Abdul and the list.

Anyone who does not like to waste his or her time reading long messages
should stop reading this one here and go on to something else which they
consider more productive. Anyone interested in the point behind the original
post should continue reading.

First I need to apologize to the list for not responding sooner, but there
are two reasons for that: First, I wanted to draw out other opinions on the
issue to make sure I did not have to make all of the necessary points by
myself; and secondly, my employer is moving to larger facilities this
weekend and I have had to push hard on a project I was trying to finish, as
well as backup my system and take it apart for shipping, which took most of
Friday. I am currently writing this from home so that I can get the response
posted.

Next, I need to apologize directly to you Abdul, because yes, I did in fact
set a trap for you, and yes, you did in fact walk straight into it. However
I must admit that your responses did in fact rather graciously address many
of the primary problems, which means I will not have to belabor those points
here.

Next, let me say that I will be among the first to acknowledge the value and
importance of a list and "user community" such as is found here in this
list, where someone who has a problem or question, sometimes in the critical
path of his or her completing an important task, can go, and draw upon the
immense talent, background, knowledge, and experience of the others in this
community.

This is vital to a vital community.

Unfortunately, herein lies what I perceive to be one of the problems, which
already has been partially acknowledged and addressed,  in that when the
list, or more precisely the size and content of the posts, as well as the
number of posts to the list, becomes such that the average subscriber to the
list cannot keep up with the list due to the overwhelming number of post, or
the vast amount of extraneous matter in some of the posts, then  the list
has in fact defeated it's purpose, and the community as a whole can suffer.

If one person unsubscrbes from this list, because he or she doesn't have the
time to sort thru the extra clutter to find the answers that they need, or
the pearls of knowledge and wisdom that will make their job easier, then
those responsible for the content of the list have in fact done a tremendous
disservice to the community.

I for one think that the list is approaching critical mass, and rather than
try and sort thru all of the content to find what is of value, and what is
superfluous, or simply ignoring new posts when I don't have the time to look
at them at all, I chose to address the issue in a manner that I thought
would be the most productive and  least offensive way that I could.

I have in fact, in recent weeks, written several very long and specific
replies to several posts , but decided that any one of them might be too
offensive to post to the list, or even to send directly to any specific
individual, since I think that the last thing that this user community needs
is a war of words between any of its contributors.

But I did reach the limit of my tolerance the other night, when, after a
very long and productive day, I decided to quickly check my email before
leaving for home. A simple glance in the lower left corner of Outlook to see
the number of new (unread) posts to this list (which Outlook automatically
sorts upon receipt into a separate folder), and then simply sorting those by
sender and doing a little counting, quickly provided the statistics for the
days posts, all of which took less than a minute. Yes, it did take a few
more minutes to cut and paste the list together, but I figured that it would
be a quick and easy way to broach the problem in a manner that would not be
too offensive, and see what sort of responses I could get from the other
members of the list.

Well, as I said before, I think that most of what needs to be said has
already been said, and been said in a much less offensive manner that I
could have said it myself. I would point out however, for some self
appointed experts (who according to some of the responses to my post may in
fact have gained much of their "expertise" by reading this list or
contributing to the list and waiting to be corrected), that there are in
fact people on this list who actually have been in the industry for much
more than 25 years, and in fact predate MIL STD 275 revision D, Bishop
Graphics, Red and Blue Tape (and it's proper use), rats nests (both real and
those contrived here in this list), multilayer boards, plated thru holes,
and even "Computer Aided Design" in any and all of its forms, and most of
the systems that any form of CAD runs on.

There is one specific area that has not been discussed, and which I feel
needs to be discussed for the overall  good of the user community, and that
is the issue of personal or economic bias, and the issue of unsolicited and
unwarranted comments regarding the performance (or lack thereof) or Protel
Products..

Let me preface this by the fact that this list is supposed to be an
Association of Protel EDA ***===>>> USERS <<<===*** ("A Virtual User
 Group"), where: The group functions in two modes:
1. Use of this web page to learn and inform others.
2. Use of the email forums for immediate two way communication
For new members, this web site serves as a starting point to join forums.
[AND FURTHER] It also provides advertising for Protel related products,
services, and employment.
(SEE => http://www.techservinc.com/protelusers/index.html).

Respecting the latter; "advertising for Protel related products, services,
and employment;"  I cannot believe that it was the intent of the list
moderator that such "advertising" should be done without proper
identification and notification.

