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June 27, 2019

Make that 3000 release a printer grip

Fist-artwork
A printer connected to our HP 3000 received a "non-character" input and stopped printing. The spooler was told to stop in order for the queue to be closed and restarted. When we do a show command on that spooler, it reports " *STOP .......CLOSING CONN " How do I force a close on the connection? The HP 3000 is used so much it can't really be shut down any time soon.

Tracy Johnson says

If it is a network printer, just "create" another LDEV with the same IP. The 3000 doesn't care if you have more than one LDEV to the same IP (or DNS). Raise the outfence on the original LDEV. Once created, do a SPOOLF of any old spool files on that LDEV to the new LDEV. You can do it in a job that reschedules itself if it persists. The first spool file still in a print state will probably be stuck, but this technique should fix subsequent spool files. The situation probably won't go away until the next reboot.

We've had our full backup on Friday nights abort several times and are not really able to discern why; sometimes it works while other times it doesn't. As a test/fix, we're swapping out the “not very old DLT tape” for a brand new DLT tape to see if that makes a difference. Our daily, partial backups work just fine—each day has its own tape.

Mark Ranft says

Let's talk tapes. How old are these unused new tapes? From my experience, new tapes and old tapes both have issues. I would not call a tape that was manufactured years ago, but hasn't been used, "New." It is still an old tape. But an unused tape will have microscopic debris from the manufacturing process. It may work just fine, but be prepared for more frequent cleaning if you are using unused tapes.

Old tapes are tried and true. That is, until they start stretching and wearing from overuse. If it was my STORE that failed, I would start by cleaning the drive. And cleaning cartridges can only be used a specific number of times. That is why they come with the check off label. After the allowed number of cleanings, you can put them in the drive but they don't do anything.

I was told by a trusted CE friend that cleaning a drive three times is sometimes necessary to get it working again. I don't know the science behind it, but that process did seem to save my behind more than once. After cleaning, do a small test backup and a VSTORE. Try to read (VSTORE) an old tape.

03:33 PM in Hidden Value, Homesteading | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 25, 2019

Compromises throw doubts about clouds

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Cloud services show some promise for companies which are dropping their on-premise IT hardware to get costs down and put maintenance in the hands of service companies.

As the HP hardware ages, its reliability becomes a weak point. There’s a risk to using clouds, though, one that the 3000 community knows well and holds dear.

Outside services can be vulnerable to security attack. When the attack takes place outside a datacenter, the responsibility falls to the manager who selects the service.

A hacking campaign known as Cloud Hopper has been the subject of a US indictment, one that accused Chinese nationals of identity theft and fraud. Prosecutors described an operation that victimized multiple Western companies. A Reuters report at the time identified two: IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Cloud Hopper ensnared at least six more major technology firms, touching five of the world’s 10 biggest tech service providers. Reuters also found compromises through Fujitsu, Tata Consultancy Services, NTT Data, Dimension Data, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Another compromise pathway was DXC Technology. HPE spun-off its services arm in a merger with Computer Sciences Corporation in 2017 to create DXC. HP's Enterprise group represents one-fourth of all the known compromised Cloud Hopper attack points.

Assurances that a cloud is secure come with references, but the degree of safety remains largely in the eyes of the beholder. There’s not much in the way of audits and certifications from independent reviewers. MPE cloud computing is still on the horizon. Reports about unsafe clouds are helping to keep it that way.

03:33 PM in Homesteading, News Outta HP | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 20, 2019

Picking up the enterprise Slack

Slack Invitation Screen
Old managers can benefit from new IT practices. Sometimes the improvements can be as straightforward as new connections. Connect, the user group that remained after Interex closed down 14 years ago, has opened a Slack channel for communication between owners and administrators of HP systems.

Although the 3000-L mailing list has been keeping its head above water over the last year, the responses as well as the questions are on the decline. Not to say that knowing how to let a 3000 release a printer, or finding a way to repair a frozen update, are not valuable lessons. Sometimes these threads don't deliver answers fast enough.

Here's where it's important to point out that the 3000 and MPE are systems of a great age and many accomplishments. One recent thread on the 3000-L took note that the company's 3000 couldn't be taken offline much, if at all. That's a server that needs personal, professional support attention.

If a 3000 is less mission-critical than that, quick communication with other managers in the community holds promise. Connect has opened up a Slack channel and it could become useful if 3000 folks arrived. Connect membership is free, focused on enterprise systems, and its Slack is built so anybody could make use of it. It's got a serious NonStop membership now. There are many channels on this Slack feed.

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This is a tool that is a full generation ahead of a mailing list or even blog posts with comments. If you're interested in getting a real-time chat tool working for your MPE support issues, Connect's Slack channel is available at connect-communityhq.slack.com

04:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 18, 2019

Good things age well, like blogs and experts

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On the day this blog started, I was just 48 years old. It was a June afternoon in 2005 and the HP 3000 had its future still well in play. The community was gathered in a more significant way during the third year since HP's exit announcement arrived.

Less than a month later the 31-year-old user group closed its doors suddenly. Millions of dollars were lost and a conference with a decades-long heritage was gone. We had big news about a big departure. Nothing but a blog would have told that story so well.

