The Future of the Coleco perspectiv

Found at: sdf.org:70/computers/historical/adam.tx

From: rfd@po.CWRU.Edu (Richard F. Drushel)

               The Future of the Coleco ADAM:  1995

                perspectives by Richard F. Drushel

                           at ADAMcon 07

                         July 20-24, 1995

                    Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

      First, I'd like to thank Dale Wick for asking me to give
this year's "Future of the ADAM" speech.  Second, I promise to
you that, although I have a Ph.D. and my job is biological
makes you angry or upset.  Fourth, I want to warn you that it's
very likely you *will* be angry or upset at some point in the
next half hour.  As you will see, this is both necessary and
take any of your anger or distress as a personal attack against
me.  And last of all, I need to include all the standard
necessarily reflect the views of the convention organizers or
anybody else in the ADAM community, etc., etc.

      In this lecture, I will begin with a little ADAM history. 
Next, I'll talk about the future of ADAM hardware and software. 
Finally, I'll discuss some of what might best be called community
ssues, and try to bring everything together into a few takehome

      Many of you here today have been part of the international
Coleco ADAM community from its very beginnings.  You got a
ColecoVision video game system in 1982.  You watched ADAM
computer commercials on television, paid $600 US your R59 ADAM at
Christmas 1983, maybe had it sent back for repairs when it was
Computer Shopper because they published listings of SmartBASIC
Northern Illiana ADAM users group) or some other users group, or
you started your own users group.  You subscribed to newsletters,
bought an ADAMlink modem, joined CompuServe, and started calling
BBSes, or maybe you started your own BBS.  You started to talk
electronically to the people you were reading about in the
newsletters.  You saw Eve Computer Systems come and go, you saw
the start of Orphanware Business Systems and Micro Innovations. 
You saw the rise and fall Solomon Swift.  You went to the first
ADAMcon in 1989.  You have seen all the important "firsts".

      I, however, came late to the ADAM, and even later to the
ADAM community. Let me tell you a little about my history with
the ADAM.  My first ADAM was my Dad's, an R59 bought that first
Christmas in 1984, with a 160K disk drive no less, rescued from
the trash in 1988 when he got sick of software bugs and bought a
Tandy 1000 PC clone.  Dad had joined NIAD in its second year, but
NIAD's SmartBASIC programs kept locking up his system.  I renewed
the NIAD subscription (mostly for the product line, I didn't get
too involved in the articles).  I bought a new version of
SmartBASIC 1.0, an R80 console, an extra tape drive, a Panasonic
ntention for the ADAM was as a home word processor:  I was
and our lab had only 2 computers, which were always busy.  When I
found out that I could read blocks off a 160K ADAM disk in a PC
assembly language hacking, and eventually disassembling ADAM's
EOS operating system and SmartBASIC.  Eventually, I got too busy
never do enough bug fixing quickly enough to use my ADAM to do
useful lab work (which had been my original intention).  I
and that was my last contact with the ADAM public at large until
the fall of 1990.  At that time, I was starting to write up my
modem.  I got an account on the Cleveland Freenet, and found an
ADAM sig, with sysops none other than our own Herman Mason, Jr.
and George Koczwara.  When they found out how much I had figured
out about EOS and SmartBASIC, with only slight help from the
"Hacker's Guide" books, and when they saw the preliminary version
of SmartBASIC 1.x, they realized I had done something nobody else
Through their BBSes and their contacts, they got me plugged back
nto the ADAM community.  They are responsible for my being here

      The reason I am telling you the history of my personal
nvolvement with the ADAM is to emphasize that, compared to many
of you pioneers out there, I am a latecomer and even an outsider. 
lack of seniority in the ADAM fraternity, if you will, may make
t difficult for some of you to consider the comments I will make

