A Glossary of UPL-related terms:

Bee Line:

A 'party line' BBS in the mid 80s. Companion of the Bee Hive, the Bee Line was a simple multi-line chat system with 2400 baud modems. It ran on an Apple ][+ with 8 cards - 1 disk drive and 7 modems. Some time later, a 4 port modem card replaced individual modem cards. The system looked much like what IRC does now.

orn: It was a dial-in chat line that existed back when a modem wasn't simply just another IP device. It was originally written on an Apple II+. The II+ has 7 slots, one of which was generally your floppy drive controller, one of which was generally an 80 column card. Well, in this particular apple, every slot was filled with a modem. Later, one of the slots was filled with a custom four port modem designed by one of the beeliners.

In its initial incarnation, it could handle 7 2400 baud modems and a console port, primitive e-mail, fortune cookies and the entire range of human emotion (and cruelty). All on a 1 MHz 6502.

Quite a nice little bit of machine code, really.

Cubic Vaxen:

The amount of space taken by VAX 11/780s for equivalent processing power. or, to put it another way, a $600 PC is about 2,000 cubic vaxen.


crystal 750sdparter: yeah -- my first day as a labbie, beebs said "help lift this" -- "this" was the first of 10 750s that had to be lifted to the top shelf (of a two-shelf custom rack for 750s).

we had 20 750s (and some 1 780) on the what was essentially the first 80 Mbit/second Proteon token ring network. the researc project was called "Crystal", and it was a very cool early distributed computer. more on crystal later.

here's a picture of some of the 750s on the rack. we wanted to paint windows on the fronts and add a coin slot on the side...

lunatic: Wow, looks a lot like http://a1112.g.akamai.net/7/1112/492/2002091441/www.wired.com/news/images/full/racks_f.jpg


hartmann: The union decided that it wasn't a format worth having anymore. I believe it became Club 700 (after the room it was held in for the last few years) and made it something entirely different.

dmf the machine ran for a few more years in the Union South office quietly providing net access to several of us until it was finally decommissioned. I believe that Chuck IV has it now.

wonko: Club 770, to be specific. In a fit of marketing brilliance, they decided to name it after the former address of the union it wasn't in. 770 Langdon St was the old address of the Memorial Union.

While many reasons can be attributed to the final demise of dmf, including a loss of funding, a change in the target demographic (all the goth kids grew up and went to clubs wehre they could drink), etc, I think we can all agree that it was really Chuck Spencer's psychotic ex-wife who ran it into the ground.

[The DMF box] was running a lot of union stuff before its decomissioning. Somewhere I still have backups of the dmf "screen saver" prototype and the "Build Your Own Blue Monday Remix" shockwave, as well as the logo for Rave Til Donuts. Oddly people from far and wide have ehard of Rave Til Donuts - I attribute this to Josh Gross.

mitch: Or rather "for the first couple years (at least) Inferno wasn't carding anyone so the underage kids didn't need their own club" :-)

kilroy: For a machine made out of mostly crap and a donated-by-Intel 486, that machine help up for a long time. I just hauled it off a bit over 2 years ago, when I finally decided it I didn't want to try to justify it to the Union any more, after realizing just how bad it was going to suck to try to install mysql for them on a machine that was still running Redhat 5.2.

The InWave: ISP in Janesville/Beloit that snagged Besh/Gus/Gulfie(?) (but at least kept us stocked with pizza)

kilroy: Yeah, my bad. I got that whole awful thing started when Troy from The Inwave wandered into the CS building looking for someone to fix his Caldera-network-desktop-preview-based-ISP-in-a-box. I said I'd take a look, but didn't know much about unix, so he told me the root password.

When he called later asking about this "Cisco" thing he had, I deftly handed the phone to Besh with something along the lines of "Hey, it's for you."

wonko: I beleive that was one of the first UPL uses of an extraneous definite article - i.e. "The Inwave" or "The Chorus" or "The Wonko."

dparter: He tried to be nice, he bought them a bottle of gin. alas, is was "sasha" brand.

wonko: "I'm the bad man's webmaster!" - Chuck McKenzie, speaking gleefully one night at dmf.

Junkies@upl.cs.wisc.edu: The official excuse...was as a "Get your junk out of the junk box if the corner before we throw it out" notification system, but I think everyone knew what it would devolve to from day one. (kilroy)

hartmann: As I recall, junkies was created so that we would know when best to scavange outside DOIT's I&R, We had a few insiders there, chiefly adt, and when something really good was in the trash.

We once got a 600Mb disk out of that trash pile, and it was used for home directories for years. They always had the best trash.

mitch: That drive was an interesting story in itself (what was that... /usr6 or something?) It was found in a trash pile. At the time a 600M SCSI drive was _quite_ a find.

We first tried hooking it up to drizzt to use as more linux scratch space but the number of bad blocks was insane (we couldn't even run mkfs on it). This was sad but not really surprising (it was marked as trash, after all). As a last test we ran some Mac-based diagnostics on it. We let it run for a couple days doing intensive I/O and had _zero_ failures. Then we threw it on one of the decstations and again no problems. For some reason it just didn't like living in PCs I guess :-) Served home dirs faithfully for a couple years.

gulfie: Doit had this interesting fisical policy. They would buy things at cost from whoever, and resell them at some markup. They would never decrease that original price.

