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Profile Jim-R.
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Message 380078 - Posted: 28 Jul 2006, 2:49:43 UTC - in response to Message 347698.

Jim-R Bump Plus condining the additions

thanks Al, Really appreciate your combining everything. I meant to do that myself but have been really super busy with other things lately. Thanks again
And here's another bump!

SETI Enhanced Application FAQ

Credits
Very little of this faq is my own work. However it has been compiled from information gathered from the SETI Enhanced Beta Test forums. So I take no credit for the information itself, just for putting it together into this faq. Thanks to all whose posts in the beta test forums led to this information being made available here.


What version of BOINC should I use?

We recommend using at least version 5.2.6 and up with SETI Enhanced. The newest version available on the BOINC download page as of 2/19/06 is 5.2.13. Please be aware that the new enhanced application calculates credits differently than the old application. You will still get credits using BOINC versions less than 5.2.6, but the credits claimed for processing a work unit may be considerably different than what it should be. Also there have been a few other problems associated with BOINC versions less than 5.2.6. For best results and most accurate credit reporting with the SETI Enhanced application, we strongly urge you to upgrade to the newest version of BOINC available.

Does the new enhanced application figure credits the same as the old application?
How does the new enhanced application figure credits?


The new enhanced application does not use an arbitrary benchmark to figure credits the way the old application does. The old application depended on a "benchmark" program to get an estimate of the general speed of your computer and computed credits based on the benchmark. The new enhanced application determines the actual number of floating point operations (fpops) that are used to crunch the work unit. This number is used to figure your credit. You will see little if any variation in the credits reported for work units processed on widely varying computers and operating systems. So unless your computer was constantly over or under reporting credits using the old application, you should not notice much difference in the amount of credit issued to you per amount of time.

What are FPOPS?

FPOPS stands for Floating Point OPerationS. Mathematical calculations using decimal numbers instead of integers. In the enhanced app, the number of fpops done in a work unit are counted and used as the basis for issuing credits.

How long will it take to crunch these new work units?
Why does it take so long for the enhanced application to crunch a work unit?

The work unit itself is no larger than the standard work unit. The difference comes from the way the new application processes the information contained in it. The new application does a much more extensive search of the data and can find a signal that is buried deeper in the "noise" than the standard application. Unfortunately this new "sensitivity" comes at a price, much longer crunch times.
The standard workunit is most closely defined as being 0.4x Angle Range. Your times will vary depending on the actual AR of your work unit and the speed of your computer. (See "What is Angle Range")

Will I get the same amount of credit for crunching a work unit with the enhanced application?

Yes and No. Yes, you will get approximately the same number of credits for the same amount of time spent crunching a work unit, however No, you will not get the same number of credits per work unit. You will actually get more credit for an average work unit. This is due to the much longer crunch times for the new application. Credits/hour or credits/day will remain close to what was given in the standard application. Due to the way the benchmark routine computed it's results, many computers were either over or under reporting credits. With the new application you will see the claimed credits to be nearly uniform across all computers. See "How does the new enhanced application figure credits?"

I have completed a work unit but why have I not received any credit for it?

