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No shit, there I was: My sophomore year in college at Georgia Tech, I started getting really active in working on Slackware Linux. Around this time, my friend David was working on porting Slackware to the SPARC. He only had an SS1 so he was working very slowly. I decided that porting the entire distribution was a good challenge. Plus, it'd give me something to do besides go to those pesky classes. I decided it'd be cool to try a port to the Alpha. The only problem was how damned expensive the machines were. I wouldn't just be able to go out and buy one.

A little time passes and I find myself out in San Jose (one of my least favorite towns in the country) working at a trade show. David and I skipped out one afternoon to go eat lunch. As luck would have it, several guys from Alpha Processor Inc. (now API NetWorks, or maybe they're out of business by now) were sitting right behind us. I got up, walked over, and introduced myself. Some shit was shot and I happened to mention wanting to port Slackware but couldn't afford a machine and maybe they could help me out. I ended up with some business cards and promised to get back to them.

A few weeks later, I decided to send them an email. I mailed one of the marketing guys at API about getting a loaner machine. He sent me some paperwork and I faxed it back to him (these guys always like to fax things around). The description of the machine talked about dual processors, lots of RAM, and so forth. "Cool", I told myself, thinking I'd be getting some sort of mid tower case.

About a week later, I opened my Georgia Tech post office box to find a slip of paper inside. When you get a package that won't fit in the tiny little boxes, they stick a piece of paper in your box telling you to come pick it up. I'd gotten such a piece of paper. On the bottom in nice big letters was written: Big, big, big, big, big, big box!

So, I walked up to the counter with a big smile on my face and handed the person the slip. They looked at it for a second and told me to come around back into the place where they store all the packages. As three of my friends and I walked around the back, everyone who worked there was mumbling something about the size of this package and sort of staring at us. Sure enough, my new Alpha had come in a box about five feet by five feet by three feet. Knowing there was no way I'd ever get that thing back to my house, I called up Ted and asked him to bring his car on by. While he was on the way, the four of us struggled to get the box to the loading dock. Later, we'd learn the computer alone weighs about 95 pounds.

By the time Ted got to the loading dock, we were working on getting the computer out of the box. Of course, there was a lot of cursing going on both at the weight of the thing and at just how big it really was. There was also a little comparison of the machine to various body parts. We're not very quiet people, so we said all this loud enough for pretty much anyone to hear. After five or six minutes of this, someone from the post office came back and asked us to keep it down.

Well, eventually we got the thing into Ted's trunk and tossed all the packing peanuts it'd been shipped in. We then took the long way around campus, windows down, yelling and cursing at everyone along the way, letting them know that we had a big damn computer in the trunk and they didn't. Let me tell you that moving a 95 pound machine around when it's four feet tall, four feet deep, and two feet wide is no easy task.

Of course, I named it unit.