Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Linux Software

Another Wierd Linux Box 102

Takashi Oe writes "I just came across these pictures (one and two] of Aquarium Computer's small Linux box. Its size, 4x8x6.3 in inches, isn't that small, but it certainly looks pretty cool. " But I gotta ask, why do all these trendy new boxes have crazy lights on 'em? Is there a purpose or is it just wacky design?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Another Wierd Linux Box

Comments Filter:
  • Nonononono. You've got it all wrong. VTEC stickers and putting rice in the gas tank make your car go faster. Duh.
  • by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Thursday August 05, 1999 @09:16PM (#1762852) Homepage
    Well, I wouldn't get one myself, but I liked the effect that the lights had. Do they make a nice big server with a neon light on the bottom and that bounced on its shocks when it's idle? ;) (screw head crashes)

    Seriously though, I've always wanted a computer with a rich cherry wood case. It'd have some victorian-esque brass hardware, and some old looking buttons and dials and such (Photoshop would probably bury the needle on both the processor load and consumed memory meters). To top it off, an engraved brass plaque with the computer's name and a Latin motto. I might go through tens of different components, but I'd keep that damn case!
  • The iPalm isn't real as expressed on that site, but 3Com is now indeed selling a clear Palm IIIe []. It retails for $229, and will be sold only at "select college bookstores."
  • I couldn't see any image there. My browser (Netscape 4.6) had a hard time showing the frames - I had to view the source to read everything under the 'characteristic:' heading. So... what does it look like?

    (Who really should have just booted up Linux).
  • No, it would be too weird to spell it that way.
  • Nah, The best is having your entire computer hanging on a pegboard.

  • I just recently bought an IN WIN IW-Q500A [], and it's a nice looking full tower case that has a 300W power supply and plenty of expanion space. It can easily be a server case, and I got mine for $100 ($75 for the case, $25 for the shipping) at Multiwave [] (I found this deal through KillerApp []).

    You're probitly not going to find a good designer case unless you're willing to spend a lot of money, but one thing you can do is to get a regular case, and paint or contect paper it. Just be careful not to block the ventialation slots or any other openings.
  • I'll take nixie tubes over LEDs anyday...

    Nothing satisfies quite like the scent of baked dust and the warm glow of vacuum tubes.

  • I always wanted to get a classic IBM XT case and put a modern system in it, just for the sheer confusion factor. ("Wow, I've never seen an XT that gets 40FPS in Quake 3...") =^)
  • > But I gotta ask, why do all these trendy new boxes have crazy lights on 'em?

    I wish more boxen had lights on them. I really love the lights on the HP's, giving heartbeat and I/O and stuff. If I got to design a box, it would have lights for

    - Power
    - Idleness
    - Disk I/O (several)
    - Net I/O (several)
    - n kernel programmable lights
    - Supervisor mode
    - Any other hardware-detectable useful thing I can think of.

    How do I make this?

  • run Linux?

    terribly sorry about this...

    Dan "Windows 98 User Missing Out On the Fun" Turk
  • SuperMicro has a series of tower cases that meet those specs... they're not bad looking, but there's really nothing special about them. They even have dual power supply options!

  • It's interesting to note that after the blinkenlights ceased to have a purpose, people expected them anyway.

    Cray understood this. They had some supercomputers with a panel of fake leds - the leds was controlled by a toy cpu to give the right "feel".

    Lights are cool, more so if they aren't fake. The cpu is way too fast for driving leds, so I connect my leds to the disk system. One for every drive, and one for every host adapter/embedded controller.
  • It's a backlit LCD, folks, not a searchlight. This isn't a Hoover vacuum, ya know.

    The typical rack full of servers connected to a CPU switch is a real bear to check while standing in front of it--switching to each server in turn takes time. It's much nicer to have each server displaying its load and other health info, even if it only has a 4x20-char display. Then use the CPU switch to check out the one with a load of 395.7, or forget the switch (and video card in each server) and just plug into (or switch to) the appropriate serial port to find out more.

  • You can't have a computer without blinking lights. It just isn't right. Of course, they have to be genuine and linked up to a part of the live system though.