Most of this is no different than the way the standard application worked, so I will briefly rehash the whole credit system here. The important things to look at which result from using the new application are the time frames for the return of work unit results and the delay in issuing credits that they can cause.
There are several causes for not receiving credit and also several things that can delay issuing credits.
One posibility is that your computer has returned invalid results. To find out, go to your "profile" page and scroll down until you see "results". When you click here you will see any work units that you have downloaded plus any results you have returned and their status. If you look under "Outcome" and see anything except "unknown" or "success" there is an error with your results. "Unknown" will only appear when a result has not been returned yet so you should not see this if you are sure you have already returned a result for this work unit. Any other outcome means there was a problem with the work unit returned by you and you will not get credit for it.
If the "outcome" is "success" then click on the work unit ID number on the left. This will take you to a page where you can check the status of the other copies of the work unit. Each work unit is sent to four different computers to crunch. When the results of three computers are received they are compared to see if the results agree. This alone accounts for one reason for a delay. If you have a fast computer and returned your result first, you must wait until two other computers report in. If these are slow computers it may take up to a week or even longer for them to crunch the work unit and return their results. Another delay can occur if one or more of the computers crunches the work unit and returns a result but when the results are compared something is wrong with one or more results This means that additional work units will have to be sent out, crunched and returned, meaning another delay of up to a week or more. And in the rare occasion that one of those results is invalid this process will have to repeat meaning another delay. There also is a possibility of a "runaway" computer. These are computers that either download work units and never crunch them, or they download more work units than even the fastest computer could crunch before the deadline is up. In this case you would have to wait until the deadline for the work unit to pass before another work unit would be sent out.
Example "worst case" timeline:
The deadline is 6 weeks for this wu.
"Your" computer is very fast so it returns a good result within 2 days.
One of original wu's goes to a computer that downloads it but for some reason never crunches it.
One of the computers aborts a work unit.
One computer finally returns good results but since there is a third result needed the system waits for the one wu that was sent to the "dead" computer and when the deadline is finally up another wu is sent to a very slow computer.
After 2 weeks the slow computer returns it's result. A quorum is reached so the results are sent to validation. Two of the results fails validation. Two more wu's are sent to be crunched. One is sent to another slow computer. At about 80% complete the computer suffers a "hiccup" and restarts calculation from the beginning. (The other result was sent to a faster computer and has long ago been received.)
Finally the slow computer sends in it's result. At last!, a quorum and validated results.
Timeline:
6wks - timeout from non-responding computer.
2wks - response from slow comp.
1 3/4 wks - slow comp crunching before hiccup
2wks - slow comp finally finishes crunch
6+2+1.75+2=11.75 weeks, or nearly three months after first result was returned.
I know this scenario is not likely to happen, but it could. Actually if you started to check work units, you would find that a fairly large number of work units sent out have had *something* happen to them which could delay the issuance of credit. And with the much longer crunch times of the enhanced application, the delays can be much longer also.
In any of the above cases, just be patient. When all the results are in, they will be checked (validated). If the results check out you will get credit. I know all this seems complicated and unnecesary, but we want to make sure the results are returned and they are correct. We can't reward someone for doing bad work. This is the reason for triple checks on the returned data. And we sure don't want something like "Hello Earth, this is Vega calling" to be missed because of a computer returning bad data or not returning results at all!

Why did I not get all the credit that the work unit claims?
Why did I get more credit than the work unit claims?


Claimed credit, although ideally, is supposed to be close to the same or exactly the same, however it isn't always the same. In most cases it is because of benign reasons (such as older clients over-claiming credits);
The way it works at the present time is that the lowest and highest claimed credits are automatically thrown out. That insures that one extremely high or low claim would not sway the awarded credit out of line. Then if only three good results are returned, the claimed credit of the middle one is used for all three. If four good results are returned, the two middle claims are averaged and the result is awarded for all. With the new application you will notice that the claimed credit will be much closer to, if not exactly the credit you are granted. I have seen many results returned where the claimed credits are within a couple hundredths of a credit of each other, if not exact. This is where the new way of basing credits on FPOPS instead of arbitrary benchmarks really shines.

Why do some of my work units finish quicker than others?

The time it takes to compute a result from a work unit depends on the Angle Range (AR) of the work unit.
Most of the angle ranges we will be processing will be around 0.4xx. These AR's also happen to take the most amount of time to process. If you get a WU that has a significantly higher or lower AR, your crunch times will be less.
Crunch-times and Deadlines in Seti_Enhanced is heavily influenced by angle-range, (see What is Angle Range?)

AR - cpu-time (h) - Deadline (days)
0.112742888 - 2.87 - 19.10 (same for smaller angle-range)
0.12 - 3.04 - 20.25
0.15 - 3.39 - 22.57
0.20 - 3.97 - 26.43
0.225 - 4.26 - 28.36
0.226 - 8.26 - 54.96
0.25 - 7.28 - 48.45
0.30 - 5.80 - 38.58
0.35 - 4.78 - 31.82
0.40 - 4.05 - 26.92
0.41 - 3.92 - 26.11
0.42 - 3.81 - 25.33
0.43 - 3.70 - 24.60
0.44 - 3.59 - 23.90
0.45 - 3.49 - 23.24
0.46 - 3.40 - 22.61
0.47 - 3.31 - 22.01
0.48 - 3.22 - 21.44
0.49 - 3.14 - 20.89
0.50 - 3.06 - 20.37
0.55 - 2.72 - 18.08
0.60 - 2.44 - 16.22
0.65 - 2.21 - 14.67
0.70 - 2.01 - 13.38
0.75 - 1.84 - 12.27
0.80 - 1.70 - 11.32
0.85 - 1.58 - 10.49
0.90 - 1.47 - 9.77
0.95 - 1.37 - 9.13
1.00 - 1.29 - 8.56
1.05 - 1.21 - 8.06
1.10 - 1.14 - 7.60
1.127 - 1.10 - 7.37
1.128 - 0.65 - 4.34 (same for larger angle-range)

