Cross-town traffic

My quest for a suitable sub-300Mhz guinea pig led me on a cross-town chase yesterday, visiting three different secondhand computer shops, but coming up empty-handed anyway. I found a lot of desktop machines, some of them even slow enough to do the job, but making the jump from laptops to desktops isn’t what I want right now. I have too many machines on hand as it is, and taking in desktops (particularly desktops I buy) would be more space-consuming than I can afford.

The wild goose chase started when I heard a rumor that there was a decent Pentium II laptop at a shop that was relatively close to my office, but the machine I saw was a little different than what the rumor had suggested. This was an ancient — and I mean ancient — Pentium laptop made by NEC, a Lavie Nr13. This is a tiny picture, but one of the few I could find on the ‘Net. It’ll give you an idea, though.

It’s been a long time since I saw something that old. The keyboard was completely rearranged with the function keys having different labels — P1, Term, Stop, and things like that, if I remember right. There was no ALT key. It was labeled as a Pentium, but I have a feeling it was some sort of proprietary dumb terminal — I used similar hardware a very long time ago when I worked as a Sperry/Unisys mainframe operator. Our system interfaced with Sperry/Unisys desktops and laptops that were basically PCs with rearranged keyboards and repainted keys. It was a little bit nostalgic, I’ll admit.

However, that looked like more work than it was worth — the BIOS startup suggested it had 32Mb of memory, but beyond that, there wasn’t much information given. There was no operating system on the drive (I’m assuming it had a hard drive), or I would have taken a closer look. I brought along a CDRW with Ubuntu Rescue Remix on it, but it wouldn’t read the disc, or wouldn’t boot from the drive. I’d seen enough by then though. It just wasn’t a good fit.

Anyway, my quest continues. I still have a few feelers out there, and I feel like I can take my time with this. No rush, and it’s a buyer’s market, really. :)

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2 Responses to “Cross-town traffic”

  1. 1 JiGGaK 2008/05/16 at 10:23 AM

    Want an IBM stinkpad p2 350? Free, but you pay shipping. Email me…

  2. 2 chris kennedy 2008/05/16 at 9:19 PM

    the comment above my thoughts exactly. my housemate got given a thinkpad 1400 series its p2 2gig 96mb of ram. it had windows me on it but i convinced him to wipe it. i put fluxbuntu on it. good fortune with the pcmcia card i got on ebay for $15 zyxel?? as the installer did the work i had to punch in the WEP code. now it cooks along wireless internet and printing etc. the only thing i stuffed up was the keyboard layout as its a uk one and i think its set for us, i must fix that up.

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Some recent desktops

May 6, 2011
Musca 0.9.24 on Crux Linux
150Mhz Pentium 96Mb 8Gb CF

May 14, 2011
IceWM 1.2.37 and Arch Linux
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

Some recent games

Apr. 21, 2011
Oolite on Xubuntu 11.04
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

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