MiST - Amiga ST FPGA + intro

ethan at 757.org ethan at 757.org
Thu Mar 31 16:29:01 CDT 2016

> Very cool. I've never been inside any NASA building. The closest I've come is 
> to drive by the Johnson Space Center in Houston when I was in high school.

This was my place of work:

My hobby in SGI and unix computers brought me out of tech support job into 
admin job.

> One thing that impacted me a lot when I was younger was when I'd visit or see 
> video of any kind of place where technical or scientific work was going on, I 
> paid a lot of attention to the computers people used. I noticed right away 
> that pointy-haired-boss and bean-counters used one type, and the folks with a 
> brain used a different type. So, right away I wanted to know what was special 
> and cool about the guy in the corner with the purple computer. It's all just 
> a jedi-mind-trick, I know, but it's just something that I've realized was 
> very influential to me at the time.

Very cool!

> Nice! You must have a truck or cargo van with a lift or something. You 
> mention a lot of really heavy rigs.

Used to borrow parents pickup for some of them, and the Cray stuff always 
requires a lift gate business class penske/budget/enterprise truck. From 
the arcade hobby side, I find myself with lift gate trucks fairly often (I 
let a gaming fest use a lot of my games so they go out once or twice a 
year, and friends do the same.)

> I wanted one of these two sooooo bad when they came out. The Crimson was also 
> very cool because it _was_ crimson (in color). SGI was about the company that 
> cared about that kind of industrial design in the 1990's. That and the fact 
> that their machines were underrated vis-a-vis Sun. I couldn't believe how 
> much better of a value the Indy and Indigo 2 were compared to Sun. They'd 
> usually come with crap 8-bit graphics and some inferior sound device. For 
> quite a while they had zilch for Z-buffered 3D while SGI ate their lunch, yet 
> all my geek buddies still thought Sun was something special. They did some 
> cool things, just not as cool as SGI was doing at the time. It wasn't until 
> Jurassic Park came out that some folks started to appreciate the power of SGI 
> boxes.

The interesting thing is, I've always been so underwhelmed with the 
Crimson. Sure it's red, but the black deskside Onyx with the purple stripe 
or blue Challenge was just so much better to me. RE graphics, and the 
ability to go to 12 CPUs on the deskside Onyx (Am I right? Or was onyx 
limited to 4 and Challenge L was 12, can't remember) just made the Onyx 
way more desireable to me!

> My friend Greg Douglas used to run Reputable Systems in Boulder. He's the 
> only one I know of who has had more SGIs that you or I ;-) I saw his 
> warehouse when Reputable.com was going strong. It was a little slice of 
> heaven.

Oh wow! So my first SGI, the Indigo R3000 then with 8bit graphics now mine 
has Elan graphics, the one I still have, I bought from Greg/Reputable! He 
was pretty much the source for the hobby world until eBay picked up. XSNet 
or whatever in Georgia was another source. I used to go to NASA Auction 
and for instance I traded a bunch of SGI video boxes used for one of those 
systems ?Gallalieo? Some Onyx video rig to them in return for 6 x Indy and 
5 x Sun Sparcstation 20s. Had a web hosting company running on them for a 

Oh wow more old pics:

Good times!

> I used one of these when I worked at IBM for a while. I wasn't very popular 
> with the AIX / Power folks, but what did they want me to use some RS/6000 or 
> Intellistation running AIX.... no thanks. CDE < && != Indigo Magic. IMHO and 
> YMMV of course :-)

Hah nice!

> That sounds too awesome for words. Don't ruin it telling me about the 
> bureaucracy or how none of it's funded, now. I'm trying to live in the past, 
> dang it. :-)

Oh no that group is going strong and probably has crazy toys. Last I heard 
I think they were rocking 2.2 petabytes of disk or something, and that was 
8 years ago?

> Yeah, I definitely just keep my gear on when I need it. I also use a Baytech 
> RPC-10 to control power on my machines in the garage (and a serial console 
> server for lights-out). I can turn most of them on and off from remote.

Nice, I use similar boxes with AMX NetLinx controller for home automation.

> A huge one. I credit the rise of so-called "hackerspace" clubs/shops to this 
> issue. We want to keep these old gems, but uhhh.. where? So, folks get 
> together and pile all the junk in one big warehouse on the stinky side of 
> town. The only problem is that here in Denver, the ones I've seen don't take 
> care of them and people are careless & abusive of the gear. I can't have my 
> beautiful blue cases scratched up. :-)

Nice! My Cray lived at the Norfolk VA hackerspace until it's demise, and a 
few of the other systems were there but nothing like a full on museum. 
There was a college class that came to see the Cray once. That was 

> I'm right there with ya. I live in Denver and I work a decent IT job. I can't 
> buy a house anywhere near where the work is. The wing-tips got em' locked up 
> as investments. I'll be happy to rent space in the tent city once I'm too old 
> to be of any use to my corporate masters. I just hope my savings will be 
> enough to buy bread (or cat food?) when I'm elderly. All my talk of "what I'm 
> gonna do when I get a house" is a pipe-dream. Like the rest of us, I'll be 
> lucky to have a place to plug my computer in as our glorious future arrives.

Same! Cash out and move to flyover country! Or commercial space since most 
of it won't be needed with Amazon!

> I used to administer one of those a long time ago at a telco. They used it 
> for fraud detection for their calling cards. It had a little SPARC box to 
> help control & bootstrap it. UNICOS (it was 10.x IIRC) was weird stuff, 
> sometimes but still fun.


> That's actually part of the reason why I got the Tezro. I knew it'd make me 
> stop lusting for a Fuel and a decent Rocktane^2 and thus save me money 
> overall. :-)

There ya go!

> -Swift

Ethan O'Toole

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