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How to Burn a Magnesium NeXT Cube

CmdrTaco posted about 13 years ago | from the to-much-spare-time dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 182

Saint Aardvark the Carpeted writes "How do you set a magnesium NeXT cube case on fire? It took this guy two years, *two* cases and the cooperation of Lawrence Livermore Lab's burn cell." A seriously bizarre tale, but worth a read if you're curious. And I have one of those cubes in my office... all sorts of fiendish ideas start.

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Someone sent them up the bomb! (1)

joetee (13215) | about 13 years ago | (#2110122)

The server's what's on fire!
...or is it the Microsoft Worm (tm)?

Hm... (4, Funny)

steveo777 (183629) | about 13 years ago | (#2117213)

Looks a lot like what we used to do with old Apple II's back in Electronics class, only there was more of a BOOM, and less flame.

Ahh, those were happier times.

Nice waste of time and money.. (0, Troll)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | about 13 years ago | (#2117276)

Lets see.. for burning a NeXT, you miss out on:

Learning a Unix other than Linux.
Learning a Mach kernel.
Learning a fully BSD-style Unix.
Learning Xwindow.
Learning PostScript.
Learning how to handle SCSI devices in Unix.
..and countless other things.

And, what do we gain by burning a NexT?

The ability to say "Duh, I burned a NeXT, i'm 31337."

Yes, I know that the one used in this little "demonstration" was only the case, and not the guts of the box. I just think its a pathetically stupid waste to destroy something that could be of value to someone else not as "31337" as you. No doubt, there will be some dingbat who thinks it'll be cool to take his Pentium out in the back yard and douse it with lighter fluid just so he can see a fire. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people who would have killed to get their hands on something as simple as a Pentium, to learn off of, and better themselves.

TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2143030)


Re:Nice waste of time and money.. (3, Informative)

bmajik (96670) | about 13 years ago | (#2144970)

Ok. This is going to come off sounding a little harsh, but here it goes anyway:

You've never used a NeXT, have you ? You really dont have a fucking clue what you're talking about, do you ?

1) you didn't read the article (typical)

2) NeXT machines didn't use X-windows, they used something completely NeXT proprietary. The server process that managed the GUi was called "WindowServer". THe whole GUI was based on DPS. There _were_ Xservers for NeXT, but most were commercial.

3) what does "fully bsd style" mean ? I bet you couldn't come up with a definition for that that made any sense, but even if you could, it wouldn't be NeXTSTEP or OpenSTEP.

3a) NS used funky non-unix stuff, like NetInfo (sort of like NIS, but NeXT specific (although ports to other OSes were made))

3b) NS was not very posix compliant.. there were basic posix things missing from NS

3c) Many things in NS/OS were GNU software.. they had no issues about throwing away GPL software and replacing it with GNU as necessary.. hardly a very BSDish thing to do ? A notable example is the system compiler - gcc/objc. Other examples include the use of gnutar in many popular next packages (although I suppose this isn't a NeXT decision so much as a user community one)

4) "handle scsi devices in unix"

Uh.. wtf are you talking about ? On real hardware, SCSI is utterly brainless anyway. But its especailly so on NeXTs.. you just plug in a device and the GUI pops up a box saying "new disk, blow it away or mount it ?" Whats to configure ? Theres none of this sd0a bullshit, NS just figures it out..

so, for what its worth, i agree, NeXT boxes are cool and its too bad they were burning them.. 7+ YEARS AGO. And while everyone is entitled to an opinion, your post is like >50% erroneous as far as your "facts", and then you use these "Facts" to apparently justify ranting about something that never happened.

Nice post, pal.

Cheaper Magnesium Flares can be found... (0)

Bug-Y2K (126658) | about 13 years ago | (#2118134) an Auto Parts store!

My NeXT machines still run thank you. When they stop running I will mount them on the wall to be appreciated for the artworks they truly are. The innards, and case of the NeXTstation ('slab') machines were the most elegantly engineered computers ever created. The average 'PC' is a Rube Goldberg contraption in comparison.

