Play a role in the future this spring

Spring brings election season, and something seems to be growing in your community’s back yard. It is interest in OpenMPE. Our weekly podcast (4 MB MP3 file) takes note of the growth, even though HP put off the post-HP future of your 3000 for another two years. The advocacy group that cares for that future has more folks voting in its board election than last year.

It’s just one more thing that’s been hard to figure about OpenMPE. Have a listen for eight minutes to our view of the state of the only group working for the homestead customer's needs this year. And get out there and vote, once you become a member of OpenMPE. Membership is free, just like the deal that Encompass is offering to former Interex members. Trek out to the OpenMPE Web site and play your role in the future. Have a say in who will be talking for you to HP this year.

New Alliance sends an Itanium valentine

On a podcast almost as late to market as some Itanium releases, we examine for about 7 minutes (4 MB MP3 file) the newly-minted Itanium Solutions Alliance. HP and Intel have attracted 15 partners to promote the Itanium processor as the leading choice by decade's end for mission-critical enterprise computing. Yes, that's the heartland of the HP 3000 customer, just as Itanium is the only long-term choice for using HP-UX as a target migration environment. You need to cheer for the Alliance. $10 billion of investment from this group of companies is supposed to ensure a more widespread adoption for the processor you'll be using if you migrate to HP's Unix. It should also increase the number of manufacturing solutions beyond a handful for discrete manufacturers.

When timing tells as much as the news

Timing can be everything, but sometimes it just gives us good perspective on what we hear. In our weekly podcast (6MB MP3 file) we take a hard look for about six minutes at the timing of HP's goodwill news about extending 3000 support. A customer might wonder about all those ifs in the offer, as well as why a headline about the extension still doesn't appear on the main HP 3000 page on HP's Web site. Have a listen and let us hear in a comment below if you already knew about the news that slid out in the shadow of the year-end holidays.

Inside, We're All the Same: Just Listen

After a week out at my very first Macworld, I came back with a bag full of show floor gimcracks and a feeling that HP and Apple customers are sailing in the same boat these days. There's a lot more wind in Apple's sails, of course, something we talk about in our 8-minute report (7 MB MP3 file). Intel is inside both HP's future systems — the ones HP recommends as a 3000 replacement — as well as those shipping this week from Apple for the first time. Watching Intel march across a Macworld stage, instead of an HP World stage, showed how high theater can take the sting out of migration. No, not the kind the 3000 is facing — the kind that HP's Unix customers have in their future. Just like Apple's.

NewsWire TV: Watch a restoration of faith

All last year, HP was working on repairing its history. Its founders started the IT giant in a garage, and during 2005 HP worked to restore that structure to its 1938 glory. (We took a quick look at it in a December blog entry, too, complete with a link to HP's film.)

I think the project represents what's best about this vendor that gave us the HP 3000 to improve upon. On a recent Silicon Valley visit I made our pilgrimage to The Garage, just a few blocks from Peninsula Creamery, in business since 1923. The creamery's founder's grandson, now running the business, said his grandad was approached by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard about investing in their company. His grandad decided to put the money into new freezers instead. "Big mistake," the grandson said with a grin.

Sometimes you just can't tell how the future will pan out. HP's extension of support seemed to prove that last month. Some customers report they feel better about believing in the vendor as a result of two extra years to transition.

Have a look at our own short film (3 minute .mov Quicktime file) to feel what might inspire you to restore your own faith in the 3000's creators. Or simply listen to our podcast (3MB MP3 file) if you just want to hear the sound of restoration. Burned, believer, or just shy for now, there's a way for some customers to put aside the recent history, if HP's past means even more toward your future faith.

Listen to that holiday gift that gives for years to come

HP dropped off its holiday gift to 3000 owners this week, a topic we comment upon in about six minutes of our weekly podcast (6 MB MP3 file). Extending vendor support beyond 2006, to “at least 2008”, HP seemed like it had to admit that migrations were taking longer than anyone expected. Especially back at the end of 2001, when the vendor cut its 3000 business off with a five-year farewell. But the gift came wrapped in the colorful paper of transition success, somehow.

