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Re: [N8VEM-S100:469] S-100 8086 CPU board done, ready for manufacturing

On Nov 5, 2011, at 6:46 PM, John Monahan wrote:

Douglas I am sorry with the miss-understanding and your past experience with “my boards”.

I have no mis-understanding. I am VERY clear on what has gone on with you and your boards.

Your opinion is your own and I respect that.

There is virtually no aspect of me or my experience or capabilities (or opinions) that you have shown any respect for.

I am not now and have never been an executive, but rather have spent my entire life in the trenches, as a trouble
shooter working with many well known companies to get products to market.

My opinions about you and what you are doing are not something I pulled out of my ass.

My opinions are based on a lifetime of diligent work as is documented here...


Before you cast aspersions on my opinions, calling them religious, or make assumptions about my preferences
based on my employment at one company between 1983 and 1985. I think you should follow the link and take a
good look at the experience I have gained during the course of my career.

I spent several decades working around personal computers and supporting software and hardware development 
from the DOS days through Windows NT. During that time I could see that the majority of the money being made was 
going to Microsoft, and every aspect of working with their products is painfully slow and unnecessarily difficult.
It happens that I now prefer Apple Macintoshes over PC's. Mostly because there is Unix under the hood and
I have spent several decades working with Unix, porting software to and from Unix on a wide variety of platforms.  

It is dis-ingenuous to pretend my disrespect for every aspect of your actions are the result of a mis-understanding.

I have the email from you where you shine me on, and refuse to answer a simple question regarding the 8086
board I was building and testing (to support the process of supplying the boards to the community).

Telling me to set aside the board I had built up trying to help you, and wait for the release board just blew
me away. I am disabled, living on a fixed income, and investing several months worth of discretionary  
income on parts for a board which you arbitrarily determine should be set aside really hurt.
I know you are on top of things now, but the day will come when you are no longer calling the shots, and
you will most likely learn what it feels like to be so casually treated by others. 

I sincerely hope no one comes away from this with a mis-understanding.

Lets be very clear. From your actions, and your words, I can draw no conclusion other than that you are
an asshole, more concerned with looking smart, then participating in the sharing of knowledge and
experience that is going on in the N8VEM community.

You create these boards, and push them out, not really caring what happens after that. And the proclamations
you have made about the risks of working with these boards are just a way for you to cover any errors or
omissions you have made. 
Nevertheless there are a few things I would like to point out in case others get a miss-understanding.  In no particular order with respect to your posting below…
First I think you fail to appreciate the work (the so far, ~20 S-100 boards involves). 

I am a retired biotech executive that currently spend approximately 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week doing these boards and associate software (more on that later).   Except for overseas business trips, family matters that’s essentially how I spend my days. 

With approximately 84 hours per week available, how can you claim that you don't have time.

I am not an electrical engineer and thus arguably take longer to get there that it should.   However each prototype board typically takes two versions before you would even hear about it.  In some case by the time the final is actually done I almost don’t want to see it again.   A big chunk of the time is devoted to writing up onS100Computers.com; the reason, history and step by step builds and debugging process of each board.  Every board has this.

Is it written for a total beginner, no it is not,  the time it would take to hand hold and baby step line by line a board construction in that format I utilize thinking about and building another board.  

I don't understand what you just said. Was that a question or what?

That said, I respond to any reasonable question a “builder” has typically been within 24 hours.  

Your grasp of the English language gives me special awe.

I could look back but if I have had  to guess I have had ~20 such questions over the year.   Unfortunately some of them require me to go back and dig up old schematics and rethink the board and the issue.   Sounds trivial, its sometimes is not. It’s hard to guess what a problem is without the actual hardware. 
You to have had some notion that I am financially benefiting from the above.  You say:-
I am just voting with my wallet. I don't feel like giving him my money under the circumstances. I don't feel I am going to get my money's worth”
assure you that there is absolutely no profit component here what so ever. 

I don't think it is a lot of money. It is symbolic. Your ego is somewhat based on these boards you sell.

I no loger want to be supportive of what you are doing, even to the extent of buying a board and giving you 
money for it.  

I ran a public company for 13 years, did fairly well as they say; Nothing in this S100 hobby will ever have any possibility of being “a financial life style changing event” for me.   That said, I do appreciate that a cost component for such a hobby for others may not be the case.  That is why Andrew and I try and bunch “production” boards into groupings so others can benefit with a price cut.  By that time I have already purchased one or two (sets or 3) prototype boards at my own expense.
You mention software..
“Just how hard would it be to provide a Boot-Rom image and a method of creating a bootable disk?”
Ever board I do (if appropriate) comes with a .PDF file and source code listing for software relevant to that board.  It is at the bottom of each boards web page and is updated constantly. In fact as a safety net that is where I actually store my own versions (and on my WHS).  I can only conclude you have not bothered to look at these.  Two examples:
The ZFDC board.   The complete source of the boards Z80 ROM is provided as well as a .PDF.  Within the source code EVERY significant line is commented.   The complete source with step by step build accounts for building and running both CPM+ & CPM86+ is provided.   Is this BIOS up to your satisfaction, considering your DR background I’m sure not. Both it seems to work reliably for me.

