I spent some time down at the warehouse last week tidying up. Mostly this meant moving boxes from the garage door area over onto some pallets. It might be time for some unboxing videos on our YouTube channel in preparation for the next phase of work with this collection.
The next phase of this collection is to begin the slow and steady task of refurbishment and repair of the items in the collection to bring them into working order and maintain them in that condition. For now that probably means checkout, refurbishment and repair of the terminals in the collection. These are the easiest things to work on individually and in quantity represent the most number of items. Some SGI workstations might also get some attention during this initial checkout phase. A decade earlier at the previous warehouse location, the Octane workstations were all inventoried and put into working order with hard drives installed and IRIX loaded. Last year when preparing to attend VCF Midwest, I pulled an Octane out for a quick inspection and while it powered on, it displayed a fault indicator on its light bar. I didn’t have time to investigate further or examine other units, so I simply prepared a static display instead of an active display.
Over the years that I’ve been pursuing this hobby/obsession/goal of a museum dedicated to the history of computer graphics, the collection grew to its current size. In previous years, some things were not difficult to find if you monitored the right web sites. The government surplus auction sites yielded a bunch of large SGI machines as they were decommissioned from Boeing in St. Louis. Since that singular event, I’ve not seen similar large SGI machines anywhere. Here and there the occasional deskside Onyx or Onyx 2 would show up on ebay (freight shipping only, please!), but those haven’t shown up for a long time. A lot of the various terminals I’ve collected have also become quite scarce, even though they are smaller and can be shipped without much difficulty.
So it appears that I collected the right stuff and the right time, or in many cases the last time such things were not difficult to obtain. This is great news for the collection because it means that I have assembled enough of the right items into a single place. The bad news is that now I have the large task of refurbishment and repair ahead of me. I guess it’s high time to put that electrical engineering degree to work!