Please note, this info is based on the current estimates the Splitter is
using, so your real cpu-times will very likely be different. Also, even if the estimates are correct for one Angle Range, it doesn't mean that it isn't 2x away for another angle-range. Use this information just as a demonstration of how the angle range affects the crunch times and deadlines.

What is an "AR" or
What is an Angle Range?


The "AR" is the "Angle Range" of the work unit. This basically describes the angle at which the Arecibo Radio Telescope was "tracked across" the sky to record the information that is contained in that particular work unit.
If the AR or Angle Range of the unit were 0 this would mean that the telescope (The SETI receiver portion of the telescope) was actually tracking that particular point in the sky. Larger AR's are due to the SETI receiver being swept across the sky as the work unit is recorded. AR's of approximately 0.4 result from the telescope not moving at all but just turning with the earth. Larger AR's are a result of the telescope being swept from one point of the sky to another during a recording.

How do I find what the Angle Range of a work unit is?

You can find the AR of only work units that you have on your computer. You can find the AR of a work unit after it has been completed only while the result resides on the server. Once the result is purged from the system this info is no longer available.
First to find the AR, You open a workunit in an Editor or (preferrably) a text file viewer. It is a *nix file so if you are running Windows make sure you do not save it. About 20 lines down the header you will find a XML Tag that says "True Angle Range". The number folloing this tag is the Angle Range of the work unit you are looking at. So unless you look before it is done, it almost impossbile for a user to click and see what the AR "Was."
Again, DO NOT SAVE the file as it will corrupt it and cause it to fail. Use a simple file viewer if at all possible.
Here is a sample header from a work unit:
<workunit>
<workunit_header>
<name>05ap00aa.23057.114.798576.3.109</name>
<group_info>
<tape_info>
<name>05ap00aa</name>
<start_time>2451640.2917097</start_time>
<last_block_time>2451640.2917097</last_block_time>
<last_block_done>114</last_block_done>
<missed>0</missed>
<tape_quality>0</tape_quality>
<sb_id>0</sb_id>
</tape_info>
<name>05ap00aa.23057.114.798576.3</name>
<data_desc>
<start_ra>3.7957093559289</start_ra>
<start_dec>27.798471646052</start_dec>
<end_ra>3.8413918062147</end_ra>
<end_dec>27.700257313873</end_dec>
<true_angle_range>0.65538785528265</true_angle_range> <<<----AR (Angle Range)
<time_recorded>Wed Apr 5 19:00:04 2000</time_recorded>
<time_recorded_jd>2451640.2917245</time_recorded_jd>
<nsamples>1048576</nsamples>
<coords>

Notice that the angle range of this wu is 0.65xxx so it would be considered a "high" angle range when compared to a "normal" AR of 0.41/0.42 Also note that this wu would take about 1/3 less time to crunch than a "normal" AR unit.
***Addendum, using the newest version of the enhanced applications, the "angle range" can also be found in the result file listed under your account as long as they remain on the system Unfortunately at the present time these results are deleted from the system almost as fast as they are validated, however it does give you a little opportunity to check the angle range after the wu is completed but before the result is purged.

How do I find and recognize a work unit on my computer?

First, where the work unit is located will depend on your operating system and the method used to install the BOINC application. Basically you would look in the "projects" directory under your boinc installation directory. Here you will find a directory for each project you have joined. Now open the actual seti project directory. As I said, the actual directory names and location may be different depending on your operating system and where the actual boinc directory was installed.
In your seti project directory will be a number of files. There will be at least one executable file and some other files. The actual work unit will have a filename that has six groups of characters separated by commas. Here is one example: 01dc04ab.3621.112.834626.3.233 Notice that the groups are of different sizes. The work units will have a file size of roughly 360,000 bytes (360kb). If you see other files in the directory with filenames exactly the same as one of the work units but with a couple of extra groups of characters at the end of it and a much smaller file size, these are the result files for the computations.

