Most of this has become an example of reduction ad absurdem, but a few 

At 02:10 PM 11/13/01 -0500, Bagotronix Tech Support wrote:

>Abdul, you're a great dude, but I've got to disagree with you on this.
>Maybe I wasn't clear enough with my illustrative examples.  The fact that
>cleaning your house and mowing your yard is labor makes it a service, and
>the fact that entropy continuously works to bring your house and yard into a
>state of disorder means that you cannot build upon past labor in any
>meaningful capacity.

Building a house is also a service. The concept that one cannot build on 
past labor is just plain wrong.
For tax purposes, one may consider as an immediate expense and not 
capitalize some kinds of service, other kinds of services become part of 
the cost basis of an item.

>   Software is not subject to entropy (other than the
>storage media decaying).  Software sitting on your shelf does not accumulate
>bugs it didn't have before.  Software is not subject to depletion - it
>doesn't vanish as you use it more.  Therefore it is not a consumable.

Ah, so my copy of Quarterdeck Desqview and those Lantastic for OS/2 boxes 
over there on the shelf are still worth what I paid for them? Tell you 
what, you can have them for half price. What a deal!

Seriously, they have not only lost their value, I might not be able to run 
them at all unless I were to take that 486-25 EISA machine and try to get 
it running again. *Software definitely loses value, it is subject to 
depreciation. It is not an asset like oil in the ground, which is subject 
to depletion, like any inventory.

>I am sorry if I don't "precisely define" things enough for you.

Don't take it personally! In the paragraph quoted above, the term 
"depletion" has been used as if it were characteristic of labor. This is an 
innovated meaning, shall I say; if one is going to use terms outside of 
their established meanings, I'd say that they are "imprecise" -- if not 
simply wrong -- unless specially defined.

Writers for this list are not expected to be masters of English prose or to 
attain the precision of a technical writer, so my comment about the *word* 
used was not a criticism of the *writer.* Mr. Bagget is one of our esteemed 
contributors. It was not even a criticism of the word, just a note that 
words were being used in ways that were not -- at least to me -- clear.

>   I must say
>I have never been accused of being imprecise before.

Perhaps the world is larger than imagined. I may be, sometimes, a big fish 
in a small pond, but I am certainly not the biggest fish in the ocean 
however you slice the matter. My writing in some circles might be derided 
as hopelessly muddled, were those who move in such circles not unfailingly 

>Protel (Altium) should price it's products fairly, not
>extortively, and not gouge us for support and bug fixes.

So far it has not. We are worried that they *might* but let us not treat 
them as a company with a track record of user abuse. (What has been called 
abuse by some writers is really an inability or unwillingness, on their 
part, in my opinion, to accept the realities of the software industry, 
TANSTAAFL). From a financial point of view, Protel remains, again in my 
opinion, the cost/benefit leader for anyone making their living from 
electronics design. I'm uncertain as to whether or not ATS will change 
that; obviously, I'd prefer it if Altium would clarify the issues.

They could have simply announced that current purchasers would receive the 
next release free, if they were not ready to price ATS/upgrade for existing 
licensees. That is the only aspect of ATS that was actually urgent. The 
rest of it could have been done retrospectively. (Such as a later 
announcement that, if you bought in November 2001, you have ATS free, we 
are now telling you, until November 2002 or some other date, maybe even to 
a year from the announcement ... that way, early upgraders would not be 

>   And it should
>publish it's binary file formats.

Perhaps. The ASCII format is self-documenting.

Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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