Planes, trains, and computers

Last Updated on April 14, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

Planes. I’m not as big of an airplane fanatic as my dad was, but no one is. It’s too bad he didn’t live to see the Web come of age, because I found some sites that would have made him want to use a computer. Aviationarchaeology documents military crash sites in the United States. It’s not complete (I know of an F-86 Sabre crash site in a remote site in the Southwest that it doesn’t document) but cool. I found another similar page.
And then there’s Urban’s military aviation weblog, which is a links collection that just has to be seen to believe.

Trains. Gatermann sent this link to a streetcar, built in 1910, for sale on eBay. I asked him if he thought Metrolink would mind if we used it on their tracks. He said he didn’t think so.

Having a restored streetcar would be almost as cool as having a private Tu-144… And a whole lot safer.

Automobiles Computers. The P2 shell I ordered last week arrived yesterday. It was surprisingly well constructed. The motherboard and floppy drive were installed, and all cables were present, making it really easy to construct a complete system from it. I plugged in a 128-meg stick, attached a CPU fan to a Celeron-366 in a slotket and plugged it in, then I raided an old 486 for a video card, NIC, hard drive, and CD-ROM drive. The HD in the 486 had Debian 2.2 installed, so no further work was necessary. I plugged it in, turned it on, Debian booted, and it was fast.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a P2-class machine with ISA video and network cards, but this thing’s going to be a low-volume Intranet server. Why waste a decent video card on it when the only thing it’s ever going to display is a logon prompt? Back before Microsoft brainwashed the world into putting GUIs on their servers, it was common practice to put ISA video cards in servers to conserve PCI slots for important things, like network cards and SCSI cards.

A Pentium-75 would do this job nicely, but I had a slotket, a CPU, and a 128-meg stick, and the barebones system cost $40 delivered. I’d have needed 32 megs of 72-pin memory to bring up a Pentium-75 to do this job, and it would have cost more than that.

At any rate, if you want to build your own dirt-cheap P2, you can get the case/ps/mobo/floppy combo for $20 and a P2-233 for $17 at As for hard drives, a 2.5-gig job will run you $26 and it goes on up from there. They don’t have any dirt-cheap video cards there, unfortunately. You can go to Computer Surplus Outlet for that. I wouldn’t trust either place’s memory, so go to Crucial for that. If you have some parts laying around from upgrades past, you can have a complete system cheap. If you don’t have parts, you’re better off just buying a complete P2. You can get a Dell P2-233/32MB for $79, including CD-ROM and NIC.

I’m really curious how a lab full of P2-233s running Linux as one big OpenMosix cluster would perform…

And baseball. Can’t leave that out. I just read that Cookie Rojas is coaching for the Toronto Blue Jays. So when are the Royals going to get rid of Tony Loser and put Cookie at the helm?

As for Stinky the Frenchman’s comments the other day comparing rooting for the Royals to rooting for the cars at a monster truck rally, does anyone else find it ironic that a supposed French nobleman would talk with an air of superiority about “American Cricket,” then go compare my favorite team to a monster truck rally? How does he know about monster truck rallies?

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2 thoughts on “Planes, trains, and computers

  • April 6, 2002 at 6:51 pm

    Maybe Stinky the Frenchman is really not french, but from Arkansas.

  • April 9, 2002 at 1:11 pm

    I have been out of the country, else I would have responded more timely.

    At least R. Collins appreciates a breadth of knowledge. Those with common sense know that just because one knows OF a topic does not mean that one PARTAKES of a topic. For instance, Herr "Meister" Blochkopf KNOWS of wines, cigars, and cognac. But he considers them "spoiled grape juice", "stogies", and "stuff I’d put in my gas tank and then cap off with a rag and a Walmart bag".

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