Genealogy, Music and Art

I took advantage of my free time yesterday by going to the Dallas Public Library with Susan. We did some genealogical research and I found a number of items that I’ll be adding to my Early Rainwaters document as time allows. Today we spent the afternoon at the Dallas Artfest in Fair Park, listening to live music, eating corny dogs, trying not to get sunburn, and looking at art.

SETI@Home Update

The SETI@home people seem to have received an overwhelming response to their distributed processing project. All their servers were down today while they upgraded to some new donated Sun servers to handle the huge load. After less than a month of operation, they have over 350,000 users donating computer time. That probably translates into 600,000 to 1,000,000 million processors. NCC now has 10 machines on the job. Interesting we’ve noticed that it takes a PII400 running Linux 10 hours to process one block of data but a PII400 running NT takes 30 hours – same hardware, same data, but 200% more time. Hmmm…

Thunderstorms and Robots

There’s a good size thunderstorm going on outside right now. From the look of the radar images it’ll probably be raining for most of the night. I’ve been working on a new Perl program (GPL’ed of course!) which I’ve decided to call “Event Horizon”. Its purpose is to generate an ASCII and HTML format event calendar. I’m going to use it specifically to help bring the Robot Competition List up to date again. I’ve neglected the list for over a year because it’s so time consuming to update. I expect to have the first new version out around the begining of June.

Stock Pick

If anybody out there needs a good stock recommendation, Dell Computer [DELL] has recently dropped to near its 200 day moving average. The stock is likely to level off soon and then start moving up again. Dell is now the second largest supplier of PCs and they are still gaining market share in the US and overseas. I own Dell stock and highly recommend it for anyone else looking for a long term stock.

The Phantom Menace

Okay, we saw the new Star Wars movie this weekend. Yes, it was a disappointment as I’m sure you’ve heard by now. But don’t let that stop you from seeing it. In spite of all its problems, it’s still worth seeing once. The last thing the world needs is yet another review of the movie so I’ll just make a few quick comments. There is way too much CGI in the movie – at some points it feels like you’re watching a cartoon rather than a live action film because there is simply nothing real in sight… animated aliens fighting animated robots on animated terrain. The reviews you’ve read are right on several points: Jar-Jar Binks is very annoying, Darth Maul has one whole sentence of dialog and maybe two minutes on screen, the story is very disjointed and slow compared to the older movies (whereas the spaceships all move much faster than they used to). And what’s with the force? The force is no longer a “force” it is now apparently a sentient entity of some sort that has a will and makes plans for people – and only those with a particular parasitical virus can sense or use it.