July 2000














SETI TIPS, FAQs, et. al.




















(remove NO.SPAM)

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!.

July 14, 2000

New Beta Tomorrow?
This just in from the alt.sci.seti newsgroup:

We’re putting the new Windows version (2.70) into limited release tonight.� The bug was that the worker thread was waiting for graphics to be drawn before continuing.� That was a bad idea.� I can’t promise a general release tomorrow, but I’m hoping that all works well tonight.

Back In Business
The servers are back online (*YAY*).� Some of you may still be having problems sending results/downloading new work units.� That is mainly because of the hordes of people trying to connect at the SETI servers all at once.� Things should settle down as the day goes on though.� This server outage has been the longest in quite a long time, and may actually be the longest since I have been doing SETI crunching.
Don’t miss your chance, go to best new australian online casinos only here good luck awaits you!�

On alt.sci.seti Eric Korpela offered up an explanation to the mess and here it is! (posted on the newsgroup at about 1:10pm ET):

Hurry up and start winning with 25 freispiele at our casino. Limited supply!

We’re probably going to be bringing the server back up in about 15 minutes or so.� I’ll try to explain what happened and what it will look like.

Because of the limitations of informix (2 GB chunks) and the limitations of Solaris (on partitions per disk) we had been limited to using 9 Gb drives for the science database, and were rapidly approaching the number of disks our controllers could handle.� As a work around we were investigating using Veritas to get by these limitations (which would allow us to use 18 Gb drives, in effect doubling our disk space). Buy best baby toothbrush. Monitor your child’s dental health.�

Before setting out to migrate the drives over to the new system we decided performing tests to make sure it would work.� The information and advice we had was to create a separate database space on the new drives, so a failure wouldn’t affect the existing database.� Well, it turns out one of the tests did fail several days ago, but the database continued to operate just fine, as was predicted.� Due to the failure the root chunk of the new database space was corrupted.�� This wasn’t a problem until we restarted the database machine to bring a new tape drive on-line.� After the reboot, Informix complained that it couldn’t access the corrupted chunk and wouldn’t allow inserts into any database, including those unrelated to the missing chunk.� We couldn’t remove the bad chunk because it was corrupted, Informix couldn’t fix the bad chuck because it was too corrupted.� We couldn’t restore the bad chunk from a backup because no backup of the bad chunk existed.� So we were stuck with a database that was readable, but not writeable.��

We eventually came to the concusion that the only way to get back up in any reasonable amount of time was to restore the database to the new 18 Gb disks using the last full backup (which took a bit more than 12 hours, we should thank Matt and Jeff for getting up in the middle of the night to change tapes). That’s done, and we’re getting to the point where we’ll have enough usable work units to restart in a few minutes.

User stats shouldn’t be affected, but science that are more recent than the last full backup won’t be in the new database.� It’ll look like we’ve gone backwards on the graphs page.� We’ve still got the missing science on the old 9 Gb drives, but it’ll take time and lots of informix tech support to get it into the new database.

We’ve also got the problem that results will be coming back that don’t match workunits in the database.� I’m going to be stashing these until I figure out what to do with them.� They’ll probably have to sit on disk until we get the database merged again.

Well, I’m off to start the server now.�


Note About Today’s Stats
For those of you who noticed, the stats did not get updated yesterday.� This was because all of the cgi scripted pages were offline while the servers were down.� These are the same pages that I end up getting the data for the stats updates….so therefore I couldn’t do the update.� Ok well that isn’t REALLY true, I could, but I would have to change my Excel sheets, but I played CounterStrike instead :).�

Shortly after the servers were back online (sometime around 2:30 ET), I was able to do both the overall team and TLC member stats.� For my spreadsheets I duplicated the numbers from Tuesday’s update and entered them for yesterday’s update (to keep my stats sheets working :).� I then updated for today with today’s numbers.� Because the stats were pulled so quickly after the servers were back online, the stats for today will sort of mirror the numbers that should have been updated yesterday.� (Do you follow me here?).� Tomorrow’s update will probably show quite a bit of work units posted, because of people submitting queued up work units after their buffer flushes.�

