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Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive distribution network

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  • Herb Johnson
    ... [summary: a central archive, which has a person who makes boot disks upon request, from original disks, on original systems, for a fee to MARCH] ... any
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 1, 2007
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      > From: B. Degnan <billdeg@...>

      > Here is my plan for a boot disk archive:

      [summary: a central archive, which has a person who makes boot
      disks upon request, from original disks, on original systems,
      for a fee to MARCH]

      > I would be willing to participate in such a project as coordinator/ list
      > maintainer via the marchclub.org web site. I probably will
      > move forward and set something up, but I am busy and it may be a few
      > months before I am ready. In the mean time, please feel free to
      > email me directly if you're interested in being being a supplier of boot
      > disks, and what systems, and what OS/versions you have.

      Jim Scheef <jscheef@...> wrote:
      >
      > Bill,
      >
      > This is excellent as we can start and people can contribute without
      any new infrastructure (other than some programming on your part). The
      download library archive can come later when/if we have the need,
      technology and energy. To start, everyone needs to inventory their
      collections and decide whether they can volunteer to provide copies of
      their boot floppies. How better to start the New Year!
      >
      > Jim

      I respectfully but regrettably disagree with the above plans and
      propositions. In fact there are TWO proposals: Bill's to provide a
      service to duplicate disks on original machines; and Jim's to use
      Linux and some Linux programs (possibly new ones) to create an image
      archive on some Linux machines.

      Oh, I also see that Kelly has posted yet another proposal, to use a
      Catweasel brand controller on a PC to create an archive. (This is a
      hardware card with software to bit-copy disks, very briefly.)

      In any case, as I posted earlier, Dave Dunfield ALREADY HAS
      ESTABLISHED AN ARCHIVE, AND SOFTWARE. I don't understand posts that
      say they can't find an archive (Jim) or that there are not adequate
      archives (Kelly). Dave has written a program which runs on PC
      compatibles, which will read a variety of boot disks to image files;
      and recreate those boot disks. His program works under MS-DOS, but the
      disks read and written are NOT MS-DOS DISKS - they are image copies
      from many NON-MS-DOS system disks. It's all online, and for free. I
      think it is tough to compete with free, online archives (in response
      in particular to Bill's suggested "donation" service).

      So, ONCE AGAIN, look at Dave's work FOR YOURSELF. The archive and
      programs are at:

      http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm

      The README file from Dave Dunfield's Web page on duplicating boot
      disks is informative:

      http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/readme.txt

      I'm sorry that Dave's work was apparently not examined - for instance,
      Jim would have seen some of the very system disks he said he could not
      find!

      One issue that remains, which is what the ORIGINAL POST TO THIS THREAD
      BROUGHT UP, is that some people find it hard to use on-line image
      archives and their programs. Anyone who proposes to do the copying
      personally instead, has to compete with 1) any other original computer
      owner who'd make a copy; 2) anyone else with Dave's programs; and 3)
      anyone else with their OWN archive and hardware and methods (like
      Catweasel owners).

      I have no idea how to compete with those people, much less for any
      sort of "fee". I have reason to know the issue. For many MANY years, I
      offered S-100 manuals for a copy fee. I still do - but now, there are
      online manuals for free download. That service is now limited to
      making REALLY GOOD copies available instead of poorly-scanned PDF's. I
      know first-hand what "free" and "download" does to any service which
      charges a fee and must be mailed, etc.

      I also have a clue about floppy disks, drives, and controllers. My Web
      site has technical support pages for them. I work on these often, for
      fees. There are technical issues about copying non-native disks; but
      disks from MANY systems can be copied on a PC, with no, some, or a
      little bit of hardware added. And, as with manuals, any system disk
      once imaged can be thrown on a Web site and is freely available.

      My interest and parallel experiences are what prompts me to post in
      opposition, even though it's likely I'll just annoy my colleagues for
      doing so. I'm very reluctant to post, but already I see this idea is
      getting "support" (which so far amounts to one new direction per
      post), with no further mention of the Dunfield archive.

      So, why not add to Dave's archive, and make use of it? Support what
      exists, don't recreate it! Help people use it, not create something
      new from scratch!

