Satya's blog - 2005/06/

Jun 27 2005 23:53 BOINC distributed computing
So I got the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (hmm, pasted that from the project web page, where it is shown in all capitals, but it pastes correctly. Looking at their style sheet -- horrible HTML, by the way -- I see they're using font-variant: small-caps, just like on this blog entry. Nice.)

BOINC installed easily on Windows XP and I'm running SETI@Home, Climate Prediction, Einstein@Home (something to do with pulsars) and Predictor@Home (hope the spam harvester bots choke on these names). They round-robin for an hour at a time.

The Linux version? Forget it. The CVS one, I can't figure out how to configure, let alone build. the ready-made one is a shell-script, so I made a new safe un-privileged user to run this stuff anyway.

(It was interesting getting an X desktop off gort _for the new user_, who doesn't have a working password -- isn't allowed to log in -- so I do something like sudo su - boinc.)

Anyway, the ready-made one runs, but its GUI manager shows no text, or rather all text shows up as under-scores. So I'm compiling a new one from the nightly build tarballs, and the compilation just failed. Let's see why.
upper_case.C: In function `int main(int, char**)':
upper_case.C:219: error: invalid initialization of non-const reference of type 'std::string&' from a temporary of type 'std::string'
../api/boinc_api.h:101: error: in passing argument 1 of `int boinc_upload_file(std::string&)'

Well, forget that.
Jun 25 2005 12:19 Dr. Who and the Daleks
Saw Dr. Who and the Daleks on DVD the other day. It sucked. In this movie, Dr. Who is an Earthman, not a Time Lord, who invents the TARDIS in his lab. His companions are his daughter, his granddaughter, and his daughter's boyfriend. The TARDIS and the Daleks sucked, too.
Jun 24 2005 11:43 What's New
I've taken down the 90s-style What's New page from my web site. The location on the top bar where the link used to be has been replaced by a link to my blog. That's pretty much what my blog does.
Jun 19 2005 17:07 Jigsaws
We've been doing a few jigsaws recently. I've put up a couple of jigsaw pictures but they're not very interesting yet.

I got a new shot of my old F15 model:
F15 Eagle

I hope anyone reading this is aware that most pictures here are clickable; activating the link takes you to my picture album for a bigger version (usually) of the picture, plus other pictures.

Last updated: Jan 22 2006 09:10

Tag: model

Jun 15 2005 09:30 Today's gratuitous shell abuse
cd `echo /var/www/itlabwiki/data/plugin/macro/ | cut -d'/' -f1-7`
Jun 14 2005 01:05 Eng.Lit. and Enid Blyton
I'm reading an Enid Blyton book after a gap of many years. Ship of Adventure or something. Oddly enough, the pages smell like something that reminds me of our Eng Lit books from school. Sure enough, this book is printed by Macmillan, as were many of our school books.

Too bad the county library has only a few Enid Blytons. These kids are missing a lot. I'm sure it's going to be arfy, though.
Jun 13 2005 19:07 Bloggers are people too
According to BoingBoing, the EFF has published a legal guide for bloggers. It's about the confusion (mostly in the media's minds) about whether bloggers are journalists or "sources" or what (says boing boing).

Umm, blogs are just web pages that are a little more often updated than they used to be in the 1990s. Get a clue, people! Sheesh, changing the name of something doesn't make it something else. If it does, I'm changing my name to er... I was going to say a P word but I don't want to set off anything.
Jun 13 2005 10:22 Monday morning fires
First thing Monday morning I find that the jabber server isn't responding. Actually, gaim hung when logging in, so I started an update of the system. That reminded me that the debian package proxy was partially broken. Oh well, it can wait till our sysadmin returns. (Return of the SUthadmin, heh.)

So anyway, updating didn't fix it and in the meantime bmuller reported a problem with his program, something about a stream error. So I ssh to the jabber server and start killing processes. Then I started them up by hand as root from the command lines shown by ps ax. This was wrong.

MUC (Multi-user chat) didn't, so I poked around some more and found the /etc/ini.d/jabber, sluice, and muc startup scripts. Fire them off, and I can't log in. Neither can bmuller. D'oh, our user XML files (and other people's) are owned by root! Run a quick find and a for loop, chown daemon.daemon, and everything's back to normal.

Now to fix Tania's other system and then figure out what to do with gradstudies, and if I have time I'll look to see what's wrong with the debian package server.

Update: Forgot to add, there was also a bug report about sluice being down, because of course sluice depends on jabber. No jabber, no sluice. Sigh.

Last updated: Jun 13 2005 10:28

Jun 11 2005 21:55 Collateral
Just saw Collateral on HBO. Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx (I thought it was some new guy trying to be Samuel L. Jackson), Jada Pinkett-Smith. Pretty good, drags a little at the end. Hit man Cruise hires Foxx's taxi for the night as he makes his hits. The fight between P-S and Foxx over whether to take surface roads or 105 east/110 north from LAX to downtown tickled me -- P-S thought 110 turns into a parking lot near USC, which it does.
Jun 10 2005 16:18 Masers
The good folks of ASR, Steve VanDevender in particular, have just stumbled upon the MASER: Mail Amplification by Stimulation of Emitted Rejections.

This is described as a mail loop created by... well, anything really, but typically due to automatic forwards that point to each other. An example would be sending a vacation auto-message to a mailing list, which sends it to the sender (and everyone else), which auto-responds again, etc. The "Amplification" happens when the vacation program quotes the original message.
Jun 09 2005 16:40 Famous USC people
Wikipedia entry for USC:

Famous people from USC:

John Wayne, Neil Armstrong, Jerry Goldsmith, Tom Selleck, George Lucas, Ron Howard, James Horner, LeVar Burton (Geordi on TNG), Mark McGwire, OJ Simpson, Jane Goodall, Schoenberg, and of course all our computer people: Adleman (RSA), Boehm (software), Postel (pretty much half the internet), and a bunch of people who aren't listed but should be.

# Troy Polamalu - National Football League strong safety, All-American <-- was there when I was there :)
Jun 08 2005 20:30 Washing machine
Yesterday there was a lot of smoke and a weird smell. Between matthew and us we figured out that the washing machine was producing a burning smell, which I thought was electrical but turned out to be rubber.

So we hauled the clothes to the laundromat to use their drier. (Since our's is a stack unit I didn't want to touch any of it until the repairmen had taken a look.) For a few minutes we tried to stuff them in a smaller machine, then figured it was too small and took the pile to the row of driers at the back. The instructions sucked, so we threw the clothes in with four quarters. The machine showed 7 (minutes) so we waited and... 7 minutes later, the clothes were still wet.

So I hit the coin return, and 2 of my quarters came back and the machine lit up again. Seven more minutes pass by, clothes are still a little damp, so I press the button again. No soap (pun intended). So insert one quarter (which seems to run for 7 minutes), and still nothing. Insert another quarter and off it goes for another seven minutes. Check, the clothes could use some more time. Press coin return, no coins, but machine starts for the fourth seven minute cycle. Whee.

In the meantime I figured out that the first machine had been a washer and we'd just have soaked the clothes again. I had been wondering why the "driers" had soap bins on top. Somewhere in between a nice guy explained the purpose of the two drum-like top-loaders -- centrifugal water removers, so your clothes are wet but not drippy.

Update: Anyway, today they came and fixed it. Something about burning rubber and incorrect balance or something.

Last updated: Jun 08 2005 20:39