regulates access to such software. Bixby created and released his ports under the industry's GNU Public License (GPL), which permit alteration, updates and unrestricted redistribution.

These 3000 open source programs are coming online this spring at Speedware's new 3000 software resource site, and are already hosted at former HP 3000 distributor Client Systems. A 3,000-word HP End User License Agreement has been applied to all the Jazz software being re-hosted, including the open source programs. One open source expert has doubts the HP agreement is in line with GPL freeware licenses.

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Free Jazz utilities en route to new resource

Speedware's new HP 3000 Web resource will be gaining programs from Jazz soon.

The vendor purchased host rights from HP for all the 3000- and migration-related content that Hewlett-Packard is releasing from 3000 division servers. Some HP content related to the 3000 has been retired by the vendor, such as the George Stachnik migration Webcasts of 2002-05. After Speedware posted streaming files for three Unix courses and one on IMAGE workalike database Eloquence, the vendor turns its attention to presenting the open source and HP-written utilities for MPE/iX.

Speedware's Nicolas Fortin told users the vendor could arrange early delivery of Jazz utilities for customers; send an e-mail to [email protected] to request Jazz programs or HP white papers. Fortin estimated that the package of Jazz programs will be online next month. "I expect the process to take a few weeks, without unforeseen obstacles," he said. "So a few weeks from now would probably put us sometime in the month of May, to be realistic."

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Speedware hosts Eloquence, HP courses

TurboIMAGEcompat Speedware opened an HP 3000 resource this week for online courses, the first step in Speedware's mission to host 3000-related training materials and free software. The initial service in the hosting covers HP's Unix training, but a more 3000-specific course is also online: Eloquence training from Marxmeier Software.

The Eloquence course was hosted on HP servers until Hewlett-Packard closed its HP 3000 labs last year, according to Speedware's Nicolas Fortin. Speedware will also be hosting the Jazz freeware as well as HP's 3000 documentation on the new 3000 resource site.

Registration is required to access the materials at the Speedware site, The company wants to collect name, company, address, telephone and e-mail information in exchange for access, "so we can track course usage and contact you when we have related news." The good news is that the materials do not require a "click to accept" button beneath several thousand words of HP's hosting agreement.

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Connect upgrades social network

Mycommunitypage The HP enterprise user group Connect leads a tour of its enhanced social networking tools and features tomorrow. Social networking is a key benefit of the group, formed last year when Encompass, the Tandem user group and HP Interex-Europe allied as one entity. Connect needs younger members, according to its leaders, so social networking was added last year to attract participation from a fresher demographic.

The one-hour tour of the new myCommunity begins at 10:30 CDT on Tuesday, April 14, a WebEx presentation that attendees must register for in advance.

Connect says the new features and tools at the social network myCommunity were built and implemented by Pluck, Inc., an Austin-based company that offers integrated social media for publishers, retailers and brands. Pluck says its technology platform powers more than 2.5 billion monthly interactions. Some of Pluck's clients include the Lance Armstrong Foundation, The Economist and Whole Foods.

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HP helps network 3000s with classless IP

HP is still offering free technical advice for the HP 3000 through its IT Response Center experts Web site. Just this week, an Hewlett-Packard support specialist who moderates the board answered a question about configuring a 3000 for a private network.

You can browse that HP Forum for answers to questions at the MPE/iX Web page. HP's advice might not be any better or worse than a third party support expert's, but at least the vendor is still answering questions from the 3000 community. For example, here's a recent Q&A between a user and an HP Canada networking expert.

How do you configure a /24 IP address using a private 10.x.x.x network? Here's the config we want:
Host IP:
Do we need to add anything to the 'Configured Reachable Networks' fields?

HP moderator Emile Kwan Fong said

This is done using the NMMGR program. To configure the IP and Subnet mask, go to the path NETXPORT.NI.<NIname>.PROTOCOL.IP.

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IBM suggests other migration route

MigrateToIBM IBM has pulled away from its proposed purchase of Sun Microsystems, but Big Blue is always on the hunt for ways to swipe HP business. Buying Sun and its Solaris OS would have given IBM a way to put pressure on the survival of HP-UX, HP's recommended migration solution for complex HP 3000 installations. But even the network management nodes, often monitored by HP-UX servers, are targets for a migration.