I got two full strings of original , pre scsi 1, actuater out side the disk 20 meg apple drives. And a hand full of 40 meg drives. I still have them... though only one string works anymore.

It was scavanging that gave users a 1 meg quota (I think).

Lab Honeys:

term coined by hartmann and theorist while working at the memorial library infolab.

hartmann: In the sense we used [the term "lab honey"], there weren't any [in the UPL]. See, someone wrote a letter to the Herald's "love columnist" claiming to be "really into" those nice helful young men at the Infolab, as opposed to the alleged "unfeeling jocks" she had been dating before. Josh and [I] wrote a retort to the Herald implying that as lab staff we were not there to be ogled. They didn't print our letter, which was just as well since most of the lab staff (ourselves included) wouldn't have really minded getting hit on while we were working.

kimuchi: It's not all it's cracked up to be, trust me. Generally, anyone who might hit on you at DoIT is _not_ someone you want to be hit on by. And god knows dating at the ARCH had *ahem* interesting results.

hartmann: Yeah, but Josh and I worked at MemLib. Surrounded by L&S. English majors everywhere, just desperate for someone to format their footnotes. I still would have welcomed it.

A Picard Account:

nevyn: I believe Wonko has already mentioned the hordes of people told to ask for "A Picard Account" or sometimes "An Account on The Picard."

kilroy: ...a couple cycles of adding and purging hundreds of users. Many of them had come from a particular (country? prep school?) and were told to come to the UPL for "picard accounts" because using "talk" was a lot cheaper than a phone call to Taiwan.

Pirate Movie Night:

nwa: Small background (pre the bierman full tale)

Sometime before I matriculated it had been discovered that the security protecting the new multi-million dollar lecture halls in the new business building was not quite what it could be. I seem to recall tales of people climbing through rafters over the locked door but by the time I was involved we discovered you could open the door credit card style (kinda like sliding a pass card through a reader.. no skill involved at all on this door) this door (from the parking ramp) led straight into a lecture hall! Inside bierman's picking skills got us into the command console and we were fast watching greta movies on a (10'?) screen with great sound.
The last time we had a bit longer movie than normal (you could say that.. Apocalypse Now.. what 3/5 hours long?) and we also had a larger group than normal (better attended than many lectures probably)

We're about 30-40 minutes from the end of the movie and in through the side door walks one of the university's finest and after watching that movie for a few hours at this point the general reaction was kinda dazed glances in his direction (What are all these people doing here?!? from his side and "Um.. are we busted or something? from ours) so he walks through the room and out the inside door of the hall to go radio for (presumably) backup. none of us stayed around long enough to find out. Got the video out of the player and locked everything up and the whole crew slinked past the lone guard (who seemed to be trying to pretend he didn't see us) and off towards State Street. the end of a great friday night at 1am activity..

a couple hours later loaded up on lots of caffein I attended my first ever final at the UW: Calc 222 Professor Hellerstein. Final exam grade: A course grade: C (oops..)

Mmm.. Good Times(TM) indeed.

lunatic: Pirate Movie Night wasn't really UPL, but since I spent all my free time at the UPL, there was a pretty heavy overlap in attendance.

The lowest level of the parking garage under the business school has an elevator lobby. The lobby is access-controlled. The door to the lobby isn't framed all the way up to the ceiling. If you're tall, and determined, you can open the door. The building alarm is never on; too many grad students with access.

From there, go upstairs to the nice theater-style classroom with the projection TV and comfy seats. Open a fire door to let in your friends. Pick the lock on the AV system, and settle in for a movie. Showtime is 12:01am. The movie varied, but the finale was a double header: Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now, to celebrate the end of finals.

At 3:30am, a little ways into the 2nd movie (Apoc), the security guard comes by.

<security guard does a double take upon finding 20 people in classroom at 3am>

"Who's in charge here?" he asks.

I walk over, the movie still rolling. "I am."

"Is this a class? Do you have passes?"

"Um, we're watching the movie for class, I didn't know we needed a pass..."

"Hang on, let me check," he says. He walks out into the hallway to call base.

"Now would be a good time for us all to vanish." I announce to the room, while the guard is outside and down the hall to avoid interrupting our movie.

Since the room had plenty of un-alarmed fire exists that opened to the street, we had the entire room empty and the AV system locked back up by the time the guard came back in.

I think a few people doubled back and reported that the cops showed up...

Silly Putty (50lbs):

lunatic: We used to take small pieces and bounce them around. Silly putty bounces a lot like a superball.

I think it was Besh who asked if the whole 5 lbs would bounce like a superball. I said yes, I'd tried it in the atrium at Apple when I first got the stuff. I handed the 5lb ball to him (about the size of a volleyball). He raised it up over his head with both arms, and flung it with all his might at the floor. It nearly went through the ceiling, bending the metal frame that holds the tiles together, and then nearly destroyed one of the dumb terms.

