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My IT background      
My hardware      
My coding      
Hardware Cooling     
Linux on an HP      
Omnibook 800      
Linux Omnibook      
Linux on an Sony      
Vaio Z505      
Sony Vaio      
Interfacing Linux      
PCs to household      
Appliance Control      

My machines are 2 old Sun Workstations running SunOS 4.1.3 and FreeBSD (one is a SUN 4/110, and the other is a SPARCStation 1+), a home built (as in, I built it from bits of discarded computers I found in skips in Central London) Pentium P75 (clocked at 90MHz) Multimedia PC, a Pentium 266 Laptop and a high end 450 Mhz Pentium II with 128 Mb of RAM, with 2 hard disks for dual booting to Red Hat Linux 6.1 with Gnome, or Windows. All computers are networked via 10baseT hubs.

Building hardware is nowhere near as hard as people may think. It is not really any cheaper than buying a complete system however, but enables you to gain a much greater insight into how your computer works, and can enable you to tweak your computer's performance. I have lost count of how many changes I've made to my PCs and Sun workstations - most of them have worked, however, failures can be fairly catastrophic, as some of the fried motherboards and add-on cards I have amassed would seem to suggest. I have prepared a couple of web pages to act as pointers for those who may be curious about various hardware modifications, the pages cover the hows and whys of cooling computers and interfacing a Linux laptop to household appliances.

Additionally, on the move, I use a Sony Vaio Z505. This laptop really is the business; Celeron 300 CPU, built in 10/100 BaseT networking, built in V.90 56Kps modem, 12.1" TFT screen. basically, the perfect Linux laptop !

I also use a special, modified HP Omnibook 800 dual booting to Linux and Windows-95 (allows cgi/java/c hacking on the road), and a Palm V. Why is this Omnibook 800 special ? Well, there aren't many laptops out there that have been autographed in gold marker by Alan Cox (Yes, the Alan Cox of Linux fame !). How is the Omnibook 800 modified ? Well, I broke the screen, so I rehoused the entire thing in an alumnium flight case, so now it acts as the launch control computer at various rocket launches.

Previously I used a Toshiba Libretto and a REX - the Toshiba Libretto has now been relegated to controlling various external hardware systems. Just in case it's helpful to others, I have written a separate page detailing the Linux based HP Omnibook 800, and the installation of Linux on it.

Before this, I used to use an Apple Newton MessagePad from 1995, and then a Psion 5 from 1997, both of which I connected at base with the PC (at home). In the field, I powered the Newton and the Psion 5 off a combination of rechargeable batteries and solar panels. I will probably start using the Psion 5 again when the Linux port for it becomes more stable, now that the Palm V has become my PDA of choice.

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 Richard Osborne - 1996-2001