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February 2012

A Rare Birthday for Eugene Today

He was once the youngest official member of the 3000 community. And he still has the rare distinction of not being in his 50s or 60s while knowing MPE. Eugene Volokh celebrates his 44th birthday today, and the co-creator of MPEX must wait every four years to celebrate on his real day of birth: He was born on Feb. 29 in the Ukraine.

150px-Eugene_VolokhAlthough he's not the youngest community member (that rank goes to The Support Group's president David Floyd, a decade younger) Eugene probably ranks as the best-known outside our humble neighborhood. After he built and then improved MPEX, VEAudit/3000 and Security/3000 with his father Vladimir at VEsoft, Eugene earned a law degree as he went on to clerk for US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- en route to his current place in the public eye as go-to man for all questions concerning intellectual property on the Web and Internet, as well as First and Second Amendment issues across all media. He's appeared on TV, been quoted in the likes of the Wall Street Journal, plus penned columns for that publication, the New York Times, as well as Harvard, Yale and Georgetown law reviews. You can also hear him on National Public Radio. When I last heard Eugene's voice, he was commenting in the middle of a This American Life broadcast in 2010. He's a professor of Constitutional law at UCLA, and the father of two sons of his own by now. Online, he makes appearances on The Volokh Conspiracy blog he founded with brother Sasha (also a law professor, at Emory University).

In the 3000 world, Eugene's star burned with distinction when he was only a teenager. I first met him in Orlando at the annual Interex conference in 1988, when he held court at a dinner at the tender age of 20. I was a lad of 31 and listened to him wax on subjects surrounding security -- a natural topic for someone who presented the paper Burn Before Reading, which remains a vital text even more 25 years after it was written. The paper's inception matches with mine in the community -- we both entered in 1984. But Eugene, one of those first-name-only 3000 personalities like Alfredo or Birket (Rego and Foster, if you're just coming to this world), was always way ahead of me in 3000 lore and learning.

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Some 3000 peripherals still connected at HP

Hewlett-Packard continues to operate a webpage to help 3000 customers learn about compatibile HP peripherals. The information at this webpage doesn't change any compatibility which a 3000 already enjoys with the XP line of disks (48, 512 and more). Since there's been no change in the 3000's OS or hardware since 2007, whatever's working will continue to perform.

But the devices listed on the HP page are much more recent in their vintage. HP still sells them. The XP10000 and XP12000 arrays are on display at HP e3000 Storage Products. For a company that's claimed to be out of the 3000 market, HP's after-market products have become persistent. Support contracts might be available for these devices from HP, too. But a support contract from an independent company is even more likely to include HP's XP and VA devices. A link called Fibre Channel Switches on HP's webpage leads to a gateway page crowded with Storage Networking products. Networking, by the way, was the only part of HP's Enterprise group which posted sales gains for Q1.

5814A FabricDiagramAlso listed on the Storage Products page, along with a raft of StorageWorks devices, is the essential SCSI-Fibre Channel Router A5814A, available in two models. This device in its -003 flavor is used to attach the 3000 -- using a Brocade 2400 or 2800 switch for Fibre -- with the XP storage units and HP's Virtual Arrays, like the VA7410 used at Hostess Brands. (Click on the graphic above for more detail.) Those HP StorageWorks and XP devices sport links that arrive at active HP product pages. The A5814A does not, a signal that the used marketplace is now the only spot to find a replacement unit. There's also the parts depot of your support provider, sp long as that indie firm actually operates its own depot.

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3000 support demands spare inventory

Independent service providers have signed up most of the 3000 homesteaders by now, according to Pivital Solutions' Steve Suraci. The CEO still runs across the occassional shop served by HP out of habit. A big share of the available service contracts have already been passed to independent companies, however, according to an article in our in-the-mail February NewsWire print issue.

