2003 - Computers
My horribly-messy computer area. As I added more computers and more junk,
it became more and more clear that something would need to be done. Later
in the year, the rack project began.
This was one of the rare times one of my home servers has reached a triple-digit
uptime. In fact, it's the only time I can recall this happening. I've gotten
machines into the 90's a few times. I tinker with my machines too much, and
so they rarely get uptimes past 90 days. Just before rebooting this server
(and finding out I didn't need to), I decided to immortalize the uptime. Interestingly,
this machine ran for another 3 months, and might have had a 200 day uptime had
I not rebooted it unnecessarily. :)
My computer area is always in flux, and will be seeing many
improvements in the near future, but here's yet another view
of my monstrosity.
This particular setup ranges from my old 486 all the way up to
reasonably current hardware... believe it or not, the older
hardware can still be useful. The 486 has 36MB RAM, and running
Linux it can still be put to work. :)
What the picture does not show is my old tower-case (with a
functional pentium system inside), or my old XT and 286, as
well as the work-area covered with ancient PCI and ISA devices,
and less-than-optimal monitors. Soon after this, the revolution begain. :)
(as of this picture, all eight were running and active on the network)
About a month later, the changes began, and the rack project
was under way! Notice that even a half-rack still stands as tall
as my 21" monitor on your average utility table.
Not all of the configuration and mounting
was done yet, as of this picture. The upper machine wasn't even
powered on at the time (which can be noticed by the subtle lack
of a backlight on the little blue LCD display in the drive-bay,
as compared to the one below it). I've really been packing in
what I can, and it's proving to be an interesting and educational
The new and improved "computer lab". Much more space efficient and
aesthetic. That was the easy part... I mean, don't get me wrong, it
was a lot of work to re-arrange furniture, replace a table, remove
a desk, reconfigure hardware, etc... but it was also kinda fun because
it involved buying and assembling lots of neat new cool things. The hard
part is soon to follow-- bringing myself to actually get rid of the
old stuff. *sigh*
Some of these pictures (this one and the one below) have been carefully framed so as not to
show the immense mess that was the entire first floor of my
house while completely redesigning my computer area and decomissioning
some of the older hardware.
(Click here to see a darker image
(no flash) with the door closed, showing some of the
Of course, nothing can really beat the old vintage
Connection Machines in that regard! :)
To those who want to do their own rack projects, here's a tip:
eBay is your friend! You can get a lot of decent stuff much
cheaper than buying it new... although there are some things
worth not skimping on. I decided to go for a brand-new UPS
since the battery life is a concern, and splurged for the
largest capacity one I could get that would still run off a
standard AC outlet.
The computers are always being modified and updated, so here's a more
recent shot than the ones above. To see the same thing without the labelling,
click here, or click here
for the same shot with flash.
The same scene as above, but from further back.
Click here to see it with the camera flash.