winter's computers
found, loved, and nurtured for spring
my ugly geek secret

Sunday, January 20, 2008

twoears

Model

  • Toshiba Satellite Pro 460CDT
Introduced
  • 1996
CPU
  • Intel Pentium MMX, 166MHz
RAM
  • 32 MB
Video
  • C&T F65554
  • 12.1" 800 x 600 TFT LCD display
Disk
  • 2 GB harddrive
  • CD-ROM
Network
  • 100BASE-TX (Xircom RE-100 Cardbus NIC)
Operating Systems
  • Windows 2000 Professional
Features
  • Accupoint mouse
  • IrDA infrared port
  • 33.6 /14.4 Kbps Data/Fax/Voice modem
  • Lexmark 3200 Color inkjet printer
  • HP Scanjet 5400C scanner
When iorek became the kids' computer I couldn't get the printer and scanner to work as Lexmark didn't offer Macintosh drivers and HP insisted on charging for them (only available on CD). So, I set up twoears to be a print server and scanning station via remote control using VNC. The printer and documents folder are shared so my other computers can print to and scan from it.

Even after optimizing Windows to work in 32MB of memory, though, it still doesn't work very well. I'm going to have to dig up some more RAM for it or find drivers and install Windows 98 instead.

ridley

Model

  • HP Vectra VL800 MT
Introduced
  • 2001
CPU
  • Intel Pentium 4, 1700MHz
RAM
  • 1280 MB
Video
  • ATI Radeon 9800 PRO
Disk
  • 250 GB harddrive
  • DVD-ROM
  • DVD-RAM
Network
  • 100BASE-TX
Operating Systems
  • Windows 2000 Professional
Features
  • 32" Westinghouse LCD Digital Widescreen TV
  • Lexmark 3200 Color inkjet printer
  • HP Scanjet 5400C scanner
  • Logitech QuickCam Pro webcam (mostly used for Skype)
  • Logitech WingMan Precision gamepad
  • Belkin Nostromo n40 gamepad
  • Logitech Attack 3 joystick
  • Nexxtech Mini Racing Wheel
Originally ridley was the kids' computer, but when we got the digital TV I hooked it up and transfered the kids' documents, email, bookmarks, etc. to iorek. This computer has a fast graphics card and a bunch of game controllers (including a racing wheel with separate gas and brake pedals) for playing games, a webcam for Skype, and runs GB-PVR for watching movies and listening to music.

iorek

Model

  • Apple eMac (ATI Graphics)
Introduced
  • 2003
CPU
  • PowerPC 7445 (G4), 1.0 GHz
RAM
  • 768 MB
Video
  • ATI Radeon 7500 (AGP 4x)
Disk
  • 80 GB harddrive
  • 4x SuperDrive
Network
  • Wireless (AirPort Extreme)
  • 10/100BASE-T
Operating Systems
  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 (Panther)
Features
  • 17-inch flat CRT
  • Two Firewire 400 ports
  • 18-watt stereo speakers
  • Microphone
  • Modem
I did some work for a friend and as partial payment I took iorek home. As a coincidence, I had spent the previous weekend tweaking Ubuntu on stinky to look like OS X, but it just didn't work smoothly. A week later I had the real thing.

I bought a refurbished AirPort Extreme card from Apple as well. Donnie tried to install it but it was difficult to tell when it was fully inserted. After I tried a few times, it finally worked (thankfully without damaging anything in the process).

I've never had so much fun setting up a computer; this Mac is an absolute pleasure to use. The kids can control it by talking to it ("Computer, open World of Warcraft"). It even tells (really bad) knock-knock jokes if you ask it to. It comes with iTunes which works with the Rio S10 MP3 player I handed down to Donnie Darko last summer, and it comes with iPhoto which lets him play with the photos on his hand-me-down Fuji FinePix A101. iPhoto also works with the Vtech KidiZoom camera Calvin got for Christmas. It also comes with iMovie that the kids can use to create and mix movies from their animations, the webcam, and our camcorder (though because it's an old analog camcorder they'll have to transfer video through the MythTV system). When they're all done, they can turn their movie into a standard DVD (with menus and everything) using iDVD. It's just amazing what you can do with a Mac straight out of the box.