The experts had not departed from the 3000 community, not by any means 14 years ago. The 3000-L was still lively with content, even with enough traffic on the mailing list to accommodate political screeds and jokes. We were never going to be able to replicate that kind of wisdom. A blog, though, was a relatively new thing in a small IT community like MPE and the 3000. The old journalist in me loved the prospect of making a story show up in a matter of hours or minutes.

It can be argued that a community relying on a computer no longer being manufactured might not need a more immediate news resource. A blog seemed like just the thing at the time, to me, a way to encourage the community to stay in touch because something recent was usually worth reporting.

I just began to collect Social Security benefits this month, so it's been a while since that Publish button on Typepad was a new thrill for me. Typepad has kept its head up while many other choices for blog platforms rose around it. I've been through Joomla, WordPress, and now Squarespace for other projects. Typepad still has enough utility to get the word out to a community that's accustomed to reading on a laptop or a PC. We've kept up here with video and podcasts. The blog has done all of the information duty since the spring of 2014 when our printed editions wrapped up. 

Blogs are a way to gather a curated collection of expert reports. I've been lucky to be able to report and write over this one over these many years. We've marked a few losses during that time, but most of the 3000 experts are still lively and familiar with what's unique about MPE and its platforms. Seven years after we launched the blog, Stromasys came up with a new platform for MPE/iX. Seven years since then, there are still things out there to be discovered. Cloud computing, blockchains for data — more of it than you might imagine lies on the horizon.

After 3,257 posts and 403 comments, there's a pulse in here about the never-ending life of MPE and its experts. Thanks for reading and passing along what you have learned.

 

04:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 13, 2019

Was a 3000 ever a personal computer?

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The information trotlines stay in the water here. I watch for mentions of HP 3000s in the wide world of the Web, using Google to automate the surveillance. Sometimes there's a bite on the trotline that nets a real report. Other times the phrase turns up stories about horsepower in autos and other motors. Searching on "HP" will do that.

For the first time, though, the Google net trawl picked up a story about a 3000 from another dimension. This would be the realm where everything a manager wished for in a business server was delivered — and long ago. I came into this market when MS-DOS hadn't yet reigned supreme, destroying all others but Apple. HP sold a PC in 1984 with a touchscreen, something a few steps away from being a tablet.

The report from a website was wired into that deep desire that MPE could be personal. 247 WallSt included an article identifying a 3000 as a personal computer.

Once wildly expensive and inaccessible but to the very rich, computers today are one of the most ubiquitous technologies worldwide. The most basic model of an HP 3000 sold for $95,000 in 1972, the equivalent of slightly over half a million in today’s dollars, but not all personal computers released in the early 1970s cost as much.

The sentence starts off well enough, with a 3000 selling in 1972. A handful did. By the time the price is reported you can be sure the story has run off the rails, since nothing connected to computing with MPE was sold for under six figures at first. HP found a way to drive down a 3000's sticker price to about $12,000, 25 years later. That device, a Series 918 DX, was closer to a personal computer in power.

What's an HP 3000? The question is still posed, once in a while, when a redoubtable and virtually invisible server is discovered under a staircase, chugging along. It certainly is not a PC, and it has had more of a string of successes than attributed in 247 WallSt.

The original 3000 was generally considered a failure, but the company would go on to make 20 different versions of the 3000 through 1993.

In some places the server still working at Fortune 500 corporations is considered a failure by now, because its vendor gave up on it. That understanding is as off base as thinking that computer in the picture above could be a PC. It was Hewlett-Packard's "first foray into smaller business computers," except for the smaller part. Making a mainframe's computing available in a minicomputer size might have been smaller than IBM's 360s. The 3000 is the first step HP took into business computing, full stop.

05:16 PM in History, Homesteading | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 10, 2019

Being there now, right where we expect him

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Where Are They Now
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Fifteen years ago, Birket Foster had an opening line for a history of the 3000 world. "It was a marketplace of names." Birket's is one of a group of well-known first-only names, along with Alfredo and Vladimir and Eugene. Earlier this spring he commemorated 42 years in the market. Every one has included a week of business serving HP's business server community.

In a few days he'll be doing what he's done, and in the same places, as he's done for years. There's a webinar that covers the promises and practices of application modernization and synchronization. Systems that look and behave like they're old are made new again. You can register for the June 12 event, to be held at 2 PM Eastern.

Right at the heart of the MB Foster business, though, pulses UDACentral. "We have completed its shakedown cruise at the Government of Canada in a BCIP program, and of course are moving another group of databases for customers that contract MBFoster to do the work using UDACentral."

Moving and managing data has always been at the center of MB Foster's competency. "We have been adding databases to the mix: Aurora (for AWS) and MongoDB are now part of what we are serving. We even did a paid Proof of Concept for UDASynch taking MongoDB back to Oracle."

The company's core team has been steady, but what's ahead is pushing UDACentral's wide array of improvements "to change them from a project to a product. That process will need additional sales talent and trainers, as well as more support and programming talent, so my hobby is expanding again." That's a hobby of assembling resources for new ideas.

In the meantime there is family life for Birket, the pleasures of two daughters and a son already old enough to be expanding and embracing lives in medicine and business, as well as building families of their own. Fishing the Ottawa River's massive muskies remains a passion, one he's pursuing this summer with HP 3000 tech guru Mark Ranft. Birket often has a hook in the water.

08:40 PM in Homesteading, News Outta HP, Newsmakers | Permalink | Comments (0)