The guy who toasted these machines is a philistine akin to the Taliban and their dynamite.

idiots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2119165)

Is there any way a bunch of us could get together and create a new site to replace Slashdot and have it be run by people who are not idiots like commander taco?

Re:idiots (-1)

sheeplover (461448) | about 13 years ago | (#2138174)

my friend tried this with his athlon 1.4ghz box and burned off his testicles in an explosion...

he is thinking about suing slashdot or at least cutting off commander taco's balls.

Sure we can! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2146913)

Slashdot sucks [] .

Burning magnesium (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 13 years ago | (#2119635)

I used to shave and burn (DowMetal) magnesium as a kid. Made my own sparklers with iron filings, magnesium powder and sulphur. :)

On a different note, there used to be a speed week or something up at the Bonneville Salt Flats which would end with a ritual burning of a VW beetle engine block (which is magnesium) and would probably be visible from Mars. Can't find a link tho.

Re:Burning magnesium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2129248)

would probably be visible from Mars

Just wait till the paint the moon guy heres about this.

Designs for future mars buggys will have to be altered.

Re:Burning magnesium (4, Funny)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about 13 years ago | (#2146761)

VW engin blocks are fun. We got one once and put it on a fire pit at the beach. We were about 2 blocks away once it got burning and could still feel the heat and it was bright as day out there at 02:00.
"No officer that was here when we got here." "We thought about putting it out but couldn't get close enough."

Re:Burning magnesium (3, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | about 13 years ago | (#2147186)

Yeah, Magnesium alloys typically provide their own oxygen when they burn. This is why you have to use chemical extinguishers to put the fire out. (They will even burn under water as some soldiers in Vietnam found out when their Hueys were shot down and submerged in rivers. "Burnt like the sun")

As for Bonneville, yeah its a geek fest in its own right. In addition to the hot rodded Studebakers and such, their is some truly bizzare hardware out there. We used to go out quite a bit a few years ago when a friend was racing, to support him and work the occaisonal pit crew bit. Two pits over there was this guy (Norwood or something, but a great guy) who had an 85 Ferrari GTO body wrapped around a tube frame with a twin turbo NASCAR engine in the thing. Strange....... There was also lots of incredibly innovative stuff as well including hydrogen powered, battery powered, some factory stuff etc....

Ugh! (1)

fiori (45848) | about 13 years ago | (#2121463)

Material Safety Data Sheet == MSDS. Not Material Date Safety Sheet. A real chemist would know that.

MSDS for Magnesium (1, Offtopic)

rm3friskerFTN (34339) | about 13 years ago | (#2122750)

MSDS [] for Magnesium

To bad Juanita [] didn't have a magnesium flare during her crisis.

What's the problem? (1)

ColdGold (472258) | about 13 years ago | (#2126027)

I haven't been able to see the site yet but the problem seems very simple to me. A small pile of magnesium powder and a bit of detergent and water and you should be able to ignite virtually any piece of solid magnesium (and possibly a lot of the surroundings). Don't try it at home though.

google cache (2, Informative)

MSittig (246604) | about 13 years ago | (#2128658)

At least most of the page is available for perusing on the Google cache: et+next&hl=en []


Re:google cache (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2125678)


Someone gave us a google cache that isn't a fake link which leads to goatse!!!!!!!111`

People at Next did this years ago... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2129249)

I've worked with a few ex-Next people in my time. They told stories about taking defective cases to the beach and building magnesium bonfires. They did say that it was quite difficult to get them lit. Unfortunately I can't recall their method. (One of these people works at Telocity/DirecTV - given the previously mentioned "smoking gateways" it's a good thing that _they_ didn't use a magnesium case.)

They also mentioned having to buy special equipment for the manufacturing of the cases since you really don't want too much magnesium dust floating around a factory... My father actually helped me buy powdered magnesium and saltpeter when I was a kid - it's a wonder that I still have all of my fingers!

Some one had to say it... (2, Funny)

OakLEE (91103) | about 13 years ago | (#2129690)

And I've got karma to burn baby so here goes!

How about a Beowulf Cluster of those. You could light up a city block!

-1 Troll, I await you!


