Nicks Computing Page

Note - this page is out of date...

Well, since the web page stats indicate a few of you actually look at this every week, and I've got a few spare minutes before packing to return to .ox, I thought I'd do a quick update on the page ;) Any suggestions for a background would be gratefully received (email or irc them to me), otherwise I'll just end up going with the bog standard comp.magd one...

Right, so what is on the page exactly? Firstly, there's a brief description of my computing history and activities. Secondly, there's some info on my computers. Finally, theres loads (ok well some) information on getting stuff working with the Compaq Armada 1750, which Muscat is one of. Also here are some performance stats for this under os2 sysbench.
I've just got a new laptop, a Dell Inspiron 8000 VT, so I've done some pages on how to install and configure both OS/2 and linux on this machine. As I've had to give my dad the old armada as a part exchange, I won't be updating the armada pages anymore.

My Computing Background

Well, I've been doing computery stuff for quite a while now. The earliest computer I can remember using was our 286 PC AT (640k ram, 20mb HD), when I was about 6 or 7. Apparently we had an XT as well, but I can't remember that ('cause we upgraded as soon as the AT arrived). I used that for years (it became mine when my dad got his 386 PS/2 with its amazing 12mb ram and 160mb HD, a pinch at 4 grand), until I got my 486. I started off playing games like Kings Quest, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and Digger (all now out there on abandonware sites, check out for the remastered version of digger). It wasn't long before I also got into programming (I did 4 years worth of middle school logo computing practicals in under a year), and discovered QBasic. I programmed in that for years, and actually managed to write some code approaching object orientated in it! Having written a semi relational database in it, I decided the time had come to move onto Java, but more on programming later. Anyway, eventually the 286 just got too old and slow, so I got my 486 PS/VP, which was 25mhz with 8mb ram and 180mb HD. Its still going strong now, see it as Kerner lower down :)

Kerner (as it was later to be named) lasted me for a long time as my sole desktop machine. By this point we had 2 486s, a 386 and a 286 at home, all networked using token ring, with network access at both ends of the house (a feat most of my friends have yet to accomplish using ethernet even now ;), so I've had the joys of networking from an early age (we got the 286 on the network about the time we got it an external CD-ROM, which was a year before we got our first 486). I continued doing more programming and playing more games, and using OS/2. Yup, I was, and still am, an OS/2 guy. We put it on everything except the AT from the word go when we got the boxes. I learnt to program rexx quite early on (and I still write all my scripts in it now, even on Linux thanks to ORexx from IBM), and even managed the occult art of setting up the DOS settings to play all my games under it. Finally, as kerner started straining under the load of warp 4, I built Merlot. Merlot was a 233 MMX, 32mb ram (later 64), 2gb SCSI HD (now 2*2gb), with all badged components. It ran like a dream, and allowed me to get into some serious java programming (have you tried running javac on SX 486?). I took to it so well that I now only code in Java except for scripts and unavoidables (like porting 'nix C, see my ported os2 mpeg page for more examples).

Finally, as uni approached, I got Muscat (was Grenache), a laptop. Its a Compaq Armada 1750, and I think its a very well built machine. Its specs are below, and I've even done a few pages about making OS/2 and Linux run well on it. Muscat, and its twin Bacchus (owned by my dad) both had ethernet cards, and helped induce the migration at home from a mixed token ring and ethernet onto a pure ethernet network. Now we've moved house, we've got 10/100 in all the rooms that count, so the migration is truely complete. About this time I picked up a few old machines from work, and these are mostly running fine as well. I also had to give Merlot to my sister, but thankfully she's been nice to it ;)

Eventually, time took its toll on the old Grenache, and it was semi-retired, and renamed Muscat. This was during the summer of 2001, when the new Grenache arrived :) Its a Dell Inspiron 8000, and as usual I've done some pages on OS/2 and Linux on a Dell Inspiron 8000. It works really well, so I'm pleased. The old armada has gone to my dad (with his disk in it), and my mum and sister have my dads armada, which had worn less well. I've also souped up a few of my 486s, getting them all to be DXs. They still run very well, and their stats are below.

Currently (aug 01) at home, we've got 2 Armada 1750s primerily running os2, a Dell Inspiron 8000 running os2 and linux, 2 ~200mhz boxes running os2 (one the server), 2 500mhz boxes (one os2 and our primary linux box), a p75 running NT and 3 souped up 486s running Linux. Internet access used to be via dial on demand ISDN, (which rocked until the phone bill would arrive...), but we've now got shiny new ADSL, which is even faster, and always on - always a bonus for IRC during the vac! And that apears to be it, apart from the info on my current boxes.

My Current Computers

Grenache Dell Inspiron 8000
PIII 1000
256mb ram
18gb HD (IDE)
8x DVD Drive
NVidia GeForce 2 Go
Sound (its my primary mp3 station)
OS/2 (Convenience Pack) and Linux (RH 7.1 with 2.4.9) for work
WinME for DVDs and Quake III
Muscat Compaq Armada 1750 PII 366
128mb ram
6gb HD (IDE)
DVD Drive
Sound (its my primary mp3 station)
OS/2 as primary OS
Win98 (Lite) for DVDs and Quake III
Linux for coding, playing etc
Pattertwig Compaq Prolinea 4/25s 486dx2 66
36mb ram
40 gb + 1gb HD (IDE)
Philips PCRW404 IDE CD Writer
Tseng Labs ET4000 1mb
Redhat 6.2
ESS 1868 Soundcard
Custom 2.2.17 kernel
Mostly used for logins to other boxes around the uni. Nice fat disc for storing my backups before they get written to CD, mirroring linux distributions and other such fun stuff.
Semillon Sun Sparc SLC
Sparc sun4c 20mhz
16mb ram
300mb HD (external SCSI)
AMD AM79C30A sound (8khz 8bit mono)
Integrated Sun Lance Think Ethernet + Tranceiver
Redhat 5.2 with 2.2 kernel extentions
Custom 2.2.17 kernel
Nice High Res Framebuffer display (1152x900)
Remote logins and X
Kerner IBM PS/VP 6381 486dx 25
36mb ram
120mb HD IDE and 1gb HD SCSI (AHA 1510 controller)
SB AWE 32 pnp
Cirrus Logic 5428 Graphics with 512k - VESA 1.2 so no framebuffer :(
Redhat 6.2
Custom 2.2.17 kernel
Remote and local logins with X
Shiraz Compaq Prosignia 486 486dx2 66
36mb ram
160mb HD IDE and 1.1gb HDs SCSI (Compaq Smart2 RAID Controller)
Western Digital WD???? 512k Graphics Card
10/100 3c579 and 3c509
Redhat 6.2
Custom 2.2.17 kernel
Network services and misc stuff
Chenin Dell OptiPlex GX1 Xeon PIII 500mhz
128mb ram
1gb + 6gb IDE HDs
Crystal Audio Soundcard
ATI Rage LT Pro (!)
Linux - Redhat 7.1 with 2.4.8 Kernel
Winblows NT SP6 in case we really really need NT...

Note - All the names refer to the internal network, so none of them are available externally. All machines have one 3com network card unless otherwise specified