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What do You Use your NeXT for today?
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Professor John Kercheval



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 8
Location: Washington DC/ Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 6:00 am    Post subject: What do You Use your NeXT for today? Reply with quote

First, my kudos to the creators of this site. I've been a NeXT admirer and user (my Business School had them I've never owned one) since the start.

My question to you owners is:

Given that this thing has been out of production for 1.5 decades or whatever it has been, what do you use your NeXT for today? Does the machine have
practical uses at all? Is anyone actually using the computer as their "main" system?

FYI, I used my HP Touchscreen II vintage 1987 as my main computer until 1997 when I finally had to upgrade.


John W. Kercheval
Washington, DC

******************
Eurocom D900K "Phantom" Laptop
AMD Athlon Dual Core 2600MHZ
PCMARK Score 6227
RAID 0 Hard Drive System- 200GB
2GB RAM
With newly Integrated WinStep NeXTSTEP System Installed
(thanks to this board)
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Thrax



Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got mine to get back "into" Unix. I suppose I could of installed Linux on an old wintel box but using actual black hardware is a thousand times more fun!

It's not uncommon for people to have used a computer system for 10 years as you did yours. My first apple ii lasted me from 1980 to 1989 (inclusive). I've known power users who got 15 years out of an apple! I always notice long time users of systems have their machines really optimized towards the end of their computers life.
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da9000



Joined: 30 Sep 2006
Posts: 387
Location: Silicon Valley

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I unfortunately don't use it as my "main machine" (although I don't technically have a "main machine", but more like half a dozen which constitute my "main machine"), but mostly for hobby reasons these days. Although it's still a great platform for testing out ideas since it provides a very powerful, even if a bit outdated, development environment. For example, I used a NeXT during univ., to do some of my programming homework assignments and stuff, and I still write little quick programs (usually straight C) to test out ideas.

Unfortunately what kills most old skool machines is the lack of a modern browser. For example, there's a $10,000+ bounty for someone to port Mozilla/Firefox to the Amiga platform, since that's a major holding point on that platform. There are days when I'm thinking to myself about starting (yet another?) browser project with the goal of being portable, light-weight and fast on embedded (and thus old skool) systems. Why start one vs. port an existing codebase? I dunno about you, but the size of the Mozilla source base scares me a bit :/

I really wish Opera would (or better yet could afford to) port their mini browser to 68k platforms...
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kronoman



Joined: 10 May 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Richmond, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've briefly entertained the notion of porting links, with its -g graphical interface, to NeXT. It currently depends on X11, and for a beta needing an X server wouldn't be completely heinous, but a proper interface would be needed and harder to do...

Hmm. GNUStep once again presents itself. Also, I should see if there's a native Mac frontend. Maybe one could kluge backward from there. It's no Firefox or Konqueror, but it's still surprisingly capable, relative to Omniweb 3.
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da9000



Joined: 30 Sep 2006
Posts: 387
Location: Silicon Valley

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kronoman wrote:
I've briefly entertained the notion of porting links, with its -g graphical interface, to NeXT. It currently depends on X11, and for a beta needing an X server wouldn't be completely heinous, but a proper interface would be needed and harder to do...


I didn't think of links, because I had no idea it had a graphical UI... but yeah, it's a good idea. I really like links (as opposed to lynx, even though each has features the other is missing .. typical Unix uncooperativeness Sad ... ). But I think a dependance on X11 isn't so bad.

kronoman wrote:
Hmm. GNUStep once again presents itself. Also, I should see if there's a native Mac frontend.


Do you mean a Cocoa/NS/GNUStep frontend to links ? Haven't seen one Sad
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Nightengale



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 152
Location: SD CA

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice...I saw the HP touchscreen at one of the wayback archive Computer Chronicle episodes, hard to find machines....

I haven't changed my response to this since a fairly recent response to a similiar thread:

http://www.nextcomputers.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=365
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kronoman



Joined: 10 May 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Richmond, Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use mine for document design with FrameMaker, basic spreadsheet stuff with Quantrix and ParaSheet (These are much nicer than OpenOffice Calc, if less featureful), some minor graphics diddling with WetPaint, and as a machine for general tinkering.

I sometimes use them for IRC, too, since I tend to IRC from whichever box I'm on at the time. Most of the time that means Xchat from Linux or Solaris, but not always!
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Jenne



Joined: 06 May 2006
Posts: 338
Location: Switzerland

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't use any of my black machines as main system but I'm experimenting with them a lot.
First of all I'm trying to build a documentation, some sort of visual / virtual evolution listing from Mac OS over NeXTstep/Openstep to Rhapsody and then first Mac OS X versions.
Second I'm setting up some of my machines (Non-NeXT) as file storage system for collecting old software - right now I'm copying about 400 CDs to my AppleShare IP server which also works as a transfer station between my AppleTalk machines, Mac OS 9 machines with ethernet and Mac OS X machines.
Third I'm using them for comparing several software which was usable on other systems, for example Illustrator for Mac OS, NeXT and Windows or the famous game Oxyd for NeXT, Mac OS and Atari.

So although I'm not actually working with all of my machines I'm using them a lot.