What would be nice would be an experienced person like yourself improving upon the BIOS and providing it to the community rather than whining as above.

“Just how hard would it be to provide a Boot-Rom image and a method of creating a bootable disk?”

Was this whining? I thought it was a reasonable question.

Sometime back you took offence that I sated “Concurrent CPM was difficult to get going”. Clearly it’s your baby and I understand you make take offence with that. However I still think this is so. While not for you, a number of the S100 users here still have trouble hammering a CPM80 BIOS into shape and would find a multiuser system more than they could handle.

You still haven't explained the basis for your comment about it being difficult to get going. You haven't done it. You haven't mentioned
anyone in particular that had trouble with it. This proclamation you are making is something you pulled out of you ass. An opinion with
no referencial basis, designed to mislead others who might be considering working with it.
On this 8086 board you clearly don’t want  -- I got that. Least others get mislead there is a large amount of documentation about the board. There is a whole section about the 10,000 line 8086 monitor (I wrote from scratch)  that allows you to boot CPM86 & MSDOS (more on that later) directly from the ROM as well as run almost any hardware diagnostic test you could think of.

Did you supply the ROM image for CP/M-86?

Again ever significant line is commented in the .PDF file and as always the source code is downloadable as a .ZIP file.   I spent quite a bit of time putting up on the site how the board works since it is the first of what will be a number of master/slave CPU boards. As for the other boards there will be a step by step build account on the page for the final board. I don’t do this for the prototypes because they change so much.
That brings me to something else you say:
“he and JM are busy designing support boards to allow Microsoft operating systems to run on S-100. I didn't join the N8VEM community to experience frustration trying to stabilize Microsoft's lousy software”
I understand from this your dislike of Microsoft.  Considering your DR background this is understandable. 

This has nothing to do with DRI. Microsoft operating systems are large, buggy, slow, closed source, and on a daily basis waste huge
amounts of the productivity of the employees tasked to use them at work, and at home.

Personally I always regarded the MS, DR, Apple worlds as analogous to a kind or religion. Once people get fixed on one they almost never convert. I don’t want to get into that,  what I would like to point out is that while my near term CPU plans are for an 8086, 80286, 80386 and 80486 S-100 board (I am thinking about a Pentium with a daughter RAM board),  my longer term plans are for ARMs, Propeller, Zilog 32 bit, perhaps the NS 32032. These will be done by me over the next 2-3 years. If others want to help they are welcome, but with the exception of the 68K and 6502 (thanks guys – you know who you are) , I’m on my own. There is no software religion here. It’s just I have to step things along sequentially. The Intel “line” will take one year alone.
Yes I prefer to go with MS-DOS for Intel 16 bit chips  (so has most of the rest of the world) . While I do a little hardware, my joy is hardware .  BTW the 8086/ZFDC/IDC/PIC-RTC board came up with CPM86 using the above ROM BIOS.   Would the hardware work with concurrent – don’t know – again I simply have other interests.
Sorry this is turning out to be long, I will finish up..
Douglas I am actually relived you will not be “using” the 8086 board. I honestly feel you miss-understand my intensions and will be very disappointed going forward.

Again, I don't mis-understand anything. 

I take satisfaction that there are others here that feel differently and do in fact offer to actually help  by going to the trouble of pointing out errors on the web site, helpful suggestions and yes actually providing a parts list.  

I already provided you a detailed parts list for the 8086 board, which you threw away.

I would be fascinated to find out what percentage of the 8086 boards you sell actually end up 
integrated into a working system with system software and peripherals, and how many of them get 
set aside over a lack of usable software. You know, that stuff you call "productizing" which I call
due diligence.

In my time, products I sold had manuals, and came with enough diagnostic software to verify the
proper operation of the components. I made time to take support calls, because each one is an 
opportunity to learn something that could make the product better. But then you don't consider 
these boards which you sell, to be a product. They are just this "thing" you sell that may or may
not work (ever).

I guess what I don't understand is how you can create something like this, and sell it, but not
care about it being the best it can be. I guess since your products are not being reviewed in PCWEEK,
you aren't concerned about what a reviewer might say, and what that might do to sales.

Partitioning of the workload like this is what is needed rather than expecting people to catered to your special needs.

Oh boy, that s a mouthful. I can see that partitioning the workload means to you that you design what you like and expect us
to like it.  

How did you get a PHD with such a lousy grasp of the English language and sentence structure?

I think that expecting a parts list is not in the category of having special needs.

When the schematic and the PCB don't match up, asking you what your intention 
was does not fall into the category of special needs.