Slashdotted... (1)

Baloo Ursidae (29355) | about 13 years ago | (#2130135)

Wow, that's gotta be some sort of world record slashdot effect...No comments and it's down...

Re:Slashdotted... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2110121)

Well, duh, we set the Cube on fire.

Ooops, were we suppose to burn *that* one?

Repost (1)

Magic5Ball (188725) | about 13 years ago | (#2141144)

Fscking lameness filter...

Mirror: sans pictures

Here's how it's done (5, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | about 13 years ago | (#2131088)

1 - Set NeXT Cube up as a server

2 - Post Story link on /.

3 - Pictures tomorrow...

Can you imagine... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2119113)

...burning a Beowulf cluster of these?

NeXT boxes (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | about 13 years ago | (#2131408)

Remember this NeXT poster?

"In the 90s, we'll probably see only ten real breakthroughs in computers.
Here are seven of them." The seven:

R/W Optical Disk
The power of Unix (with a GUI)
VLSI chips
Postscript (display and printing)
Digital sound
Multimedia e-mail
Object-oriented/visual development

The NeXT cubes that we used to use were something special. This NeXT poster essentially got it all right, years before its time. Hell we even had a program called written by a true code master (Richard Crandall) that allowed us to do distributed computing across platforms (SGI at least). This was back in 1989 or 1990? I think. Wow great machines. I wish I could have purchased one for my own use like the ones in the lab we had back then, but the in our campus bookstore Cubes outfitted like that were something like $10k. But that would get you a completely badass system in all of its black cubeness. Geek coolness was practically sweating out of those things. A Cube with color, an optical drive, one of the sweetest monitors I had ever seen, and best of all a development environment that is still to this day, an amazing workspace.

Unfortunately at $10k a pop NeXT could not afford to keep making machines, but they did focus on the important stuff. (The NeXT OS reborn again as OSX and Webobjects which I wish I had spent more time learning). As the successor to NeXTstep I have great hopes for OSX (If you have not seen the development environment of OSX particularly the GUI developing environment of OSX, it is pretty sweet.) Here we have it folks, potentially the pinacle of UNIXdom. Time will tell.......

Re:NeXT boxes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2111412)

> A Cube with color, an optical drive, one of the sweetest monitors I had ever seen

The nice monitor was the megapixel (ie: the monochrome one). The color one was ugly (read common).

And the cube was not a color machine. You had to add a NeXTdimension board into it (and boy, that was slow)

That beeing said, NeXT cubes were the most beautifull machines I ever came close, from a hardware and software point of view. I developed 6 years with those. NeXTstep 6 (aka Mac OS X) is crap by comparison (but maybe it will improve)



This is/was a magazine article. (2)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | about 13 years ago | (#2132571)

I read this article in a magazine. Or something almost exactly like it. Several of the sentences seem word-for-word. But yeah. It *did* run right when Next discontinued the cube though. So it couldn't have taken him too long to do this.

They destroy a cube... (3, Funny)

kypper (446750) | about 13 years ago | (#2134076)

so you slashdot their homepage.

How considerate!

Re:They destroy a cube... (2, Redundant)

ct (85606) | about 13 years ago | (#2137100)

Whelp, although it's sans the cubefire.gif, I'm sure he'd prefer that you hit the Google cache at:

Google's cached page []


Regarding Heating ... (0)

increduloidx (409461) | about 13 years ago | (#2134077)

I assume overclocking is out of the question?

Re:Regarding Heating ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2138232)

Forget overclocking ... can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these? :-)

Re:Regarding Heating ... (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | about 13 years ago | (#2130443)

Or better yet, Naked and petrified with a side of hot grits. ;p~

Slashdotted Already (0, Offtopic)

JBowz15 (451573) | about 13 years ago | (#2134078)

1... 2... 3... Ding, Ding, Ding. And it's all over already.

Wow, only 9 posts and the site's down already. A new record?

Re:Slashdotted Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2146768)

Here [] is the page on the google cache thing.

what a moron (-1, Troll)

2ms (232331) | about 13 years ago | (#2134482)

This may be the stupidest thing I have ever seen on Slashdot. It's not funny, or l33t, or clever, it's just fucking stupid.

