What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

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electrithm
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What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby electrithm » Tue May 24, 2016 12:45 pm

I've always liked messing around with old computers and software because I like doing things that were never intended on them like running a Minecraft server or a web server.

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Tue May 24, 2016 7:18 pm

The girls.

But, I'm off the market now, so I guess it's just the girl. :)
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby Trippynet » Wed May 25, 2016 4:15 am

It's a combination of things for me. I love the looks of both SGI machines, and the workings of IRIX. Hence I do always get a warm buzz when firing up either my Indigo2 or Fuel.

I do like to try and do modern things with them, and I do find it nice that a 20 year old machine (in the case of my Indigo2) can still do useful things such as programming, listening to music, ripping vinyls etc.
Systems in use:
:Indigo2IMP: - Nitrogen: R10000 195MHz CPU, 384MB RAM, SolidIMPACT Graphics, 36GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, 100Mb/s NIC, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.22
:Fuel: - Lithium: R14000 600MHz CPU, 4GB RAM, V10 Graphics, 72GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, 1Gb/s NIC, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.30
Other system in storage: :O2: R5000 200MHz, 224MB RAM, 72GB 15k HDD, PSU fan mod, IRIX 6.5.30

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Wed May 25, 2016 6:31 am

I still mess with my Tomy Tutor because it's incredibly limited in what it allows you to express in program code, so it's fun making it do things it shouldn't be able to do. Same for the Commodore 8-bits.

In the case of the Power Macs and my other RISC machines, it's just using a computer system different from the usual soulless x86. Soulless machines may have won, but I enjoy being back in the day where lots of different people had lots of different ideas about how a computer architecture should function. I think it's sad we've lost that and we only look at computers through the prism of x86 and mobile devices through ARM.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby Shiunbird » Wed May 25, 2016 9:31 am

Understanding how old computers work actually help me a lot as a modern day system admin. Since we get to understand the guts of how things work, when something goes wrong today, I can "think like the computer" and I usually find the source of a problem much faster than my peers. It's like assembling a huge puzzle!

And +1 for architectural diversity. We could be much further today if we had more players in the market coming up with different ways to progress, all incorporating the manufacturing advances. It's just so boring nowadays.

I really hope the PowerPC notebook project doesn't flop. I help translating documents there. It would be nice to have at least something new and different. =)
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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby vishnu » Wed May 25, 2016 12:14 pm

I use my SGI's for tasks that can only be done using Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire and Maya Unlimited, now admittedly these are not the latest and greatest versions of those programs, but their final releases for IRIX are still highly relevant... :mrgreen:
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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby theinonen » Wed May 25, 2016 1:14 pm

My favourite thing has to be, that after 20-30 years I can finally afford those.

Truth is that everything was much more fun when I was a child and microcomputers ruled the world. Now children play with mobile phones and tablets, but they will never experience that magical time when computers were fun and you actually had to get together with friends to play games. Internet changed whole thing and while you can chat with people around the world, the real social aspect of hobby computing is gone.

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby jimmer » Wed May 25, 2016 1:19 pm

Like most have said before me, I like messing with old computers because they are 'just different' from all the x86 same old same old. I mess with SGI hardware in particular because many moons ago I did some consulting work for the company and even flew to Mountain View to wrap up the project I was working on 'in person'. So the IRIX stuff is all quite nicely nostalgic for me.

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby devv » Wed May 25, 2016 3:18 pm

I've learned about Unix when I got access to the Internet in 1996. I didn't know about PPP so I used the modem to dial in into remote modems with a console. Once at the remote modem's prompt, the only thing I knew was to run 'telnet'. The only place where I could telnet to was a server at my brother's university. The servers there were off during the summer, but I didn't know and didn't understand what 'Connection refused' meant; I thought it was something on my end and I was trying to telnet there for months. Until finally, in September the school started, the servers were booted, and the login prompt appeared for the first time!