    I seem to remember a project for the old BBC Model B computer which sat on your floppy cable and displayed track/sector numbers and data flow on some seven segment displays. Is something like this available for modern PCs? I don't know - show something like IDE/SCSI bandwidth and device utilisation or something like that.

  • Think about isp with a box like this-if your like any other ISP owner I've ever worked for, you don't let ANYONE back there anyway..let's take a poll as well, how many of you out there (using Linux) have the cover on your machine?

    This goofy design, the crazy lights... But on the lighter side, it does grab the attention of the younger (I'm not that old, so don't start) generation. So I guess the question is-Is it sensible? I don't think it's reasonable to pay a higher price for proprietary hardware, just to make it look cool. Anyone with a black case that has tried to buy black components knows what I am talking about....
  • (But it's a SERVER. Who needs a pretty SERVER?)

    It's not a matter of need, it's a matter of Want


    With so much money being made in the computer industry today, you'd think there would be a sizable group of people who not only would desire a case like this (I DO!), but would have the cash to not think twice about paying for it.

    If I get in on the Red Hat IPO, I'll get some kinda cool looking computer. (that assumes that RHAT actually goes up :-)

  • after your comment...and double checking-I think so too. I posted an earlier comment on the design-I really think the overall design is proprietary and sucks. But that really DOES look like a backlit LCD it could have some perks.
  • LOL! Thanks. Nice Friday morning laugh to end up a dull week.

  • What I really want is a box that is easy to change. My suggestion is make the case so the top edges can be unscrewed and inside is like a small hollow between two clear plastic sides. This way you could customize the box by putting in colored paper, sand, etc. I always wanted a computer case done up w/ colored sand patterns to say my name and stuff like those little bottles of sand you can buy at fairs. Another thing I'd like is if the sides had lava lamps or bubbles or something in them. Now that'd rock.
  • Bah! 138 hours for a program. That's nothin'. Back in they day, we had to use cuneiform to write our programs. Very few of us was even afforded th' luxury of that, as we would need many a slave to write a program if we were to finish it by harvest time. And not just that, we had to use tons of clay, and do you know how hard it is to equip 10,000 slaves with clay tables and reeds to write an OLTP system. Phew, makes me wonder why we did such things, as we didn't have a computer t' run the things on.
  • The Japanese site's stuff is computer generated, not photographs.
  • Matrix-Orbital [], that is.

    Check out the LCD Proc [] site, as it has lots of fun pictures and information.

    I just bought one of these for my new dual Celeron box. I just finished the wood cage for the metal components last night - the hard drive comes tonight - and I full well intend to at least boot it into linux this weekend before I have to disassemble it to make the rest of the case!

  • Actually, what I do now is show the status of my applications. The software equivalent of blinking lights, shown as status screens on CRTs.

    I tend to make applications with status variables mapped in shared memory. Then a monitor program attaches to the shared memory in read-only mode and displays the current state. Several clients have seen such displays while I was testing and demanded that they be permanently installed next to other status consoles.

    An extension is using status fields where the programs record codes for various decisions. Then a status program can display phrases such as "Pump 3 not started because Valve 5 set to Tank 2, which is empty". Those values are displayed elsewhere on the screen, but programs can point out why things are not proceeding.

    Or, with the DIPC patch for Linux, you can share the shared memory between the machines in a DIPC cluster. So one machine can collect data and any others in the cluster can view it...or all can update it. Particularly useful if the data collection program must run with system privileges, as the display programs do not need special privileges.

  • We are weird.
  • I chatted with the site's designers earlier today - they are based in Japan and the site was not actually released yet! They were aware that there are spelling errors (which should now be corrected) and the site will get an official launch sometime next week.

  • Buddy of mine works at a place where windows were installed in a windowless server room just to give it that old IS department glass-house feel. Company guests now can see the racks full of servers, routers, blinking lights, 21" monitors (utterly wasted at mostly untouched servers) etc, all illuminated by (I'm not making this up) dozens of florescent blacklights installed in the ceiling fixtures. Talk about your unearthly glow. It looks way cooler than your average server room - like something out of a movie. I'm dumbfounded that the management of this multimillion dollar company actually spent money on this, though. I guess looks count, at least when you're trying to impress a suit.