Have a listen to our holiday show, and have a safe and merry weekend. We'll see you back here for more 3000 news and views on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Wait for HP's answer, watch that clock

In this week's podcast (6MB MP3 file), we talk and listen for about seven minutes about changes to the HP 3000's future. Change happens, so be ready for it. That’s the mantra HP has repeated for years, especially to its enterprise customers. Slick TV commercials showed a business morphing. Those computer graphics are not the only thing that’s likely to change from HP. The answers to the questions that have been asked by OpenMPE might get unexpected answers. We don’t know yet. But let’s entertain some possibilities while we wait this week.

Keep an open mind: don't be scared about migration

In our podcast for this week, (7MB MP3 file) we talk for seven minutes about migration off an enterprise platform — a big enough job for nearly every 3000 shop. For some, the task is the biggest thing they’ll ever try to accomplish in computing. Even bigger than Y2K. Six years ago there was no bigger scare job than Y2K warnings. Those kind of stories get some shops onto their feet, sure. But hype about dead-ends and disasters might be driving some vendors to their knees.

Exhibit A? Well, for today it’s the latest press release from COBOL vendor Fujitsu. This week the company floated a story about success at one of its client shops, the City of West Covina.  We look at the FUD language in that story and search for alternative tales of migration from vendors more friendly to your familiar technology choices. And we hear of a very large insurance vendor's migration project deadline and how it relates to disasters — of the genuine kind.

Be thankful you can make a difference

In our weekly podcast (5MB MP3 file) I talk about the news I heard on the eve of Thanksgiving, news that made me feel thankful for opportunity. After NPR had broadcast the line, "this is my baby, the best computer system in the world, the HP 3000," they had me hooked. Have a listen to our five minutes of commentary and follow-on reporting about the real impact of a business decision.

You can also listen to the original NPR broadcast, which has some "untruths," according to the HP 3000 expert quoted in it, out at the NPR Web page:


A new commando takes up collaboration

Have a listen to our six-minute podcast (6MB MP3 file) to the sound of MPE's tomorrows — and tomorrows and tomorrows, someday. Resistance is a word that’s described some noble organizations in the world’s history, especially the 20th century. If you can think of the board members of OpenMPE as the leaders of the MPE resistance, then those leaders have engaged a cooperation commando. Last week, on the fourth anniversary of HP’s business announcement about the 3000, they told us Martin Gorfinkel would be the go-to guy to get a deal worked out about MPE’s future.

Why it makes sense to wait for a deal negotiated by this veteran is the question we consider in our broadcast. It's more than just a matter for the long-term homesteader, too. Anybody migrating who will need to keep relying on MPE in 2007 will also want the best afterlife for the 3000. A single voice to hammer out the details instead of a committee might make sense right now. It's those details that HP seems willing to discuss, this year.

Listen Up: After 4 years, what's transition amounted to?

With the unwitting help of the Temptations, our weekly podcast (9.5 MB MP3 file) comes in one business day later than usual, on a very special day in the HP 3000’s history. Four years ago today, HP dropped the axe on its oldest business computer line. But the debate still goes on about why, whether HP’s business move will kill off the community — and how much longer a computer without a vendor’s future can feel safe to rely upon.

Have a listen to our 10 minutes of history and perspective, filtered through the lessons of four years of change.  What has happened in those four years has been the rise of the third party’s value to the 3000’s future. Third parties will make migrations work for many of the smaller shops. Meanwhile, volunteers have been working on HP to get a limited license for MPE in 2007 and beyond.  If anything's dying, it's certainly taking the time to do it right.

NewsWire TV: Seeing a CEO in action

For our second episode in our new video ventures, we offer about five minutes of footage from the recent HP Technology Forum's keynote of all keynotes, when new CEO Mark Hurd addressed about 4,000 attendees. If you've never seen or heard from the replacement for ousted CEO Carly Fiorina, you might want to take a look. Hurd reminds us of former CEO John Young, with a better sense of humor.

