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      /  Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
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RobertB 
Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 29-Jul-2021 21:22:25
#1 ]
Super Member
Joined: 16-Jun-2006
Posts: 1221
From: Visalia, California

"Back Into the Storm: A Design Engineer's Story of Commodore Computers in the 1980s" has been released! Written by CBM engineer Bil Herd and Margaret Morabito, Back Into the Storm delves into Bil and the "Animals'" work on the Commodore TED series (C16, Plus/4, etc.) and on the Commodore 128.

For more information and to order the paperback book or Kindle version, go to

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09BDF92F4

Truly,
Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group -
http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network -
http://www.portcommodore.com/sccan
Nov. 6-7 Commodore Los Angeles Super Show 2021 -
http://www.portcommodore.com/class

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Mobileconnect 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 29-Jul-2021 21:29:22
#2 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 13-Jun-2003
Posts: 420
From: Unknown

@RobertB

Any Amiga content in that?

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RobertB 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 30-Jul-2021 21:12:36
#3 ]
Super Member
Joined: 16-Jun-2006
Posts: 1221
From: Visalia, California

I doubt it, because as Bil himself admits, he was only on the Amiga side of things for one week before he quit CBM.

Truly,
Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group -
http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network -
http://www.portcommodore.com/sccan
Nov. 6-7 Commodore Los Angeles Super Show 2021 -
http://www.portcommodore.com/class

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BigD 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 30-Jul-2021 21:29:59
#4 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5895
From: UK

@RobertB

Quote:

RobertB wrote:
I doubt it, because as Bil himself admits, he was only on the Amiga side of things for one week before he quit


He was a fool! He had the chance to work on the Amiga and help Haynie fight management but had already burnt all his bridges and didn’t see the potential in the Amiga over C128 tech! Wasn’t he the one who got rid of the speed bumps and fought harder against the C= building management than C=’s competition by the end! What a waste!

Obviously, he is a gifted individual and an interesting guy but had zero impact on Amiga development because he preferred banging away at the old in-house C= tech! That doesn’t interest me as much as Los Gatos tech.

Last edited by BigD on 31-Jul-2021 at 01:49 PM.
Last edited by BigD on 30-Jul-2021 at 09:33 PM.
Last edited by BigD on 30-Jul-2021 at 09:32 PM.

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AP 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 31-Jul-2021 19:41:01
#5 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 588
From: Vienna/Austria

@BigD: I don´t think Bil Herd was a "fool", he had his valid reasons to go from Commodore. He was a brilliant engineer for sure.

And it was impossible to "fight against the management" for the engineers, just read some other books about that period or check interviews with David Haynie and others.

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BigD 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 31-Jul-2021 20:58:37
#6 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5895
From: UK

@AP

He tried and failed to fight the management but he should have jumped at the chance to work on and make the Amiga a success IMHO!

_________________
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John Lasseter, Co-Founder of Pixar Animation Studios

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BigD 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 31-Jul-2021 21:12:46
#7 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5895
From: UK

@AP

… I guess I’m annoyed because the guy was obviously talented and yet wasn’t harnessed as part of Amiga development. Maybe he could have been the lone voice demanding chunky pixel modes on AGA?

Kit Spencer was another star of the C64 period lost to the Amiga. His marketing prowess was second to none! I’m sure he would have vetoed the sepia Amiga adverts and the mind boggling ‘new birth’ video advert!

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BigD 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 31-Jul-2021 21:20:26
#8 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5895
From: UK

@Thread

Kit has definitely prospered post Commodore (see link)! I guess on a personal angle Bil and Kit were better to avoid the Amiga curse and death of Commodore.

https://m.facebook.com/kit.spencer.1

_________________
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John Lasseter, Co-Founder of Pixar Animation Studios

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RobertB 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 1-Aug-2021 6:12:42
#9 ]
Super Member
Joined: 16-Jun-2006
Posts: 1221
From: Visalia, California

BigD wrote:
Quote:
...Bil and Kit were better to avoid the Amiga curse and death of Commodore.

Very true. To this day, Bil cannot watch Dave Haynie's video, "The Deathbed Vigil and other tales of digital angst," which chronicles the final day(s) of CBM.

Truly,
Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group -
http://www.dickestel.com/fcug.htm
Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network -
http://www.portcommodore.com/sccan
Nov. 6-7 Commodore Los Angeles Super Show 2021 -
http://www.portcommodore.com/class

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OneTimer1 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 2-Aug-2021 13:19:34
#10 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 670
From: Unknown

@BigD

Quote:

He had the chance to work on the Amiga and help Haynie fight management ...


No one at C= had really a chance of fighting back the management.

Some things at C= where rotten before they started the Amiga, if everything at C= has been OK, they would had a successor for the C64 and the PETs and never had the need to buy Amiga.

But it continued, the management was not allowed to do long-term investments and a lot of their decisions where driven by a lack of money and ideas for a long term development.

They got the Amiga1000 for cheap, made the Amiga500 a successful home computer but didn't had an idea what to do if it has to compete with 'professional' PCs.

