Disaster Zone Network

Computers of the Disaster Zone Network

This page contains the specs and stories of the computers that have been a part of the Disaster Zone Network. Last updated August 27, 2011.

templar [Sun SPARCstation 10]

sun sparcstation10

This machine was named after the Knights Templar, my former squadron in the online shooter game Subspace (now Continuum). While sturdily built and elegantly designed, this machine did not see much service. It briefly worked as an all-purpose inetd, bind, and mail server through my college senior year unitl I realized the SuperSPARC processors were simply too slow to handle blogging software I had intended to use. During the time I used it, I gained an appreciation of Debian Linux which would later come in handy with learning Ubuntu. I had fun accessing this computer through a serial port (null modem) since I did not have a SUN keyboard or monitor. After holding onto it for some time, I put it up on freecycle and offered it up on IRC. I verified that it was still working, cleaned out personal data, and ran apt-get update. This computer was given to gradius from the frantech IRC channel.

Processor
Texas Instruments SuperSPARC, 40MHz (TMS390)
Memory
32 MB (2x 16MB, 70ns SIMM)
Storage Media
400MB SCSI Hard Drive
Operating System
Debian Linux/SPARC 3.0
Activation Date
2002.10.18
Retirement Date
2011.08.19 (estimate)
Status
Offline - given away via face-to-face

divebomber [Quantex QP5/90XM-3]

divebomber

This computer was named after the famous German Ju-87 Stuka bomber, one of my favorite airplanes in the PC video game Panzer General. It was housed in a 6-screw, steel and plastic AT case typical of its generation of home computers. I used this computer to type homework assignments using WordPerfect for DOS, as well as to play games such as Star Control II and Master of Magic. I remember running Windows 3.11 after upgrding from MS-DOS and trying out early internet connectivity with Trumpet Winsock, various BBS, NCSA Mosaic, gopher, and other forgotten software. This was my second computer ever, and first one I named. I still keep the motherboard and cpu out of nostalgia.

Processor
Intel Pentium I, 133MHz
Memory
64 MB (4x16MB SIMM)
Chipset
PIIX4
Activation Date
1995.04.06
Retirement Date
2004.03.03 (estimate)
Status
Offline - e-waste disposal

roses [Dell XPS T450]

roses

Roses is named after shadowy, cold city from one of Glen Cook's Black Company fantasy novels, which I happened to read around this time. I used this computer through most of high school and college. School assignments were completed using Microsoft office under Windows 95/98. This machine was able to handle games such as Starcraft, Quake3D, Civilization, Subspace, and Command & Conquer. In college, it ran Matlab fine. More importantly, it was able to handle Napster and later Limewire, allowing me to check out all sorts of new music I had never even heard of before. When I moved off campus and had lots of spare time, I learned Slackware Linux on this computer. I rediscovered IRC and spent much time chatting online to learn about Linux and various other computer related topics. Roses worked well through its year, but was finally retired when I built scavenger. I kept the motherboard and cpu, but resigned the rest of the parts to e-waste.

Processor
Pentium III (Coppermine) 450 MHz
Memory
256 MB (2x128 SDRAM)
Chipset
PIIX4
Activation Date
1999.05.10
Retirement Date
2011.07.04
Status
Offline - e-waste disposal

f451 [digital AlphaStation 200]

digital alphastation 200

The first thing I noticed about this computer was the excessively high temperature it seems to run at. It ran hot enough to serve as a room heater during winter nights in San Diego. Because of this characteristic, I named it Fahrenheit 451 after the Ray Bradbury novel. This got shortened to f451 for convenience. I decided on a whim that this machine would run FreeBSD due to the daemon logo.

f451 was a stable system and it was enjoyable running FreeBSD. It took over server duties, running disasterzone.dyndns.com from divebomber for until I gave it away to a fellow computer hobbyist, saiya, from the San Fernando Valley Linux Users Group. Altough it performed well, I grew tired of the enormous heat waste and was happy to see it go.

Processor
233 MHz Alpha (64 bit)
Memory
64 MB (4x16MB SIMM)
Storage Media
1GB, 500MB SCSI Hard Drives
Video Card
Number Nine PCI Vide
Operating System
FreeBSD 5.0
Activation Date
2002.12.13
Retired
2003.10.01 (estimate)
Status
Offline - given away via face-to-face

victory [sgi Indy R5K]

sgi indy

I've been impressed by the sleek styling and graphics capabilities of sgi machines for some time. When I finally got the chance to pick some used sgi Indys from my college's surplus hardware sale, I jumped at the chance. I remember the feeling of victory on acquiring these three machines, and thus they were named accordingly. Two of the machines worked, the others seemed dead and became replacement parts.

