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How to Procure Connections for 3000s

Even in the most crucial of IT operations, an HP 3000 can remain a keystone. Last week we got a call from a 3000 manager whose clients provide a very crucial military service, run off a 3000. The system design at the shop includes a tool advanced for its time, the ADBC database middleware that uses Adager's Java-based tool designs. ADBC was implemented and sold by David Thatcher.

This 3000 helps ensure that military operations can keep rolling, literally. It provides logistics for all the US Army's tires, as one example. It's custom software that does the routing and tracking of addresses, where the materials are going and where orders came from. The manager described it as a mini-ERP with a lot of hooks into different providers.

This 3000 is going to remain on a roll for awhile. "We're trying to rewrite it, but it's not that easy to do away with it," the manager added. "The HP 3000 just keeps chugging along very reliably." Our NewsWire reviewer John Burke once said of ADBC that since it provides "the prospect of being able to program in a language whose compiled output can run on virtually any platform without modification, and natively access TurboIMAGE databases, MPE files and XL routines on an HP 3000, it made even an old curmudgeon like myself sit up and take notice."

This manager called to locate the ADBC developers; an error code had just popped up on his software. We reached out to Thatcher to connect him with his former customer, one who had let support for the software lapse awhile ago. Thatcher, working at a New York bank now, provided his help for free. But there's an online resource of 3000 experts where he's listed that might be a first stop on this kind of former-supplier search: LinkedIn. You'd have to find a spot to connect Thatcher to ADBC first, but we've got that covered, too.

Thatcher is one of more than 260 members of the HP 3000 Community on LinkedIn. Now in its third year, the moderated online group includes a resume from every member, the ability to send messages directly if you're a member (it's free) as well as a current news feed that includes NewsWire articles. People are joining every week.

Calling our offices can be a fun way to try to track down a provider, kind of a mini-ERP of information operated with old-school technology. But knowing who's in charge of an older tool like ADBC? That info comes from a search of our archives. There's the last article we provided, back in 2002 in the printed 3000 NewsWire, about ANSI-Web, derived from a simple search of "ADBC" off our Search link at the left of this blog.

Not every search of our community yields this kind of happy ending. But within 90 minutes of this fellow's call, he was up and running again with software that hasn't been sold for more than five years. The sticky connectivity of your community makes it possible to keep the wheels of IT rolling, even when some people think of the 3000 as a retread. For a customer like this one, they might figure, "Why reinvent the wheel?"