Like I need a hole in my head

With so many computers around the house and not really enough things to do with them, you’d think I would make a point of not bringing home another leftover piece of junk.

Unless it’s something I can use as parts, or to improve upon the machines I already have.

That’s what I thought I was doing when I found a Fujitsu NU/13D, a rather banged-up 133Mhz Pentium machine with 64Mb of memory in it, a CDROM but no hard drive.

Ideally, the plan was to scalp whatever was usable — memory and CDROM — and use it in my own Fujitsu Pentium. Alas, it was not to be … in part.

The machine came out of a junk bin in a recycling shop, and some wag had already scooped the memory out of it, or it never had any additional memory to start with. Bummer.

So the CDROM was the only viable transplant, and I say that not having torn apart the machine yet to see if the remaining 32Mb reported by the BIOS is removable. The last Fujitsu-series Pentium I tore apart had the memory fused to the motherboard.

Interestingly, the CDROM is accessible from the operating system and BIOS, but the option to boot from it doesn’t seem to work. It’s possible that it is not completely compatible; the machine is actually a full year older than the one I type on now.

And oddly, it is not an unattractive computer. It’s rough around the edges and needed a vigorous cleaning, but all the parts appear to work and the screen is in good shape. It’s a tiny bit bigger than the one I have now, too.

But the guts are not appealing to me — it also has a dreaded Trident video card — and since the Mebius has USB ports, this new machine is not likely to take over any time soon.

Ironically, I can boot to something like the final release of Damn Small Linux, get a full screen, full color, full resolution desktop, connect to the wireless network with a leftover orinoco/agere wireless card, and all that without a hard drive … and the battery will last an hour and a half.

Too bad that battery is not compatible with the machine I use now though. It will insert, but it can’t draw power off it, and I see where the “model number” on the battery is different. Probably different connections. Oh well.

I also found a rather quaint Corega WLCB54GL2 PCMCIA wireless card, and it apparently is working … sort of. It’s RT61-driven, and it’s been a really, really long time since I fought with an RT61 card.

I can see where the drivers are available in the kernel, but for some reason my kernels can never find the firmware need to run the things. Technically it works (I can get online and surf in Arch Linux) just not when I try to do it myself.

The last thing I noticed was a creepy looking laptop of some sorts: something called a PCsel L7 Avie, if I remember the name right. The screen was minuscule and the size of the thing was suspicious in its smallness.

So I might have been looking at a true antique — maybe a 386 or even 286. I’m sorry to say I didn’t have enough money to take home both that and the Fujitsu, so I left it there.

Of course if I go back now, it’ll be gone. In the wild, wild world of leftover computer junk, you can’t pause to think things over. You gotta move quick. … :roll:

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11 Responses to “Like I need a hole in my head”


  1. 1 vespas 2010/08/16 at 8:22 PM

    I think you have to take it up a notch a bit and instead of laptops start using routers to see how much you can do with one of them, you ‘just’ need dd-wrt…

  2. 2 Hund 2010/08/16 at 10:08 PM

    DD-WRT is not completley open source.

  3. 3 mulenmar 2010/08/17 at 3:23 AM

    OpenWRT then? In any case, the replacement firmwares all are for Broadcom hardware. If I remember right, Broadcom got caught misusing the GPL or GPL code and was forced to release source code — and everything was changed/rebuilt/reverse-engineered from there.

    If you’re REALLY wanting to work in a tiny sliver of memory, try a Fuzebox. (Open-source, 8-bit game console.)


  1. 1 The spare spare spare computer « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/08/25 at 11:02 AM
  2. 2 In-house shuffle « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/09/03 at 11:13 AM
  3. 3 How little it takes « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/09/10 at 9:55 AM
  4. 4 gcc the pig « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/09/27 at 10:34 AM
  5. 5 Two new wireless cards « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/10/08 at 8:27 AM
  6. 6 The sub-$100 mighty mongrel machine « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/11/10 at 10:44 PM
  7. 7 Some audio success « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/11/14 at 5:16 PM
  8. 8 The ebb and flow « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2011/04/28 at 9:12 AM

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May 6, 2011
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