Discussion:
DEC: The mistakes that led to its downfall
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Neil Rieck via Info-vax
2014-05-24 13:09:18 UTC
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Today I was researching DEC's "Titan" project when I stumbled across this paper titled "DEC: The mistakes that led to its downfall" by David T. Goodwin, Roger G. Johnson.

http://www.sigcis.org/files/Goodwin_paper.pdf

It's been posted here (COV) before but I think some people would be wise to read it, or read it again. Why? Many of us wax-poetically about the good old days (or good old ways) but we forget that this is one of the reasons why DEC is no more. Just like the dinosaurs, those who are unwilling or unable to adapt to change are doomed to extinction.

Neil Rieck
Kitchener / Waterloo / Cambridge,
Ontario, Canada.
http://www3.sympatico.ca/n.rieck/
Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
2014-05-24 14:16:57 UTC
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Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
Just like the dinosaurs, those who are unwilling or unable
to adapt to change are doomed to extinction.
Dinosaurs are a bad metaphor. They were one of the most successful
groups of animals ever. They were around for 100 million years or so.
Since multicellular life has been around for only 600 million, that's a
huge fraction!

If the history of Earth were one year, multicelluar life showed up
around the middle of November. The dinosaurs were around
for a week or two at the beginning of December. Homo sapiens has been
around for about 5 minutes.

Note that no species survives by adapting to vastly different
conditions. If it adapts that much, it becomes a new species. This
happens because less adapted individuals die out. All individuals die
at some point; there is nothing special about the dinosaurs here.
Species which have been around for a long time are in a stable (to them)
environmental niche.

Dinosaurs are still around, by the way. They are called birds. Modern
biologists groups birds and dinosaurs as more closely related than
dinosaurs and reptiles (and there is quite a range of degree of
relatedness within reptiles).
MG via Info-vax
2014-05-24 21:39:33 UTC
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Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
Just like the dinosaurs, those who are unwilling or unable
to adapt to change are doomed to extinction.
Dinosaurs are a bad metaphor. They were one of the most
successful groups of animals ever. They were around for 100
million years or so. Since multicellular life has been around
for only 600 million, that's a huge fraction!
If the history of Earth were one year, multicelluar life showed
up around the middle of November. The dinosaurs were around
for a week or two at the beginning of December. Homo sapiens
has been around for about 5 minutes.
Note that no species survives by adapting to vastly different
conditions. If it adapts that much, it becomes a new species.
This happens because less adapted individuals die out. All
individuals die at some point; there is nothing special about
the dinosaurs here. Species which have been around for a long
time are in a stable (to them) environmental niche.
Dinosaurs are still around, by the way. They are called birds.
Modern biologists groups birds and dinosaurs as more closely
related than dinosaurs and reptiles (and there is quite a range
of degree of relatedness within reptiles).
Fascinating post. Although 'off-topic', these are the type
I like to archive.

- MG
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-24 22:15:22 UTC
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Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Dinosaurs are still around, by the way. They are called birds
And a company that fails to adapt and adopt new products will also fail.
In this vein, if the industry no longer needs VMS/HP-UX because Linux is
good enough, an company that fails to recognize this will go down. To
this end, HP getting rid of its legacy BCS to replace it with a new
8086/Linux based one is likely a good move for long term.

(How they are doing it and the lies behind IA64 stains that move which
could have been performed in a way that got the support of the old BCS
customers).

While many of us maintained hope that the damage done by Palmer to VMS
could be fixed, it wasn't fixed. (and there was damage done prior to
Palmer too, but mostly just with pricing, Plamer slowed VMS development
where it started to lag in features).


We'll never know whether continued agressive development of VMS (and
proper pricing) would have made it succesful against Linux.

We'll never know whether Digital could have been the "IBM" for the
personal computer, and whether it could have kept up against new
entrants like Compaq, Dell, Gateway.

I think the company to watch is Red Hat. They may emerge as the new
enterprise software provider while the guys such as HP etc just become
commoditty producers.
Neil Rieck via Info-vax
2014-05-25 12:02:13 UTC
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Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
Just like the dinosaurs, those who are unwilling or unable
to adapt to change are doomed to extinction.
Dinosaurs are a bad metaphor. They were one of the most successful
groups of animals ever. They were around for 100 million years or so.
Since multicellular life has been around for only 600 million, that's a
huge fraction!
If the history of Earth were one year, multicelluar life showed up
around the middle of November. The dinosaurs were around
for a week or two at the beginning of December. Homo sapiens has been
around for about 5 minutes.
Note that no species survives by adapting to vastly different
conditions. If it adapts that much, it becomes a new species. This
happens because less adapted individuals die out. All individuals die
at some point; there is nothing special about the dinosaurs here.
Species which have been around for a long time are in a stable (to them)
environmental niche.
Dinosaurs are still around, by the way. They are called birds. Modern
biologists groups birds and dinosaurs as more closely related than
dinosaurs and reptiles (and there is quite a range of degree of
relatedness within reptiles).
You are partially correct: birds are descendant from the smaller warm-blooded branch of the dinosaur family tree. All the larger dinosaurs were unable to adapt to change (namely, the change associated with climate change caused by the Chicxulub impactor). DEC was behaving like a big dinosaur by refusing to adapt (trying to sell a new big-iron machine "VAX-9000" a year or two after the 1988 stock market impactor (and resulting multi-year economic slow downs) when companies were being much more careful with their money).

I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP get in the way of making money for DEC by selling stuff that customers wanted (UNIX, C, TCP/IP). I like to imagine that if "time travel were possible" and "someone could go back in time and tell Ken that all the computer companies alive in 2014 were using "UNIX-like operating systems" and "C-like languages" and "TCP/IP" that Ken would have adapted. But in the real world, betting on the wrong horse can be a one-way ticket to the trash heap.

NSR
MG via Info-vax
2014-05-25 12:54:03 UTC
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Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP get in the way of making money for DEC by selling stuff that customers wanted (UNIX, C, TCP/IP). I like to imagine that if "time travel were possible" and "someone could go back in time and tell Ken that all the computer companies alive in 2014 were using "UNIX-like operating systems" and "C-like languages" and "TCP/IP" that Ken would have adapted. But in the real world, betting on the wrong horse can be a one-way ticket to the trash heap.
You mean he had principles and ideals he believed in? How evil
and unnecessary, profits should of course always come first.

- MG
via Info-vax
2014-05-27 21:46:36 UTC
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Post by MG via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP get in the way of making money for DEC by selling stuff that customers wanted (UNIX, C, TCP/IP). I like to imagine that if "time travel were possible" and "someone could go back in time and tell Ken that all the computer companies alive in 2014 were using "UNIX-like operating systems" and "C-like languages" and "TCP/IP" that Ken would have adapted. But in the real world, betting on the wrong horse can be a one-way ticket to the trash heap.
You mean he had principles and ideals he believed in? How evil
and unnecessary, profits should of course always come first.
- MG
Survival should come first. Making a profit increases the odds.
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-27 21:49:12 UTC
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Post by MG via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP get in the way of making money for DEC by selling stuff that customers wanted (UNIX, C, TCP/IP). I like to imagine that if "time travel were possible" and "someone could go back in time and tell Ken that all the computer companies alive in 2014 were using "UNIX-like operating systems" and "C-like languages" and "TCP/IP" that Ken would have adapted. But in the real world, betting on the wrong horse can be a one-way ticket to the trash heap.
You mean he had principles and ideals he believed in? How evil
and unnecessary, profits should of course always come first.
- MG
Survival should come first. Profits are helpful for that.

AEF
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-25 18:39:48 UTC
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Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP
Sorry for the bad quote, that is what happens when you post text as one
very long line.

