Extra days to enter for free Connect full pass
PDF techniques span integration skills

Pushing Out PDFs Until Retirement Orbits

LEM HP 3000s can create PDFs in many ways. The user community has been reporting its methods this week, but one inventor in 3000 IT broke ground, and then broke away from 3000 use altogether.

Bob McGregor works IT at the Great Falls school district in Montana. We've written about him using Sanface software to do PDF file creation for his enterprise. There are better solutions available for the HP 3000, tuned by companies who know the server from long ago -- and so offer more native integration. (You know who we're talking about, Hillary Software, with your byRequest solution. It's ready for homesteading and migration.)

But McGregor hails from that generation of IT pros who never feared rolling up their sleeves to integrate themselves, taking tools from less-specific suppliers and making them work in a 3000 shop. He wrote us this week to report that he doesn't need to integrate like for his 3000, because the server was retired over the year-end school holidays.

There are many ways to bring 3000 reports into PDF formats, just as there are many reasons to retire an HP 3000 at a shop that has been a poster child for innovation. At Great Falls, the reasons seem to relate to retirement age of the staff vs. managers. It's a story we often hear these days when a 3000 is unplugged.

McGregor runs a shop that used Powerhouse and other 3000-bred tools. He says the call accounting app on the 3000 was the last one to get transferred to Windows.

We migrated the final items we were doing on the 3000 last fall with the final one being our call accounting solution. We moved out student systems to software called Powerschool about five years ago, moved our business system to Windows-based software, and then had some smaller systems we moved to windows based solutions and some other various changes.

Our main functions have been migrated for well over two years. Once call accounting was done, we had to pull employee info from our HR system for reference. We then left the 3000 up for two months before moving it just in case. That led to the Christmas timeframe. Of course, just last week, there was a request for a report from HR, but we should be able to satisfy it with our data extract.

As for those retirement reasons, it's as much change of staff, more than technology options, that led to the darkening.

The combination of [HP's End of Life notice], staffing changes, and application need really did the most of it. Our two main functions -- student systems and business systems -- needed new apps for the changing times. Also, my staff is completely different now, and hiring Windows skills is a bit easier.

A few years ago, I made the choice not to have my staff learn the 3000, so I am the only one with any understanding of it at all. While my career goes back to 1986 on the 3000, I am resting easier now for our district since there is no unique tie to it. I feel like the movie Apollo 13 when the crew bid farewell to the lunar module while it drifted away.

If you're still orbiting with your LEM, we'll have a roundup on the self-integrated solutions tomorrow.