ToshibaTecra 8000 & Satellite 4030CDT

Over the weekend, I was given two old laptops by someone who knew about my computer collection and restoration projects. He gave me a Toshiba Tecra with Pentium II processor and a Satellite 4030CDT with Celeron. Bulky laptops, for sure. He himself wasn’t sure if they were working. I took the laptops home and decided to experiment. From my experience, such laptops usually present two challenges, namely, absence of adapter and either dead hard disk or the absence of one. I was fairly sure that the adapter wouldn’t be an issue, since, I have a Voltcraft Universal adapter for laptops that come with various pins for a variety of old laptops. Toshiba models are well covered. So, I could power both the machines up. Then a simple BIOS inspection showed that both the laptops lacked hard disks. Crap!

This led me to a visit to our local flea market, hunting for hard disks. I was lucky enough to find one laptop hard disk with the capacity of 6 Gigs for 5 bucks. Then the hack began. It was quite a thing to get the laptop opened and attaching the hard disk. But, fortunately it fit the Tecra laptop. Once done, it was time to test software.

First choice was OpenBSD 5.1. It installed just fine. Had to work a bit to get the proper X resolution. But, apart from that everything went fine. Next up was network. The laptop got no ethernet port. Fortunately, it has a usb port and I had a spare DLink DHub USB to ethernet port converter.  I got it long time ago when EEE 1000H model came out. You see, by the time the model came out, OpenBSD had support for the wireless chip on the machine, but not for the ethernet card. After doing some research, I settled down on the DLink device, since, it was well supported by the axe driver on OpenBSD. But, support for the 1000H ethernet port came about fairly quickly after my first install of OpenBSD, hence the DLink DHub was just lying around in my collection. It came in handy for the Toshiba. Hooked it up and it was all good. axe driver kills! Now, I have network on the Tecra 8000 as well.

I intend to keep the machine lean, since I gotta work with 256MB RAM. Only terminal programs are installed. I thought I could use this device exclusively to continue my Joker Project, hence, I call it The Joker Device.

Here are some pictures. Please ignore the shaky few pictures. My old hands are not that stable anymore.

Toshiba Tecra 8000

Toshiba Tecra 8000 – Shot 2

Toshiba Tecra 8000 – Shot 3

Now, a screenshot of OpenBSD 5.1 in action on the resurrected Laptop.

OpenBSD 5.1 with CWM

Once Tecra was restored, I turned my attention to the Satellite 4030CDT. Same issue as with the Tecra, no hard disk. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an appropriate one for this little machine. I have started looking into Ebay and other sources. I am sure its just a matter of time before I find a disk. In the meantime, I was able to test other features of the laptop and I must say both Tecra and Satellite are worthy additions to the family. Here are a couple of pictures of the Satellite.

Toshiba Satellite 4030CDT – Shot 1

Toshiba Satellite 4030CDT – Shot 2

That was my weekend folks! It’s time to get back to The Joker Device for more writing.

Bell Labs Wallpaper – Part Deux

This is brilliant. Anybody had a look at the latest NY Times Sunday Review? There is a fantastic piece about the culture of innovation at Bell Labs. One of the pictures from the piece is the famous Erwitt photo of Bell Labs NJ, that I spoke in length about a few posts earlier. This picture is in color. It is a must read for anyone interested in anything tech/science related. Click on the image to go to NY Times to read the article. I love it and am currently reading it.

Innovation and the Bell Labs Miracle - NY Times

Many thanks to Don Monroe for leading me to the piece.

On a related note, just couldn’t stop mentioning the Prima Donna of Boneheadedness, that is McKinsey & Company. Can you imagine the cream of consulting business advised Bell that they don’t foresee any future for the mobile phone market?

Through the Looking Glass

This was the fortune output on my machine just a few moments ago. Why do I relate to this so much?

“No program is perfect,”
They said with a shrug.
“The customer’s happy–
What’s one little bug?”

But he was determined,            Then change two, then three more,
The others went home.              As year followed year.
He dug out the flow chart         And strangers would comment,
Deserted, alone.                          “Is that guy still here?”

Night passed into morning.      He died at the console
The room was cluttered            Of hunger and thirst
With core dumps, source listings.    Next day he was buried
“I’m close,” he muttered.            Face down, nine edge first.

Chain smoking, cold coffee,    And his wife through her tears
Logic, deduction.                        Accepted his fate.
“I’ve got it!” he cried,                 Said “He’s not really gone,
“Just change one instruction.”  He’s just working late.”
        — The Perfect Programmer

How many of you folks have spent countless nights wide awake either programming, testing or debugging? And cursing like a champion the whole time. I actually have lost count. It always starts like this – One bug, and once you catch it, you review the code again and then, you somehow feel that a certain function is called in the shittiest way possible. One thing leads to another and by the time you are finished, you realize an hour had passed by since you had begun, but it’s the next day! But the feeling you get once the issue is solved is something that is much more satisfying than an explosive orgasm! Not to forget the obligatory cursing, celebrating the conquest and partying with a hot coffee and a cigarette. 😀 Reminds me of the following picture relating the number of curses with code quality.

Absolute Truth!

It’s another perk of being single after getting your ass dumped by your ex in Starbucks after three years without any explanation (Had to rub it in, sorry. Feb 9th would be the first anniversary of the Starbucks core dump). You don’t give a damn about when you go home and can spend a major part of every Saturday in a comic book shop arguing for DC against Marvel fanboys and party when you feel like it! Awesome, I say!

By the way, have you guys slacked off while programming? I have. My excuse has always been the classic, “Code is compiling” and I am waiting for it to be finished. Although, most of time, it was true. Just wanted to remember that again.

I have to stay out of the way

Alright, I have slacked off too long. Back to some pf testing on OpenBSD-Current with another slacker.