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The Story of stockholm

Since stockholm, my mighty ANS 500/132, is the reason for this site I figured I'd give a little history of its existence and what it was like to run an ANS back when it was still fairly new. (Here's a recent picture of its still pristine front badge.)

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stockholm, as it was in use in 1998 at the University in a corner of my corner in the programmers' nest. Notice the accessory kit and the stacks of parity RAM expansion. These packs as Apple sold them were a lot in 1998 (16MB each), but pathetically small by today's standards, and they were expensive. Out of the box it came with 32MB of RAM, so this got it up to a cozy 80MB. Back then it was serving stockholm.ptloma.edu and gopher.ptloma.edu, and after I registered Floodgap, also served www.floodgap.com and gopher.floodgap.com. I also managed to locate a 200MHz card during this time, which was not cheap but dramatically improved its performance, replaced the internal 2GB SCSI drive with a much roomier 18GB Fujitsu (this drive is still doing great), and got a used 700 1MB cache stick.

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In its (almost new) condition with its standard configuration, floppy, CD and DAT. Almost every ANS I've encountered has these; I have never personally seen the 8mm tape drive option, and I've never seen an ANS that did not have the DAT (unless it was secondarily removed).

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One of stockholm's more unusual duties during this time was acting as a terminal server for a Commodore SX-64 portable computer, connected to the serial ports. It could even allow the Commodore to run a primitive web browser. This SX had lost its handle prior to my acquisition, so it sat propped up on a serial switchbox.

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Eventually stockholm left the University after I ended my consultant contract with them and moved to my apartment between 2003 and 2011, along with my other machines. This was its home on the lower rafter of my ghetto WalMart server rack. After about a year or so I gave the Gopher server duties to helsinki, my Power Mac 7300 running NetBSD, since it had a G3 and was rather faster at doing Veronica searching and indexing. stockholm continued to run mail, news and Web, however. During this time I maxed out the parity RAM and got the AIX-compatible Apple 100TX NIC so it could also do firewall duty. I also picked up the RAID card option, but never got around to installing it.

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After 13 years stockholm's disadvantages finally tipped the balances. AIX 4.1.5 still had some bugs in it, and the motherboard was a little flaky after years of unrelenting uptime and several power company shenanigans. More to the point, 200MHz was a lot in 1998 but it was bupkis now, and while the fast I/O made it still a very decent server, any task that was CPU-bound took an increasingly irritating amount of time. In 2010 I bought uppsala (left), the IBM p520 POWER6 serving you this page now. uppsala first replaced helsinki, which was used to build a new kickass classic Mac games machine, since it could do large database tasks without breaking a sweat. When I bought this house in 2011, stockholm was not loaded into the ghetto rack, and uppsala took over all of its tasks as well in March 2012. This is where it sits today, in an honoured spot in my server room. The best part is that uppsala runs all of stockholm's binaries without comment, so I didn't have to recompile everything.

stockholm still sits ready for action as the second-string server, though. In May 2014, uppsala blew its backplane and stockholm temporarily returned to duty for a few days while I waited for parts.

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holmstock, my ANS 700/150. This was stockholm's body double and served in its stead for a period of time when I had to strip stockholm down to the sheet metal to figure out a hardware problem. I picked it up as a pair of machines from eBay; one had a totally shot logic board, but the peripherals were good, and the other was stripped, so we just combined the two. Right now it sits in the closet and holds spare parts.

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Server Pr0n

During the teardown, I took some pictures of the process. This is the front of stockholm with the front panel off, showing the sliding door mechanism and the power supply. On the 700, the same panel covers the power supply, but the supply has a locking handle to remove it. It's possible to do the same on the 500, just more inconvenient. Notice that the 500 has a second power supply bay as well, but it doesn't go anywhere; only the 700 has failover redundancy.

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Logic board, depopulated, showing the RAM slots, the cache slot, the ROM slot (always empty on production models) and the processor card slot, which is held in place by the white plastic rails. A fan cools it directly at left. The PCI slots are at lower left. Notice that the board is completely disconnected and ungrounded when open.

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Logic board, populated, top view with the top metal cover off. This is showing the full 512MB RAM complement and the 200MHz 604e CPU card.

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Rear ports, with the logic board drawer closed. From left to right, speaker, microphone, ADB (only one port, madness), MiniDIN-8 serial ports, VGA (not regular Mac DB-15 video), AAUI Ethernet and 25-pin Narrow SCSI.

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Backplate and label.

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Mezzanine SCSI backplane, which is located next to the logic board drawer, with the panel off. This distributes power and Wide SCSI to the front internal drive bays; the actual connection uses interposer "mezz boards" in each bay. The 700's rear drive bays live here and connect to the mezz as well.

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Top off, showing the logic board, the floppy drive and the mezzanine power and SCSI connections.

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Rear of the front panel, showing the internal speaker, LCD circuitry and rear of the keylock. The CD drive bay was removed and is visible also.

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The Shiner Designers

As with other Apple computers, the designers left their signatures on the back of the panel. They are not all legible. If someone worked on the ANS design team and can ID everyone here for posterity, please drop me a line. Names I'm pretty sure I can identify: Teresa "Magic" Hooks, Paul Hamton Kelly, M.P. McNally, Laszlo Zsidek (whose signature also appears in the original Mac 128K), Steven Nelson, Bradford J. Rogers. Next time I have its skins off I'm going to take a better picture of this.

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Warp Speed, Scotty

Well, let's fire it up. This is the copyright message that the LCD immediately displays on power-up. (The LCD is backlit but this is not obvious in these flash pictures.) If 1994 seems old, you should read the ANS FAQ.

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Then, the Long RAM test. With 512MB, I do mean long -- it may take several minutes. If you hit Control-Open Apple-Reset on the ADB keyboard, it will reboot and then skip Long RAM.

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[1998] Just about the maximal configuration of any extant ANS. Compare it to what stockholm had in 1998 (sorry the image is blurry; this was off a bad scan of a bad Polaroid). Notice that because it still had the 132MHz 604 card, it still had a 44MHz bus, and I hadn't updated the cache yet.

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Open Firmware 1.1.22, unlike 1.0.5 on its contemporary Macs, actually is somewhat interactive and displays prompts on screen. This is its "happy" display booting AIX ("disk2:aix").

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Now the march of inscrutable AIX boot codes ...

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... terminating with this one ...

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... as AIX starts up with its software green screen. Even uppsala still displays everything in this font.

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Yes, Virginia, you can write arbitrary things to the front LCD. Mine puts the uptime there in cron.

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smit happens. (I'll put a CDE screenshot here later.)

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