Monday, July 28, 2008

From Peabody's Way-Back Machine...

Back around 1989, I had an afternoon off from flying B-52H sorties out of Carswell AFB, so I walked into the Tandy Factory Outlet store near Dallas/Ft. Worth. In amongst the piles of returned items was this little Tandy Pocket Scientific Computer, Model PC-6. It intrigued me, since I had been prolific in BASIC starting with my first TRS-80 CoCo III, so I plunked down the $25.00 for the little pocket PC, and took it around the world with me for the next 15 years. It did yeoman duty figuring aircraft weights and balances, as well as radiation dose rates, etc. Heck, I even programmed it to play Blackjack.

Lately, I've been using it for trigonometry and GD&T calculations. It's seen better days, but I'll wager it would fit nicely into Tam's Digital Fossils collection. I'm just happy that it can still find use, nearly 20 years after it first hit the market.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Break out the Arctic Silver!

Since I can't sleep for crap pending the big day later this week, I decided to take my mind off things and do some tweaking of my big black IBM workstation - aka, Monolith.

See these little fellows? They're compact, heavy, and yet at least a generation or two obsolete. Still, I had to have them, because they're fairly rare XEON MP processors, 2.8Ghz, with the nifty additional 2Mb L3 cache. These chips aren't dual-core, but are instead hyper-threading enabled, which was an earlier run-up to the current dual-core and quad-core processors. I paid all of about $35.00 for the pair of them, and they got stuffed posthaste into this rat's nest of a case:

They generate a lot of heat, but sure enough, the Windows Task Manager shows 4 processors, and System Information confirms 2.8Ghz each. Woo-hoo!

(Now, if anybody tells you a pair of Xeon MP processors won't work in a system using the old Intel 860 chipset originally intended for one or two Xeon DP processors, they're liars!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ever get butterflies?

When do they go away, before or after the surgery?

I'm so damned nervous right now, I've seriously considered calling off the whole thing, and I don't go under the knife until this Wednesday.

Unfortunately, what they're cutting me open for won't go away by itself, and will actually get bigger if not tended to.

Pins and needles until then, I guess...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Speaking of tomatoes...

Happiness is having stuff like this growing on your back deck, ready to pick in the first week of July! For the record, I use equal parts of Miracle Gro potting soil, composted cow manure, and plain topsoil. I also bottle rainwater from the downspouts, because the plants really don't appreciate the city water that much. Bon Appetit'!

The old WRT54G on steroids, revisited...

It's been a while, several months, to be exact, since I installed the Tomato firmware in an older Linksys WRT54G wireless router and squirreled it all away in my basement laundry room with a few extra goodies. So what's happened since that January day? Well, to be frank, nothing, and that's exactly how things should be. It just plain works, and has been absolutely rock-solid, fast, and hiccup free. Truthfully, the only time I hear from it is when I go into the Tomato administration pages to see what's been going on.

I'm so enthralled with the setup that I'm thinking about buying a spare router and just sitting on it, in the event that my cooling mods only postpone the eventual demise of the juiced-up WRT54G v1.0. (Perish the thought...)

I did add another SnapServer to the mix, and positioned it squarely in the communications rack. It dishes up nearly 80Gb of media to the home users, and also plays FTP server when I'm out and about and need to retrieve a file or three. Of course, that necessitated a shuffling of components, so here's the G-98 network comm rack, looking for all the world like something out of Buckaroo Banzai:

Geeky, I know - but by Gawd, it all works, and works well!