Boinc: I'm feeling kind of disappointed here


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Aurgelmer
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Message 5993 - Posted: 10 Jul 2004, 7:45:26 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2004, 7:46:15 UTC

Didn't quite know where to make this post, or whether to post it at all or just be quiet, but decided to post it anyway and hope it was interpreted as some kind of feedback.

I first downloaded Seti in 1999, it was easy to set up just download and run the installer, log in with your email and there we go, nice screensaver running when you DON'T work, (blank screensaver when required) and a general feeling of doing something good with the idle time of the computer.

I had a break a while due to a project that required several reinstallations of my client, and when using Seti would only have meant not completing several WU's, now recently I thought I'd start again and so installed "classic" seti once more. But after a few days I noticed the note on the webpage about the transition to the new boinc-thingy so I downloaded it instead.

This is where I'm starting to get disappointed, I've always felt that the massive success of S@H is the simpleness of the installation and the nice-but-simple look and feel of the screensaver, now what I got was some monster of a program that would always run, no matter what preferences were set it would still use 100% of my CPU (according to Task Manager at least), after installation I had to struggle with an impossibly complex login string and while finding no helpful information find out how to attach to a project etc, not quite as trivial as the earlier version.

Everything seemed quite ok until I then started looking around a little bit more and noticed the kind of information about my machines displayed on the web, I don't know about you but I don't really like having all that detail on a public website, I can't quite put my finger on it but the combination of knowing exactly how powerful machine someone has, their IP adress, their OS and their email, somehow gets me worried. What if somehow someone hacks the database and gets hold of all this information ? I already receive spam enough without someone having all the info they need to target high-end machines running this-and-that OS version, to install a worm or whatever.

Then I let the screensaver start, and was greatly disappointed, some moving monstrosity that made at least one of the computers slow enough that the mouse was barely movable over the animation, (and one was not wakeable again and needed a restart). Ok after browsing the forum for a while I found out how to disable this, can't say it was the most easy thing since the custom settings were not available until you had saved them once and then edited again, but ok, child sickness I thought.
So I got the rotation to stop at least, but I still have not figured out how to get the really CLASSIC classic seti, the NEW classic seti has horrendous graphics at all settings, nothing like the non-3d, flat, easy-to-read, cosy old one.

Call me selfish if you will, I still feel that in order to use Seti I kind of expect a nice working screensaver, and while those who have come this far to register may be the more interested individuals and may not agree with me, my belief is that a major part of the users will, and will not go through all this trouble with what they get out of it, there are easier ways to kill an evening and screensavers that can be installed in 2 minutes are everywhere, granted they do not process data but I believe easiness is the keyword here.

So even though it seems I can not delete my hosts from the web, and I guess I'll have to live with them fomr some reason showing the name of my internal domain, and I haven't found a way to delete the extra account I happened to create during my trials to migrate my old account, I have now detached, uninstalled and will be waiting for whether there is any real change in all this. As it is now I can not with good conciousness run this software at work without risk of giving away too much information I may not want to be that easily available, and the same reason therefore applies to my home computers.

It feels kind of sad, since I liked the original program very much. At least I am hoping its return.

See you!

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Message 6001 - Posted: 10 Jul 2004, 7:56:02 UTC

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Message 6082 - Posted: 10 Jul 2004, 12:48:12 UTC - in response to Message 5993.

Everything here is my opinion, your usage may differ.

It seems like they grew up a little bit, dropped the cute that threw them over 5 million downloads, and started to cater to the folks that really do want to help. I didn't want a screen saver, I wanted WU's and signals. Really if you look at classic S@H, only maybe 10,000 people did daily uploads, and had multiple computers running. But 5 million or more downloaded the program, tried it, didn't see ET on the first WU and abandoned it.

Right click the work unit if you want graphics, otherwise, enjoy the science and being part of a grid computing pheonomena. Use it on your annual eval at work, I am #X in our companies search for ET. (I Did, the boss didn't even know it, did some research, found every member of the team, brought us all in a room and asked how he could help!)
r/
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Message 6150 - Posted: 10 Jul 2004, 15:45:35 UTC - in response to Message 5993.

