Pros build a life beyond the 3000
HP offers partly cloudy futures

Practice independence in your community

Here in the US we're observing our Independence Day this weekend, a celebration that echoes my hopes of independence for HP 3000 community members. Those who are homesteading on the system beyond HP's schedule have already chosen an independent path. They depend on new partners for support. Some community members have chosen the independence of Linux and open source, too, to supplement their 3000 computing power.

I also believe that independence is essential to those members staying with HP. Those companies migrating need to speak out freely about their experiences. As a journalist for almost 30 years, I've seen a decline in the independence of speaking on the record. I'd love to start a revolution in that regard and roll back the calendar, but anonymous sources have become a bulwark in reporting. The journalism community represented at the Washington, DC Newseum — a fine stop for any citizen-tourist in that town — has grave doubts about anonymous sources. We reporters trade credibility for trust when we need to use these sources.

I'd use fewer of these with more customers going on the record. Public meetings, open to both users and the press, are becoming rare indeed. It's up to 3000 community members to speak out online, where the speaker has more control of what's being reported.

In fact, the demise of public meetings was one factor in passing up the HP Technology Forum & Expo this year. This is first year since 1985 that I haven't attended a national-level HP user conference. After 24 annual events in a row, it seemed that things have changed between HP and the press. Last year I complained about the frustration of incomplete press access at HPTF. Things have shifted in HP's press approach, which makes the Internet and blogs the reasonable alternative to hearing community members' voices.

There's been a bit of good change, like hearing HP talk live to the analysts about quarterly reports via the Internet. But when Computerworld is standing outside a meeting door alongside the 3000 NewsWire, then HPTF starts to look like a restricted event. The user forums were ideal for a journalist who wants in-person connections with new sources. Users voicing opinions and telling stories about their customer experience is the meat of a conference. I understand how that won't serve HP as well as it did in the 80s or even the 90s. Sometimes you just have to accept changes.

As a community member you don't have to accept a less independent strategy. HP does operate a few forums online where customers can share opinion and experience. But the filtering is profound these days, probably reflecting the whole spin dance companies do with the media. You control your statements if you can speak out in places like Twitter, Linked In and Facebook (all of which have 3000-related followings and groups), as well as the Connect user group's online MPE forum. We'll be hearing more about that group in awhile, according to Connect board director Chris Koppe.

Until then and beyond, I hope you'll share your independent statements with your community and me here at the NewsWire. Enjoy and exercise your independence as a citizen, community member, or both.