A season for
beginnings and growing
For some of us, fall has been a time of beginnings. I count this as the start of the HP 3000s new year, as I have for the past 15 years. October of 1984 brought the first issue of an HP publication with my name on the masthead as editor. And in each fall to follow, I have returned from an Interex trade show with new ideas, HP plans and insights. Though much of the world considers autumn to be an ending time, Ive looked at it as a beginning.
I think I can trace the roots of this alternative beginning to my childhood. We all went to school in the fall, but it was a time I looked forward to, because school was a place to stand out. In the Ohio summer heat we played physical games, on teams where a boy smaller than his friends could be picked late in the choosing. In the autumn the games took place in the mind, the kind where Id be chosen first.
Like the hardware and software plans announced at HP World for the 3000, my boyhood life had a new beginning each fall. My father was a television engineer at Channel 13 in Toledo. In the Sixties each fall brought the start of new TV network seasons, programs and lineups we watched more closely because our dad was in the business. TV in those days had the cachet of todays computers. My generation took to the remote control like our children have embraced the mouse and keyboard.
Because of the fall revival in the 3000 marketplace, the NewsWire was born with an October issue. This one marks the start of our fifth year, another beginning within our beginning, our launch of a dedicated 3000 news source independent of HP. Were as awed at the 3000 markets rebound as anybody. We consider part of the rebounds proof to be the expanded size of the newsletter youre holding, or the scope of the Web site if youre reading us online. Both my publisher and partner Dottie Lentz and I thank you for your support, both of the 3000 and our own enterprise. (Forgive a father figure for a moment while he brags about offspring: Our printed page count rose 34 percent over the past year, giving us more room to run more news, articles and sponsor messages. Again, thank you.)
Its a little easier to begin again during the fall in Texas. While we sweated the details of our first issue during the heat of August and September, for a lot of people the NewsWire didnt become real until October. We consider it our start because once youve printed issues, people expect more, and on a regular schedule. It was easier to deliver in the climate of October, weather like todays: a bold breeze from the northwest, skies wispy with clouds promising needed rain, greening grounds still damp from a midnight thundershower. Our front-yard garden got sod around its edges and Butterfly Weed for the migrating monarchs to lay eggs against. This weekend we sow wildflower seeds and hope for spring blooms.
At HPs Commercial Systems Division (CSY), home to the 3000, they are laying seeds as well. At HP World we heard about a program called Visage, a plan to give 3000 programs the look and feel of the 21st Century. CSY chose Java as the backbone for an interface, built around shared code and standards. A growing Java class library will give your 3000 the links into programs with graphical interfaces, interfaces that can run on anything that runs a Web browser.
Nothing impressed me as much about the 3000s future as the Visage program even though its current lineup requires shareware not officially supported. Through a series of other fall announcements, CSY has shown us that support follows new beginnings as often as cool weather follows a thunderstorm. Two years ago we learned of Java for the 3000; today its a supported, bundled product. (The HP 9000 doesnt bundle Java, by the way, something you might mention when your system is called legacy.) There were similar beginnings and support for Web servers on the 3000.
Visage is one of many varieties of seeds CSY sows this fall. A more rapidly blooming plant might be the large file support you will see in next years MPE/iX 6.5. Large files say almost as much as Visage about the 3000s future. High-end solutions are targeted at the systems installed base, not its new solution-based sales. Watching CSY put the engineering into large files is like tending a garden of perennials those ever-faithful customers who kept the 3000 alive this decade when some predicted a withering of MPE.
This fall also brings a new seed of top management for the division in general manager Winston Prather. Hell be sprouting into his new post after being raised up from a cutting, a vital part of the CSY Business Council. The Council is an innovation more than a year old from Harry Sterling, retiring CSY general manager and the fellow we think of as the head groundskeeper for the 3000. As we have said before, Harry was given a patch of HP some said was in decline four years ago. Sterling knew he could count on the rich seed-bed of a loyal customer base, and he planted innovations and hope. Many can take credit for the 3000s bright new season, but no one deserves more thanks than Harry.
The management team of the division is as strong as weve seen it over more than a decade of coverage. Adding Christine Martino was a real spark during the last year; her move to fill the long-vacant post of internal 3000 North American sales manager might prove to be one of the best ways to get the 3000 locked in on HPs own radar screens.
Maybe most important is the renaissance of CSYs relations with its application providers. Apps-on-tap gives HP a way to support software companies with a revenue stream they can earn. A company willing to add Web capabilities to its program can work toward a spot on an HP datacenter 3000, collecting transaction-based revenue without having to clear IT hurdles and placing 3000s. We hope the revenues will continue to lead those app providers toward traditional 3000 software sales. Theres a large tool and datacenter aftermarket rich with solutions for MPE/iX. These companies kept the pilot light of the 3000 alive in its darkest time. Its only fitting they should be included in the e-services rebound.
As these crisp winds of change invigorate all of us in the 3000 this fall, see if they dont widen your eyes a bit. In the less-harsh sunlight of October we look over our fall gardens and see places where a fountain might delight, or eye rich soil where colorful plants can take root. Plant a new project on your 3000 this fall. Were forecasting great growing weather for you.