IBM is now tracking customers who use OpenView, offering a 25 discount to get them to migrate to IBM Tivoli Netcool, the latest version and name of IBM's net management suite. Chris Bartram, who set up the NewsWire's first Web site and remains one of the best networking experts for HP 3000s, called our attention to the IBM promotion.

Five different kinds of "Who should migrate" HP customers are listed on IBM's Migrate from HP Web pages. We found this one most interesting:

All HP customers using abandoned "old-iron" HP on Unix OS or HP-UX considering a move to Itanium-processor-based HP products. Customers with abandoned HP software and storage.

HP hasn't officially abandoned MPE/iX — unless closing the software's lab counts, or setting an exit date for supporting the OS.

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HP leads G6 virtual tour online

Virtual-Events HP showed off the future of online training yesterday during its three-hour ProLiant G6 Web Jam. The event that introduced the latest generation of Windows servers consisted of several recorded briefings from inside HP's ProLiant labs in Houston, live chats between viewers and HP staff, as well as documents such as white papers and data sheets.

That last element was provided in an Event Bag, a zip file of documents you select during the broadcast of the videos. HP ran the production out of its Virtual Events Central Web site. The interface conjures up a visit to a computer conference with separate entries to a networking lounge, exhibit hall or auditorium. On the main page of the conference "lobby," animated attendees pass across a carpeted area. (Traffic this light would have exhibitors upset at a real event.) It's all meant to invoke the spirit of attending a show. In some aspects, HP's Tuesday presentation did more than the vendor might have intended to cook up the show experience.

HP would not go to the expense to create this event without making it available afterward. You can still go to to register and see the G6 team's videos and fill up your event bag. Being there yesterday would have put you in the company of several hundred other "attendees" for networking inside chat rooms.

If you'd dedicated time to watch the full event, and had a prerequisite knowledge of the ProLiant hardware, yesterday would have been training time well spent. HP essentially turned on a video camera when it briefed partners and staff about the sixth generation of ProLiant servers. Like at any good conference, HP's more technical presenters told the unvarnished truth about product design. One member of the Blades SWAT Team showed mentioned a component whose failure erases a ProLiant's midplane board serial number.

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HP shows off Gen 6 ProLiant servers

G6 Register this morning for today's Webcast series to take the complete tour of HP's newest G6 ProLiant server line. The event is a string of seven Web presentations from HP covering the alternative hardware the vendor offers to many HP 3000 migrating customers.

HP calls this sixth generation G6, and these Webcasts start at 10 AM CST and run through early afternoon US Central Daylight Time. HP says

These Webcasts will bring you on-site to the ProLiant manufacturing facilities and server farms. You'll see product tear-down and meet the product managers and other HP personnel. After you've had a look, you can ask the engineers questions and meet independent bloggers who have similar jobs and interests.

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PING, IMAGE made easier on 3000

I’m looking for a program that will read IMAGE log files. I know Bradmark has something to analyze these files that I can purchase, but at the present time I really don’t have any money in the budget. What’s available for free?

Cathlene McRae of HP helps out:

CATCHLOG is a good program to use, and it can be obtained at the new Jazz sites. The first one open is at Client Systems:

I have a new HP 3000 A500 installation that I can't Telnet to. Ping works both ways, but I get nothing with Reflection's Telnet. What do I need to check on the 3000 to get Telnet running?

Robert Schlosser says:

Two things come to mind: Check if the JINETD job is running [run it by streaming JINETD.NET.SYS]; and if the line "telnet 23/tcp" is in your SERVICES.NET.SYS file.

OpenMPE director Donna Hofmeister adds:

You also need to have INETDCNF.NET configured.

There's a collection of 'samp' files in .NET that in most cases need to be copied to their 'real' file name in order to make TCP/INETD networking work.

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OpenMPE in final stretch for Jazz

The OpenMPE advocacy group has finalized an agreement with Hewlett-Packard to host the contents of the Jazz Web server. Paperwork has been filed at HP's offices, and the group is taking delivery of media which contains the complete contents of the server which served the 3000 community with freeware for more than a decade.