For some time, victory was used as a workstation because of the 23" sgi monitor I bought from ebay. However, the large and heavy CRT quickly became a frustration to move and the incentive to use it disappeared as its novelty wore off. While it was used, I had fun playing with the IRIX OS, and discovered the SGI user community site nekochan.net. The community site had all sorts of installable packages for various pieces of open source software that were surprisingly well integrated with the IRIX installer. The OpenGL screensavers on victory are still fun to watch especially considering the age of the machine.

Eventually, the time came to part ways with one of my favorite computers. I had originally intended to wipe the hard disks and sell the working system, but the power supply died the moment I plugged it in. A quick internet search revealed this would cost more to fix than I could sell it for, so I decided to hand it off for free to a suitable person. After some difficulty finding interest on nekochan and freecycle, I eventually found someone on craigslist to take this away. I was surprised how many people expressed an interest without knowing what it was. Thanks to Al from Moreno Valley for taking it, hopefully he can make some use of it.

Processor
R5000, 150MHz (64-bit RISC)
Memory
256 MB (8x 32MB SIMM)
Storage Media
2x 1GB Hard Drive, external SCSI CD-ROM
Video Card
XL-24 Video
Tasks
Backup Workstation,Trophy Computer
Operating System
SGI IRIX 6.5.14
Activation Date
2003.01.09
Retired
2011.08.27
Status
Offline - given away via face-to-face

triumph [sgi Indy R5K]

sgi indy

Another one of the sgi machines I acquired with in the same batch as victory. This one got traded to Kyle_S, a fellow slackware user from the irc.freenode.net channel #slackware in exchange for a Matrox g450 dual head video card. It was the only other one that worked out of box. I wonder how both the user and computer are doing these days.

Processor
R5000, 150MHz (64-bit RISC)
Status
Offline - traded via irc

firefly [Apple Mac mini]

apple mac mini

While following the trend towards computer minitaurization, I developed an interest in the Apple Mac mini. It was much smaller than any of the mini-ITX setups I had seen, so I decided to get one for home theater use. firefly was a great experience with learning the new and popular Mac OS X. It fulfilled its home theater duties well most of the time, but I did not spend as much time as I should have in ironing out some of the NFS hiccups my roommate reported since I was heavily engrossed with the online video game Final Fantasy XI at the time.

I had also recently seen the TV series firefly, a sci-fi and western hybrid, and thought it would make a fun name for the Mac mini. The Mac mini had a bright LED power light and sleek design, playing off the word "firefly" like the Firefly-class spaceship from the TV show. When I no longer needed the machine, I sold it on ebay for $173.50.

Processor
PowerPC G4, 1.25GHz
Memory
512MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM
Video Card
ATI Radeon 9200 (32MB RAM)
Storage Media
40GB ATA Hard Drive
Operating System
MAC OS X 10.3.9 (Panther)
Activation Date
2005.05.05
Status
Offline - sold 2010.04.11 via ebay

vertigo [Custom mini-ITX server/HTPC]

travla c138 case via nehemiah mini-itx mobo from mini-itx.com

My first truly custom built pc, ordered in parts online and assembled at home. Although the case was small and eledgant from the outside, it was a nightmare to work with from the inside. I quickly gave this computer the name vertigo to capture both the irritable feeling of working inside this case, and as a nod to the Sandman graphic novels I had just finished reading.

vertigo served as a general purpose server during most of my time at Canoga Park. It served a secondary function of multitasking minor tasks while my game computer was running at full cpu. Upon moving back to San Diego, I noticed vertigo's reliability had gone down. Eventually, this problem was traced to bulging and popped capacitors, and the machine was not really usable. The case is rather good quality though, so I keep it in case I ever feel like getting a modern motherboard and cpu for it.

Processor
VIA C3 Nehemiah M10000 1Ghz
Storage Media
40GB Samsung Notebook IDE HD
Activation Date
2004.11.25 (estimate)
Retirement Date
2006.07.06 (estimate)
Status
Offline - disassembled, hardware problems

freedom [Dell PowerEdge SC440]

dell poweredge sc440 picture

This is my first "business-class" machine. I purchased the most low end server from the Dell website for a measly $450 with no operating system pre-installed. It is very well built and easy to work with. The BTX layout was a nice touch. I installed Ubuntu server edition on it and proceed to teach myself Ubuntu while setting it up as a general purpose server. This was accomplished quickly and it was running reliably after a few days.

I named this machine freedom, which one of the robot machines from the anime series Gundam SEED. As of October 2007, this machine was replaced by pain, a virtual private server (VPS) at RapidVPS.

