Old, reliable, and weird stuff.

I last used Debian 6 on this, and the install process was relatively straightforward then, should only be better now. I've a recollection at the time I had to wire it to the router to do the initial update, but once it had installed them the drivers for the wifi card worked relatively well. Probably now those drivers are on the install medium, so that's unlikely to be a problem.

I'm using a cheapo sandisk 128GB SDXC card. The card claims class 10 support, and UHS-I, but in practice I've never seen anything above about 8MBps when actually copying data around. I just did a dd from /dev/zero though, and that reports 13MBps. Nowhere near the claimed 80MBps so probably not using the UHS interface at all, just the old SD interface. It's all reformatted to ext4, of course, so I didn't even try to use it with the original filesystem.
Thanks for the answer about these SD cards, in my Dell D430 I had a limitation on SD card used, and I ended purchasing 120GB SSD for it (I had a 60GB HDD) although I planned to expand space with card. I will try next weekend with Debian 8.
I recommend a net install if sd space will be an issue like it was for me. It's a pain but you get a nice small install

Fun Facts!
These instruments were designed to be installed like vending machines, with relatively little maintenance - which explains the way the violin strings are tensioned with weights (instead of a standard machine head) that ensure constant pitch in various climates, and the piano is symmetrical, with the longer strings in the middle, which prevents the structure from warping with age.
I have been looking at higher capacity SD and microSD cards so I can have more music on my Pandora, and eventually shove it in my Pyra. I almost bought a cheap one that sounds like what was discussed here, so I guess I am glad I didn't get it. Plus maybe prices will drop a bit more. It is still cheaper than trying to feed my decades old computers.

In addition to the old computers, I am loving the music stuff. Anyone have any old synths they want to show off? Play us something! @Klumpen needs to share some music and instruments here, too.

I have been on a quest to get some specific old and ancient books lately. I haven't got my hands on the specific ones I am after (even the recent printings of some can be a bit pricey), but I did find some cheap facsimile reprints of some interesting ones I can use as references, and to preserve my higher quality, more expensive, more recent/accurate translations. These books are all available online due to their age, but nothing beats a physical copy of a book for me, especially since I can use the margins for notes and not worry about degrading the value of them.
Thanks for replies about Eee PC. I put Debian and configured it according to my needs. WinXP had lags and worked very poor. I found Debian with LXDE working very well, in fact CPU is not the main slowing-down thing there, slow on-board SSD and RAM are. Well, I don't have a high requirements about computational power :). I'll try to find some cheap 2GB stick, then in my normal workflows it should never touch the swap except for hibernation.

Another thing from series "Strange items in my collection": A memory tube:


The first photo shows a memory tube, the second one its screen. Tube memory was used in early computers (1960s), data recorders and radars for eliminating constant signals from e.g. hills or towers. Its operation principle is generally based on fact that if you strike a previously-struck spot on screen, it won't cause current flow between two layers of screen. This particular type is driven by deflection coils, like a CRT, but most of these tubes had electrostatic plates for deflection (like oscilloscope screens).
I got this radar-grade tube from a man who was working in a research center. They were developing many devices, both radars, recorders and computers in 1960s, some for military. These tubes were accessible easier than computer-grade tubes, for storing digital data. Digital tubes had smaller "cross-talk" between points on screen. In this center, they tried to use this tube to store digital data and tried to develop a device to replace "rotation subsystem" with electronic circuits. In radars, "rotation subsystem" was a device developed in Soviet Union which used single coil to drive deflection in this tube. First, this tube had to be cooled. Imagine a single coil, rotated by slowly turning tube's cooling fan, powered not by motor but a syncro coupled with another one in radar antenna - this is the "rotation subsystem". It's not easy to imagine something more prone to problems.
Continuing topic showing weird things from my collection.
Finite element method simulation and optimization package from 1970s.

Yes, this is a computer-aided engineering program. I analyzed it, it is in Fortran, and I understand only parts of it. It takes input mesh (matrix) and initial settings/constraints/Fortran routine (deformation model?) from cards or tape. However it's not a typical 2D FEM - I will call "2.5D" finite elements method. Generally, it is an early mechanical FEM (stiff-FEM) for 2D slice of a coarse slice, but it computes elongation resulting of steady-state movement of slice "towards the user" :) plus estimated one from deformation.
The complete FEM iteration returns elongation to be verified. If it's not OK (acceptable error), input parameters are modified and FEM code is re-run. There are many strange "optimizations" especially in something looking like convergence-computing routines, making FEM code difficult to understand.
It is made in different brands of cards and it looks like different parts were made at different times. In cards, some interesting ones can be spotted:

This comes from a steel plant in Cracow, Poland (now Mittal?), and it was probably used for accounting, usage in program was probably a result of savings.
I ran into a strange situation where I wanted to have typed information on some note cards. Sure, I could try to use a printer to do it (out of ink though), but the awesome thing about a typewriter is that I can make changes on the fly so I can squeeze stuff in all the way to the edges, although I did need to use a bit of tape and a piece of paper to get the most of that. Also the font mine has is smallish yet entirely readable even when there isn't a lot of light. It was also super easy to use both sides of the cards. It was convenient that I had a typewriter.
The old GBs are still wonderful devices, but the Color is far inferior to the earlier ones imo due to how difficult it is to see the screen. Going from the original to the Color, I enjoyed the colors, but couldn't play it in the same places I did before. My favorite stock screen is the Pocket. My Pocket and one of my customized originals (translucent green case, translucent black buttons, green biverted backlit display, etc.) are the two I use most. I really want to add frontlights to one of my Colors and my GBA eventually.

Now I feel like playing a gb game.
A late Victorian apothecary's balance, conveniently packs away into it's own base. Made of wood, glass and lacquered brass. Unfortunately, no makers' name or date. Contains a set of old-fashioned scale-weights - drams, scruples, grains, and so on...

Edit: Modern British penny on left-hand scale pan for size


  • apothecary_balance-small.jpg
    285.1 KB · Views: 192
Last edited:
Taschenrechner, but a fully fledged Elektronenrechner.
Well, do you put it in a bag / "taschen" ? Otoh, electricity IS moving electrons.... seems fair.

Ta•sche f , -, -n
a (=Handtasche) bag (Brit) , purse (US)
(=Reisetasche etc)
b (bei Kleidungsstücken) (=Billardtasche) pocket
sich ($) die Taschen füllen dat (fig) to line one's own pockets
in die eigene Tasche arbeiten or wirtschaften to line one's own pockets
etw in der Tasche haben inf to have sth in the bag inf
die Hand auf die Tasche halten dated inf die Tasche zuhalten dated inf to keep a tight grip on the purse strings
jdm das Geld aus der Tasche locken or ziehen or lotsen to get sb to part with his money
etw aus der eigenen Tasche bezahlen to pay for sth out of one's own pocket
etw in die eigene Tasche stecken (fig) to put sth in one's own pocket, to pocket sth
sich ($) etwas in die Tasche lügen dat
inf to kid oneself inf
jdm auf der Tasche liegen inf to live off sb, to live at sb's expense
die Hände in die Taschen stecken (lit) to put one's hands in one's pockets (fig) to stand idly by
jdn in die Tasche stecken inf to put sb in the shade inf
jdm in die Tasche greifen (fig) to get money out of sb
→ tief → adv, a
@FBnil Sure, you can put it in your pocket. I love that they called it Elektronenrechner, sounds awesome :)
And it runs on good old AA batteries.