The hosting facility for the OpenMPE offering will be the datacenter at OpenMPE director Matt Perdue's Hill Country Technologies, a secure disaster recovery hotsite and outsourcing facility that serves HP 3000, Unix and Linux customers. A Linux server was used to retrieve the Jazz files from HP's servers in late December as an interim step. Perdue confirmed that he's testing the linkages from that interim download.

OpenMPE also has the capacity to share the Interex CSL MPE/iX shareware from the OpenMPE servers, Perdue said. In addition to this long-standing resource of contributed programs, OpenMPE will be delivering the Invent3k public access development services which HP curtailed in late November of last year.

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Bloggy bits on several fronts

Clearing the decks here with a few news items of note for the 3000 customer:

IBM might axe an HP-UX competitor. Today the Wall Street Journal reports that Big Blue continues to pursue a deal to purchase Sun Microsystems. But if an acquisition takes place, one of the casualties could be Solaris, the Unix flavor that competes with HP's Unix and IBM's own AIX. Sound familiar, HP 3000 users of MPE/iX? The IBM move would benefit the lifespan of HP-UX, which HP will support and extend only as long as it contributes revenues and profits and attracts customers. Those were the rules for the HP 3000, after all. At present, HP has given a guarantee of 2016 for HP-UX, for whatever such promises are worth.

• Staying with HP 3000 alternatives, Texas has outlawed Vista. At least in government. The state senate down here (our offices are in Austin) gave preliminary approval to a state budget that includes a provision forbidding government agencies from upgrading to Microsoft's Windows Vista without written consent of the legislature. Sen. Juan Hinojosa, a Democrat from McAllen and vice chairman of the Finance Committee, proposed the rider because "of the many reports of problems with Vista." Vista is a desktop environment, but a piece of the enterprise solution which Microsoft continues to see as vital. (On the other hand, we kill things off in Texas faster than any other state.)

3000 advice and tech help resurfaced on the 3000 newsgroup. Once a vast collection of wizardry that dished out 2,000 messages a month, the 3000-L mailing list and newsgroup weathered a six-day stretch without a single bit of tech advice. A score of Off Topic messages floated up about US politics, but the group has never seen so long a period with so little help offered.

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HP plugs SSL exploit for HP-UX

Hewlett-Packard's support team announced a security alert for all HP-UX servers running any version of HP-UX 11, warning the community this week that the OpenSSL security mechanism can be used to breach HP's Unix system.

Unix exploits generate critical warnings on a regular basis for HP-UX servers. To mitigate the risk, HP patches up such breeches as quickly as possible. The latest information on how to keep the security tool SSL from becoming a Unix back door, by adding patch HPSBUX02418, is available at HP's IT Response Center (ITRC) Web site.

SSRT090002 rev.1 - HP-UX Running OpenSSL, Remote Unauthorized Access
Content Type: HP-UX security bulletins digest
PRIORITY: Critical
Release Date: 03/30/2009

HP notes that HP-UX users such as those who have migrated to the company's HP 9000 or Integrity platforms will need a Response Center login ID and password to read the security bulletin. And to comply with HP's requests, the information excerpted above is

Copyright 2008, Hewlett-Packard Company. All rights reserved. All product and company names referenced herein are trademarks of their respective owners.

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User group survivors launch Treeware Project

SuperGroupAlfredo Former members of the HP user group SuperGroup Association have announced a new project to preserve the history of the HP 3000, collecting and archiving the most durable medium for the platform: paper manuals.

"Since the 3000 performed its work for more than 20 years without even CD-ROM archive technology, we know where the good stuff lives," said Treeware Project organizer D. David Brown. "We're putting out a call to the entire 3000 community to send us their paper manuals and documentation, so we can erect a massive testament to the success of this system."

Brown said that even sales and marketing documents would be crucial items in the project's mission. "Most of the time HP's marketing materials gave the biggest clues to the 3000's true powers," he said. "We stopped publishing our SuperGroup magazine in 1989, once the vendor finally dropped its "cold dead fish" marketing practices."

Historians in the community such as Raul Paulerson were puzzled in their comments on the Treeware Project, apparently caught unawares by the bold, overnight move to catalog billions of pages of documents. "I'd estimate there's more than a million This page left intentionally blank sheets out there," he said. "These Treeware guys better have really good shredders to weed those out."

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