Trionyx?

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Jack Rubin

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Nov 7, 2014, 12:00:27 PM11/7/14
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I found this while digging through some old emails – you might find it interesting.

Jack

 

From: Bard, Steve [mailto:steve...@intel.com]
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 12:29 PM
To: Jack Rubin
Subject: RE: Trionyx?

 

Jack,

 

There was another company in Texas – DG Electronics.  They were a bit more progressive in a lot of their products.  Have you ever bumped into them? I was involved with the Heath Users Group (HUG) when Schlumberger owned Heathkit.  I remember some guy (I think Warner was his last name) that I spent a good deal of time arguing with – he was some marketing dude.  Then there was J. Gordon Letwin – ex-employee of Wintek tat went to work for Heat when Zenith Data Systems came on board.  Gordon went to work for Bill Gates and was the architect of OS/2.  I wonder what ever happen to Gordon? Oh well…  A bunch of got together and was nearly successful in leading a techno-revolt when it was announced that there would be no HDOS 3.0.  Gordon did a knock-off of RT-11 to make HDOS 1.0.  He had a protégé… last name of Campbell that took over for Gordon.  There was another guy I hooked up with in St. Louis.  He started Capital Computer or First Capital Computer or something like that. His first name was Tom – can’t remember his last name right now (senior moment I suppose).  I later did a memory card for him for the Z-100.  It was a 256 Megabyte card – a knock off of the Z150 card.  Then there was Bill Mathias.  Good guy.  I think he worked for Unisys.  Heath fed Bill with his lust for hardware and in turn Bill wrote HDOS drivers and other little apps – like modem programs.  Ward Christenson developed XMODEM and then there were knock-offs all over the place.  I remember Bill Gates, as a young lad a bit over 18, coming to a HUG meeting and pawning off Kansas City cassette tapes of Basic – he did a port from Dartmouth Basic.  This product later became Basic-80 for the H8.  I remember we all gave Bill a ration of crap for “stealing” Dartmouth Basic and doing a port and then trying to sell it to make money.  He was asking $50 bucks a tape.  Again, now part of the recycling bin at Clark County.  I did some work with Tarbell and George Marrow (probably not spelling his name right) – they were doing some S100 stuff – never got into S-100 much.  The name of my company was Micro Widget Works – a title suitable for the age (smile).  I sold more T-shirts than I did my boards and kits (grin).  Should have charged more!  I did one of the first “ports” of CPM to the H8.  I wrote a Panel Monitor for the H8 that resulted in a RAM only system – the first implementation I ever knew of a term later known as “shadow BIOS” in the PC industry. I played around with MPM for a bit but never thought LAN and multi-user had any practical application – I guess that is why I’m still poor and others aren’t (smile).  There was a guy, Ray Livingston, worked at JPL. He had a little business called Livingston Logic Labs – LLL.  He did some kind of board – oh yeah, it was an interface card for 8” floppy disk drives.  I had a set – made by CalComp.  Bet you did not know Cal Comp ever made disk drives, eh?  They became known as a plotter company. I wonder if they are still in business.

 

Oh well, hey Jack, thanks for the trip down memory lane.  That was a LONG time ago in terms of technology history – just a bit more than 20 years ago in real time.  My, seems much longer than that!

 

Take care,

Best Regards,

Steve Bard

 

PS Oh yeah, there was Tim Patterson from Seattle Computer Systems.  He did Q-DOS to pre-ceed CPM-86 because Digital Research was late.  Bill Gates eventually bought Q-DOS from Tim for $100 grand (or something like that) and shipped it as MS-DOS 1.0 for IBM.  Tim started a small BIOS company and sold “IBM Knock-off” BIOS to a Korean company making IBM clones.  I was working for Phoenix Technologies when they purchased Patterson Labs.  Phoenix Technologies used to get a royalty for every copy of MS-DOS sold (as part of the Patterson Labs acquisition).  Patterson Labs is what put Phoenix into the BIOS business – but, this is way beyond the old H8 days.  I only mention it because Q-DOS and CPM/86 were products available through the Heath Catalog for the late edition of the H8.

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jack Rubin [mailto:jack....@ameritech.net]
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 9:37 AM
To: Bard, Steve
Subject: RE: Trionyx?

 

Steve,

 

I live in Wilmette, IL, two towns north of Chicago; I work at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, IL (one town north of Chicago) as the "network guy". I was at U.S. Robotics for a bit more than 10 years, leaving when 3Com took over - I was never very corporate - with my options intact; I managed to buy a house and pay tuition bills for my kids (most of them - the bills, that is) before the bubble burst, but now I'm working a lot past my anticipated "retirement age" of 50!

 

My story: I've always enjoyed digging out the stories behind the innovators and entrepreneurs who have made "cottage industries" successful. For most of the last 20 years, my focus has been on the Italian mechanics and artisans who produced an incredible range of "Etceterini" - small sports cars and racing"specials", usually based on Fiat mechanical components, in the years after WWII. I finally realized that my sources were dying faster than I could learn Italian and I was getting too old to be able to race the cars I hoped to restore.

