Friday, February 8, 2019

Ubuntu strikes again

Over the years, I have installed various Linux distributions, starting with Slackware way back in '96 or so. Over the years, Ubuntu has come to prominence, so on several occasions, I have installed either Ubuntu or one of its derivatives. Every time, when updating or upgrading one package or another, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong, causing a major OS crash. Most recently, I installed Linux Mint because I got fed up with issues with Windows, and ran it fine for quite some time. Then the graphical update program could no longer fetch updates and I couldn't edit software sources or preferences, and then I noticed that I was disconnected from everything in pidgen, and couldn't reconnect no matter what I did. So I did something you should never have to do in Linux, I did a reboot. And it wouldn't complete a normal boot. So I got it to boot to a cli, did some messing around, and finally managed to get it to boot into a GUI, but I had to change desktop managers in order to do so, and everything is borked. I'm not sure if I should try to fix the issues with gdm, or if I should just install a different distro and regain my sanity...

Friday, January 11, 2019

Software Defined Radio

A short while back, I picked up an RTL-SDR [affiliate link] from Adafruit to get into software defined radio. It can tune frequencies from 24MHz to 1850MHz, but you may want to pick up some MCX male to various connectors [affiliate link] in order to attach a different antenna, as the included antenna is a bit limited.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

OS/2 Warp on old Thinkpad

A short while back, a friend gave me an old IBM Thinkpad T23, so my first thought was "IBM Laptop should get an IBM OS" so I set to work getting OS/2 Warp installed on it. First issue is that the Warp CDs are not bootable, and the IBM does not have a built-in floppy. No problem, I thought, as he also gave me a USB 3.5" floppy drive. But I also discovered that the optical drive is broken on the laptop, so I went looking for an alternate method of installing the OS. I found this thread about installing from a folder on the hard drive. So, I install MS-DOS 6.22 and copy the os2image folder from the CD to c:\temp and modify the config.sys on disk1 as instructed. I boot from the Install disk, swap in disk1 when requested, then disk2, then... Error... Kinda non-descript, as it says something about a problem with either the hard drive or the floppy drive. My best guess is that the BIOS support for the USB floppy only goes so far, then fails when OS/2 gets to a certain point of the install. I recall seeing something, somewhere, about adding USB drivers to the OS/2 floppies, so I will try to track that down and see if that works. Barring that, my only other option is probably to place the HDD into another old laptop that has a working floppy and optical drive, do an install using generic drivers, then swap the drive into the Thinkpad and update the drivers to match the actual hardware. Stay tuned for progress...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Orville

I recently watched the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, and, while enjoyable, it seems like the producers changed things just for the sake of pissing off long time Trek fans. I am currently watching The Orville, and, while it is a hilariously cheesy spoof of Star Trek, it still manages to be more like Star Trek than Discovery is.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

BBS

I have been tinkering with WWIV under Linux again. Still a work in progress, but the BBS is available at bbs.nitemarecafe.com again. Telnet is port 2002. Lots of things need done yet, as I haven't spent more than a few minutes at a time on it, but more will be coming soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sabre Computers

Back in the day, I worked at a local Computer Renaissance, and one of the first things I did was to refurbish a Sabre computer, which, I gathered, was some sort of re-branded, or foreign distributed, AST Advantage. I'm not sure where my boss sourced these machines, but they were fairly bare by the time we received them. I added a hard drive and multimedia kit, possibly upgraded the RAM and/or CPU, installed an OS, and we sold a ton of them. The first one I refurbished, I wound up buying, as it was a rock-solid machine. We sourced two different models, a 486SX-25, and a 486DX-33, and they had different RAM and CPU sockets in them, if I recall correctly. The 486DX is the one I wound up with, and it was easier to upgrade the CPU (I eventually installed an Intel Overdrive 83 in it, and it kicked ass) and had 4 72-pin SIMM slots. I think the 486SX model may have had 2 72-pin and 4 30-pin slots, but my memory is a bit fuzzy there. The DX had a 1-meg (upgradable to 2 megs) ATI Mach 32 on board, and I *think* the SX had the same. It had IDE, floppy, 2 serial ports, and one parallel port on board as well, and had 4 ISA slots via a riser card.

I recently went looking for information on Sabre Computers but I come up blank. I obviously found a pic of an AST Advantage, which looked identical aside from the name plate. Anyone out there have any links about Sabre, or pics of one?