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The Thugs: Doing more with less!
Thursday, 8 November 2007
I'm baaaaaack!
Topic: CJ's ramblings

Well, that was an interesting Summer... and, er,  Autumn.

I have a few interesting things to report.  First off, my beloved Vier (Mac LC475) died earlier this year, it's onboard SCSI controller died. It's replacement, Funf (Mac LC575), died a similar death.  Then the hard drives went on Mothra (my G3 upgraded Powermac 6100), as well as Luxembourg (my Pentium 166MMX).

Lost everything that hadn't been backed up.

On a positive note, I acquired a few new systems, and have upgraded a couple of old ones, too.

My Sun Ultra 5 (Cinq) was upgraded with 512Mb RAM, an 18Gb HD, CDRW, and a 440MHz CPU.  It's now my main machine, running Debian "etch"!

Also picked up a Sun Blade 100, which was upgraded to 1Gb RAM, and 80Gb HD, and DVDROM drive.  It serves as my office machine, and runs Solaris 10.

Further into my Sun collection, I've been tweaking both Malcontent (my Sparc IPX) and Sunburn (my Sparcstation 10).  I'm running Redhat 6.2 on both, and am slowly tweaking them to my liking.  Even tried my had at developing some X-stuff... more on WHY later...

Also, I FINALLY picked up a 4Mb VSIMM for Hidamari (my Sparcserver 20) and am enjoying 24-bit colour for the first time on a Sun4m machine!  This weekend will be spent setting Hidamari up and trying out different window managers.  When I finally find that 18Gb SCA drive that I've misplaced, I'll likely install Solaris 9... my full Solaris 9 media kit should be arriving soon...

I also bought anoher Powerbook G3 Lombard as a parts machine, so I could fix Nadia, my original 400MHz Lombard.  Swapped the HD out of the new Lombard and into Nadia, and she booted!  Turns out, it was just the hard drive that died.  So, once I install a new HD into the new Lombard (aka Andrea), I'll have TWO Lombards!

And lastly, on a more interesting note, I've FINALLY found a Picasso II graphics card as well as a Toccata sound card for my beloved Ami-chan (my Amiga 2000).  It only took eleven years!  I've also picked up a Vlab capture card, as well as a Video Toaster 2000 card... once I get my hands on a Time-base Corrector card, my media-creation machine will be back in action!  Time to finally make my movie!

Oh, and I've finally gone wireless...

 So, that about sums up my summer.  Had a few beers, met a few new people, swapped a few stories, and bought some new toys.  Can't speak for Slam though, as he seems to have vanished from the face of the Earth (last sighted by me - April 2007).

At any rate, I'm gearing up for 2008!





Posted by bunchothugs at 8:54 PM CST
Thursday, 10 May 2007
Cinq and Debian
Topic: CJ's ramblings

While Slam does his thing with his new toys (which I have yet to see, ya bastard!), I'm playing with my newly rejuvenated Sun Ultra 5, aka Cinq.

I took Solaris 8 off and installed Debian "etch".  And I ain't going back although I may go parallel - I'm planning on picking up a larger HD so I can dual-boot Solaris 8 and Debian.  Seems my SunPCi card is only supported by Solaris.  

I'm looking forward to the day I can have one of my ignorant, Windows-centric friends over for a visit, and show them my Solaris machine running Windows XP in an X-window.  While ripping & encoding MP3s and surfing the web in Solaris...

In other news, I just won a Sun Blade 100 on eBay and am anxiously awaiting its arrival!  More Unix machines! Har har har!






Posted by bunchothugs at 9:41 PM CDT
Sunday, 15 April 2007
New Machines in the Collection
Now Playing: Pinball Machines
Topic: Slam's Updates

It's been awhile and I thought I would let people know what's up.

