Sun Monitor (UK) (2)

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Wed Jul 21 16:44:38 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Duell <>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Wednesday, July 21, 1999 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: Sun Monitor (UK) (2)

>> What irritates me is that I, who have practiced in this industry for many
>> years as an outgrowth of my hobby, which this was until about twenty
>> ago, since most of my earnings were in a different engineering discipline
>> to that time, recognize the skinflint syndrome among hobbyists more than
>> ever did before.
>I am trying to work out what the heck you're doing on classiccmp, since
>your views seem so different to the general idea of the group.
>FWIW, yes I am frugal. I'll admit to that. This doesn't make me dishonest
>or a criminal. It doesn't mean I'm an idiot. It just means that for some
>strange reason I prefer using properly made devices (rather than the crap
>down the local PC shop), and that I prefer to keep things running rather
>than to further polute this planet. You can do what you like...
>> Those same individuals who lament that vendors won't "document" their
>> products enough to allow their repair (long after their projected
>Maybe you're happy with sending a perfectly good device to the landfill
>for want of a few pence in parts. I am not. For that reason I certainly
>moan when manufacturers won't provide proper repair documentation/parts
>(and so far, all you've provided is bogus reasons why they don't).
>> life, measured in seconds, not years, has ended twice over) because they
>> (these hobbyists) have no respect for the intellectual property rights of
>> equipment and software vendors, to wit, they use software they "borrowed"
>You are lucky I am generally a 'nice guy', or I'd have you in court
>under whichever of libel or slander applies to mailing lists. FWIW I am
>using a totally free OS/tools on this PC. Covered by the GNU license. I
>haven't ripped it off from anywhere. I have a SCO license for PDP11 unix.
>I've got originals of OS-9, TRS-DOS, Apple DOS 3.3, etc, etc, etc. I
>don't make a habit of stealing things.
PLEASE! I didn't mean to imply that you are dishonest, or any other
negative thing. I was thinking about someone completely different when I
made the remarks to which I think you are reacting. He does say many of the
same things as you, but for entirely different reasons. I meant no personal
reference to you except in the sense that you do often point to the expense
of a given item. We're all concerned about that to some extent.

You've made your position abundantly clear many times, and, while I don't
share your views in all cases, I understand what you are saying. The only
point of disagreement, in this case, is that the fellow who wants to USE the
SONY monitor he already has, apparently in working condition, has not
indicated he wants to use it in a restoration project, nor does he
apparently want to make any other sort of project of it. Instead he wants
to use it because he already owns it. I wanted to offer a simple and QUICK
way to get there, starting with how to determine whether he can get there at
all with what he's got.

It pains me too to have to toss something because it's taking up valuable
space and I haven't time to fix it before the space is needed. I would
never have ended up in this discussion if I didn't feel it important to
continue to use resources rather than to discard them the moment they become
unfashionable. The way I got here was by trying to give away a bunch of
aging computer hardware which has gotten too space-consuming to warrant my
keeping it. My own evenings and weekends are spent on trying to take a
dozen or so 8" floppy drives and ship them out to people in condition
suitable for their use, since most of them don't have the equipment or the
experience to adjust them to nominal specifications. If I didn't care about
preserving the usefulness of this old hardware, I'd just take off the
boards, unscrew the steel, and collect about $8 per drive as scrap aluminum.
That's certainly more than I get by fixing them and shipping them.

I had no intention of giving any offense with the remarks I made. They were
certainly not directed at you. There are people who will pinch software or
other easily appropriated intellectual property, and they've always been
among us, and probably always will be. I don't believe in making things any
easier than necessary for them.

>> and never buy even their most frequently used software tools claiming
>> "better" stuff is "free" by which they mean it didn't cost THEM anything.
>You're dead right it didn't cost me anything. Now read the GNU Public
>License to find out why.
I have read that document and certainly hope they're able to uphold it under
the current commercial trend in the LINUX community.

>> They make excuse after excuse for not parting with a dime, yet see it
>> perfectly satisfactory to spend a man-year avoiding an expenditure not
>Perhaps you could explain what's wrong with learning to do things
>youself. Particularly as few other people seem to be able to do them. In
>general when I've had dealing with other people to do computing tasks,
>the result has been a mess that has taken longer than it would have taken
>me to do it in the first place.
There's nothing wrong with pursuing a project for self-education. It's just
not what I perceived the goal in this instance to be.
>That's why I've learnt to do so many things myself. It's the same story
>time and time again. I have something that's broken. The so-called
>service agents want to charge me an arm and a leg to so-say repair it (==
>swap random parts until it seems to work). So instead I take it to bits,
>_make_ new parts, get it working, and then attempt to share my knowledge
>with others. And amazingly so many of these so-called 'skilled jobs' that
>should only be attempted by trained professsionals turn out to be dead
>easy to do with the tools I have here.
>> larger than the price of a common lunch on hardware or software. While
>> their choice about how they spend their time, if they valued their time
>> because it was of economic value, they'd better understand the situation.
>I don't value my time because nobody else values my time :-(. If I wasn't
>fixing old computers, what would I be doing? Watching TV???
Frankly, it's curious that you have no commercial application for your
talents. I know a few fellows who claim to know quite a bit about hardware,
software, etc, but who have problems with taking direction, reporting to
work on a schedule, adhering to a schedule in general, and solving the
problem at hand instead of some other related and more interesting problem.
>> The fact is, not everyone wishes to run old and obsolete
>> exclusively, and not everyone is, therefore, in the position that they
>No, but I thought most people on Classiccmp had some interest in old
>computer repair/restoration. Obviously I am wrong (as usual). So the
>simple solution is for me to unsubscribe from the list.
Based on what you've said, that would probably be a mistake, but different
people will have different views on what aspect of repair/restoration is of
interest. In the current case, repair and restoration were not the issue.
Seamlessly adapting a fixed-frequency monitor to a multi-sync environment is
the issue. That's probably somewhat off-topic, since it doesn't really deal
with the classic hardware at all. However, since the monitor is "old" and
the problem is old as well, it popped up.
>> to fix something because they can't buy one. That's what thrift stores
>> for, or even used computer gadget stores.
>It's different in the UK. Many charity shops (thrift stores) don't sell
>electrical stuff at all, since all second-hand electrical stuff has to be
>safety tested. The second-hand computer shops that I know about tend to
>sell working stuff not much cheaper than buying it new. So I generally
>dig in the 'untested, spares or repair' bins and get an assortment of
>bits that I know I can fix.
I'm unprepared to comment on the situation in the UK, but, since the
individual who initiated this thread is in the UK, perhaps you could contact
him and determine whether he wants a fix or whether he wants an education.
Received on Wed Jul 21 1999 - 16:44:38 BST

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