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Low-clock-frequency HPC which will happily run Linux

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Mjolnir Page Icon Posted 2014-02-20 12:53 PM
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No, I doubt that it would. To be honest, without a cd drive, all I ever installed was a 7 floppy base install. I did manage to get an external modem (US Robotics) to connect to my dial-up account. I found an archive and installed lynx to do some very slow "surfing". It was useful to learn some of the basics of command line file structure and the vi editor.

It was nice to see "her" fire up yesterday after 7-8 years of sitting in a corner of my dusty workshop.

Edited by Mjolnir 2014-02-20 12:56 PM
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2014-02-21 12:30 AM
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Quote
Mjolnir - 2014-02-20 9:53 PM

No, I doubt that it would. To be honest, without a cd drive, all I ever installed was a 7 floppy base install. I did manage to get an external modem (US Robotics) to connect to my dial-up account. I found an archive and installed lynx to do some very slow "surfing". It was useful to learn some of the basics of command line file structure and the vi editor.

It was nice to see "her" fire up yesterday after 7-8 years of sitting in a corner of my dusty workshop.


I see, yes Linux command line file structure and commands come very useful, especially when you work on Linux servers.
It's always fun to see old computers to boot up again after a while.
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i336_ Page Icon Posted 2014-02-21 9:26 AM
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Mjolnir: Wow, that old box you've got there is really cool....! :D *tries to think of something awesome to do with it* (I'll think of something xD)

stingraze, Mjolnir: TinyX works on systems with 4MB RAM, FYI... :P

stingraze: Yea, I love the Linux command shell, and how I can use questionable combinations of sed and grep to do cool things. It might seem unlikely (consult "view source" ^^.... :S), but it's this simple to "scrape" Google Images:
q='hello world'; curl -A 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:26.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/26.0' "https://www.google.com/search?start=${p}&tbs=ic:trans&ijn=1&tbm=isch&q=${q// /+}" | sed 's/rg_di/\n\n/g' | grep 'imgurl' | sed 's/.*;imgurl=\([^&]\+\)&.*/\1/' | grep '^..\{1,2\}tp'
This was one of my last "hmm, I wonder if I could....." whoops-how-did-the-clock-gain-5-hours-like-that "unexpected projects" (:P):
while true; do echo -ne "\n\e[1;34mflick\e[31mr\e[37m URL: \e[31m"; read url; [ "$url" ] || continue; echo -e "\e[34m"; data="$(curl -L# "$url" | grep 'Y\.photo\.init' | sed 's/"\(,\|,\)"/"\n"/g')"; echo; title="$(echo "$data" | sed -n '/^"title/{s/.*title":"//;s/"$//;p}')"; owner="$(echo "$data" | sed -n '/^"ownername/{s/.*ownername":"//;s/"$//;p}')"; echo -e " \e[1;37m\"\e[32m$title\e[37m\" \e[30mby \e[33m$owner"; echo -e "\n \e[34mShot: \e[36m$(echo "$data" | sed -n '/^"date_taken/{s/.*en":"//;s/"$//;p}') \e[30m/ \e[31mPosted: \e[36m$(date -d @"$(echo "$data" | sed -n '/^"date_posted/{s/.*ed":"//;s/"$//;p}')" "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%I:%S")"; echo "$data" | sed -n '/^"taken_in_clean/{s/.*Taken in / \x1b[35mTaken in: \x1b[33m/;s/"$//;p;};/"country".*:.*"name"/{s/.*":"/ (/;s/"$/)/;p}' | sed 'N;s/\n//'; echo "$data" | sed -n '/^"fave_count/{s/.*nt":"/ \x1b[32m/;s/"$/ \x1b[35m<3 /;p};/^"comment_count/{s/.*nt":"/ \x1b[30m\/ \x1b[33m/;s/"$/ \x1b[36mcomments/;p}' | tr -d '\n'; echo -e "\033[37m\n\n$(echo "$data" | sed -n '/description":"/{s/.*ion":"//;s/"$//;p}')" | fmt -tw $COLUMNS | sed 's/^/ /'; echo -e "\e[34m"; picurl="$(echo "$data" | sed -n '/^"url.*staticflickr/h;/);$/{g;s/.*:"//;s/"$//;s/\\\//\//g;p}')"; picfile="${title/ /_}_by_${owner}_$(basename "$picurl")"; curl -L# "$picurl" -o "$picfile"; feh -F "$picfile"; echo; done
Paste it into the console (or save it to a file), then feed it a URL from Flickr. The biggest image will mysteriously download itself and, if you have "feh" installed, display fullscreen. ^_^
I usually try to see if I can edit the entire script in a terminal, but that last one... kind've had to wind up in a temporary file for a couple of moments :P