    I'd be willing to pay a premium for a cool-looking box, if the box took standard size MB and cards. I don't want to pay a premium for something that looks cool and is utter junk in a few years because nothing inside can be upgraded, which frequently seems to be the case with these nifty looking boxes.
  • without the lights tell me, what would those photos look like? black =8)


    ps. i think it looks pretty neat with those lights.
  • I don't know anything about this trend, but it's pretty spiffy if you ask me! The handle was a really nice touch too, though.
  • They're cool! And they're there so you can "stand back und watchen das blinkenlights". :-)

    • Mitch
  • if it doesn't have blinking lights, how can it be technology??? Bell Atlantic just installed a big-ass switch at our office, now THAT thing is technology. I watch star trek for the hot alien babes and the blinking lights, is there any other reason? C'mon people, we should be covering for eachother when it comes to superfluous blinking lights, not exposing the sham, let's get with it! Al Gore is almost certainly behind this.

  • kind of reminds me of the xmas tree lots of win users have around the edge of their desktop. kinda cool
  • I hope they're not planning to sell that lunchbox based on value!

    Only 64 MB of RAM, non-Intel chip, no monitor, no keyboard, no mouse -- and it starts at $1500?!? You can get a Dell PIII-450, fully-loaded with 17" monitor for $1,369! What are they smoking?

    P.S.: If you want to sell a product, it also helps to be able to spell what you're selling, such as an ethernet "adopter."
  • It may be cool, but the design doesn't necessarily serve a purpose. Not only that, but you're paying for it too. Don't get me wrong, that's a Bad-ass looking computer. But how much does it run? And considering the price, how much would it be without the fancy design?

    This is the same reason I don't like the iMac. Computers should be functional, and not necessarily good looking. SGI makes a nice looking computer, and their designs work because they look sophisticated. The iMac looks like a Pool toy, and the iBook like a Toilet seat. If you're going to make a radical design to a computer, make sure the design is GOOD. (And don't spend all the money on the design. Why? Because if you take crap, sprinkle it with glitter, doll it up, and make it look the end, you still have crap.)

    Although considering these computers run a well chosen OS, that says something about the components. :)

    (But it's a SERVER. Who needs a pretty SERVER?)

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • I think the design may serve a purpose. It's a server, right? That big light looks an awful lot like a backlit LCD status panel to me...
  • No, that's not blinkenlights.

    The mainframes which I started with had panels of blinking lights because they showed the actual bits in the hardware registers. Watching the Program Counter let you see how much it was switching between routines or programs, except when you switched from RUN to STEP and wasted a lot of real time stepping one instruction at a time.

    Now perhaps that glowing panel is decorative, or perhaps it is an LCD display for Linux to display messages upon. The photo page did not seem to have a spec link.

  • In my day we didn't have these fancy-shmancy keyboards. We entered everything with punch cards. And we got paper cuts and we liked it. Yah, it may have taken 138 hours to enter a program, if it had no miss punches, but we liked it. Liked it just FINE. You new kids and your punk keyboards. "Oh look at me, I can enter 110 characters per minute. I can code so fast. Laudy-Daudy Dah-dah-dah." Horse whoey! And these CRT thingies. We had to use a meter to measure the ones and zeroes of our registers cuse we were real men. All real men, except for Mike Glick who turned out to be a hoover. And we liked it just FINE. Well, all except for those dresses he wore, he was an uuuuugly women. Now Francene, there was a tall drink of water, a real fine women. Worked in the steno-pool. And we liked her just FINE. Where was I? Oh yah. You punks and your broad-band net access. Well we had nets first. Optic nets that worked just dandy, hook them up to signal lights and you can transmit a good mile on a clear night. Want fiber? We just flashed the light down a fat cast iron pipe. Fat-pipe! Get it? Get it? Blah, yah stupid kids. Now yah want computers that sit on your tables and don't gash you open when you replace a vac tube or mem stick or whatever you call those doohickies now. Real men bleed for thier systems. Now old George was 23 years my senior and he died in the mainframe. Well, we guess he did cause when those tubes het up you just hope to suffocate before you crisp. Not our fault, no siree. We new the life of a vac changer was short, we liked it just FINE. Stupid kids and their gizmos, always running without checking thier code, no respect, no respect at all, stupid memory protection makes them all soft, one memory space, real men, FINE, poor George, owed him a saw from the poker, damn mice chewing wires, where's my pills....................
  • Screw the box, what kind of phone is that? I've never seen anything like that before. I first thought it was breed of startac, but they dont have screens like that one
  • Not to flame, but isn't it w-i-e-r-d? You know, "i before e" and all that.
  • Who said it's a server?