> monster of a program that would always run, no matter what preferences were
> set it would still use 100% of my CPU (according to Task Manager at least),

That's kind of deceiving though, for although Task Manager may show Seti as using 100% of the processor time, the program is running at the lowest priority and will hand the processor over to almost any other program that requests it. So, it actually only uses what processor time is available when no other task needs it. If Task Manager shows Seti using 100% it's because that's the amount of processor time that is available - so Seti uses it.

> Everything seemed quite ok until I then started looking around a little bit
> more and noticed the kind of information about my machines displayed on the
> web, I don't know about you but I don't really like having all that detail on
> a public website, I can't quite put my finger on it but the combination of
> knowing exactly how powerful machine someone has, their IP adress, their OS
> and their email, somehow gets me worried. What if somehow someone hacks the

Your IP addresses and e-mail address are only available to you, they are hidden to anyone else who looks at your account info. As for the computer info, there is an option in the SETI@home preferences page so that you can hide your computers. If you have trouble finding the right page, it is at :
http://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/prefs.php?subset=project

As for the screensaver and stuff, well, there are lots of changes yet to come. The cosmetic stuff will be here sooner or later.





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Message 6797 - Posted: 12 Jul 2004, 4:53:27 UTC

at first i was disappointed with the new look of seti@home...but i was amazed at how much faster it seemed to go with the screensaver off!...i had some problems getting the BOINC screensaver to work at all...then i switched over from windows 98 to xp...now it works fine...and since i adjusted my preferences to eliminate the annoying(to me)waggle, i really think it's a better looking screensaver...i'm not worried about burning seti into the screen...since i only run the screensaver 30 minutes at a time...then go blank and let the numbers crunch at amazing speed...i was sceptical at first...but with a few adjustments, and a new operating system, i think me and BOINC are going to get along just fine.

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Message 8307 - Posted: 15 Jul 2004, 14:29:10 UTC - in response to Message 5993.

I think boinc is pretty simple to set up. It's easier to setup than the classic cli+setidriver combo. It took a little getting used to the universal settings on the homepage, but when you have multiple computers it actually makes it a lot simpler to setup. The screensaver is not as pretty as the classic windows version, but since i dont use it, it doesn't matter to me. The only thing i dont like about boinc is the credit system, i liked the old better, it was easier to relate to.

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Message 8311 - Posted: 15 Jul 2004, 14:54:33 UTC

Amen. Out with the old and in with the new; give it time to brew.
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Message 8398 - Posted: 15 Jul 2004, 19:07:19 UTC

i am running the screensaver more than i usually do 'cause it's something new...and to give the poor folks at seti HQ a chance to catch up...once work units are more readily available, seti screensaver will be down to 15 to 30 minutes...i'm trying the various color schemes...the one i'm using now is the same scheme as seti classic.

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Message 8863 - Posted: 16 Jul 2004, 23:04:13 UTC

I thought the whole idea of ths project was to analise data. Who cares about leader boards and egotistical positions on the stats pages.
Who wants pretty screen savers flashing across their screen swallowing processor time.
We are supposed to be crunching numbers for analysis of data in the largest distributed computing project in the world and the more time we can allocate to that the better.
I have been a SETI member since Feb 2001 - have run the Beta test version of BOINC. All work units processed were lost on the public distribution of SETI Boinc - but who cares - it all went to the improvements of the project as a whole.
One word to the Berkley team. Please do not be swayed by the public pressure for leader board stats. In the grand scheme of things it has no relevance.

Kind regards to all who read this post

Nick Andrews

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Message 8864 - Posted: 16 Jul 2004, 23:09:40 UTC
Last modified: 16 Jul 2004, 23:10:41 UTC

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Message 8866 - Posted: 16 Jul 2004, 23:10:11 UTC

ps.
Regards to Rom Watson (have I got that right), the Berkley people and the Alpha testing team and for an excellent job on producing BOINC) which will lead to many more applications for the distributed computing model

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Message 8867 - Posted: 16 Jul 2004, 23:13:45 UTC - in response to Message 8863.

> One word to the Berkley team. Please do not be swayed by the public pressure
> for leader board stats. In the grand scheme of things it has no relevance.

