I was particularly fond of Telebit modems, back in the day, and
probably owned every model they produced. Different signalling
conventions -- sort of like Beta vs VHS -- but widely used on
UN*X systems. Back when we used UUCP to deliver mail, etc. :>
The 8840 is good for leased line applications. It can also be
"programmed" to autodial a number and negotiate a connection
in the event the leased line fails.
- a Compaq Portable 386 w/ expansion chassis (lunchbox, plasma screen) as
my sole ISA machine (I have a coprocessor that requires an ISA bus)
- a Compaq Portable III as spare parts for the 386, esp the display and
odd form factor 5" floppies
- a Sun Blade 2000 for Solaris/SPARC development (heavy beast! I think
it is like 75 pounds!)
- and a Sun Voyager cuz its cute!
For the most part, I only hang onto things that I need to support some
old project, past client, etc.
Ditto. Or, "broken" but repairable with a little time and effort.
But, for (IDE) DVD writers, its easier to just grab a machine on its
way to the "recycle" pile and pay for its "scrap" value. *Waiting*
for an IDE DVD to "show up" might leave me with just SATA discards
from friends who tend to be more "current" in their purchases!
I paid $8K/ea for a pair of 386/25's back in the mid 80's. Since then,
most of my purchases have been for software, peripherals, diagnostic tools,
test equipment, etc. The "computers" always seem to show up for free (or
close to it!).
And, as this is what I do for a *living*, damn near all of them are
"faster than I can think" so I'm not obsessed with having the
latest/greatest, fastest, etc. 99.9999999% of the time, the machines
are sitting waiting for me to decide which *key* to strike, next!
Rescued an HP TX1120us last night that I will either turn into a
"respectable" portable DVD player *or*, perhaps, take advantage of the
pen input and use it as an ebook reader.
Next, I'll tackle the 24" monitors.
Had a SPARC but gave it away
some of the machines aI have left though are the
Compaq "sewing machine"
a Zenith Data Systems 286 that I put an ISA RAM expansion card just so I
could say I have a 286 with 16 megs of RAM
an IBM PS/2
and some Apple SE's
so I still have a decent colletion
It's not particularly fast. And, I had to modify the BIOS ROMs to
get it to accept a 600MB (that's *MB* not *GB*) hard disk. But,
it gives me the ISA slots and "stores" a keyboard and display
in the same box -- so, when I need it, I don't have to find an external
keyboard, external display, etc.
I also have a carrying case for it. The case is expandable to
account for configurations WITH and WITHOUT the expansion chassis
hanging off the side!
Battery is perpetually dead, regardless of how often I repair it
(it's a proprietary battery module soldered onto the main board
so you can't just drop in new batteries!)
I have probably had every model SPARCstation, in the past. I was
very fond of an LX (nice, small form factor, quiet, reasonably
low power) that I'd upgraded to 128MB of RAM. It was a nice little
HTTP/FTP server for many years (it was quiet enough that I
could leave it running in my bedroom, 24/7, and not be disturbed
By comparison, the SB2000 is more like a server in terms of
noise level. The power supply itself is ~15# and the size of
three or four widescreen laptops, stacked atop each other.
I had one, years ago. Very heavy. The Portable 386 is *almost* as heavy
(esp with the expansion chassis) but much denser; marginally easier to
lug around than the original "portable". But, you still "lean to one side"
when carrying it!
My 386/25's had 13MB of RAM. And a 60MB disk! And, I was *enamored* with
"all that memory"! How quickly times change! :<
I don't "collect" anything (stamps, baseball caps, computers, antiques,
etc.) but, rather, stockpile things for which I have a current or future
use. As these sorts of things take up lots of space, there's little
room for "things that need to be dusted" (collections).
I've been methodically moving all of my paper records, books, etc.
to electronic media in an attempt to "recover" the space that they
consume (when I moved here, I had *80* "Xerox boxes" full of
paperback novels; I've trimmed that to *two* boxes of "must keeps").
There are 10 computers in my little office but 6 of them "share"
the 7 displays (each display has an A/B selector switch so I
put one computer on the A input and another on the B input; push
a button to toggle between computers instead of having to add displays
or move cables). The other 4 machines are run headless and accessed
via telnet or via X servers. Less hassle than trying to cram all of
the functionality embodied in those 10 machines onto a fewer number
of machines (and less hassle when time comes to update one of them
and move all that software!)
On 10/26/2015 02:13 PM, Don Y wrote:
X that to *two* boxes of "must keeps").
<snipped but read>
I really did have to get a lot of the stuff out of the house.
I had it stashed in the basement and attic. As long as it was not in the
house proper, my wife did not complain...but it was getting too
cluttered even for me.
Also got rid of a few console radios...but still have plenty left.
One of the machines I had at one time in addition to the Zenith Data
Systems 286 I had a Z.D.S 386 with a 150 meg MFM hard drive.
I bet it cost a fortune
We have no basement and no attic. And, storing things in the garage
subjects them to pretty severe temperature extremes (e.g., most
mechanisms "dry out" when stored there).
