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October 2000

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October 30, 2000

New Linkage
There is a relatively new (about 2 weeks old) kid on the Ars Technica Distributed front.� This kid goes by the name E. Roll…..as in Team Egg Roll.� So what do these bad boys do?� Team Egg Roll is the Ars entrant in the Folding@Home Project.� The Folding@Home project, is a distributed processing project involved in the simulation of protein folding.� Being a biochemist in my former life, I know how complicated the folding of proteins can be.� Nature does a pretty good job of it, but with a heck a lot of amino acids in a protein, the possibilities of how a protein folds into tertiary and quaternary structures can be endless.� This project uses the CPU cycles of home computers to help in the simulation of these folding processes.� Currently Team Egg Roll is holding down the #1 team position after rocketing up to #1 in only a couple of weeks.� They have been added to the Links on the main menu….go check them out!
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There is another TLC stats page out there…(SAY IT AIN’T SO!).� Krell, of the TLC powerhouse Krell Worshippers has put up a stats page which keeps daily track of the top 1000 member club.� This page started out because Krell didn’t want to wait for the stats pages here to be up….hey I don’t blame him!� He is over on the other side of the pond there :).� Even though the link doesn’t have a permanent spot in the menu to the left, go check them out anyway. Buy best baby toothbrush. Monitor your child’s dental health.

Shooting for the Stars…but Ending Up in the Drink
I just caught this article over at wired.� Apparently there has been a contest to see who could be the first sort of “public” group to send a 2 kg payload to an altitude of 200km.� The winner gets $250K.� The contest ends on Nov 8th.� There has been several interested groups in trying to claim the prize, but escaping Earth’s atmosphere is a bit harder than it sounds.� Problems with both getting the rocket to do the job, and trying to jump through hoops getting the go ahead from the FAA and other Departments of Red-Tape has derailed most of the groups.� But one group tried today.� They lifted their rocket up to around 70K feet, and then tried to launch the rocket and payload….problem is that the rocket decided to fire down instead of up….and ended up somewhere in the Gulf Of Mexico.� There is only one other active group….but they do not seem to be shooting for the deadline time.� They want to do it right, and will launch “when they are ready”.

Notice Any Difference?
In page downloads that is…� A couple of days ago I started implementing a little space saving program to whittle down the size of the chart html pages.� I’m not sure if you have taken a look at the size of the chart pages, but they tend to be on the hefty side.� The problem is due to the charts being created and saved as .html from within Excel.� When I save as an .html file, Excel decides to throw in alot of cr*p which bloats the html code even more than a Microsoft product usually does.� I guess some people bitched and moaned about how bad this code was, and Microsoft has a utility that can strip out much of this unnecessary code and lighten things up with.� Now wouldn’t it be great if M$ could incorporate into Office so I can use this automatically?� Heck no.� But it does help.� The original size of the chart html file that Excel creates is somewhere around 150K in size.� This utility strips it down to around 110K in size.� It sure helps out in my upload to the site, and it should make it a little faster to download on your end.

Two More Utilities
There are a couple of new versions of SETI utilities out recently and they may be of interest to ya’ll.� The first is Seti Monitor, this utility offers many different features, and also gives some caching ability for the GUI client, if that is your bag.� Check it out here.� The other utility is called SETI Stats.� This utility is for “checking on your SETI@home ranking, graphically displaying results and creating signature files based on your personal data”.� You can check SETI Stats out here.

Team Lamb Chop News!
Things keep rolling along with TLC.� Alot of times when I do the updates, the numbers just seem to astound.� How amazing are these numbers?� Let me count the ways….

  1. Averaging over 10,000 WU/Day.� Right now this is over twice as many WU per day than any other team.
  2. Support AIDS Research.� Today marks the 11th day in a row that they have posted 1,000+ work units.� I have never seen this kind of production from anyone.� Two of the last three days they almost broke the 3,000 WU barrier.
  3. 10 members averaging over 100 WU/Day. These are consistent high producers for the team.� This isn’t a big post one day and cache up a bunch of results….these are consistent crunchers.
  4. The other 3000+ Members on the team.� Too often the top producers and the top of the charts/graphs get all of the attention, but what makes this team is everyone including those who may only product 1 or two work units per day.� Even without SAR or the other members averaging 100 WU/Day, this team would STILL crank out about 8000 WU/Day.� This would still be about twice any other team.� This team is just strong top to bottom.� I really wish I could figure out some way of highlighting some of the consistent crunchers down in the ranks, but I haven’t yet :/.

Speaking about the underrated ppl….lets talk about svdsinner.� Here is someone who has been a constant cruncher, and doesn’t get thrust into the spotlight that often.� But a couple of days ago svdsinner passed C. Eric Smith for the team #2 spot.� He has also moved up to the #138 position overall quite quietly.� Give ’em his due, hard work has paid off pretty well.� Unfortunately the stay at #2 too long.� The SAR juggernaut is poised to pass him within a couple of weeks.� Congrats svdsinner!