 

I refocused on "vintage computing" for lots of reasons - the sources are closer, 20 years younger, and most speak English. Items are easier to find and a lot more affordable - $2000 is a lot to pay for an old IMSAI, but it's not even a season racing budget for serious vintage racers (something I aspired to but never became).

 

I started with computers in grad school in the early '70s - my first "personal computer" was a PDP/8 - but quickly got involved with micro's when the lab where I was working got an early Cromemco box to front-end our 11/40. One thing led to another and in 1984 I signed on at USR as "corporate programmer". I had enough foresight (dumb luck) to stash away a bunch of computer gear in 1985 ("10th Anniversary of the Micro"), but it was all S100 oriented. I never really knew about the Heath stuff - H8 or H89, since I was running a business on my systems (at that time, CompuPro 8/16 systems, soon to become HP3000) and looked down on the "hobbyist" stuff. Anyhow, selling old Altair systems to eager collectors has allowed me to turn around and by a couple (equally outrageously priced) H8's from happy sellers. I guess it's still "boys and toys".

 

I'm still a "hot rodder" at heart though, and so my dream H8 will have all the "good" stuff in it, and from what I can see, Trionyx was the best. Just wish you guys had been a little more retentive!

 

Best,

Jack

"Bard, Steve" <steve...@intel.com> wrote:

Hi Jack,

 

Check with Bill for confirmation, but I think Myron died.

 

Being an old fart myself now (smile) the grey matter is not as good as it was when I was a young whipper snapper working at Trionyx.

 

I designed the Z80 card for the box.  I also did a parallel I/O card and a clack calendar card.  It seems there were one or two others, but I can’t recall. I know the Benton-Harbor bus was AWFUL!  Myron did a good job on cleaning it up, but, even with that, signal reflections were a big problem and yielded much reliability problem with the box.  I went on to do my own little business (Micro Widget Works) and did a couple of boards for the H8 and a couple for the H89 – they were SASI interface cards at the core with a variety of other features/functions.  A real smorgasbord, as it were.

 

I used to have a whole big moving box full of 90K hard sector floppy disks that had all of my docs, drawings, etc, stored on them – alas, they went with the rest of the stuff to the recycle center.  Chuckle – 90K hard sector disk… awesome!  I carry around a 256Megabyte USB “drive” on my key-chain these days.  I used to have a Seagate ST-506 I used as a door-stop – I had green-felt on one side so it would not scratch my hardwood floors. A real hoot, but, I tossed that about a year ago.

 

Where are you located?

 

Best Regards,

Steve Bard

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Jack Rubin [mailto:jack....@ameritech.net]
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 8:23 AM
To: Bard, Steve
Subject: RE: Trionyx?

 

Hi Steve,

 

ouch!

 

I've been in touch with Bill Perry, who did pretty much the same thing with his gear, though he thought he might have some docs still around.

 

Any idea of how to get in touch with Myron?

 

If it's not too intrusive, would you be willing to share more info on the products you were involved with, design and development issues, etc.?

 

Thanks for your help,

Jack

"Bard, Steve" <steve...@intel.com> wrote:

Hello Jack,

Yes. I worked for Bill Perry and Myron Seibold at Trionyx from June,
1981 through January, 1982.

You are about 8 years too late on your request (sorry) - I used to carry
a LOT of old stuff around with me, but, the summer of 1996 yielded a
donation to the Clark County recycling center - about 4 H8's (all in
working order) a paper tape reader, H19, a couple of H89's and boxes of
parts, manuals, etc.

Good luck on your quest.

With Best Regards,
Steve Bard

-----Original Message-----
From: Jack Rubin [mailto:jack....@ameritech.net]
Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2004 8:10 PM
To: Bard, Steve
Subject: Trionyx?

Hi Steve,

Were you one of the folks at Trionyx?

I'm in the process of restoring a couple of Heathkit H8 computers. I'm
trying to locate anything Trionyx - hardware, software, docum! entation -
! as well as learn more about the company.

If you were there, any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Jack Rubin
Wilmette, Illinois
USA

 

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Gregg Chandler

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Nov 7, 2014, 2:48:07 PM11/7/14
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While interesting, many of the names in this e-mail are somewhat suspect.  I suspect that “Warner” is Watzman, and I took over for Gordon.

Glenn Roberts

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Nov 7, 2014, 2:51:45 PM11/7/14
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Great history. Thanks for sharing Jack!  The part below is what caught my eye.  I guess many of us went through that phase, but it’s unthinkable now…  such a shame…

 

-          Glenn

 

"Bard, Steve" <steve...@intel.com> wrote:

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John Toscano

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Nov 7, 2014, 3:06:37 PM11/7/14
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"by GAC in rememberance of JGL" -- I'll never forget that, Gregg!

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