So, anything "stored" has to be stored *in* the house. This naturally
suggests only "storing" things that you are actually *using*. :>
I've been moving to get rid of all the "electronics kit" around the
house (DVD players, "stereos", speakers, doorbells, etc.) to further
reduce "clutter". E.g., I have installed speakers in the ceiling,
"up high" in the kitchen, back porch, etc. and deliver audio content
to them via network connections -- which also supply power to
the amplifiers in the speakers.
So, we can listen to music *or* the audio from the "TV/movie"
that we are watching *or* an "annunciator" that informs us
when someone is at the front door (i.e., "doorbell"). Without
having "matte black" boxes with lots of cables lying around
on "entertainment centers".
As I said, my 386/25's with 13M RAM and a 60M disk (and a *tiny* color
monitor) cost me $8K/each. People take for granted how inexpensive
things have become! Each of my workstations has 1T of disk and
the slowest one is 3GHz dual processor.
I've always had plenty of disk space. Put a 30mb hard drive in my
original IBM PC soon after I bought it. Cost about $500, the price of
a decent used car in '84.
I had just started working on contract at McDonald's corporate in '95
and allocated about 500mb for some testing. Can't remember how many
cylinders, but it wasn't excessive in my experience. They were
probably still using 3380's.
Soon Data Management phoned me and told me I needed pre-approval
to allocate that much space. Okay. I was already done testing and
had freed the space.
Later I went for a smoke and was introduced to another smoker, who was
the head of the data management department. He said "You the Vic that
grabbed all my space?" I laughed and said I had 3 times that space on
my hard drives at home.
He said, "Bring 'em in here."
"Plenty" is a relative term! :> I have 1T in each of my machines
and find that "just comfortable" for the work that I *do* on each
of those. A big problem is software nowadays drags in lots of
other cruft. E.g., when preparing a multimedia presentation, I
may have 250GB of "sound library" online just to sort out what sort of
"background music" should underly the presentation.
Early on, it was relatively easy for me to work-around disk space
issues with "offline" storage. As most of the apps were running under
DOS or UN*X, it was trivial to just move entire filesystems (or portions
thereof) off to 9T tape when not in use; then, move them *back* when
So, I would design a circuit and get the schematic finished. Save
the schematic (netlist) and discard all of the tools that I used to
create it (because they existed on a tape hanging in the closet!).
Then, load the PCB layout software from the "PCB" tape so I could
create the circuit board. Save that board, discarding the tools,
and load the software development tools so I could write the
software to *run* on that board. Etc.
At one point, I got a good price ($1006) on some 4G disks. So, I
bought 10 of them, copied the appropriate tools onto individual
disks and put 9 on the shelf. When I needed the tools on another
disk, I just swapped the "current" disk with the appropriate
"shelved" disk -- same as loading files from tape but without the
effort of actually reading tapes! :>
Presently, I have taken that to its logical conclusion: set up
individual *machines* for individual (types of) tasks. Then,
just swivel my chair from Machine A to Machine B to Machine C, etc.
For older "system images", I have a VM server so I can "leave my chair
in one place" and just swap VM's! :-/
The biggest problem is keeping things sorted out in my *head*!
(I've learned to put printed labels on machines, disks, etc. so
I can sort out what I will need without having to power something
up just to see what it "has available"...)
On 10/26/2015 4:28 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Usually, I can't move to the latest and greatest. E.g., I still need
*real* serial and parallel ports for some of the more unusual
peripherals that I have (space ball, Phaser solid ink printer,
Summa B-size digitizing tablet, etc.) -- unless I decided to replace
them *just* to move away from those interfaces. My Unisite (PROM
programmer) boots from 3.5 inch floppies so I need to be able to
make/read those. My SCSI peripherals (film scanner, B size scanner,
MO drive, assorted tape transports, etc.) all rely on a SCSI HBA's
to connect to the various machines -- these HBA are all PCI.
Video cards are a mess as it seems like every machine has a different
I treat my laptops as the closest thing to "generic" machines; they
don't have any software that relies on particular hardware peripherals
(except built in fingerprint readers or touch panels).
OTOH, there is very little "mainstream" software that I run (other
than a browser) as my needs/uses tend to be far more "specialty"
On Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 8:29:27 PM UTC-4, Don Y wrote:
While some old PCs might still retain "functionality",
having 20 of them sitting around from a practical standpoint
seems about the same as having an old modem. Both are for
all practical purposes, all but useless. I can see maybe keeping one
7 year old PC, in case you suddenly decide you want some kind
of experimental monitoring machine, etc. But since my first PC,
I never put a single one back to use. When I was done with it,
that was it.
With a DSL modem, if it's functioning and you no longer need
it, first thing I'd do is see what they are selling for on Ebay.
You don't even have to go used. You can get a new DOCSIS 3 modem for
about that price. My observation is that cable modems last a long time.
My TWC-supplied Motorola lasted for more than ten years, until they
started charging rent and I bought my own.
ISPs do indeed recover their costs in less than a year of modem rental
fees. After that, the modem generates pure gravy for them until a system
technology upgrade or something else other than hardware failure forces
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