|wickensonline.co.uk Retrochallenge 2009 Summer Challenge Entry Hardware|
Hardware Trials and Tribulations
I looked for a suitable quote in Latin to sum up todays activities. It didn't
take me long to find this one:
Bis interimitur qui suis armis perit - He is
doubly destroyed who perishes by his own arms.
So, no programming - the idea from the start was to 'terminal-enable' downstairs
so I could use a proper terminal which would make using ALLIN1 much easier
because I can use the proper keyboard and not have to resort to help all the
time. I can get by, but I feel like if I had the real thing here I'd explore the
possibilities a bit more.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, a DECserver 90M I won on eBay arrived but it
doesn't work. It would have been the ideal solution - it has 10baseT so it would
have been a CAT5 into the back of the router. It also has flash RAM so it
wouldn't require setting up on the NetBSD box to download it's sofware. I also
won a DECserver 90TL and a DECserver 90L+ so all is not lost, but it means I
have to setup another router downstairs which has a thin-wire ethernet port
(10base2) and run some thin wire ethernet cable between the two. Not the end of
the world, except that I am one terminator short. Thin wire is 'daisychained'
between all the boxes attached on that 'segment', it attaches via a t-piece to
each box and must be terminated at either end with a 50 ohm terminator.
When I got my first thin-wire router for the VAX it seemed strange because it
only requires one connector for the entire network (the daisychaining means it
is one node on a long wire connecting all boxes). I remember when I was working
for a software house around 1992 that, to start with, the entire building (all
three floors) was on one ethernet segment. This meant that if someone kicked
their box and knocked a connector the entire network went down. My boss (the VAX
porting team leader) was the resident network expert and used to joke that the
days he wore a suit a failure was guaranteed. The 'expert' part involved
grubbing around people's feet in the dust piles expelled from the back of
machines. Later on they got a switch that managed three segments, one for each
floor. I believe it was a very expensive piece of kit.
Anyway, I have one terminator, so I'm one short. No possibility to pinch one
from anywhere either. So, that's that for this weekend and I'm away next week,
so I might actually get it setup for the last week of the challenge.
So what with that, my youngest daughter smashing her fish tank, and my self
inflicted hangover, I've written today off for anything resembling programming.