Top 2009 Stories: Open and extended futures
2009 predictions stock up 2010's to-dos

Top 2009 Stories: Bigger ideas for the future

Grand2010 On this final day of 2009, the 3000 community in transition or entrenched can look back on a year of actions that edged toward 2010. Software emerged that would keep the computer compliant with new auditors' standards, the kind predicted to end the 3000's life. At the same time, groups formed and re-formed to smooth the path of transition with information exchange.

No fewer than three software solutions emerged to support using the 3000 with the latest PCI credit card security standards. Paul Taffel released a fresh version of IDent/3000, a PCI compliance utility, in mid-year. He's been selling the solution to the Ecometry e-commerce customers, a group of online retailers who once represented the hottest growth of the 3000 installed base. The year before HP announced it was ending its 3000 business, Ecometry sites led the computer's market in growth.

Taffel's product was not alone in making a way to take the 3000 into a new decade and comply with standards an auditor will have to check to satisfy Visa and Mastercard. Minisoft also introduced software that would "allow a user to specify the PCI-compliant levels along with the type of encryption (Change Cipher Spec Protocol) required by an organization's auditor or compliance officer" using Minisoft's ODBC, JDBC and OLE database middleware drivers.

PCI is among the standards and technologies which HP did not engineer into the 3000's future. Independent developers have bigger visions for the system's future, however, views prompted by the needs of customers not ready to migrate. 2010 may bring more of these visions, just as the year is certain to contain ideas on doing your own migration work along with several means to connect with like-minded 3000 owners. As proof of both, the community saw the Connect user group reorganize in 2009 to stay healthy, while the e3000 Community Meet pulled together veterans for a second in-person meeting.

Community members can look to both of these groups for more chances in 2010 to learn and grow into a different future. The e3000 Meet attracted more than 40 attendees, on virtually no notice or marketing effort, to discuss and exchange 3000 experience in a one-day, single-track meeting that featured more than two solid hours of roundtable discussion. Expect more to come from the Meet's kingpin Alan Yeo and his ally Michael Marxmeier in the run up to HP's end in 2010.

At the same time, a more traditional user organization took steps to stay connected and relevant to a computer community that has stopped identifying itself by its systems vendor. Connect, which assembled itself in 2008 out of the HP Encompass, NonStop and Digital VMS user groups, changed its business model along with its leading link to HP computer professionals. The group mounted its fifth annual HP Technology Forum & Expo as an in-person gathering, reporting attendance of 4,500 total bodies at the Las Vegas meeting.

But at the same time as Connect served the traditions of face-to-face networking — at a meet managed by association management firm Smith-Bucklin — Connect was reaching for some newer ideas along with a more classic group operation model. Smith-Bucklin's annual contract was not renewed in June, and so the Connect operations will be fulfilled with volunteers, two paid staffers and some outside and sponsored partner help for marketing and communications. Nina Buik, the group's outgoing president, reported that while the group's Web site was gathering more page views than ever, the group's benefits to the community will include ample in-person events.

We will hold more events in 2010 than we have in the six years I have served on the board. Events, as you know, require a tremendous amount of effort in planning and execution. Our team is in position today to run these events efficiently with the support of volunteers and partners.

Among these 2010 events that were promised during 2009 were a gathering for a customer base served by a executive familiar to HP 3000 community members. Winston Prather, the last of HP's 3000 division GMs, is supporting a Connect NonStop Symposium and Expo. As the VP and GM of HP's NonStop Enterprise Division, Prather is lending his division's support to a conference scheduled for Sept. 26-29.

At the same time Connect was building meeting resources far simpler to attend than any physical conference. Next month the group will mark HP-UX Month with a Webinar from the Business Critical Systems VP Lorraine Bartlett, whose unit has seen severe challenges to maintain its Integrity server revenue growth. Customers looking toward a future with HP-UX -- a group that must include many migrating 3000 sites -- are invited to register for the Jan. 19 Web encounter. It's the kind of contact where Connect expects to show its greatest growth in 2010: on the Web.

We'll be back on the Web in 2010 as well, connecting the dots and users with partners in a year with the added interest of HP's total departure from 3000 business. We're taking tomorrow off to celebrate the new year and newest decade, while we calculate how well our '09 forecasts and dreams panned out. One decade ago your community was poised for problems in the drama of Y2K. Enjoy the relative bliss of this New Year's Eve. We'll see you Monday morning after we've shaken 2009's confetti out of our hair.