In retrospect, I should have entered the stats data I took around 2:30 for *yesterdays* numbers (because they would have been close to those posted yesterday)….and did a second update later tonight after many people have sent in results and flushed buffers etc…..But I guess its too late now 🙂


July 13, 2000

SETI Servers Down
Of course you probably already know this, but as of 12:00am ET the Data Servers are down.� The servers have been down since at least 6pm ET when I got home from work and tried to connect to them.� There was little warning though.� There was a post today on the Tech News page stating:

July 12th, 2000
We are fixing some bugs with the Informix database today, so the data server will be down until these are fixed.

Originally the note said “unitl 4:30 PM PST, but obviously they ran into some problems that are taking them quite a bit longer than that.� Unfortunately all of the stats that I need to do the updates are down also, so I am waiting.� I may try a quick hack job on my Excel Files to get at least some data from the pages that are still up…but I am not sure when those pages were last updated.

Funny, Ha Ha
A bit of humor to tide you over until I get some stats updated (from alt.sci.seti):

> I got to thinking just now. Is there a legitimate way for me to take some
> kind of tax deduction on my home computer because of the fact that I am
> donating computing resources to a public, not-for-profit, entity?
> Any ideas?

No,� but you could run TAXRETURN@HOME, a distributed computing project where
you process someone else’s tax return and calculate how much money some poor
sod’s gonna pay :))



July 11, 2000

RAM Guide Online
Now this is something that I have needed to learn more about for a while.� Hannibal has posted Part 1 of his RAM Guide:� DRAM and SRAM Basics.� I have been looking for a source to learn more about RAM and how RAM works, especially in an easy to digest manner.� Hannibal does a pretty good job of covering the basics, even though he does tend to lose me in a spot or two (not a hard thing to do :-).�� If you want to learn more about RAM, or even if you need a refresher course, check it out!

More Beta Updates
There have been alot of questions on whether or not to start or continue running the beta version 3.0 client.� Personally I stopped running the beta after my first work unit completed on it.� The beta is broke.� Not completely, but it doesn’t run as efficiently as planned.� They are working on it and hope to have a new beta soon.

Yep, there appears to be a contention problem between the threads.� There’s
a recent change that could have caused this, and we’re testing some machines
with that portion altered.�
If that fixes it, we’ll have a new beta version
next week
.� If anyones seen this problem on anything besides Windows, let me
The anticipated runtime difference between this and the old version
should be around 25%.


There may be other bugs in the beta, but I will wait till the next beta comes out though 🙂

Anyone Running Solaris?
There were actually 3 beta clients released at the same time, one for Windows, one for Mac and one for Solaris.� Personally I am not sure if the Solaris client is actually a CLI or a GUI client, but I think it is a CLI client.� Run times from the Solaris CLI (?) client would give us some information on how the Windows/NT CLI would run from this post:

Well, there was only a command line version for Solaris (for version 2.x). Since Solaris
is most likely the primary development platform for the client it isn’t
surprising that that comes out first.
Lawrence Kirby

Version 2.x Client Now Available for AS/400
Got one at home?� Now you can crunch some SETI on it.� The word comes from Hiram:

Finally, we have been able to get a working client
for IBM AS/400 machines.� Please note the extensive

The platform name is powerpc-ibm-OS400, so look for
it near the end of the download table at:



July 9, 2000

One Million Part Deux!
At the time of today’s stats update, Team Lamb Chop repassed the 1,000,000 work unit completed mark!� Congratulations again to each and every Team Lamb Chop member which has helped make this happen.� This is just another step in our reclaiming of the #1 Club Team spot.� There are only a total of 5 SETI teams which have passed the 1 million mark…and Team Lamb Chop is the only team that has done it TWICE!

