Virtual Hands on Labs

(this is a guest post by Tenox)

Jason’s post on VMware reminded me of something that I wanted to post a while back. Not widely known, both VMware and Microsoft offer free and available to anyone, virtualized “hands on labs” on some or most of their products. Don’t think of them as videos or scripted presentations. They are in fact real virtual machines with real software you can play with. VMware HOLs for instance include putty.exe that allows you to SSH to the ESXi host to hack it.

If you don’t want to spend hours installing and configuring all this stuff and just want to learn the essence or gain some experience with enterprise technologies without breaking a bank I highly suggest to check them out. Also VMware labs let you preview upcoming technologies which are not yet available on the market!

VMware HOLs: http://labs.hol.vmware.com/ there also is a community page.

Microsoft, TechEd 2013 HOLs:  http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013?y=Hands-on+Lab&t=available-online (I think you need Internet Explorer to launch them)

Enjoy!

Opus number 1 in stereo!

Well I had no idea that the Tim Carleton Darrick Deel collaboration of Opus number 1 was so popular!  I had blogged about it a while ago when I was looking for the infamous hold music.

Popularity of Opus #1
Popularity of Opus #1

I got one quick heads up that the stereo version of the popular ‘hold’ track would be uploaded, but once it was I got 5 notifications!  One from a Darrick!  It sure sounds nicer than the mono version, but when you are on a phone what do you expect?

Apparently NPR will only host the mp3 for the weekend, so of course I’ll keep a mirror.

For anyone unfamiliar with the song, here is a little bit of history from here:

This was not a proprietary mix made by Cisco. It was licensed to Cisco for non-exclusive use in their CallManager product. Tim composed this song and is who performed it for this recording. I helped him record it one day in his garage. This recording is actually from the late Eighties.

I had the opportunity to submit the song to the guy compiling the music on hold CD and he included it in our upcoming product. The Synths used to record the song had very favorable acoustic qualities when transmitted over VoIP with a G.711 encoding. As a result Tim’s Opus No. 1 became the default hold music on Cisco’s product.

The original version has a nice stereo effect on the clapping and a real breathiness and richness in the Synths. There have been a number of people over the years that have tracked me down due to this music. It is always exciting for us to find more people that like the music enough to track it down after an encounter with it while on Hold. Tim and I will discuss the options for making this available and post back here.

Aclock Reaches #200 Ports!

(this is a guest post from Tenox)

aclock-arm#197 – Aclock ARM Windows RT by Peter Godwin

IMG_1880#198 – Alock M68K LynxOS by Plamen Mihaylov

aclock-demos#199 – Aclock PDP11 DEMOS by Dima Naumov

And long long long awaited…

aclock-ppc-nthal#200 Aclock PowerPC WindowsNT HAL Driver by myself

No cheating with numbers! Compiled and ran today on my ThinkPad 860. Just realized it’s #200. I think celebration with BSOD is in order! The screenshot was made using IP KVM. I will make an actual photo of the laptop screen another day.

Again thanks for everyone for contributions!

Last but not least there is a screenshot of previously cross compiled Aclock PowerPC OS/2 running on ThinkPad 850. Both the port and picture are courtesy of Michal Necasek of OS/2 Museum. Hope he won’t kill me for leaking the photo:

Aclock PPC OS/2

ThinkPad 860 Saga – Part 1

(note this is a guest post from Tenox)

Not long ago I have managed to purchase a working ThinkPad 850. This was no small achievement because in last 15 years I only scored 2 dead ones, for parts. As luck strikes twice, merely a week after 850 I’ve acquired the ultra uber and ultimate laptop of all – RS/6000 Notebook 860. Err what?

860-1

Technically 860 is a ThinkPad. However it was marketed for the business / RISC users, as a laptopized  RS/6000 to run AIX, instead of oddball an ThinkPad with weirdo CPU that couldn’t even run Microsoft Office which was 850. In fact both the sales manual and product brochure do not even mention Windows NT or OS/2 at all. Smart move, but too little too late.

