[gripes] more flame from andy

henry (07/12/82)

I really wish this discussion could be carried out by mail, especially
when the questions are of the "have you quit beating your wife" variety
that are aimed at rhetoric rather than information, but here goes.

<begin flame>
No, hard problems are not guaranteed to plague us forever.  No, I am
not implying that anything that's not easy is declared level-12 and
shelved;  that's a damn silly thing to say and you know it, Andy.
I understand your unhappiness at having goofed in your macro usage and
having wasted a printout, but I wish you'd waited to cool down before
taking it out on me by shouting your frustration from the housetops.
<end flame>

"Re-implementing from scratch" does indeed mean going to a new macro
package because this one is too hard to fix.  I was dead serious when
I classed macro-package work as difficulty 12 on a scale of 1 to 10;
I know of no job that is anywhere near as difficult.  The macro mess
has indeed been with us for a long time, but it's only been in my
hands for the last year or so.  I've done work on it as time permitted;
anybody who thinks time has permitted lots of work on it should see my
to-do list.  The time I've spent on it has mostly served to convince
me that the effort involved is out of proportion to the gains, and it
would be better to start over.  I'm currently studying possible packages,
and looking at the impact of the inevitable changes in user interface.
Since I like to know what I'm letting people in for before I take the
plunge, this takes time.

Attention to the specifications of the Sanders will reveal that it is
indeed a letter-quality printer, despite using a dot-matrix mechanism.
(It's the only letter-quality dot-matrix printer available, which is
part of the reason why we got it.)  Please judge it by its output, not
by preconceived notions about dot-matrix printers.  Incidentally, anyone
who thinks daisy-wheel printers don't have their own problems hasn't
been responsible for supporting one.  We also have an Olivetti electronic
typewriter and a computer interface for it on order, but I hope we don't
actually need it for production use.

Defective hardware and software cannot be cured overnight, especially
with the very limited resources of cash and manpower we have available.
We charge money because we do provide service, which many people find
satisfactory, or at least useable.  Problems are inevitable when a
small outfit like this tries to provide an ever-increasing range of
services to an ever-growing user community.  I would appreciate help
and specific suggestions as to what should be done differently.  Any
volunteers for work fixing macro packages will be gratefully accepted.