HP5418ABut using an independent firm for support is a smart deal only if the provider has ample spare parts allocated to your site, Suraci said. A system administrator who manages the Series 969 at Hostess Brands (how's that for a large homesteading company -- Twinkies anyone?) needed an HP A5418A fiber router (at left) to replace a blown device. The indie support company serving Hostess didn't have one, so Joe Barnett went looking on the 3000-L mailing list himself. He needed to maintain connectivity to his VA7410 array, or face rebuilding the array from backup tapes.

Solutions and suggestions trickled in -- including the purchase of one 5814A for sale on eBay "that might not rewritable," because it wasn't the MPE -003 model. What's more, that vanilla unit ships on 4-14 days delivery time, according to the eBay listing. Suraci, whose company specializes in 3000s, pointed at a weak Service Level Agreement (SLA) as a bigger problem than just not being able to get a replacement HP router.

How many HP 3000 shops are relying on support providers that are incompetent and/or inept? The provider was willing to take this company's money, without even being able to provide reasonable assurance that they had replacement parts in a depot somewhere in the event of failure. There are still reputable support providers out there. Your provider should not be afraid to answer tough questions about their ability to deliver on an SLA.

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Alternative Takes on HP Q1: Hope's on Tap

Whitman-2012Yes, HP has reported Q1 results with sales down and profits eroded. It's true, the CEO has said the company has a long way to go to fix what's broken in the business. And oh yeah, the stock market stripped off about 5-10 percent of the HPQ share price after Meg Whitman spoke up.

But not all of that is spooking everybody about HP's futures for the next several years. It seems that the next few years will cover the period when migrations wind down, although I'm always surprised when a large corporation shows up on the homesteader roster. (Pfizer has been the latest homesteader, at least through 2010.)

Over in Good Morning Silicon Valley (, a Q1 reaction story notes that some analysts think HP's got a comeback saga that's being overlooked. If nothing else, Whitman said yesterday that she'll be at HP long enough to see that comeback through. If the board doesn't tire of her, we suppose. The GSVM story on the stock and comeback says

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, in a note to clients Thursday morning, said that the key element in HP's earnings report was the victory in EPS, "showing the company is making progress. The company is an underappreciated turnaround story (which could improve) as investors get more comfortable with the company's improved focus and execution."

There's no ignoring the numbers that show Itanium BCS sales are tanking (watch out, Unix migrators). But the HP overall forecast may be a five-year renovation, one that finds enough cost savings to stock up the R&D armory once more. R&D used to be one of HP's most potent weapons. And since the company wants to build a hardened Linux for HP-UX migrators, better R&D spending can only help provide that future.

HP starts 2012 with a sinking quarter

ESSN Q1-12 resultsHewlett-Packard reported falling results in most of its computer areas yesterday, even though the company beat the estimates of analysts. Not even those modest suprises could prevent the markets from beating HP stock back into the $27 range after the Q1 2012 quarterly report. It's possible that the markets were looking at the darkest news out of HP's sales: the business that it's stopped winning in enterprise computing.

If HP's escaped your IT orbit, then the trevails of the Business Critical Systems (BCS) unit -- where the news is darkest -- won't matter at all. Except maybe to confirm that HP's an IT partner which belongs in your rear-view mirror. But if your migration plans include HP's more favored platforms like Unix, Linux or even Windows, the Q1 notes are worth considering. (Click on the above chart for more detail.) This doesn't seem to be a "everybody in the market is down" kind of report. Q1 is the second straight period where HP had to talk about sales sinking in nearly all of its businesses.

Just to recap, BCS is the unit where HP's Itanium servers and software products are sold. Just not so much anymore. BCS is a part of the Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking unit (ESSN). The bigger brother of BCS is Industry Standard Servers. Whether Proprietary like Itanium, or Standard like Xeon/x86, none of this stuff at HP is selling like it did just one year ago. Below is the summary straight from HP.

ESSN revenue declined 10 percent year over year, with an 11.2 percent operating margin. Networking revenue was flat, Industry Standard Servers revenue was down 11 percent, Business Critical Systems revenue was down 27 percent, and Storage revenue was down 6 percent year over year.

