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#26 2015-09-14 19:43:09

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
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Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Allegedly it drives the CD-ROM itself to read a custom partition on the disc and somehow can't cope with the data rate above 1x (it was originally written for tape). The MacIvory support update is supposed to fix this, but it didn't, at least not on this system.

However, Symbolics' system support appears to be absolute crap on any platform. The same "friend" got me an OpenGenera 2.0/Genera 8.5 CD for OSF/1 (nee Digital UNIX/Tru64). It was originally designed for 4.0; I have, of course, 5.1. It took a lot of fiddling with the Tru64 cdfs support to get the installer to come up, I had to mess with the packet filter a bit, and upgrade the genera executable. It does start up ... except all of its file handling, incredibly, is over NFS to the host system EVEN THOUGH IT'S RUNNING ON THE SAME BOX AND WOULDN'T IT BE EASIER TO JUST ACCESS THE #$%&ING FILES WITH I DUNNO fopen() ?! BUT NO. It was suggested to me that its NFS support "is stuck in the 80s" which means I get to play with weird NFS export options or do more mucking about with the packet filter through which it sips all of its network linkages.

At this point it's sheer bloodymindedness that's keeping me going because TBH I have no idea what I'll do with any of these things once I get it working. It's really soured me on the whole Lisp Machine concept.

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#27 2015-09-15 16:45:42

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

On of the ironies of computing (and a lot of other fields, actually) is that things that are rare, specialized, and hugely expensive (like Lisp machines were) aren't necessarily of better "quality" than cheap consumer-level versions of a similar thing. Generally speaking the best way to get good at building something is to make many, many copies of it, because the later units are going to benefit from the lessons learned from fixing the flaws with the early ones. And, alas you're dealing with a very low-volume something that was basically already becoming fossilized by the very early 1990's, and I'm willing to bet that most of the places that used these monsters had at least one guy onsite who's full-time job was keeping these clinking, clanking, clattering collections of caliginous junk running.

Still, though, I'm *really* interested to see if a slower CD-ROM drive fixes anything. I still... pretty much just don't buy it. I don't think Macs use multi-sector transfers, DMA, or bus-mastering so I can't really see how a faster CD-ROM is going to "drown" the program reading it in data unless they *really* made a stream of patently ridiculous assumptions in the driver. Even tape drives can stop in the middle of a data transfer if they're blocked.

Last edited by Eudimorphodon (2015-09-15 16:46:02)


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#28 2015-09-15 17:29:34

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,391

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Eudimorphodon wrote:

.  .  .  keeping these clinking, clanking, clattering collections of caliginous junk running.

Damn! Attempt at alliteration abandoned. Substitute "crap!" Were the analog precursors of early microprocessor based digital age equipment all that much better in terms of reliability and maintenance, certainly not ease of use?


p.s. THX! That's the second time in a week I've had to google a new word. Anyone (but ChC tongue ) know what a phlebotomist might be?

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#29 2015-09-15 19:05:22

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

jt wrote:

Anyone (but ChC tongue ) know what a phlebotomist might be?

I do! But then I know a lot of stuff that does me no good whatsoever.

Edit:

attempt at alliteration

... I assume you caught the reference?

Last edited by Eudimorphodon (2015-09-15 19:09:00)


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#30 2015-09-16 13:22:57

ScutBoy
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Registered: 2014-05-25
Posts: 156

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

I know what a phlebotomist is -my wife's sister is one :-)

As for the reference, I would have pegged it as a rant from Dr. Smith on "Lost in Space"...

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#31 2015-09-16 15:33:26

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

ScutBoy wrote:

I would have pegged it as a rant from Dr. Smith on "Lost in Space"...

Wrong of course but I must say it's a really good guess. wink


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#32 2015-09-16 17:43:00

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,391

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Never thought of it as being an homage, great snatch! wink

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#33 2015-09-26 17:27:47

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,085
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Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

The 1x drive arrived. I loaded that into the Breath of Life and watched the disk spin, and after cold-starting the FEP, here's the result:

http://www.floodgap.com/iv/2732

I'm probably going to reconfigure this again because 201MW of swap is incredibly excessive and I've only got a 500kW LMFS partition as a result, but at least I know how and I know it will work. But now that it is working, I'm starting to enjoy it. It's a very different way to use a computer and the interface is fascinating, and the GC's 1152x870 display is really roomy for this.

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#34 2015-09-27 00:54:07

ScutBoy
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Registered: 2014-05-25
Posts: 156

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Congrats! It's nice when things finally start working - after you've gone so far down the rabbit hole that you do whatever it takes to make it work smile

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#35 2015-09-27 02:30:19

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,391

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Awesome! Nice pic.  BTW, you never did say what Radius GC came with that board?

@ ScutBoy: having any fun with those Radius FPD drivers yet?

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#36 2015-09-27 16:55:27

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
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Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Not a Radius GC. It's an 8*24*GC. The current configuration is

- IIci, recapped
- System 7.1
- 64MB RAM
- MacIvory 3 with RAM sidecar
- 8*24*GC with adaptor to force to 1152x870
- Apple Ethernet NuBus
- DayStar 50MHz '030 PDS accelerator
- AppleCD 150

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#37 2015-09-27 18:39:21

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,391

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Ah! In the OP you said it came with a Radius Graphics Card that you were having trouble pushing over 640x480.

MultiScan CRT in the pic? I can't imagine your "GC" liking any 60Hz only VGA display whatsoever, not even at 640x480.

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#38 2015-09-28 03:16:25

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,085
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Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Oh, yes. The Radius card was pulled. It's in a drawer somewhere.

Yes, it's a NEC multiscan. The DIP switches on the converter attached to the 8*24*GC are making it think it's an Apple 16", so it offers the higher resolution mode.

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#39 2015-09-28 06:44:21

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,391

Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Interesting, 16" isn't anywhere near the  21" res you're running?

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#40 2015-09-28 15:28:21

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,085
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Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Whoops, you're right. I have it set to a 21". I read the wrong line but got the right setting. smile

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#41 2015-10-12 22:08:03

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,085
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Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

One last note: I couldn't get the MacIvory software to use the network connection because it kept complaining something else had grabbed it first (it needs MacTCP, and won't work if something has a concurrent connection, for some reason). Turns out that "something" was the Network Time control panel. Once I changed it to "on demand" instead of "on startup," MacIvory could grab the NIC.

So that completes the hardware and I'm pretty much able to get Genera booted, run apps, and so on. It's pretty cool, but unless you really like Lisp, have more money than sense and can deal with all this hardware crap, I can't say I'd recommend this as a must-have part of your collection. But it works.

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#42 2015-10-13 02:22:15

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
Posts: 1,064
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Re: Q. How many IIcis does it take to make a Lisp machine?

Nice!  That's all super good to know in the event someone else gets one.

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