While in hindsight, TCPIP won, at the time, DECNET was the world's
largest network. The big problem is that DEC wouldn't opensource
protocols like DECNET and LAT. So the industry went with open sourced
protocols.

VMS could have replaced DOS/Windows because it had superior GUI products
than Microsoft in the early days of Windows. But Olsen refused to go
into the PC business with VAX/VMS since that would have cannabalised
sales of much more profitable systems.

For species, evolution happens at a very slow pace. A large quick
event/change like a rock falling on earth can make changes that are to
quick for species to evolve, so those that are ok with the change
survive, those who aren't ok with it become extinct.

For corporations, it all depends on leadership. Some corporations are
able to adapt quickly, others not. The comparision between IBM and DEC
in the 1990s is compelling: Lou Gerstner was able to get IBM back to
health from the brink of declaring chapter 11. Bob Palmer didn't know
how to do that, so he did the textbook stuff like announce layoff every
quarter, shuffle execs around and cut products.

So yes, DEC was in many ways like a dinosaur. It was incompatible with
the new business environment and unable to adapt quickly enough so it
became extinct like dinausaurs.

However, it doesn't mean that it had no chance. A good leadership would
have made DEC change and adapt.
David Froble via Info-vax
2014-05-25 23:51:16 UTC
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Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP
Sorry for the bad quote, that is what happens when you post text as one
very long line.
While in hindsight, TCPIP won, at the time, DECNET was the world's
largest network. The big problem is that DEC wouldn't opensource
protocols like DECNET and LAT. So the industry went with open sourced
protocols.
VMS could have replaced DOS/Windows because it had superior GUI products
than Microsoft in the early days of Windows. But Olsen refused to go
into the PC business with VAX/VMS since that would have cannabalised
sales of much more profitable systems.
And what is the result? People running on generic x86 for many things.

VAX would have been great for many of what's done today on PCs. It
would have needed the apps, but, at one time so did the PCs.

A sea change was coming, some saw it, some stuck their head in the sand.
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-26 01:16:42 UTC
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Post by David Froble via Info-vax
A sea change was coming, some saw it, some stuck their head in the sand.
I would rephrase it:

A sea change was coming. Some made it happen, others let it happen with
their heads stuck in the sand.

It is quite possible that DEC's fate was sealed in early 1980s, despite
DEC still growing by leaps and bounds until the end of its heaydays
towards mid/late 1980s.

And while DEC didn't lead with the "PC", it had a second opportunity at
end of 1980s/early 1990s: clustered VMS workstations and DECnet and
Decwindows/CDA documenta architecture to get into the offices with
networking etc well before Microsoft had that working. DEC was close and
a bit more work would have brought good compatibility woth Worperfect
(don't think Word was de-facto standard yet).

If course, DEC priced itself out of that market, and missed that last
opportunity.
via Info-vax
2014-05-27 00:28:31 UTC
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Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
And while DEC didn't lead with the "PC", it had a second opportunity at
end of 1980s/early 1990s: clustered VMS workstations and DECnet and
Decwindows/CDA documenta architecture to get into the offices with
networking etc well before Microsoft had that working. DEC was close and
a bit more work would have brought good compatibility woth Worperfect
I believe WordPerfect was available on VMS for a while in the late 1980's or early 1990s'. While DEC had Allin1 and its WPS-11 word processing there was also a third word processing package of a similar name available from third party (Word-M?). And then there were large scale publishing tools running on Vaxstations.

Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
Johnny Billquist via Info-vax
2014-05-27 08:39:28 UTC
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Post by via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
And while DEC didn't lead with the "PC", it had a second opportunity at
end of 1980s/early 1990s: clustered VMS workstations and DECnet and
Decwindows/CDA documenta architecture to get into the offices with
networking etc well before Microsoft had that working. DEC was close and
a bit more work would have brought good compatibility woth Worperfect
I believe WordPerfect was available on VMS for a while in the late 1980's or early 1990s'. While DEC had Allin1 and its WPS-11 word processing there was also a third word processing package of a similar name available from third party (Word-M?). And then there were large scale publishing tools running on Vaxstations.
Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
There were two parts to this.
Olsen definitely believed that if you built good products, people would
buy them. Thus marketing wasn't that important.
The second part of this was that Olsen also believed that if you built a
good product, customers would also be willing to pay a premium price. So
Olsen never believed in competing on price.

Obviously, the competition ate Digital by doing just that. Build
something "good enough". Market it like hell, and sell it for a lower
price than DEC. In the end most customers didn't care that it was an
inferior product. They bought it anyway because of the price, and in the
end the quality was either good enough, or the customer bought yet
another product. DEC lost the business anyway.

Johnny
--
Johnny Billquist || "I'm on a bus
|| on a psychedelic trip
email: ***@softjar.se || Reading murder books
pdp is alive! || tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol
Neil Rieck via Info-vax
2014-05-27 11:32:27 UTC
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Post by Johnny Billquist via Info-vax
Post by via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
And while DEC didn't lead with the "PC", it had a second opportunity at
end of 1980s/early 1990s: clustered VMS workstations and DECnet and
Decwindows/CDA documenta architecture to get into the offices with
networking etc well before Microsoft had that working. DEC was close and
a bit more work would have brought good compatibility woth Worperfect
I believe WordPerfect was available on VMS for a while in the late 1980's or early 1990s'. While DEC had Allin1 and its WPS-11 word processing there was also a third word processing package of a similar name available from third party (Word-M?). And then there were large scale publishing tools running on Vaxstations.
Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
There were two parts to this.
Olsen definitely believed that if you built good products, people would
buy them. Thus marketing wasn't that important.
The second part of this was that Olsen also believed that if you built a
good product, customers would also be willing to pay a premium price. So
Olsen never believed in competing on price.
Obviously, the competition ate Digital by doing just that. Build
something "good enough". Market it like hell, and sell it for a lower
price than DEC. In the end most customers didn't care that it was an
inferior product. They bought it anyway because of the price, and in the
end the quality was either good enough, or the customer bought yet
another product. DEC lost the business anyway.
Johnny
--
Johnny Billquist || "I'm on a bus
|| on a psychedelic trip
pdp is alive! || tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol
Yeh, I guess some just couldn't wrap their brains around the fact that they had spent a ton of money on big iron but smaller silicon (NVAX) was faster.

quote: Olsen was later heard to say 'Do you mean we have spent billions on the VAX 9000 and the NVAX is just as fast?'. In the end the 9000 cost DEC three billion dollars of much needed money at a time when they should have been investing it elsewhere.

NSR
via Info-vax
2014-05-27 18:57:32 UTC
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Post by Johnny Billquist via Info-vax
Post by via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
And while DEC didn't lead with the "PC", it had a second opportunity at
end of 1980s/early 1990s: clustered VMS workstations and DECnet and
Decwindows/CDA documenta architecture to get into the offices with
networking etc well before Microsoft had that working. DEC was close and
a bit more work would have brought good compatibility woth Worperfect
I believe WordPerfect was available on VMS for a while in the late 1980's or early 1990s'. While DEC had Allin1 and its WPS-11 word processing there was also a third word processing package of a similar name available from third party (Word-M?). And then there were large scale publishing tools running on Vaxstations.
Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
There were two parts to this.
Olsen definitely believed that if you built good products, people would
buy them. Thus marketing wasn't that important.
The second part of this was that Olsen also believed that if you built a
good product, customers would also be willing to pay a premium price. So
Olsen never believed in competing on price.
Obviously, the competition ate Digital by doing just that. Build
something "good enough". Market it like hell, and sell it for a lower
price than DEC. In the end most customers didn't care that it was an
inferior product. They bought it anyway because of the price, and in the
end the quality was either good enough, or the customer bought yet
another product. DEC lost the business anyway.
Johnny
--
Johnny Billquist || "I'm on a bus
|| on a psychedelic trip
pdp is alive! || tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol
Meanwhile, in the same universe, and not many years later, there
is National Instruments (the LabView and data acquisition people).