And I had to turn emoticons off for this to post, haha (the scripts looked very interesting before! xD)

You can see why I want a PDA that runs Linux, I think. XD

-i336

Edited by i336_ 2014-02-21 9:27 AM
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stingraze Page Icon Posted 2014-02-22 1:07 AM
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Cool script. I like making web crawlers with Perl myself.
I need to learn sed and grep more to make scripts like yours!



Edited by stingraze 2014-02-22 1:08 AM
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i336_ Page Icon Posted 2014-02-24 1:14 AM
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I kept remembering then forgetting this link each time I went to post here... a while ago I found
an interesting article which mentions how the AlphaSmart 3000 "portable keyboard" doesn't seem to radiate very much EMR (if at all), and that it was an option for people with really bad EMR sensitivity/reactions. After a fair bit of digging I located a sufficiently high-res motherboard photo showing the CPU... and found that it uses a (16.58MHz) Motorola MC68EZ328 - from the same processor series as used in the various Palm gadgets of old (indeed, that particular chip was used in a notable handful of Palm devices).

Taking this article into account, it would seem that this series of processors are appropriately low-powered enough for my needs; furthermore, my being "indefinitely fine" with my 36MHz Ericsson MC218 means I can probably run with (excuse pun ) the faster 33MHz MC68VZ328, the processor used in the most popular Palm PDAs - so such a PDA (or a few...! ) is definitely on the todo list (once I figure out which one to get... I've got my eye on several models, still figuring out some different ideas... heheh).
Oh, and the AlphaSmart 3000 was okay, but the AlphaSmart Dana was cooler: it ran *Palm OS* (yup - and it was the bizarrest device to do so), and it used the faster 33MHz VZ CPU too.


Rich Hawley:

Where would I start looking for underclocking software? That seems like the most interesting option.


Mjolnir:

That idea about underclocking a Jlime-based PDA is an interesting one, I'll have to look into that.


And, well, I said I'd come up with something interesting for that DECpc you mentioned, and I have two ideas . The first one is Linux related but kind of "quaint"; you may find it amusing for 5 minutes nonetheless. The second isn't Linux-focused, but will likely prove intriguing for slightly longer.

  • Idea #1
You kind of need "sleep" available for this to work "well" (preferably as a shell builtin, which is obviously faster than launching a separate process).

It's relatively easy to make the Linux kernel-level VT100 terminal emulator play "beep music" without anything external installed, like this:
echo -e '\e[10;f]\e[11;l]\a'
"ESC [ 10 ; <...> ]" adjusts the bell frequency, "ESC [ 11 ; <...> ]" adjusts the duration in milliseconds, and "\a" 'prints' a bell character. By stringing these together with "sleep" commands in between, you can make music-ish stuff. This is what I hear when I take a screenshot:
echo -e "\e[10;680]\e[11;70]\a"; sleep 0.04; echo -e "\e[10;900]\a"
(You might need to adjust the "sleep" command to take processing latency into account.)


  • Idea #2
I think this idea is slightly more interesting.

Windows version 1.01 is all over the 'Net, in YouTube videos and on dozens of old computers, and is generally considered to be "Windows 1.0" - but it isn't, really. I've been looking for the "real" thing for several years.

I'm happy to say, I stumbled upon several versions of real Windows 1.0 - completely by accident - on Christmas day 2013 (yea, the timing was awesome, and it was the coolest "present", lol... Jesus does love me ). After some tinkering (mostly involving figuring out which DOS version wouldn't cause large software tantrums involving spontaneous combustion), I actually managed to get the seemingly random bunch of files to actually "go" and do interesting things...!

The Windows 1.0 Developer Release 5 would appear to be the earliest publicly available version of Windows on the 'Net. It was released on 11-04-84 (that's what the release archive says, pretty sure it's MM-DD-YY) and was highly experimental. It had none of the "finished-ness" of Windows 1.01, and it ran in black and white. The similarities to the Macintosh System Software were quite notable, as were the similarities to the Visi On system also available around that period.