Currently TLC is about 135,000 work units behind Art Bell.� Over the past week or so we have been gaining on Art Bell about 1500 WU/day.� At that current rate we shall pass Art Bell again in say…3 months.� Granted any increase in team output could change that significantly, so stay tuned.

Another team which continues to make moves and waves are The Knights Who Say Ni!.� In the past week they passed CCI Seti Crunshers for the #9 overall team spot.� They are continuing to make waves by adding new members just about every day.� Currently they are #2 in the work units processed per day category behind Team Lamb Chop.� they would need to significantly improve their work unit output though to seriously challenge us in the near future since TLC is over 340,000 work units ahead of them.� But again stranger things have happened.�

More Beta Stuff
Eric Korpela weighs in with some info that the problem with the current beta may have been found, and could be fixed real soon.�

Yep, there appears to be a contention problem between the threads.� There’s a recent change that could have caused this, and we’re testing some machines with that portion altered.� If that fixes it, we’ll have a new beta version next week.� If anyones seen this problem on anything besides Windows, let me know.� The anticipated runtime difference between this and the old version should be around 25%.

This is good news.� I currently cannot see any reason for continuing to run the current Windows beta, unless you are a sadomasochist.� Hopefully a new beta will be out next (this?) week, and hopefully will run more according to their plans.� A 25% hit in time isn’t that great, but again that is an estimate.� We will have to find out for sure when the new beta hits the shelves.

View From the Dark Side
I received an email today from Mac user Brock.� He wanted to share his results from the Mac Beta.� This may give us more of an insight to how the final Windows Beta will perform.

I have a G3/350 128M� MacOS 9.0.4 that is doing units about 45min to an 1 hour over my average.�� I’ve included a pictures to show you my times.� Hope that this gives you some valuable information about the Macintosh side of Beta 3.


From the screenshots his average time for completion on the Mac is just about 8 hrs.� Thanks to Brock for sharing the info.�� –zAmboni


July 7, 2000

Distributed Processing Article
I was passed along word from VulTure today about an article on about how businesses and others are trying to take the lead set by the SETI@Home project to use distributed processing for other type of projects.� You can check out the article here.�

Beta Update
What I thought was a problem with the state.sah file was actually normal.� the bg_pot and bt_pot variables are actually the two variables which tell the GUI what to draw on the small “result” graph (above the progress bar)

Further UpdateEric K posted that they may have some ideas on what is going wrong with the slow times for the Beta….and it only appears to affect Windows machines:

>Has anyone submitted an official bug report on this?

Consider it official.� We’re chasing 3 leads.� Those accusing us of
Intel favoritism should note that this bug only appears to affect Windows
machines.� 🙂


Finally…Yesterday when I said that the “best pulse” disappeared and then came back, that was because the window switches in between 1) the strongest gaussian found 2) the strongest pulse found and 3) the strongest triplet found.� It appears that the work unit that I was processing only had a best pulse, and didn’t contain any triplet or gaussian.�� Don’t get discouraged with the results from the beta release.� They are doing an open beta to find out these problems and rectify them before the official release.�� –zAmboni


July 6, 2000

Happy Anniversary!
That’s right, I’ve been running Seti for 1 year, as of today. In order to celebrate (rant), I went ahead and jotted a look back at the team one year ago. This was written on a napkin using a crayon, which I ate afterwards. I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I enjoyed the crayon. –Rat

Beta Update
My first beta work unit is *STILL* running.� It has been running for 21 hrs and 38 min and it is at 88.5%.� Remember this is still a BETA! Well the good news is that it doesn’t look like the client should be running this long.� Most of the reports I have seen on alt.sci.seti and elsewhere have the clients running very slowly.� There are exceptions…but� they are few and far between.� For example:

“Talisker” <> wrote in message
> angle_range = 0.379
> Dell Optiplex GX1
> PII 450
> Dell Stock Mobo
> 64 Mb SDRAM
> Rage Pro Turbo AGB 2X Video Card (I think 16Mb Ram)
> Windows98
> First WU using GUI version 2.66 showing completion time of about 12 hours.