Like DEC used to be, products designed by engineers for engineers.

Like DEC later on, lots of (apparently) cheaper alternatives are available.

Unlike DEC, they do loads of sales promotion stuff, aimed at the people
who will buy and use their product.

Unlike DEC, no need to involve the IT department.

I write this as an outside observer of NI product. I've read loads about
NI, worked with folks whose job involves lots of NI stuff, and as far as
I can see, anyone trying to compete with NI (as DEC once briefly did with
DECRTI) is heading for a hard time.

Maybe, just maybe, NI's continuing success shows that quality still wins,
sometimes. But maybe less so when the IT Department are setting the rules.
Bill Gunshannon via Info-vax
2014-05-27 19:25:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
Post by Johnny Billquist via Info-vax
Post by via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
And while DEC didn't lead with the "PC", it had a second opportunity at
end of 1980s/early 1990s: clustered VMS workstations and DECnet and
Decwindows/CDA documenta architecture to get into the offices with
networking etc well before Microsoft had that working. DEC was close and
a bit more work would have brought good compatibility woth Worperfect
I believe WordPerfect was available on VMS for a while in the late 1980's or early 1990s'. While DEC had Allin1 and its WPS-11 word processing there was also a third word processing package of a similar name available from third party (Word-M?). And then there were large scale publishing tools running on Vaxstations.
Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
There were two parts to this.
Olsen definitely believed that if you built good products, people would
buy them. Thus marketing wasn't that important.
The second part of this was that Olsen also believed that if you built a
good product, customers would also be willing to pay a premium price. So
Olsen never believed in competing on price.
Obviously, the competition ate Digital by doing just that. Build
something "good enough". Market it like hell, and sell it for a lower
price than DEC. In the end most customers didn't care that it was an
inferior product. They bought it anyway because of the price, and in the
end the quality was either good enough, or the customer bought yet
another product. DEC lost the business anyway.
Johnny
--
Johnny Billquist || "I'm on a bus
|| on a psychedelic trip
pdp is alive! || tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol
Meanwhile, in the same universe, and not many years later, there
is National Instruments (the LabView and data acquisition people).
Like DEC used to be, products designed by engineers for engineers.
Like DEC later on, lots of (apparently) cheaper alternatives are available.
Unlike DEC, they do loads of sales promotion stuff, aimed at the people
who will buy and use their product.
Yeah, and lots of SPAM, too, aimed at people who just happen to have
a .edu email address.
Post by via Info-vax
Unlike DEC, no need to involve the IT department.
I write this as an outside observer of NI product. I've read loads about
NI, worked with folks whose job involves lots of NI stuff, and as far as
I can see, anyone trying to compete with NI (as DEC once briefly did with
DECRTI) is heading for a hard time.
Maybe, just maybe, NI's continuing success shows that quality still wins,
sometimes. But maybe less so when the IT Department are setting the rules.
I never deal with SPAMMERS and I recommend to everyone I know that they
don't either. Some businesses still don't get it.

bill
--
Bill Gunshannon | de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n. Three wolves
***@cs.scranton.edu | and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
University of Scranton |
Scranton, Pennsylvania | #include <std.disclaimer.h>
via Info-vax
2014-05-27 20:28:41 UTC
Permalink
{...snip...}
Post by via Info-vax
Like DEC later on, lots of (apparently) cheaper alternatives are available.
Unlike DEC, they do loads of sales promotion stuff, aimed at the people
who will buy and use their product.
Yeah, and lots of SPAM, too, aimed at people who just happen to have
a .edu email address.
Post by via Info-vax
Unlike DEC, no need to involve the IT department.
I write this as an outside observer of NI product. I've read loads about
NI, worked with folks whose job involves lots of NI stuff, and as far as
I can see, anyone trying to compete with NI (as DEC once briefly did with
DECRTI) is heading for a hard time.
Maybe, just maybe, NI's continuing success shows that quality still wins,
sometimes. But maybe less so when the IT Department are setting the rules.
I never deal with SPAMMERS and I recommend to everyone I know that they
don't either. Some businesses still don't get it.
http://www.panix.com/~tbetz/boulder.shtml
--
VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)ORG

I speak to machines with the voice of humanity.
Bill Gunshannon via Info-vax
2014-05-28 12:45:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
{...snip...}
Post by via Info-vax
Like DEC later on, lots of (apparently) cheaper alternatives are available.
Unlike DEC, they do loads of sales promotion stuff, aimed at the people
who will buy and use their product.
Yeah, and lots of SPAM, too, aimed at people who just happen to have
a .edu email address.
Post by via Info-vax
Unlike DEC, no need to involve the IT department.
I write this as an outside observer of NI product. I've read loads about
NI, worked with folks whose job involves lots of NI stuff, and as far as
I can see, anyone trying to compete with NI (as DEC once briefly did with
DECRTI) is heading for a hard time.
Maybe, just maybe, NI's continuing success shows that quality still wins,
sometimes. But maybe less so when the IT Department are setting the rules.
I never deal with SPAMMERS and I recommend to everyone I know that they
don't either. Some businesses still don't get it.
http://www.panix.com/~tbetz/boulder.shtml
Exactly!!!

bill
--
Bill Gunshannon | de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n. Three wolves
***@cs.scranton.edu | and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
University of Scranton |
Scranton, Pennsylvania | #include <std.disclaimer.h>
David Froble via Info-vax
2014-05-28 00:31:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
Unlike DEC, no need to involve the IT department.
I write this as an outside observer of NI product. I've read loads about
NI, worked with folks whose job involves lots of NI stuff, and as far as
I can see, anyone trying to compete with NI (as DEC once briefly did with
DECRTI) is heading for a hard time.
Maybe, just maybe, NI's continuing success shows that quality still wins,
sometimes. But maybe less so when the IT Department are setting the rules.
John,

Much of what you write seems to me to be well thought out and
appropriate. But I need to ask, do you really feel it was the IT
departments making such decisions? And maybe I don't get out much.

Yes, I've seen the management types who read some rag and think they
know everything. I don't associate them with IT. I guess sometimes
they may have made IT decisions. Why waste a decision on someone who
might have a clue?
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-28 03:12:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Froble via Info-vax
Much of what you write seems to me to be well thought out and
appropriate. But I need to ask, do you really feel it was the IT
departments making such decisions? And maybe I don't get out much.
I think that back when DEC appealed to the scientist/engineer types,
they were the ones making decisions and they could choose DEC for being
technically superior for their task at hand.

When DEC decided to branch out to business, they didn't realise that
business purchasing decisions were not made by IT but by "management
types" who see ads, hear about trends from trade rags and friends etc.

The VAX 9000 came at a time when DEC really wanted to steal high end
business from IBM. And they also hired some ex-IBM staff.
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-27 22:02:24 UTC
Permalink
[...]
Post by Johnny Billquist via Info-vax
Post by via Info-vax
Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
There were two parts to this.
Olsen definitely believed that if you built good products, people would
buy them. Thus marketing wasn't that important.
The second part of this was that Olsen also believed that if you built a
good product, customers would also be willing to pay a premium price. So
Olsen never believed in competing on price.
Obviously, the competition ate Digital by doing just that. Build
something "good enough". Market it like hell, and sell it for a lower
price than DEC. In the end most customers didn't care that it was an
inferior product. They bought it anyway because of the price, and in the
end the quality was either good enough, or the customer bought yet
another product. DEC lost the business anyway.
Steve Jobs didn't compete on price. His genius involved getting people to
overpay for higher-quality items. I guess marketing was enough for Apple.
Post by Johnny Billquist via Info-vax
Johnny
[...]

