Spect refers to the CPU board in the AQS rack (left-most board) which controls all communication between the user/pc host computer/Topspin interface and the acquisition hardware. It is actually called the CCU (communication control board) and is a diskless workstation that boots a version of Unix, referred to as "diskless" software in the XWINNMR/Topspin installations, from the host computer disk that is mounted via NFS and the second ethernet card in the PC.
For spect to boot, the host PC must be up and running, NFS running and configured, and the diskless software and various services installed. Booting is initiated by pressing the red reset button on the CCU board and should take about 1-2 minutes. Booting should cause considerable activity on the CCU board LEDS. With successful booting, it is possible to "ping spect" and "telnet spect". Note that the simplest way to check that spect is alive and booted is to "telnet spect", and just observing that you get a login prompt, at which point you would just kill this shell without proceeding with the login. The only reasons to ever complete the login ( as root with no password) is to run some test programs or to shut down spect. Note that as with all Unix systems, it is important to shutdown the operating system before powering off the AQS rack by telneting in and typing "init 0" and waiting for shutdown to finish. Also note that if there are problems booting spect, it is possible to monitor the boot process via an rs323 connection and the unix command "cu -lttyS1" (might be ttyS0, the "connected" message should appear) in a shell.