Now, Win1.0DR5 was *designed* to be installed on a hard disk, but I've managed to figure out what subset of files produce a workable demo which fits within the IBM PC-DOS 2.00 360KB floppy disk limit. That's what the attached file is. Not everything's included on the disk, but what is there seems to work (reasonably) well.
 
Notes/Trivia:

  • I haven't tested this on many emulators (but I can say that QEMU will *not* run this; it simply hangs); I've been using PCE (http://www.hampa.ch/pce/) for all emulation work. Its configuration learning curve is almost a vertical wall, but its awesomeness is unsurpassed - what other 8086 emulator do you know of which you *have* to feed a disk controller BIOS ROM to?

  • To start everything up (preferably on REAL hardware! ) -- hit ENTER at the date/time prompts, CD to \windows\test and run KERNEL to boot the system. WIN.COM didn't exist at this point.
  • Based on how long this takes to boot with the PCE floppy drive controller set to "accurate" mode, you can expect to stare at a black screen for about 45 seconds, and a blank graphical desktop for a further 15 or so. The system takes about about a minute from the point you type KERNEL to become usable - at least on a 4.77MHz 8088, anyway.
  • I've noticed that the system doesn't seem to like exit/reentry that much, so if you quit the session then restart, it will very occasionally hang.
  • If double-clicking Notepad only makes the cursor flicker busy for a nanosecond, something's gone wrong and you need to reboot.
  • It's a 360kB disk image, but it will write to a 1.44MB floppy disk just fine - it just occupies the first quarter of the disk.

Use rawrite (for DOS) or RawWriteWin <.ZIP file link> to write the image on a floppy disk, or use "dd if=win10dr5.img of=/dev/fd0" (or fd1, fd2, etc) on Linux.

ARGG... forum source code hax0rs, please make it possible to use MMBS code in lists!! lol
-i336
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i336_ Page Icon Posted 2014-02-24 2:45 AM
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Argg.

I forgot to attach the file, proceeded to edit the post to do so, learned about the 100KB upload limit, went hunting for a small file-hosting service (which took ages to find - why can't these people use phrase "binary pastebin" somewhere? ), then went to submit my edited post (which I'd left open in another tab)... only to learn about the 60-minute edit limit.
Fail. Can't put my finger on exactly *where* the Fail measures highest in that chain of catastrophes, but it's in there somewhere

Anyway, moving forward...!

Download win10dr5.img!

-i336

Edited by i336_ 2014-02-24 2:50 AM
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Mjolnir Page Icon Posted 2014-02-25 7:25 PM
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Thanks for the image but unfortunately I haven't been able to get it to boot. I used both dd and rawwrite on two seperate laptops to write the floppy. I get a blinking cursor no date/time prompts? I decided to try a different route by loading UBD (Ultimate Boot Disk) to ram from which I use VC (Volkov Commander) to cd to a: and view the files. VC shows a Windows directory and three files: IBMDOS.com, IBMBIO.com and Command.com. If I cd into Windows there appear to be two files and a sub-directory but the names are gibberish fonts and I get no further. I'll keep playing with it and see what I come up with.

Yesterday was frustrating to say the least. After several successful boots Slink started to hang at init with varying messages about possible faulty ram chips or power saving features ultimately hanging up. I initially thought this to be the result of "dirty" shutdowns during the interval when, after 8 years, I was trying to remember my log-in credentials. I wasn't very concerned because I had already decided to do a full re-install. I had noticed a loud "buzzing" sound for short intervals day before yesterday just before log-in and then the sound would stop. NOTE to myself: next time I boot up a computer that has been sitting for a period in an outside storeroom CLEAN it out first! :-)

Apparently my small furry friends loved using my dog's hair to build a nest in the box and left small rodent "surprises" all over the circuit boards. I tried some judicious cleaning with a small paint brush but still no boot from the h/d. I may try adding a cd drive and see if I can get a small live distro to run.