The shared nature of those servers with hundreds of accounts and the console interface were grand to me, truly majestic. The idea that I could run 'w' to see users, run 'talk' to talk to them, use /var/log/ to see system logs, and use 'ps' to see process lists with detailed information was simply mindblowingly cool. (Coming from a DOS/Windows world, I had a completely wrong perspective -- I thought that things like listing users, recording logs and tracking all processes like 'ps' did were CPU-intensive operations, and that graphics wasn't intensive. (That was the only way in which I could explain to myself why DOS/Windows didn't have those capabilities but did have some graphics)).

The operating systems they used to run at the Uni were Ultrix and Irix. I still remember the long-gone IPs of those servers. In a matter of days I fell in true love with Unix (and only 10+ years later, in 2008, did I get my first real, non-PC and multiprocessor Unix machine -- an Octane2 with 2x400 Mhz processors). But I did start using Linux as soon as managed to get a copy of one (in 1998 or so), and I've switched to using it as the primary OS in 2001.

In any case, 20 years later, I am still in love with my larger-than-life perception of Unix and am charmed by it to no end.
Last edited by devv on Wed May 25, 2016 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
oOoO :Tezro: oOoO

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby josehill » Wed May 25, 2016 4:23 pm

ClassicHasClass wrote:But, I'm off the market now, so I guess it's just the girl. :)

Since you're in it for the long haul, make sure that you don't let the maintenance lapse! :lol:

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Wed May 25, 2016 4:55 pm

josehill wrote:
ClassicHasClass wrote:But, I'm off the market now, so I guess it's just the girl. :)

Since you're in it for the long haul, make sure that you don't let the maintenance lapse! :lol:


I was thinking of an appropriate response to this but pretty much all of them are inappropriate so ... yes. :mrgreen:
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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vishnu
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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby vishnu » Wed May 25, 2016 8:33 pm

ClassicHasClass wrote:
josehill wrote:
ClassicHasClass wrote:But, I'm off the market now, so I guess it's just the girl. :)

Since you're in it for the long haul, make sure that you don't let the maintenance lapse! :lol:


I was thinking of an appropriate response to this but pretty much all of them are inappropriate so ... yes. :mrgreen:

May you be as lucky in love as Bobbi and Nick Ercoline. And, um, may the Butterfly Kite* of Happiness fly up your respective noses! :lol:

*Apologies to Bluebirds.
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:Tezro: :Octane2:

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby skywriter » Thu May 26, 2016 7:26 pm

How old does a computer have to be to be considered old? I liked them back in the 70's the best, when every manufacturer had a different OS, interface, architecture, etc... To me, they became less interesting as they converged on UNIX, Windows, and OS X. Today I like OS X because it's simple and predictable. But I really loved DEC systems from the 70's and early 80's. I consider myself lucky I worked both for a major manufacturer; DEC in it's hayday, and EMC when they specialized in 3rd party compatible Memory and Disks for minicomputers from Wang, DEC, IBM, HP, Prime, etc... A lot to play with and reverse engineer!
:Skywriter:

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby Krokodil » Sat May 28, 2016 11:59 pm

I like the appeal of running exotic hardware for day to day tasks. I also like the fact that they are quite different than the boring X86 monoculture present today. Taking apart an Octane or O2 is much more interesting than the typical PC. Around a year ago I got my DS10 playing MP3's and made a DCL jukebox script to let you select a song from a list.

Then theres the thing about being able to rock out with hardware that used to routinely cost in the 6 figures and was used to produce movies like Jumanji, which I just saw again on TV tonight for the first time in a decade or more and I realized that due to the time it came out, SGI was almost certainly involved in one way or another.

Also I like UNIX, it rarely lets me down, or causes any trouble. I first got my hands on exotic hardware in 2007, never having once before touched, or seen UNIX.

It's fun being able to watch movies on 20 year old graphics hardware and still have a reasonable viewing experience.
:Octane2: - :O2: - :Octane: - :Indigo2IMP:

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Re: What is your favorite thing about messing with old computers?

Unread postby tingo » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:25 am

Getting them to work, understanding them.
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