Project & Hobby Computers


Recently, I grabbed a few things from my dad's house in terms of support items for Mortimer and Ken Power, along with another machine, ImpactDonkey. This brings my current dorm computer count to 7, which is higher than it has been for awhile, and is a somewhat unwieldy number of computers in that I am capable of running and using all of them at once.

Of course, the original intent of ImpactDonkey, which is my Blue & White Power Macintosh G3, coming up here to Flagstaff, is that I was going to sacrifice its components on the altar for Ken Power, which would, admittedly, rock hardcore with a G3 at 450MHz, 512mb of memory, a 20gb hard disk, and of course the 16mb ATi Rage128.

However, with my inability to really do very much work on computer hardware these days, what I have ended up doing is using ImpactDonkey as a play computer, first installing Mac OS X Server 1.2, then having a bit of fun with Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther," and presently, it's running Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" Server, mainly because I'm not able to find my 10.4 client CD set. Something I'll work on later.

With Tiger, it's a moderately usable machine. It has the aforementioned 450MHz G3 processor with 1mb of L2 cache, Rage128, and 576mb of ram, which is okay, not super great, but okay. It's also funny to think about how with Tiger, it can actually run every current web browser, Safari 4, Firefox 3.5, Opera 9.64, and OmniWeb 5.92. It should also run Creative Suite 4 if I were desperate, and Office 2008. It's almost what I was thinking of when I wanted a Mac some time back.

The other machine I've been using as a projectbox lately has been the PowerBook 180. I finally went ahead and brought up the Localtalk to Ethernet adaptor as well. The extension of that is that I went ahead and installed netatalk on Tacgnol, so I'm able to access my tacgnol home directory from the PowerBook 180, which really does open up practically a universe of possibilities, in terms of using the 180 as a writing machine, in a really important way, such that it has definitely gained a spot as a machine I intend to keep using here permanently.

And of course, there are the other main machines I use on a pretty regular basis, the ThinkPad T400, T42p, X24 and flatdell. The T400 is my main main computer, the X24 is currently my server, and flatdell hangs out running SETI and doing Hulu on the TV.

The next question I'd have is what computer do I get rid of if I should need to. Because what has started to happen is that I am once again dividing some of my computational tasks between machines, which is not always a bad thing, but it makes combining the blue/white G3 with the beige G3, or sending one of them back to Dad's house a bit more difficult.

So what am I using them for? The PowerBook 180 (Mortimer), now that Tacgnol is usable as a fileserver for it, is a writing machine. I can take it to bed or basically anywhere within the reach of the 25-foot phone cord hooking the machine up to the Farallon iPrint adaptor. Writing is being done with Claris HomePage 3, which I do because I can toss drafts into my public_html folder and access them with any of my other systems. I can edit using nano or vi in an ssh session, or any other software on either flatdell or the T400.

Anyway, that's the current state of auxiliary computing here at the dorm. Ultimately, I will need to slim down again, but for now, it's just a matter of what machines will be sent away again. I have even been considering what to do with flatdell, because right now it just hangs out crunching SETI units and being the hulu computer. I could hypothetically put it back into the server role with debian linux, reliving tacgnol of the server duty, however the question then is what we use for hulu.

At the end of the day, I need to decide what computers I want to have, and what I need to do with them, for right now I've got enough systems doing enough things that I should be occupied for awhile, which was the point of grabbing some of the additional things I brought up.