My study
and computer centre

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in here, turn right to avoid the bookcase

Entering from the lounge room, one can see (on the other side of the door) the grey coloured bookcase, which matches the U-shaped modular desk in both the light grey surface, and the dark grey contrasting edging.

Actually the U-shaped desk is two L-shaped desks without one of the returns, but with a "funny shaped" piece dropped in to join them together.

The bookcase house a mixture of things.

The top shelf has several English Language translations of the bible, including a Jewish Pentateuch in Hebrew and English, with an English commentary dating from the 1930s written by the (then) Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, a Dr. Cohen.

There is also an 8 translations to an opening "Parallel" New Testament which is handy for comparisons, because while computer literate, I prefer to read things in a book.

The complete works of Josephus translated into English, a Strong's Concordance (which needs a fork-lift truck to carry around) and a copy of Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament (and Septuagint) Words.

Amongst my collection is a fascinating paperback entitled "In the Beginning - how we got the King James Bible". Written in an easy to avoid closing eyelids style, this is a wealth of information about the Reformation, much of which I had forgotten since leaving school.

Shock, horror, "Forgotten?" you may ask.

Yes, because the church these days seems much more interested, generally speaking, in promoting man-made unity and the like, than remembering just why Protestants came into existence in the first place, and the wars against them, and killings of them, that resulted in their determined effort to get rid of the big stick oversight of the one and only "Holy Mother Church".

Other books relating to Biblical research and Christian belief occupy the rest of that and the two lower shelves, arranged more in book height than in topic.

Below these are two more shelves which cover additional material including more Biblical reference stuff, and other of interest to me, such as railways, the political history of the region around the Holy Land, and a small number on the history of South Australia during the period when Premier Dunstan arbitrarily dismissed Police Commissioner Harold Salisbury, a man of sincere Christian belief and practice, and considerable ethics, because Mr. Dunstan refused to accept that the Police Force should be kept out of direct government control.

Something usually overlooked in discussion about this action was that the British public, and much of its leadership, falsely assumed the Mr. Dunstan had uncovered something nasty in Mr. Salisbury's ways and consequently Mr. Salisbury died lonely in his own country, with his character totally ruined by the parliamentarian who brought most (in hindsight, unwanted) reform to my state of South Australia.

Regarding this era of South Australian history, I commend to you two books... "The Salisbury Affair" by Stewart Cockburn, Sun Books, ISBN 0 7251 0331 0 - and also another called "Grossly Improper" or something similar - which I appear to no longer have... this was an investigative journalist's delving into Mr. Dunstan's life and that of his government.

entering the holy of holies

Through the door, one can see (on the right hand side wall) a large poster which I bought nearly 20 years ago and mounted on a 1/4-inch (6mm) thick sheet of particle board. They were generally available at that time from most Christian Book Stores. A close-up view is here.

To the right under the desk return you can see a filing cabinet with a keyboard perched on the top. I did have a keyboard drawer of the type that screws to the underside of a tabletop, and when this is unpacked it will be put to good use again! This is part of the next item...

Turned almost at right angles, a 15-inch monitor with which is associated the machine called Kestrel which contains the on-line apache web server, and the Internet Relay Chat bots and chatting clients. It also came complete with a Kodak 4-times speed burner (rebadged from whatever) which works satisfactorily, and the spare drive bay was originally occupied by a 40-times speed CD drive canibalised by the previous owner.

This is an IBM Aptiva, picked up second hand very cheaply, with an additional stick of RAM added to bring the total up to 192Mb. It has an AMD K6-2 500MHz processor, and the HDD was unfortunately only 8Gb which is inadequate for the amount of storage I need in order to eliminate using backup cartridges and diskettes. The upgrading intentions are described at the end of the page.

To the left of this unit is a 19-inch HP M900 monitor and underneath it my original HP Vectra PII-400, known as Wedgetail after the beautiful and majestic Australian desert eagle of that name.

Friday 21st November 2003, a year to the day of the week after we moved in (which was Friday 22nd November 2002) I assembled some selected offcuts of grey melamine clad particle board on which the supplier had attached to order some edge trim, to fill in the corner to the right of the 15-inch monitor.

Looking backwards into the corner, one can see how it completes the job even though there is a slight difference in height of the legs the top is supported on. This has since been adjusted by glueing 19mm wide packing pieces under the supporting sides. Eventually a desktop unit (not in service) may be placed diagonally across the far corner with a monitor on top, and associated S-VHS recorders connected, to create a video suite.

 

Wedgetail has an HP 2-times speed burner.

The eventual purpose of the machine will be for production of audio conversions from cassette tape to CD and mp3 format, and for CD to mp3 conversions, and related use.

I emphasise that this is not for commercial use, but for personal use. No copyright infringement is intended, because I believe in the concept of not stealing. This is why I try to use shareware, freeware and/or open source software wherever possible. This website is hosted using that principle.

Currently both Wedgetail and its almost identical sister GoldenEagle are equipped with legally purchased e-soft (audio conversion) and Hohner (music manipulation) software, and a parallel port connection for a Diamond Rio pocket (cigarette pack size) mp3 player for storage and playing of mp3 tracks.

The Rio was acquired nearly four years ago to replace the cassette unit the vocal group with which I am associated used to play accompaniment tracks when singing. The Rio is a cute little machine, photographed here, and you can find the vocal group here.