We've got a 7 MB QuickTime file to look over in your browser, if it's equipped to watch QuickTime. You can also right-click on the link below to save it to your PC and run it in QuickTime standalone, or in another viewer.

CEO Mark Hurd at HP Tech Forum 2005

(If you're a Windows user, you can download the free QuickTime player for Windows 2000 or later to watch this small-screen version.)

Hurd had confidence that stopped short of hubris in his brief scene before HP's presales professionals and some of its customers. The company produced a slick show for those who want some hope of a return to more traditional HP ways, even if Hurd's appearance did get preceded with a driving dance beat. Hurd only spoke in a speech for three minutes before repairing to the center of the stage to do a "Q&A" interview with one of his chief marketing executives.

Listen up: The sound of Itanium braking

In our weekly podcast (7MB MP3 file), we talk for about seven minutes about how it’s become easy to doubt the future for HP’s enterprise processors. Those are the Itanium line of chips, conceived by HP, but being built by Intel. Built more slowly than HP dreamed, in passionate speeches down at the Technology Forum last month. Today’s Itanium serves in HP’s Integrity systems. But the latest news about the Itanium roadmap might be making some 3000 customers slow down their migrations to Integrity, if they want the fastest alternatives.

NewsWire TV premiere: 3000 Crash Test

We've probed the depths of the NewsWire's rat-pack — er, we mean archives — to unearth a popular bit of 3000 legend. In the spring of 1997, as part of the computer's 25th anniversary celebration, the HP 3000 division created a 3-minute video to show how the server could survive a three-story crash.

We've got our copy of the HP "customer-viewable" video available as a download in a modest QuickTime file of 7 MB. You can right-click on the link to capture the file to your disk, if you want, then play it in the standalone QuickTime player at an enlarged screen size.

There's also a version you can watch on YouTube at the 3000 NewsWire channel.

George Stachnik of HP narrates this video, produced in the era when HP was still marketing the server as a more reliable and mature choice than HP's Windows and Unix servers. Well, the vendor never really did make much of a direct comparison, even though its sales force and customers were doing just such a compare.

If you've never seen this, we won't spoil the ending. But HP 3000 customers know that the hardware which makes up their system was built far beyond the survival specs of, say, a Dell Windows 2003 server. How many servers you will need to toss off the roof of a building is an exercise we'll leave to our readers.

We invite you to share your own 3000 survival stories through the Comments link below. We'll compile what you post up as a blog entry for the future. Stay tuned to this channel for future NewsWire TV reports. Coming up: Clips from HP CEO Mark Hurd's keynote speech at the HP Technology Forum.

Listen for the sounds of a new conference

In our weekly podcast (12MB MP3 file), we cap off our first week of reporting from Orlando with talk for about 12 minutes about the opportunity and reality presented at this week's HP Technology Forum. The 3000 community was represented by some managers like the State Farmers, from the biggest shops, intermediate IT chiefs like Joe Farrell from Airmotive Ireland, and a few tiny shop managers, too. Hear HP's CEO play the humor card, and get HP's take direct from David Parsons on how this show won't be a rowdy hockey game. HP's got hopes to host an independent meeting where frank but civil discourse is welcome, and the Encompass user group wants to attract the Interex HP 3000 customers who are looking for help in moving forward.

Listen up for another run-up in opportunity

In this week's NewsWire podcast (6MB MP3 file), we talk for six minutes about a resurgence in requirements for HP 3000 skills, especially in applications. A healthy market has grown up around migrations, projects that make Y2K work seem like child’s play. This fall it looks like the sandbox is finally starting to include work for HP 3000 experts. We’re going to be adding a free resource to our blog and Web site next week where those pros can post their availability. We believe that what you know is going to earn you more than it has in a long time.

Listen up to the question: What's a user group today?

In our weekly podcast (6 MB MP3 file) we talk for seven minutes about OpenMPE's chances to be your next 3000 user group. Interex is the model most 3000 users remember as a user group. After three decades, it had gotten big and established. A hundred thousand members, it crowed. Paid staff, executive director making 200 thousand a year, fueled by an established show, with $8 million yearly budget.

