Databases rise from ashes as open source
New disks refresh old HP 3000s

Questions, definitions expand broad scope of HP IT manager skills

HPinsight HP 3000s work across a vast scope of IT expertise. The computer was sold in the 1980s and onward to replace steel filing cabinets, according to the late 3000 advocate Wirt Atmar. The 3000 also drives  business critical computing so complex that it needs an IT expert to integrate with an enterprise. On the other hand, the casual 3000 user benefits when they better understand the jargon of the system's operating environment.

Whether a customer needs help knowing what a "Gig" is, or would do well to know what CSLT stands for and how to use one, HP offers resources for both kinds of customers. The technical wizards who call IT a career might cringe at the simplicity of HP's "Most Baffling IT Terms," fundamental questions that every computer manager had better understand. On the other hand, the Glossary for MPE/iX 7.5 defines terms that would glaze over the eyes of an office manager who's just acquired 3000 responsibility -- and needs those definitions.

Both levels of resource are necessary for the 3000 community, since the computer was sold as a general-purpose computer solution for decades. Some low-tech everyday office workers have managed 3000s for all of that time. Some are now acquiring 3000 duties and could use that glossary to make their work easier. A few of the 3000 vets may have been out of the general computing loop and could make use of HP's baffling terms.

Those "baffling IT terms" paint with a broad brush, aimed at novice computer managers. They include Blu-Ray as well as WEP, and while the former is understood by schoolkids, the latter is a security choice that's weak even by HP's own definition. (More useful, but missing: A definition of WPA2, a more secure choice to protect Wi-Fi.)

HP has produced a series of entertaining, low-tech video primers on technology practices, created for the novice manager using Windows to run a small business. The videos won't get into essential practices such as securing access on a Windows XP account on a PC. But at 12 minutes or so, they deliver more insight than an IT term list.

As for that Windows XP security, even the fundamentals can elude a 3000 manager who's an expert at the likes of lockwords but is faced with protecting a network of Windows PCs. Dave Powell answered such a question from Shawn Gordon, whose 3000 expertise is deep enough to develop 3000 tools.

"A friend has a Windows network with several main servers," Gordon asked, "and the problem seems to be these servers' IPs are exposed to the world at large through their Cisco router (which has selected ports open), and people can use terminal services to log in. There seems to be nothing other than a user ID and password required as long as that user is part of the remote access group, and everyone appears to have the Administrator password."

Powell, who's been a 3000 community contributor of command files for years, replied that shutting down all but crucial services is a good start for managing any computer system. "Part of my standard XP setup routine is to disable several services which various sources have called security risks. “Terminal services” is one of the ones I always disable. In XP, go to control-panel | administrative tools | services."

For the 3000 manager who's inherited administration of a system from a retired expert, securing the 3000 is less a matter of disabling services than understanding what MPE/iX offers. Even after 25 years, one of the best whitepapers on the subject is Eugene Volokh's Burn Before Reading, part of Vesoft's Thoughts and Discourses on HP3000 Software. The paper is online at the Adager technical papers Web site.