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HP's Legendary Farewell Parties
Ken Poulton


In a rapidly expanding organization like HP, people moved to new jobs all the time. Maybe their experience qualified them for a step up in another division. Maybe it was in another expansion city. Maybe they were retiring (seldom). Maybe it was just a birthday party. But often these parties became legends in their own time. It all depended on the creativity of the folks sponsoring the party. Often you could get Bill or Dave to come and make a few comments. Or other high-level execs. Then there were the creative presentations that often involved reputation roasts and revelations of personal foibles and fallacies. Usually they underscored the esteem  we held for the departing person. This charming work was creation of Ken Poulton, and you will smile throughout.

When John Minck wrote the Foreword to Zvonko Fazarinc's memoir, the medieval style he used reminded Zvonko of that long dormant farewell for Steve of Budai. It was too good to let it lie dormant.




The Apocryphal Tribute for Steve of Budai,

On the Occasion of his IRL Farewell Party

Written and Presented by Kenneth of Poulton




In the beginning, there were Bill and Dave, and darkness lay upon the void. Then Bill and Dave said, "Let there be an oscillator, the like of which has never been seen before." And there was an oscillator and its name was HP and it was good.

Now, the family of HP was favored of Bill and Dave and was greatly multiplied. Many were the oscillators, and soon all manner of instruments were brought forth into the void. There were voltmeters and power supplies and pulse generators and oscilloscopes. And lo, other families came into being, and the void began to fill, but none were as favored as the family of HP. And Bill and Dave saw that they were better than the competition.

Now in the time of Kennedy, a prophet spake unto the house of HP, saying, "Make computers, and thou willst grow fat as the sacrificial calf." So began the 2100. And the 2100 begat the 2109 and the 2109 begat the 2116 and the 2116 begat the 21MX, even as the 2100 begat peripherals. And the family of HP was multiplied tenfold and Bill and Dave saw that they were competitive.

And still later, the family of HP said unto itself, "Let us make a computer in the image of IBM and we will sell unto the moneylenders and merchants and so grow greater." And so was born the 3000. And the Series I begat the Series II and the Series II begat the Series III. And Bill and Dave saw that they had a few bugs, but they were cheaper than IBM.

Now in the Valley of Silicon, there lived the tribe of IRL of the family of HP. Many were the computers employed therein, and their uses were legion. Now Steve of Budai was the keeper of the computers of IRL, and he was a very holy man. He was mighty beyond all others of IRL, for he alone could raise the 2100's, and he had mastery over the 3000 Series III, which was the greatest computer in all of the tribe of IRL. So many were the uses of the computers at IRL, and so great were the needs, that Steve of Budai was constantly besieged with supplications from the people of IRL.

Each person had his own request: “Fix my terminal, oh mighty Steve," or, “Might I have a tape, oh Steve of Budai?" or, “What penance must I do, for the 3000 answers not my prayers." But the most frequent call was, "Steve of Budai, come quickly, for the 3000 has fallen!” And then would Steve of Budai perform his greatest miracle. By laying his hands upon the holy console keyboard, he would raise the 3000 and restore it to life. And the people of IRL would watch in silence and wonder at his powers.

But there came to be dissension among the people of IRL. For some muttered that the 3000 responded more slowly to their prayers than of old, and others spoke of sessions choked with spices. And yea, even Steve of Budai was rumored to be secretly worshipping IBM. So it came to pass that Zvonko of Fazarinc, who was the leader at the tribe of IRL in worldly matters, summoned a Taskforce to investigate the discontent with IRL. The Taskforce had five heads, terrible to behold, and stayed locked in a conference room for many months. From time to time, it came out and terrorized the people of IRL with questionnaires and conflicting reports.

Finally it came to pass that the Taskforce burst out of its cell and vanished, and left in its stead a Report. And the Report prophesied of further plagues of spices and graphics, until the people cried out, "What shall we do'?" And the Report said, "Go ye into the marketplace and purchase the greatest computer you can find, or the tribe of IRL shall be smitten with slowness."

So the people of IRL discussed among themselves what should be done. They asked, "What can be greater than a 3000?" And some spoke of the cursed DEC, but were stoned for their blasphemy. Then spake Steve of Budai, ''It is clear that the Report means IBM for truly this is the greatest of computers." And the people of IRL were wroth that he would speak so. And they took Steve of Budai to the temple of the 3000 and threw at him tapes until he was dead.

But on the third day Steve of Budai was resurrected, and raised to the corporate level. There he sits on the right hand of Amdahl, which was made in the image of IBM, and speaks not of 3000’s.

This text is a part of the Dead 3000 Files found on a disc shard found in what is believed to have been the site of the original temple of the 3000. It is believed to have been written by Kenneth of Poulton, also of the tribe of IRL, and possibly a contemporary of Steve of Budai. The text was translated from the original Fortran.






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