To be blunt Abdul, in much of what you say in this forum (consisting of this
list and other closely related lists), you appear to be a "Shill" for
Protel., and many of your comments seem to gloss over or at least attempt to
minimize many severe problems with Protel.

When one goes to www.lomaxdesign.com, we find that "LOMAX DESIGN
 CONSULTANTS" provides "Protel design consulting, training and support.",
and also "Protel license resale support".

Further, when we look at one of your responses to another responses to my
original post, you specifically admit that "Protel support through this
list, as well as providing other services for Protel users, some of which
are for compensation, *is* [your] business"

I believe that this, especially in light of your defensive posture on many
of Protel problems and issues, gives me the right to ask , on behalf of the
entire user community represented in this (and related) list, that you fully
and completely disclose just exactly what your specific relationship to
Protel and/or Altium in fact is.

The bottom line is this: Protel and/or Altium personnel, both from
management and/or technical support, obviously monitor this (and related)
list(s), on a regular basis, in an attempt to keep their finger on the
"pulse" (as it were) of the Protel User Community.

Every time you wax eloquent and philosophize on how Protel is God's gift to
PCB Design and act as if it is perfect and was "sent down from heaven", and
further, that we should all appreciate the fact that we are so blessed to be
able to actually use Protel, I think you step over the line and actually
perform a disservice to the community by covering up the real problems and
giving a false picture to Protel and/or Altium. I believe that this is
especially true in light of the apparent conflicts of interest.

An example of this would be your advocated position on the limitation of
support and service to a short duration from the time of the purchase of
Protel, where in reality, not only ethically, but legally as well, where
there is a legitimate problem with Protel (as in a legitimate "bug"), Protel
is obligated to fix the problem (especially when you consider the cost of
the product),  irregardless of how many new releases or service packs (or
years) it takes.

Period.

(Note: A specific example of Protel's wholesale failure to provide specific
support and fix a real problem is the Intellimouse software-keyboard problem
which has been acknowledged as a problem in the Protel Knowledge Base ever
since Protel98, and which is still not fixed, and which Protel has
specifically stated (6 months ago) "was not considered to be a problem" and
"would not be fixed or even addressed until the next product release" (which
I doubt will happen even then). Actually, most members of this list know
that the Logitech Mouseware is the solution to this problem, but they have
had to learn that from this list, and not from Protel, and Protell still
does not appear to know even that much about the problem.

The bottom line is this, Protel, as a product, still has some very serious
shortcommings and serious problems, and the only way that any of them are
going to get addressed is by calling a bug a bug and holding Protel
accountable to it's users, which I believe is at least one of the primary
functions of this list. That function is seriously undermined every time you
gloss over a problem and pontificate the divine inspiration of Protel.

In short Abdul, you have contributed immensely to this list, and don't for a
minute even think that I am trying to sell you short on that issue, because
I am not. But since I have joined this list, over 1 in every 8 post to this
list has been made by you, and as you seem to realize and acknowledge
yourself, much of the extraneous verbiage contributed to this list is also
from you, and as you yourself have already pointed out in your reply to a
response to my original post, that is too much.

In conclusion, I apologize to you Abdul if I have offended you. Please do
continue to contribute to the list, as you are, and I am sure will continue
to be, an immense help to many, but please at the same time, please disclose
your actual relationship with Protel and/or Altium, and dispense with the
unwarranted posturing and commentary on the Protel product which I believe
is at the very least "clouding" the real picture of the real Protel "User
Community" to those who are monitoring the list from Protel and/or Altium.

After all, as you have so conveniently pointed out yourself in your initial
reply  to a response to my original post, you are not in fact an actual
"user" of Protel yourself (since you have "arranged for another very
competent designer to do most of [your] design" for you) , and you really
are fortunate enough to have a lot of extra free time on your hands.

Most importantly, as Bob Jones stated in his post in response to this issue,
"For all of those who contribute to this forum, please do not stop! It's
been a huge help".

I would only add, don't needlessly "clutter" the list with unnecessary posts
or "verbage", and please by all means, don't diminish Protel's and/or Altium
's need to respond to the real problems or give them the opportunity to
ignore the Protel Users who have put them where they are as they attemt to
analyse the needs of the market and their responsibility to their existing
customers.

JaMi Smith






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