 

Turning sharply to the right - and, yes, it is rather congested - there is a bookcase to the right of the doorway, which runs along the rear wall to about two feet from the corner.

The space between the corner and the end of the right-hand return of the U-shaped desk has finally been filled in, but it is not possible to match the light grey melamine with dark grey trim of 1991, because colour schemes go "out of fashion".

The door is located at the extreme end of the wall which is opposite the window, which looks out on the narrow garden and paved path which runs the full length of the house.

To the right hand side of the door is another bookcase, this time a wood grain melamine finish, and this is photographed in two images which fit reasonably well, one above the other, apart from the parallax distortion of the lower one.

 

The timber-look bookcase houses a different range of things...

Along the top are three shooting trophies which belonged to my late uncle. the tiny one in the middle was awarded to the winner of the 1st R.A.F. Open Revolver Competition in Baghdad in 1936, when he was working for Lt General Peake (Peake Pasha).

Flanking it, on the left is a handsome "Egypt Command Small Arms Meeting 1930" Individual Revolver Winner in the 1st Battalion of the Welsh Guards

and on the right the "Davies Bryan Cup" - also Egypt Command Small Arms Meeting 1930 - awarded to Individual Revolver - Best Officer in the same Guards regiment.

On the left is a wooden cross bought as a souvenir in a Christian bookstore in Sweden, with the outline of our Lord cut out of it.

On the extreme right is a somewhat dried out wooden camel bought from a Palestinian trader in Bethlehem in May of 1990.

The top shelf of books comprise from the left a series of bound photo-mechanical reprints of early Mormon material which the Latter-Day saint church probably wish would go away, because collectively they build a huge case about the LDS rewriting of their history. To the right is a collection of various Christian music song books.

The next shelf has computer reference books, and some computer software, and on the right documentation referring to our occupation of this house in this village.

Photo albums and some large page illustrated train books fill the next shelf, and the bottom two (which need reorganising hold boxed computer software and spare PC cards and peripherals.

Yes, they do need reorganising!

 

Looking back towards the door into the lounge, from Wedgetail's monitor we see this view. On the right is the rear of the grey bookcase, with audio cassette storage visible, and on the left is the other bookcase.

The other side of the window from Wedgetail we find Goldeneagle which is a similar machine, but which has a 17-inch monitor. Instead of an LS-120 3-1/2inch superdisk drive it has a 135Mb Syquest EZ-135 drive.

Golden Eagle has considerable audio cassette storage to its left side as can be seen on the left of the LG monitor, and further round to the left, here.

Under the desktop to the left of GoldenEagle, mounted on drawer runners from a hardware store, is a Radio Shack audio mixer suitable for combining a number of audio sources for recording purposes. We can see it here during installation. It is mounted on a pair of long cabinet drawer runners, suspended from specially constructed hangers.

 

Kestrel - the IBM Aptiva - is now a Windows2000 machine (upgraded from its original Win98SE). Currently it hosts a number of non-commercial websites through an account with dyndns.org and also a pair of customised chat bots for IRC, including their logging. It makes good sense, therefore, to do most IRC communication on the same machine.

The IBM support people advised in 2003 that this model Aptiva supports drives up to a bit over 20Gb, so a HDD upgrade will be performed at a convenient time, probably simultaneously with the conversion of one of the HP Vectras as a hosting machine in lieu, and placing it on line. Two spare 20Gb HDDs have been acquired for this purpose.

My present thinking is to equip each computer with one or two plug-in IDE drive racks (to permit multiple operating system booting on some, with the rack set as IDE Primary Master), and the sharing of cartridge archive drives such as the Syquest EZ-135 and the LS-120 Superdrive.

This work is now "in progress" and some early digital photos and a write-up as a help-file for others wanting to try out plug-in drives can be found here

 

Both the HP Vectra machines are dual boot, now with Windows 98SE (originally an unique special HP version Windows95 OSR2.5) and currently SuSE 9.1 Linux, and I have trialled QNX ver 6.2.1 - a Unix derivative - on both as dual boot. Both have been trialled on Windows2000 as well. Here is a digital capture of the "Matrix" screensaver in QNX in operation.

The Vectras are 1999 vintage, factory fitted with IBM 10Gb hard drives; the HP support people advised in 2001 that these motherboards support drives up to 43Gb. An upgrade to 40Gb HDDs was performed on both machines during 2nd quarter 2004, and since then partitions have suddenly vanished several times on both after defragmenting, making one concerned if that information is correct.

The model is no longer under warranty, and HP Support for them appears to have shifted now to India, with a greatly reduced knowledge base. So, several second-hand 10Gb drives have been acquired recently - for use if we find there is a need for to go back in HDD size; maybe some of them can be used for additional data storage and archiving.

This link shows a view towards the window with the monitor for Wedgetail (on the right) and goldeneagle (on the left) clearly visible from the back corner where the "new" desktop was installed. The back of the swivel chair can be seen in front of Goldeneagle. You can see this page being edited on the screen on the right.

 

Over a period, further works were done investigating uses for a number of virtually free and actually free computers in servibg pages and using open-source operating systems and applications.

This link leads to that discussion.

updated 11:18 09/10/2004