      Why make something new? Funny thing, Jim said in his post that all the
      interest in computing is going to something "new, not old" - everyone
      wants to support new computers, he said. Is this a case in point - a
      "new" archive is more interesting than an "old" one?

      Herb Johnson

      Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
      <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/"> web site</a>
      <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a>
      my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
      if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
      "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
      S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"
    • Evan Koblentz
      I ve stayed out of this thread so far. Kelly, Bill, et al: I admire your ambition, but Herb did a good job articulating his opinion, and I agree with it quite
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 1, 2007
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        I've stayed out of this thread so far. Kelly, Bill, et al: I admire your
        ambition, but Herb did a good job articulating his opinion, and I agree with
        it quite strongly.

        >>> So, why not add to Dave's archive, and make use of it? Support what
        exists, don't recreate it! Help people use it, not create something new from
        scratch!

        Even if Dave's archive did not exist, I think this should be a cctalk
        thread, not a MARCH thread.

        Rant: I also think Herb's comment extends to many other aspects of our
        hobby. In general, I think our hobby is too incestuous and fragmented. Too
        many people don't do enough homework before making a declaration or starting
        a new web site or forum. The result is multiple attempts at every little
        thing, each attempt with a bunch of redundant users and/or a bunch of
        unique, loyal users, often not knowing about the other attempts. I think
        our hobby needs more regional user groups like MARCH, more openness to
        newcomers and youth, and less in-fighting over whose site or forum gets to
        be the meta-portal.



        -----Original Message-----
        From: Herb Johnson [mailto:hjohnson@...]
        Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 6:21 PM
        To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive
        distribution network

        > From: B. Degnan <billdeg@...>

        > Here is my plan for a boot disk archive:

        [summary: a central archive, which has a person who makes boot disks upon
        request, from original disks, on original systems, for a fee to MARCH]

        > I would be willing to participate in such a project as coordinator/ list
        > maintainer via the marchclub.org web site. I probably will
        > move forward and set something up, but I am busy and it may be a few
        > months before I am ready. In the mean time, please feel free to email
        > me directly if you're interested in being being a supplier of boot
        > disks, and what systems, and what OS/versions you have.

        Jim Scheef <jscheef@...> wrote:
        >
        > Bill,
        >
        > This is excellent as we can start and people can contribute without
        any new infrastructure (other than some programming on your part). The
        download library archive can come later when/if we have the need, technology
        and energy. To start, everyone needs to inventory their collections and
        decide whether they can volunteer to provide copies of their boot floppies.
        How better to start the New Year!
        >
        > Jim

        I respectfully but regrettably disagree with the above plans and
        propositions. In fact there are TWO proposals: Bill's to provide a service
        to duplicate disks on original machines; and Jim's to use Linux and some
        Linux programs (possibly new ones) to create an image archive on some Linux
        machines.

        Oh, I also see that Kelly has posted yet another proposal, to use a
        Catweasel brand controller on a PC to create an archive. (This is a hardware
        card with software to bit-copy disks, very briefly.)

        In any case, as I posted earlier, Dave Dunfield ALREADY HAS ESTABLISHED AN
        ARCHIVE, AND SOFTWARE. I don't understand posts that say they can't find an
        archive (Jim) or that there are not adequate archives (Kelly). Dave has
        written a program which runs on PC compatibles, which will read a variety of
        boot disks to image files; and recreate those boot disks. His program works
        under MS-DOS, but the disks read and written are NOT MS-DOS DISKS - they are
        image copies from many NON-MS-DOS system disks. It's all online, and for
        free. I think it is tough to compete with free, online archives (in response
        in particular to Bill's suggested "donation" service).

        So, ONCE AGAIN, look at Dave's work FOR YOURSELF. The archive and programs
        are at:

        http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm

        The README file from Dave Dunfield's Web page on duplicating boot disks is
        informative:

        http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/readme.txt

        I'm sorry that Dave's work was apparently not examined - for instance, Jim
        would have seen some of the very system disks he said he could not find!

        One issue that remains, which is what the ORIGINAL POST TO THIS THREAD
        BROUGHT UP, is that some people find it hard to use on-line image archives
        and their programs. Anyone who proposes to do the copying personally
        instead, has to compete with 1) any other original computer owner who'd make
        a copy; 2) anyone else with Dave's programs; and 3) anyone else with their
        OWN archive and hardware and methods (like Catweasel owners).

