Monday, May 19, 2014

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life


I was a bit bummed about my old server dying when it happened, but it has quickly gone from sad to funny.  In preparing to take that machine (and a bunch of other old stuff) to a nearby electronics recycling event, I removed its hard disks and a few other parts.  During its autopsy, onslow reminded me about its storied history and gave me a few farewell chuckles.

  • Huge case, no room at all inside it.  Crunchy SCSI cables everywhere.
  • Nothing I removed had an even number of screws holding it in place.
  • Of the odd number of screws I removed, none matched each other.
  • The rear fan had a big chunk smashed off of its outer brace.
  • The rear fan was twisty-tied to vent holes in the case.
  • The CPU fan was not a CPU fan.
  • The CPU fan was twisty-tied to cables that sort of ran by the CPUs.
  • Three CD drives (including a caddy loader) were installed.
  • Only one CD drive remained attached to the power supply.

Finally, the unused drive bay which served as onslow's name plate had damaged clips.  It was held in place by duct tape.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

R.I.P. onslow

The oldest computer I still had running stopped last night after a power failure.  It was known early on as "fatbastard" and, in its final hardware configuration, "onslow".  It's the biggest computer I've had (and I've had some doozies), it's heavy, and it's packed with parts that modern computers can't use.  After running almost continuously for 14 years, it's time to say goodbye.

(Yes, I'm enough of a geek that I'm eulogizing a computer.  I'm also retiring its internal IP address.  Just give me this one.  :^)

Onslow started out as a streaming server for RealAudio, if I remember right.  A friend from UWRF's student center went on to work there and bought or inherited some hardware, and I bought or inherited that machine from him.  It was the first PC I owned which never ran Windows - by then I'd fully become a Linux guy.  It was my first multi-CPU machine.  (Back when that was worth noting.)  It had such ridiculous high-end specs in 2000 that it was still worth running now.

Onslow lived with me in two college dorm rooms, my parents' basement, two apartments in two states, and in my first house.  It was part of what made a place home.  Over the university's broadband and a series of awful DSL connections, it has served up my home shell as well as a bunch of websites.  Most of those were of no real consequence, and I'll probably restore at least a few of them on my newer webserver.  But accessing my home network remotely and being greeted by a machine other than onslow, that will take some getting used to.

When the power came on again and I was checking that all my servers and drives were coming online, a few pokes of onslow's power button told me what I knew had to be coming.  I had to echo its namesake in sarcastic disappointment...

"Oh, nice."