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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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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