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8/21/2002
  Contributed by:Ben
I've decided to get over with a listing of computers in this house, in what I hope is chronological order:
  • Edwin (named posthumously) is a very old 186 "laptop" (weighs over 30 pounds) with integrated monochrome green monitor and a whopping 5MB of HD space! This computer was maybe cutting-edge15 years ago, but now, it's deader than dead can be.
  • Shiva (named posthumously) is a rather old 386 computer, 40Mhz AMD processor, and a whopping 200MB of hard drive space. Despite its lack of power, it was definitely the best computer I'veever had. Why? It introduced me to the world of computers. With games such as Castle Wolfenstein, Dune II, SimCity 2000 (Yeah, it ran under Windows 3.1), and Outpost, this computer started me i$the path I now travel in. It was a funny computer; just to get the CD-ROM drive working we had to change the autoexec.bat to free up more system resources, but then to change back to playinggames mode, we had to disable the CD-ROM drive. Ahh, those were the days. Also, it was our first real Internet connection, with a huge bulky external modem giving us a bandwidth of 1200bits per second that my dad used to e-mail coworkers in the government! Yes, those were definitely the days.
  • Ifrit (named posthumously) was a 150Mhz, 16MB RAM, 1.5GB fiend that we got for our family from mom's work, the Democratic National Convention. This computer was top of the line, at thetime, and costed over $3,000! I still remember that day we walked into the computer dealership and picked out exactly what we wanted. At the time, it was so expensive that it was the bestcomputer any of my friends would ever see, so I got a lot of "ooh"s and "ah"s. But those days faded quickly. Probably my favorite gaming moments on Ifrit were Myst and Total Annihilation.Although the graphics back then sure weren't too hot, the gaming was excellent. I still play Total Annihilation to this very day! Unfortunately, I do not know the fate of Ifrit, because mymom's work took it back after we got a replacement computer, and nobody really knew what happened to it. Ifrit had a "speedy" 33.6kbps connection to our former-ISP, Erol's. We had thatbigmack@erols.com e-mail address for a long time, but alas, finally it was buried under the blanket of time like many other pleasant reminiscings. Ifrit ran Windows 95.
  • Phoenix is the first in my long list of computers that still runs today. It is a 300Mhz speed demon with an 8GB HD. Right now it currently only has a NIC connection and a keyboard, toprocess SETI@home work units. But it remained my primary gaming computer for a scarily long period of time. Heck, I was even playing Quake III on it (albeit at bad graphical quality).Phoenix was our first "modern" computer: it had a Voodoo II graphics accelerator and all that kind of stuff. Phoenix runs Windows 98 SE.
  • Fenix was a mystery. It's a 400Mhz (capable of dual-CPU), 18GB SCSI computer that came with Windows NT. Honestly, we didn't know what to do with Fenix. My dad bought it off an onlineauction site, but it just was never very good at doing what we wanted it to. We bought it at a time when 1Ghz computers were starting to come out. On top of that, it didn't really play manyWindows games too well. It has a lot of workstation features, such as a RAID controller, all SCSI drives, etc. Fenix was a waste of money until it became ... Fyre! That's right, Iinstalled Linux on it and christened it Fyre, which runs to this very day as my favorite workstation computer. Heck, it's serving up this webpage at this very instant. As a games machine,it wasn't too good, but as a webserver, it's awesome. I must admit, Fenix seemed like a bad purchase at the beginning, but now as Fyre, it's awesome.
  • Eenie, Meenie, and Moe are three SPARC stations sitting unused in the basement. I don't know why we have them, except that my dad got them for under $50 at an online auction site.We've never really turned them on or anything. I don't know why we have them, but perhaps sometime in the far future, it'll be fun to travel back in time and install an old version of UNIXon these puppies. As for now, they're defunct.
  • Valefor is ... an enigma. It's a server. Literally, a huge, Dell PowerEdge server that sits on four wheels and is about four times bigger than a normal tower computer. It has eighthard drive bays, two NICs, two processors, and all sorts of stuff. It's a killer server. Too bad I haven't gotten it working! That's right, if I could get something working on it, it'd beawesome, and it would trounce Fyre right away. Heck, these things were THE webservers for the Internet about seven years ago. But alas, it doesn't work, and the $300 my dad spent bidding onit (I don't even know why he did that), was wasted. I've tried several times over the past year to get some flavor of Linux on this thing but it's just not working. Oh well. Right now, itjust takes up a corner of the basement, with Shiva's really old, bad quality 15-inch VGA monitor attached to it.
  • Wingzero we got as recently as two years ago. It's a 1Ghz computers, and after all of its upgrades, it has 512MB RAM and 120GB HD. This remained by staple gaming computer for a longtime, and is still quite capable of playing all of the newest games. Right now it's in my basement with Phoenix's old monitor attached to it. Occasionally it gets used in LAN parties or fordownloading newsgroup binaries, but most of the time, it just sits there crunching out SETI@home work units.
Well, this list is still 3 entries short, but I'm getting bored now, so I'll update them sometime in the near future.
 

5/26/2002
  Contributed by:Ben
Sorry for the interruptions in service this week, we had thunderstorms andFyre went down twice due to the electrical surges. I wouldconsider a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Source, basically a 30-minutebattery that smoothes out incoming power, especially useful duringoutages), but it's just not practical, because I'd need to use iton, at minimum, a router, a DSL modem, a hub, and Fyre itself, and Fyreand the hub are on a totally different floor in my house. You could saywe're a networked geek family (We've run many a CAT5 through the walls ofmy house), but the very nature of it seems to preclude UPS possibilties.
 

2/25/2002
  Contributed by:Ben McIlwain

This webpage and my public NetHack server are run on my Linux machine. It started off as RedHat-7.2, but it's been modified so much since then by me it's closer to RedHat-7.3 (not released yet) or Mandrake (I've installed a lot of Mandrake packages too). The best thing about Linux is that it is open source - and hence free. I can do so much awesome stuff on this computer, like hosting bones files here, offering a public NetHack server, and coordinating development of TORPG with my team members. And all of this on only a 400 Mhz machine! Linux really does breathe new life into old computers. I use it a lot more than my Windows machine now. The one not-so-good point is that there aren't many games released, but since so much of my time is spent maintaining this webpage anyway, I don't mind the loss very much. Besides, I can always just play NetHack.

 




Fyre's Domain 2002