Re: What made you a SGI fan?
Posted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:37 am
vishnu wrote: We used to telnet into each others workstations and play annoying sounds, Road Runner MEEP MEEP's and various other less mature things. The pee cee users, who had no sound capability, didn't know what was going on... :lol:
this is always the first innovation an engineering company will realize when unix workstations are introduced; the ease with which you can cat to /dev/audio was exhilarating. we did it too, but since there was only two of us at first, it was pretty obvious who-done-it.
Re: What made you a SGI fan?
Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:56 am
This seems like the reasonable place for my first post. My first computer was an Atari 800 (whereas most of my friends had Apple][s) and I loved that thing, the way it was designed (the flip-up cartridge door, the access panel for the 16k memory cards) and I played Star Raiders until I thought I could fly a real spaceship. Something about the color scheme and the shape of it drew me to it. Probably also a loyalty to the old Atari 2600 and Atari arcade games (Asteroids, Lunar Lander, etc.) and that logo. I have never been able to make myself get rid of that stuff (computer, disk drives, software, books), either.
That bias set me up for my attraction to SGIs, which I first came in contact with at my first real post-university job, working at an FX house as a TA (1994). I remember seeing all these green and purple computers on artists' desks and wondering what "SGI" and "Impact" meant, having never heard of that computer company before (my university had computer labs with terminals). And the servers! Ah, that was what real computers were supposed to be like. The first time I had to tractor key a Challenge I almost pissed myself imagining who I'd have to answer to if I destroyed it. As the years went on and the Octanes and O2s came out I liked them more and more (the Indigo 2s were, for me, the most boring design) and as I became a 3D artist and had to use the software on those machines (Prisms/Houdini, Maya, Elastic Reality, Matador, etc.) I actually took for granted how powerful and stable those machines were. Little did I know.
I have never seen a desktop I've liked better than the ones on those first SGIs. In fact until recently I have never cared to own a computer at home since I naively thought that getting my hands on an SGI was impossible or too expensive (wrong and wrong) and Windoze/Mac wasn't an option for me and even if I did find an SGI for myself nothing current or useful would run on it. I will take a moment to thank Odin for the existence of the Maxx Interactive Desktop, I now must happily assemble my first modern PC running Ubuntu and that WM so that I can finally be happy owning a computer that is up-to-date yet feels like an SGI.
But obviously I was wrong about acquiring my own SGI computer. I currently have an Octane and an O2. The O2 might be a little too cute but the Octane is exactly what I expect a computer to look like. But then I still miss the old Side Effects 3D software package Prisms and it's Klingon/Soviet mindset front end. Houndini is better, no doubt, but Prisms just... fit, same with Matador. It's a design thing, I'm sure, and something I can't quite explain but if SGI computers didn't exist I'd have to invent them. I also want an Indigo. Eventually.
SGI and Atari feel very similar to me. Both had a design aesthetic and functionality that were unique. Both also started out as (to me) the best but eventually were taken down by a withering sequence of missteps. I don't know which company made more ultimately bad decisions to yank them from the top down to near nothing. I wish SGI had never made those ridiculous Windoze PCs and I really wish they had released or marketed Irix for other platforms so that we could run that on modern PCs instead of Linux (which I like, don't get me wrong) or the other, lesser operating systems. I'm just glad I was around to experience both companies' best products when they were new.
Re: What made you a SGI fan?
Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:56 am
I recall my first visit to a local production house in Cape Town, South Africa. It was at the Waterfront Studios, where they used the Indigo, the VTX, series power series twin tower machines etc. I basically fell in love with the design of these machines.. the sheer build quality and their incredible graphics performance. Since 1996 I've been on a mission to own my own Sgi gear.
Re: What made you a SGI fan?
Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:16 am
well, here comes a long story,
When I was a child, I lived in a town called Rolling Meadows, IL, It borders Schaumburg, IL, known for, before Mall of America, having the largest mall in the Midwest US, Woodfield. Along with that, the area has I-90 running right through it, so It quickly became a very active business area, seeing the headquarters (or midwest headquarters) of US robotics(still there), 3com (built a really funky building before ditching out...) Motorola (still there, headquarters) some IBM offices, and on the edge of Schaumburg, in Itasca, SUN had/has offices as well. but the one I remember the clearest, was Silicon Graphics.
I feel that SGI may have been tapping me on the shoulder for quite some time, as I remember seeing the Silicon Graphics offices in Schaumburg from my elementary school, and seeing it quite a few times while in the car. they had a big, shiny (gold or silver) bug logo, with the "Silicon Graphics" next to it, it really stood out from the expressway, especially when the sunrise hit it!
I'm sure they got me subliminally, with all the times they flashed hardware in the backgrounds of movies, of which the clearest I remember Twister and the "indy laptop" with the logo and typeface clearly visible.
Then, in my high school years, the school library put some old graphics design magazines out on a table, "free for anyone", from about 1997-2000, (It was about 03-04 at the time, I still have them) and reading through the one I found an article benchmarking the O2, the Octane, and some SUN workstation from the time (my god! the Octane cost $64,000 when first released!) and it showed how modular the O2 was, and how it could be disassembled. I remember that night, going on Ebay looking for any Silicon Graphics system, finding them still pretty steep for my income at the time.
forward to 2006, I took my job as an IT manager for a small company (looking back, the pull I got around there, the "work from home" options, the free ordered-in lunch everyday, for lack of better wording, it was like, well, working at SGI! without the "swag bags" and bitchin systems and goodies of course...) when I decided that with my new pay I would take up computer collecting, starting with an apple performa 5300cd like the one I used in elementary school, then a few other apples, but while on Ebay for grins I looked up SGI and found a government retired Indy for $53.
I bought it, had it delivered at the dock at work (It was cheaper for some reason that way), then discovered what we are all here for, what a great system SGIs are, and at times, what a complete pain in the ass making one run could be! a few weeks later I got my indigo and indigo2 (teal), then got my indigo2 purple (it was a base r4k with entry, in a purple case) and proceeded to drop a now noted insane amount of cash to convert it to maximpact r10k (just paid it off this year), then got that done and moved to an O2, got laid off from my IT job, got a job in cable, then decided an Octane would be nice, and drove a total of 300 miles to Purdue to haul back 2 Octanes (at $10 a piece, plus a free extra power supply and motherboard which I ended up needing, It was worth it). Unfortunately, or not, I've had enough time after being out of work from cable to finish my restorations.
Now, In my living room, I have my 2 I2s, my O2, and my Octane, all boxed and waiting to join their family in storage until I get a good place to set them up safely. Along with that, I have their brother from a different processor/OS mother, the black sheep of the family, the visual workstation 320, waiting for a 1600sw before being tested and packed.
So, after all this, I have to say, the thing that made me a fan of SGI was years and years of advertising themselves to me from an early age, and the machines still being a very close second to the coolest machines around (1st in my book(and all of yours) though!)