Hopefully one of the Jlime guys can shed some light on under-clocking. On a seperate note I noticed that a Raspberry Pi seems to be particularly easy to scale up or down with a simple edit of a config script. I found a couple of guys running them at 30 -50 mhz instead of the usual 800-900. You might be able to ssh into a Pi from the device you already have and then use the HDMI - VGA out for a monitor sufficiently far away not to bother you. Not pocket portable of course but it might be rigged to give you a more powerful set-up for home or vehicle use. Just a hypothetical.
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i336_ Page Icon Posted 2014-03-06 9:03 PM
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Apologies for the late reply!

...wha? A blinking cursor? O.o

*Unearths 400MHz Celeron "test box", spare CRT, and random floppy disk*

*(Finally) finds a working floppy drive and cable, backs up disk (which runs with zero errors - yay for random disks in perfect condition), and writes image*

*Boots disk*

Floppy drive: *whirr* *tiny pause* *click*   ....*silence*

*Crickets chirp*

*blinks*

Me: ?!?!

*Successively tries PC-DOS 3.3, 4.0, DOS 2.11 from a 720K Kaypro, "PC-MOS", and MS-DOS 6.22; 3.3, 4.0 and 2.11 hang on boot, and PC-MOS and DOS 6.22 refuse to run Windows 1.0*

Okay, this is weird... and I can only draw a single, slightly bizarre, slightly depressing conclusion: your 386 is actually too new for Windows "1.0".

Like I mentioned before, PCE is quite a... comprehensive program. In short, for 8086/8088/80186 emulation, nothing else comes close. Methinks that this worked for me at all because PCE provides such a complete emulation of an original IBM 5150-type machine, and that the compatibility margin is a lot narrower than I thought/expected.

As for the hardware you're using, I think DOS 2.1 is having conniptions with your 1.44MB floppy drive - if I boot the image as a 1.44MB disk in Bochs, it just hangs, but if I say the image is 360K, DOS does actually boot. But then Windows hangs, with Bochs printing "00005047871i[CPU ] LOCK prefix unallowed (op1=0x8b, attr=0x100, mod=0x0, nnn=3)" ad naseum to bochsout.txt (perhaps because my Bochs build was compiled to emulate a Pentium, but very likely not). DOS boots inside QEMU, which seems to detect the floppy disk type and autoconfigure itself correctly - but then Windows doesn't detect a mouse, and falls over; QEMU's serial mouse support seems to be hiding behind "-serial msmouse" (or possibly "-chardev msmouse,id=COM1" ) and is by default switched off, but enabling these just presents me with yet another lockup.

Practically speaking, you either need a sufficiently old computer with a 5.25" floppy drive (PCE works here ), or an OS that can handle 3.5" floppy disks. This means at least PC-DOS 3.3... but no dice there. Windows prints

   Incompatible DOS version - DMAADD does not match

when trying to launch under anything that isn't newer than PC-DOS 2.11, including PC-DOS 3.3 (which refused to boot on my Celeron, I might add) and MS-DOS 6.22. (PC-MOS boots but hangs with no disk activity after I type KERNEL.)

*sigh*

I guess this is an emulation-only thing for now, at least until someone figures out a working "real hardware that isn't 100% original" configuration for it.

Moral of the story: if preparing something for real hardware, test on categorical "real hardware" first!

As for your disk showing up with scrambled data in the WINDOWS directory, there are two possibilities: a bad disk (yea, I know, but still...), or VC and/or the DOS (?) version on UBD got extremely confused by the fact that it was a 1.44MB disk with a 360K image on it ().

As a bit of trivia/"just in case", you can verify the (partially written) 360K image with "dd if=/dev/fd0 of=testimg.img count=720", to only copy the first 360K back off the disk (with a default blocksize of 512 bytes and 1024 bytes being 1KB, 360 * (1024 / 512) = 720). With my floppy, I did this and the sha1sum matched perfectly with my original PCE image, so I knew the write was good.

As another note, you can mount floppy disk images on Linux very easily using the loop device: "mount win10dr5.img /mnt/floppy -o loop".

And I'll be posting to the Jlime forums in a few days I expect.

-i336
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Mjolnir Page Icon Posted 2014-03-08 3:16 PM
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Hi, I haven't had a chance to play with my junk... uhm...hardware lately but I need to get back to it before I forget which part goes where. :-) I wish you luck and keep us informed.
Fred
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2014-03-09 2:54 AM
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C'mon, this is a family forum - don't be talking about playing with your junk.
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