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Vintage Computer Festival Europe 7.0 ahead //at 09:50 //by abe

from the good-platforms-never-die dept.

It’s only seven weeks to the most important vintage computing event in Europe, the Vintage Computer Festival Europe (VCFe) in Munich, which for the first time will be three days this year because of May the 1st being a Monday this year and an official holiday in Germany and some of the swiss cantons (at least Zürich). So the VCFe 7.0 will take place from April the 29th to May the 1st 2006 in Munich and it’s focus this year is:

Home Made Brains
Kit-Computers and Individual Designs

I’m currently thinking about which old hardware I’ll present at this year’s VCFe. There are a few ideas flowing around in my head:

  • Old x86 laptops (1989-1996). This was my exhibition last year, but ayca, my i486 Toshiba laptop is broke (probably the display controller) and the “new” Compaq LTE pony hasn’t been setup yet. Nevertheless, I’ll bring my (nearly) everyday ThinkPad bijou with me since it’s now 10 years old and therefore ontopic now. Yeah!
  • The HP 9000 Apollo Series 400 I got from dwalin and dyfa, if I manage to get a NetBSD installed on that box.
  • Buying a tux case but installing some old hardware in it instead of the current FOX board. On the other hand: There should be at least a Linux running on that box.

Anyway, I’ll be there, many other Symlinker (at least dino and Venty) also will be there. And I hope to see you there, too. :-)

Oh, and btw: One wish to the Debian community regarding the VCFe: Perhaps someone who’s familiar with the Debian m68k Port could give a talk about how Debian plans to save this port although the old hardware isn’t fast enough to fit the requirements for inclusion in a Debian release. This would give a really interesting talk about old and new hardware. Talks can be held at least in German or Englisch IIRC. TIA. :-)

Update 16:26h: I thought of this mail by Wouter Verhelst about how modern ColdFire computers could run buildds for a hybrid m68k and ColdFire port when writing this paragraph. See also this Symlink story [German] about that topic.


New old computers //at 23:41 //by abe

from the spare-parts dept.

My employer cleared out old hardware this week and besides saving an old Compaq laptop docking-station from the junkyard (will bring it together with a second one to the flea market of the next Vintage Computer Festival Europe in Munich), I got a bunch of old PCs (about 5 or so), starting with an old 486 DX 33, which was our firewall when I came into the company, ranging to my old workstation (without processor), which was thrown out after two harddisks left there life in there with a offset of only four months. Unfortunately three further gigahertz ranged mini desktops were not working anymore…

But the optical highlight was an Unisys Aquanta CP mini desktop (picture) with a passively cooled 200 MHz Pentium MMX, which I now call tryane. This nice monitor post probably becomes my new Sarge based gateway and firewall since the old Woody based one, called azu needs more space and current and had some ext3 filesystem problems which looked like setting it up from scratch wouldn’t be the baddest idea.

Spezi vs VCFe //at 14:34 //by abe

from the Mift dept.

After a phone call from Urs Kellermann, I noticed that this year’s Special Bikes Show (German: Spezialradmesse or short “Spezi”) is in parallel to the Vintage Computer Festival Europe 7.0: Spezi is from 29th to 30th of April while VCFe is from 29th of April to 1st of May. So I can’t visit Spezi this year since I’m usually helping the VCFe organisators here and there. Fsck!

But dino has even less luck: He told me, he knows five events he would like to visit that weekend. :-) He has chosen to visit the Anime Marathon and VCFe with switching events on Sunday.


Some new old non-x86 hardware //at 16:39 //by abe

from the HPsUX dept.

Because dyfa and dwalin are moving they had some old hardware (but not only hardware) to give away.

I got from them an old HP Apollo 9000 Series 400 Model 400t from 1990 (with an MC68040 processor like some Amigas had, 24 MB RAM and some 1992 HP-UX as operating system), which I decided to call »tub« (“Le TUB” was the prototype of the Citroën HY), a Sun Sparcstation IPC (which I decided to call »acadiane«) and two terminals, one true DEC VT320 and one VT100 compatible.

The IPC unfortunately seems to have a defect power supply, so I probably have to look around at eBay a little bit. The Apollo boots fine and probably also had the correct date in the hardware clock, but the software didn’t accept it. So it asked for the current date. Went fine. Until it asked me for the current year:

WARNING: bad date in real-time clock--check and reset the date

You will be prompted for the daten and time.  Please enter all values
numerically, for example January is 1.  The values in the paraenthesis
give the acceptable range of responses.

Please enter the month (1-12), then press [Return] 9

Please enter the day of the month (1-31), then press [Return] 28

Please enter the last two digits of the year (70-99), then press [Return] 05
Value out of range. Please try again.

Please enter the last two digits of the year (70-99), then press [Return] 

Using cal, I found out that 1977 has exactly the same calendar as 2005 and is in the same distance to the leap years. So I set the year to 77.

Yet another case of programmers not believing how long their software will run. And this box was only ten years old when Y2K came — some parts of the operating system on it even only eight years… Well, I hope, that’s history when NetBSD runs on that box.

Haven’t tested the the terminals yet, although I don’t expect any Y2K issues with them. ;-)

Now playing: Roxette — Real Sugar


Must have tux case //at 19:04 //by abe

from the how-to-convert-geeks-into-money-giving-machines dept.

Waah, I must have one of these very neat tux shaped computer cases. And if Acme Systems once will also follow hubertf’s wish for a BSD daemon case, I must have another one. In Germany, you can buy them at Elektronikladen.

And after getting one, I can think about what to do with a Linux box with a 100 MHz, 32 bit RISC CPU and 16 MB SDRAM. ;-)

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


I usually don't buy new hardware. Why should I if I get old hardware I can use thrown after me.

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