Although we haven't posted in awhile, we are still doing more with less.  I have expanded into the "pre computer" processing.  At present I own 5 pinball machines:

Amigo               - Bally 4 player 1973

Beat the Clock  - Williams 1 Player 1963

El Toro              - Bally 1 player 1970

Travel Time       -  Williams 1 player 1973

Wild Life            - Gottlieb 2 player 1972 


Currently only the first two are in working condition.

  Beat The Clock is presently in the best condition,  I have cleaned playfield and all  visible parts, and replaced all rubbers.

  Amigo has been cleaned, and received a quick polish.  Although it hasn't received and restoration, it is playable condition with only minor quirks.

  Presently El Toro is in a state of cleaning and re-assembling.  Once cleaned, I will continue to trace the problems with resetting the ball counter, and should then have a clean restored machine.

Travel Time and Wild Life, both are quirky.  They both can be played to some extent, but not at the stage where I would be willing to close them up and play them regularily.


Until next time, I'll be chasing a silver ball and wires.





Posted by bunchothugs at 8:35 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 April 2007 8:53 PM CDT
Sunday, 28 January 2007
Topic: Bio

Who is Slam?

As always an interesting question. As to the answer....... I'd like to plead the Fifth, but for the rest of us Canadians, no such luck. I can honestly say computers are easy to use...... assuming you're not working with a new release of "Evil Bill" brand software. "Now with 50% more bugs!!".

My job requires me to use Windows NT, with system emulators to support the multiple systems we access. From DOS boxes, embedded OS's to the newest Pentium 4's, all in a realtime 24/7 service environment.

I am most likely the sort that you'd say is obsessed or addicted to his computer hobby. I probably will have more hardware pass through my hands then 5 people you know. I will say there is one man that has proved me wrong, my long time confederate, Conceited Jerk. I will admit he's ahead of me, but only because of a coup from his past roommate, less then $100 for all the computers you can take? This man has owned (or still owns) the top gaming systems for the last 10 years. Of course, I should know, considering the time I used to spend at his place when we were kids. I've often been called the adopted son of his family, or a piece of furniture if you like. As to him, to this day my family still considers him part of our extended family.

Currently we've returned to our roots by re-releasing ourselves as "The Thugs". A return to our younger days, and as part of this we are creating this page for us and others like us. Of course, it means I'll be at his place more. Mind you, close to 50% of my systems are at his home, as my own house currently needs more work then all my computer systems combined.

My Credentials:

I am what I'd like to call a "Power User", not just any user. I believe in making the hardware and software do more then people say it can. What's my history? It all began in the pre-home computer days and it goes like this:

Timex-Sinclair: Not good for much, it was only a computer designed for entering "basic" programs, in BASIC! No QWERTY keyboard for you.

COCO 2: More fun....still programming in BASIC..... but it's a Radio Shack computer, what would you expect?

Amiga 500: Ah those were the those days the Amiga was the best. Able to multitask at only 512k. Those were still the days when Bill Gates was quoted saying "640 Kb should be good enough for anybody".

Tandy 1000RL: Another Radio Shack computer, and they said it couldn't run DOS 6.22??? What a joke, at times it could have been a Ben Johnson with what we did to it. Hmm now what happens when I use fdisk... Aha! I found it.

Amiga CDTV: The Professional model of course! The pinnacle of my 68k days, an ongoing project. Will I get it beyond AmigaDOS 1.3.3? Tune in next week....

IBM Compatibles: Even I had to migrate eventually. But I got to start at DOS 4.0 and work my way up. A store bought computer? Are you mad!

Sun Stations: A brief stint in my university years. Now more a hands on challenge with CJ. And my latest baby a dead IPC, now Undead!

Palm Pilot Pro: Nice but cramped. It's a benchmark, and of course you know, it set the standard.

Amiga 1200:I said pinnacle before? I agree it's newer, but I still think the CDTV was better. Of course this one does so much more!

