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Author Topic: Small DSL computer to run my hobby projects.  (Read 1696 times)
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« on: May 07, 2013, 05:02:50 AM »


I am a programmer during the day and digital electronics/retro-computing hobbyist at night.
My first contact with DSL happened some 10 years ago. I did not think of it much then.
It impressed me that it could be booted up from 2 3.5" disks (even from one when squeezed), which I used to resurrect an old 386-SX PC. Flash memory sticks weren't that popular and reliable back then.
Long years passed, 2 children were born and I am back to my tinkering with anything CPU, 8-bit retro or just old.
One of my 1st projects after resurrecting my sentiments toward 8-bit microprocessors was a LED Matrix Scrolling Board with 8052 microcontroller:


Not yet a DSL, but getting there, so bear with me.
When I tried to invent some practical use for my contraption, I decided it would be a News Headlines Prompter in my geek cave.
But my contraption did not have a network interface (just RS232) nor advanced scripting capabilities. I was thinking Arduino (but learning curve too wide - at the time I did not play with Arduino yet) or another contraption. Then I decided I would cheat and came up with this:


Now this thing is also my backup and file server as well. I love it. Very reliable and almost maintenance free (sometimes I need to fix stuff I myself break).
Maybe this is not much by the  Linux world standards, nevertheless I am impressed and proud of these stats:

dsl@box:/opt$ uptime
 00:26:33 up 207 days,  3:02, load average: 0.04, 0.01, 0.00

I hope I will reach a year without stopping this thing. I must login to it from time to time just to remind myself how to use it :-), since it is just a configure, run and forget type of system. My DSL runs without any keyboard or display, no X-windows/GUI. Just bare minimum. I login to it via network or RS232 port.
It boots from a USB flash drive. Has another USB flash drive as a temporary storage and two 2TB hard drives connected: one on the SATA running with the computer (file server, temporary backup) and one via USB turned on only for a permanent backup that runs every 3 months.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 05:08:10 AM by mkarcz » Logged
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