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December 1998
The Never Ending Story
Editor’s Note: Sometimes a fairy tale is the best way to tell a story too horrible to relate in any other way. While in Europe this fall — a place where the HP 3000 was in decline for many years — we heard this tale.

By John Petersen

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a clever good wizard had a plan to produce a computer that was virtually impervious to evil. His dream was of a system that never stopped, would run forever — and never needed a team of acolytes to tend to its every need to keep it going.

He toiled endlessly through years of sleepless nights. Finally in a puff of inspiration, he created a magnificent beast, with silvery flanks and flashing lights. He looked down upon his creation and spoke its name for the first time in hushed tones — “HP 3000.”

His masters in the West, who lived in a castle known as Garage, saw the beauty of his creation and sent messengers to the four corners of the world to tell of its magnificent powers.

Sages and minstrels in all kingdoms quickly saw the worth of the new, wondrous product and wrote applications in its honour. Artisans in the field of manufacturing were particularly impressed with its indestructible qualities, because they were needy of the power of 24-hour availability.

There followed many years of harmony and joy.

Then an evil spell did fall on the castle in the West. A group of rival wizards had gathered and they had a plan to infest the world with another product that looked the same but worked entirely differently. It also needed hordes of acolytes to attend to its every need and keep it happy, or it would stop and quite often sulk for days. The animal was known as NewNicks.

The masters in the Castle known as the Garage fell under the power of NewNicks, and created a beast in the magnificent animal’s image and did call it “HP 9000.”

The spell did grow stronger. The evil masters of the castle sent out new messengers to tell the world that the HP 3000 beauty was in fact evil incarnate in the shape of “Old technology,” and the future was NewNicks.

Many users also fell under its spell and slew their magnificent beasts, replacing them with animals that looked the same on the outside, but contained a heart of purest evil. They increased their workforce to keep the new beast in check and pander to its every lust. In their hearts they wished for the old days of easy pleasure, but they knew they could never return to the good old days, as that was the period of Old Technology. And anyway, they could now buy terminals from anyone!

Not all disciples of the HP 3000 fell under the spell of the promises of open delights of NewNicks. They questioned how an upstart which used the same body of the exulted one and had none of the life prolonging powers could indeed be “new technology.” They decided to wait and see if the dark ages would pass.

They waited and waited. Years came and went, and people in the castle’s farthest-flung outposts started to forget that the magnificent beast ever existed. “Hp-what? – 3000 ? Do we make such a beast?” was heard more and more.

Eventually though, the power of NewNicks started to fade. A young wizard had a magical new beast that he called Entee. The magician was called William, and his name was known throughout the world.

As soon as Entee was seen as the future and NewNicks became “Old Technology,” the spell on the masters in the castle known as Garage was broken.

“How could we have been so blind?” they shouted. “We have nearly killed a magnificent beast!” A group of rebels who had secretly hidden in a darkened dungeon in the castle emerged into the daylight and announced:

“Behold! We have been working on the creature and have made it Open.” We have added Pozsicks to let it talk and look like NewNicks. We have added Sambaa to enable it to look and talk like Entee.

“Send messengers far and wide and tell the world the HP 3000 is not dead and not Old Technology, but is a sensible solution for the future.”

And lo, the dark ages did end. The magnificent rose again. The HP 3000, Newnicks and Entee lived happily ever after.

John Petersen is Senior Technical Consultant at Riva Systems Ltd., an HP Channel Partner in the UK.

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