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3000 Reunion to be a meeting made by users

HP 3000 to get its Night at the Museum

By Alan Yeo

YeoDinner Stealing a headline from the title of Shawn Levy's movie is as good a way as any to start. Not that I'm suggesting that members of the HP 3000 Community are now dinosaurs or historic figures reduced to walking the byways of the Internet after dark. However, it is true that within this community there are many members whose computing careers date back to that pre-dawn era before the PC came to dominate the earth. You are part of the history of the development of mainstream commercial computing.

So if any venue is appropriate for a reunion for those who have worked with the HP 3000, the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley has to be it. For genuinely, we have seen and experienced computer history being made over the last four decades.
Now is the time for all good men
to come to the aid of having a party

I will only slightly paraphrase the sentence invented by Charles E. Weller to develop typing skills on the QWERTY keyboard. (A device that probably everyone reading this has used as the main tool of their working lives, although some of us remember hand punching 80-column cards before that.) Hopefully, this has also caught the attention of a few people for whom the initial headline was a bit dry.

But a “Reunion Party” is really what this is all about. On Sept. 24, a chance to meet again (or perhaps for the first time) those people from the HP 3000 community that we have worked with, met at conferences, used their software and/or hardware, perhaps have exchanged support emails with, or perhaps have only been familiar names on technical newsgroups. This is a group of people that coalesced around the HP 3000 and became a world-wide family and community.

But Weller's quote above also has real meaning, in that it's what is required if we are to make this happen. Since the death of the HP 3000 (whoops, bet that offended a few, but let's get real; we did have the “Wake” back in 2003) former community members are now rapidly dispersing into different careers, retiring, or unfortunately in a few cases no longer with us. There is no longer an HP that is interested in our part of its history, or a vendor or user group to organize an event,

There is only a virtual community of companies and individuals, held together by a common interest and history. So it's up to all of us to make something happen if we want it to, and it's probably better that way - as it makes it a community event.

Why, What, Where and When

Since the demise of Interex on the eve of HP World in 2005, we have managed to put together a few HP 3000 community events, in 2005, 2007 and 2009. So working on a biannual cycle, 2011 looks timely. What's more, 2011 also sees the passing of a few other milestones in the history of the HP 3000 -- much like the end of sales of the HP 3000 in 2003 gave us the impetus to get together for the “World Wide Wake.” 2011 marks 10 years after HP announced they were killing the platform. It is also the first year after all support from HP for the 3000 and MPE officially ceased.

It's fair to say that from 2011 onward the community is on its own -- and it may be the last significant time when there is a reason and the ability to get as many people together as possible for one last bash. Our plan is that we will organize a late afternoon and evening reunion event at the Computer History Museum on Saturday, Sept. 24. Other training sessions begin Sept. 22.

We will organize food and beverages and hopefully an interesting talking head/living legend or two. And that hopefully, you provide your attendance to make it a great event.

So let's go out with a bang, not a whimper.

The idea for organizing a get-together event has been circulating for a while, but these things usually require a catalyst to make them happen or at least to start the ball rolling. The consensus was that if it was going to be done, it should be an event to celebrate the history of the HP 3000 -- something that as many people with links to HP 3000 as possible would want to attend to renew acquaintances. Hence the idea that the Computer History Museum would be a great venue.

(More on the HP 3000 Reunion tomorrow. Visit hp3000reunion.com for ongoing details.)

Alan Yeo is the organizer of the 2003 World Wide Wake for the HP 3000, plus three subsequent Community Meets, as well as the founder of ScreenJet.