One more for the spotlight.� Vomesh has been crunching for TLC for a while now.� He shot up the TLC sometime last year, but went into a dry spell for a good while.� He had reached up to the top 530 or so members overall in the SETI project, but slowly he lost spots, and fell in danger of falling out of the top 1000 members.� Somewhere around the beginning of August he turned things around a bit, and then turned it completely around at the beginning of September.� In danger of being out of the top 1000 he has rocketed back up and now stands at #205 overall…and # 7 on TLC.� He should reach #3 sometime within a month.� –zAmboni

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October 24, 2000

Got News?
Hrmm..I guess this is as good a time as any to update the news :)…been a while eh?� Where to start…

One of the news stories that got lost in the past week was the advancement of The Knights Who Say Ni!.� KWSN passed up Microsoft sometime last week for the #8 position in the overall scheme of things.� The Knights were boosted up by several ex TLC members, particularly Virus and Moses and they are looking to reach #7 sometime soon by overtaking Intel.�

The past couple of weeks has seen a period of quite a bit of action on TLC concerning additions and subtractions of members.� Unfortunately, the distributed forum has seen quite a bit of talk about this, with people questioning the motives and identities of different team members.� Things took on an air of soap operaishness (is that a word?) as people got riled up.� Luckily cooler heads prevailed over the situation, and it looks like TLC will come out the better and stronger.� People may join TLC for a test ride, but that doesn’t mean that they will eventually make a purchase.� Also with TLC being one of the premier teams in the SETI project there may be some people out there to undermine the team and cause dissention (as Larry Loen eloquently pointed out in this post).� If you want a bit more of an up close you can take a look at the various threads in the distributed forum for your perusal.� Just a word of warning…don’t get too out of hand, Rat Bastard and I now have moderator privileges on the forum so don’t make us get out the red pencil on your posts!

A Little More on v3.0 CLI WU times
One thing of note in the update to the v3.0 run time prediction article a week or so ago was that low angle range work unit times were significantly longer using the CLI than when running the GUI client.� For those low angle range work units the run times on my Win98SE machine had run times longer than even the mid angle range work units, and took quite longer than the “expected” run times from Roleof’s equations.� Other people have seen the same phenomena with the CLI, but here is an interesting thing about the CLI.� There were several people including Lawrence Kirby, who noted that the run times of the CLI on Win2K were on par with the times for mid angle range work units.� Therefore Win2K times were faster than Win98 times (even though the Win2K times were still longer than the GUI times)….Strange eh?� I still haven’t heard a good explanation why the CLI would behave differently than the GUI on these work units though….maybe we will eventually get an explanation.

Even More Stats on the SETI Servers?
A bit ago there was a post on the newsgroup asking if they would expand the top team pages to something like a top 500 instead of a top 200….Eric K came up with a reply:

>Slightly off-topic, but any plans on explanding the Top 200 stats for
>businesses, clubs, etc…. to possibly the Top 500?

That wouldn’t be too difficult.� I’ll bring it up at the next meeting.
Might mean that the lists update less frequently, though.
Eric

Well…right now it already seems pretty hit and miss with even the top 200 teams being updated on a regular basis, and they seem to be at the whims of the stats servers…and this brings me to my next point.� Is there a good measurement (for us out here that is) of the S@H server health?� I have my own little way of seeing how well the stats servers are handling things, and this deals with two different items.� The first item is how well the SETI servers are updating the processed work units and adding them to the team totals.� For the most part of the past 5-6 months, the stats servers cannot keep up with the daily influx of work units processed for each team.� When the servers were down on the 18th to replace the RAID configuration, things seemed to pick up on the servers…but now they are back to the way they were…lagging behind and increasing the backlog of work units.� There is another way I gauge the health of the servers, and this is when I download the stats each day from the SETI servers.�� I pull the entire list of members from the top 10 teams each day, and when this happens the servers have to run through the cgi scripts on the servers to get this data.� How quickly I can pull the data gives me a judge of how well the servers are holding up.� In the past week or so, things haven’t been looking good.� I am getting consistent non connects to the servers for pulling the data (equivalent to a “page not found” on a web browser), dropped or incomplete downloads from the servers, and also extremely long times getting the data back.�� The situation doesn’t look good, but again it also may be explained by a lower priority on the servers for stats processing…

Yet Another SETI App.
I received an email yesterday from Kevin Noble pointing out there is another SETI app out there that I haven’t looked into.� You may want to take a look at it if it sounds good for ya…I’ll let Kevin tell ya:

The site mentions a number of great apps, some that I use like SETI Driver and SETISPY.� Another one that I use is SETISERVICE, it is a simplified way of getting the SETI executable to run as a service and easily deployed to other networked workstations on NT.� Setting it for non-interactive to the users makes it non-intrusive in appearance.
The page is at http://www.geocities.com/petiepooo/seti.html

Weekly Stuff…
I haven’t updated them yet, but I should get them up by the end of the night.� –zAmboni

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October 22, 2000

New SETIWatch / SETILog�
Mark Loukko, the author of SETIWatch and SETILog, has released new versions for the V3 client. The boast a few new features, such as displaying info on angle ranges. Here’s a snip from the release info:

�New features for SETIWatch 3.0

  • A new tab called “Best Results” has been added. This tab contains the best Peak, Triplet, Pulse and Gaussian for the current running work unit.
  • Angle Range has been added to the “Completed Work Units” tab.
New features for SETILog 3.1
  • Now records the best Triplet, Pulse and Gaussian in the SETILog.csv file.
  • You will notice a message the first time you run SETILog 3.1 and a previous SETILog.csv file exists.
  • This message box will prompt you to convert your SETILog.csv file into the new 3.1 format (backup copy of your csv file is created).