Eric Korpela showed up showing concern and wanting more info from those who are getting slow times with the beta:

Could those of you who are having very slow run times look at the
work_unit.sah file and tell me the value of the “angle_range” parameter.
We’re trying to figure out whether this slowdown is related to the
work units, or some aspect of the system.� Any info about your system
and/or graphics card would be helpful.


Talisker also chimed in with some data taken from TaskInfo2000.� Granted I don’t know what this actually means, but it may be a symptom of the slow down.

I’ve noticed that the number of CPU Switches per second are extremely high
when running the GUI Version 2.66 Beta.

I have seen values of between 87 and 18,000 but the number of CPU switches
seems to hover between 12,000 and 16,000.

Has anyone else seen this happening?

BTW…my values are from Taskinfo2000.

Christopher J. Race� 19.7*@2.05yrs.� :o)


The beta has started, and it looks like they have some stuff they still need to work on.� Don’t worry too much about the completion times, they are most likely a result of some bugs still left in the code.� I personally have a feeling that alot of the problem with time has to do with the graphical interface.� But that is a gut feeling.� I’ll keep you guys informed� –zAmboni


July 5, 2000

Version 3.0 Beta Preview

click on picture for larger view

About an hour ago I downloaded the beta version of the version 3.0 client.� Of course I promptly fired it up to give it a whirl.� This is what the email and the download page has to say about the client:

The big change in 3.0 is vastly improved science – we are now searching for pulses and triplets as well as spikes and gaussians. Web pages describing these in more detail will be up soon on the main home page.� Other improvements include optimized FFTs (for faster analysis of wave data) and various bug fixes. Because of the extra analysis, processing workunits will take more time than it did with version 2.0x. If the workunits take more than twice as long as they used to, however, please let us know (include information about how you run your client, i.e. do you go to a blank screen immediately, does it run in the background, etc.).

First off, I just want to say….don’t email me asking for the link or for me to email you the client.� Sign up for the beta yourself (read the news a couple of items below).� The download page is a one time shot, once you enter the information to download the client you will not be able to access the page again.� (so if you sign up make sure you download the client before you leave that page!).� Currently there are ONLY, the Windows 95/95 GUI, Mac Client and a Solaris Client available for download.�

Ok that is out of the way, so lets take a look at the new v 3.0 GUI.� Click on the above pic (or here) for a larger view of the client screen.� On the surface there doesn’t appear to be too much difference from the version 2.x versions of the client.� About the only change I can tell is that the “current best gaussian” fit (above the progress bar) is gone.� Right now it either stays blank or when the client is searching for pulses it shows the “search” for the pulse and then briefly shows the best pulse found.� The field will then go blank.� The above screenshot that I had taken shows the best pulse found before it disappeared.� There is a possibility that there will also be gaussian fitting for the work unit that shows up in that window….but I have yet to see any.� I may not have progressed far enough in the work unit to see the gaussian fitting.�

Yea yea yea, that is all and nice…but tell us what we REALLY want to know now OK?� I know you all want to know how the v 3.0 client performs compared to the 2.x clients……WELL….lets just say I may be writing them an email.

It has actually been quite a while since I ran a work unit with the GUI client…so I have to turn to the Benchmarking Results for a comparison with version 2.0.� The closest benchmark (to my system) is from RedBeard running a PIII @ 700MHz (140FSB).� He turned a time of 5:13 on the Win32 GUI version 2.0.� I am currently running a PIII @ 800MHz (133FSB), the GUI client has been running a mix of on screen and in background (mostly background) for a total of 1 hr 25 minutes.�� How much of the work unit has it completed?� 5.682%.� Doing a quick calculation…..that would work out to be a total of 24-25 hours to complete the work unit.

