It’s been a long time – maybe too long – since I took inventory of the boxes we use regularly for various purposes around the house.

Except for the DOS box, and maybe the AutoCAD box, these are all in use with frequencies ranging from 24/7 to at least weekly. Omitted are the embedded things, iPods and so on. Making this list just now was a good exercise that surprised me. I mean, no wonder people look at me funny.

(no name) – MS DOS 6.22
Exists solely to run VisiCalc, the very first electronic spreadsheet that the world had ever seen. I fire it up now and again for folks to show ’em just what computing used to be. It has no name because, well, machines didn’t need names back then. You turned ’em on, used ’em, turned ’em off. Pulling the plug was every bit as good as thumbing the power switch.

change – Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 – 32-bit
This laptop runs software that I need to use in weird places, like out in the garage tuning motorcycles. It got its name because I bought it with pocket change. I told the story in another post.

coco – IOS, version 8 I suppose, too lazy to look
An iPad tablet. It’s good for reading magazines or looking something up quickly at the dinner table or controlling the TV. Bummer Safari sucks so bad.

darthvader – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 2 – 32-bit
The media client that lives out by the pool, so we have cool tunes out there when we get tired of the radio.

dbox – GNU/Linux 3.13.0-36-generic x86_64
A VirtualBox host machine.

family – GNU/Linux 3.2.0-69-generic-pae i686
A secure, encrypted file server where the family’s data jewels are stored.

hydra – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 – 32-bit
Out in the garage, this runs a long-term project 24/7 – when it’s up. Presently it’s down, though, because a fan protecting its I/O hub is threatening failure and needs a little lube. I’ll get to it.

isolation – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 – 32-bit
A sacrificial machine, stuff that needs testing and vetting in a Windows environment isolated from everything – EVERYTHING else – runs here first. Air-gap stuff. Easy to wipe and restore to a known good image.

jesus – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 – 64-bit
My son’s gaming rig and desktop. It’s slightly dated now, but as we built it and installed things, stuff completed faster than we thought possible. We’d look again, and yup, it was done, leading us to exclaim “Jesus!” The name stuck.  UPDATE – FEBRUARY 2013  jesus died, according to the BIOS status LEDS, of a processor initialization failure. jesus was replace by lucifer.

lucifer – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 – 64-bit
Essentially jesus with a new motherboard, CPU, and memory. My son’s gaming rig and desktop.

macnam – GNU/Linux 3.2.0-69-generic-pae i686
A MySQL database server. Firesign Theatre fans will recognize the name.

magic – GNU/Linux 3.13.0-36-generic i686
The family’s intranet server. Holds subscription material, a software library, and so on. A basic LAMP server where, sometimes, a bit of Web development gets its start before being deployed elsewhere.

merc – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 – 32-bit
An old, small HP netbook with a great keyboard. I’ll write with this out on the deck because the keyboard is so good and the battery life is measured in days.

minecraft  – GNU/Linux 2.6.38-16-generic-pae i686
Duh, it’s a minecraft server, what did you think it was?

overkill – Windows 7 Home Service Pack 1 – 64-bit
Used exclusively for secure communications with entities that require that sort of thing. Well-patched, no email, no browsing, no nothing except its one single purpose.

porky – Windows 8.1 Professional Update 1 – 64-bit
My primary desktop. It replaced whisky, the desktop I blew up with a ham-handed move with its internal power cables – while it was running. Oops.

rdnzl – Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 – 32-bit
An old, old laptop, usually hardwired to the DSL modem because sometimes the modem needs a direct connection to recover when  it misbehaves. On the other hand, just the other week it came in handy to run some old proprietary software to collect audio files from a Sony dictation device. You just never know. Frank Zappa fans will recognize the name.

sheepdip – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 – 32-bit
Runs AutoCAD Architect, with which I heavily modified the design of a home. We presently live in the result of that effort. Named for a blended  Scotch whisky.

showtime – GNU/Linux 3.2.0-69-generic-pae i686
A media server. Music, video, and more.

success – GNU/Linux 3.2.0-69-generic-pae i686
A QuickBooks server supporting the business. Does double-duty as a file server for the business, too.

thor – Windows 8.1 Professional Update 1 – 64-bit
Pam’s desktop. Next in line for a refresh, the overclocked Intel quad-core’s getting a little long in the tooth.

twoface2 – Windows 8.1 Professional Update 1 – 64-bit
A first generation Microsoft Surface Pro, this is the travel box. Good enough for me and/or Pam to do just about anything when we’re on the road.

udesk – GNU/Linux 3.2.0-63-generic-pae i686
Just a plain ol’ Linux desktop, when I’m home and a Windows desktop doesn’t quite cut it.

win7-32 – Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 – 32-bit
For running stuff that I don’t want cluttering up a work-a-day machine. These days, that’s photo gallery processing, mostly. Naming this one wasn’t one of my most creative moments.

winnie – Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 – 32-bit
An unsupported holdout. Then again, there’s software that modern OSs won’t cope with, or have no modern analog, or I just don’t care to upgrade. That stuff runs here. One good example is when I need to pull something from an Outlook message store; I’ll be damned if I want Outlook near anything valuable.

Go ahead and say it.