        I have no idea how to compete with those people, much less for any sort of
        "fee". I have reason to know the issue. For many MANY years, I offered S-100
        manuals for a copy fee. I still do - but now, there are online manuals for
        free download. That service is now limited to making REALLY GOOD copies
        available instead of poorly-scanned PDF's. I know first-hand what "free" and
        "download" does to any service which charges a fee and must be mailed, etc.

        I also have a clue about floppy disks, drives, and controllers. My Web site
        has technical support pages for them. I work on these often, for fees. There
        are technical issues about copying non-native disks; but disks from MANY
        systems can be copied on a PC, with no, some, or a little bit of hardware
        added. And, as with manuals, any system disk once imaged can be thrown on a
        Web site and is freely available.

        My interest and parallel experiences are what prompts me to post in
        opposition, even though it's likely I'll just annoy my colleagues for doing
        so. I'm very reluctant to post, but already I see this idea is getting
        "support" (which so far amounts to one new direction per post), with no
        further mention of the Dunfield archive.

        So, why not add to Dave's archive, and make use of it? Support what exists,
        don't recreate it! Help people use it, not create something new from
        scratch!

        Why make something new? Funny thing, Jim said in his post that all the
        interest in computing is going to something "new, not old" - everyone wants
        to support new computers, he said. Is this a case in point - a "new" archive
        is more interesting than an "old" one?

        Herb Johnson

        Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
        <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/"> web site</a> <a
        href="http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a> my
        email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com if no reply, try in a
        few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI,
        8-inch floppy drives S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"




        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • Kelly Leavitt
        And I disagree with much of Herb s and Evan s responses. Sorry guys :( Here s why: I don t think Dave does not offer enough. In fact, he offers quite a bit. I
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 1, 2007
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          And I disagree with much of Herb's and Evan's responses. Sorry guys :(
           
          Here's why:
           
          I don't think Dave does not offer enough. In fact, he offers quite a bit. I just have much more than he has online, and that others may be interested in. For instance, someone found out I have a disk needed for formatting the old 8" hard disks by Tandy. Using Dave's ImageDisk, I made a copy and shipped it out to him. It worked.
           
          I would gladly ship the 1500 to 1800 8" disks I have here to Dave, but I don't think he'd be interested in imaging and classifying them. Instead, I have been working on (for the last 3 months) a searchable archive of all the disks in my inventory using ImageDisk to make the images wherever possible. I am still classifying disks and formats, but I can successfully read 80 to 90 percent of what I have right now using ImageDisk. My only contribution is to catalog the data, and I fully intend to use imagedisk wherever I can. I also intend to offer commercial software packages ala www.trs-80.com (that is, only for software that is not currently commercially available), up to the point of receiving C&D orders. I really don't care what others think of this, and preaching on this point will result in me ignoring your comments. This is an active decision I have made as an individual. However, I cannot ask the same of others. But in all honesty, who would actually be damaged if I allowed a copy of Scripsit to be downloaded and installed on a Tandy Xenix machine?
           
          The intent is to offer all the images I make directly to Dave for linking to or copying from his site at his discretion, and to make it freely available to all. Any that I can directly attribute to being CP/M will be offered to Gaby and the CP/M archive. I intend to share and spread the word.
           
          I only suggest a catweasel for the instances where Dave's program won't work. ImageDisk will only work on disks that use fairly standard FM and MFM formats as defined by the WD chipsets. It cannot handle Apple II, Amiga, TRS-80 PDD format, early Macs, and others. I am working on a program to read these disks using a catweasel and then write them in ImageDisk format if possible. It is generic enough that I believe I can follow his format even if the resulting images can't be written using his MS-DOS version.
           
          You've also seemed to have missed an important point that Bill made. That is, it would be nice to have a CENTRAL repository of who has what disks available and systems for copying them. Regardless of fees and such, there is currently no systematically maintained cross reference. What happens if something happens to Dave? Who will support his site and efforts, or will it go the way of Don Maslin's collection?
           