What is selling as well as it did in ESSN? Networking. Outside this enterprise group, software revenues were up, since HP added the sales of Autonomy, its $10.2 billion acquisition. Services stayed even. Oh, and HP Finance posted gains, too. At least the debt business is on the upswing. It all flows down to a bottom line that took a 44 percent hit in profits in Q1. New CEO Meg Whitman isn't happy, kind of an odd response to results at an HP where she's been a director for more than a year. And for the first time, HP described its regular dividend in terms of what it costs the vendor in cash: $244 million to pay out for Q1. Apple's never paid a dividend. Now it looks like HP's legendary dividend might be rising beyond its new economic realities.

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ERP migration advice on tap over lunch

Birket Foster, who's been practicing and preaching on the subject of 3000 system migrations for a decade, is leading a 45-minute talk on the Best Practices for Application Migration today. ERP systems, some of the most complex and most prevalent in the HP 3000 community, serve as the example for sharing these application practices.

Many companies are struggling to support legacy ERP solutions that haven’t kept pace with new ERP technologies. Others may be looking for the right ERP solution to deploy for the very first time. With the cost of maintaining a legacy environment increasing, companies reach out to learn and understand alternatives and possibilities.

The MB Foster webinar starts at 11 AM PDT, 1 PM CDT and 2 PM EDT today. It's free and you can register online at the MB Foster website. Foster likes to use Commercial Off The Shelf as the nameplate for replacement software. COTS has challenges if a company chooses that migration route instead of a migration. But the typical ERP installation has so much customization after a decade or two of service that this kind of migration needs special attention. Maybe even outside help from any service or support provider which has helped migrate a manufacturer.

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Respect MPE spooler, even as you replace it

PrintspoolerMigration transitions have an unexpected byproduct: They make managers appreciate the goodness that HP bundled into MPE/iX and the 3000. The included spooler is a great example of functionality which has a extra cost to replace in a new environment. No, not even Unix can supply the same abilities -- and that's the word from one of the HP community's leading Unix gurus.

Bill Hassell spread the word about HP-UX treasures for years from his own consultancy. Now he's working for SourceDirect as a Senior Sysadmin expert and posting to the LinkedIn HP-UX group. A migration project just finishing up drew Hassell's notice, when the project's manager noted Unix tools weren't performing at enterprise levels. Hassell said HP-UX doesn't filter many print jobs.

MPE has an enterprise level print spooler, while HP-UX has very primitive printing subsystem. hpnp (HP Network Printing) is nothing but a network card (JetDirect) configuration program. The ability to control print queues is very basic, and there is almost nothing to monitor or log print activities similar to MPE. HP-UX does not have any print job filters except for some basic PCL escape sequences such as changing the ASCII character size.

While a migrating shop might now be appreciating the MPE spooler more, some of them need a solution to replicate the 3000's built-in level of printing control. One answer to the problem might lie in using a separate Linux server to spool, because Linux supports the classic Unix CUPS print software much better than HP-UX.

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Website reveals HP Discover 2012 sessions

HP and the user group Connect announced the opening of registrations for the world's largest annual Hewlett-Packard conference and expo. HP Discover 2012 is scheduled for the first week of June in Las Vegas. The meeting revolves around all things enterprise and HP, so it can be a mecca for migration training and information, and some instruction.

DiscoverSearchResultsConnect and HP have improved a customer's ability to scout the schedule for the three days of talks and training. A search engine helps to discover sessions that are organized by tracks, subtracks, customer challenges addressed -- even type of presenter. That last search element yields a surprise today.

"At HP Discover we will have sessions presented by people with a variety of different backgrounds: Analysts, Customers/Clients, HP Employees, Partners and Sponsors," the website explains.

