Recently in General Topics Category

Mark Wickens has posted an announcement for the upcoming DEC Legacy Event in the UK.  He's invited the SGI, HP and Sun communities to participate as well.

Hi guys,

Just wanted to make an official announcement on Nekochan for the DEC Legacy Event. This is the second year of the event, and following on from last years great success I would like to extend the invitation to attend not only to those interested in DEC hardware but also in SGI, HP, IBM and Sun hardware as well (or any other kit that would be of interest).

Given the size of the venue I am not entertaining extending this invitation to our 8-bit friends as I believe this is a community better served by VCF-GB which I am informed will be making a repeat appearance in 2012.

The event is hosted over two days in the beautiful Lake District of the UK. Last year we had many interesting talks and presentations, including a very memorable talk by Stephen Hoffman via video-conference to the USA about his time spent at the mill. It's a very unique opportunity to meet up with fellow enthusiasts. This year we are planning on being a lot more hands on - expect to see a multi-machine/OS DECnet cluster being created for example.

The cost is GBP 15.00 for the two days, although you are able to book for either Saturday/Sunday separately as required. Most of this cost goes to hiring the venue.

Feel free to ask me any questions. I am about to spend a little time getting the website more up to date with people and machines that will be attending. If you would like to make a presentation or do a demonstration (or would like to volunteer someone!) that would be great - just let me know.

I would love to see a good representation from the SGI, HP and Sun community there!


Mark Wickens

Twitter Troubles

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I made my first social networking faux pas this afternoon, clicking on a direct link offered from a noted computer scientist whom I follow. Before I knew it, every one of my followers was spammed with the “Mafia” twitter virus as detailed on the Register.


I sincerely apologize for this. I betrayed the trust of those following me, and I feel awful about it.

neko_no_ko on Twitter

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I got around to creating a Twitter account the other day — too late to snag the ‘nekonoko’ tag, but was still able to get ‘neko no ko’ (underscores rather than spaces) which is a suitable alternate.

Twitter is shaping up as an ideal way to mention brief retrocomputing tidbits, gripes, etc. without filling the blog proper with abbreviated content.

A Short Break

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything new, and though I have lots of potentially interesting things brewing, unfortunately none are ready to photograph and write about in detail. Or more accurately, I haven’t gotten around to getting them ready.

Unfortunately I’d configured the blog to boot older posts off the front page after a set time period, so Nekochan was looking a little bare — this is pretty much just a placeholder until I can get back in the saddle and actually create some new content.

In the not-to-distant future, I’d like to try out a recently acquired TRS-80 Model II disk cabinet, a brand new IMSAI Super I/O Controller, vintage Votrax speech unit, a spotless ADM-3a with lowercase option and a do-it-yourself Ti-99/4A IDE card. Maybe write a bit about the recent resurrection of a Personal Iris 4D/35 as well.


Until then, keep on computing and building!

Nekochan Server Troubles

The Origin 200 servers that power Nekochan both died the other day. I've been working to restore service using the O2 that previously hosted the site, but it's been slow going. No data was lost and I will to continue to restore functionality as time permits.

I hope to purchase replacement servers sometime in January or February so please bear with me until then.

Update: The migration is now complete.

IP35 PROM Innards and Speculations


While paging through the IP35 PROM from IRIX 6.5.21m which, as many of you know, is the PROM used in most current SGI machines, i stumbled accross some IP board numbers: IP34 IP35 IP39 IP45 IP53

The Tezro is the IP53, no doubt. Also the IP35 is the Fuel, but what are the other three? One of them should be an Onyx4... hm...

The bootlogo's for the fuel and Onyx3 IR which i could extract from a recent PROM image aren't there anymore, because SGI has changed the image format from RLE encoding to something different. Color maybe?

Any info on Fuel's 6.5.21m bootlogo or even a Tezro's bootupscreen is appreciated :)

BTW: Tezro support started with IRIX 6.5.21, but the IP53 entry was already present in the IP35 PROM from 6.5.19. This dates the development of the Tezro prototypes back to february this year, or even further back...

Shuffling Around

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The site is kind of a mess at the moment - I'm in the process of updating a large portion of the IRIX screenshot archive so many of the inline images are not going to show up while that's going on. I'll looking at finishing during the coming weekend.

I'm also lining up a couple more news posters so updates will hopefully be a bit frequent. Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.

Of Stylesheets and Browsers

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I've received quite a few notes both in the forums and personally about the menu "bug" some are experiencing (date covering menu). This is a result of web browsers not automatically reloading the stylesheet after changes have been made. SHIFT+reload should take care of it.

If anyone knows some magic code to convince a browser to refresh the CSS automatically, please let me know.

Site Work


I'm working on the site layout at the moment, trying to fix some of the issues I've had in the past with the sidebar moving on it's own (it's now anchored properly). Huge thanks go to Slide for helping me out with the CSS necessary to get things in order here!

Note: If the website does not display correctly on Mozilla/Phoenix simply [shift]+click on the refresh button to force a load of the updated style sheet.