          I have tried starting this discussion several times on CCTALK, but there are no takers. Instead they'd rather discuss bongo drum bandwidth.
           
          I have researched up and down the web, and I'm apparently the only one to offer many of the disk images I offer. I just need to finish the interface and get more ImageDisk images entered into the archive. Here's a partial list of what I've been able to copy:
           
          These are all for the model II, 12, 16, 6000 series:
          TRSDOS II 4.1 v1
          LS-DOS
          Xenix 3.1.1 (5 disks)
          Xenix 3.0 Development system (13 disks)
          P&T CP/M
          Scripsit
          Scripsit Speller
          ProFile 16+
           
          Model 2000:
          MS Assembler
          MS Fortran
          Multiplan
          MS-DOS
           
           
        • B Degnan
          your standard predicable reactions.
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 1, 2007
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            your standard predicable reactions.
          • Evan Koblentz
            ... point will result in me ignoring your comments. Kelly, please don t take my prior response as a put-down. I didn t mean it that way at all. I m glad to
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 1, 2007
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              >>> I really don't care what others think of this, and preaching on this point will result in me ignoring your comments.
               
              Kelly, please don't take my prior response as a put-down.  I didn't mean it that way at all.  I'm glad to hear the details in your current reply, i.e., that you'll use ImageDisk and other pre-existing methods as much as possible. 
               
              >>>> there is currently no systematically maintained cross reference.
               
              That's where we agree the most.  But I think there is a problem in our hobby about WHY nobody has succeeded in making such a repository.  I don't know the answer, but if anyone figures it out, then I'm sure Jay West would love to hear.
               


              From: Kelly Leavitt [mailto:kelly@...]
              Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 9:49 PM
              To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive distribution network

              And I disagree with much of Herb's and Evan's responses. Sorry guys :(
               
              Here's why:
               
              I don't think Dave does not offer enough. In fact, he offers quite a bit. I just have much more than he has online, and that others may be interested in. For instance, someone found out I have a disk needed for formatting the old 8" hard disks by Tandy. Using Dave's ImageDisk, I made a copy and shipped it out to him. It worked.
               
              I would gladly ship the 1500 to 1800 8" disks I have here to Dave, but I don't think he'd be interested in imaging and classifying them. Instead, I have been working on (for the last 3 months) a searchable archive of all the disks in my inventory using ImageDisk to make the images wherever possible. I am still classifying disks and formats, but I can successfully read 80 to 90 percent of what I have right now using ImageDisk. My only contribution is to catalog the data, and I fully intend to use imagedisk wherever I can. I also intend to offer commercial software packages ala www.trs-80.com (that is, only for software that is not currently commercially available), up to the point of receiving C&D orders. I really don't care what others think of this, and preaching on this point will result in me ignoring your comments. This is an active decision I have made as an individual. However, I cannot ask the same of others. But in all honesty, who would actually be damaged if I allowed a copy of Scripsit to be downloaded and installed on a Tandy Xenix machine?
               
              The intent is to offer all the images I make directly to Dave for linking to or copying from his site at his discretion, and to make it freely available to all. Any that I can directly attribute to being CP/M will be offered to Gaby and the CP/M archive. I intend to share and spread the word.
               
              I only suggest a catweasel for the instances where Dave's program won't work. ImageDisk will only work on disks that use fairly standard FM and MFM formats as defined by the WD chipsets. It cannot handle Apple II, Amiga, TRS-80 PDD format, early Macs, and others. I am working on a program to read these disks using a catweasel and then write them in ImageDisk format if possible. It is generic enough that I believe I can follow his format even if the resulting images can't be written using his MS-DOS version.
               
              You've also seemed to have missed an important point that Bill made. That is, it would be nice to have a CENTRAL repository of who has what disks available and systems for copying them. Regardless of fees and such, there is currently no systematically maintained cross reference. What happens if something happens to Dave? Who will support his site and efforts, or will it go the way of Don Maslin's collection?
               
              I have tried starting this discussion several times on CCTALK, but there are no takers. Instead they'd rather discuss bongo drum bandwidth.
               
