Focus IDE controller

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Has anyone got any experience with this? Why is it s poorly rated? It's definitely the right price.

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transwarp II guy's picture
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Re: Focus IDE controller

Out of curiosity, what are the complaints? I had one years back and I do not recall having any issues with mine.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

No idea what people are complaining about, but if you go to the product page it says there were 93 reviews and the average was 1 out of 5. Apparently the review system does not allow viewable comments.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

People usually complain due to the time it takes to get products delivered to you.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

A handful of people have ordered things and have waited over a year for it to be delivered.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

Not sure exactly what you're looking for, but I just posted an Applied Ingenuity Hard Drive interface card on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/201133488526?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

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Re: Focus IDE controller

heh, not at that price.

transwarp II guy's picture
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Re: Focus IDE controller

Dog Cow wrote:

A handful of people have ordered things and have waited over a year for it to be delivered.

WOW!

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Re: Focus IDE controller

Whoever they were or were not at one time or another, they now seem to be 100% scammers. There is no contact option provided on their site, no way to ask a question or seek clarification, or ask anything at all. No information is provided if you choose the "Forum/Support" menu, except a blank page. Yet they request that international buyers contact them!!!!??? Typical of the "Pay me now, and I'll deliver when it's convenient for me, if ever" crowd.

I have chosen to avoid this scourge.

Too bad, I would have bought one for my new Apple II+.

I seriously hope no one has given them any money lately.

BTW, this is my opinion only. Others may choose to buy things that do not currently exist. Personal beliefs need to apply.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

"Whoever they were or were not at one time or another, they now seem to be 100% scammers."

Meh, 16 Sector is shipping now. Last word is that all outstanding orders had been processed.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

sfahey wrote:

Meh, 16 Sector is shipping now. Last word is that all outstanding orders had been processed.

Maybe, but how the heck would one know that? The fact that they have provided absolutely no means to contact them, other than hand over your money to them, leaves me a little leery. Oh, wait, they provide a snail mail address. Seriously!?

All I wanted to know before ordering, was what they had heard with respect to the low rating of the Focus IDE controller and a few other short queries, but they don't even provide an email address to ask a question. At least none that I could find.

What else do I see there? Last update to their blog was 2009. Their forum and support pages have both been taken down. Their download links are all broken.

I see on their 'About' page that you and Henry Courbis were instrumental in 16sector's start up. Fair enough. I am getting the idea that this is a fairly close and closed community. You all seem to know each other and therefore have a very different and familial view of things. However, this is not the case with newcomers to a community like myself. I don't know you, Henry, Tony or Vince any more than I know anyone else I have never met. What I do know is that I have trusted strangers in the past only to be rewarded with being taken advantage of. Sure, I'd be willing to give a buddy of mine, who's character I was confident in, a few bucks for a product with a promise of delivery down the road a bit. But trust a total stranger that is not even willing to allow me to ask them a question? Meh, maybe not.

If you would like this community to grow I'd strongly advise vendors like Reactive, Briel, 16sector and any others that follow their business model, to become more approachable for newbies. You can't assume everyone knows what an up-standing citizen you are. Nor can you expect people to take a leap of faith with their hard earned money if you are not prepared to offer them any chance of communicating with you or be fully up front about the process and circumstances.

So here is my experience so far with some of the vendors in this space:

Briel Computers. I was interested in buying their 8800micro kit and RAM drive kit. I contacted Vince and asked him the process. His response was very curt. Basically 'If you want one you pay now in full as the next order is nearly full'. Seeing on his web-site that some had been waiting for nearly a year at the time for that very order, I responded with a question about when he thought it might ship. I got nothing back. I sent another reminder, and again I got nothing back. I heard later from some other people I know that they have or had been waiting, in some cases over a year, for products they had paid for up front.

Reactive. I tried to contact Reactive as it seemed like they were shut down. A few days later I got a email back from Henry stating that he was shut down, but had a couple of MicroDrives in stock that he was selling on eBay. That's what I wanted so I went over there and looked at the ad. It said he would ship the week of the 21st of July, so I paid my $300. He sent me back an email saying thanks, and the MricroDrive would ship out the week of the 21st. Come this last Thursday I sent him a note asking if it had shipped out. He got back to me Friday saying he had a few issues but it would go out that day and he would send me a update later on. Well, no update and no notification it has shipped. However, Henry is at least communicating with me. To me, that's a big plus.

16Sector. I am interested in their IDE card, however I have a few questions about it. Too bad. No documentation on it (links to all downloads are broken), no email address to get in touch with Tony, no voice phone number, no support information at all, just a website with some bad control codes that was last updated 5 years ago. Sean, you say they have caught up? Well, there was not even any indication on their site that they were ever behind. So people are just supposed to throw their money into a black hole and hope? Since I could not get in touch with them, I decided to ask one of my questions here. It seems that no one here really knows anything about them, except you.