In other site news - mis, one of our forum/chat regulars, has been hard at work creating SGI themed desktop backgrounds in LightWave and adding them to the Gallery. You can check out his work here.

SGI related news has been very light; other than the release of OpenOffice at the start of April, this has been one fairly uninteresting month. Hopefully things will pick up soon.

Site Updates

SGI news has been rather slow over the past few days, I apologize for the lack of updates as a result. However, the last couple of weeks have seen a few additions to the Gallery pages, particularly in the Hardware and Guest Galleries. Be sure to give them a look!

The forums have also been going strong over the past couple of months, and several of our forum regulars can also be found hanging out on our IRC channel #nekochan @ ... stop in and say hi sometime.

When Spam Hits the Blogs

Wired wrote an interesting article last year about spammers choking referral logs with bogus links on many popular 'blog' sites. Well it finally happened to me this month.

The behavior I discovered appears to be the result of a small script run on the attackers machine (in this case a single IP) which streams hundreds of false referrer and user agent strings in an attempt to make the log appear legit.

In any case, please disregard the referrer listings in the Site Reports section ... and certainly don't click on any of the links. Unfortunately I may have to discontinue that portion of the site completely; I'll keep an eye on the situation over the next few days.

Note: Due to the possibility of further abuse, the Site Reports section has been shut down.

New Forums Online

I decided to try out adding forums to the site this evening. The topics available are minimal for the time being until I get a feel for what is needed/desired ... no sense adding lots of topics if the demand isn't there.

Gallery Updated

I've updated the photo gallery today with a few new images. Both IRIX galleries have received one new image each while the Miscellaneous Photos gallery has been completely redone ... all the old photos have been expunged and brand new January 2003 images uploaded in place.

In addition, Shea McCombs has contributed several high quality shots of Octane and O2 hardware both with and without skins to the SGI gallery. I'm impressed with the fantastic submissions made to the image galleries lately; thanks again to everyone who has contributed.

System Maintenance etc.


Not much new to report today so far, but I do want to mention that Nekochan Net (and subsequently my e-mail server) will be down tomorrow evening while I replace the 3c597 card with a Phobos G160. Hopefully it won't take too long and the outage will be minimal.

I now have a couple of extra network cards available: a Phobos G130 (in original box) which will work with Indy/Indigo R4K (GIO32 slot), and a 3Com 3c597 (EISA slot) suitable for Indigo2. Both are 100Mbit cards; anyone interested?


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While cruising ThinkGeek today I found a humorous customer "action shot" featuring (among other things) an SGI O2 (Full image available on ThinkGeek). I think they're both cute!

Vacation Time

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That's right, I'm on vacation again! I'll be back on the 30th and will try for a new update around that time.

HotMix CDs


Last week I stopped off at SGI's campus in Mountain View and picked up a few classic HotMix CD-ROMs to give away to site readers. For those unfamiliar with HotMix, they are (were) promotional CDs containing demo and trial versions of commerical software for IRIX.

Here's where I need some assistance; how best should I give these out? I've considered giving them away for tip/article contributions, or perhaps open a guest screenshot gallery where we could have some friendly competition. At any rate, I'm willing to pick up shipping for those located in the US/Canada.

The Big Move

Nekochan Net may experience some sporadic downtime over the next few days; I'm in the process of moving this website over to the Indigo2. The decision to retire Ryouko came rather abruptly today after a failed attempt to install a Phobos G130 along with a dead TOD battery gave me serious pause as to the viability of the current setup as a server. It's time to move on; the Indigo2 is several orders of magnitude faster anyway. Ryouko will still get occasional use as a Galileo/Cosmo video capture station once I get around to installing a new battery.

New Screenshots

I added and updated a few IRIX screenshots located in the Gallery. If there are any suggestions or if there's something you'd like to see in there let me know. Comments work fine. Drop some comments on the images themselves too.

You wouldn't believe how many Google hits I receive that just drop straight into that gallery and never even see the front page of this site. It's sort of depressing sometimes.

Links and More Links


Continuing the slow process of fine tuning the website, I've added a few more topical web links to the sidebar ... not only links to great SGI/IRIX sites brimming with information, software and images, but also a few links to some of my favorite background/wallpaper sites to help spiff up your desktop. Hopefully everyone will find these links useful, and if there are any you think I ought to add just leave a comment.

Evolving the Site

Over the past several days I've been working at switching this site over to new software which will make it easier for me to maintain. The move is largely complete; pretty much all that remains is adding new content and polishing the look of the site.

The site now allows comments on everything; screenshots, articles, photos, etc. which hopefully some visitors will enjoy. Also, the old Guestbook module is still in place so feel free to use it for more general comments. I don't get enough traffic here to warrant starting a forum so that's the best solution at the moment.

For my IRIX viewers: one of the consequences of the move is that it now relies heavily on CSS and will not function correctly with old Netscape 4.x browsers; try Mozilla or one of the lightweight Gecko-engine derivatives (Galeon or SkipStone for example). You can grab copies of all three of these packaged for IRIX 6.5 from

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