Turns out that a couple of the "garbage" computers that I won at the auction are actually far more powerful than I first suspected: they're industrial single-board computers, and 2 of them are P3/650 MHz. That may not seem like much in the world of quad-core 3GHz P4s, but for an industrial controller, it's pretty damn powerful-- especially for the price I paid (50 cents each). The third one is a P2/550, and though it runs, it will likely be parted out so I can use the case for a completely different controller project. It's what I originally got them for: the cases are serious rack-mount industrial machines designed for hardened environments.
The SBCs use PC-100 memory, and I have enough to have 256M in each one. Fiddling around a bit, I was able to load ubuntu server on one just fine, which is very cool and gives me a platform for playing. They're sitting on passive backplanes with 4 PCI slots (2 free ones) and I think 8 EISA slots. There were old cards in them, between them I think there were six A/D converter cards, one 8-channel DIO card, and a handful of other cards. If I can find data on them, I might be able to write device drivers for them, but it's more likely I'll just work on my own stuff.
There was also more cleaning, and there will be more trash bags going to the curb soon.
I also dug the snowblower out today, and in the process managed to pull the old folding saw stand out so I can mount the baby compound miter saw to it and free up the table for other things. And as I'm going through stuff I'm making collections of like items so I can have them all in one place.
It's coming together.
What finally got me back upstairs was Sadie coming downstairs to get me and tell me it was time for bed. She's a pretty smart pooch.