The collected works of leaknoil - Page 1

I have three tapes that are a backup made with the IRIX gui tool. I am trying to un-archive them but, so far have been unable too. I don't have a working sgi tape drive. The only one I had died. I have plenty of Sun ones though but, they aren't happening. They are old tapes so, their condition is unknown as well.

I tried to use the gui tool with various Sun drives attached to IRIX boxes but, always get a "Tape Full: Insert next tape" Which is odd in itself since I am attempting to restore and it happens during the read tape phase. Seems like a write error. Also my Sun drives will not show up as DAT drives. They always show up as Cartridge drives. They appear to be working fine though. mt and tar appear to work. The one SGI drive I had showed up as a DAT drive even though its basically the same model as the Sun drives. Might just be going by the firmware. Could this cause an issue with the tool or tar ?

Trying to read the tapes with tar gives a "Unexpected EOF try the -b option" no matter what I've tried. I've even tried using dd and byteswapping. I get basically the same error trying to read them on a Solaris box. What is the Backup and Restore Manager using internally ? The note on the tape said it was tar but, could it be using some different format ? Closest I've got so far is gnutar on a Solaris box using byteswapping. It read a bit then complained about outdated headers and said it was skipping and forwarding to the next position. Just hits the end of the tape after that.

Any ideas ?
Thanks for the info. Couldn't make it happen in Solaris but, sticking it on a O2 and changing that file worked. I saw that info before for some reason I thought it was outdated and never tried it. Solaris got rid of MAKEDEV a long time ago.

Besides collecting old computer iron I also collect old British iron. Well more like lots of boxes of Triumph and Norton parts that used to be motorcycles ;) Someday though I will get one running again !!! Well, if I can figure out how any of them go together anymore.
Awesome photo. I've never had a BSA though lots of my friends did or do. I have a 1959 Triumph 650 TR6, a '79 750E, and most of the parts of a Triton I've been meaning to build but, probably never will. The '59 is probably closest to what could be called running. The front end is off and just need to be rebuilt. Though I haven't fired it up in almost four years now so, who knows. Kick the engine over every month or so and its still turns and has good compression. Still leaking oil so there is some still left in there ;)

I feel bad about not fixing the bikes but, I just don't have time these days. I wonder if I can even remember how to put most of them back together anymore. Just hauled the parts along from place to place over the years. Haven't even kept up the registration which may make getting them back on the road pretty expensive.

I managed to get the tape drive happening and dump the tapes but, there was one interesting thing I noticed. The tape drive id string can't have any spaces in it in 6.5.30 and it has to have them in 6.5.6. .30 would barf with any char[25] in the id string but, .6 wouldn't id the drive correctly unless the complete string was used spaces, control characters, and all. Was driving me crazy till I just tried the first few digits of the string and it worked in 30.

Never could get the gui to read across multiple tapes though during just a read file names pass. It would just stop at the end of the tape with no message. When I hit the cancel button then the insert next tape message would pop up right before the canceled message which was nice of it but, a little too late. It spanned the tapes fine just restoring everything out without a read pass.
Its funny I've run into a lot of vintage motorcycle people in the vintage computer crowd. I wonder if its because working on some imperfect old server is a lot like working on some imperfect old bike. You end up with bloody knuckles, bruises, and dirt all over in the end. Server dirt sure is a lot easier to clean off then grease though.
So were there any great bargains to be had in the end ? I imagine sale prices wont be posted.
It was $49.95 starting bid at first. Five minutes later when I looked at it again they had raised the starting bid to $99.
These are actually kind of cool boxes. You need to find the deskside front panel and lose the rackmount version. The one I have has one. There are also graphics cards for them. Mine has a 2d version although I've never actually hooked it up to a monitor. Has a EVC connector and I don't have an adapter.

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It is amazing how heavy it is actually. Way heavier then it looks. Mines a 280/2. Dual 180mhz pa-8000. I really need to find a EVC adapter and give its graphics a try.
pentium wrote:
Dang. You have my terminal Leaknoil. >_>
So graphics cards do actually exist? I was looking at the EISA but for a while and wondering how rare EISA video cards would be unless the graphics options were actually ISA.