AEF
Bill Gunshannon via Info-vax
2014-05-28 12:48:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by AEF via Info-vax
[...]
Post by Johnny Billquist via Info-vax
Post by via Info-vax
Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
There were two parts to this.
Olsen definitely believed that if you built good products, people would
buy them. Thus marketing wasn't that important.
The second part of this was that Olsen also believed that if you built a
good product, customers would also be willing to pay a premium price. So
Olsen never believed in competing on price.
Obviously, the competition ate Digital by doing just that. Build
something "good enough". Market it like hell, and sell it for a lower
price than DEC. In the end most customers didn't care that it was an
inferior product. They bought it anyway because of the price, and in the
end the quality was either good enough, or the customer bought yet
another product. DEC lost the business anyway.
Steve Jobs didn't compete on price. His genius involved getting people to
overpay for higher-quality items. I guess marketing was enough for Apple.
That's funny. I never saw anything from Apple as "higher-quality", at
least not up to the PPC days when I was stopped using them. Today,
quality-wise, I have a MAC Book. No higher quality than any of the IBM
laptops I also have,

bill
--
Bill Gunshannon | de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n. Three wolves
***@cs.scranton.edu | and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
University of Scranton |
Scranton, Pennsylvania | #include <std.disclaimer.h>
MG via Info-vax
2014-05-28 13:01:46 UTC
Permalink
I never saw anything from Apple as "higher-quality", at least
not up to the PPC days when I was stopped using them.Today,
quality-wise, I have a MAC Book. No higher qualitythan any
of the IBM laptops I also have,
So, you stopped using (or /were stopped/, even, sounds rather
drastic...) anything from Apple to up the PPC. So, I guess you
used M68K and PPC Macs and you thereby imply they were higher
quality (something which you seem to dispute, since you put it
hyphened and between quotation marks). Yet, you say you own a
"MAC Book" today.

Rather headache-inducing stuff...

- MG
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-29 00:23:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
And while DEC didn't lead with the "PC", it had a second opportunity at
end of 1980s/early 1990s: clustered VMS workstations and DECnet and
Decwindows/CDA documenta architecture to get into the offices with
networking etc well before Microsoft had that working. DEC was close and
a bit more work would have brought good compatibility woth Worperfect
I believe WordPerfect was available on VMS for a while in the late 1980's or early 1990s'. While DEC had Allin1 and its WPS-11 word processing there was also a third word processing package of a similar name available from third party (Word-M?). And then there were large scale publishing tools running on Vaxstations.
Olsen's problem, according to ex-Digits, was that he thought marketing happened by osmosis and if Digital built a good product people would get to hear of it and want it. All the while the competition wasn't resting either on the product development front or the marketing front. While Olsen might have dismissed the competitions offerings the wider market certainly didn't.
Yes, WordPerfect was available on the VAX. I ran such a VAX in the late 90s. It was integrated into ALL-IN-1. The users were using VT320s and VT420s! Printers were a pain though. Adding a new one would somehow cause it to suddenly become _everyone's_ default printer. You can imagine the fun.

AEF
Rich Jordan via Info-vax
2014-05-29 14:42:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Yes, WordPerfect was available on the VAX. I ran such a VAX in the late 90s. It was integrated into ALL-IN-1. The users were using VT320s and VT420s! Printers were a pain though. Adding a new one would somehow cause it to suddenly become _everyone's_ default printer. You can imagine the fun.
AEF
VAX and Alpha. It was also available on Atari and Apple IIGS personal computers for a while (I have the latter). Our company used to be a reseller and support provider for WordPerfect VAX, at one time a few hundred licenses under support. We also wrote software on VMS that would use WordPerfect generated boilerplate and insert text and numbers in the right places (used by two large banks for contract paperwork and such). I don't think we ever sold an Alpha license but by then WordPerfect Corp was in turmoil too.

For a non-wysiwig word processor, even the VT terminal based WP was actually a very nice product. It did not get in your way, unlike the graphical ones that followed. I agree with the guy who wrote Game of Thrones in Wordstar for similar reasons...
Paul Sture via Info-vax
2014-05-29 18:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Jordan via Info-vax
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Yes, WordPerfect was available on the VAX. I ran such a VAX in the late
90s. It was integrated into ALL-IN-1. The users were using VT320s and
VT420s! Printers were a pain though. Adding a new one would somehow
cause it to suddenly become _everyone's_ default printer. You can
imagine the fun.
VAX and Alpha. It was also available on Atari and Apple IIGS personal
computers for a while (I have the latter). Our company used to be a
reseller and support provider for WordPerfect VAX, at one time a few
hundred licenses under support. We also wrote software on VMS that
would use WordPerfect generated boilerplate and insert text and numbers
in the right places (used by two large banks for contract paperwork and
such). I don't think we ever sold an Alpha license but by then
WordPerfect Corp was in turmoil too.
For a non-wysiwig word processor, even the VT terminal based WP was
actually a very nice product. It did not get in your way, unlike the
graphical ones that followed. I agree with the guy who wrote Game of
Thrones in Wordstar for similar reasons...
The graphical version came with a PC I bought in 1999.
Simon Clubley via Info-vax
2014-05-31 09:45:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Jordan via Info-vax
For a non-wysiwig word processor, even the VT terminal based WP was actually
a very nice product. It did not get in your way, unlike the graphical ones
that followed. I agree with the guy who wrote Game of Thrones in Wordstar for
similar reasons...
I have direct personal experience with WordPerfect on VMS Alpha.

Nice product with an absolutely killer feature not seen in any following
products. (Word claims to have something similar - it isn't similar.)

Can anyone guess what I am talking about ?

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Paul Sture via Info-vax
2014-05-31 13:44:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Post by Rich Jordan via Info-vax
For a non-wysiwig word processor, even the VT terminal based WP was actually
a very nice product. It did not get in your way, unlike the graphical ones
that followed. I agree with the guy who wrote Game of Thrones in Wordstar for
similar reasons...
I have direct personal experience with WordPerfect on VMS Alpha.
Nice product with an absolutely killer feature not seen in any following
products. (Word claims to have something similar - it isn't similar.)
Can anyone guess what I am talking about ?
Can it get nested header numbering *reliably* correct throughout a document?

I don't think I've actually come across that feature in anything since
I stopped using Digital Standard Runoff for writing reports. :-(
--
Paul Sture

The final step of #heartbleed recovery is to call your mother, and advise
her to change her maiden name -- @gojomo
Simon Clubley via Info-vax
2014-05-31 14:40:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Sture via Info-vax
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
I have direct personal experience with WordPerfect on VMS Alpha.
Nice product with an absolutely killer feature not seen in any following
products. (Word claims to have something similar - it isn't similar.)
Can anyone guess what I am talking about ?
Can it get nested header numbering *reliably* correct throughout a document?
I don't think I've actually come across that feature in anything since
I stopped using Digital Standard Runoff for writing reports. :-(
Actually, I don't remember because the primary usage in this case is
not report writing but for automated letter generation from batch jobs.

The feature I was thinking of was Reveal Codes and a brief search on
Google (I've just done the search) will reveal how many people, having
been exposed to it in WordPerfect, _really_ want this feature in other
word processors.

It's one of things you have to have used (especially when helping users
with their documents) in order to really understand what you are missing
but a search engine query will show you what people who have used it
think of it.

