Solid software
for MPE & HP-UX
Robelle Headlines   November 2003

Highlights from our recent on-line customer news. The links
and full articles are available at

What's Up DOCumentation

HP 3000 Memories...

Terry Kennedy writes:   “I once saw a HP 3000 which was multiple cabinets, each of which had many wood-grain doors which were the 19" width of the rack by perhaps 10" high, each of which had an Ace lock (round key, like on vending machines). I believe that at least some of the compartments behind these doors held wire-wrap boards, not etched PCBs. The "console" was a table with a pair of CRTs in the middle, and to the left and right of these CRTs were large panels full of LEDs, with stenciled-and-varnished designations for each LED. I was told that one CRT was reserved for maintenance functions, while the other was the OS operator's console.

Does this ring any bells? Was this a prototype? It doesn't sound anything like any other description of a 3000 that I've read.

This would have been in 1974 or 1975... “

Note: What you are describing is the original HP 3000- the one that was put on hold and replaced 18 months later with the "CX 3000" (which did away with the fancy cabinets and desk to save money). Woodgrain was one of the 4 colors that you could order for the original 3000, and the panels of flashing lights were quite impressive! The other colors were sea gold, marine blue and red!

HP 3000 Wake in The Register

An IT industry web site has picked up the story of the e3000's wake. Reasonably good article, quotes Bruce Toback and links to our history of the Classic 3000 at the end.

Online: link to the story on the HP 3000.

Homesteading and MPE Tips

From The 3000 Newswire: "Hidden Value"

In the October issue, John Burke deals with chat on the 3000, btrees in IMAGE, mirrored drives, locking out device numbers, SCSI terminators, purging priv files and much more.

Online: the link to the “Hidden Value” column on John’s web site.

Jazz Script Resources

This web page on HP's Jazz server contains numerous command files that make operation of an HP 3000 easier. For example, WHERE to tell you all uses of a name as a command file or UDC name; REM to execute commands remotely and easily check their status on the local system; MPE2PX to convert an MPE syntax filename to an absolute POSIX pathname, and much more.

Online: link to the Jazz page.

From The 3000 Newswire: "net.digest"

The October issue has been posted on the web. John Burke's feature item is a report by Paul Edwards on replacing the disk drives in a 9x8 system as a homesteader (the article is worth printing and saving):

"Paul Edwards, former HP SE, long time independent MPE and IMAGE trainer and MPE and IMAGE consultant recently faced the problem of replacing the disk drives in his 9x8 system. He decided to pretend to be a homesteader or self-maintainer, go out on the Internet and acquire the new drives, and install them in his system. His experience and the checklist he developed along with some commentary follows..."

Online: link to the column on John Burke’s web site.

Qedit Tips

Excluding Lines From Qedit Visual Mode Display

In August 2003 (Qedit version 5.4.10) we added the XX indicators to Visual Mode. They mark lines that you do not want displayed in full screen mode. This new feature makes it possible to display the data declarations and the code that work on them at the same time.

Online: Read all about the new XX indicator in Qedit.

Default Color Schemes in Qedit for Windows

Qedit for Windows allows you to attach different color schemes to different file types, which helps remind you what you are editing (MPE file, UNIX file, etc.). François Desrochers describes the four levels of defaults for color schemes and how to get exactly what you need.

Online: all the details!

Suprtool Tips

Exception Reporting with Suprtool - Some Ideas

The IF command supports arithmetic operations between fields, even fields of different numeric data types. This is useful in checking some of the 'business rules' that most applications have. These rules are usually included in the data entry programs but sometimes 'stuff happens' and the data gets messed up. Here is a simple task that uses this feature to isolate which records are breaking the rule of "Invoice amount = price times quantity".

 >base   sales.db,5,reader       
 >get    d-invoices                
 >if     price * quantity  < > amount
 >list standard title "Price*Qty != Amt" 

This idea can be used in a month end job that prints exception reports.

Take Action Based on Exceptions

When Suprtool completes a task such as that shown above, it also sets a variable named SUPRTOOLFULLCOUNT to the number of output records. If this value is 0, then no exceptions were found and the report can be discarded. If this value is greater than zero, then someone should review the results.

If exceptions are found, you could just not delete the spoolfile:

     !if suprtoolfullcount <= 0 then
         !    set stdlist=delete

On HP-UX, the total is written to the stoutcount file, which can be tested as follows:

     if [`cat .stoutcount` -ge 10 ]; then
            echo "More than 10 recs found"

Or you could handle exceptions in a more creative way, but emailing the exception report to the person in charge;  read our


Online:  link to remote database admin application note.

Do the debits equal the credits?

Financial transactions are often processed in batches. Between jobs aborting, program bugs, and less-than-careful data fixes by MIS staff, these batches can get out-of-balance. Using the Total command can quickly verify that all transactions net to zero.

    >get      d-transactions            
    >output   $null
    >total    trans-amt
    TRANS-AMT             81451+

By default the results of the Total command are displayed on the screen ($STDLIST), but can be appended to the output file. To do this you need to turn Set Squeeze Off and add a new Total command as follows:

   total $file filename,append          

Up to 15 fields can be totalled in each pass.


HP-UX and Migration Planning

The iSeries

John Burke helped organize IBM's event at HP World 2003 to introduce the iSeries family of computers to HP e3000 users, consultants and ISVs.

Online:  read John’s announcement on his web site.

Converting from MPE to Linux

An interesting "how to" web site by Peter Osbourne.

Online: the link to

Links/ Resources/ Industry News

Book Review

Chuck Ciesinski of Hughes Network Systems writes:

I have read the book, HP3000 Evolution, which I got at HPWorld 2003 in Atlanta, and I rank it as a must have for every HP 3000 system manager today and beyond October 31st, 2003.

Online: order the book at

MB Foster Buys an ISP

Interesting news. Birket Foster and MB Foster have bought into an ISP in Ontario.

Online: read the press release.

Consultant in the UK

Parker Support Services Ltd is a UK-based company providing off/on-site support for Ecometry (EMACS) clients. Can provide technical training, upgrades and general application/technical support. Headed by a former SGA/Ecometry employee, who also knows Suprtool and can give Suprtool training.

Online:  more details and contact info for Parker Support Services.

Crawford Software Consulting

Crawford Software Consulting is a firm that knows and recommends our products Qedit and Suprtool. They have over 20 years experience with various manufacturing packages and tools. HP-3000 skills include: Data Extraction and System Migration. Suprtool, SQL, Image, Image SQL, MPE/iX, Quiz, Qedit, Fortran, Basic, Cobol. Manufacturing Systems including GrowthPower and ASK.

Online: more details and full contact information on Crawford.