A total of five sessions are listed as being presented by customers or clients. Three talks on using and supporting cloud computing, plus one each on "an effective IT support contract" to minimize downtime, as well as IT energy management. Even back in the days six conferences ago in 2005, the content of the conference as well as attendance wore a heavy HP coat. The vendor is giving its partners even fewer chances for partners to engage customers in talks, too. A total of four pop up in today's Discover search engine. No talks are scheduled from analysts or sponsors.

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Virtual futures await for early 3000 readers

ViralTimesAd-RGBNewsWire Editorial

    A dream delayed is better than a dream denied. It's a natural element of being human to look into the future, a skill your community has polished over the last decade. Across the same period I've done polishing of my own on a dream that looked denied, but has escaped its delays.

    It's Viral Times, the novel I began to write in earnest once HP stopped writing its futures for the 3000. This month the book is a reality in printed and ebook versions, available at and signed from my Writer's Workshop website, I think of Viral Times as my 3000 emulator. It's a project devised from a sense of necessity, given up for lost at least once, but revived and delivered after a surprising amount of challenges in its creation.

   I'd also like to believe my novel has fans waiting in their seats to experience its magic. Not a bestseller's number of readers, partly because a wide-scale release is no more likely than the prospects for the Stromasys Charon HPA/3000 to reverse the trends of 3000 ownership. But you don't need to be a bestseller to tell a good story with meaning for the future. On the other hand, if you don't tell a good story, there's only a slim chance to become a bestseller. Of small books and modest software projects come enduring classics, if we're patient and lucky.

    There's been plenty of time to practice patience with the emulator. It was first discussed in the fall of 2002, the same time I started my training as a writer of fiction with classes at the Austin Writer's League. The concepts of both these ventures have changed a great deal, just like the fields where they're appearing. The '02 emulator was heading for a specialized hardware design that could mimic PA-RISC processors. Software would be essential, but at one point the leading vendor was looking for PA-RISC chips to be placed in a PC-slot card.

    Viral Times started off in a very different place, too. This story of a star reporter who's disgraced and must redeem himself and recover love in a pandemic opened in 2044. I thought I needed that much elbow room in the future to show a society locked down into virtualized life, even virtualized love to avoid disease. It now starts in 2020. By the time it went into release this month, my shorthand for the tale was "It's a story in a future closer than you think."

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Taking a Glance at 3000s: where to get it

On a visit to the offices of The Support Group today, president David Floyd asked a great question. If a 3000 manager wanted to buy a copy of HP Glance, where would they go?

HPLogoClassicReaders probably know Glance as the HP-created performance measurement tool built for MPE-based servers. The product went through 20 years of upgrades and revisions before HP stopped enhancements in the late 1990s. At that point, performance measurement techniques of 3000s weren't about to change much. Reading and understanding the data from Glance always was the counterbalance to the copious detailed reports.

The answer to Floyd's question is Client Systems. This is the former HP 3000 North American distributor, once in lock-step with Hewlett-Packard while Client Systems configured and shipped many a 3000 sold through application-based resellers like Ecometry or Amisys. A few years back HP made its subsystem software available for sale in the market, even though nothing else remained on the price list.

You won't find a way to buy those subsystem product licenses in many places. OpenMPE ran a promotion with the aid of Client Systems starting in 2011 to help the advocacy group raise operating funds. (Website registries, servers, accounting -- it adds up). You can get in touch with an OpenMPE board member (Jack Connor was the last director to mention this offer) and ask for a copy of Glance/iX. HP discounted the prices to a more reasonable post-sales tier, via the deal that gets customers the tools and OpenMPE some assistance. "Client Systems has given OpenMPE pricing at cost," Connor said, "which will allow us to charge 50 percent of HP list for a product, with 10 percent going to OpenMPE."

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Vendors mull emulator tool, app licenses

Even while we await the announcement of the first installation of the Stromasys Charon HPA/3000 emulator product, we're even more eager to get updates on related software. Third party software -- we like to call it independent products now, since HP's stepped away from the party -- still needs a model to license the use of tools and applications.