    Yeah, it's designer, and one should expect to pay for the design. I want to know if they're going this as a case-only, too?
  • Does anyone have any recomendations on a good looking full tower, or server case [tall, 7 5 1/4 inch, 2+ 3 1/2 inch] 300 watt power supply etc?
    Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff
  • weird, not wierd, but who cares about spelling anyways, we're here for the content. As long as Rob doesn't start writing comments in l33t HaX0r Sp311iNg, I'm happy with slashdot. :)

  • I just ran ispell... it says "weird".
  • I don't think this is a Universal Truth about technology today. How about the Pavoni Europiccola [], or the TacT Millennium [] (Although it DOES have LEDs, both its design and technology is still quite impressive) Morgan +8 [] (These are still made today, and they are VERY fun to drive) Even though there's a lot of crap around, one can still find technological excellence today. It's just like the music industry - the fact that Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys are selling huge amounts of records, doesn't neccesarily mean that there is no good music being made out there. Hmm? -K
  • Bummer...
    How many of you out there are like myself?

    Given 5 minutes.. I can sleep anywhere, anytime
    in any environment (ok.. ALMOST any environment)

    Sun, no sun, Monitor, no monitor, Radio (LOUD), no
    radio, people, no people, storms, cars, trains, parks
    Hell.. anywhere... I don't even have to be comfortable.
    Heh... 'Course.. I figure I suffer from serious, self inflicted
    sleep deprivation... but I don't ever remember having
    problems with sleeping.
    And uhh... screensavers? What's that? Hehehe :>

  • "weird" isn't in the ispell dictionary... or is it? :-)
  • It's either "weird" or "wired". Depends on what you're trying to say.

    But "wierd" is not a word.
  • E Pluribus Rebootem?
    Veni, Vedi, Uhoh?
    Carpe Dram?

    I prefer

    Abandone Hope All Ye Who Enter
    Quad Damage!
    Let's Get It On With The Killing
    What, Me Worry?
    Rack 'em, Stack 'Em, Reboot 'em
  • I had been thinking of something like "Non inferiora secutus" or "Aude facere" or "Videbat esse notitia bona id temporis."

    "Usque comissare" and "Quis aliqui volet?" have their good points too. ;)

    Eos stupra si jocum nesciunt accipere

  • Do you really think that there are a lot of people looking to buy sub-par linux box for 1500 dollars. Especially a sub-par linux server box.
  • I was thinking the same thing. However, Luddite is an elaborate joke. They haven't updated that site in sometime. Still scary though....
  • It might also be nice if a company trying to sell
    machines spelled things correctly. I am not sure
    what a Linux ditribution is, but apparently, thats the OS you get with these boxes.
  • There's nothing wrong with cool. In fact, it's critical. I don't really want a machine boxed up in plywood and duct tape. We buy pretty cars, live in pretty houses and wear pretty clothes and eat pretty food, because the asthetics (IOW coolth) are important. And any good design should be able to incorporate excellent functionality and good looks.

    Besides - everyone knows that your car goes faster if you paint a black stripe down the side!
  • Remind me to do something like name it Open XYZ or put blinking lights on my product. Then I will get free advertising on Slashdot.

    Slashdot. Fascinated by Lights. Enthralled with Buzzwords.
  • It's the ultimate power light :)
  • Good Design is subjective. I think the lights look cool, especially if you don't power the server room unless necessary. The design looks pretty good, I just don't like the materials.

    Would i buy it? no. But I *would* buy some computers designed by hardcore industrial designers just for personal pride provided they could run whataever OS I want.

    I'd be willing to spend about 5% - 10% of the total computer price based on aesthetics, but I'm a computer nerd and in the minority.