It seems to be especially popular with legal professionals.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-06-01 02:34:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
The feature I was thinking of was Reveal Codes and a brief search on
Google (I've just done the search) will reveal how many people, having
been exposed to it in WordPerfect, _really_ want this feature in other
word processors.
WPSPLUS (the native Allin1 word processor) had the reveal codes too
(gold V as I recall).

Adobe Insight (the successor to Page Maker does have a reveal codes in
the text editor portion (a panel that shows just the text outside of any
layout).
via Info-vax
2014-05-29 15:17:28 UTC
Permalink
=20
=20
Yes, WordPerfect was available on the VAX. I ran such a VAX in the late 9=
0s. It was integrated into ALL-IN-1. The users were using VT320s and VT420s=
! Printers were a pain though. Adding a new one would somehow cause it to s=
uddenly become _everyone's_ default printer. You can imagine the fun.
=20
=20
=20
AEF
VAX and Alpha. It was also available on Atari and Apple IIGS personal comp=
uters for a while (I have the latter). Our company used to be a reseller a=
nd support provider for WordPerfect VAX, at one time a few hundred licenses=
under support. We also wrote software on VMS that would use WordPerfect g=
enerated boilerplate and insert text and numbers in the right places (used =
by two large banks for contract paperwork and such). I don't think we ever=
sold an Alpha license but by then WordPerfect Corp was in turmoil too.
ProvN (ProvN.com) acquired it and ported it to Alpha. There was never any
request for an Itanium version; thus, it has never been ported to Itanium.
--
VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)ORG

I speak to machines with the voice of humanity.
via Info-vax
2014-05-29 22:11:51 UTC
Permalink
Yes, WordPerfect was available on the VAX. I ran such a VAX in the late 90s. It was integrated into ALL-IN-1. The users were using VT320s and VT420s! Printers were a pain though. Adding a new one would somehow cause it to suddenly become _everyone's_ default printer. You can imagine the fun. AEF
Are you sure WordPerfect was integrated into All-in-1? I thought that the All-in-1 word processor was from WPS-11, the word processing package available first on PDP 11's running RSTS/E. (We're talking maybe 1978 or so here.)
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-29 23:23:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
Are you sure WordPerfect was integrated into All-in-1? I thought that the All-in-1 word processor was from WPS-11, the word processing package available first on PDP 11's running RSTS/E. (We're talking maybe 1978 or so here.)
There were ways to integrate wordperfect into ALL-IN-1. You could define
different editors for different data types. And there were CDA
converters available as well.

Not sure how integrated it was though (aka: linked into the A1 image, or
launched as a subprocess when you edited a document).
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-30 01:17:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
Yes, WordPerfect was available on the VAX. I ran such a VAX in the late 90s. It was integrated into ALL-IN-1. The users were using VT320s and VT420s! Printers were a pain though. Adding a new one would somehow cause it to suddenly become _everyone's_ default printer. You can imagine the fun. AEF
Are you sure WordPerfect was integrated into All-in-1? I thought that the All-in-1 word processor was from WPS-11, the word processing package available first on PDP 11's running RSTS/E. (We're talking maybe 1978 or so here.)
The users had a screen listing all their documents in ALL-IN-1. They could run
various functions on the documents, like mail, edit, and what not. (There was
even a pop-up calculator!) One of them opened the document in WordPerfect. The
documents were stored in ALL-IN-1. In fact, I wrote a program to export them
from ALL-IN-1. (Actually, I had to use DCL. So technically it was a "command
procedure") (You can guess the rest. "Sigh" :-( . I think there was also WPS
and/or WordStar. We're talking like 15 years ago. I believe it was a separate
product, but it ran under ALL-IN-1. Does that count as "integrated"? I'll have
to see if I still have any documents about this.
via Info-vax
2014-05-30 01:29:07 UTC
Permalink
I'd be surprised if it was only 15 years ago. The last time I was involved with Allin1 at any site must have been the late 1980's ... 25 years ago.

I recall one consulting job that I started and found that the system manager was running low on disk space and deleted a whole bunch of user files dates before some date (i.e. DELETE/BEFORE=...) Yes, he's taken out the old Allin1 documents but because he hadn't used Allin1 to do it, the users' Allin1 index files to their document files were were totally screwed. My first job therefore was to go through each user's All-in-1 index and delete entries for which there was no loger a file. (All-in-1 stored shared documents just once in a "global" region but the twit had also deleted from there by date.)
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-30 01:33:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
I'd be surprised if it was only 15 years ago. The last time I was involved with Allin1 at any site must have been the late 1980's ... 25 years ago.
I recall one consulting job that I started and found that the system manager was running low on disk space and deleted a whole bunch of user files dates before some date (i.e. DELETE/BEFORE=...) Yes, he's taken out the old Allin1 documents but because he hadn't used Allin1 to do it, the users' Allin1 index files to their document files were were totally screwed. My first job therefore was to go through each user's All-in-1 index and delete entries for which there was no loger a file. (All-in-1 stored shared documents just once in a "global" region but the twit had also deleted from there by date.)
Yes, it was about 15 years ago. I had to export all the WP docs in time for
Y2K. Had to copy them to Win95 PC's. (!) I had to write a DOS .BAT script to
handle something with the directories. I had to change all non-alphanumeric
characters in the document titles (which could contain pretty much _any_
characters) to $'s.

AEF
Paul Sture via Info-vax
2014-05-30 14:53:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by via Info-vax
I'd be surprised if it was only 15 years ago. The last time I was
involved with Allin1 at any site must have been the late 1980's ... 25
years ago.
I saw ALL-IN-1 in use at a DEC office in 1997.
--
Paul Sture

The final step of #heartbleed recovery is to call your mother, and advise
her to change her maiden name -- @gojomo
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-30 20:14:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Sture via Info-vax
I saw ALL-IN-1 in use at a DEC office in 1997.
This would have been its last days before Bob GQ Palmer killed it as a
sacrificial offering to BilL Gates to be granted the privilege of
selling Microsoft Windows.

They had begin the project to make the All-IN-1 server ported to Digital
Unix a month or two before Palmer killed the whole deal to help his
competitor Bill Gates.
Paul Sture via Info-vax
2014-05-31 06:58:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by Paul Sture via Info-vax
I saw ALL-IN-1 in use at a DEC office in 1997.
This would have been its last days before Bob GQ Palmer killed it as a
sacrificial offering to BilL Gates to be granted the privilege of
selling Microsoft Windows.
Now you mention it, the project to move everything to Exchange was under way
at that point.

Another project at the same time was combining the telephone and computer
networks for DEC worldwide, which was apparently very successful. With the
benefit of hindsight the experience gained from that was probably an
opportunity wasted (think VOIP, Skype etc).
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
They had begin the project to make the All-IN-1 server ported to Digital
Unix a month or two before Palmer killed the whole deal to help his
competitor Bill Gates.
:-(
--
Paul Sture

The final step of #heartbleed recovery is to call your mother, and advise
her to change her maiden name -- @gojomo
Kerry Main
2014-08-09 00:38:30 UTC
Permalink
-----Original Message-----
Mezei
Sent: 30-May-14 4:15 PM
Subject: Re: [New Info-vax] DEC: The mistakes that led to its downfall
Post by Paul Sture via Info-vax
I saw ALL-IN-1 in use at a DEC office in 1997.
This would have been its last days before Bob GQ Palmer killed it as a
sacrificial offering to BilL Gates to be granted the privilege of selling Microsoft
Windows.
They had begin the project to make the All-IN-1 server ported to Digital Unix
a month or two before Palmer killed the whole deal to help his competitor
Bill Gates.
Walk down memory lane .. In the very early days when Bob Palmer led(?) Digital Manufacturing, along with a huge internal distribution, I received an email from him congratulating the team that had just brought a new Alpha chip in ahead of schedule.