You got me curious so, I opened it up and looked inside. It appears to be something called a HP A4450A Visualize-EG card and it uses the HSC connection. There isn't much on the board actually. Especially for when it was made. I would bet its pretty limited in capability.

Here's a picture of one. Mine is identical. Missing IC's and all.
kjaer wrote:
The bus it uses is called GSC - general system connect. Electrically it's the same as the HSC found in the server system types.

D-Series are servers. You can tell by the giant 6 foot tall rack his came in ;)

Mine has "Turbo HSC" silkscreened at that connector. Not that I imagine it makes any difference at all.
D-EJ915 wrote:
those cards are pretty easy to find on ebay (or were)

I saw a couple when I was trying to figure out what it was. They wanted $50 or so. That is about ten times more then I'd probably pay for one. You also have to find a EVC to svga adapter and the HP ones seem to be fetching $40 as well.
SAQ wrote:
Good news, though - you can get a free Windows HP terminal emulator here .

That's nifty. Thanks for the tip.
I'm just confused by the prices. I was looking for something to run VMS and I'm shocked. Why are all of these heading over 4 digits ? Is there something about these that makes them special ? ... 0571307632 ... 0326273064

I don't get it. 233Mhz Alpha boxes are worth over a grand ?
bri3d wrote:
I doubt that's why. There are a lot of cheaper, faster Alphas out there. It could be a model-specific app like the MRI control O2s, but I've never heard of one for AlphaStations...

That is exactly what I was thinking. I'm just really curious what it might be. It isn't all Alphas. Just seems to be the single one.
kramlq wrote:
BTW, its Nekonoko who has to deal with any legal threats that arise when you single out and make accusations about specific eBay sellers, so out of courtesy to him it might be wise to edit some of your posts.

I know this is the policy here and its a private board so, the rules are the rules. Not anything to argue about but, I just want to point out that the entire internet would come to a grinding halt, Yelp would shut down, craigslist would shut down, amazon would shut down, ebay would shut down itself, if lawsuits like you describe had a chance in hell of going to court. Because someone threatens to sue or has a hack lawyer threaten to sue doesn't mean they will or can. Defamation is just about impossible to win in court. Yelp and Angie's list couldn't exist if there was any legal grounds for such nonsense. This board is no different. People threaten to sue all the time over just about anything. Its popular with a certain kind of hick crowd in the US. Nothing ever comes of it.
nekonoko wrote:
Yep. All the sites leaknoil listed have a financial incentive to stay online and go to bat for their customers if necessary. This site has no such financial rewards - indeed, it simply costs me money each month in power and bandwidth.

As I've said before, I don't mind soaking those basic costs up, but any other hassles above and beyond power/bandwidth tip the scale towards pulling the plug and washing my hands of the whole thing. There is absolutely no financial incentive for me to talk to a lawyer whether they plan on suing me or not, and I'm certainly no Robin Hood.

I absolutely agree. The rules are yours to make and if you don't want the hassle who can blame you. I'm just saying that 99.9% of people that threaten to sue on the internet probably wouldn't know how to actually sue if they wanted to. It also costs money to sue and if they lose they get to pay all your court costs and they will lose. Those cases never stand up in court. Next to comparing something to nazi's or hitler "I'm going to sue you" is probably the next most common insult or threat on the internet.
kramlq wrote:
Actually, I really can't see how you could possibly win such a case if it were filed in a jurisdiction such as the UK. And someone regularly making a thousand dollars or more by selling a really old computer has a little more incentive than many others to defend his/her reputation by sending out a warning letter (at the very least).

It is actually a lot harder to make defamation stick in the US then in the UK from everything I've read. In the US it is almost impossible to prove libel unless its super crazy made up stuff. You would basically have to make up stuff and resort to nasty personal insults about their family.
kramlq wrote:
... exactly, which is why US companies prefer to file cases about stuff posted on the internet in a jurisdiction such as the UK. Anyway, write what you want about who you want. Ignorance is bliss.