    Remembering design is subjective, I'd look at designs similar to: g-500.html tml

  • My english teacher liked to point out spelling errors in newspapers.
    BTW I wasn't a very good student....
  • that first page loads all funky. try clicking on the photo links in the body of the post right here on /.
  • That is the most ugly computer i've ever seen!! Including my microwave. What possess people to make brown computers? The thing looks like my mom's brownie 8mm film projector. And you want blinking lights? Buy an external modem!!! Don't make ugly brown cases with blinking blue lights.
  • I know that it's not the same as the old register lights, but register displays on any modern processor would be just a blur anyway (What does a ~10Mhz signal look like on an LED anyway?)

    It's interesting to note that after the blinkenlights ceased to have a purpose, people expected them anyway. I vaguely remember some story about a travel agency getting it's first compter (probalby something like a microvax), and being disappointed because:

    • It was so small...
    • It didn't have the impressive blinkenlights.
    So they actually built a faux mainframe in front of it with pretty blinking lights just to impress somebody (probably a PHB).

    -- Mitch

  • I just bought a SuperMicro case with a 300 watt supply, forgot the model number. It looks fairly nice for a peecee box and is roomy enough that I wasn't bleeding after I put my linux-intel box together.
  • I before E, except after C, and sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh, and words Germanic in origin, which is what weird falls under.
  • I got a sweet black case from A-Pro. Check
    them out.
  • My college's newspaper once ran a front-page banner headline reading "Students React to Descriminatory Incidents." Poor des-criminated copy editors... I wonder how long their jobs lasted?

  • "I" before "E" and except after "C" and in codeine, therein, sheik,
    forfeit, heifer, counterfeit, neigh, leisure, weigh, either, neighbor,
    seize, Pleiades, vein, herein, unveil, albeit, atheism, protein,
    reign, eight, beige, sleigh, Beirut, neither, rein, deify, foreign, height,
    freight, heir, their, feign, deity, sleight, plebeian, deign, sovereign,
    being, deoxyribonucleic, and weird.


  • by mattdm ( 1931 )
    SGI's designs are more than just pretty. They work really well. The O2 case, for example, makes it trivial to switch hard drives and expansion cards without opening the case.


  • Thats what i thought, i thought it was the so-called 'vader' phone. But that screen isnt like the kind vader has.

    its rather nifty looking none-the-less

  • In the dark ages of computing, the monolithic machines had many wires and were often stuffed into dark, damp corners.

    And the wisemen of the computers, known as admins, were often forced to go into these places. They would bump their head on things, accidentally disconnect wires, and have bad allergic reactions to the dust.

    This made the computers angry and frustrated the admins. And so the admins prayed unto the Lord of Computing, "Lord of Computing, please aid us in our quest to maintain the great computers without causing ourselves physical bodily harm in the process."

    And the Lord of Computing said, "Let there be light." And there was light. And it was good*.

    -- Stargazer

    * Although it didn't do much for the allergic reactions, it was a start.
  • Gee, maybe I am a bit odd but I've always wanted a cardboard box computer. I remember trying to save up to get the parts for one over 8 years ago. I planned on building the biggest baddest computer I'd ever used and the putting it in a cardboard box so no one would suspect how big and bad it was.

    Baybe I just love surprises, but I always though it would be realy cool. Oh, and blinken lights can never be downplayed! I still feel left out because I don't have an LCD panel on my system and I no longer have a free parallel port for my 8LED status lights (That did the night rider thing based on load)
  • Wow, those are some of the best PHOTOGRAPHIES of computers I even seen. The iPalm is not for real is it? Why are they going to draw an iLibretto? :)

  • I hope the lights are software controlable. With their small size and enough money these could be the COOLEST!! Beowulf wall covering.

    It would be interesting to see the technical specs.

    Unfortunately my budget might get me a Commodore 64 wall covering. (I miss those things)
  • I am sure that, like most college aged people who easily fill the shoes of the "GEEK" definition, there are others out there who have computers in their room. I would be less than impressed if my roommate had a computer that had a flood light on the front of it. I typically turn off my monitor before I go to bed because my mouse is REALLY sensitive and it has been known to kill the screen saver with just the radio at medium volume. If I had a computer in my room that the flood light on the front came on every time that the mouse polled an interrupt I would get a little annoyed
    ----------------------------------------- ---

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.