              I have researched up and down the web, and I'm apparently the only one to offer many of the disk images I offer. I just need to finish the interface and get more ImageDisk images entered into the archive. Here's a partial list of what I've been able to copy:
               
              These are all for the model II, 12, 16, 6000 series:
              TRSDOS II 4.1 v1
              LS-DOS
              Xenix 3.1.1 (5 disks)
              Xenix 3.0 Development system (13 disks)
              P&T CP/M
              Scripsit
              Scripsit Speller
              ProFile 16+
               
              Model 2000:
              MS Assembler
              MS Fortran
              Multiplan
              MS-DOS
               
               
            • Kelly Leavitt
              To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill s plan for a disk boot archive distribution network ... This was in reference to
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 2, 2007
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                To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [midatlanticretro] Re: Bill's plan for a disk boot archive distribution network


                >>> I really don't care what others think of this, and preaching on this point will result in me ignoring your comments.

                >>>> Kelly, please don't take my prior response as a put-down. I didn't mean it that way at all. I'm glad to hear the details in your current reply, i.e., that you'll use ImageDisk and other pre-existing methods as much as possible.

                This was in reference to my stance on commercial software, not what you said. I do otherwise care.
              • Herb Johnson
                ... our hobby. In general, I think our hobby is too incestuous and fragmented. ....The result is multiple attempts at every little thing, each attempt with a
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 2, 2007
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                  --- "Kelly Leavitt" <kelly@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > And I disagree with much of Herb's and Evan's responses. Sorry guys :(

                  ---- "B Degnan" b...@...

                  > your standard predicable reactions. [that's a complete quote.]

                  Evan Koblentz posted:

                  >Rant: I also think Herb's comment extends to many other aspects of
                  our hobby. In general, I think our hobby is too incestuous and
                  fragmented. ....The result is multiple attempts at every little
                  thing, each attempt with a bunch of redundant users and/or a bunch of
                  unique, loyal users, often not knowing about the other attempts. I
                  think our hobby needs more regional user groups like MARCH, more
                  openness to newcomers and youth, and less in-fighting over whose site
                  or forum gets to be the meta-portal.

                  -----------------------------------

                  To Kelly:

                  Actually, speaking for myself, I don't see very much disagreement from
                  Kelly about what I said. I said "use Dave's program" - Kelly says he
                  can use it on 80%-90% of his disks. I said "support Dave's archive" -
                  Kelly says he'd be glad to do so in principle, making his
                  Dunfield-compatible disk images available to all. I appreciate Kelly's
                  extensive response, and what he plans to do: it's consistent in large
                  part with what I was commenting about. I'm glad to offer some responses.

                  Dave's archive is simply to provide boot disks, that is system disks.
                  Kelly apparently has a larger plan, to provide a general archive of
                  whatever is on his 1500-disk collection - boot disks, utilities,
                  commercial software. And he plans to do that on his own, for free
                  apparently. Hey, what he does is his business. Others have established
                  similar on-line archives of software, or manual images. (I take no
                  position on the legal issues involved - I am no lawyer.) Kelly may end
                  up creating the largest single archive; my general observation is that
                  there are MANY archives of smaller collections which overlap, but
                  there's room for more (but not more formats IMHO).

                  Much of what I posted was about the propostion that someone can offer
                  this as a service for some kind of FEE, and to postal mail actual
                  disks. This is what Bill apparently proposes. Again, my response is
                  that people like Kelly will offer their stuff for free download,
                  immediately - and that you can't compete with that. Only people who
                  are unable to use such download services to make their own disks will
                  pay for someone to do it for them. Or, people who have specific
                  hardware which can't be supported on ordinary PC's hardware, as Kelly
                  describes. I know these issues first-hand, in the manuals and floppy
                  business, as I wrote. There may be a service component to this that
                  can be worked. When "free" won't do the job, you gotta pay or wait for
                  work to be done. Good luck to anyone who does that, including myself,
                  including Bill for that matter.

                  Kelly asks specifically, "What happens if something happens to Dave?"
                  Dave has already answered that: his program is on the archive site,
                  the archive site is ALREADY on the cccomp Web server and not Dave's
                  servers. In a way, *Kelly* is offering to enhance the archive, just as
                  others have when they send Dave a disk image. As long as Dunfield's
                  archive with his imaging programs exists and is mirrored, it will
                  exist. (Don Maslin's service was physical disks, in the days before
                  the "free" Web, and it died with him.) There are other archives on
                  the Web from people or organizations no longer active, surviving by
                  being mirrored. Hey, *I* was approached recently and asked if I wanted
                  *MY* Web site mirrored. For free of course.

