|The other side to this.|
Message #15 Posted by Tony Duell on 4 May 2005, 7:15 a.m.,
in response to message #14 by Klaus
More years ago than I care to remember, when I first had access to the internet, I got a lot of help on PDP11s from a guy in the States. I thanked him, of course, and wondered if/how I should pay him. I got a very interesting reply :
'You don't pay me back, you pay forwards. I've helped you with your computers, there's sure to be something you know about and can help others with. Do that'.
And consider this. Several people here have privately e-mailed me about repairing HP calculators. I always give what I hope is accurate advice, and I give it freely. I've been known to stay up until the small hours looking at schematics and source listings to work out just what is going on, interpretting the results of their measuements.
Things like 'You tell me your CPU microcode is cycling through the 2 states xxxx and yyyy. That's the I/O loop, the CPU waits there while the I/O interface transfers data to an external device. The CPU should set the 74H101 flip-flop U1, it'll then wait in this loop until that flip-flop is cleared. Now, is that flip-flop set? If so, then why isn't it being cleared again?' (This, from memory, is what the 98x0 CPU does, BTW).
I want people to actually understand what is going on inside these fine machines. So I give explanations of what the various chips are doing, etc.
I do this for free. If we're not going to help each other, then I am very happy to work as a consultant -- and charge the normal fee for such work. I think you'd then find that the cost of asking me how to fix something considerably exceeded the price of a replacement...
If that's what what you want, fine. Personally, I'd rather we all continued helping each other, and didn't worry too much about the cost.