For some time, in late 2009 and early 2010, I experimented with using this machine as a Linux desktop. I ran Ubuntu 9.04 then 9.10 Desktop Edition during this time, and it actually worked rather well. However, after the experiences described in this post, I decided I was better off using my old Shuttle, delusions, as my Linux desktop instead. I posted an advertisement on Craigslist on 2010 March 31, selling it on 2010 April 7 for $140.

Processor
Intel Pentium-D 3.0GHz (Presler)
Bogomips
~2x 6000
Memory
512MB (1x512MB DDR2, 667MHz)
Chipset
Intel 3000, 800MHz FSB
Video Card
ATI ES1000 (rev 02)
Storage Media
160GB 7.2K RPM SATA 3Gbps
Operating System
Ubuntu Server Edition 9.10
Activation Date
2007.06.19
Retired
2010.03.26
Status
Offline - sold 2010.04.07 via craigslist

delusions [Shuttle SN41G2B]

shuttle sn41g2b picture

A sleek, compact pc originally configured for home theater support duties. The name "delusions" refers to my imagination that this machine can do more than it is capable of. Its name was a silly joke about audiophiles and videophiles in general. I thought that being so critical of hardware performance can cause people to become delusional, seeing what the mind wants to see. After reassigning firefly to the home theater, delusions was retasked as my main workstation/gaming platform.

delusions lasted a while as my gaming rig, having run multiplayer online games over the course of three years. It saw action in Final Fantasy XI, Everquest II, EVE Online, and Guild Wars. The integrated graphics card was no longer enough, so it received several video card upgrades over the years. I love the shuttle case design, a midpoint betwen real small form factor computers and the more standard micro-ATX computers. This computer works today as a backup workstation.

Processor
AMD Athlon 1700
Bogomips
~3000
Memory
1GB (2x512MB DDR)
Chipset
nVidia nForce2
Video Card
GeForce4 MX440 (nForce2 IGP)
Storage Media
40GB IDE HD, CD-ROM
Tasks
Secondary Workstation
Operating System
Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop
Network ID
149
Activation Date
2004.03.13
Retired
unknown, 2015?
Status
Offline - overheated processor

chimera [Dell OptiPlex GX260]

rapidvps nodes

A used computer my dad purchased from a surplus sale for $50. I grabbed the best components I had lying around and tossed them into this computer, naming it chimera. Along the way, I had to upgrade the video card and ran a 7600GS for a while. This allowed me to play some of the modern games at low settings. After some time, the 7600GS died and the computer became worthless with only its onboard video. I also ran 2x 1GB memory sticks borrowed from Frank in order to deal with the memory requirements of modern games.

Processor
Intel Pentium 4 2.4Ghz (Northwood)
Memory
2GB (2x1GB DDR)
Video Card
Gigabyte nVidia GeForce 7600GS (failed)
Motherboard
Dell 00T606
Chipset
Intel i845G Rev.A1
Storage Media
40GB IDE HD, CD-ROM
Tasks
Gaming Computer
Operating System
Windows XP
Activation Date
2009
Retirement Date
2011.06.21
Status
Offline - e-waste disposal

pain [RapidVPS Virtual Private Server]

rapidvps nodes

pain is one partition among many somewhere in the RapidVPS collection of servers. The picture above was selected from the server room pictures and may or may not be where pain is actually located. pain received its name because it was rather painful for me to move disasterzone offsite and then learn the ropes of operating a VPS. However, since being setup, pain seems to be working reliably.

Plan
Rapid.One ($9.95/month)
Guaranteed/Burst CPU Speed
100MHz / 6GHz
Guaranteed/Burst RAM
128MB / 4GB
Disk Quota
5GB
Bandwidth Allowance
100GB/month
Tasks
General Purpose Server: web, ssh, mail, mysql, local dns
Operating System
Debian 4.0 (Etch)
Activation Date
2007.10.10
Status
Offline - Unsubscribed

scavenger [Custom Budget Gaming PC]

scavenger
Processor
Intel Pentium G3470 @3.60Ghz
Memory
4GB (2x2GB DDR3)
Motherboard
Gigabyte B85M-DS3H-A
Operating System
Windows 7
Network ID
151
Activation Date
2011.07.05
Status
Online

fallen [BuyVM OpenVZ Virtual Private Server]

Check node status

Plan
OpenVZ 128MB ($15/year)
Guaranteed/Burst RAM
128MB / 256MB
Disk Quota
15GB
Bandwidth Allowance
500GB/month
Tasks
General Purpose Server: web, ssh, storage
Operating System
Ubuntu 11.04 Server (Natty Narwhal)
Activation Date
2011.08.15
Status
Subscribed