So, is this the 'State of The Art' in commerce within the Apple II community? Well, we potentially have 1 out of 3. That's not bad, right?

Again, it seems to me like you all know each other and have built some sort of trust relationship. However, I'm new back into this after over 30 years and I don't know any of you. If you want and are open to growth in this community, you have to try look at it from my (newbie) perspective. To be honest, it really doesn't look so good from out here.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

Hello BillO,

reading about your researches and experiences of several shops was quite interesting.
In several parts of your opinions i´d agree with you - BUT at one point i completely disagree:
The posting gives the reader the tasty feeling, that some members here and the community here
are "linked" together - that is wrong.

There are two very different things: this community and the communication related to "apple stuff"
- and several members here that besides are running - what i would call "shop like activities".

To say one thing very clear: That shops or similar activities and this communicationsite are NOT linked together,
NOR is there any kind of direct relation between this two kinds of activities.

Lets first state facts on the community: there is a crowd of what i would call "elder users", that
formerly have been organized in former national or local apple user groups, that have several decades of
experience while using there different kinds of Apple computers and - like formerly in the local user groups-
users with more advanced experience and knowledge about their computers are willing to share that knowledge
and experience with new users joining the group with less experience and knowledge and by that
giving back a kind of support, they have recieved when they formerly entered that groups.

Discussions and threads are rather likely same as formerly discussions have occured at meetings of local user groups
while meeting together at a pint of beer or a coke, while talking with each other. In fact of course this group
is far larger and international and the "level of experience" is spread from absolute beginners,
that first time appraoch a Apple computer over normal users to advanced users and technicians that
have ( at least some of them a university degree in electronics or other degree related to this stuff )
till even up to retired former employees that have taken part in the development itself inside of the
Company.

So this community covers the totel range of all kinds of users of all kinds of Apple Computers.

Now lets take a view to the other side you have tried to explore:
Outside of this comminity some guys run even today some kind of shops or other kind of what you may call:
"commercial activities" in a also very wide range of the meaning of this term.
The reason i make this remark will be explained in the following text ( and i still agree with a lot of your statements ! ):

The point you realy explored at my opinion should better be titled "about professionality or missing
professionality of some shops".

Just to give you another point opposing your experiences:
Rich Dreher and his shop running as Dreher Automatation and distributing the CFFA3000.

This member is running a shop with a very high skill of professionality:
Outside of so called "runs"( or say "batches of production with limited amount of PCBs" ) everybody, who is
having interest in one of the interfacecards may simply send a notice here or a email to his normal
email account and ask to get part of the "interested list" without paying a single dime.

At the other hand by the amount of email adresses he gets enabled to guess fairly well how many
interfaces can be sold - or - if he reaches a preset amount of possible buyers he can approach the
release of a new "batch".

The reason for this is: At the one hand when planning a batch the price of PCBs and the price for the chips
and other components used to build such a batch is determined by the amount of cards to be made and
the reductions given at sale of the parts when ordering.

For example: If you order 2 PCBs at a PCB-manufacturer the manufacturer will charge you ( depending
of course also by size of the card besides too ) with an amount of probably 190 bucks resulting to
price of the single board to 95 bucks.
If you instead order 300 PCB´s the amount per PCB might drop down to an average price of 25 to 30 bucks per card !

This simple rule is also valid when ordering the related components that will be used for populating such a board.

So lets now do some math to get an impression of what we are talking about: If you make a run of 300 interfacecards
with the requirement of 30 bucks per card and component value of say something about 130 bucks and
further cost of 50 bucks for time or distributed job of populating and soldering of the PCB´s
including the time also requested for programming some of the chips the final price of the PCB at something about
210 bucks

and the total of 300 cards of the run will amount together to an investment of 63.000,00 bucks !

I suppose you´ld agree that that´s a bunch of money and it´s far more than somebody will take risk of
without professional planning.....

very difference between the activities of Rich Dreher and the other "shops" you mentioned is:

Rich carries out his tasks with very high skill of professionality:
the moment the batch is initiated:
all persons that entered the "interested list" are notified that a batch is started and that
the person now may enter the "real ordering page" and carry out the order and pay his order
- at the same time he publishes a clearly planned scedule of the entire batch task
-listing when the ordering is closed and
-listing when the order of the PCBs will be forwarded to the PCB manufacturer
-listing when the PCBs will be finished and delivered to him
- listing the time requested for final production of the interfacecards (population of the cards,
soldering, programming of the chips and transportation back to him and time reserved for quality checks )
- and final listing of the scedule within which time the orders will be processed / mailed

and therafter he publishes a page listing the customers that "made it" on the "batchlist" of customers
including timescale from ordering date till expected ( and he keeps his scedules really very close
to reality ! ) mailing and expected delivery to the customer !

