Temple of the geek

temple of the geek: n. Slang 1) Shrine in honor of nerds, 2) Room in a non-commercial residence that contains more operational computers than the owner has digits, 3) Reason for a computer lover to pay rent for a two bedroom apartment, when only one person is in residence.

The TOTG is simply my playroom, or my den, or my office, depending on how you see things. It's a room full of computers. I have twelve computers here, as well as three more in a colocation site elsewhere. Only nine are up and functional here - the three in colocation are up 24x7x365.

I can almost hear it now - "Holy crap, you must be rich! You have so many computers!" Well, yes, I have a bunch. However, only a very small number are worth anything. Most of them are Pentium 1 class, or maybe Pentium 2. Almost none of them would even run Microsoft Windows. Currently, only one machine has the power to run Windows, the rest run UNIX or UNIX-like operating systems. With UNIX, I can turn a Pentium 200 machine into a _real_ machine, one that can actually get work done.

And before you ask, my UNIX-like operating system of choice is OpenBSD. More on that later.

On to the Temple Of The Geek. The machines are all named after things having to do with particle physics. I have no idea why I chose that naming convention - I hate physics. I guess it just makes for some cool names. Click on the individual image to view the larger one.

The Bone Pile(tm) The junk closet
The Bone Pile - click for larger image

This is the Bone Pile. It's the pile of computer skeletons I keep around for cannibalization. If I need a random part, chances are I can scavenge it from this pile if need be.

The junk closet - click for larger image

This, of course, is the junk pile. Every computer nerd has one... Notice the Sun SparcStation 10, and the four hundred feet of spare ethernet cables. This does not include the cable I have in bulk.

Lepton and plasma The UPS and quark
Lepton and plasma - click for larger image

This is lepton and plasma, lepton is on the left. Lepton is actually on my employer's network, and has no logical or physical connection to mine. Plasma is my OpenBSD-CURRENT machine for development (I'm trying to develop a few ports for the ports collection).

UPS and quark - click for larger image

This is my UPS and quark, UPS on the left. For those of you that are not nerds, the UPS is an Uninterruptable Power Supply. It's basically a big battery that protects the computers if the power goes out, or if there's a power surge.

Quark is my current gaming rig and main workstation. It is the only machine in-house that runs Windows in any shape or form. It's also the only machine that can run Neverwinter Nights.

The funky-ass box in the background is my subwoofer, used primarily for Big Dumb Riffs (thanks TK) and NWN playing.

Southern view #1 Southern view #2
Southern view #1 - click for larger image

This is a majority of the TOTG right here. The network support machines are on the far left, the testing/development machines are in a stack in the center, and serious gaming/work/development machines are on the far right, under the desk, where you can't see them.

Southern view #2 - click for larger image

Here's a more direct view of the machines on the south wall. Notice Scooby on the backup monitor. The pile of Sun machines on the right side are all SparcStation 10's, two 40MHz units and one 150MHz unit. They serve as my playpen - I try new apps out on them, so I'm always driving them into the ground.

Strange, photon, and tau The Sun pile
Strange, photon, and tau - click for larger image

From the left: strange, photon, and tau. Strange is my backup (as in tape backup) server as well as my secondary DNS for the home LAN. Photon is the beefy Pentium 75MHz firewall, and tau is my home LAN server providing primary DNS, Samba services, website staging, and network monitoring for both this LAN and the remote colocation site.

On top are my VPN unit (far left), tape drive and hub for the external DMZ (center), and network switch and backup ethernet connection from my apartment complex (far right).

The Sun pile - click for larger image

This is the Sun pile. From top to bottom: top, nucleus, and bottom. Top and bottom are my development web and mailservers, while nucleus is my external FTP server. It's currently out of commission, as the drive that was serving up my data died. I haven't bothered buying a replacement yet.

My three posters The west view
My three OpenBSD posters - click for larger image

These are my three OpenBSD posters. I really enjoy working with OpenBSD - it is a very clean, very correct, very stable operating system. It's also one of the most secure in the world, if not the most.

It is also not for the faint of heart. It is very well documented, but if you participate in the actual community, you need to have a thick skin. The developers are very to the point, and rarely mince words (Theo de Raadt has somewhat of a reputation for not suffering fools). And that's fine - with the attitude they have, only the best are allowed in. And, as a result, they produce a shockingly clean, stable, reliable operating system that they are gracious enough to let us use.

As a result, I try to support the project as best I can. I can't code for shit, so I try to support those that can with donations, hardware, or product sales such as CD sets or posters or t-shirts.

Also note my omnipresent pager, Bart, my squeezie 3-Com arrow, and a Starship Enterprise made out of the metal shield from a floppy disk.

The western wall - click for larger image

Here's the view of the stuff along the west wall. Over on the far left is my KVM switch and DSL router. In the center is my 19" monitor, right of that is my Garfield calendar (thanks Sis!), and at the far right are two hard drives that wouldn't obey my evil whim. Kinda unorganized, but that's OK.

Notice the early edition of the Temple Of The Geek on the monitor.