OpenMPE couldn’t be more different today. Zero paid staff. No executive director, less than 300 registered members. A checking account balance under $2,000. No show. But the two organizations have one thing in common: volunteers. And out of one group’s past comes the next group’s future — and yours, if you're taking care of a 3000 for the next few years or more: advocacy and maintenance for your HP 3000.

Listen Up for the sound of HP Integrity

HP 3000 sites are starting to check out HP’s integrity this season. In this week's 8-minute podcast (7 MB MP3 file) we talk with a customer who's deployed the Itanium-powered server, as well as check in with HP's director of virtualization Nick van der Zweep, who explains why the Integrity HP-UX systems can go much more virtual than HP's PA-RISC alternatives.

The 3000 sites that want to migrate to HP’s Unix want to know: should they buy Integrity servers to replace HP 3000s, if they're moving to HP-UX? The alternative is HP’s servers with PA-RISC chips, the processor that powers everyone’s 3000. That's a PA-RISC that oh yeah, still powers about three-fourths of the rest of HP’s business critical servers. Buy for today's well-adopted market, or shop for tomorrow's opportunity — it's the kind of question that 3000 sites have considered before. They will have to consider something other than MPE/iX if they want virtualization, a technology that lets CPUs work to capacity more often.

Listen Up to the Sounds of Your History, and Ours

We launched The 3000 NewsWire 10 years ago this month, in business to track changes. Our 14-minute 10th Anniversary Podcast (16MB MP3 file) shows how we're now making some changes to our publishing schedule, too. Our podcast includes the historic sounds of HP's managers over those 10 years being encouraging about your platform, as well as warning about the ecosystem. Change has been a constant to keep us in business over our first decade.

In our broadcast, my partner in life and the NewsWire, Abby Lentz, talks with me about our hopes for the future of a NewsWire that will still ship some paper and keep even more stories flowing from the community in transition today. Listen up to hear our take on the evolution of your ecosystem, as well as our thanks to everyone who's been generous, from HP to the everlasting 3000 community.

Listen Up: The Howling Wind of Outrage

In our weekly 3000 NewsWire Podcast (MP3 file, 8 MB) we talk for about seven minutes about outrage, a familiar emotion in the current month. Today marks the original date HP was to report on the new date for its Technology Forum, postponed by one of the harshest modern-day natural disasters in US history. Harsh could describe the Computerworld response to HP's momentary caution about postponing the show: an editorial lambasts HP for having some of the most awkward relations with its users.

HP 3000 users know about HP's response, and some still muster outrage over the company's cancellation of its 3000 business. But a company that has migrated many other vendors' users has another point of view about vendor migration response. HP scored better than we expected when we interviewed Paul Holland of Transoft this spring. Have a listen to the podcast and see whether it might be time to put transition outrage aside — at least until HP is done making its 3000 decisions.

Listen up for the sound of relief

In our weekly podcast, (7MB MP3 file) we talk for about six minutes about the connection of care we want to make this week with the thousands of refugees on the move away from the scene of the Gulf Coast devastation — and how our new awareness of loss can help us all take hope in what we can do to make our own fate. The transfer of HP's education materials to third parties — a deal that took years to broker — shows us that 3000 relief can demand extra effort, but your community is up to the challenge. When you can believe in your power to relieve, pulling together helps us all make our own fate.

Listen Up: The Sounds of MPE Opening a Lab

This week's 3000 NewsWire podcast (9MB MP3 file) takes a little more than eight minutes to run down the prospects for an MPE/iX patch and repair service that OpenMPE wants to launch next year. HP has said in its last meeting with the group that the vendor believes one year is enough time to turn over MPE/iX source — a decision HP has not made, yea or nay, so far.

But if a virtual lab is going to be ready to take over the patch process HP closes up in 16 months, then that lab needs to get its funding in order now. Nobody else seems to want this mission except the volunteers and 30 developers who will work on contract for OpenMPE to do the patching. OpenMPE doesn't even think it will have more than one full-time paid employee, a far cry from the size of Interex.

