[rescue] Cheapass MicroFax (sic)

Bill Martin wrmartin at verizon.net
Fri Jan 24 15:41:13 CST 2003

>>I can't seem to find the QBus HOWTO, though I'm sure I've seen it 
>>somewhere back when I was looking for Unibus info.  And silly me, I 
>>thought the pdp11-field-guide was just about pdp11s.
>   ...or you can just post here.  There are lots of DECheads here.  The 
> pdp11 field guide covers many boards which can be used in both PDP11 and 
> VAX systems.

Both?  Are they 16 bit, or do they somehow autodetect?  Wasn't the Vax a 
clean sheet architecture hardware-wise? (I have a lot to learn.  Great fun!)

>>The label says "Series BA215" and the case has six slots showing.
>>(Haven't gotten inside it yet.)  Curious that it would have dual, but 
>>non-redundant PSUs.  Double the failure possibilities?
>   Well, ordinarily that would be an issue.  But these machines don't fail.
>   Seriously.  They just *do not break*.
>   This reminds me of a story.  About 12 years ago I was working at a 
> gov't contractor facility in Princeton, NJ during severe weather.  The 
> building was hit by lightning...squarely on a power switching box for an 
> air conditioning unit.  The damage:
>   - about 30 PCs completely destroyed (some of which produced smoke)
>   - six laser printers destroyed
>   - two Emulex Performance4000 terminal servers smoked
>   - about a hundred PC and terminal keyboards destroyed
>   - two SGI 4D/20 workstation power supplies destroyed
>   - Nortel phone switch smoked
>   - nearly every color monitor in the building needed to be "deeply" 
> degaussed
>   ...this amounted to pretty much everything that was plugged into a 
> power outlet in the building.
>   Except, of course, two MicroVAX 3600s (KA650, RA82).  One indicated a 
> spurious interrupt (or something along those lines) in the error log, and 
> the other didn't notice at all.  They didn't even reboot.

And I thought Sun SPARC boxes were well built.  I'm impressed, though I was 
already impressed by the PWS433au I bought a couple of months ago.  Can you 
tell by now that I'm an engineer?  Retired now, got into management in 
later years, but once an engineer...  (Yes, I confess my sellout, a 
suit.  But it is/was mechanical engineering, so I had nothing 
professionally to do with computers except as a user and when experiencing 
jealousy (imagining the MIS (remember MIS?) guys' fun) and frustration 
(when they wouldn't let me do what I wanted.  Like buy a CP/M box.  Though 
they did give me the first PC in the company (Southern Railway.))  So 
please, no flames.)

Bill Martin

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