I have some sympathy for your comment, but I think you're way off mark here. Like or not, the presence or absence of stats is likely to have a direct relationship on the number of people involved in BOINC.

If stats bother you, why not take a more Machiavellian viewpoint and accept that they are good for the stats that really matter; how much we crunch as a whole.

Just my sixpence


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Message 8874 - Posted: 16 Jul 2004, 23:45:05 UTC - in response to Message 8867.
Last modified: 17 Jul 2004, 0:07:53 UTC


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Message 8884 - Posted: 16 Jul 2004, 23:56:06 UTC - in response to Message 8874.

And who are we to say what should drive someone to donate time and money in pursuit of a scientific aim?

Personally I think it's a small cost to pay in order to bring more people in, and ultimately process more work.

I would hazard a guess that my drivers for supporting the project are not too far away from yours; I just want to see as many people doing it for whatever reason they choose.
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Message 8887 - Posted: 16 Jul 2004, 23:59:09 UTC - in response to Message 8867.
Last modified: 17 Jul 2004, 0:11:12 UTC

Yes I do agree with you to some extent, but I was trying to be contensious to provoke comment, but if you read the posts on this thread it seems that the participants are more concerned with screen savers and how pretty their computers look than the actual objectives of the project as a whole.

Leader boards will motivate some, if not most people, to participate in the project. I must admit it was nice to know that I was in the top 2% of the seti classic project, but I have totally converted all my PCs to the new Boinc project.

Don't want to argue too much in an internet discussinon forum as I don't type that fast, but thanks for he comment.

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Message 8978 - Posted: 17 Jul 2004, 8:26:27 UTC - in response to Message 8887.

No argument indended - just enjoy chewing the fat once on a while :-)
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Message 8983 - Posted: 17 Jul 2004, 8:59:37 UTC
Last modified: 18 Jul 2004, 8:53:28 UTC

It might be worth having a look at this link

http://boinc.berkeley.edu/talks/madrid_03/madrid.html

It is a paper presented in Madrid and puts forward a number of observations about the public side of computing. One interesting passage notes;

"Another major motivational factor [for participants] is public acknowledgement. SETI@home keeps track of the contribution of each user (i.e. the amount of computation performed) and provides numerous web-site "leader boards" where users are listed in order of their contribution. Users can also form "teams", which have their own leader boards. The team mechanism turned out to be very effective for recruiting new participants."

Like it or not the competitive side is a major motivator for many taking part and that has been firmly recognised by those in control of such projects.

Whilst many can, to one degree or another, go along with such declarations as;

"after all its about the science"

Seti and any other distributed project know only too well that they will ignore the competitive issues at their peril. To do this would be the quickest way to lose participants to another project.

The second quickest is to not hand out WU's regularly :-)

Neil


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Message 9171 - Posted: 17 Jul 2004, 23:39:16 UTC

We are quite aware of the fact that a lot of SETI@Home's success is due to the competition of the various people and teams.

We’ll be enabling various features that were temporarily disabled while we were investigating performance bottlenecks.

----- Rom
BOINC Development Team, U.C. Berkeley

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Message 9338 - Posted: 18 Jul 2004, 11:39:50 UTC - in response to Message 8863.

> I thought the whole idea of ths project was to analise data. Who cares about
> leader boards and egotistical positions on the stats pages.
>
Why are stats egotistical. I mean, it's only fair that we get something in return for having our computers turned on for so long. People want to see some progress, because we are most likely not going to see any alien signals for the next hundred years or more, so in the mean time we might as well have a little fun with it. I do this for science as well as for the numbers and who said science isn't allowed to be fun?

Best Regards, Martin
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Message 9478 - Posted: 18 Jul 2004, 20:55:02 UTC

To Slartibartfast, Rom Walton (sorry I got your name wrong), Neil Russell, mbn et al.

Yes I do find the whole stats process just as interesting as everybody else.

As I said to Slartibartfast, "I was trying to be contentious to provoke comment" and discussion, so apologies to everyone for perhaps being a bit over the top.

To Slartibartfast:- Perhaps I didn't mean 'argument' but more 'chewing the fat' as you said. Also I have now joined the SETI.UK team.

Regards to all

nick

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