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Hammer 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 2-Aug-2021 17:10:04
#11 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 4255
From: Australia

@AP,

Quote:

I don´t think Bil Herd was a "fool", he had his valid reasons to go from Commodore. He was a brilliant engineer for sure.


By 1985, C128 has aging C64 gaming hardware with low color high resolution for business. In terms of specs, Atari ST killed C128.

By 1991, Amiga ECS has aging Amiga 16 bit gaming hardware with low color high resolution for business i.e. same crap with the same mentality.

Last edited by Hammer on 02-Aug-2021 at 05:12 PM.
Last edited by Hammer on 02-Aug-2021 at 05:11 PM.

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AP 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 9:15:36
#12 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 588
From: Vienna/Austria

@Hammer: Both has nothing to do with Herds skills as designer.

The "mentality" you describe was on the side of the management.

Last edited by AP on 03-Aug-2021 at 09:15 AM.

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BigD 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 13:21:41
#13 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5895
From: UK

@AP

Great! So he designed a great product that wasn’t right for the market and then quit despite the Amiga being the right product for the market! Yay!

Unless you love C= over and above the Amiga his story is just of genius getting misused and hampered IMHO! At least the Atari 8 bits had Star Raiders

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OneTimer1 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 13:39:53
#14 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 670
From: Unknown

@AP

Quote:

Both has nothing to do with Herds skills as designer.


Ack, we can't even criticize Bill Herd for the C128 low speed hires mode or for the fact that it got a Z80 compatible CPU (for CP/M) instead of of a 8088 (for MS-Dos)

He could not change the plans that where made by others and he was not allowed to use CPU/GFX chips from the outside world.

Quote:

The "mentality" you describe was on the side of the management.


And even the CEOs where bound to the restrictions made by J.Tramiel or I.Gould their business system was simple:

Produce it cheap, sell it fast, don't invest into the future, problems will be fixed later or never.

Last edited by OneTimer1 on 03-Aug-2021 at 01:54 PM.

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AP 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 15:05:44
#15 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 588
From: Vienna/Austria

@BigD: The product "that wasn't right for the market" sold about 4 Mio. units BTW.

And no, it wouldn't have change a thing if Herd would have stayed and worked on the Amiga. Ask Dave Haynie.

Last edited by AP on 04-Aug-2021 at 05:55 AM.

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OneTimer1 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 19:09:49
#16 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 670
From: Unknown

Quote:

AP wrote:
The product "that wasn't right for the market" sold about 4 Mio. units BTW.


The A500 sold quite well, about 1 Million in Germany (I don't have other numbers) it was 1/3 of the numbers of C64 sold in Germany but the desktop models sold less.

It was not bad, but not good when compared to the growing PC market.

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Rose 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 19:38:28
#17 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Nov-2009
Posts: 908
From: Unknown

@AP

Quote:
@BigD: The product "that wasn't right for the market" sold about 4 Mio. units BTW.


Wrong product actually sold 5.7M units in 4 years.... While 7-8M Amigas all models combined were sold during commodore years.

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AP 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 20:22:20
#18 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 588
From: Vienna/Austria

@OneTimer1: You are right, the Amiga did well (but could done better without stupid management--decisions).

But people like BigD who considered the C128 as a commercial failure should check the numbers

Last edited by AP on 04-Aug-2021 at 05:54 AM.

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BigD 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 20:38:32
#19 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 5895
From: UK

@AP

Quote:
But people like BigD who considered the C128 as a commercial failure should check the numbers


People who bought an 8 bit machine between 1985 and 1989 for business use were fools IMHO! If they wanted a cheap C= game machine then they should have bought a C64. The C64c model made more profit for C= too than this Frankenstein machine!

The Amiga had the potential to become a serious ongoing computer platform, but the C128 proved that the world didn't really want a C64 iteration for business without MS-Dos compatibility. It WAS a dud however many they sold! It probably cannibalised Amiga sales too. A cost reduced A500/cheap A600 form factor should have replaced this in 1988 IMHO.

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matthey 
Re: Back Into the Storm by Bil Herd, Margaret Morabito
Posted on 3-Aug-2021 23:58:44
#20 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1129
From: Kansas

@BigD
A Z80 CPU running CP/M was one of the best business computer choices for a while but the 1985 C128 likely missed the window of opportunity by years. CBM may have been better off cancelling the C128 and investing in the Amiga instead. The Amiga Sidecar with 8088 came out in 1986 but it was expensive, large and didn't sell well. Later internal Amiga bridgeboards sold better but required a more expensive Amiga 2000. I tend to think the money spent on the C128 and PC hardware for the Amiga would have been better spent elsewhere. Perhaps a cost reduced Amiga (500) a year earlier and an Amiga 2000 with 68020 and fast memory slots but without bridgeboard expense would have been better. A 68020 with fast memory could do a pretty good job of emulating a 8088 (and even a better job of emulating a 8080 which CP/M first targeted).

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