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Vintage PCs and bubblegum and Unix and Windows server crashes

Mail. Svenson wrote in, a little bit disturbed at the “vintage” label I hung on Pentium IIs this week. Here’s what he said:

What you call a Vintage PC is about what I got as a "new" box at work!

OK, it's a P2/400 but the 128Meg is not EEC and the drive is a standard 10GB 5400rpm thing. No SCSI anywhere. That is the kind of hardware being installed here.

Oh, and, BTW, it has to run Win2000.

To which I replied my “vintage” label was at least slightly tongue-in-cheek. I’ve got a Celeron-400 here that’s still in heavy use. My P2/266 laptop doesn’t get much use anymore because my employer provided me with a P3-800 laptop late last year. There are people who call even that P3-800 passe. They’re idiots, and I have zero respect for them, but they’re out there, and unfortunately people listen to them. Today I’m hearing P2s mentioned with the same disdain that 286s were in 1993 and 386s in 1996. They’re still fine computers. As my workplace is well aware–our workhorse machine is still a P2-350 or 400 with a 5400 RPM IDE drive, and that looks to remain true for another couple of years.

It’s a buyer’s market. If you know someone who needs a computer, buy one of these. They’re built much better than a $399 eMachine, and the models with SCSI drives in them will outperform the eMachine for household tasks.

Absolutely nuts. If you’re in the market for Luis Gonzalez’s bubblegum (Gonzalez is the Arizona Diamondbacks’ slugging left fielder), it’s for sale. I got a bit far out there on my baseball collectibles, but never that far.

Absolutely funny. I’m so glad that the people at Microsoft and Unisys are incompetent. They set their sights on Unix with their “We Have the Way Out” campaign. Then someone noticed the Web site was running on, uh, well, FreeBSD. I see. Unix is good enough for them, but not for the rest of us. Word got out in a hurry, and they hastily moved the site over to Windows 2000. Within hours, the site was down. And down it stayed, for two days.

See what happens when you abandon Unix in your datacenter for Windows 2000? I gotta get me some of that. I’ll charge into my boss’ boss’ office today and tell him we need to migrate our VMS and Digital Unix and Linux systems to Windows 2000. He’ll ask why, and I’ll tell him the truth:

The systems we have now work too well and I need job security. is working now, but Gatermann visited it yesterday and noted its form didn’t work right in Mozilla. So I guess you can only get information on Microsoft’s way out if you’re running Internet Explorer.

Maybe these guys are smart, but they have about as much common sense as the chair I’m sitting in.

That’s just as well. If their experience is any indication (trust me, it is), they can keep their information. I’ve seen more useful information written in bathroom stalls.

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11 thoughts on “Vintage PCs and bubblegum and Unix and Windows server crashes”

  1. This PII runs as fast or faster than most of those "P4’s" I see at compusa and such. This thing with Debian on it is a lean mean machine.

    Heck, the fastest CPU I own is an AMD k6-2 500. With 512MB of ram in it, it runs win2k pretty well, but most of that is due to the fact that it has that amount of memory and a nice 10,000 RPM scsi drive.

    I’ll take a 10,000 RPM drive and more memory any day over a glitzy P4.

    But like Dave said too, there are some who think machines like these are useless. If I’d been able to spend the money, I’d have bought two of thos HP Kayak when they were available.

  2. "They set their sites on Unix…"

    Is that another toungue-in-cheek response or just an example of that fine J School edumication? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I firmly stand behind using older computers. My PPro is the most stable computer I’ve ever owned. I did get a PPro upgrade that pushed it to a whopping 333mhz and the stability is great. I’m using Win2k on it and don’t have a problem. I even use old Macs ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. My 300 MHz Pentium MMX notebook is still chugging along quite nicely. So is my Macintosh LC II (30 MHz 68030 with 10 MB RAM)… I mostly use it to play games, though.

    My main workstation still remains an 800 MHz AMD Athlon "Thunderbird" with 256 MB PC133 2-2-2 RAM.

    All machines except for the notebook and Mac have Maxtor DiamondMax 40 Plus HDDs (30 GB, 7,200 RPM, ATA66). I used to have SCSI in my server (100 MHz AMD 486 DX4 with SL Enhancements, 64 MB FPM RAM), but the drive died. ๐Ÿ™

  5. If I ever find a NIC for my Amiga 2000 (upgraded to a 25 MHz 68030, 10 MB RAM) I’ll put it to use. It was the best computer I ever had.

    One of the guys at church was asking me about a problem he’s having on his computer. One of his friends says it’s because he has a Pentium II. But it’s obviously a trashed ActiveX control. The problem is the age of his Windows installation; his CPU is irrelevant. (A 486 has more than enough power to play Flash animations.)

    If I were to reformat his drive, install everything clean, and do a little optimization along the way, his P2 would crank along for 2-3 more years, very happily.

  6. Man, do you even want me in this discussion? …still running P200s and such with those Soyo boards you pimped last year loaded with Celeron 500s on the main workstations. …and a P-120 for a laptop.

    Yeah, let’s talk about "what works"!

  7. I whole heartily agree… "old" computers are perfectlf ine performers. I have upgraded since I talked about this last… my main machine is an AMD K6-2 550 with 256 Mb RAM, etc and it is perfectly fine.

    I did splurge on a PIII 1 GHz on an Intel borad w/512 Mb RAM running W2K Pro which is mostly deidcated to video capture and works fine. Heck, the AMD K6-2 captures most everything without dropping frames too.

    I am running a 486-33 w/32 Mb RAM as a file server, believe it or not – works great!

  8. My PII 266 HP Kayak is now my web server. Thing runs cgi scripts faster than my celeron 400 did with a 7200 RPM Maxtor Drive.

    Give me a fast SCSI drive and a lowly CPU any day over a flashy P$…I mean P4…

  9. Man.. I feel bad. I’m running an Athlon XP 1900+

    If feel so… so… up-to-date.


    Well seriously,.. I use a PII 500 and a PIII 450 at work and they both run just fine. But I’m prolly the most impatient person you’ll ever meet, so at home I want to be able to click the icon and then *blink* and have the app opened and ready to go. And that’s how it is now… with that kind of speed coupled with my smokin’ fast DSL, it’s a wonder I have the patience for any kind of delays in the "real" world. :p


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