Both programs are located right here. And for those of you not familiar with them, SETILog is a CLI launcher which logs the results of each workunit into a database. It’s also handy for hiding the client- I run it on all my machines at home to clean up the startbar. SETIWatch is a complimentary program that lets you monitor the progress of your clients- including those located over a network. It’s VERY helpful for those of us with small (or large) Seti farms to contend with.
Thanks to
Netsnipe for the information. May his Seti machines never be subject to random network outages –Rat

Small Addendum�
Netsnipe wrote back with a piece of advice for those using SETIDriver in conjunction with SETIWatch and SETILog. I’m not familiar with SETIDriver, so I’ll let him explain:

I’ve also noticed that in order to use SETIDriver and SETIWatch together,

that SETILog must be set as the CL client under the SETIDriver settings and the ‘Create SETILog.csv’ checkbox in SETIDriver must be turned off because the latest SETIDriver 1.5.0.3 only generates 2.x csv records. But another side affect of changing clients in SETIDriver is that it automatically deletes ‘setiathome-3.0.i386-winnt-cmdline.exe’ when changing clients, so users must beware of this when upgrading and restore of a backup of setiathome-3.0.i386-winnt-cmdline.exe after changing SETIDriver’s client setting to SETILog.�

We now leave you to (The message has been moderated by Rat Bastard) –Rat

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October 18, 2000

Predicting v3.0 Run Times Updated!
I just updated the article on predicting version 3.0 run times.� You can check the update here.� There are some things of interest, including some tweaking on the prediction of run times, and also a major finding of a difference between the run times of the GUI and CLI versions of the v3.0 client!� If you want to check out the original article it may be good for some background.�� –zAmboni

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October 16, 2000

S@H Berkeley Connection Problems
Well over the past couple of days, there have been some connection problems for people trying to access the Berkeley servers.� Good thing is that there doesn’t seem to be any problems with the Berkeley servers themselves, but instead it is problems with the U.C. Berkeley Internet infrastructure.�� Here are the Tech News releases on these problems.

October 16, 2000
A power outage on campus resulted in most of the Berkeley campus being disconnected from the rest of the Internet between the hours 0200 and 0500 UT. Power has been restored, but some campus systems are still out.

October 14, 2000
A problem on campus resulted in our connectivity to the outside world being reduced to 20 Mbps overnight last night. This resulted in numerous dropped connections and generally slow service.

Mutations Abound
Waffling more than a Presidential candidate on tough debate questions, Virus has changed allegiances again.� Mutating from Virus – TLC to KWSN – Virus, Team Lamb Chop gains some stability in exchange for a loss in work units.� The Virus Caravan stop lasted for just about a week at TLC, before moving back to the Knights Who Say Ni.� But, as many of us know here in the US, the cold and flu season will soon be upon us.� Even if you can shake an infection, there is no guarantee that you wont be immune from another Virus later down the line.

New Version of SetiSpy Available
Now available for download is version 3.0.1 of SetiSpy.� This version fixes a few small bugs and will update your version to the latest and greatest iteration.� You can download it here.�� I also wanted to point out that SetiSpy has been featured on the ZDNet Download center, and has been rated as 5 Stars!� Way to go Roelof!� Just a word of warning, the newest version of SetiSpy is not yet available for download on ZDNet (only 3.0.0) so you may want to go to the first link if you want the latest.

Last 10 Results Page?
You know that you have tried to access it, but it just isn’t there anymore.� When will it be back?� Well don’t look for it to be available anytime soon.� Erik Korpela gives us the lowdown from the newsgroups:

Probably not for a while.� At this point any database effort given to this detracts from the effort to sift through the signals in the database for potential E.T.’s.� Our hope was the we’d be getting another system to use for postprocessing, but that has fallen through for the time being.

Weekly Stuff
Even with the team’s losses today…this week has been pretty good team wise.� You can check out some of the weekly team numbers here.� The two big newcomers have taken over the tops in the charts this week.� Support AIDS research and Antimoses were on the top of both the movers and work units for the week this past week.� Each one of them taking a top spot.� I know Vomesh must be thinking “what do I need to do?”� He has cranked up the production to pass up even Admins spend CPUs, but then a two newcomers hope in to take the spotlight away from him!� There was one TLC member who left the top 1000 this week, but we do have another to take his place.� Krell Worshippers debuted in the top 1000 this week….next week there may be as many as 3 more new members in the top 1000 club!

WU Time Update…
I may have an update to the Predicting WU Times article up sometime tonight…depends on if I get caught up in other things….If I don’t get it up today, then hopefully tomorrow.���� –zAmboni

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