      I know that I surprised and alarmed several of you at
ADAMcon 06, when I stated the fact that the read-only memory
chips in game cartridges, disk drives, and on the ADAM system
board have a finite lifetime.  ROMs and EPROMS have a mean time
before failure of 10 years.  This failure is a single-bit error: 
a 1 becomes a 0 or a 0 becomes a 1 somewhere.  Since the ADAM is
now 12 years old, and the ColecoVision 13 years old, we should
expect to start seeing flaky game cartridges, or ADAMs with
obscure errors in SmartWriter (since SmartWriter is in EPROMs),
or even ADAMs which crash all the time (since both the OS7 and
EOS operating systems are in ROMs).  There is no way to predict
f the error occurs in an internal message string (like a hidden
effect.  If, however, the error occurs in a menu string, or in a
or some stray bits of garbage in one part of the screen display;
but normal operations wouldn't be otherwise affected.  The worst
case is, of course, an error in a code segment--the actual
machine code gets mutated to a different instruction, with
totally unpredictable results, and then the program malfunctions. 
_WRITE_BLOCK under SmartBASIC:  you could load and run existing
the _WRITE_BLOCK routine itself had become damaged.

      There is also ROM code stored inside the 6801
microcontrollers which control the operation of the tape drives,
keyboard, printer, and the ADAMnet itself.  This ROM too is

      ADAMs beginning to lose their minds...a terrifying thought. 
Fortunately, there are steps we can take now to guard against the
ADAM.  Devices exist which can read and write standard ROMs and
EPROMs; they are common and relatively inexpensive (about $150
US), as are blank EPROMS ($2 to $5 US apiece).  The strategy is,
and you're set for another 10 years or so.  In the case of the
EPROM (E for Erasable programmable read-only memory), you don't
even have to buy a new one--just uncover its little quartz window
(it's usually covered with a label), erase it with bright
ultraviolet light and reprogram it.

      For the 6801 microcontrollers, however, the task of
to change it or replace it.  An EPROM version of the 6801, the
(b) the 68701 reader/writer is far more expensive than a standard
EPROM burner, about $500 US, and (c) it's not exactly pin-
compatible with the 6801, so you can't just plug a 68701 into a

      A final replacement headache is that your defective chip may
not be socketed; it may be soldered directly into the circuit
board.  In this case, you have to desolder the old chip in order
to install the new chip (preferably in a socket to make it easy
to replace next time).  Desoldering a 40-pin chip can be a
a game cartridge with socketed ROMs.  The EOS and SmartWriter
ROMs and EPROMs are always socketed.  The 6801 microcontrollers
are sometimes socketed, sometimes not.

      There are copyright issues involved, but it certainly would
be nice if we could form a centralized library of EPROM and 6801
binaries, so that when *your* SmartWriter ROM or *your* Cabbage
s a known good copy somewhere to restore it from.  Someone with
the proper hardware could burn new EPROMs and supervise
might be a good job for A.N.N. to coordinate, in cooperation with
the existing ADAM repair services, or interested hardware hackers
like me who already have some of the necessary equipment.  Or
A.N.N. might buy the necessary equipment as a public good, and
s, non-profit) to any ADAMite.  Just to warn you, I shall have
more to say about profit later in this talk.

      If your ADAM doesn't begin to lose its mind in the next few
years, it's likely that some of its peripheral devices will start
to break down.  Some of this is simply due to age, but age
effects are exacerbated by some of Coleco's bad designs for the
touching the big aluminum heatsink at the back of the ADAM
that's been shut up in a tape drive.  The worst is the original
s badly overloaded, and you can boil water off some of the
components.  Chemistry tells us that for every 10 degrees Celsius
(that's 18 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperature, the rate
at which chemical reactions take place doubles.  This means that
faster than they would if they were kept cool to a more
The takehome lesson from this bit of CHEM 101 is that, if you
t cool.  Fans and air-conditioned rooms work best, but cold
basements are okay, too.

