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What's Up, DOCumentation? 2003 # 2

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February 2003

From: Bob Green, President

To: Users of Robelle Software

Re: News of the HP e3000 and Robelle

Our newsletter publication has been monthly for over a year now. Publication has been on-line, with an email notification to each customer. Each issue is jam-packed with articles, but if you get as much email as I do, you may have missed this valuable service. Back issues can be reviewed at

The Robelle newsletter really needs to be read on-line, since the headline of every story is actually a web link to the full story or more information. In the interest of keeping the newsletter short and readable, the details are often to be found in the web links. The on-line newsletter is at

Table of Contents:

Update Your Account
Add/Change CPUs
Contact Robelle

Ask Support
Technical Information
What's New?

Free Trials. Click for:
Qedit for Windows
Host-based Qedit

Ecometry Solutions
Healthcare Solutions
Education Users
Consultants Corner

Qedit for Windows
Qedit for e3000
Suprtool for e3000
Suprtool Training

About Robelle
About the HP e3000
About HP-UX

News and Upcoming Events

What Has Been Happening at Robelle

When HP announced the phase out of the HP 3000 on November 14, 2001, we at Robelle were not totally surprised. We had been watching the market prospects for MPE decline for years, although the 3000 continued to be one of the easiest IT platforms to develop for and operate. Starting in January 2001, we set as our goal to be "the best HP 3000 vendor possible", even if that meant that we would grow smaller over the years.

To read about our experiences over the last 2 years, outsourcing functions, migrating some applications, tuning up our R&D engine, and jumping eagerly on to new opportunities, click the link above.

eDirect: 3000 emails PDF

Minisoft has a new HP 3000 product on their web site, eDirect. It works with their eForms product and allows you to email any form as a PDF file. Makes it possible to email invoices, purchase orders, etc. Nice to see new products coming out for the 3000.

One of our recent ads from the 3000 NewsWire: click to learn about the new $Clean feature

ROC Software: New Products to Extend Life of 3000

ROC Task Services provides job scheduling that coordinates workloads between MPE and Open Systems.

Escalibro allows MPE systems to share a tape autochanger or library.

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HP Tips

The Birth of IMAGE

This interesting paper by Fred White (of HP and Adager) recounts the people and events in the creation of the IMAGE database.

Homesteading: 3000 Reference Information

As Hewlett-Packard loses interest in the HP 3000, it is important that end users start taking responsibility for their own systems. Toward that end I have compiled a list of useful reference web sites on the HP 3000 (excluding the topic of migration).

Click the link above for an exhaustive list of web links with 3000 information that you may need to keep your systems humming.

An HP 3000 At Home!

The December net.digest column by John Burke has a fun discussion of installing an HP 3000 at home and connecting it to the Internet via DSL. The complete archives of net.digest from The 3000 Newswire magazine are on-line at Burke Consulting.

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Qedit Tips

Change Trailing Spaces to Leading Zeroes

If you have an Ascii fixed-column flat file that contains a column with left-justified numerics and you wish to change those numerics to be right-justified with leading zeros, there are two ways to do it. One uses Qedit and the other uses MPE commands.

For example, if you have a file that contains the following records:

xxxxxx1234    other data
yyyyyy66      more stuff
zzzzzz98765   last record

and you want it to look like:

xxxxxx00001234other data
yyyyyy00000066more stuff
zzzzzz00098765last record

you can use one of two methods. Click the link above to see what they are!

What People Like About Qedit/UX?

"Qedit HP-UX has been indispensable in our migration from the HP 3000 to HP 9000. It is only tool we have that is common to both platforms an has been very helpful in smoothing out the learning curve on HP-UX. No only do we use Qedit HP-UX to edit scripts and program files, but we also use it for all kinds of data migration tasks. For example, we download data from an AS/400 machine, then use Qedit HP-UX to reformat the data for the HP 9000. Qedit greatly simplifies these kind of tasks"
Mike Connor

Qedit/UX "Length" Option

Host-based Qedit for HP-UX pre-release 5.3.13 is ready for download by users interested in testing the new improved ability to edit data files. The Text command has a new option: Length. When specified, Qedit folds lines at the specified number of characters. This option makes it easier to handle all types of files whether they contain Newline delimiters or not. The List command has a new $length option to perform a similar operation while listing a file. Set Keep LF ON requests that the file be kept with Newline delimiters after each line. Set Keep LF OFF requests that the file be kept without Newline delimiters. Similar file formats are obtained using the LF and NOLF options of the Keep command.

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Suprtool Tips

Combine Three Fields Into One?

