> > It's an old saying that monopolies don't have to apologise to their
> > customers. However, when competition does exist, it is a bad move to
> > alienate your customers, and when competition doesn't exist (or is
> > bad attitudes can result in customers taking their complaints to a
> > regulatory agency. And some times, in some places, these agencies kick
> a***
> And some times, in some places, these agencies kiss a**.  I am referring
> U.S. Dept. of Justice vs. Microsoft, of course.
> And some times, in some places, the agencies kick a**, but the enforcee
> their a** covered with titanium/kevlar armor with case-hardened steel
> spikes.  I am referring to the U.S. vs. Exxon Valdez case where the big
> punitive fine was overtuned on appeal.  How much taxpayer money did the
> gov't waste letting that one get overturned?
> What's this got to do with Protel?  We should not rely solely on law or
> threat of law enforcement to get what is fair.  As time goes on,
> everywhere are becoming more and more hijacked by big business special
> interests.  We users need to do what we can to protect ourselves from
> practices, because government action is always slow, expensive, and
> unreliable.

Yes, there is a lot to be said for turning to the government as a last
resort, rather than in the first instance.

And I would concur that the phenonomen of governments being hijacked by
vested interests is not confined to the USA. I lived in New Zealand up until
a bit less than three years ago, but I have still been keeping up with much
of what has been happening there. Just during the weekend just passed, I
think I finally figured out why one organisation there has been so keen to
dump a certain service (which is not profitable, but probably would be, had
it been promoted with that objective in mind). If my hunch is correct,
taxpayers have the potential to be considerably out of pocket, which is all
the more insulting given that two of its current major shareholders are
renown for regarding their fiscal obligations as being voluntary in nature.
That corporation hires the services of a certain spin-doctor, who just
happens to also provide such services for the current leader of the
Opposition. (And his political party is chaired by yet another spin-doctor,
whose actions while working for those two parasites were regarded as so
reprehensible by the professional body for the PR business that she was
officially censured by this (not that that seems to have had a detrimental
impact upon her employability).)

If my hunch is correct, there are detrimental implications for the region
which that individual represents (and regardless of whether taxpayers in
general end up out of pocket or otherwise). However, he has
previously/already made it clear that he is untroubled by such
considerations, or at the very least is happy to cut off his nose to spite
his face.

> That means demanding that software work properly, service
> packs remain available, and seriously considering alternatives where they
> exist.  Supporting each other when the software vendor ceases support.
> making sure the software vendor knows what we think!
> Ivan Baggett

Agreed, and some.

Given that a SP is no use by itself (i.e. without a copy of the software for
which it is a SP), I don't see any reason why Protel users can't provide
these to one another, or at least whenever these cannot be downloaded from
Protel's website (or otherwise acquired from Altium). Even though Altium
presumably would prefer that users update to the current version of Protel,
the older versions don't have an expiry date, so anyone who
wants/prefers/needs to continue to use these should be able to do so with
whichever SPs were released for them. (I did in fact send a copy of SP1 for
Client3 myself, but my associated email message was not delivered because
the attached file was executable in nature; before I got around to resending
that file enclosed within a Zip file, someone else did so instead.)

It will be interesting to see whether Phoenix (the next major version of
Protel) adds a (Boolean) "Mirrored" field for Component objects (in PCB
files). Personally, I am not enamoured to the alternative scenario of not
being able to mirror components at all, but time will tell what happens in
that regard (with the other possible scenario being to continue to warn
users whenever components are about to be mirrored, as has been provided by
SP6 for Protel 99 SE).

My vision is that if components still can be mirrored, and a "Mirrored"
field is provided, than users will be warned, prior to the generation of
Gerber files, if any of the components in the PCB file are detected as being
in a mirrored state at the time. Users would also have the capability of
being able to produce a report, at any time, as to which components are
currently mirrored.

The alternative scenario would be to prohibit mirroring of components
altogether, but that would mean that the use of the "X" or "Y" key would
mirror (most) other objects, but not components, which would be a break from
past behaviour. What do others think about this matter?

Geoff Harland.
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