By many estimates, four out of five HP 3000s in the homestead world are running their own in-house packages. Or they're using commercial vendor software that's modified so heavily it may as well be a custom system. There are licenses of MANMAN from Infor to consider, as well as the remaining installations of Ecometry and a few others. But it's a rare thing for a company to be charging a support fee for an application on a 3000.

Surround code, and third party tools, are a very different territory. Products like UDA Link from MB Foster, Speedware and PowerHouse, Robelle's Suprtool and Qedit, VEsoft's MPEX, even a bedrock tool like Adager -- all are vital parts of the 3000 community that must mull over how their licenses on the HPA/3000 should work. The tool providers usually sustain themselves with annual support contracts, but some have used license transfers while products were moved from older to newer HP 3000s. Several of those vendors have tested their products against HPA/3000 for compatibility.

One such vendor is MB Foster. When we checked in recently with founder Birket Foster -- a Q&A with him is coming in our printed February issue -- he mentioned licensing for emulation as an issue that was resolved by HP, but is still in play at independent software vendors.

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String some perls on a day for love

PerlheartThe HP 3000 has a healthy range of open source tools in its ecosystem. One of the best ways to begin looking at open source software opportunity is to visit the MPE Open Source website operated by Applied Technologies. If you're keeping a 3000 in vital service during the post-HP era, you might find perl a useful tool for interfacing with data via web access.

The 3000 community has chronicled and documented the use of this programming language, with the advice coming from some of the best pedigreed sources. Allegro Consultants has a tar-ball of the compiler available for download from Allegro's website. (You'll find many other useful papers and tools at that Allegro Papers and Books webpage, too.)

Bob Green of Robelle wrote a great primer on the use of perl in the MPE/iX environment. We were fortunate to be the first to publish Bob's paper, run in the 3000 NewsWire when Robelle Tech made a long-running column on our paper pages.

Although you might be dreaming up something to bring to your sweetie tonight, you could grab a little love for your 3000, too. Cast a string of perls starting with the downloads and advice. One of HP's best and brightest -- well, a former HP wizard -- has a detailed slide set on perl, too.

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Developers, users manufacture 3000 chat

LinkedIn-LogoA lively discussion is in play at the HP 3000 Community of LinkedIn, where users, developers and managers are examining issues around migrating away from an MPE application of serious size and age. Or the need to do so.

Once Randy Thon mentioned he's using MM/3000 to manage maintenance services at Cessna Aircraft -- adding that the company's looking at options to leave the 3000 -- others in the 425-member community supplied advice and counsel.

The options suggested to Thon go beyond using the new Stromasys emulator. He's pleased with the way his app is working on the 3000 for Cessna. The hardware is the burr under the aircraft maker's saddle. The migration of an app like MM/3000 is a project that taxed every aspect of the software's owner, a crew laden with ex-HP engineers.

"The eXegeSys team spent years trying to migrate MM/3000 to Unix and ultimately gave up," said Jeffrey Lyon, "and sold the intellectual property. 11.7 million lines of COBOL, SPL, and Pascal is a big beast to move."

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HP-UX users consider virtualized future

BillingtonWhen HP opened its can of Odyssey for the HP-UX operating system, the vendor induced the labor of migration forcasts among its user base. The HP plan to move the best enterprise features of UX to a "hardened Linux" drew this comment from consultant Eric Billington (shown at left) on LinkedIn. Billington wonders if virtualization of hardware -- what many users call emulation -- is all but certain in the future of running HP's Unix.

Virtualization is very likely for many options, I suspect. I have a lot of respect for HP-UX and Itanium, but it is mostly about the third party software support for the platform, and the ongoing related legal battle between HP and Oracle. This may well be a Plan B, just in case.

Billington, who was a consultant for MB Foster as well as a 3000 migration planner for fellow-Platinum Migration services vendor Speedware, goes on to say that "HP is in a pickle, because Oracle has been promoting the Sparc/Oracle platform aggressively (sales is their thing after all), and at the same time pulling the rug out from under UX/Itanium by holding back on future Oracle product releases for the platform."