Other builders and designer not only produced boards, but made sure that system software
was available for them as well. The Zeta board is a lovely recent example. Once the
board was built up, there was CP/M-80 software available. Builders didn't need to learn how
to write a BIOS from scratch. Sergey productized the board enough that builders were able
to quickly bring up the boards and get things running. 

Finally I want to say that the one unsung hero is all of this is Andrew who has tirelessly over the (now) years provided schematics, upon schematics, layouts upon layouts, corrections upon corrections tirelessly without ever complaining once.  We are talking perhaps 1000+ e-mails by now.  Without him not one of these S100 boards would be available.  I would wire-wrap, others would not have as much fun!!!

This has nothing to do with Andrew. He has worked hard so we can learn about computers and 
vintage hardware.

My problem is with you, your attitude and your arrogance.

That’s all I am going to say on this matter. No further comments – dare I say I don’t have the time!

That is what I don't get. You say that your entire available time is spent working on the N8VEM/S100computers technology,
but when asked for any reasonable and normal support by a member of the community, you are too busy. You are a selfish man, 
on your pedestal, in your ivory tower. 


Douglas Goodall

John Monahan Ph.D
From: n8vem...@googlegroups.com [mailto:n8vem...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Douglas Goodall
Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2011 3:54 PM
To: n8vem...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [N8VEM-S100:468] Re: S-100 8086 CPU board done, ready for manufacturing
This has entirely to do with my feelings about how JM conducts his affairs. 
As regards the N8VEM/S-100 boards, I thought the charter of the community was to help people learn about electronics, the vehicle being vintage style microprocessors and  accessories. That happens a lot in the area of the ECB boards and other little boards as well.
New builders always get the help they need from the community, and often the board's designers as well.
As a hardware newbie, I have gained a great deal of respect for the people in the community that make themselves available to provide support at various levels to builders and designers.
There are plenty of people in the community that have different styles of engineering than I do, and I respect and allow for that.
Now as for JM and his boards, I have several issues that concern me. One, and probably the most cogent issue is the total lack of concern on his part about whether the builders who buy his boards ever get what they wanted out of them. He states openly that his boards are only for, "People who know what they are doing". He states openly that he is too busy to "productize" his products.
Another aspect of the JM core experience is his decision that providing a parts list is too time consuming, and he leaves it to others to create what he calls, "shopping lists".
My personal experience with him includes volunteering to do build and test on an early version of the 8086 board, and after I had built up the board and had a question about a descrepancy between the pcb and the schematic, he refused to answer my simple question and told me to just wait for the production board. So the time and money I spent building the board went nowhere because he is too important to answer any questions

Then there is the issue of his focus and direction. His plan for future boards is to design them to run DOS and Windows. Although Andrew assured me he remembers the eighties and doesn't want to re-experience them with N8VEM, he and JM are busy designing support boards to allow Microsoft operating systems to run on S-100.
I didn't join the N8VEM community to experience frustration trying to stabilize Microsoft's lousy software.
So here I am feeling that I don't want to deal with him because he has already left me high and dry, and I no longer trust him as a supplier. He does not stand behind his product/work.
I also disagree strongly with his decision not to supply at least one supportable configuration with system software. Each builder will have to start from scratch creating an operating system to run on the boards.
Andrew mentioned he has ported CP/M-86 to his 8086 board, but he doesn't provide that port to his customers.
Just how hard would it be to provide a Boot-Rom image and a method of creating a bootable disk?
I am just voting with my wallet. I don't feel like giving him my money under the circumstances. I don't feel I am going to get my money's worth 
In fairness, I am sure there are some people out there who have built and enjoyed his boards. I just don't happen to be one of them.
Douglas Goodall
Santa Maria

On Nov 5, 2011, at 12:28 PM, "j...@cimmeri.com" <j...@cimmeri.com> wrote:

Just curious, why not?

- A different John

Douglas Goodall wrote:
Please make sure I am not on the list for the 8086 board.
For the time being I will not be buying any more of John's
S-100 products.
Should I change my mind in the future, I will let you know.
Douglas Goodall
On Nov 5, 2011, at 10:35 AM, lynchaj wrote:
Hi!  We are at 19 PCBs and I am about to order the boards.
Does anyone else want in before the order goes out?
Please let me know!  Thanks and have a nice day!
Andrew Lynch
On Oct 23, 9:04 am, lynchaj <ly...@yahoo.com> wrote:
Hi!  Good news!  The S-100 8086 CPU board has finally finished!
I am getting ready to make a manufacturing order for the S-100 8086
CPU board.  There have been three prototype boards already that John
has built and tested so I think this board is in good shape.  John
also ported CP/M-86, monitor, and a BIOS among other software.
Since it has been so long I am asking everyone who has signed up for
the S-100 8086 CPU board to reconfirm their request for the board.
There has to be about 20+ boards or so to make the PCB order feasible.
Thanks and have a nice day!
Andrew Lynch