      What do you do when one of your peripheral devices dies? 
Howard Pines and a few others can make some repairs.  Since
complete ADAM systems can still be had for less than $50 US, you
might consider picking up a spare ADAM (or two) at the local Good
Will or flea market.  I'm pretty sure there are spare ADAMs for
keyboard, tape drive, printer, and system unit; you can use the
backups while your original is sent off to be repaired.  Coleco
you'll probably have to find someone to fix it for you.  George
Koczwara and I are prepared to deal with Orphanware stuff, and I
believe that Mark Gordon will still do repairs on Micro
Orphanware serial board is now out of production, you'll have a

      Since the ADAM hardware is old and some of it is scarce or
unobtainable, you should be worried about what you will do if any
of it dies.  For those of you who have stuck with your base ADAM
are big impediments--you can't find it to buy; if you do find it,
t may turn around and repay your investment by dying of old age.
This is enough to make even the most devout ADAMite heave his
ADAM into the dustbin and buy a PowerPC or a Pentium.

      Technology can help solve the problem of scarce, aging ADAM

      We could build new hardware that's just like the old.  We
could design and build new, better hardware--how about a SCSI
nterface, or 24-bit color graphics, or 16-bit stereo sound?  We
could redesign the ADAM system board to use a 25 mHz Z380 CPU and
to plug into an expansion slot in a PC clone.  Do any of these
excite you?  Mark Gordon has said that he would be only too glad
to do any of these, if somebody will pay him enough to design it,
and as long as *somebody else* makes the investment to actually
build, sell, and support it.  This won't be cheap.  How excited
are you now?

      Mark Gordon is a businessman, and a businessman wants to
make a profit.  Given the high startup costs involved in
more of an existing design under license, I believe that there
quantities, because there's no way to make a profit from ADAM
are sufficiently well-off that we can absorb those kinds of
monetary losses, simply for the "greater good" of the ADAM

      This is not to say that there won't continue to be new
Dale Wick or me will have have some new things from time to time;
but these will be strictly build-it-yourself projects.  If you
JDR, wire wrap it, and test it yourself.  If you're not
technically adept, you may be able to convince somebody to
assemble one for you at cost or at a nominal fee; but nobody will
be making 50 of them for sale pre-assembled and ready to go. 
This is 1995, not 1986 (when, I'm told, Orphanware Business
Systems could make more than a few tens of thousands of dollars
US in hardware sales).  The unpleasant fact is, in the ADAM
community of 1995, there's not enough market to justify the
nvestment for a businessman who wants to make a profit.

      To some of you, another unpleasant fact is that many
ADAMites have moved on to other computers, most frequently IBM-PC
clones.  I actually view this as an unexpected benefit, which can
be exploited to the benefit of ADAM users.  Modern PCs have
large-capacity hard drives and disk drives, high-resolution video
mice, CD-ROM drives, magneto-optical disk drives, scanners, you
name it.  A typical 80286 PC, which is considered junk nowadays,
often has more peripheral hardware on it than the most advanced
ADAM with every available third-party bell and whistle.  Even the
lowly IBM-PC/XT has a 20 megabyte hard drive, a 360K disk drive,
a parallel port, and a serial port.  And PCs are cheap, some
almost as cheap as a complete bare ADAM system.  The ADAM-only
versions of this hardware, if they exist at all, are scarce and
expensive.  A Micro Innovations 1.44 megabyte disk drive cost
nearly $300 US when you could still get them; for the same money,
ncentives involved in increasing one's computing power, at first
This is why I view the introduction of PC clones into the ADAM
community as a benefit, because (shameless promotion mode on) I

