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September 2001

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Mad props go out to IronBits for hosting the site and all the others who have kept this site going for the past couple of years!.

September 24, 2001

Switch Completed
The TLC site has had the DNS switched over to IronBits’ server.� The DNS was actually switched sometime last week, and has been hosted there since then.� Right now the site is still being mirrored at Hagabard’s server tlc.hagabard.com.� For the time being, if the main TLC site is down, the complete stats can be found on Hagabard’s mirror.� Again, thanks go out to both Hagabard and IronBits for hosting the TLC stats!
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Version 3.04 Soon?
I have heard that there is a new client being worked on, but I have no idea on a timetable for release.� The bug that is being fixed is the one explained in the news from the 18th (scroll down a bit).� Not sure if it is going to be mandatory either.
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S@H Problem Last Week
There was a problem with the servers last week.� Some people had results uploaded and didn’t get credit for them, and then their client was squawking at them “state.sah not found” and would loop endlessly.� SetiQueue seemed to protect from this problem, since it didn’t end up uploading any results because it couldn’t connect properly.� Eric Korpela explained the problem on the newsgroups:

Here’s what the problem was…
The science database has been down in preparation for an informix upgrade. Buy best baby toothbrush. Monitor your child’s dental health.
The results are being stored on a new disk.� Enough results accumulated that
the device ran out of inodes.� Because of that results were building up in
temp space, which also ran out of inodes.� Without space for temporary files,
very little was functioning.

Galactic Habitable Zones
In this month’s Scientific American there is an article that describes Galactic Habitable Zones (GHZ).� The GHZ is analogous to the solar habitable zone which extened from outside Venus to outside Mars.� The GHZ’s boundaries are kind of loosely defined for the Milky way, the outer boundary is defined by the the metallicity of the stars in the region.� The probability of forming terrestrial type planets is proportional to the metallicity of the parent star.� The outer portions of the milky way have a lower rate of supernova and therefore have less metals, although the metallicity of the outer regions is increasing with time.�

The inner bounds of the GHZ is determined by several factors.� The closer to the center of the Milky Way the closer stars and clusters are and the higher chance for interactions which may cause comets and other debris to rain down on a developing solar system.� There is also increased galactic radiation from the center of the galaxy and also from the increased supernova frequency.�

With the inner and outer boundaries of the GHZ, this significantly reduces the potential number of planets which may harbor intelligent life.� It would be interesting to see if the GHZ has been taken into account in formulating the Drake Equation, and if it wasn’t, how it would affect the theoretical number of planets that harbor intelligent life.

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September 18, 2001

Site News
The TLC site here is going to be moving, but hopefully the move will be seamless.� For the last couple of months Hagabard has been hosting the TLC site on his server.� The server will be moving over to a server hosted by IronBits (IB).� We are working on getting the servers ready and my excel scripts straightened out before we move the tlc.com domain over.� We will still be using Hagabard’s server as a mirror for the stats for the time being.� When the switch is made, the mirror will be available at tlc.hagabard.com.� It is the same site as the tlc.com site is right now.� If my uploads go alright today (Tuesday)…the switch over to IB’s server may come as soon as Tuesday afternoon/night.� If for some reason the DNS switch doesn’t go as planned, IB’s site can be reached at tlc.dbestern.net.� Hopefully the move will be seamless and you will never know anything is up with the change!� I would like to thank both Hagabard for the hosting over the past couple of months, and IB for the future hosting of the stie!

S@H News
There has been a bit of updates on the S@H site, with a new wealth of information for your perusal.� The first item of note is a technical news report dated Sept 12th from the news item:

We have recently diagnosed a long-standing problem: certain work units never get results returned. There are at least two cases: 1) if a work unit produces a result file larger than 60 KB, the client silently discards the result file and fetches a new work unit; 2) if a work unit has corrupt data, the client immediately discards it. In both cases the user doesn’t receive credit for processing the work unit.

Because our server never gets results for these work units, they remain on disk indefinitely, and are sent over and over again to clients. Users aren’t getting credit for an increasing fraction of the work units they complete.

As a short-term solution, we are purging old work units from our server. This will hopefully reduce the fraction of “uncredited” work units close to zero. Longer-term, we will fix the client so that it handles large result files correctly. We hope to have this fix in the Unix and command-line versions soon, and in the Windows and Mac versions after that.

Notice the bold portion of the news item.� It looks like this problem may be alleviated by tweaking the S@H client a bit.� This sounds like they will end up coming out with a new version of the client. Will this be a forced upgrade?� I am not sure.� Seeing that it may be a minor fix it *may* not be a required upgrade….but they may find other things to fix in the client if they are going to do the work of making a new client and porting…but don’t expect them to tweak the client for more speed.

Second up is a glossary for different terms used in the project.� It has definitions for different terms, plus some links which describe the terms a bit better.

Next, there is a post that Norton personal firewall may be kicking in when sending back results to the Berkeley servers:

Spurious error messages from Norton Personal Firewall

We have received problem reports from SETI@home users running Norton Personal Firewall (NPF). NPF checks outgoing HTTP requests for character strings, such as parts of your credit card numbers.

SETI@home uses HTTP to download work units and upload results. Each result consists of about 5,000 characters, mostly numbers. Any short sequence of digits occurs occasionally in result files.

If you have configured NPF to check for several 4-digit sequences, there is significant chance that at least one of these sequences will randomly occur in a result file. NPF will then tell you that SETI@home is uploading one of your credit card numbers. This is not the case.
We recommend that SETI@home users configure NPF to check for longer digit sequences (8-12 digits). This will greatly reduce the incidence of spurious error messages.

Finally, they have posted a new newsletter (#9) describing� “Persistent Signals“.� Why is persistence important?� Well a signal needs to be verified.� If a gaussian shows up once and not in another pass of the same portion of the sky, then that signal is most likely not of importance….but if the signal is still there when they scan the same portion of the sky, then it *may* be of extraterrestrial origin.� The article shows some of the different graphs of some plots and shows how they may throw out a result because of local radio frequency interference.� There is some good stuff in there…I highly recommend that ya read it.

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September 13, 2001

New
Hopefully if everything goes ok with the update today there will be a new set of charts available using the drop down menus.� These charts show ONLY the active members on the team (member who have returned at least one work unit in the past 7 days).� The charts are a bit different from the other member charts but should provide some more information for those stats freaks on TLC :).� I may come up with some graphs for the active members, but just not this moment…it may take some fiddling with my excel charts to get them to work right.� Also I updated the weekly stats for those of you who are interested!

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September 12, 2001

Tragedy
I am sure most of you have heard about the terrorist activities that occurred in NYC, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania.� My hearts and thoughts go out to all of the people who were effected by the events that happened yesterday.� I want to reiterate what Caesar has posted on the Ars Technica site on how people can help.

Many of you are writing in asking how you can help. First of all, give blood if you can. Simply call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to see where you can give blood, and if you are eligible. According to the Red Cross, your blood donation could save as many as three lives. Please consider this. Secondly, please donate money to the American Red Cross. You can donate using this link, which uses Amazon’s payment system (and hence is convenient for many), or you can donate at the Red Cross site. Ars Technica and its staff are making donations, and I hope you will too. Right now that system is reporting that they’ve collected $2880.00. Let’s move that up, OK? -C�sar

As of this time the relief fund (through Amazon) has collected over $113,000.� Please help the relief and rescue efforts if you can.

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