What are the differences? Most importantly compared to it’s younger brothers the laptop has a whooping 12″ display and massive resolution of 1024×768. This is actually not bad even in today’s standards, compared to my MacBook Air 11″. Having 860 and 850 aside the difference is massive.

tp

Secondly the CPU is much faster running at 166 MHz vs 100 MHz for TP850. While 66 MHz in today’s standards is nothing, the actual difference is more than 50%.

That’s the good side. But there is the bad and ugly.

The laptop arrived with a rather nasty looking memory error:

mem

I’ve tracked down the error in a support document, it translates to “Memory Error. Run memory tests”. So I did and memory passed just fine. What is going on?

test

So I’ve decided to ignore and try to install an OS. So happen I did have a handy Windows NT 4.0 CD and ARC floppy disk. I’ve went and installed ARC, but Windows NT wouldn’t boot and it was freezing during driver load. Nothing would help.

I have spent days trying to fix the problem. Tried replacing memory cards, running diagnostics, everything else. Because lower 32MB RAM is soldered on the motherboard I was just about to order a replacement one.

Then by a coincidence I’ve found this FAQ question … “ThinkPad 860 prompts for HAL diskette”, wait what? The answer has it – “860 support was planned for NT 4.0 PowerPC edition which never shipped. There is an unsupported HAL disk image here…”

Once HAL disk was loaded to Windows installer the system booted correctly. Note that the HAL disk also contains a video driver for the GT20 graphics card which is S3 M65 (86CM65):

1

It also turns out that once the hard disk was formatted and Windows NT was installed the memory error went away! Completely. I haven’t seen it since. I’m thinking it wasn’t a memory error but rather corrupted boot record or partition table.

Anyway here it is Windows NT 4.0 PowerPC:

3

I’m not going to go through Windows setup or ARC screens as they are covered elsewhere.

So the next step was to get the beast on to the net. Not an easy task to find a suitable NIC nowadays! Fortunately Windows NT CD has a HCL.HLP – Hardware Compatibility List. Browsing the help file I was able to filter out a handful of PCMCIA network cards with PowerPC support:

  • 3Com 3C589 Etherlink III PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter
  • 3Com 3C589C Etherlink III PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter
  • IBM PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter II
  • National Semiconductor InfoMover NE4100 PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter
  • NoteWorthy Ethernet PCMCIA Adapter II
  • Socket Communications Socket EA PCMCIA

The last two are actually NE2000 compatible and use a common NE2K driver. Remembering some issues with the card I decided to go for a 3C859C from ebay instead. Later on I’ve found that the only supported PCMCIA LAN cards under AIX 4.1 are, surprise – IBM PCMCIA Ethernet Adapters. So I’ve got one of them on ebay as well.

4

The 3Com card worked flawlessly out of the box. Showed up in the PCMCIA control panel, driver installed automatically and I’ve got in on DHCP.

From there it was rather easy. First thing one needs is latest service pack and hotfixes. Unzip and wsftp32 also come handy. And then there is the text editor!

Finding a working web browser was a challenge again. The default IE1 wouldn’t even support HTTP/1.1. Mosaic is not much better. Fortunately Internet Explorer 3.01 saved the day!

6

Apart from that there is almost zero software available for download for Windows NT PowerPC. The only larger utility collection is Windows NT 4.0 Resource Kit which surprisingly has full support for PPC. There are also Dependency Walker, Psychedelic Screensaver, Winimage, PkZip, etc. If you have more software please send! I’m also porting some more.

On the hardware side interestingly Cygnus Supply has a very large stock of replacement parts for these laptops. If you have a broken one you can try your luck there. You could probably assemble a full laptop from the parts. Don’t be put of by “request a quote”. I used them many times before and they usually come up with reasonable prices for the parts. Make sure to have an exact IBM P/N. Also you can buy a “brand new” replacement battery. For failing hard drives a 2.5″ SCSI disk may be a problem. You can by a CF card adapter here.