SGI: MMMMM fun....these are my current babies..... Personal Iris 4D/20 (Complete, pending OS, but current project) Indigo2 Impact (sans drives, under construction) Indigo2 Extreme (Running IRIX 6.2 or 5.3 depending on my mood, and potential tftp IRIX server for Personal Iris and 2nd Indigo2 install)

Macintosh SE: I couldn't resist! It was really cheap.

As you can see. I've had my share of systems, and used many different OS's. For more info on just what? Check out the projects. 


Posted by bunchothugs at 5:07 PM CST
Conceited Jerk
Topic: Bio

  Hi! I'm the anecdotal (and parenthetical) Conceited Jerk, and I'm the "Power User" of the group.  I oversee the acquisition of new equipment and software (aka impulse purchases), and am usually the one who puts it all to use.  Or finds a "theoretical use" for the far-flung future.  I also maintain the web site (on occasion), and am a freelance writer outside of the Thugs (which explains why I can be kind of...verbose...) and my normal 9-to-5 job as a warehouse manager.

    I've been into computers since 1984 when, at age 11, I received my first home computer system, a TRS-80 Colour Computer 2 (better known as a CoCo 2). I can still remember the awe and fascination I felt when I first turned the machine on and played my first Coco game, Dungeons of Daggorath... My games addiction was fed by my uncle in Quebec who also had a Coco 2 and would send me tapes upon tapes, magazines upon magazines, books upon books, until I mastered the machine. Eventually, I got a printer (DMP-106), a floppy drive (FD-502), and ultimately, a Coco 3. I had my beloved Cocos all through high school, where they served me well when it came time to write an essay, project, or paper. Heh, they may even have distracted me from writing said papers, my multitude of games beckoning me, screaming, "CJ, you need to play a few rounds of Killer Hawks".

  After a while, gaming started to pale in comparison to the fun I had BBSing. I still remember using UltimaTerm on my 512K Coco 3 with two double-sided drives and a RAMdisk programmed in BASIC...Hell, I remember having a BBS set up on my Coco 3, using a BBS program I typed in from Rainbow magazine. The BBS lasted all of an afternoon, but it was still somewhat of an accomplishment!

  Unfortunately, the glory days came to an end when I went to Red River College in1992. In order to stay current and compatible with the college's systems, I was forced to sell my Cocos to buy an MSDOS machine. Not wanting to stray far from the flock, I headed over to Radio Shack and bought a Tandy 1000 RL, complete with RGB-11 monitor (which I still have) and a games package that included Red Baron and FireHawk: Thexder II (both of which I still have!). Since those halcyon days of thirteen years ago, I've accumulated a literal TON of hardware, usually through online auctions (eBay) or used/thrift stores, but I do the occasional small-scale business/corporate buy-out as well.  I own and operate several different architectures and operating systems, and am always hungry for more.

 If I HAD to choose a "main system" out of all of my machines, I'd throw them all out, Amigas, Macs, Sparcs, and all. Over the last few years, I've discovered that each machine I own is good enough in it's own right, that each can compete against each other in terms of their functionality. I guess that's the mark of a true computer "Power User", being able to use any type of system comfortably and productively, because you know that fundamentally, all computers are the same at heart.

Posted by bunchothugs at 4:59 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007 5:03 PM CST
Thugs 2.0
Topic: Introduction

Welcome to The Thugs 2.0!

After yet another year of neglect, we've again decided to revamp the site!

All of the old projects, articles, and diaries will be changed over to blog format, as it's a Hell of a lot easier to maintain.  Rather than worrying if we have the latest version of the HTML code, we can simply log into Tripod and edit what we need.

It may seem a bit lazy, but when you regularily use a dozen different computers, things can be... misplaced...

In addition to the blog, we'll also put up a few photo albums of The Lab and the systems we use, as well as some of the projects on which we're working...

Here's to a more interesting and productive 2007!


Posted by bunchothugs at 4:42 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007 5:05 PM CST

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