Good times. :-)


wonko: For an ECE class in which a computer was to be built, Mitch, Felix and Gulfie were on a team togther. A psychology student joined them to watch team dynamics in action. This student eventually quit from the pressure.

Last I heard they're still be used as an example of how not to function as a team.

There were sleepless weeks, arguments, anger, broken grad students...it's best left to discussion by those who were involved. It left a swath of broken people, shattered lives, fragile mental and emotional states and so forth.

gulfie: Those who do not know there history are bound to repeat it.

The basic morals of the story are:

0) keep 'important' life type things out of the lab, it's just better that way.

1) never try to do something cool, only hardship can follow.

2) never try to do something with people who you know you shouldn't.

3) never, ever, ever, never care about grades.

Tunnel Hacking:

VUP (Vax Unit of Performance):

One VUP is equivalent to the performance of Digital Equipment Corporation's VAX 11/780.It is also equivalent to one SPECmark.

mitch: Or rather one SPECmark89 or SPECmark92. Different spec becnhmarks used different reference machines:

Doing some searching, a p3-750 had a specint95 of 35.7; I'll assume a p3-733 would have a specint95 of about 34.9. The old-to-95 conversion ration for specint was approximately 50, so we can estimate that a p3-733 would have a VUPS of about 1750 or so. So a p3-733 would have about 1200 times as much integer performance as uplvax did. (actually slightly more after we removed all of the vax's chips and stuck them in the ceiling)

dickson: it was decided that a good basis for comparison was needed the number of instructions per second was suggested (MIPS) and since the vax ran at 1MHz and did 1 instruction per cycle it was declared that the vax 11/780 was the definition of 1 MIPS

It was later discovered that in real code the vax only ran 1 instruction per 2 cycles but since the VAX was the unit of comparison the 1 MIPS vax was considered to have 1 VAX MIPS or 1 VUP which was the unit of the first version of SPEC.

mitch: The 11/780 ran at 5Mhz and did nowhere near 1.0 ipc. It was a classic, non-pipelined CISC architecture where instructions took wildly different amounts of time (but even a simple add would take a few cycles). I think "1 MIPS" was just a vague (and slightly optimistic) estimation of how areal-world instructions mix would do.

nwa: I couldn't remember what the acronym stood for so I found this.. fun read.. well kinda.


hartmann: Brian Pinkerton, former UPL denizen (coord? maybe. probably, who else would give us money?) wrote Webcrawler while at the University of Washington. When it was sold to AOL, he decided to give the UPL a lump of money so that we could keep doing cool things.


Date: Fri, 29 Sep 95 10:05:20 -0500
From: bart@asiago.cs.wisc.edu (Barton Miller)
Message-Id: <9509291505.AA12540@asiago.cs.wisc.edu>
To: upl@asiago.cs.wisc.edu
Subject: Check arrived
Brian Pinkerton's donation of $10,000 to the UPL arrived yesterday.

This is a really terrific gesture on his part and you guys should make sure that you write a written thank you to him in the very near future. (I'll send his postal mail address to you later today).

The money in being held in the UW Foundation. I would like you to think about a general plan of how this money would be used. Don't be in too much of a hurry to spend it all.


Wop! Party:

originally an alcohol-laden graduation bash for (non-drinking) hartmann, Wop! has grown into an annual event. More information here.


etler: UW-Madison has a mainframe as many large universites do. The real name for it is Blue, but most people just call it Yucky (for obvious reasons if you've ever had the pleasure of using an IBM mainframe). The old one got replaced in Fall 1998 and I took some pictures of it when they pulled it out. This isn't indexed, and the files are pretty large, but damn that's one big piece of iron. [Pictures]


A program that would go through and find all processes that contained a paticular string and kill them. This was used for cleaning up after users and kicking them off when they were being bad.

mturner: Another story that springs to mind... Mark (adept) was a bit of a paranoid cpu usage facist type... always watching xload. At some point, tomlaw wrote a small program that would fork 1000x copies of itself, and nice itself to +19 and sleep for 0 seconds and exit. This would in effect shoot the load on the system up to 1000, but not actualy slow the computer down. This also made the xload a solid black window which upset Mark to no end.

So, Mark would then go and try to kill these programs, not realizeing that having to process the kill at +19 would take longer than just letting them get an instant of cpu time and die. Nice'ing them to 0 would have killed them faster... but apparently 'kill' was more fun to type.

Around this time, we had a program 'zap' that would go through and find all processes that contained a paticular string and kill them. This was used for cleaning up after users and kicking them off when they were being bad. Mark used this to kill the processes, but being niced 19, they never got any cpu time and would sit around for some time before getting a cycle.

On a side note, there was a user 'et' who was being bad for some reason or another at some point. Typing 'zap et' not only killed procesees owned by the user 'et', but some processes with names like /etc/initd. At some point, Tomlaw named the process 'ema'. Mark was also a vocal proponent of emacs. 'zap ema' run as root happened to kill his emacs sessions - a fact that he was not amused by as much as we were. I'm fairly sure it was also run once with the process name of 'ept' (thus killing things with names like 'adept').