Adaptec controller problems

Bill Kennedy bill at inebriae.UUCP
Fri Nov 17 12:53:27 AEST 1989

I think that I led the charge on this, if not I was among the first to
demand an explanation.  Credit goes to ISC for responding and to Mike Alcorn
for signing the article.  I realize that there are some things that are
not appropriate for ISC employees to say when posting from ISC sites and
essentially speaking for ISC.  I doubt that "restriction" (that's not the
right word, I can't think of one) precludes saying that it was a foul up
or that they'll work hard to keep it from happening again, but it might
or they might not want to say that.  There are some things in the article
that I would like clarified further since they seem to contradict each
other or are otherwise confusing (to me).

In article <36506 at> support (Signed Mike Alcorn) writes:
>We would like to clarify the events recently discussed over the net regarding
>Bill Miskovetz and the assistance ISC provided him in reaching a solution to
>the problem he had utilizing 386/ix with his specific Maxtor 8760E hard drive
>and Adaptec 2322B-8 controller.  ISC did request the use of the drive because
>it had too many defects to work on 2.0.2.  The problem was related to Mr.
	^^^^^^^^ How many are "too many"?  Bigger drives always have more
	defects, is there a limit to the size of the bad track table?  To
	the number of alternate tracks available for assignment?  If so, what
	is it so that we don't buy a drive with more than that?

>Miskovetz's specific drive, and the number of defective tracks/sectors
>involved.  Release 2.0.2 does in fact work with, and is compatible with the
>Adaptec 2322B-8 controller and most existing Maxtor drives.

Then let me propose this.  It doesn't help anyone without net access or who
doesn't know anyone with net access, but it would be helpful.  My suggestion
is not without precedent, from time to time and again this weekend I publish
a list of VGA's and monitors known-to-work with ISC X-windows.  It saves the
ISC people answering every single question from people when it comes up between
postings.  Maybe Bill Miskovetz would consent to being the custodian of a
similar list of drive and controller combinations known-to-work with 386/ix.
Since I can't/shouldn't volunteer him, maybe someone else would volunteer.
The VGA/monitor list saved me countless dollars and headaches, hopefully
others as well.  I passed on some seemingly really good deals based on the
list, we could do as well with drives.  That list would have helped me and
the tech support people when I tried to bring up 2.0.2 with ESDI's and an
ancient motherboard BIOS that couldn't.

>While working to make Mr. Miskovetz's drive work with the next release of
>386/ix (release 2.2), INTERACTIVE recognized that other very large drives
>might require the same level of defect tolerance demanded by this particular
>Maxtor/Adaptec combination and worked to build that capability into the 2.2

Is the Maxtor/Adaptec combination a combination of models or that particular
drive with that particular controller (a combination of serial numbers)?  I
am not nit picking here, it's an important distinction.  I'll speculate that
you're saying that this model Maxtor is one other than "most existing Maxtor
drives" that work with 2.0.2?

>There was regular communication between ISC support and Mr. Miskovetz during
>this period without any perceived animosity on the part of the customer.

I can not question the accuracy of the remark, I was not there and Bill
Miskovetz told me in email that he called regularly although ISC did not
call him.  I can buy "without any perceived animosity" because he seems
to be a very laid back sort, I got some BTU's for screeching when his article
seemed so calm and matter of fact.  Even accepting the facts as reported,
it stresses my sense of reason that four months might not generate some
feelings of embarrassment on ISC's part for being unwilling, unaware, or
unable to apply the resources to solve the problem and return the equipment.
If I am mistaken then we have all learned something.

>INTERACTIVE's intent, in all instances, is to assist customers in the
>successful utilization of our product, as well as provide a product with
>increasing integrity as it matures.  When this necessitates the cooperative
>resources of both the customer and ISC, we seek to employ those resources as
>quickly as possible, and to cause as little inconvenience to the customer as
>is feasible.

Whoops!  Whoah!  I just can't rationalize "quickly as possible" that easily,
nor "as little inconvenience to the customer".  I was told that the drive
was used to work on problems other than the compatibility issues or lack of
tolerance to large numbers of defects.  I heard that it was used to debug
other things.  That's none of my business, but together with four months'
elapsed time just doesn't wash with "quickly as possible".  The drive was sent
to Santa Monica overnight air express, that sounds "quickly as possible".
It also suggests that prompt attention and return would cause "as little
inconvenience to the customer as is feasible".  I can't put words in Miskovetz'
mouth, so I'll use my own.  If someone had my drive until the warranty was
run out, I would feel more than a "little inconvenience".  Was the drive
sufficiently defective to return under warranty?  I don't know, I'm not a drive
expert, but Miskovetz never got a shot.  I can ask whether or not he asked
once or more that the analysis be expedited and the drive returned?  No, those
words don't paint over common sense and responsible business practice.  If it
was a case of terrible communications or just a collosal screw up, please say
that very near to "quickly as possible" and "little inconvenience" and say
that those usual objectives were not met.

>In speaking directly with Mr. Miskovetz today, he did not indicate a feeling
>of great negligence on the part of ISC, or express a critical need for the
>return of the hardware.  He was very appreciative of our efforts, although
>frustrated at not being able to yet use the product.  He is satisfied with
>the plan for getting him up and running with his hardware and 386/ix.

So be it, the rest of us, I suspect, would not be as patient.  I wasn't party
to the conversation so I'll have to accept the report as written.  My
interpretation of email and a phone conversation with Bill indicated that the
drive has been gone so long that he wanted ISC to take as much time as need
be so that (emphasis is mine) IT WOULD WORK.  I'd feel the same way, a few
more days to be sure, after four months, wouldn't matter.  He expressed a
"critical need" to me, but tempered by his desire for it to work.

>Bill Miskovetz is one customer that had a problem pertaining to an agressive
>use of Unix on PC hardware.

Whoops again...  What was he doing that was "agressive use of UNIX on PC
hardware"?  Seriously, we need to know so that we don't inadvertantly do
something that seems reasonable to us but is too aggressive for UNIX or
for 386/ix.  If there are aggressive maximae, licensees and prospective
licensees have a need to know.

>INTERACTIVE worked with him, and with his
>cooperation in loaning the necessary equipment, was able to support his
>specific environment as well as improve the general nature of our software
>for future customers.  We look forward to continuing this close association
>with our customers.
>Mike Alcorn
>Manager, Product Support

I ask the net's indulgence for having included the entire text, but I didn't
want to risk taking anything out of context.  If Mike Alcorn is happy with
the way ISC's personnel handled the situation and Bill Miskovetz feels that
he was treated in a fair and professional fashion then so be it, I'm a sore
head, none of my business, I'll shut up.  I'm distressed if that is the case,
and I will be much more cautious in my purchase of INTERACTIVE products and
my level of expectation for product support.  I'm not satisfied with the
report but I'm not the one to satisfy, Bill Miskovetz is.  I'll shut up or
move to email with this last request.  Would Bill Miskovetz please report his
account with respect to Mike Alcorn's report?  And please add whether or not
the drive was returned (ISC didn't say) and whether or not it works (ditto).
I'm just not convinced we got "the rest of the story".
Bill Kennedy    {texbell,att,,sun!daver}!ssbn!bill
                bill at ssbn.WLK.COM  or attmail!ssbn!bill

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