News Updates for 2008
Unit Twentytwo is giving me some trouble, so I've moved on to Unit Twentythree. I've just about hit the max limit of my UPSs, so I'm going to start upgrading existing units. To that end, I've just been given seven more PCs as Saddle Creek disposes of old equipment. I've rated all the units based on the Boinc Manager's CPU benchmark. The slowest will be the first to be upgraded. Except for Unit Seven. I've gotten fond of the little feller who by all rights shouldn't be able to do what I have it doing. Ratings update: #15,081 out of 419,558 members.
Units Seventeen and Eighteen are now online. Both are old servers and are the first of four. I also was given three more PC's. I'm running around 60% on the 2 UPSs, so I may be close the limit on the number of machines I can run. I've started tracking the CPU benchmarks so I'll know which under-achievers need to go. Ratings update: #19,194 out of 414,639 members. I'M NOW IN THE TOP FIVE PERCENT!!!!!!
Unit Eight has been recalled to work. Another broken laptop with a bad motherboard gave up it's LCD screen to Eight. Now that Eight is whole once again, it's been put back in service. I'm sorry to see it go, but I know it's doing more import work as someone's laptop. Ratings update: #21,470 out of 413,454 members.
The PC Pool Details page now includes an expense list so you can see what it takes to do this if you're interested in trying this yourself. Due to lack of content, the Wishlist is taken down. Due to a lack of interest, the Guestbook is taken down.
The PC Pool Status panel is now interactive. By clicking on the name of the machine, you can see a snap shot of the system status. Also, the indicator lights monitor the status file. If it is more than 4 hours old, the status light will turn yellow. If it is more than 24 hours old, it will turn red. Ratings update: #25,836 out of 411,944 members.
The fiber transceiver failed again, so it has been replaced with another unit. Hopefully, this one will be more reliable. On a positive note, I've been given a second UPS and 2 more server racks to fill. Look out #10,000, I'm coming after you!!
In line with my mission statement to only use otherwise unusable PCs, Nine has been recalled and put back in service. I have purchased a 10 year old network controlled power distribution unit. This will allow me to remote reboot a couple of the PCs that have issues rebooting on their own. And lastly, the network is down. I'm not sure what is going on, but my friendly neighborhood network engineer is going to assist me in getting back online.
Well, Eight has had another problem with it's hard drive. I swapped it out for the drive that came out last time, and reinstalled Ubuntu and the BOINC client. Again. The drive checked out when hooked up to a USB controller, so maybe it'll stay working this time. I also have inherited another laptop. Nine is in the house!!!
Five seems to have just decided to stop processing work units, but a quick reboot seems to have fixed it up. Eight, on the other hand, suffered a complete Hard Drive failure. I swapped it out for the drive from the old laptop with the broken motherboard, and reinstalled Ubuntu and the BOINC client. It seems to be working well, but I'll have to keep an eye on it. I'm now ranked at #123,555.
The Xubuntu install on the APC device is, well, interesting. I seem to be having issues with the window manager. On the plus side, Saddle Creek Corporation has given me an out-of-warranty server!! This should really pick up the pace on my ranking. It will be the new Four. Sorry old Four, but, oh well. This week's ranking is #150,408.
I have gained an interesting piece to replace Seven. It was a blackbox device from APC used to monitor UPSs and other power distribution equipment. I've already replaced the Hard Drive and cooling fan, so it shouldn't be too hard to get it set up. The Power Supply seems a bit flaky, but I'll just have to watch and see how it does in it's new home. Also, I'm now ranked #167,728.
After much struggling with the network router, I now have secure remote access to the PC's. (Thanks, Scott for your invaluable help). Also, I have added a widget to the Research page where you can see the progress of the research being done by Refuse For Research.
Many fiddly details and design changes to the website are complete. The big hurdle was getting all the pages to pass XHTML validation. Whew! The most visible change is the addition of the status panel on the PC Pool Details page. I also had a chance to re-solder the auxiliary power connector for Seven. It will be interesting to see if this was really the problem.
I get 2 more functional PCs and one more broken one. I have a full house! But, Seven is refusing to boot, Five has a blown CPU and a broken CPU socket so the cooling fins won't lock on and Four just plain won't start up (I think it's a bad power supply). I stripped Seven down to the motherboard and I see a possible cold solder joint for an auxiliary power connection. This may be the source of the trouble.
I have my internet connection!!! I am able to setup the BOINC client and request work. All clients seem to be busily whirring away at their new jobs. Nine days from concept to first go live. There is a large list of tasks to do before I'll be satisfied though. The Guestbook is now online. Please sign in.