This would be a big problem for HP promoting UX/Itanium in the future for customers, unless this situation changes. Oracle's own "hardened Linux" is also Red Hat-based, so HP would likely have some assurance of support from Oracle for the Odyssey platform.

A few HP-UX users are learning that virtualization has a less common face: replicating hardware architecture on top of more popular chips such as Intel's Xeon line. While Stromasys is working on finding a market for its Charon HPA/3000, there's always been talk that the technology of Charon would be a foundation for emulating the chips that support HP's Unix servers. Nothing official from HP, of course. But the vendor won't even admit that the Odyssey is a path away from using HP-UX, either.

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Third Party Futures Revisited, Maintained

CessnaEarly this morning I went on a search for modules of HP's Maintenance Management/3000 software, known as MM/3000. A new member of the LinkedIn HP 3000 Community posted his user profile on that group (425 members and counting), and Randy Thon identified his shop as an MM/MNT user. The software that's running at his HP 3000 site was first installed in 1988. Thon explained that the program suite is still functional and efficient today.

The HP 3000 is still the core of our application. We're running on a Series 969-420 and rebooted two months ago -- we last rebooted five years ago. So far the application has been very robust, averaging production application changes weekly, allowing us to change at the speed of thought to accomodate changes in the manufacturing workplace and reductions in workforce. One of the main reasons we are still on this application and platform is that it is cost effective, solid and all development and management of the system is within the Maintenance Department.

That's the maintenance department of the Cessna Aircraft Company, the world's largest manufacturer (by aircraft sold) of general aviation airplanes. Not exactly a small enterprise, and there's clearly no software problem in Cessna's maintenance group. (Thon, by the way, is looking for fellow users of MM/3000. You can link in to him via the HP 3000 Community.)

The ease of integration which lets Cessna "change at the speed of thought" is enhanced by a third-party piece of software that improves MM/3000. Products like the eXegeSys eXegete client, a front end for the MM/3000 software, have made using 3000s to drive a big company a safe long-term investment. It's been that way for more than 30 years in your market, but there was a time when any software sold outside of HP was a budding enterprise. I located a link to illuminate this pedigree at the Adager website, where long-term 3000 resources have always had a generous harbor.

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3000 group links up to LinkedIn job advice

LinkedInJobsEditor's Note: The 3000 Newswire has become the official publication of the CAMUS user group, a service we're happy to perform for these MRP and ERP sites which use the classic MANMAN application. Michael Anderson, a board director of the group, asked us to pass along these tips from the group's last meeting -- advice on how to make LinkedIn work best for you. Anderson says, "As our systems migrate to new platforms, so do our associates and coworkers migrate to new jobs.  The easiest time to build up your professional network is while you're working on a migration project."

We like LinkedIn as the Facebook for the professional set; there's an HP 3000 Community Group on LinkedIn that's got more than 420 members, ready to network with you on jobs and share advice. The article below was written for the group by Linda Tuerk, executive director of Tuerk notes that adding groups (like that 3000 Group) helps you rise up in the LinkedIn searches.

Your goal is to keep up with your professional friends quickly and easily. LinkedIn can do this.

Your goal is to have a modern version of the business card; you want to appear professional and up to date when clients look you up prior to an appointment, meeting, conference call, or interview. LinkedIn can do this, too.

Your goal, if you're job seeking, is to show up in the first 100 profiles when someone is searching for someone like you. The real goal is to be in the first 10, since that is all that shows per page. Shallow profiles rarely get found. Deep public profiles are searchable on Google/Bing. And internal corporate recruiters and execs are looking for you too. The following are the steps you can take on LinkedIn to raise these odds.

1. Use LinkedIn for interview preparation and business prospects. In a "people" search, type the name of the company; all the employees will come up that are in your network within three levels of separation. You might have to pay LinkedIn $20-80 to see all the names and full profiles. It's probably worth it. You can always do it for just a month.

