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Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:59 pm
by Dalplex
25 years before I own Indigo, was the same model that I first saw in a trade show that claim can play video.
Can not remember what kind of monitor was.

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:55 pm
by smj
Around 1988 or '89, a friend had dropped out of college and gotten a job at a local software company. They specialized in graphical toolkits for the common (non-PC) windowing systems of the day: X Windows, NeWS, VWS (pre-DECwindows on VMS), and several others. There was a strong realtime component, so in addition to VMS they supported MassComp / Concurrent Computer Corp, etc.

I got the standard demo of software built with the toolkits, which controlled and/or measured & displayed some simulated physical systems like power turbines, water treatment plants, etc. Then I was told I had to see the SGI flight simulator. I couldn't say for certain what machine it was, probably an early 4D system. Some chance it could have been a brand new Personal IRIS. I may have been shown other demos, but flight was the one that stuck...

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:34 am
by Trippynet
Y888099 wrote:
Trippynet wrote:[..] Teesside University in the UK [..] around 2002 or so that I obtained 3 of the Indys when the student lab was decommission


So, the whole word is not big enough to carry on casuality: man, I am afraid we are talking about the same fact from two points of view. I was there in Teesside some years later my first erasmus experience in UK, and I physically saw the decommission as an act of throwing machines out of the window.

May be, the last set (what allocated to strangers like me, to allow us to use internet) of SGI machines to be decommissioned.

That's funny, anyway, ain't it? :D


Strange one. When I picked up my O2 from the School of Computing and Maths, they'd popped a fresh installation of IRIX onto it, and provided a reference sheet containing useful info and tips, plus a series of links to online SGI freeware and resources (strangely Nekochan wasn't in the list). They really seemed to want the O2s to go to good homes. Meanwhile the Indys I collected were from the VR Centre's technical manager - a guy who loved IRIX and SGIs, and again I got a fresh copy of IRIX on each one, and he gave me a full set of IRIX 6.5.21 CDs as well.

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:14 am
by Y888099
Trippynet wrote:I got a fresh copy of IRIX on each one, and he gave me a full set of IRIX 6.5.21 CDs as well.


so, you were lucky. I got nothing on the harddrive, just the browser :lol:

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 am
by jpstewart
I'd read about Indys, Indigo2s, and especially remember the article about the R8000 CPU in Byte Magazine in the 1990s. But I think the first time I saw an SGI in action in person was during the International Symposium on Robotics in Montreal in May, 2000.

Attendees had the opportunity to tour the nearby headquarters of the Canadian Space Agency on the last day of the conference. While there we saw the simulation/training facility for the Canadarm2 (which was still about a year away from being launched). The facility used a very well equipped Onyx rack to run the simulation. I was shocked at the clarity of the graphics and the immediate responsiveness of the system. IIRC, the Onyx had a full complement of 24 R10000 CPUs and Infinite Reality graphics (probably multi-pipe). It was an impressive setup to say the least, even though it wasn't the latest technology: the Onyx2 would have been available before then.

That's certainly the earliest SGI machine I remember seeing in person. (As opposed to just reading about them or seeing them on TV.) I'd used HPs, Suns, and IBM RS/6000s starting in 1994 but I don't remember any SGIs before the CSA simulator.

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:49 am
by jan-jaap
My first encounter with SGI hardware was a bunch of Indigos in a lab under lock and key in the university in the (very) early nineties.

Next, I saw a bunch of 4D/3xx tall racks in a Fraunhofer institute during the next couple of years. I'm pretty sure my (now) very own 4D/380 VGX was one of them.

My first real encounter with SGIs was an Indy that happened to be on my desk at my first job in the 2nd half of the nineties. I thought it was amazing (compared the the average beige 486 tower at the time). You could kick it's ass and it would still be responsive. It could video conference (even it there was no one to talk to) and had a 21" screen when everything else was 14". And it was blue.

I had an annual birthday party in Utrecht we used to combine with a visit to the (then) annual HCC computer fair. We'd drink hard on the Saturday, and hit the fair on the Sunday, when we were hung over and the sellers wanted to liquidate their stocks. I came home with some amazing garbage over they years :mrgreen: Anyway, I overheard someone say, "how much for that blue pizza box?", and the seller (late nineties) said "HFL 25,-" (that's about 12 EUR). I didn't know if that blue box was empty or fully functional, but I went home with two of them. He had "green boxes" also, so bought two of those as well. Total cost: 125 HFL, or about 50 EUR. I couldn't even carry then back home because I came to the party by train :) One of the "green boxes" (little did I know, but we now call them teal Indigo2's) had a MaxImpact + TRAM set in it that was still worth a small fortune back then. A company across the hallway where I worked used R10K Indigo2 IMPACT systems for CAD/CAM and gave me (the carcass of) one in return for sysadmin services.

So I found myself with an essentially free Indigo2 R10K MaxImpact in the late nineties. I still have it, and it's still arguably one of my favorite systems. The rest is history :mrgreen:

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:44 am
by Shiunbird
It is not a SGI machine per se, but I would like to narrate my first encounter with a UNIX workstation.

Back in school during my teenage years, I was a member of the aviation club. At some point, a brigadier of the Air Force became very supportive of the work we were doing there and arranged for us a visit to the local Air Traffic Control center.

And there was the 12 years old me, surrounded by Sun workstations with huge and crisp CRT displays, showing flight paths, radar and weather data, transponder codes, etc, etc, etc.. My Windows 95 home PC would crash eventually, so the proto-tech-savvy me asked the officer guiding our tour:

"What if one of the computers crash?"

His answer was:
"They don't".

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:42 am
by Jack Luminous
Met an SGI Indy for the first time during an internship at Thomson Training & Simulation (now called Thales Training & Simulation) in 1995. Working on a nuclear power plant simulator (!!). I spent more time playing Doom during that summer than real programming to tell the truth.

But my first really impressive computer sighting happened before that, somewhere in the 80s, maybe 84 or 85. My dad brought me to his work (I was 10 years old at the time) and he showed me an Apollo workstation. I distinctly remember the thing having some kind of joystick on the right side of the keyboard to rotate the 3D part displayed on the screen. I had never seen such a thing before. I still wonder to this day what exact Apollo model that was. :lol:

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:38 pm
by guardian452
Onyx, disneyworld (Aladdin magic carpet VR ride) 1994

Eventually worked my way up to getting one of those beasts of my own after my university was purging all of their Octane and O2 machines (early, 97 or 98 era). Me and SiliconClassics worked out a deal for a lot of two machines.

Complete with ruined RM6 and broken DCDC converters.

Spare parts were out of the question but I learned with such beefy boards you need a good soldering iron and received a weller wes51 for my birthday (big upgrade from that woodburning kit iron I used to use) At some point I got a MC3 with the full 2GB in it from another guy here :)

Once I got it running I never had another issue with it in the 5 years I had it. Kinda miss it. I wonder if the guy I traded it to will see this and is getting sick of it himself. :P

But the deskside onyx was always the end goal, once I had it running I felt like my SGI journey was complete. Altho, I did use an octane as my main/only computer from '06 to around 2011 or so. IDK if such a thing would still be feasible today. Poor web browsers ultimately drove me away, but I honestly don't do much on the web anymore. There are better ways to waste my time.

But I think I'm looking at them through rose-tinted glasses. Computers are much better today! ...

Re: Your first SGI encounter

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:44 pm
by guardian452
On a completely OT note, I just realized I had my 10-years anniversary here. 8-) 8-) 8-)