There is a possibility that the client will speed up later on….but for it to turn some respectable times, it better start cranking pretty soon.� To be honest I have also been doing some other stuff while the client has been running…but I don’t think it should have slowed the client *that* much.� Again I have yet to see any type of triplet search, or any gaussian fitting done.� I will update this with the completion time and also if anything else shows up on the GUI screen.�

Back To Work!
Hope you all had a good 4th of July.� The cool thing of yesterday happened when I was driving around Ann Arbor.� Hearing the sound of jet engines, I looked up through the sunroof of my car to see two F-16s flying directly over.� When I was halfway down the next block, looking ahead and flying low was a B-17 and P-51 Mustang crossing in front of me, flying in formation.� Tres Cool.

New Logo
Like it?� I changed the old logo that was at the top of the pages to the logo that rayban came up with.� I think it is pretty sharp!� Now I have to get Rat Bastard to change to it on the benchmarking pages :).� I am looking to get the logo that dupree produced on the Team Member List on the S@H servers….and possibly on the S@H page over at Ars.� May take a bit, but hopefully it will be soon.

A New #9
Possibly by the time you read this, The Knights Who Say Ni! shall have passed CCI SETI Crunshers for the #9 overall team spot.� Congrats to TKWSN, and may we wish you many shrubberies.

Public Beta Testing for Version 3.0
Though still not ready for primetime, there was a message on the alt.sci.seti newsgroup stating that the SETI@Home crew are looking for some Public Beta testers for Version 3.0 of their client.� Here is their post on the newsgroup:

Hello everyone,

Public beta testing for the SETI@home client v3.0 is beginning now.� We
are accepting a limited number of applications to beta test the newest
SETI@home client.

To sign up, please send an email to with
the subject line “Beta Test”.� You will be contacted shortly thereafter
with instructions regarding testing.� Thank you!



July 3, 2000

Back With a Vengence!
Team Lamb Chop thoroughly schooled Intel a second time! ;-).� Sometime yesterday TLC repassed Intel for the #5 overall team position.� With Intel’s recent corporate trouble, and AMD kicking some serious butt, isn’t it nice to slap ChipZilla silly not once but TWICE? :)� We still have a ways to go to repass Art Bell….but you know what?� We will eventually do it.� It is not a matter of if….but when.

Server Outage Today
There was this note on the technical news section of the SETI@Home Servers.

July 2nd, 2000
On July 3rd, starting at 17:00 UT, we will have a server outage to add RAID hardware to the science database server. This outage should last less than 2 hours

Some of you may actually ask yourself “what the heck is RAID hardware?”� If you would like to find out some more about RAID I would like to point you to Panders’ RAID Guide over at Ars Technica.� I have to be honest, I knew that RAID was some type of “on the fly” error checking and backup of data….but I had no clue how it worked.� This guide gives you the low down on the different flavors of RAID and how they are implemented.

Happy Holidays!
For those of you in Canada, I want to wish you a belated Canada Day!� Living in the Detroit area, I am extremely grateful for access to CBC television, Hockey Night in Canada, and the introduction to The Kids in the Hall many years ago.� It is also great to hop on over to Windsor and have my Casino Dollars go quite a bit further.� The cheap (and more potent!) booze from the duty-free shop cant be beat also!

For those of you in the States, I wish you a happy 4th of July tomorrow…..and please remember those (like me) who actually have to work tomorrow, while you are sitting at the beach or cooking on the grill knocking a couple of cold ones back.

And Not to Forget…
dupree and rayban have cranked out some kick ass graphics for the team.� Some of their submissions are shown in the thread here.� Drop on by and give some comments.� Hopefully soon we will be implementing some of the graphics on the site and elsewhere. (note:� It seems that dupree’s graphics aren’t loading currently)

I would also like to add that the team forum will probably be moving back into the Ars Technica fold.� After starting the forum here, Caesar, RB and I have realized that having a separate forum for the team is not the greatest idea for all involved.� We are working on it and will keep you informed!�� –zAmboni


July 1, 2000

An Explanation
guru made a post today with an explanation on why he has pulled his accounts from the team.� You can check it out here.
Honestly I do understand his reasoning…but I do not necessarily agree with his form of protest.�� –zAmboni


-Front Page