      As many of you saw at my demonstration, the basic idea
behind ADAMserve is, you let an ADAM communicate with a PC via a
or printer, instead of looking for a genuine ADAMnet disk or tape
or printer, it instead asks the PC to look for one of *its* disks
or printers.  The PC hardware does all the work; it "serves" the
ADAM (hence the name), and passes the results back to the ADAM
over the serial connection.  The ADAM operating system software
s rewritten so that your application programs never know that
they aren't using "real" ADAM hardware; the switch is totally
transparent to the user.  By extension, *any device* that you can
attach to a PC which transfers either blocks or characters can
effectively be used by the ADAM, as if it were ADAM's own.  Of
course, you need a genuine ADAM serial board in order to
establish the communications link; but serial boards are common
(in fact, the Orphanware type is still in production by HLM-GMK),
and the serial board is the *only* additional piece of non-Coleco
the PC hard drive, disk drives, parallel and serial ports, and
s intended to be free except for distribution media costs--you

      Since there isn't enough of a market to allow production of
most ADAM-only hardware to continue, and since many people
already own PCs with advanced hardware capabilities, I believe
that something like ADAMserve will be the average ADAMite's only

      Just as for hardware, the twin issues of innovation and
maintenance are important as we consider the future of ADAM
can be briefer than those about hardware :-)

      Innovation means writing new software that meets some need
n the ADAM community.  Maintenance means keeping existing
application programs running despite any hardware or operating
Since economic incentives apply equally to software and hardware,
my prediction is that, from now on, there will be little or no
new application software produced for the ADAM, and that code
maintenance and minor bug fixing will be a necessary but
neglected job, relegated to the few programmers left among us.  I
think it's a pity, but aside from perhaps games, there isn't
crying out for a new program; there are already adequate choices
for all.  On the EOS side, for word processing you have
SmartWriter and SpeedyWrite; for graphics, PowerPaint; for
telecommunications, ADAMlink V; for programming, SmartLOGO and
Chris Braymen's software for the MIDI interface.  On the CP/M and
TDOS sides, there are many fine choices in all categories except
exactly suit you, it's unlikely that someone is going to spend a
year writing the perfect version for you--unless you get highly
motivated, highly educated about the guts of the ADAM, and write
t yourself--because other than attaboys and the feeling of well-
being which accompanies heroic acts of selfless altruism, there
are no rewards to be had.

      Consider also the plight of the remaining ADAM software
vendors.  They have stocks of software acquired when there was
to have more and more software, picked up when ADAM systems are
liquidated.  Those who remain probably already have copies of
unmovable, and the vendors can never recoup their losses.  Thus,
vendors have little incentive to add yet more unsalable software
to their stagnant inventories, further limiting the market for
new programs.

      At this point, new ADAM software can only arise out of the
bit of ADAM hardware which needs driver code.  Anybody who thinks
quite disappointed.  You can't sell software for what it's worth,
either intrinsic worth to the ADAM community because it's such an
mprovement, or worth to you because you slaved over it for a
year to get it working.  If you want as many people as possible
to use it, your only real option is to give it away.  Given the
are programmers wish from time to time that this were not so.  In
my own case, the $10 US per copy of my SmartBASIC 1.x that I
Of the 40-odd copies of SmartBASIC 1.x that I have sold since its
ntroduction in 1991, probably 25 were sold in the first two
years, another 10 the third year, and an odd copy here and there
thereafter.  More have been given away as door prizes for
ADAMcons lately than have been sold :-)  If SmartBASIC 1.x were
new for ADAMcon 07, I would be lucky to sell 5 copies at the
convention itself, a few over the next year, and subsequent "new"
copies would only move as ADAMcon door prizes.  I wouldn't even

      In 1995, if you are an active ADAM programmer, like me,
there is no way that you can be doing it for hope of financial
because I'm intrinsically interested in the ADAM.  I write
and frustrating) to learn about how the ADAM works, and how to
make it do interesting things.  