                  The Web, and free access, has DEcentralized these kinds of activities,
                  other than specialized, specific services such as I mentioned above. A
                  Web search will find any archive anywhere; blame Google.

                  If Kelly wants to do what he intends to do, for free, then more power
                  to him. I've forgotten that Kelly does high-class work via his
                  trs80 site; I'm not a Tandy guy. How Kelly sustains that kind and
                  amount of activity is up to him. If he has a business model, I hope it
                  works - I'd love to find such a model myself, in a world where people
                  work for free, give stuff for free, get access to it for free,
                  immediately.

                  Kelly says he tried to discuss this in another discussion group. I"ve
                  discussed this myself, years ago, in comp.os.cpm. Search for it
                  if you want, it was about archives of manuals, manuals for payment vs.
                  PDF's for free. I was told that the economic challenges I mentioned
                  were, and I quote, "collateral damage" from the consequence of
                  then-new scanning and Web technology, of the "free" activities I
                  mention above. When people can get stuff for free, they don't wanna
                  talk about economics. I could not revive the discussion after that,
                  it's old news.

                  Similar trends are occuring in other domains where there is old
                  content on old media. There is a mad rush by (excuse me) non-producers
                  of content, to take old content on old media and to put it "freely" on
                  the Web. Even the Library of Congress is doing it - old movies, old
                  images. Amazon and Google copy whole books - just for 'searching" of
                  course, the economics are that they get your eyeballs, for ads. Snore
                  snore, old news, zzzzz....It's like talking water to fish, today.

                  To Bill:

                  Regarding Bill's brief response: I'm sorry that Bill did not see fit
                  to respond in any detail. Maybe he will later. If all he sees is a
                  repudiation of his proposal, I'm sorry for that, it's hard to respond
                  to something of that sort. But I can't read his mind, I can't guess at
                  what "pedictable reactions" he may have beyond disappointment.

                  Believe me, I hesitated and dithered about posting anything at all. I
                  don't want to rain on anyone's parade, I have no desire to be Chairman
                  of the MARCH Spoiler Committee. So I presented my dilemma as best I
                  could. But it's a real dilemma, and I hope Bill takes time to consider
                  that dilemma.

                  to Evan:

                  Regarding fragmentation, there is no central portal because the Web
                  has no center. And it's all on the Web - for most people, anyway. That
                  may be "fragmented" as Evan said and Kelly suggested, but Google will
                  aggregate it for you. As for fragmented plans and activities, anybody
                  with time and some resources can compete on the Web with anyone else
                  on a fairly equal footing. Evan, you want "openness", that's it! At
                  least that's how it used to be...this is changing in the usual ways,
                  as big money and spammers both clog the Web; but that's another
                  discussion.

                  On the other hand, MARCH and other old computer collectors and
                  organizations who have a PHYSICAL presence, PHYSICAL assets, and
                  people, can aggregate their PHYSICAL stuff and resources to advantage,
                  as you suggest. But when physical assets, like disks or (in my
                  business) manuals can be turned into on-line content, you can't
                  compete with the drive to "free on the Web". That's the challenge, or
                  as I put it, "where's the business model that competes with free?"

                  And I agree with Evan that a bit of homework goes a long way to avoid
                  duplicated work. I don't care for duplicated work; much of the content
                  on my Web site is about the work of others. Hey, I support those who
                  are gettin' it done! Nothing wrong with new ideas and proposals; but
                  in the end it's work and persistance and resources that produce
                  results which stick around. However....on the Web there are a lot of
                  dead Web sites, dormant efforts. Some get revived...again, another
                  discussion, but it adds to apparent fragmentation.

                  Contrary to Evan, I see nothing wrong with a MARCH discussion of all
                  this, consider the sequence. Someone posted about wanting a boot disk.
                  That struck a chord as various people offered far larger proposals
                  which may, or may not, involve MARCH as an organization to aggregate
                  such disks or requests for them. Herb and Kelly say "hey, it's been
                  done (more or less)". Where else does MARCH do business, to decide
                  what to do? - Evan himself directed *ME* here. And Kelly said he
                  could not raise the discussion elsewhere.