The message was in VMSmail format.

[Manufacturing fought the move to All-In-1 and were one of the last groups in Digital to move from VMSmail - albeit kicking and screaming all the way.]

:-)

Regards,

Kerry Main
Back to the Future IT Inc.
.. Learning from the past to plan the future

Kerry dot main at backtothefutureit dot com
abrsvc
2014-08-09 01:56:06 UTC
Permalink
I suppose I shouldn't admit this, but...

I too fought tooth and nail against All-in-1 even though I was part of the OIS performance group whose job it was to test machines using it. I recall demoing hte product while in the field over a 1200 baud modem and it was terrible. Never thought it was the best, although it did bring a lot of $$ into DEC.

Oh the memories...

Dan

Bill Gunshannon via Info-vax
2014-05-27 13:14:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Froble via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP
Sorry for the bad quote, that is what happens when you post text as one
very long line.
While in hindsight, TCPIP won, at the time, DECNET was the world's
largest network. The big problem is that DEC wouldn't opensource
protocols like DECNET and LAT. So the industry went with open sourced
protocols.
VMS could have replaced DOS/Windows because it had superior GUI products
than Microsoft in the early days of Windows. But Olsen refused to go
into the PC business with VAX/VMS since that would have cannabalised
sales of much more profitable systems.
And what is the result? People running on generic x86 for many things.
VAX would have been great for many of what's done today on PCs. It
would have needed the apps, but, at one time so did the PCs.
A sea change was coming, some saw it, some stuck their head in the sand.
You mean like VMS users?

bill
--
Bill Gunshannon | de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n. Three wolves
***@cs.scranton.edu | and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
University of Scranton |
Scranton, Pennsylvania | #include <std.disclaimer.h>
Neil Rieck via Info-vax
2014-05-27 11:48:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
I liked Ken Olsen but he, and many others at DEC, let their personal dislike for UNIX, C, and TCP/IP
Sorry for the bad quote, that is what happens when you post text as one
very long line.
While in hindsight, TCPIP won, at the time, DECNET was the world's
largest network. The big problem is that DEC wouldn't opensource
protocols like DECNET and LAT. So the industry went with open sourced
protocols.
VMS could have replaced DOS/Windows because it had superior GUI products
than Microsoft in the early days of Windows. But Olsen refused to go
into the PC business with VAX/VMS since that would have cannabalised
sales of much more profitable systems.
For species, evolution happens at a very slow pace. A large quick
event/change like a rock falling on earth can make changes that are to
quick for species to evolve, so those that are ok with the change
survive, those who aren't ok with it become extinct.
For corporations, it all depends on leadership. Some corporations are
able to adapt quickly, others not. The comparision between IBM and DEC
in the 1990s is compelling: Lou Gerstner was able to get IBM back to
health from the brink of declaring chapter 11. Bob Palmer didn't know
how to do that, so he did the textbook stuff like announce layoff every
quarter, shuffle execs around and cut products.
So yes, DEC was in many ways like a dinosaur. It was incompatible with
the new business environment and unable to adapt quickly enough so it
became extinct like dinausaurs.
However, it doesn't mean that it had no chance. A good leadership would
have made DEC change and adapt.
Evolution is one of those topics that can have multiple interpretations. For example, the creation of species does take a long time. On the flip side, I just learned that no humans were able to tolerate gluten 20,000 years ago but since then, evolution provided us with the firmware (genes) to take advantage of that protein composite and this is one reason why the human populate is so large today.

I, too, thought about IBM. The article states that DEC was (metaphorically) chasing IBM but we now know that IBM damn near ran over a cliff. It now seems that DEC did. Based upon your recommendations I read "Dancing with Elephants" and can tell you that IBM's severance packages were nowhere near as generous as those offered by DEC. This makes be believe (with the benefit of 20-20 hind site) that DEC just didn't believe their company would be totally wiped out.

NSR
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-27 21:57:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
Just like the dinosaurs, those who are unwilling or unable
to adapt to change are doomed to extinction.
Dinosaurs are a bad metaphor. They were one of the most successful
groups of animals ever. They were around for 100 million years or so.
Since multicellular life has been around for only 600 million, that's a
huge fraction!
If the history of Earth were one year, multicelluar life showed up
around the middle of November. The dinosaurs were around
for a week or two at the beginning of December. Homo sapiens has been
around for about 5 minutes.
Note that no species survives by adapting to vastly different
conditions. If it adapts that much, it becomes a new species. This
happens because less adapted individuals die out. All individuals die
at some point; there is nothing special about the dinosaurs here.
Species which have been around for a long time are in a stable (to them)
environmental niche.
Dinosaurs are still around, by the way. They are called birds. Modern
biologists groups birds and dinosaurs as more closely related than
dinosaurs and reptiles (and there is quite a range of degree of
relatedness within reptiles).
Corporations are not species. Evolution involves random mutation of genes through successive generations. Natural selection knocks off the less successful variants. That's a different type of adapting.

Dinosaurs were around for 165 or 170 million years. And if that big asteroid hadn't wreaked havoc 65 million years ago, they'd likely still be around (as dinosaurs, not birds).

AEF
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-27 22:46:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Dinosaurs were around for 165 or 170 million years. And if that big asteroid hadn't wreaked havoc 65 million years ago, they'd likely still be around (as dinosaurs, not birds).
I've seen a documentary about that scenario. Humans would still have
happened, but there would be huge differences.

For instance, there would no no rubber, and cars would be foot powered
Post by AEF via Info-vax
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1843821_1843820_1843808,00.html
Dinosaurs would exhibit a great deal of versatility, some used as cranes
in quaries, others as pets at home, some used in lieu of horses, and
some of the larger flying ones would be fitted with seats to fly people
to places.

Elephants would also play a role in daily life, providing running water
in the kitchen (which has inspited modern sink designs with the flexible
hoses that emulate the elephant's trunk).

It is not clear how computers would work. Since they are based on fine
rock dust (some call it silicon), you'd think a society that has
mastered the handling of rock so well would also have mastered silicon
quite well.
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-29 00:32:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Dinosaurs were around for 165 or 170 million years. And if that big asteroid hadn't wreaked havoc 65 million years ago, they'd likely still be around (as dinosaurs, not birds).
I've seen a documentary about that scenario. Humans would still have
happened, but there would be huge differences.
For instance, there would no no rubber, and cars would be foot powered
Post by AEF via Info-vax
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1843821_1843820_1843808,00.html
Dinosaurs would exhibit a great deal of versatility, some used as cranes
in quaries, others as pets at home, some used in lieu of horses, and
some of the larger flying ones would be fitted with seats to fly people
to places.
Elephants would also play a role in daily life, providing running water
in the kitchen (which has inspited modern sink designs with the flexible
hoses that emulate the elephant's trunk).
It is not clear how computers would work. Since they are based on fine
rock dust (some call it silicon), you'd think a society that has
mastered the handling of rock so well would also have mastered silicon
quite well.
How would computers work? It would work like every other device on the Flintstones. There'd be an animal inside flipping levers. You would chisel your program on a thin tablet of rock, insert it into the slot, and an entire team of animals, perhaps elephants or ants, would jump around on a giant board marked with squares, each representing a bit. An animal on a square would be a 1; an empty square would be a zero. Hmmm, you'd need an animal to read the program and direct everything. The final answer would be chipped in stone by a stonepecker. Oh, what about the levers? Maybe that's just for the boot process.