      Unfortunately, I have not found many other people like me in
the ADAM community.  There aren't many of us programmers left,
for a variety of personal and professional reasons.  *I* don't
believe you need a Ph.D. in order to learn how to write your own
there believe otherwise; and I can't overcome the strength of
your belief.  There are many practical benefits to doing your own
nowadays, however, is that ADAM programming skills can be part of
your maintenance toolkit.  If all the ADAM newsletters disappear,
all the ADAM BBSes go off-line, no more ADAMcons are held, and
you can't find anybody else who has an ADAM, then you, like
Robinson Crusoe, can be self-sufficient on your own desert
sland.  For me, that is an important motivation--because I'm

      The annual ADAMcons have been public celebrations of the
community of Coleco ADAM users since 1989.  Attendance peaked at
over 100 for ADAMcon 04, but geography severely hurt ADAMcon 05,
and both geography and international economics prevented many
otherwise enthusiastic Canadians from attending ADAMcon 06.  The
extra 3-month interval between 05 and 06 made it harder to
n July again has, I'm certain, created logistical problems for
Dale, Jill, and the other convention organizers.  And the

      The ADAMcons are a public service to the ADAM community. 
They aren't supposed to turn a profit, but they have to break
even.  In order to break even, there has to be a certain critical
mass of attendees.  In order to make it worth someone's while, or
an ADAMcon, you'd like to see a little more than the bare minimum
attendance.  But I'm not sure that it's reasonable to expect much
attendance at all.  Already, the evidence is clear that there are
not enough dollar votes to support new ADAM hardware and software
There won't be much new to see, the sessions will be pretty much
the same as they've always been, most of the big-name
other things, so those of you who like to hobnob with royalty
first or second ADAMcon, everything is as familiar as an old
$250 US for the same hamburger in a different bun?

      Well, it must be, since all of you are here now :-)  Unless
you are a first-timer just discovering that there is a wider ADAM
s only a flimsy excuse for your attendance this year.  The real
together, originally for some concrete and practical purpose
(such as, you wrote some software that I want to buy), but now
the ADAM connection is a historical artifact.  Some of you would
keep in touch whether there were still ADAMcons or not, whether
you ever used your ADAMs again or not.  There is nothing wrong
the planning of future ADAMcons, if there are to be any.

      At some point in the near future, maybe in a year or two,
maybe even now, there will not be enough dollar votes from the
ADAM community to justify holding another ADAMcon.  This is
nevitable; the ADAM community is not growing any more.  Just
look at the ages of the people sitting around you.  Growth comes
from youth, and nowadays, the ADAM has little to offer the 12-
year-old video game wizard or embryonic computer geek.  Compared
to other computer and video game options currently available, the
ADAM and ColecoVision have been completely surpassed.  This was
not true as recently as the early 1990s, when sound cards and
today, if you're a kid, unless somebody gives you an ADAM, or
your parents or grandparents have one already, you won't even
know ADAMs exist; and once you've played DOOM on your neighbor's
time favorite game cartridge) look pretty lame.

      In his Future of the ADAM speech at ADAMcon 04, Rich Clee
talked about the need to match people with ADAMs.  Don't let
need is an ADAM with SmartWriter.  It would be nice to do this,
but marketing hype conquers all.  Something is wrong when you
need a Pentium and a laser printer to write a simple letter, and
the standards of today.  If it doesn't have scalable,
nobody wants it, even if they don't really *need* those features. 
Worse, however, once all the nifty features are available, people
conceive of doing their jobs without them.  At that point, the
file on a floppy disk, and runs in 64K of memory, but unless you
The floor has risen beyond what the ADAM can provide, I think
needlessly so, but I can't win this argument with Bill Gates, the
the bank.

      Consequently, I now believe that the ADAM has ceased to be a
computer that people would use to perform real work, as their
All the EOS software for doing real work, like SmartWriter,
SmartFiler and ADAMcalc, is more a "toy" than a productive tool. 
"Gee, I'd never have thought you could do that on an ADAM, but my
Mac does it better and faster."  The CP/M software has a wider
usage, because there have been many other computers besides the
ADAM which run CP/M, but it too isn't going to be found in
today's offices and businesses.

