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Winning the Race for the Longer Haul

Tickets to talk up memories: still for sale

It's beyond 7 PM in the East of the US, and beyond midnight in the European regions of the HP 3000 Community. More than 60 HP3000 Reunion tickets have been sold at the best-value, early-bird rate. In addition to that threescore group, others will be on hand for next weekend's gathering of 3000 veterans, experts, users and devotees.

There's only a few more hours left to buy a Party Ticket at the best price of $49 -- but they will still be on sale right up to the evening of the party. Online at $60, or cash at the door.

CAMUS users are starting early with their own reunion at the official Reunion hotel, the Cupertino Inn. These users of MANMAN and ERP software will meet at 6:30 Friday around the hotel's pool.

Others heading to the Reunion site at the Computer History Museum include users, prospects and those researching the Eloquence database from Marxmeier Software. A User Group Conference on Thursday, Sept. 22 marks the start of all the activities. The very concept of meeting in person is a throwback as well as a look to the future of this community. This is a group that needs memories, the kind that are sparked by in-person talk.

At this time in the life of the HP 3000, the computer’s community doesn’t need a user group or even organized advocates (although the latter could help.) What we need is memories. We need to remember the skills and savvy to keep this computer a lively IT tool. Or we don’t want to forget what the answers taught us about our abilities to learn.

While a newer generation tells us to keep learning or retire, we crave a measure of what we’ve done, our journey through challenge, to remind us that we’re hardy and clever and persistent. Many of you have never stood in one room with so many 3000 colleagues. You might be able to trace your path to the point where you raise a glass to toast your travels.

I’ll look at that glass in my hand and see some of those steps bubble up, backward. From that flute of brut to the man who built the app which manages that winery, Steve Smith. From him back to Doug Greenup, whose tip about 3000 resellers linked me to Smith’s tiny company selling used 3000s to new customers. From Greenup to George Hubman of WRQ, the arch-rivals of Greenup’s Minisoft. Then back to days before the WRQ’s marketing chief Hubman and his partner Doug Walker retired, beyond to the year when it the company was Walker, Richer & Quinn selling a pink box of floppy-based software that first did the magic of emulating the HP 3000’s 2622 terminal.

Yes, an emulation program was the first software for a 3000 I ever laid eyes upon. Like today, people believed it couldn’t be built. It sat atop a PC monitor at The Chronicle, where I reached out to write about people buying and using computers from an HP that sold just $6 billion in products a year. Less money than HP's sales in 13 weeks of just the business computers. Devices it created in a era when DP meant IT, not a Director of Photography.

That night’s air will fill with flashes, though, plus the buzz of grandparent stories of 300-baud modems and pratfalls like Q-MIT, New Wave and Allbase 4GL. We may share tales of people at the Coldstart conference parties broken up by cops in hotels, or an inflatable alligator that a cheeky vendor dragged around a show floor. If we’re aware and listening, we might hear the sound of studies and sentiment swell around us.

I hope you’ll be there to share your lessons, just in case your colleague needs them. You can never tell what can be useful. But it will feel wonderful to tell a story in a place that your industry has dedicated to memories.