2. Wordsmith your Headline, Summary, and Specialties sections. They all have maximum allowed spaces. Play with them. Use keywords and titles to describe yourself. Review position descriptions and ads of jobs you want, and pepper your profile with the most frequent, relevant, and desirable. Review peer profiles. For more on this subject, see and You can also use wordcloud apps like to create relevant word clouds.

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Managers report on mobile access to 3000s

Put a problem or a possibility in front of HP 3000 veterans and they will share what they know about solutions, usually on the 3000 newsgroup and mailing list. As we first noted last week, the problem of connecting the iPad or iPhone to a 3000 -- or the possibility of enabling this most mobile of clients -- sparked some tests and suggestions from your community.

"I've had a couple of requests from sales people wanting to log on to the HP 3000 to do lookups," said Randy Stanfield of Unisource. It's a company using the HP 3000 in support of its business selling printing materials such as papers, facility supplies and equipment, and packaging materials and equipment.

Telnet, as we noted yesterday, is the state of the art for apps to communicate with the 3000. A telnet client will most probably not know anything about HP escape sequences, so the app access will be nothing more than character-mode.

ZatelnetConsultant and security expert Art Bahrs reports he's found a couple of telnet emulators, and wondered if WRQ might have one that runs on iOS. Alas no, and WRQ became a part of Attachmate years ago. Its Reflection line still offers NS/VT and telnet links to 3000s. Attachmate has no iOS apps, a fact that's easy to confirm because the Apple App Store is the only source of apps that don't need a jailbroken phone or pad. Jailbreaking adds power and options to these devices, but deploying jailbroken iPads to a sales force is a strategy that can change a career.

Then Bahrs checked back in to report on zaTelnet v 3.3, from zaTelnet. Bahrs and other 3000 vets are running tests to see if an iOS device can manage a 3000, access that's a few steps short of user-grade interfaces to 3000 applications. 

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Telnet offers a 3000 link via tablet app

"Our reps connect via the Internet and laptops," said Luen Miller on the Eloquence newsgroup. "But they are all dying to walk around with the iPad." A typical situation for IT to handle: Some of your most persuasive and eloquent users, making a case for bringing their own devices to connect with your corporate server.

Ask a few mobile-savvy consultants about how to marry an iPad with an HP server and you hear the word telnet. One manager reported that the iOS app Mocha Telnet has 700/92 emulation. Of course, there's a bit of the 3000's world missing from that solution -- NS/VT.

MochaTelnetNow it might be an odd match to require a 3000 app that's old enough to use NS/VT to link with a mobile tablet that owns more than 95 percent of the tablet marketplace. A 3000 system probably designed in the 1980s, still being delivered to a mobile device that didn't even exist two years ago. If that's the challenge, the full range of 3000 interfaces -- including some of the oldest block mode response -- is not yet being served directly. (The Splashtop Remote Desktop app offers the best chance of that, since it controls a PC desktop over a wi-fi network link.)

But if your 3000 can be accessed via Telnet? Well, then the app Mocha Telnet is an app worth taking a shot towards. It's only $5.99. There's even a Lite version that's free.

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Living with Licenses All Around (Tech) Life

GoogleLogoIf yesterday's article about the state of HP 3000 License Time gave you any pause about buying a 3000, consider what we all face in the rest of our tech-related lives. For the last two weeks, Google has been reminding us that it will change the terms of its privacy policy, a license where users permit the advertising and search giant to track their behavior.

It doesn't sound too sinister until you take a few moments to consider how much Google is likely to know about you. Some people are surprised to see a picture of their house when they punch in their address in the search engine. Others simply write it off to life in the New Century. The cynics celebrate the fact that Google even bothered to tell us the policies were changing.

