Third Party Cartridges -- An independent company, Nomai, has started selling cartridges in Europe for use with SyQuest drives. That sounds innocuous enough, but SyQuest filed a suit late last year to prevent Nomai from shipping cartridges and claimed in the suit that Nomai's cartridges could possibly damage the SyQuest drive's read-write head and that could in turn cause data loss on other SyQuest-brand cartridges. In addition, SyQuest claims that unlike true SyQuest cartridges, Nomai's cartridges will not work with its forthcoming 5.25" 200 MB removable drive. Nomai claims a return rate of less than 1 in 1000 on the tens of thousands of cartridges it has currently shipped in Europe.
Standard Mounting Techniques -- Last month SyQuest announced a standard that would ensure that no matter what formatter you used, you could always mount other SyQuest cartridges. The problem stems from the Mac retaining in memory the driver of the first cartridge inserted, and that driver may flake out if subsequent cartridges are formatted with incompatible formatting software. In MacWEEK 08-Feb-93, Steve Goodman of Hard Disk Toolkit-maker FWB expressed dissatisfaction with SyQuest's proposed standard, saying it is an "absolutely lame, lowest-common-denominator approach." SyQuest's Pat Allen responded, saying FWB had misunderstood. I'm staying out of this argument, but I'm intrigued by the fact that SyQuest seems to have a brand of reality not shared by some other companies. SyQuest may be in the right, but they certainly have attracted controversy.
Casa Blanca Works, makers of the Drive7 formatting utility announced last week that version 2.3.4 of Drive7 supports SyQuest's standard for driver compatibility.
New SyQuest drives -- We already mentioned the new 200 MB 5.25" drive that SyQuest is working on, and the company has plans for other drives in different form factors, including 3.5" and 2.5" versions, as well as even a 1.8" size drive that could hold up to 100 MB for use on the PCMCIA cards likely to be commonly used on portable computers and personal digital assistants (that's a really awkward name - how about we agree to call them "gerbils" and forget the tortured phraseology?). It appears that Mass Microsystems will have the first 105 MB 3.5" SyQuest drives. Mass Micro will sell the internal version for $949 and the external version for $1,049, in contrast to prices around $1,500 for the 128 MB magneto-optical drives.
Casa Blanca Works propaganda
MacWEEK -- 08-Feb-93, Vol. 7, #6, pg. 6
MacWEEK -- 15-Feb-93, Vol. 7, #7, pg. 10
MacWEEK -- 22-Mar-93, Vol. 7, #12, pg. 10