Support for obsolete products

From: Gary Oliver <>
Date: Thu May 7 12:27:33 1998

There are companies that care... I recently wanted to resurrect an
old 7 track tape drive that "had worked just fine 10 years ago" but
found it wasn't working fine anymore.

The drive was an old DigiData rackmount 7 track drive that predated
TTL (logic was all DTL and transistors.) I had little hope of finding
said documentation, but I thought I would ask - it would give some
engineer a chuckle for the day, at least.

Locating DigiData from their web page (they WERE still doing business)
gave me a email contact address. Sent a polite note to an "engineer/
support" address and about how I was doing some "software archeology"
and needed to restore one of their old drives. Within 24 hours I
received a very nice reply wanting to know where he should send "the
dead sea scrolls!"

Package arrived last week and it contained a THICK technical manual with
EVERYTHING - schematics, exploded views, parts lists, suppliers - the
whole NINE yards. I was very impressed. It HAS to be at least 25 years
old, but it was still wrapped in plastic and looked brand new.

The point of this is now I have my drive back and DigiData has made a
very good impression. Their current products are a far cry from the
stuff of 25 years ago (they now make high-end RAID disks systems.) You
can BET that I will recommend their products to my customers now that
I know the kind of support I can expect! These companies have got to
me made to understand that good documentation and product support long
after the "life" is out of a product DOES make good commercial sense.

We have a customer who is a major supplier of wood products machinery
(plywood and saw mill stuff) that has parts on their inventory shelves
more than 100 years old because they support mills that are running
equipment that old. It costs them little to do this (except the IRS
hassles of inventory evaluation - I'm sure they've "paid" for that
inventory several times over with taxation on the shelf stock.) But
the good will it generates from their customers, knowing they can
repair a dead mill from company stock parts is priceless.

If we encourage this behavior and reward it with purchasing products
(and recommending purchase) from companies that hold these attitudes,
we may be able to make a difference. At least I'll do what I can.

Received on Thu May 07 1998 - 12:27:33 BST

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