Well, I'd like to expand and polish this, but don't have the time.

AEF
AEF via Info-vax
2014-05-29 01:51:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Dinosaurs were around for 165 or 170 million years. And if that big asteroid hadn't wreaked havoc 65 million years ago, they'd likely still be around (as dinosaurs, not birds).
I've seen a documentary about that scenario. Humans would still have
happened, but there would be huge differences.
For instance, there would no no rubber, and cars would be foot powered
Post by AEF via Info-vax
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1843821_1843820_1843808,00.html
Dinosaurs would exhibit a great deal of versatility, some used as cranes
in quaries, others as pets at home, some used in lieu of horses, and
some of the larger flying ones would be fitted with seats to fly people
to places.
Elephants would also play a role in daily life, providing running water
in the kitchen (which has inspited modern sink designs with the flexible
hoses that emulate the elephant's trunk).
It is not clear how computers would work. Since they are based on fine
rock dust (some call it silicon), you'd think a society that has
mastered the handling of rock so well would also have mastered silicon
quite well.
How would computers work? It would work like every other device on the Flintstones. There'd be an animal inside flipping levers. You would chisel your program on a thin tablet of rock, insert it into the slot, and an entire team of animals, perhaps elephants or ants, would jump around on a giant board marked with squares, each representing a bit. An animal on a square would be a 1; an empty square would be a zero. Hmmm, you'd need an animal to read the program and direct everything. The final answer would be chipped in stone by a stonepecker. Oh, what about the levers? Maybe that's just for the boot process.
Well, I'd like to expand and polish this, but don't have the time.
AEF
Well, I suppose it would be better if a small animal on each square would stand up to be a 1 and sit down to be a 0. I imagine the CPU being a conductor: perhaps a chimpanzee, or a bird with a large wingspan.

Or maybe implement some form of the workshop example in the VMS Performance manual.

AEF
Paul Sture via Info-vax
2014-05-29 17:56:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
I've seen a documentary about that scenario. Humans would still have
happened, but there would be huge differences.
For instance, there would no no rubber, and cars would be foot powered
Post by AEF via Info-vax
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1843821_1843820_1843808,00.html
Dinosaurs would exhibit a great deal of versatility, some used as cranes
in quaries, others as pets at home, some used in lieu of horses, and
some of the larger flying ones would be fitted with seats to fly people
to places.
Elephants would also play a role in daily life, providing running water
in the kitchen (which has inspited modern sink designs with the flexible
hoses that emulate the elephant's trunk).
It is not clear how computers would work. Since they are based on fine
rock dust (some call it silicon), you'd think a society that has
mastered the handling of rock so well would also have mastered silicon
quite well.
How would computers work? It would work like every other device on the
Flintstones. There'd be an animal inside flipping levers. You would
chisel your program on a thin tablet of rock, insert it into the slot,
and an entire team of animals, perhaps elephants or ants, would jump
around on a giant board marked with squares, each representing a bit. An
animal on a square would be a 1; an empty square would be a zero. Hmmm,
you'd need an animal to read the program and direct everything. The
final answer would be chipped in stone by a stonepecker. Oh, what about
the levers? Maybe that's just for the boot process.
Excellent!
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Well, I'd like to expand and polish this, but don't have the time.
Oh, please do :-)
--
Paul Sture

The final step of #heartbleed recovery is to call your mother, and advise
her to change her maiden name -- @gojomo
Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
2014-05-29 06:56:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by AEF via Info-vax
Dinosaurs were around for 165 or 170 million years. And if that big asteroid hadn't wreaked havoc 65 million years ago, they'd likely still be around (as dinosaurs, not birds).
I've seen a documentary about that scenario. Humans would still have
happened, but there would be huge differences.
For instance, there would no no rubber, and cars would be foot powered
Post by AEF via Info-vax
http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1843821_1843820_1843808,00.html
Dinosaurs would exhibit a great deal of versatility, some used as cranes
in quaries, others as pets at home, some used in lieu of horses, and
some of the larger flying ones would be fitted with seats to fly people
to places.
Elephants would also play a role in daily life, providing running water
in the kitchen (which has inspited modern sink designs with the flexible
hoses that emulate the elephant's trunk).
Yabba-dabba-doo!!!
Steve Thompson via Info-vax
2014-05-29 16:48:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Yabba-dabba-doo!!!
You may have heard that in the UAE they don't show The Flintstones on
TV in Dubai, but Abu Dhabi do.

Steve
via Info-vax
2014-05-29 23:35:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Thompson via Info-vax
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Yabba-dabba-doo!!!
You may have heard that in the UAE they don't show The Flintstones on
TV in Dubai, but Abu Dhabi do.
You met my buddy Keith? :rolleyes:
--
VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)ORG

I speak to machines with the voice of humanity.
Paul Sture via Info-vax
2014-05-30 01:39:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Thompson via Info-vax
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Yabba-dabba-doo!!!
You may have heard that in the UAE they don't show The Flintstones on
TV in Dubai, but Abu Dhabi do.
That joke has been around since the Stone Age!

I once had a boss whose striking resemblance to Barney Rubble earned him
the nickname of Barney and it stuck.
--
Paul Sture

The final step of #heartbleed recovery is to call your mother, and advise
her to change her maiden name -- @gojomo
via Info-vax
2014-05-30 11:58:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Sture via Info-vax
Post by Steve Thompson via Info-vax
Post by Phillip Helbig---undress to reply via Info-vax
Yabba-dabba-doo!!!
You may have heard that in the UAE they don't show The Flintstones on
TV in Dubai, but Abu Dhabi do.
That joke has been around since the Stone Age!
I once had a boss whose striking resemblance to Barney Rubble earned him
the nickname of Barney and it stuck.
I once had a boss with a striking resemblance to the schmoo.
--
VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)ORG

I speak to machines with the voice of humanity.
brendan welch via Info-vax
2014-06-01 16:33:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Sture via Info-vax
I once had a boss whose striking resemblance to Barney Rubble earned him
the nickname of Barney and it stuck.
I heard about some guy whom they referred to as Jabba the Hut.


pardon the off-topic of off-topic of off-topic
AEF
2014-06-08 04:32:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by brendan welch via Info-vax
Post by Paul Sture via Info-vax
I once had a boss whose striking resemblance to Barney Rubble earned him
the nickname of Barney and it stuck.
I heard about some guy whom they referred to as Jabba the Hut.
pardon the off-topic of off-topic of off-topic
I worked with a guy who not only sounded like Elmer Fudd, but even looked like him a little! Definitely sounded like him, with the r->w sound.

AEF
JF Mezei via Info-vax
2014-05-24 21:54:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Neil Rieck via Info-vax
It's been posted here (COV) before but I think some people would be wise to read it, or read it again. Why? Many of us wax-poetically about the good old days (or good old ways) but we forget that this is one of the reasons why DEC is no more. Just like the dinosaurs, those who are unwilling or unable to adapt to change are doomed to extinction.
Steve Jobs said it best: if you are not willing to cannabalise your own
products with a new one, someone else will. (this was in the context of
coming out with a phone that included ipod functions which basically
killed any growth of the ipod business).


