HHHH and the Internet

We used to have a very simple network, with just three machines connected to each other via thin-net Ethernet, and connected to the 'net at large through a full-time dialup connection to AccessOne. This worked wonderfully (except for the inevitable Technical Difficulties, like cursed modems) while we were all physically located in one place. We've now been swept to the four corners of the greater Seattle area, but we still have a logical network, albeit one that spans quite a range as far as connectivity goes.

The following illustration shows how the HHHH's network is organized, as well as how the network upstream of us is organized. The illustration should be fairly self-explanatory.

[Last updated on 03 Feb 1998 -- some information is incomplete, but at least it's not as woefully out-of-date as it used to be! --Jared]

[Diagram of our net]

About the Pieces

For the most part, the "I" referred to in the description of a machine is that machine's owner. However, since the HHHH pages are shared among us, there's no telling who modified the description last.


80486 DX4/100MHz
Linux 1.2

No longer the fastest [since surpassed by Gro and Happy/Rascal] but IMHO coolest (but that's because I own it; others might disagree. Of course you know that if we're anything here at the HHHH, we're open minded of others viewpoints, religions, eating, living, and grooming styles) machine at the HHHH is foo. It's got a nice 400dpi color scanner that I got a great deal on from a guy whose uncle got it free from HP (the story goes that sometime way back in the past, the uncle did some great thing for HP, and so in return he now gets one free of everything that HP makes) because the guy needed money pronto to go back to grad school with.

Why do I uncapitalize foo? Because I hate capital letters. You're lucky I'm using them at all here. foo runs The X Window System (TM)(R)(C) from MIT (Those who have read Steven Levy's Hackers will get the joke of TM'ing, R'ing, and C'ing that name; those who don't will no doubt click to find out) so we don't have to look at icky character based displays and use cheap hacks like emacs (not that I think emacs is a hack; emacs is way cool. Just that using M-x switch-buffer and running terminal mode in the different buffers is a cheap hack) and screen to get multiple "windows" at once.

Future plans for foo include adding a sound card so that we can actually hear all the neat sounds people are putting on the web these days. I guess we could do that on Chad, but the only web browser for the NeXT that we have is OmniWeb (written by, guess who, The Omni Group where Wim works), and I don't know if it handles sounds. But one thing's for sure, I can't play xpilot with the sound extensions unless I have a sound card in foo [Actually, i can't play xpilot on foo at all. having the xpilot server, the client, and the X server itself all on foo at the same time really destroys performance. Xpilot wasn't designed for this sort of environment. --j]. Future future plans include getting more memory, more disk, and a bigger monitor. [Actually, none of that will probably ever happen. With the advent of the DEC Alpha chip, Linux for the Alpha, and the imminent availability of affordable Alpha based PC's, I suspect that it will not be justifiable to upgrade foo anymore instead of saving up for an Alpha box. --j]

The name foo comes from my favorite meta-syntactic variable, which is foo. The New Hacker's Dictionary has a lot more to say about foo.


Pentium II/300MHz
Windows 95 (happy)
Linux 2.0 (rascal)

The new kid on the block, Happy/Rascal now holds the land speed record for the HHHH machines. It puts this power to use doing important things, like being the one machine we have that can actually run games like Tomb Raider, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, and Riven.

It spends half of its time running Windows 95 (for games, and testing pre-release software I'm working on) while calling itself "Happy", and the other half running Linux while calling itself "Rascal". (Actually, it's doesn't run Linux at all yet, but it will... I just need to get my butt in gear and order the Debian Linux CD.) If I'm feeling particularly crazy, it might also run Windows NT and GNU Hurd.

Why "Happy" and "Rascal"? Once I had decided to purchase a machine, the next step was to come up with a name for it. The name "Happy" seemed natural, since I'm a generally genial fellow. (You've heard of "manic-depressive"? I'm "manic-manic". ;) ) The name "Rascal" is actually one I thought of to describe my parents' new machine; it stands for "Reisinger Advanced System for Computation And Learning". (My one creative talent is the ability to acronymize just about anything... and to generate new words, like "acronymize". Hey, it's a gift.)