J
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RacerX



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 333
Location: Twin Cities, MN

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only apps I still need OPENSTEP for are Framemaker and Geomview. Beyond those, I have an easier time with stuff in Rhapsody... mainly due to a few small advances like antialiasing and the like. In Rhapsody I do mainly web stuff, but have also done a number of print projects too. And it isn't like I don't have access to most of the same apps I use in Mac OS X (OmniWeb, Create, TextEdit, ToyViewer and PStill to name a few).

As far as working in any of these environments, because most everything can be turned into either Postscript or PDF, it isn't like your work is isolated.

The idea that stuff becomes less useful or produces poorer quality with age is a misconception. One that I address in a thread in a Mac forum starting last December.

I had never done any 3D work before and had seen the results of a lot of people's efforts using expensive software packages on high end systems. I was wondering if I could produce similar results using only what I had on hand... a PowerBook 3400c/200 (from 1997) and Strata Vision3D 4.0 (from 1994)... both of which I had gotten for free.

This is what I was able to achieve by the end of March...


Click to play clip
Duration: 42 seconds
Size: 6 MB

While I by no means suggest that my work on this is as good as people who have been doing this for years, it does do a good job illustrating that just because software and/or hardware is old it doesn't mean that it isn't able to still do quality work. If it was able to do great things when it was new, there is nothing stopping it from doing the same today.

:roll:

... well, nothing other than the ability of the person using the system that is. Very Happy
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AStar617



Joined: 10 May 2007
Posts: 37
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My use is purely from a hobbyist standpoint. My goal is to have every box in my collection be able to act as a "living exhibit" of sorts, and load an encyclopedia-style article about itself for the enjoyment of an inquisitive user. Smile This should be easy with the NeXT platform since all you need is even the most basic web browser to make a very nice writeup complete with graphics.

RacerX wrote:
I had never done any 3D work before and had seen the results of a lot of people's efforts using expensive software packages on high end systems. I was wondering if I could produce similar results using only what I had on hand... a PowerBook 3400c/200 (from 1997) and Strata Vision3D 4.0 (from 1994)... both of which I had gotten for free.

This is what I was able to achieve by the end of March...


*applause* :shock:

I think that's really, really good. You should be very proud of that!

How long did it take to render? Hopefully not from December to March Laughing
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RacerX



Joined: 03 Jan 2006
Posts: 333
Location: Twin Cities, MN

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AStar617 wrote:
*applause* :shock:

I think that's really, really good. You should be very proud of that!

How long did it take to render? Hopefully not from December to March Laughing

Wow, thanks! :D

Well, back in December I didn't have any idea how anything worked... and as everything on screen in those shots was made from scratch, I had to figure out how to make each of the complex shapes of the ship. The secondary hull was the hardest to get right (and even then, it isn't exactly how I would have wanted).

This was my progress after two weeks (click images to enlarge)...



I started out with a Starfleet Scout because it was easier (more on it can be found here). I followed that up with an old Starfleet Tug...



After that I started attempting a starship like the Enterprise. This is one of my early test renderings January...



And this is how far I had gotten by the end of February..



And after about a month more of work and learning the app I got to what you see in that short video.

Still images can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to render on my PowerBook depending on resolution and render effects (like adding shadows). Movies I tend to render on my 8600 and can take up to 12 hours for 10 seconds at 640 pixels wide (the time is significantly shorter if I render at 320 pixels wide).

While there are even more things I now know how to do to increase the accuracy of my model, work related stuff has kept me from spending any time on this since the end of March.


The other reason for attempting this was the new remastered Star Trek episodes that are currently being released. I was curious if the effects could have been done on midrange equipment more than ten years ago.

My starship, the USS Constellation, was one featured in the original series episode Doomsday Machine. Back in the 1960s the production team used an 18" model kit of the Enterprise to make the Constellation for that episode. Earlier this year CBS television invested a ton of time and money in remastering that episode (which has been ranked as one of the top 10 fan favorites of all the series).

Here is a quick comparison between the original Constellation from the 1960s, my version (which obviously is not damaged as it was in that episode) and the newly remastered version...



As I have been helping with the fan film Starship Exeter with some of the model effects, I had become interested in the CG type of stuff recently (as the USS Exeter is done as a CG model in that production). I know that my stuff doesn't compare with the Exeter, but I've been pretty happy with my progress in a short period of time.
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helf



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1097
Location: Alabama, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't used mine much the last few months. But when I do I generally play nethack a lot ;)

I use framemaker and wordperfect a good bit on mine.
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nextime



Joined: 23 Oct 2006
Posts: 32
Location: nextcity, ca

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject: Practical Use For the NeXTcube Reply with quote

Practical uses for the Cube

The cubes make great stools. I use one in the yard and another as a foot stool in the house. The Cubes are also great when used as a bookcase.
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helf



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1097
Location: Alabama, USA

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Practical Use For the NeXTcube Reply with quote

nextime wrote:
Practical uses for the Cube

The cubes make great stools. I use one in the yard and another as a foot stool in the house. The Cubes are also great when used as a bookcase.


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

:P
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da9000



Joined: 30 Sep 2006
Posts: 387
Location: Silicon Valley

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 3:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Practical Use For the NeXTcube Reply with quote

@RacerX:

that's pretty impressive stuff!!! Keep it up, because I don't think anyone can do 3D modelling. It certainly takes talent!


@nextime:

is "nextcity" Fremont? So we know where to find cooler-than-Ikea stools Smile
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