      If the ADAM is no longer a viable tool for today's computing
needs, why do you bother with it any more?  Part of the answer is
nteria--you've invested so much time and money into it, you're
n too deep to give it up.  Another component, as mentioned
above, is social--you've met some dear friends with the ADAM as a
catalyst, and thus you have an emotional attachment to the ADAM. 
for learning about digital electronics and computer programming. 
But I am a rare minority in this.

      Inertia and socializing are not sufficient, in the long run,
to insure the growth of any organization, let alone maintain its
meetings, held in my basement, begin happy and sociable, but when
t's time to talk about the ADAM, it gets quiet.  With few
exceptions, nobody has done anything with his ADAM since the last
meeting, nobody knows what he wants to do with it today, nobody
time.  If someone creates a structured agenda, there is little
nterest.  Nobody seems interested in learning anything new.
Soon, talk turns to what people are doing on their PCs at home,
Those who are left after that eat pizza, and I'm usually left
collect dues for the annual Christmas dinner and to eat pizza
once a month.

      In the case of B.A.S.I.C., there is blame on all sides for
our current state of affairs.  But I would argue that the lack of
a desire to learn new things is the primary difficulty we face. 
Since ADAM software in general often isn't as user-friendly as
more modern software, and since the ADAM has its own hardware
quirks, it *will* be harder to learn to use than the average Mac
or PC running Windows.  Given the economic realities I've talked
about previously, this will never improve.  Thus, the average
ADAMite will not be able to wait passively for someone else to
that himself.  Since this will require effort, if he isn't
nternally motivated enough to do this, he might as well be

V.    Synthesis.

      I came into the ADAM community as a public person at ADAMcon
community in general.  The Solomon Swift debacle, which was
before my time, seems to have been the first breach of trust. 
Since then, everything has been downhill.  The catfight over
FidoNet versus ADAM BBSes broke up the telecommunications links
Tony Morehen and Guy Cousineau found better things to do with
their lives and moved on, leaving a void of programming
experience.  One by one, the hardware vendors went out of
business.  People stopped writing new ADAM software because there
more powerful than ADAMs, inducing ADAMites to gravitate to where
the action was, so to speak.  And soon, CompuServe will move to
an all-new graphical user interface, like Prodigy and America
OnLine, which can never be accessed from an ADAM, so ADAM and all
the other 8-bit microcomputers will be swept aside as
nsignificant--as nowadays they are, in dollar terms.  When this

      For those of us who choose to remain with the ADAM in some
capacity, it may be painful to confront these realities.  That's
Clee's ADAMcon 04 dream of an ADAMcon 0E (that's 14 in
certainly be *impossible* if the status quo is allowed to

      Our best shot at changing the status quo is to consciously
change our group philosophy from advocacy to maintenance.  It
uninitiated are not interested, and telling us over and over is
on.  Circle the wagons and concentrate on taking care of the
at least win locally.  If a lost ADAMite stumbles across us,
fine--welcome to the fraternity, we'll take good care of you. 
But we can't afford to launch expeditions into the wilderness to
find all the lost ADAMites.

      I realize that, with the loss of ADAM advocacy, vendors are
effectively being told to eat their inventories--new, lost ADAM
users are more likely to buy hardware and software than veterans
of 4 or 5 ADAMcons, and no new users means no sales.  I can't,
living solely from the ADAM community.  Terry Fowler is trying
t, and he claims he's doing it, but I have my doubts.  Ask Rich
Clee how fast his inventory is moving; ask Herman Mason and
George Koczwara how brisk their sales are.  At this point, these
they are basically providing a public service out of the goodness
of their hearts, which they will continue to do as long as they
can (mostly) break even.