Pentium/100MHz [?? -jared]
communally owned

We finally have a well-connected machine to call our own! In order to bring you these highly-important pages, we used to have our site hosted at NorthWestNet, because Brenda used to work there. When she decided to leave, it occurred to us that it was much less likely that our site could continue to exist purely on the goodwill of a now "unrelated" company. With a small bit of turmoil and a little elbow grease, the HHHH site went live on Gro (a.k.a. "www") in November of 1997.

Gro's name was chosen because its fully qualified domain name is a palindrome: "gro.hhhh.org".


80486 DX4/100

In the past, Inle was truly a remarkable machine. It was a testament to endurance, ingenuity, and patience: an 80386sx based PC clone. It was a 16 MHz, 4MB ram, AT-bus, 40MB hard drive system. I guess it was a hot machine in its day. Now, however, its days look numbered. But it was still pretty cool. Not for its tech level, but for what Konrad had made it do. Konrad had got the poor thing running a functional NetBSD OS in only 4MB of ram, and in about 10MB less disk space than the recommended amount. Konrad has had to do things like mounting floppy disks as /tmp to get things to work. It swapped a lot. But it ran, and IMHO, that's pretty amazing.

Then, Konrad found some money (rather, the UW gave him some money that he didn't strictly need to stay alive) and upgraded Inle to match foo: it's now much happier as an 80486dx2 with 1gb of disk and 16Mb of RAM. It doesn't have any cool peripherals like foo does, though (well, there's the printer, but it's not cool [in fact, it's not even there anymore. --j]. It's not even hooked up because we can't stand the thing). The old Inle is hanging around somewhere in the greater Seattle area under the name hrududu, and maybe we will get it back some day and use it for a Kerberos server or something.

The names Inle and Hrududu come from the book Watership Down. Here are the definitions from the "Lapine Glossary" in the back of the book:

A tractor, car or any motor vehicle. (Plural, hrududil.)
Literally, the moon; also moonrise. But a second meaning caries the idea of darkness, fear and death.


vapor machine

Konrad plans on building a computer inside a pizza box. It doesn't exist yet, but deserves mention because the name "Casa-Nostra" is from Neal Stephenson's excellent book, Snow Crash.


unknown configuration

Ryouga is a mystery. Wim claims it exists, but I don't think any of us have ever seen it. Perhaps he will describe it if he notices this embarrasingly short description.



Sadly, Chad was the first machine to succumb to that scourge of evil known as theft. Thankfully, it's been the only machine lost thus far. Somebody broke into Wim's place and walked off with it, but they managed to leave the mouse behind... which is actually kind of funny, because NeXTs are almost unusable without a mouse.

Anyway, because it was one of the first HHHH machines, and because it still holds such a dear place in our hearts, here's the original description of Chad:

Chad is a NeXTStation. Pretty vanilla one, too, even though it's matte black and cool looking. 8MB ram, 200MB disk, monochrome monitor, no printer. But it's our little link to the net. Chad has two IP numbers associated with it. It has its own number,, and it has the IP number associated with the network interface (the modem), Chad belongs to Wim.

Chad is pretty cool, of course, since it's running NEXTSTEP 3.3 pre-release 2 and so if you wanna program you get to do it in Objective-C. And it has Renderman on it.

The name Chad comes from Chad Hollerith and the Perforations, which is a band that we supposedly run, too.



Danger is a mystery. Brenda claims it's hers. Perhaps she will describe it if she notices this embarrasingly short description. Perhaps you will notice that this description is much like Ryouga's, above.

... (unknown machines)


There are apparently some other machines firewalled behind Danger, but since there aren't any details about Danger here, it's not surprising that information on these other machines is also scarce.


Unknown CPU
Unknown OS
You, we hope

Bet you didn't know we knew you were coming! But we did! And we even put you on our net map!