So you have any examples of what you're claiming or you just make that completely up ?
kramlq wrote:
As I said on the previous page, google 'libel tourism' for examples. If you'd done that earlier you might have saved youself from making several more ill-informed posts. But you do what you want. I've made my point several times now and can't be bothered discussing it any more.

That has no relevance about what we were talking about. That is all about the wealthy, claimed terrorists, and tabloid journalism. Actually show a single case of libel involving someone talking bad about a seller. You can't. Where Paris Hilton files her latest libel suit doesn't really concern me.

Show me one case of libel decided against someone complaining about a seller in the UK on a forum. Seems simple enough for me. That is all I am asking. Go for it.
I still have a very warm spot in my heart for VS2000. If you decide to get rid of them let me know or someone closer maybe. I am sure you can find a new home easy. VAX stuff has a fanatical following.

I seem to remember you have to run an older stripped down version of vms for the VS2000 that came on TK50s. It may be hard to find an OS for them and I'd wonder if the hobbyist license would work with such an old version of vms. For the VS3100 and newer you can get a free hobbyist license for just about everything. The drives are probably hard to find working anymore since a lot of them were dying or dead ten years ago. Still they are cute little machines. I believe you can get 4 plane color cards for them as add-ons. I think the VS40X board found in some 3100 also fit the 2000. Its about the right size and some descriptions say vs2000/vs3100 for it. Sounds like your has one.

The vs3100 have a switch to change between graphics and serial console. On the first revision its a real pain. You have to remove the motherboard to get at it. In later versions they cut a hole in the back.

To run them graphically you do need the breakout cable. Has RGB bnc and the place to plug in the mouse and keyboard at the end. The are almost impossible to find these days. Hopefully you got some with it.
SAQ wrote:

VAXstation 3100 has keyboard and mouse ports on the back along with (and right beside) the big unified connector, so as long as you can get a DA15F to wire the video out pins you're fine. You do need a DEC mouse and keyboard.

Right now I'm remembering. Its the 4000 series that has the breakout box off one cable. The AXP 3000 does too I think. The 4000 you can just remove the frame buffer and run serial or stick a resistor between the pins. The AXP 3000 wont even get through post without a keyboard. No way around that as I remember but, i doesnt matter.

I'd go for vms on your boxes. ULTRIX was not really anything very interesting. Just a generic BSD unix. There is no hobbyist license for ULTRIX either. If you want UNIX go for netbsd on those old things. Not that I would. VMS is at least interesting to play with if you haven't before. All the UNIX are pretty similar other then boot up and hardware stuff. I guess that is the point of UNIX really. VMS is way different and fun to mess with for a break from everything else if you haven't before.
miod wrote:
leaknoil wrote:
The AXP 3000 wont even get through post without a keyboard. No way around that as I remember but, i doesnt matter.

I beg to differ; models 3000/300 have a jumper (W2) on the motherboard, and all the other models (from 3000/400 to 3000/900) use a ``server'' SRM environment variable to let them POST without a keyboard connected.

Right but, isnt there a problem if you don't have a graphics console first to set the SRM variable ? How do you work around that ?
so odd reading some posts here. 225 ukp for a pci card cage for a octane ? Really ? That is pure insanity. Dual 600 octanes don't fetch that here in the US.
I just got this a couple days ago. Its useless without the sbus card I didn't get and they sort of sucked to begin with. I had a complete setup in the 90's and it was pretty pointless but, they were pretty rare. At the time Sun people told me it was the last direct attempt by Sun to compete with SGI in the graphics arena. After it failed to make any market inroads Sun gave up forever.

All the chips are kind of pretty to look at anyway. I am sure the gold guys would love to dunk this in acid but, they can't have it. Case is probably going to a 4/110 with a really ugly partial case.