By that Rich keeps the entire process of the batch / run entirely transparent and ( just besides )
because he publishes all the informations transparent, he avoids bunches of emails and claims
because every single customer exactly knows his scedule dates and facts ! By publishing the entire
facts every customer can see, that the list of orders is handled correct by the rule :
"first in ( by ordering ) first out ( at mailing )"

Now back to the researches you made:
some people ( that are also users here ) are what i would call "amateur shop-runners" and like
you mentioned - anybody can make a shop at a hoster with some kind of professional "look alike"-
it does not tell anything about the professionality he carries out his "business"....
in some cases it even is just not more than a rather "hobbylike business" driven without even a smack
of professionality....

it´s up to every user to judge the level of professionality himself....

in fact the only point this "shops" are related here to the community, is the fact that the "shop-
owners" are members here, due to their experience with apple computers and the fact that they develop
own hardware for that computers and that they annonce here that products or refer to such products....

The points you mentioned in your posting are in fact the results of missing professionality...
in case one gets ill or is bored about the duties out of the "commercial activities"
there is nobody to replace the person and the business gets driven directly against the next wall....

The reason in most cases for running the such "commercial activities" was explained above:
reducing costs of production by gathering a kind of "order community for raising amount
of PCBs" and by that reducing the cost for the single user.....

but if the "managing person" does not match the requirement of professionality things go wrong....
some only survive such inability by the fact that he has an amount of buddies or pals that know him in person and
that such customers are far more patient recognizing that they can´t expect same level of
profession as from normal business guys.... they know they are dealing with [i]amateur[/i] and
therefor the wage how far there is interest to probably get something - even if it takes
months of delay - and probably finally getting some day a desired part - or just dropping the idea
of ordering....

I hope this posting has explained the need of keeping this two points apart:

- at the one side this community - its members and the activities here

- and at the other side some commercial activities of several members here
running their own "business" at the other side. Besides of the ones you have mentioned here
some also have shops selling or reselling old Apple computers or refurbished computers or parts

- in general to such activities - it´s a bit more commercialized trading platform comparable to the the tradings
formerly performed in the trading-pages of the user magazins. And even in such offers sometimes
you will recognize some users demanding prices, that are worthy to be mentioned in the thread
"this is laughable".... but in general prices demanded here are comparable to average prices
at ebay or a bit lower than there....

and to be likely mentioned - this is of course only my 5 cents related to your posting....
and i´m sure also several persons won´t agree to my opinions...
- but as i explained at the beginning: i do agree with a lot of your statements...
i just keep my point of view to the reasons ( sometimes missing abilities to carry out
professional business
) and guessed relationships between shops and users at this platform a bit different...

sincerely
speedyG

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stynx's picture
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Re: Focus IDE controller

I can agree with speedyG's opinion (most of it anyways Smile )

Rich Dreher is one of the most professional 'small scale' sellers i have encountered. Especially the transparency regarding available and sold cards gives a sense of security and makes it more easy to order a card from him. The ebay-"shops", web portals and request-based hit-or-miss email orders are not in the same league as Rich. It is not easy to offer the result of ones own development and cannot be done as a "side-job". Less than 100% involvement in any job will cause problems Wink

-Jonas

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Posts: 234
Re: Focus IDE controller

I know the process. As I stated in another thread, I too create electronics for hobbyists and sell on my own website and through eBay.

My Store

Anything you see there, or in my eBay listing is in stock and will be shipped within 2 working days of ordering. If it's not in stock, it's not listed for sale. I design and maintain all those products you see on that site (and more as I don't have them all currently listed) except for the genuine PICAXE stuff and parts/chips. So I'm not unfamiliar with the small volume manufacturing process. You can be assured that I'm not coming from a position where I do not understand what they are facing. In essence "I put my money where my mouth is".

I'm not sure why, after years of selling these things successfully, vendors like Vince, Rich and Tony don't yet have enough confidence in the marketability of their product to keep an inventory.

I ordered off Henry because he said he has the product in stock. That is important to me. It's the way I like to operate. Rich's product may be a hoot, and he may be a great guy, but I'm in the market for the product now. No idea what will dominate my life several months down the road, let alone several years.

The only reason I mentioned the relationship between people on this site and the vendors is because some people on this site have told me they know the vendors. And I understand your comments SG, but it still doesn't change what I said. You will shop with Rich, because you are familiar with him on comfortable with the way he does business even though it is a unusual retail strategy.

