The MPE/iX servers which service manufacturing users still have feature-growth opportunity. That's the chance to improve usability, an opportunity often presented by third-party add-on software. A few of the 3000 masters met last month to integrate that sort of software. They were widely-known, recognized for advocating MPE computing, or sharing deep ERP background to make a 3000 work smarter and more securely.
Eugene Volokh, Terry Simpkins, and Ali Sadat came together for an afternoon in LA, hunched over laptops and connecting three MPE-savvy software programs. (Of course, Eugene's dad Vladimir couldn't help but look over his son's work.) At the heart of the equation was MANMAN, still in use at Measurement Specialties' 10 HP 3000 sites, running manufacturing and ERP in China and elsewhere. That remains Simpkins' mission. He's also stood up for homesteading, or choosing HP 3000s, ever since the middle '90s. His company was acquired last year by TE Connectivity, a process that sometimes shakes out legacy software and systems. Not this time.
Helping Simpkins was Vesoft's Eugene Volokh, co-creator of Security/3000. The servers Simpkins' company uses also use the Vesoft product first launched in the 1980s. Eugene was just a teenager when he helped his dad Vladimir build Security/3000. As you can see from the picture above, one of the most famous members of the 3000 community has gotten older — as have we all.
The summit of these masters was topped up by Ali Sadat (foreground, above), whose Visual Basic user interface runs in front of MANMAN at Simpkins' sites. The product which started in 1997 as AdvanceMan does more than just pretty up users' OMAR and MFG screens with buttons and pull-down menus. By now it's an interface to the Web and XML, and it also lets users work in more than one MANMAN module at a time, plus eliminates the typing of commands to execute MANMAN actions. It doesn't require any changes to existing MANMAN environments. For continuity the screens began as ones that were similar in form to the original MANMAN screens. The flexibility and usability is now an opportunity to use an interface for improvements. That's an improvement to an app that was first released in the late '70s. Sadat's Quantum Software calls the product XactMan by now.
But XactMan needs to pass through the Security/3000 gates to get access at the sessions in MANMAN -- at least it does at a sensible site like Measurement Specialties that's deployed passwords right down the session level. Sadat, Simpkins, and Volokh were hard at work for an afternoon engineering the integration. Vladimir updated us on the connection, adding that Security/3000's sessonname logon parameter -- a full execution of the MPE stub -- needs to know XactMan wants session access. XactMan takes up no user sessions on the HP 3000, regardless of the number of PCs that are interfacing to MANMAN.
Saving sessions used to be important, but the improved interface is the point today. Catching three masters of the 3000 at work was a nice candid moment, captured in the photos by Eugene's mom Anne. During that week in LA, there was a masters gathering of minds all older than 45. The 3000 community is beyond mid-life, but these four people were working to make sure it goes gracefully into its senior years.