HP spread the word about its RTU license changes, sort of, in 2007. The 3000 group worked hard to make sure we had the story details. HP posted the notices on its 3000 webpages. US Mail didn't carry the news to those who don't read their NewsWire or travel to HP's web property. Just like the Google change, however, HP meant for its new license policies to be retroactive to anything you'd signed in order to own your first HP 3000. All you had to do was use the 3000, HP said, once it changed the terms in 2007.

Google has a similar trigger. Once you sign in to anyplace on Google on March 1 or later, you will be tracked across all of Google's properties -- apps, Calendar, Mail, YouTube and more -- as if you signed into them all. These are End User License Agreements, the EULAs that New York Times columnist David Pogue noted in his list of "Things That Were Once Amazing, but Are Really Kind of Old News at This Point."

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HP's 3000 License Time, Then and Now

PA-RISC-clockFive years ago this week HP rolled out the first new 3000 product in more than four years. As it turned out the Right to Use (RTU) Software License Update was the last MPE/iX product ever placed on HP's corporate price list. And the lifespan of HP's interest in this product? Certainly less than two years. Even HP said it didn't expect measurable revenue from its bid to get additional money from owners more than five years into HP's 3000 afterlife.

Measured by the interest and behaviors of this February's market, the RTU seemed to be written to serve lawyers instead of IT managers. Many HP 3000s are sold today without regard for license validity. This is one reason you see a Series 9x8 on eBay for well under $1,000, until you don't see it, because it's been purchased. Sometimes a server like that -- which once had a valid license -- is being bought for parts. Some of the time this kind of 9x8 is being bought to replace an existing 9x8, or a 9x7 server. In that latter case, HP expected some RTU money to lift the license level.

It didn't make a difference to many companies, but some still want to stay inside the rules. HP said at the time it knew the RTU licenses would only make it into the budgets of some customers. Perhaps those who had internal auditing which would want to include system licenses. There are also resellers -- though not that many in this February -- who only sell licensed 3000s. It costs them some sales, but as Steve Suraci of Pivital Solutions says, "I sleep better at night, knowing HP won't be calling to ask about the lost revenues."

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Links last longer in latest survey for 3000

What's NewWe continue to move through the state of links on the site, a way of checking up on the web pointers presented at that longtime 3000 community resource. The P-S group of pulldown links on the busy main page has a higher share of valid links than any we've surveyed so far. It may just be the luck of the alphabet, but this group seems to spell stability better than the rest.

First the dead ends, 11 of them. Premiersoft has nobody home at the URL of the same name; the company sold OSCAR, the Online Services Catalog and Application Repository to let HP 3000s host enterprise-wide server objects. (Object tech may have been too many steps ahead of an MPE market sweating out Y2K in 1999.) Retriever Interactive is gone along with its DataAid/3000 for data lookup and manipulation, which was even integrated with Suprtool. Also dead are Riva Systems (referencing, which now points to a French casino machine website); SeraSoft's link, though the company was migrating 3000 sites as of 2010; Software Licensing Corp.; Software Research Northwest, gently retired by founder Wayne Holt, who published the first PA-RISC hardback; Software and Management Consultants; Spentech; Starvision; Symple Systems, and SolutionStore 3000.

We know a lot about that last one. SolutionStore was a 3000 NewsWire project during the late 1990s, our effort to sell and report vendor listings for the 3000 community. In a way it was a precursor to the vendor list of A web administrator melted down while he took down the site with no warning. Such madness happens, but it was a serious gaffe to us at the time.

But then there are a dozen survivors, most thriving, some surviving. Pro 3K still leads you to consultant Mark Ranft, tending to servers and also managing the world's biggest fleet of N-Class servers at Navitaire. Productive Software Systems, Quest, Quintessential School Systems, Rich Corn's RAC Consulting, Robelle, Speedware, Solution-Soft, and STR Software, the last still supporting FAX/3000. Syllogize offers support for HP 3000s. Synowledge supports MANMAN, according to the IT Services page on its website, through six offices. There's even a valid link to Shawn Gordon's S.M. Gordon and Associates webpage, listing 3000 software of advancing age.

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