Like I said before, to each their own. I do not give money to strangers for products they don't have. Especially to those who make a point of not allowing anyone to communicate with them, and even more so to those that you can easily find hundreds of frustrated customers that have complained that they spent their money and got nothing for years (yes, that's right, years ... plural).

You want to talk professional? How about I put in my order and within 2 weeks I have my product? I guess that's not for everyone though.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

Well, I just got a note from Henry. My MicroDrive is on the way.

Kudos to Henry. His solution might be the most expensive, but it's the fastest in more ways than one.

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speedyG's picture
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Posts: 2413
Re: Focus IDE controller

Hello BillO,
first - i allready told i agree with you at a lot of points...

the explenations was not only targeting to you alone.... a lot of members read along new postings
just for information.... therefor the larger part was targeting to them too...

and again there is a difference in running a business besides other "main profession" as small manufacturer
facing huge costs, while making a run of cards... i just wanted to explain that facts too, to those who are not
familiar with such tasks.... and at the other side running a shop as "main profession" is a complete other
thing..... but - as you and also Stynx mentioned: even if running the business as "second profession" should
be carried out by some minimum kind of professionality and seriousness.... and several guys mismatch with such demand very far....

It´s the steady rule about any purchase by internet:
Look twice !
Inspect notes on reliability of the person running the shop....
and in normal cases never pay upfront without very very reliable and trustworthy informations and confirmations....
if bad habits rule the persons business - keep off !

so finally it´s just as you mentioned....
speedyG

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the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

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Re: Focus IDE controller

Understood Speedy.

BTW, my site is just an extension of my hobby. I do it in my spare time as I have a pretty demanding full-time job. I just hate being the only one getting some advantage out of the work I do for my hobby. So I manufacture some of them and offer them for sale to others that feel they could use them.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

Quote:

I see on their 'About' page that you and Henry Courbis were instrumental in 16sector's start up.

Huh, I didn't know Tony had done that. I didn't really do anything except tell him there was a market for drives and RAM cards.

I know quite a few people in the ][ community because I've been around a while, and I run A2Central.com. I also attend KansasFest, an event Tony goes to every year, and Henry, Vince have been there a few times -- so we've sat around and yakked, had dinner a few times and socialized quite a bit.

Reactive may not technically be opened back up yet, by UltimateApple2.com is (operated by Anthony Martino), and Henry is working with UA2 on projects.

Vince Briel is one of the nicest people you could possibly meet. I can't explain his 'curtness' other than that's how he e-mails - short messages, not a lot of fluff - at least, thats how he writes when he's e-mailing me. Rich Dreher is top notch, IMO.

Pretty sure some new Focus cards will be appearing on eBay before too long. Edit: glad to hear Henry has shipped a drive to you.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

I find it almost impossible to believe that none of you guys have any idea at all what so ever on how to contact the people at 16sector.com! I do... That is how I got my Focus IDE controller card. You contact the owner, and ask for an ETA. If you want me to scan the manual for the Focus card, and post it, I will do so.

In any case, my best guess is that they only ship when the assembled product is in stock and has finished extensive testing.

I am interested in getting a ram card from them, but the truth is that I'd rather get an accelerator first. In the meantime, I can use the emulator provided with the A2PI card and the Raspberry PI.

BTW: This experience I had with them was around 2 years ago.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

insanitor wrote:

You contact the owner,

How? There is no email address or 'contact' form on the website anymore. Can you post his email address?

insanitor wrote:

If you want me to scan the manual for the Focus card, and post it, I will do so.

That would be great. Not sure why they don't have an active link to it on the website.

Just a question. How long did it take you to get yours? There are people that claim theirs took over 2 years. Not really acceptable.

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Re: Focus IDE controller

BillO wrote:
insanitor wrote:

You contact the owner,

How? There is no email address or 'contact' form on the website anymore. Can you post his email address?

insanitor wrote:

If you want me to scan the manual for the Focus card, and post it, I will do so.

That would be great. Not sure why they don't have an active link to it on the website.

Just a question. How long did it take you to get yours? There are people that claim theirs took over 2 years. Not really acceptable.

I cannot speak for what people here say are the "current owners". What I can say is that at least 2 years ago, the one who was in charge for assembly and testing and shipping the products was Tony Diaz.

He hangs around an IRC channel:

Server: irc.a2central.com

Channel: #a2c.chat

No special port number.

I believe that Tony is a good man. When contacting him I give you some advice:

His use of the English language is unorthodox. His knowledge and accomplishments are great, so treat him with respect. Don't complain to him in any way. If you make the mistake of getting on his bad side, then you're done with him. He never forgets.

Anyway, I got my Focus IDE card in 2 months.

It will take me a while to post the manual.

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Re: Focus IDE controller