Scriptel: How NOT to run a tech startup

July 14th, 2015

Have you signed a little screen when you bought something with a credit card? I invented that.

There’s an old joke from a century ago: “How do you make a small fortune in aviation? Start with a big fortune.” Imagine turning 26 million dollars into $50,000. This is that story.

Warning: This is my experience, as best as I can remember. I didn’t change the names of either the guilty or innocent. I also include deep bits of the technical stuff. If someone wants to make a movie or TV show of this, I’ll be glad to gloss over it when I write the screenplay.

This ever-growing document is dedicated to the customers and employees that got ripped off by Scriptel.

Chapter 0 – The Beginning
My phone rang. It was Phil Schlosser. Phil had been my adviser at Ohio State University while I was working on my master’s degree. I had no idea why he was calling. I had just started my first job, and thought I had put OSU in the rear view mirror.

Phil said that he had an idea: create some technology, patent it, and sell the whole thing to IBM (this would be Microsoft or Google today). He said that he needed someone who could build hardware and program it.

Chapter 1 – Starting Up

That first job was in Marion, Ohio, about an hour’s drive north of OSU. Being young, I had lots of midnight oil to burn. Later, that youth was a detriment. More on that later.

Phil had partnered with Nick Venetis, a fraternity brother of his. Nick said he didn’t know anything about technology, but he was going to be our sales and marketing person, anyway.

Phil came up with the idea: we would build a wireless fire alarm system. This seemed like a great idea, especially the MGM Grand hotel burned down the ground in Las Vegas.

So, we went to work. I had played around with power-line lamp control modules, marketed as the X10 system (later to be marketed by Radio Shack [rip] as “Plug and Power”). It seemed to me that we could connect a smoke detector to an X10 transmitter. There would be a X10 receiver that would display a room number on a screen. We only had three “rooms”.

Our resources were generously provided by parts “borrowed” from OSU. We promised ourselves that we’d repay OSU, but that never happened. That was a foreshadowing of the many broken promises of the future.

VMS Continues Development

August 18th, 2014

OpenVMS Software, Inc. has just recently licensed the VMS source code from Hewlett-Packard. Initially, they will continue development on the Itanium processor.

They have pledged to move it to the industry-standard Xeon processor. This is good news, as the Itanium processor will go end-of-life (EOL) soon.

HP will continue to sell support for VMS 8.4, and will be a reseller of future OpenVMS products.

Stromasys Named a Gartner “Cool Vendor”

June 10th, 2013

Gartner has named Stromasys, maker of the CHARON-VAX and CHARON-AXP products, a “Cool Vendor” for 2013.

Quayle Consulting now sells CRISP!

August 4th, 2012

CRISP product, with full names of CRISP/32 and CRISP/64, is factory-automation software running under the OpenVMS (“VMS”) operating system.  The “/32” version runs on VAX systems running VAX/VMS or OpenVMS.  The “/64” runs in 64-bit mode on AlphaServer and Integrity Server systems.  Quayle Consulting has been supporting the CRISP source code for several years, and migrated it from the 32-bit VAX to the 64-bit AlphaServer and Integrity servers.

Quayle Consulting Inc. has just reached an agreement with CRISP Automation to sell CRISP licenses and CRISP support contracts.  For more information, please contact Quayle Consulting at or post a comment on this page.

Tired of “Boots on the ground”?

March 18th, 2012

I almost crashed my car when I was listening to NPR.  The reporter, in Iraq, said that he was “boots on the ground here”.

Isn’t “here” enough?  Was he wearing boots, or shoes?  Or perhaps in a building, several feet away from dirt?


Ancient Computers Still in Use

February 21st, 2012

Quayle Consulting was mentioned in a recent copy of PC world!

Pause replaces “Time out”

July 13th, 2011

I was playing baseball with my son, who is 8 years old.  He wanted to take “time-out”.  When I wanted to continue, he said that we were still in “pause”.

Guess “timeout” will only be used when Netflix can’t connect over the wireless.  Another word disappears from common use…

Ticketmaster and its “old” system

November 27th, 2010

In Wired magazine, issue 18.11, there are a few mentions of Ticketmaster’s “old” system.  Some looks at job sites like over the years shows that Ticketmaster is always looking for people with VAX and VMS talent.  Could that be the “old” system that Wired refers to?

Funny, that “old” system withstands the assault of millions of people trying to buy tickets all at the same time.  No other system has emerged that can handle that load — many have tried, all have failed.

As I’ve said before, “legacy” means “stuff that just works”.  That’s VMS!

Happy Birthday, VMS!

October 25th, 2010

33 years ago today, the OpenVMS (formerly, VAX/VMS) operating system was announced.  And it’s still going strong, with version 8.4 just released for the Intel Itanium processor used in the HP Integrity server line, and the Alpha processor, used in the HP AlphaServer product line.

Think about it the next time you send a text message — chances are, it was handled by VMS!

VMS — when “legacy” means “stuff that just works”.

Letter to Jennifer Millier, VP at Hewlett-Packard

September 16th, 2010

After decades of free patch updates for OpenVMS, Tru64, HP-UX and other HP operating systems, the HP support organization has decided to allow access only to customers with paid support contracts, effective September 18th. HP VP Jennifer Millier was grilled extensively at the OpenVMS Bootcamp yesterday. She invited us to send her email about how we are impacted. Here is my email:

Dear Ms. Millier:

Thank you for coming to the OpenVMS Bootcamp. Those of us at the front lines of VMS support appreciate your participation.

My company is very small. I provide support for a number of customers who do not have HP software support. Instead, I have been providing them with patch services and system administration services on an “as needed”, time-and-materials, basis.

I also provide patches for my CHARON-VAX and CHARON-AXP emulation clients, who are typically running ancient versions of VMS, in some cases all the way back to VMS 5.0. Support for VAX version 5.5-2 is available under Prior Version Support, and has had a few critical patches released over the last couple of years.

Now that ITRC is going to a “paying customers only” model, I will not be able to provide these services. My enterprise-level customers (General Electric, Northrop Grumman, etc.) typically have software support contracts, but most of my customers do not. In fact, many of those customers feel abandoned by DEC or Compaq, not realizing that HP now owns the VMS operating system.

This situation leads me to several questions:
* Do I have to buy HP software support for each customer?
* Can I buy a single “small” support contract for my company, and then provide patches for all my customers?
* What are the costs? I see no benefit to my company, just an increase in the cost of doing business.
* Can I get access to patches from AllianceOne (formerly known as DSPP)?
* Can we continue to get FTP access to the patches? The web interface is fairly painful to use, all but requiring Internet Explorer (which is not available on VMS, Linux, or even HP-UX).
* What about hobbyist systems? These are the only entry-level way to get exposed to VMS.

I know that you are not in a position to solve the problem, but I trust that you can take these concerns to the support-side of HP and come up with a solution. Their uni-lateral action has caused damage to dozens, if not hundreds, of small entities. And these entities are HP Partners!

Stan Quayle
Quayle Consulting Inc.