Random News

Not much to report today. Most of the day was spent debugging C++ code. (if there was a bed here at the office, I’d never need to go home!) Programming in Perl can spoil you really quick. It takes a lot of C or C++ code to do what Perl can do in one or two lines.

The SETI@home server was down for several hours today and, unfortunately for me, the downtime coincided with the completion of about four work units – which apparently got sent to the bit bucket. This caused me to fall back to 7th place on Team Slashdot. I’m confident that I’ll regain 6th place tomorrow though, as I have upgraded the three Windows machines to run the new CLI client instead of the tediously slow GUI version. This change should help them keep up with the Solaris and Linux boxes and provide a gain of several work units per day.


Okay, things got better as the day progressed. After working most of the day, Susan and I went to the Dallas Symphony. The program tonight consisted of Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 in B-flat Major, the Concerto for Flute and Orchestra by the Dallas Symphony’s composer-in-residence, Lowell Liebermann, and one of my favorites, Dvoล™รกk’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor. If you’ve ever seen Andrew Litton conduct, you’ll know that he is a particularly animated conductor. At the end of the third movement of Symphony No. 9, he finished with a violent movement of his arm that accidentally sent his baton flying into the audience. It was caught by a man in the second row who walked to the front and returned it to Mr. Litton just in time for the fourth movement. Definitely not something you see every day. Upon returning home, I checked my SETI@home stats to discover that I’ve moved from 7th to 6th place on Team Slashdot and have now exceeded one year of CPU time.

SETI@Home Update

For those who are keeping track of the SETI@home project, Team Slashdot is in the lead right now with over 27,000 work units processed – more than 76 years worth of CPU time. And if you examine the stats for Team Slashdot, you’ll notice me in the top 10 with just under 300 work units processed. Now I would think somebody out there would be so truly impressed by this charitable contribution of CPU cycles that they’d call me up and offer to buy me lunch…

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…


Slashdot mentioned the SETI@home project today and it made me wonder why I haven’t been putting some of my idle processor cycles to work for a good cause. I visited the SETI@home site, downloaded the Linux and Solaris versions of their client programs and now have a PII450/Linux and Ultra10/Solaris box busy processing radio telescope data in their spare time. It seems to take about 60 seconds of file transfer time to keep a machine busy for 5 or 6 hours. I added the SETI@home logo at the bottom of my home page. So if you’re interested in helping out, click it and download a client for your machine. It’s easy to set up and even works on old, clucky platforms like Windows and MacOS.