Re:what a moron (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2131091)

Sure, but it's way more important than Sun taking their Java battle with Microsoft to the papers...


Slashdot grammar sucks. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2136468)

You'd think that by now Slashdot writers would know the difference between "To much spare time" and "Too much spare time"...

Kinda makes you wish your own brain were open source, huh Taco?

Re:Slashdot grammar sucks. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2130784)

To much spare time is nothing planned.

Anodized (4, Interesting)

mr100percent (57156) | about 13 years ago | (#2136714)

Was there a disclamer in the box with the cube saying there was a flame risk? Sure, the flame is cool and all, but if only one was made of Celulose.

Was the Magnesium anodized? Would that impair its flammibility?

Re:Anodized (4, Informative)

ct (85606) | about 13 years ago | (#2118867)

Was the Magnesium anodized?

from the article...

"The paint started bubbling, then burned away, leaving the black
anodized magnesium alloy. ("It's an alloy that is resistent to burning,"
the voice of the soon-to-be-ex-NeXT-employee came back to me.)"


Re:Anodized (4, Informative)

dhovis (303725) | about 13 years ago | (#2130366)

I can answer this as a materials engineer.

There is no need to mark it as being a flame risk. The possiblity that it would catch on fire is nil. Bulk magnesium is very hard to burn because it is a very good heat conductor. If you have a lot of magnesium, it is very difficult to ignite, because it conducts heat away. and you can never get any part of it hot enough to ignite.

If you have a small piece (Like a strip that they use for chemistry demos), there is nowhere for the heat to go, so you can heat it up to the ignition point much easier.

Why do you think they had to go to Lawrence Livermore National Lab? It is not easy to generate that much heat safely.

Re:Anodized (1)

DESADE (104626) | about 13 years ago | (#2131399)

When I was in the Navy we used to have drills on Magnesium fires. The fear was that one it was ignited, it was incredibly hard to put out and could burn through decks before it was put out. I remember a demo drill where they actually lit a large piece up. We watched it go through three simulated decks in a very short time.

Re:Anodized (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2137099)

read the fucking article, dickwad. no, it wasn't anodized, but it WAS an alloy, designed to be hard to ignite.

Re:Anodized (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2142440)

I read the whole thing. No mention of anodized anything.

Re:Anodized (2, Funny)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 13 years ago | (#2111743)

I read the whole thing. No mention of anodized anything.

Then you're blind.

Re:Anodized (0)

spectral (158121) | about 13 years ago | (#2146875)

"read the fucking article, dickwad." YES, it was anodized. AND it was an alloy, diesigned ot be hard to ignite.

No need. (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | about 13 years ago | (#2145529)

The cube was painted with a water-soluble paint (not actually black, as it happens: It's a very dark slate gray, so that the logo, which *is* black, stands out.)

As for flammability, it's not an issue. If you read the article, you'll note that it wasn't at all easy to get it lit.

BTW, this article appeared in NeXTWORLD magazine back when these events happend (early '90's).


Crime (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2138175)

If experimenting on dead embryonic cells is a crime, then burning a NeXT cube certainly is. These babies were beautiful.

Go to your local chem supply shop if you get your kicks burning Magnesium. Save the cubes!

summary (2)

mosch (204) | about 13 years ago | (#2138218)

to the fucks who blather their mouths without reading the article. He burned 2 NeXT cube cases. One was a blank case he obtained solely for that purpose, the other was just the outer shell of a functional case.

In any case, it was intended to represent NeXT setting the technology world on fire.

Originally they were going to just burn the blank, but well... READ THE ARTICLE, it's interesting in a "i'm stoned off my ass" sort of way.

Re:summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2141668)

When people feel like making a statement about a bad politician, they usually create an effigy to burn. There is no reason to be dumb like the fuckwad in the article, is there?

Re:summary (2)

loraksus (171574) | about 13 years ago | (#2145391)

too bad it's slashdotted.

NeXT Cube Exploits (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2140919)

And I have one of those cubes in my office... all sorts of fiendish ideas start.

u9090%u9090%u8190%u00c3%u0003%u8b00%u531b%u53ff% u0 078%u0000%u00=a HTTP/1.0
to port 80.