Last but not least I’ve collected some links to sites with TP 8×0 stuff:

In the next part I will cover MSVC, SDK, DDK and some porting efforts I’ve been doing…

Updates:

  • Ronald Gaudet sent me some useful software like Putty, Vim, Emacs!
  • Working to compile some more like Lynx, VNC, maybe even early Mozilla
  • The hard disk started giving up. I have ordered CF Powermonster II 2.5″ SCSI to CF converter!
  • Few high res screenshots made with IP KVM:

splashSplash screen…

easysetupEasy Setup…

firmwareSecret Firmware Prompt…

QNX 2.21 Arrived Today

(note this is a guest post from Tenox)

So that QNX 2.21 from the previously established purchase fund has arrived today. As an added bonus, I expected 4 x 5.25″ disks, but the media turned to be a single 3.5″ floppy disk. So it’s better suitable for more modern 286 machines and emulators.

qnx221 floppy

I have imaged the floppy to a raw disk dump and booted in VMware Workstation for verification.

qnx 2.21 on vmware

The floppy disk image was sent to those who contributed in the previous post.
Manuals are always available here.

QNX 2.21 Purchase Fund

(note this is a guest post from Tenox)

So QNX 2.21 popped up on eBay. I’m organizing a collection so that everyone interested in getting a copy can chip in. I have previously covered QNX 2.1 that I purchased on my own and was getting a lot of requests for the install disk images. So this time instead of pissing people off I decided to let everyone participate! 🙂

Please comment with the amount you can chip in and once say 1/2 will be covered I will purchase it.

Update:
I have purchased the item for $500 via best offer. This is much more reasonable. Of course still looking for people to chip in for the purchase.

Please send your contributions to: [email protected] selecting for “friends and family” instead of goods or services. Thanks.

Recent Aclock Ports…

 

So here are the newest additions to Aclock binary family. In order of appearance:

#187 – Motorola MVME m68k – OpenBSD by Plamen

aclock-ppc-beos-pef–1.1d6
#188 – AT&T Hobbit – BeOS by Bear
#189 – PowerPc BeBox – BeOS 1.1d6 PEF binary by Bear
aclock-geos-appleII
#190 – Apple II GEOS by Peter Godwin

 

c64-real-hardware
#191 – Commodore C64/128 GEOS by Peter Godwin

 

aclock-unixpc
#192 – AT&T UnixPC aka 3B1 / 7300 by Bear

 

aclock-machten-ppc
#193 – Power Mac – MachTen by Peter Godwin

 

aclock-unixware
#194 – i386 Univel UnixWare 1.0 by Michal Necasek

 

aclock-hp9k300
#195 – HP9000 300 Series M68K – HP-UX 9.x by Bear

 

aclock-osf1
#196 – DECstation 5000 – MIPS OSF/1 by mrRadio

Thanks a lot for your contributions!!!!

There are also a few new screenshots from previously available platforms:

aclock-aros
AROS on QEMU
aclock-indy
SGI Indy with original LCD panel. The case is black because it’s Tandem / NonStop branded machine.
aclock-amiga
AmigaOS
aclock-intel-aviion
DG AViiON with Intel running x86 DG-UX

ThinkPad 850…

(note this is a guest post from Tenox)

So after around 15 years of searching and going through 3 or 4 dead units I finally laid my hands on a working system! For those who don’t know, ThinkPad 850 is not an ordinary laptop because it rocks PowerPC!

ppc2

It means that apart from AIX, I will be able to run such cool operating systems like OS/2 PowerPC, Solaris PPC or Windows NT PPC.

ppc1

The system is quite banged up, the keyboard has broken keys and the built-in cdrom doesn’t seem to work. The battery is of course dead. But the base system works just fine. Here is a screenshot of a top secret firmware prompt:

ppc3