Here's a little usenet post about it:

The host interface was an sbus card with a big wide connector on the back
(looks like a wide SCSI connector, but wider). An interconnect cable
(carrying 32-bit(?) differential parallel data) went from the sbus card to
the GT chassis. It was designed to work with the SS2 and SS10, there's
support to use it as a console, but I do remember it working with other
systems - there was code in the GT startup script (microcode load) to
error out on Galaxy (4/600) systems at one point in time. I'm not sure if
they fixed that in the end.

There were driver files only for sun4c and sun4m, and only up to Solaris
2.4. It will output 76Hz 1280x1024 video, and if you power it up without
any host connected, you should get a sequence of test patterns. You
need the sbus card and cable to get it to do anything meaningful.

It was s-l-o-w for blitting 2D data, though a couple fast clear planes
helped with fills. XGL was the recommend 3D API, and transforms were
taken care of by an onboard i860XR. It did T&L acceleration, not
texturing. From the man page:


gt - double buffered 24-bit SBus color frame buffer and graphics


gt is a 24-bit SBus-based color frame buffer and graphics accelerator.
The frame buffer consists of 108 video memory planes of 1280 .1024 pixels
including 24-bit double buffering, 16 alpha/overlay planes, 24 z-buffer
planes, 10 window ID planes, 8 fast clear planes, and 2 cursor planes. It
provides the standard frame buffer interface defined in fbio(7), paired
with microcode that can be downloaded using gtconfig(1M). Application
acceleration is achieved via the XGL native 3D graphics library.

I think that TGS(?) had OpenGL almost kind of running on it. Ford used a
number of these things for CAD/CAM and had no end of trouble with them -
they finally scrapped them when the ZX and TZX came out (which were much
less buggy). It's an interesting bit of history (and cost something over
$50k brand new) but it was never a great piece of hardware.
SAQ wrote:
Wasn't the XVR-4000 kind of intended to be competition with SGI?

I mean more in the ultra high end. The GT cost $50,000 new. What would be a equivalent SGI system ? Reality Engine stuff ?

I have seen those cards listed but, there is still the matter of software. Nothing at all supports this other than OpenWindows and its slow as hell. I tried to use one in the 90's for the hell of it. The 2d stuff was really bad. Windows tore apart as you tried to move them. It was pretty much unusable as a desktop display. All the normal sbus frame buffers were faster for desktop use.
Box is open but, doesn't look like anything has been messed with. Has all the driver disks and cd's. A bunch of serial adapters too.

$45 + shipping from California or an interesting trade.

The card in the box says,

"SpaceWare 7.4 supports only the following operating systems:

IBM AIX 4.1.5 and 4.2
SGI IRIX 5.3, 6.2, and 6.4
Sun Solaris 2.5 and 2.5.1
Hewlett-Packard HP-UX 9.07 and 10.20
Digital DEC UNIX 3.2G and 4.08"

I imagine there are updates out there somewhere online too.
I actually managed to find a sbus card and cable for it. It uses a 68 pin connector just like all your vintage SCSI gear. I just grabbed a random SCSI cable and it worked.

Here you will see a pretty damn rare logo. Is that a moon ? When I had one before it was off a SS1+. It only came up after openwin booted. I've never seen this before.

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Nothing much 3d in openwindows but, this what a $50,000 virtual fishtank looked like in 1992.

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D-EJ915 wrote:
That's tight you got it working man, what system are you using it with?

ss2. It just knew what to do.
PymbleSoftware wrote:
leaknoil wrote:
Is that a moon ?

"Thats no moon ... its a SPARCstation" ;) :lol: .

I thought the same thing haha There is some color in it though. Maybe its supposed to be the earth ? I need CSI to come over and enhance this picture.
Who is paying the power bill ?

pentium wrote:
Managed to get a rack and am no longer humiliated to show off what I got.
Trying to get the PDP-11/23+ to boot off the RX50 in the below photo.