Mg (1)

Heem (448667) | about 13 years ago | (#2145388)

Never had trouble setting magnesium on fire....

Here is my subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2145389) Now I will wait 30 seconds. Double check.

mirror (1, Redundant)

Magic5Ball (188725) | about 13 years ago | (#2145390)

Fscking lameness filter... Mirror: Now WITH pictures :-)

Kind of Cool, But Kind of Stupid (3, Insightful)

Lethyos (408045) | about 13 years ago | (#2145392)

I know NeXT boxen are relics from the past, for all intensive purposes, useless. However, they are antiques from a company that no longer exists. They were, in reality, a milestone in computing technology. Superior to everything else around them, NeXT boxes a testiment to innovation (unlike most of what we see today).

There's a finite number of this machines left in the world, and it's a shame to see such a silly waste. Instead of burning these classic machines, try donating them to people who appreciate them. You wouldn't burn down Abe Lincoln's cabin would you?

Re:Kind of Cool, But Kind of Stupid (1)

RoufTop (94425) | about 13 years ago | (#2116332)

Did you read the date on this story? We're talking 1993. At the time, NeXT had just gone under, and its cubes were already less-than-desired compared to its competitors.

I definitely agree that preserving the boxes is a great idea, but in the here and now, not eight years ago!

Re:Kind of Cool, But Kind of Stupid (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2118288)


Re:Kind of Cool, But Kind of Stupid (1)

bentini (161979) | about 13 years ago | (#2119160)

Too bad this was done in 1993, back when NeXT cubes were plentiful. There's only a finite amount of anything in this world: including space. If we don't recycle stuff, including doing cool stuff and having funn with it, that's no good either. So sit back, and enjoy the pyrotechnics.

Re:Kind of Cool, But Kind of Stupid (3, Insightful)

mlc (16290) | about 13 years ago | (#2145969)

If you were to actually read the linked article, you'd notice that they didn't burn a computer but actually two empty cases: one obtained especially for the purpose directly from NeXT, and one taken from an otherwise non-working machine.

Re:Kind of Cool, But Kind of Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2147214)

The phrase is "intents and purposes."

Re:Kind of Cool, But Kind of Stupid (2)

jonnythan (79727) | about 13 years ago | (#2147215)

the expression is "all intents and purposes," not "all intensive purposes."


Naw, he just left out a word. (1)

Giant Hairy Spider (467310) | about 13 years ago | (#2146935)

"for all computation-intensive purposes"

magnesium cigarettes (1)

MrDelSarto (95771) | about 13 years ago | (#2145606)

was i the only one that used to steal thin, long strips of magnesium from school, slide them into a cigarette and then cheerily offer them around to that person who would *always* pay you back tomorrow?

bought a whole new meaning to getting blind

Mag and VW cases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2145607)

Yeah we used to do that out in the middle of the dessert with a half dozen of more tires just for effect... oh those days before we had to worry about mother earth..... Try zirconium sometime... burns twice as hot and bright but costs BIG $$$$$$$

that hard to burn it? =D (1)

athagon (410963) | about 13 years ago | (#2145611)

it would make one wonder..why would it be so hard to burn? shouldnt covering it in gasoline and lighting a match work? =D

Re:that hard to burn it? =D (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2115232)


Re:that hard to burn it? =D (1)

ColdGold (472258) | about 13 years ago | (#2129587)

Solid mangnesium is VERY hard to ignite. So no it won't work.

An alternate way... (3, Funny)

V50 (248015) | about 13 years ago | (#2145905)

Shouldn't it be possible to use and AMD Athlon to do the same thing to PC? Now that would be entertainment!! :-)

OT: The r and n in 'Burn' merge together on my Mac/iCab and I get the subject 'How to Bum a Magnesium NeXT Cube'...

Re:An alternate way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2119166)

'scuse me, dude. Can I bum a cube?


locutus126 (514360) | about 13 years ago | (#2146083)

They didnt just grab a cube yesterday and set it on fiere, the burning was done right after next cubes were discontinued, and the cubes were provided by next. In the future, think, wait, and then speak.