The epoxy in the bus was a very good example in my opinion. They should
have cannabalised the higher end model and give the lower end model
access to all the slots. Yeah, lower revenues, but you keep your marlet
share against others who did provide systems without expoxied bus slots.
Neil Rieck via Info-vax
2014-05-25 12:43:14 UTC
Permalink
quote from the goodwin paper:

DEC was the first fortune 500 company to have its own web site when it opened the first commercial home page on the internet in October 1993. They had the majority of the business server market in the internet arena with Amazon as a major customer. When they released AltaVista it was an instant hit and the name went from nothing to worldwide fame in six months being better known than DEC itself. DEC produced the first internet firewall product, the first tunnelling software in 1991 and was well ahead of the competition. When the founders of Google came to DEC with an offer of joining with AltaVista, DEC's response was negative due to a "not invented here" attitude and senior management preparing for the sale of the company. This was certainly another opportunity missed for DEC. Palmer didn't understand what he had in AltaVista. He didn't understand the potential of the internet, valuing AltaVista at $0 when the sale to Compaq went through. In 1999 Compaq sold AltaVista to CMGI for $2.3 billion. Bell in his appendix to Schein [Schein, 2003] stated that Internet business products were perfect for DEC, they had all the pieces including servers, software and networking, however they didn't understand how to organise to engage in a new market.

NSR
Norm Raphael via Info-vax
2014-06-01 03:01:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
The feature I was thinking of was Reveal Codes and a brief search on
Google (I've just done the search) will reveal how many people, having
been exposed to it in WordPerfect, _really_ want this feature in other
word processors.
WPSPLUS (the native Allin1 word processor) had the reveal codes too
(gold V as I recall).
Adobe Insight (the successor to Page Maker does have a reveal codes in
the text editor portion (a panel that shows just the text outside of any
layout).
MSWord has under [File] [Options] [Display] a check box for
"Show all formatting marks." What more do you _really_ want?

Norman F. Raphael
"Everything worthwhile eventually
degenerates into real work." -Murphy
Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
2014-06-01 08:02:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Norm Raphael via Info-vax
Post by JF Mezei via Info-vax
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
The feature I was thinking of was Reveal Codes and a brief search on
Google (I've just done the search) will reveal how many people, having
been exposed to it in WordPerfect, _really_ want this feature in other
word processors.
WPSPLUS (the native Allin1 word processor) had the reveal codes too
(gold V as I recall).
Adobe Insight (the successor to Page Maker does have a reveal codes in
the text editor portion (a panel that shows just the text outside of any
layout).
MSWord has under [File] [Options] [Display] a check box for
"Show all formatting marks." What more do you _really_ want?
Norman F. Raphael
"Everything worthwhile eventually
degenerates into real work." -Murphy
http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/revealcodes.htm
http://legalofficeguru.com/so-you-miss-reveal-codes-in-wordperfect/
Simon Clubley via Info-vax
2014-06-01 12:10:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
Post by Norm Raphael via Info-vax
MSWord has under [File] [Options] [Display] a check box for
"Show all formatting marks." What more do you _really_ want?
Spoken as someone who has clearly never used Reveal Codes. :-)
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/revealcodes.htm
http://legalofficeguru.com/so-you-miss-reveal-codes-in-wordperfect/
Those two URLs explain Reveal Codes quite nicely. Be sure to read the
comments at the bottom of the second link if you are interested.

Like the people writing the comments on that page, I don't regard Word's
Reveal Formatting as the same.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
2014-06-01 17:24:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
Post by Norm Raphael via Info-vax
MSWord has under [File] [Options] [Display] a check box for
"Show all formatting marks." What more do you _really_ want?
Spoken as someone who has clearly never used Reveal Codes. :-)
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/revealcodes.htm
http://legalofficeguru.com/so-you-miss-reveal-codes-in-wordperfect/
Those two URLs explain Reveal Codes quite nicely. Be sure to read the
comments at the bottom of the second link if you are interested.
Like the people writing the comments on that page, I don't regard Word's
Reveal Formatting as the same.
Simon.
No, of course it is not "the same". Since the structure of the
document files themselfs are so different, you can not have a
tool that is "the same". In WP *all* formatting was inline
with the content itself. Not so in Word.

But yes, given the file format used by WP, it was a highly
usable tool, I remember the secretary at work (-80 something)
using that to "verify" documents. :-)

Jan-Erik.
via Info-vax
2014-06-02 15:34:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
Post by Norm Raphael via Info-vax
MSWord has under [File] [Options] [Display] a check box for
"Show all formatting marks." What more do you _really_ want?
Spoken as someone who has clearly never used Reveal Codes. :-)
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/revealcodes.htm
http://legalofficeguru.com/so-you-miss-reveal-codes-in-wordperfect/
Those two URLs explain Reveal Codes quite nicely. Be sure to read the
comments at the bottom of the second link if you are interested.
Like the people writing the comments on that page, I don't regard Word's
Reveal Formatting as the same.
Simon.
--
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
I used DSR on VMS for many several years before getting my first Mac (an SE); at that point Microsoft Word was available and very shortly after that the beta release of WordPerfect for Mac became available. I found WordPerfect a much more natural package, with Reveal Codes a significant part of the reason. (I have since forgotten what formatting I wanted to be able to do, that I could not figure out how to do with Word, but which worked the first way I tried to do it with WordPerfect.) I used every version of WordPerfect on Mac from the beta through the last (3.5e).

I have wondered whether the Reveal Codes capability was implemented in part as a way for the customer to deal gracefully with buggy versions of WordPerfect, or purely as a feature for customers to more easily fix their own mistakes.

I am absolutely convinced that in 1994, when I started writing web pages by editing the HTML directly, that was much easier to learn because of my DSR and WordPerfect experience. In those days, I would teach workshops on writing web pages, in which I routinely said, "Editing the HTML directly is like living in the Reveal Codes window." Many clerical staff were clearly more comfortable after hearing that.

Hand-edited HTML can also get nested hanging-indented lists correct.

There is an app for Intel Macs, available through Apple's App Store for Mac, called WordPerfect Viewer, from a software company with a legal services orientation. It gets the text, but not the embedded graphics, from my Mac WordPerfect files.

-----

Dick Piccard
Norm Raphael via Info-vax
2014-06-02 01:15:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
Post by Norm Raphael via Info-vax
MSWord has under [File] [Options] [Display] a check box for
"Show all formatting marks." What more do you _really_ want?
Spoken as someone who has clearly never used Reveal Codes. :-)
Yes, I am guilty as charged. My experience with WP was quite limited.
(Oh, and thank you for the ":-)" after your comment; it helps.)
Most of my experience was with WORD11, back in the day.
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Post by Jan-Erik Soderholm via Info-vax
http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/revealcodes.htm
http://legalofficeguru.com/so-you-miss-reveal-codes-in-wordperfect/
Those two URLs explain Reveal Codes quite nicely.
Yes, they helped me.
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Be sure to read the
comments at the bottom of the second link if you are interested.
Like the people writing the comments on that page, I don't regard Word's
Reveal Formatting as the same.
Simon.
--
Microsoft: Bringing you 1980s technology to a 21st century world
Norman F. Raphael
"Everything worthwhile eventually
degenerates into real work." -Murphy
Bill Gunshannon via Info-vax
2014-06-02 13:02:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Norm Raphael via Info-vax
Post by Simon Clubley via Info-vax
Post by Norm Raphael via Info-vax
MSWord has under [File] [Options] [Display] a check box for
"Show all formatting marks." What more do you _really_ want?
Spoken as someone who has clearly never used Reveal Codes. :-)
Yes, I am guilty as charged. My experience with WP was quite limited.
(Oh, and thank you for the ":-)" after your comment; it helps.)
Most of my experience was with WORD11, back in the day.
As a long time user of WordPerfect I can honestly say the only time
I ever used Reveal Codes was to help other people fix formating errors
where they had used the wrong code to accomplish something and it came
back later to bite them on the ass later.

bill
--
Bill Gunshannon | de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n. Three wolves
***@cs.scranton.edu | and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
University of Scranton |
Scranton, Pennsylvania | #include <std.disclaimer.h>
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