Have a listen to the voices that outlined the challenge and potential for OpenMPE. Then head over to the group's Web site and download the PDF file that serves to map out the plan. Pay close attention to pages 21-29 in that PDF file. They explain what it's going to cost to get the insurance of a repair service for the 3000  once HP leaves the patching field.

Continue reading "Listen Up: The Sounds of MPE Opening a Lab" »

Listen Up: 3000 friends want to stay at HP

HP employees are looking at an important deadline today. Friday is the day that HP long-timers need to tell HR if they plan to pursue the latest Enhanced Early Retirement program. HP's 3000 engineers and managers older than 50 qualify, not an unusual age range for people serving a computer that's already been around more than 30 years.

Our weekly podcast (MP3 file, 6MB) reports on the mood among the HP engineers and managers we saw during a week of interviews. My visit culminated with the all-day OpenMPE meeting at HP's campus in Cupertino yesterday.

At the meeting HP offered a good deal of encouragement for customers who want to believe the vendor will do the right thing for its longest-term business computer users. HP's Mike Paivinen proposed that the  vendor will consider doing a Software Status Bulletin when it exits the 3000 market at the end of next year. This kind of document used to be issued monthly for 3000 support customers; it tracked the status of every reported bug about the system — the kind of information that could be invaluable for the third party support companies who are already stepping in to replace HP Support.

HP's also committed to hardening device drivers for the 3000, so non-certified tape devices can be attached to the system to expand the range of backup peripherals. HP now also has got a non-division, 3000-savvy engineer doing an internal review of its source code and MPE/iX version-building process — an important preliminary to a potential thumbs-up on releasing MPE/ix source.

The announcement of HP's decision to release source code to the community under some limited license is still months away, but not too many more.

Continue reading "Listen Up: 3000 friends want to stay at HP" »

Listen up: The sound of a CEO speaking

Our weekly podcast (MP3 file, 6 MB) examines the changing fortunes of the HP Technology Forum, that replacement venue for the cancelled HP World. HP CEO Mark Hurd has now agreed to speak at the Forum, just as his predecessor spoke at HP World when Carly Fiorina took her job. Hurd's folks changed their minds. Things have changed a lot for user groups in the HP world since Fiorina's first days, as one of our favorite vendor partners reminds us. Collaboration is the key. Have a listen for six minutes and let us know if, as migrating customers considering HP-UX, you plan to be listening to the sounds of the new CEO in September — when the winds can blow strong in New Orleans, site of the Technology Forum.

Listen up for news of a luncheon reunion

Even though we work with machines which compute, we crave the spark of personal contact. After a brief Seybold family reunion this week, I've learned there will be one for the HP 3000 family calendar, too. Listen to our podcast (6MB MP3 file) about the news this morning that the 3000 family will have a luncheon as its 2005 reunion. Mike Marxmeier and Alan Yeo will make the best of non-refundable tickets to San Francisco and host a lunch August 14 or 15. We'll be sending out details by e-mail, too. Let us know if you can make a lunch either Sunday or Monday, or both. Send your RSVP for invitation details — the lunch will be south of San Francisco — to [email protected]

The week's up, so listen up: Podcast time

If you have a little more than five minutes, listen to our first 3000 NewsWire podcast. (It's an MP3 file served up from ronseybold.com) We wanted to roll this small show off our Macintosh and onto your music players or PCs before the month ran out. Like any good radio, it hopes to entertain a bit while it informs. No, you don't need an iPod to listen to it, but HP would like you have one anyway.

Featured players in our 'cast include HP VP Nora Denzel, the executive who looks like the only person podcasting on the HP corporate site. Denzel's been explaining and promoting the company's Adaptive Enterprise quite awhile, so we're passing along some of her "Agility Radio" audio to help show the level of HP's big-vendor podcasts. Adaptive Enterprise is something migrating customers might want to believe in, even though some of the players Denzel mentions have recently changed name badges. We also get some testimony from the exhibitor community which is not going to show up like they'd planned at next month's HP World conference — and the possible costs to Interex to settle up with them. The world of podcasts has room for vendor speeches like Denzel's and news clips, too. Let us try to make you grin a little, so you can tell us what you think.