Preliminary Experiments to Fire-Resistant Cases? (1)

robbyjo (315601) | about 13 years ago | (#2146114)

This experiment should better be lead into research on fire-resistant cases, rather than just burning them. Considering many corporations important data today stored in PCs, fire-resistant cases would be an attractive solution -- especially if it is comboed with redundant power supply to make "indestructible server"... Cool... DoD would certainly order those. Yeah... it's still vulnerable to hammers... :-)

paint (1)

emok (162266) | about 13 years ago | (#2146281)

Why didn't he just sandblast the paint off?

Re:paint (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 13 years ago | (#2146109)

It didn't sound like it was the paint. It sounded like the metal was an amalgam of magnesium and some other cheaper (and non-flammable) metal, probably 'pot' casting metal. That's why it took so much more heat to get it started.

Obviously (0)

l3377r0lld00d (446065) | about 13 years ago | (#2146874)

this guy got tired (or more likely immune) to looking at pr0n and needed something else for jollies.

-- moderators suck ASS andNEVER tire of whacking to

Uh huh huh. Fire. Cool. Henh. Yeah, yeah! (0)

x136 (513282) | about 13 years ago | (#2146972)

Person 1:
Wow, look at this NeXT case. We could find some parts for it and put together a milestone in computing history.

Person 2:
Or we could set it on fire!

Person 1:
Oooh! Yeah, fire is cool!

I think "from the too-much-spare-time dept." is about right.

Re:Uh huh huh. Fire. Cool. Henh. Yeah, yeah! (3, Funny)

radja (58949) | about 13 years ago | (#2125295)

as the guy stated.. he's a chemist. and about 80% of all chemists are pyromaniacs. hell.. I should know, I used to be one (a chemist that is.. I'll always be a pyromaniac.. :)


Great quote from the article :) (2)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | about 13 years ago | (#2147002)

"This is so NeXT," I told Sally. "Everything works great in the tests, then when you try to make it work for real, in the field, nothing works. They build a computer out of magnesium, and it doesn't even burn!"

I laughed pretty hard on that one :))

Prepare to be NeXTilated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2147085)

It's perfectly obvious that the cube was able to automatically adapt and become invulnerable to the torches. It's Wolf 359 all over again, I tell you!

mirror (5, Informative)

mosch (204) | about 13 years ago | (#2147086) [] is a mirror, if you're finding the main site to be slashdotted.

poop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2153595)


Zuh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2153596)

Two years? Just gimmie a can of gas and pack of matches and I can get it going in 2 seconds.

Why? (1, Insightful)

david_nelson (8827) | about 13 years ago | (#2153597)

Why would someone try to do this? Perhaps it's explained on the page, but I can't get through to it right now. Anyway, I would love to have one of these, and I'd much rather see it given to someone who wants it than have it destroyed.

Re: Why in the world is this modded as "Troll" ? (1)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | about 13 years ago | (#2146901)

Give me a friggin break...

This is kind of old... (3, Informative)

bellings (137948) | about 13 years ago | (#2153612)

This is kind of old news, even for Slashdot. Simson Garfinkel (who has been mentioned on this site before [] ) burnt these things in March of 1993.

In '93, these things weren't collectors items -- they were neat-o cool, but still falling in value. By '96, you could probably walk into any math department at any university in the world and buy a Cube with a burned out optical drive, a bad hard drive, a faded out black and white monitor, and a broken PostScript printer, all for well under $500. Hell, at some universities you probably still can.

Uh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2153725)


"I like watching the bright white flame" is not a valid answer.

I think Don MacLean was there... (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | about 13 years ago | (#2153766)

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The Day The NeXT Cube Died...

Second (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2153850)


Destroying Art (3, Insightful)

mr100percent (57156) | about 13 years ago | (#2153851)

The NeXT cube is ART. The circuit boards are wired in an arrangement so perfect it's beautiful technology art.

God, I sound like Steve Jobs.

I can think of better things to burn that cost >$6000US. Seen how much they go for on EBay?