Tech support question of the week:

I want to concatenate 3 fields to one field, enthr,":",entmin. How do I make the 3 fields into one, with no separators, if I output as a comma delimited field?


You can concatenate three fields by doing the following:

DEFINE myfield,1,30,byte
EXTRACT myfield = $trim(enthr) + ":" + $trim(entmin)
The resulting field will have the contents of the three fields with the both leading and trailing spaces trimmed. For more details and examples on string functions please see the following page on our website:

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HP-UX and Migration Planning

FAQ: HP 3000 Future

HP has combined all of their published information about the future of the HP 3000 onto a Frequently Asked Questions page.


Ron Seybold (the savvy editor of The 3000 Newswire points out that some of the information on HP's FAQ is dated. He writes:

In the FAQ HP claims it will be selling no more software or processor boards after Oct. 31 -- but it proposed post-Oct.31 sales of both in its promises made at the Los Angeles HP World show.

From our October 2002 Newswire report on Mike Paivinen's HP World presentation:

Paivinen's slides, marked "subject to change," said the vendor intends to provide new and remarketed add-on hardware for A- and N-Class HP 3000s beyond 2003, limited by the supply and demand in the marketplace. The components wouldn't include entire systems, but will include CPU boards, embedded disks, memory, IO and network cards.

Paivinen, charged with developing a path for the homesteading customer, cautioned the OpenMPE audience not to expect the intentions to remain set in stone, but to look at the offers as a sign of HP's desires.

"I don't even know if I'll have a job in a month," he said with a smile, "but this really represents what we want to be doing." HP announced an extra 1,800 layoffs earlier in the day of the OpenMPE meeting, but 3000 staffers hadn't been tapped yet as part of the extra dismissals.

HP would only look at a period of six to 12 months beyond the October, 2003 end of sales date to offer the add-on hardware for the A-Class and N-Class systems. DTC controllers and IO cards for Series 900 HP 3000s were not part of the added hardware offer.

Software products from HP for the 3000 such as compilers, development tools and backup software will continue to be sold beyond 2003 as well. These HP products don't have the inventory problems that HP said surrounds the hardware sales extension.

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Links/Resources/Industry News


John Burke's web site has a very handy directory of all the MPE/iX 6.0 Commands and Variables help information (not much has changed in commands since 6.0), organized as HTML pages. The information comes from the system file The web pages were created using slightly modified versions of Mark Bixby's cicat2html Perl script and Donna Garverick's mkindx CI script. cicat2html converts into html pages, one for each command. mkindx creates this index page. Very nice!

Feedback on Disk-to-Disk Backup

Paul Edwards writes: I read your PC Backup article about Second Copy. I use Drive Image from PowerQuest to make scheduled backups on my system. Can use another partition or another drive and it compresses. It also has a copy function like their Drive Copy product that makes duplicate copies. I tried that and it only takes a BIOS change to boot from the other drive. My Seagate tape drive didn't make a reliable backup, as I unfortunately found out. This is a better set of options.

Bradmark Manuals On-line

We continue to gather links to on-line information that is useful to keeping an HP 3000 humming. Some MPE vendors have their manuals on-line, but many do not. Here is the link to Bradmark's manuals. If you know of any others, please send them to - thanks!

HP Consultants: MVHL Consulting Inc.

Elliot Lee of MVHL has extensive experience with the 3000, including our Suprtool and Qedit products. He has also done a lot of work with EDI and is in the process of creating a HIPAA software package for use by small to medium size medical offices. The HIP(AA)MVHL package is currently in development and should be ready for general release by March 1, 2003.

Company Name: MVHL Consulting, Inc
Specialty:HP3000, Suprtool, Image, Cobol, Powerhouse,Qedit,Oracle
Description:20+ years of Cobol programming 15 years of Image, Suprtool and Powerhouse. Several years of experience exporting data from Image into Oracle and Web pages that reside on the HP3000.
Contact:Eliot Lee
Location:Maryland Heights, Missouri
We have over 15 years of experience using Suprtool as a front-end process for Cobol and Quiz. We have also used Suprtool to pull data and populate web pages on the HP3000.
We have used Qedit for over 15 years.

For more consultants with HP3000 experience, visit consultants page.

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Newsletter Distribution

Robelle Solutions Technology Inc. provides the What's Up, DOCumentation? newsletter as a service to our customers. The newsletter is available on the web: in HTML format for browsing and PDF format for printing. Visit

Comments about this issue, as well as ideas for future issues, including news, tips, and suggestions for articles, can be sent to

Previous Issue: January Newsletter

The January 2003 issue of the newsletter is still on-line. Some hot headlines were:

You can browse the HTML version of the previous news, or print the PDF version.

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