PDP-11/23+ (with DELQA and SCSI)
Cipher Drive
Cipher Drive
PDP-11/84 (nothing really special in here besides SCSI, but below it...)
Custom Qbus/Unibus expansion backplanes with Unibus framebuffer
RA82 Disk Drive
astouffer wrote:

Brought home a MicroVAX II one time complete with a QBUS SCSI card. Got bored and eventually scrapped it. Now I realize how big a mistake that was.

Pick up an HP box at a hamfest and didn't realize it ran MPE/IX. Scrapped it too because the guys on the forum were dicks about me not having a license for getting the system/root/whatever password.

Bought a PDP-11/23 not realizing my limits for operating systems. Donated it to a fellow collector.

We've all been there. Well some of us have anyway. Can't worry about what you have had before just what you find tomorrow and what you do with it then.

The MPE/iX thing is nothing to worry about. Even if you have a box to run it you'll have an impossible time getting the OS and if you do it probably wont run on your machine. I have never met such paranoid people as those in possession of mpe/ix tapes.

I don't know what sort of smack HP laid down but, they still live in fear. I am pretty sure they had an actual hit squad that would take you out if you so much as stuck a mpe/ix tape in an unauthorized tape drive.
Has his account been hacked ? If this is actually pentium I hope things are not as bad as it sounds. I've enjoyed reading about you collecting most of this stuff over the years. Is there a woman involved ? That is usually what makes us make drastic changes. Stick it all in storage if you can afford it. Friends garage even. You may miss it one day.
pentium wrote:
You don't need to know what happened exactly but the fallout is that a lot of space needs to be made and pretty fast.

No details needed. I once threw my entire collection into a dumpster from a second story balcony a system at a time. I had 24 hours to vacate and nobody to take them. Sun 1's,2's, and 3's among a lot of other pretty early machines.

Machines can always be replace when life gets less crazy. Still don't have a Sun 1 again but, I have enough to play with.
Man someone bought 2. $289 is nuts. They are opening them up and installing parts too. I am not sure that really qualifies for any extra value. At that point what is the actual difference between new and used ? The box it came in ?

That is about the worst spec'd SS20 you can have too.
mapesdhs wrote:
Compared to a few years ago,
for example, the cost of having a Tezro shipped to me from the US has almost doubled.

It has gone crazy inside the US too. Everyone raised shipping rates dramatically here when gas prices spiked last year claiming it was to cover the cost of fuel. Now that gas dropped to some of the lowest prices in years they, of course, haven't reduced shipping a single cent. Nobody was too surprised.
hamei wrote:
Use the Post Office - and refuse to let the bastards shut it down. Years ago UPS was better but these days, the post office is nicer to deal with, faster and cheaper.

I agree although only for flat rate and media mail. Priority mail for larger stuff gets nuts fast. First class package is great but, only goes to 13oz. The new padded flat rate envelope is amazing but, hard to get. They aren't available from post offices only ordered online. Free bubble mailer that fits a more than it looks like it should.
miod wrote:
smj wrote:
I'm really curious about the 4 pin Molex connectors on the one board, wondering what that was for...

This looks like an unfinished attempt at putting an internal SCSI disk on the unused part of the mobo. But apparently no header was soldered to the internal SCSI connector area.

The SCSI header is actually under the video board and can't be seen in the picture. It is right behind the external SCSI connector. The un-soldered connector you see is another P4 that Sun never used afaik.

I am going to guess the blown supply is from the case with the hard drive mod. There is a reason Sun gave up on the idea even though they designed space for it on the board. They usually ended that way if the motherboard didn't die from heat first. It was a fairly unwise mod to do but, some people did anyway. Wasn't enough cooling or power for sticking a HD in there especially for the early 3.5" HD.
I found a stack of 350's at a electronics surplus place but, all the power supplies were removed. More stuff may be removed but, if I can't find the power supplies no point in going further. They may be somewhere around but, I am not sure what to look for. The line drawings around are not specific enough to stand out in shelves full of power supplies.

Anyone able to provide a picture of one removed from the system or better than me finding one on Google ?