Next '89 == Mac 2001 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2119159)

Next '89 == Mac 2001

Seen _that_ one on any infinite loop bumper stickers?

parent not troll (2, Insightful)

2ms (232331) | about 13 years ago | (#2130442)

How the hell is that a troll? So anyone who can appreciate a beautiful machine, and doesn't react positively to hearing about how a real life Beavis thinks its cool to burn one, is trolling?

Re:Destroying Art (3, Interesting)

SClitheroe (132403) | about 13 years ago | (#2143116)

Agreed...Not just art, but vision. The NeXT was a harbinger of things to come (that never did..alas), a bold vision of the future. I remember when there was a NeXT dealer in downtown Toronto. Us developers would go down on a hot, lazy, afternoon and gawk at the absolute beauty and precision of those machines. We were developing on generic 386's, running OS/2 1.3, using Smalltalk. Win95, NT, OS/2, and Linux were blips on the horizon, but there they, powerful, and pure geek lust. They were the most futuristic looking, and most futuristically capable machines out there. They made all the high end offerings (like the RS/6000) look primitive, and made our 386's look just plain pathetic.

Now, everybody has machines 20x or more powerful, minus the grace and elegance (the iMac cube came close, but cutesy can't hold a candle to how the NeXT Cubes looked back then), and we still haven't achieved the panache, both visual and hands-on, that these things achieved.

Fortunately, here in Calgary, there is a certain oil company that still runs NextStep, although it is being phased out. Talking to the developers, to a person they nearly cry lamenting their phasing out.

Truly the passing of a legend. I'm not sure whether to be outraged that the folks in the article burnt one, or to be proud watching a Viking warrior go out in a burning effigy...

Which would the boxes themselves have wanted? I hope the latter...

OS X (2)

Pope (17780) | about 13 years ago | (#2127849)

I guess they could all go over to Cocoa on OS X if they wanted to keep up their Obj-C skillz. Or just go over to OpenStep 4.2 on Intel hardware, though some weirdness may abound in the code.

The only NeXT I ever saw running in person was at York U in some back room lab. My friend was developing a bunch of programs in HyperCard on the Macs and used the TurboColor as a CD player! Bloody gorgeous machine.

My biggest claim to geek fame these days is running OpenStep 4.2 in VirtualPC under OS X. :)

Re:OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2119930)

Or GNUStep. It's still developing at a steady pace, and works very well even now (all the non-GUI stuff is essentially finished, the GUI stuff is mainly hanging on decent Display Postscript on Linux - fortunately the Display Ghostscript project's nearly done too, except for the NeXT extensions to the Adobe specs.)

Re:OS X (1, Offtopic)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 13 years ago | (#2145760)

My first run-in with a NeXTcube was, if I recall the hostname correctly, (IP address reported as, but it isn't currently responding to ping...don't know if it's just shut off or if it's been decommissioned) back in 1989 or '90. In addition to the usual NeXT coolness, you could telnet into it and do the usual shell stuff with no time limits. uxa, the main student machine, had a 7-hour-per-week limit which I (and many of the people I knew) usually ran up against on Thursday or Friday (if not earlier). Having unlimited access (in terms of time...they didn't give us root) to mrcnext fixed that problem. (You could also stay logged into uxa past the seven-hour limit, but you were screwed if line noise killed your connection to the terminal server.)

Of course, getting in lots of time on the computers was probably the main reason my spring-semester grades weren't so hot...:-|

Re:OS X (1)

Valgar (225897) | about 13 years ago | (#2114871)

Ahhh...good lord the horrible memories...
I still recall when ux4 was so horribly overloaded with idiots on IRC that trying to do any work was next to useless.
Then I discovered how easy it was to crash the whole damn system with a malloc and a fork, then jump back on as soon as it rebooted and start my jobs....
Gotta love UIUC, I cried the day O'Malleys went under....

Re:Destroying Art (2)

unitron (5733) | about 13 years ago | (#2146358)

"Which would the boxes themselves have wanted?"

Information wants to be free, hardware wants to be immolated?

Oh well, at least I get to use the word "anthropomorphism" in a post.

How to stretch your ass (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2156706)

Read more at []

Mod Parent Up! (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | about 13 years ago | (#2131173)

I found that article highly informative!
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