      Maintenance philosophy means anticipating problems before
they occur.  Picking up a spare ADAM system is good preventive
maintenance.  Getting an account on your local Freenet, if you
live near one, is another:  when CompuServe becomes unusable by
the ADAM, you can still send and receive Internet E-mail, and
keep in contact with other ADAMites who are on the net.  Learning
s a vital maintenance skill:  if you get cut off from the rest
of the world, you can do your own troubleshooting, and you'll
always be able to write your own software, and thus, your ADAM
active users groups and A.N.N. can coordinate repair services,
technical information available.

      Think about your ADAM as if it were a 1957 Chevy
convertible.  It runs, and on sunny summer days you drive it
around to show it off.  It's a great car, and you could probably
t would be murder finding parts, or a garage with the experience
to fix it.  So, you don't take too many chances; it stays covered
n the garage most of the time.  You join a car club, learn how
to do tuneups, how to change points and plugs, get reprints of
the shop manual, and learn as much about the car as you can.  You
become your own expert, and teach others what you know, just like
others taught you.  This requires energy and activity; if you
aren't interested in maintaining it yourself, and if you aren't
you have to be willing to admit to yourself and to everybody else
that you don't want all the trouble.

      For me, the prime intellectual attraction of the ADAM is
that it's a closed universe with definite limits:  since it's a
commercially dead architecture, it isn't changing very much, and
t stays put long enough so that you can, in principle, learn
everything there is to know about it.  It has interesting
complexities, yet it is simple enough that you can carry almost
the entire machine and operating system around in your head.  You
can teach it to yourself without trying too hard.  Compare this
to a modern IBM-PC clone running MS-DOS and Windows.  Both the
then is still mostly valid for a Pentium, and you've had 14 years
to assimilate it all.  The Windows operating system, however, is
technical reference books from Microsoft to *begin* to explain
t; and after late August, you can throw them all away, because
the new Windows '95 introduces a host of changes and
ncompatibilities.  Unless you are a professional programmer and
mastering their contents.  As amazing as it may sound to you
avowed non-programmers out there, ADAM programming can be fun,
even though Windows programming is always terribly hard work.

      I warned you at the outset of this speech that I would
necessary and good.  It was necessary because these strong
emotions are about the last motivating force we have left to get
ADAMites off their duffs.  Here is your wakeup call:  the end of
ADAM may be inevitable, but how soon that end comes is directly
under the control of every person sitting here tonight.  Each of
you is free to junk his ADAM and move on, no hard feelings.  But
those of you who choose to stay can't stay through intertia.  You
things for you--you need to boost your own activity level.  Why
to continue to have some semblance of an ADAM community, we'd
better start bonding, banding together to save our community, or
t *will* disappear. The good which I want to come out of your
feelings of depression about the current state of the ADAM
community is that you'll get inspired to become more active in
your users group, inspired to start learning how to be self-

      Whether an ADAM community persists or not, *I* will still
the gloom and doom I've been spouting up here, I want you to
a tool any more, it's a hobby; so we can all lower our
expectations.  It doesn't have to be efficient, it doesn't have
to be fast, because we're not basing our livelihoods upon it--it

      Since I find it interesting, and I find all of you
nteresting and friendly, I have a personal stake in seeing the
ADAM community last for a long time.  You've heard about World
War I army platoons which bought cases of champagne in 1918 and
agreed to meet every year to drink a bottle to the health of the
attendance gets smaller, and finally the year comes when there is

      I don't want to be that last man.  I don't want this to be
my last glass.  I don't want this to be the last year for the

      But even if it is, I will still say, "Here's to ya, lads."

                     Richard F. Drushel, Ph.D.
                     ADAMcon 07, 23 July 1995

Richard F. Drushel, Ph.D.            | "Aplysia californica" is your taxonomic
Department of Biology, Slug Division | nomenclature.  /  A slug, by any other
Case Western Reserve University      | name, is still a slug by nature.
Cleveland, Ohio  44106-7080  U.S.A.  |     -- apologies to Data, "Ode to Spot"