                  How about that: MARCH serves a purpose! Good work, Evan! ;)

                  Herb Johnson

                  Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
                  <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/"> web site</a>
                  <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a>
                  my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
                  if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
                  "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
                  S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"
                • B Degnan
                  Herb(All), All I was saying is that there any many people who just want some boot disk or another and do not have the time or resources to make their own from
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 2, 2007
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                    Herb(All),

                    All I was saying is that there any many people who just want some boot
                    disk or another and do not have the time or resources to make their own
                    from an internet download. I just thought it would be nice to offer such
                    a service through MARCH to those who need a little help and/or are less
                    technical. Not everyone can make a cable for an 8" disk drive to a modern
                    PC, and the donation idea was just an afterthought.

                    To be organized by having a list of the boot disks that MARCH'ers have
                    offered to make is just a way to reduce support questions.

                    .Nothing more.

                    The responses to my post were predictable.

                    Bill
                  • Herb Johnson
                    ... such ... modern ... I don t know what to make of predictable ; but I can respond to your idea above. Part of what you are suggesting can be read as,
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jan 3, 2007
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                      --- "B Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Herb(All),
                      >
                      > All I was saying is that there any many people who just want some boot
                      > disk or another and do not have the time or resources to make their own
                      > from an internet download. I just thought it would be nice to offer
                      such
                      > a service through MARCH to those who need a little help and/or are less
                      > technical. Not everyone can make a cable for an 8" disk drive to a
                      modern
                      > PC, and the donation idea was just an afterthought.
                      >
                      > To be organized by having a list of the boot disks that MARCH'ers have
                      > offered to make is just a way to reduce support questions.
                      >
                      > .Nothing more.
                      >
                      > The responses to my post were predictable.
                      >
                      > Bill

                      I don't know what to make of "predictable"; but I can respond to your
                      idea above. Part of what you are suggesting can be read as, "let's
                      just share what MARCH members can do with their own systems".

                      Here's one idea. MARCH can help gather members and others to offer to
                      make system disks on their own equipment. MARCH can create a Web page
                      list of systems and owners (but no email addresses) and forward email
                      requests accordingly to those owners. That isolation protects
                      everyone's privacy and avoids spammers who gather email addresses. The
                      list can be on MARCH's Web site, and MARCH members can encourage other
                      archive sites to point to that list, so Web searches will find it.

                      As I pointed out, it's often the case that individual system owners
                      respond to requests for boot disks. I see that all the time in
                      comp.os.cpm. I forward requests for help from my own Web site, in the
                      way I've described above, from my site's descriptions of other
                      people's work on S-100 systems or disk formats, etc.

                      Evan talked about "regional" support and about bringing in "new"
                      computer collectors. This is a simple way to get involved, with MARCH
                      doing the Web work and aggregating interests and inquiries among
                      system owners old and new.

                      Any additional services, such as suggested by Bill, can emerge later
                      from the gathered base of system owners. If someone wants to do a
                      "universal" kind of boot disk service, more power to them, put them on
                      the list.

                      This does not address Kelly's archive of general software, but he
                      plans to offer that on his own terms; and that's not a hardware issue
                      like system disks are. (Kelly said so, that a PC can copy 90% of what
                      he has.) The original request which started this thread was for boot
                      disks. Kelly has some system disks himself, he can be on that proposed
                      list too if he wishes.

                      Jim suggested some new software or hardware may be needed; I don't see
                      that myself, the responses so far suggest old or current software and
                      hardware, or sometimes some specialized tools already in existance and
                      mentioned, will do the work. I'm familiar enough with that stuff to
                      agree. What about the future, Jim asks? Hard to predict the future,
                      I'm still working on the *past*. ;) But my preference is to build on
                      available efforts, not start new ones. Others like to do "new" stuff;
                      again, their preference.

                      Herb Johnson

                      Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
                      <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/"> web site</a>
                      <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a>
                      my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
                      if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
                      "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
                      S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"
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