When I started this work unit it said 120 hours to complete. Now it says 30 hours runtime at 50% completed and still 50 hours to completion. What gives?

When the SETI Enhanced application starts crunching it's first work unit it does not have a clue to how much time it will actually take to finish. The time you saw is just what was "guesstimated" when the work unit was created. As progress on a work unit progresses the estimated completion time is adjusted to more closely reflect the actual time used and the percentage completed. When the percentage is at 50% the error in the estimated time should be about half of the beginning error.. After the work unit has been completed a Duration Correction Factor (DCF) will be computed. When you start crunching your next work unit the DCF will be applied. As long as you are processing Wu's with close to the same angle range the time to completion will gradually become fairly accurate. If you do happen to crunch a WU with either a high or low AR, your estimated time will be affected temporarily but it will return to normal after a couple more "average" WU's.
It has also been noticed that due to the way the calculations on the WU are performed, it takes longer to get to the 50% point than it does to go from 50% to 100%.

What is DCF?
What is a Duration Correction Factor and how is it used?


No project out there can give you a task timed exactly for your CPU, unless they have all those CPUs as well, overclocked or not. So you get one standard task to work on. Each work unit is given an expected time to completion which is based on a reference computer and the angle range etc. of the work unit. When the work unit is downloaded to your computer, boinc takes the actual speed of your computer, the speed of the reference computer and the expected time to completion (from the work unit) and calculates an estimated completion time for your computer. The Duration Correction Factor is used to modify the estimated completion time to more closely match the actual speed of your computer. The DCF will take 10% off the estimated time you last had and for the next task start with that time. It'll continue doing so until the estimated time about equals the CPU time (not wall clock time). To help prevent underestimating the time, if a work unit actually takes longer to crunch than the estimated time, the new estimated time will use the actual completion time of the last work unit.
This means that it may take quite a while for your BOINC to know of one project what to expect in tasks getting in, asking the right amount of time and thus adjust the amount of tasks for you to crunch within the "days between connect" you set.


Are there going to be optimized versions of the enhanced application for different computers?

Yes. There are a few people already testing versions of optimized applications for various platforms. The main enhanced application has been heavily optimized and is much much faster than the original enhanced application however there will be optimized applications for specific platforms. They should be ready for mainstream release shortly after the main enhanced application.


Will there be 64 bit versions of the enhanced application?

While nothing is set in stone, at the present time there seems to be no definite plans to release a 64 bit application. Alpha tests have been done on an app that had been modified to make use of some of the 64 bit resources, but there was very little speed increase over the plain vanilla 32 bit app. A new application would have to be written to take full advantage of the 64 bit processor's features tailored to each processor. I'm sure there will be 64 bit apps, but just no definite timetable for them yet.



FAQ ADDITION

What to do to transition from the standard SETI application to the new Enhanced version.

If you are not running an optimized application and you are running a version of boinc of 5.2.6 or greater you don't need to do anything. The new application will be downloaded and you will start using it automatically.

If you are using an older version of BOINC, you need to upgrade to the newest version of BOINC which now is 5.4.9. This insures that your credit calculations are correct and also fixes some bugs in the earlier versions.

If you are running an optimized standard application, you will have to either edit your app_info.xml file and add the enhanced application to it by hand then download and install the enhanced application, or simply delete the app_info.xml file and let the system download the new applications automatically.

If you want to run optimized versions of the enhanced application, please be aware that the optimized versions will not give you as much improvement as you saw with the standard application. The reason is the standard application was not optimized at all, or at most very little. The enhanced application has already been enhanced greatly for speed improvements. This means that the only "optimizations" available are for using the special instruction sets offered by different cpu's such as mmx, sse, sse2, sse3, etc. You will get a fairly respectable improvement that I've heard is on the order of 20%, but you won't get anything like the up to 300% you got with some standard optimized apps.
To use an optimized cruncher, you should read and follow the instructions found on the website where you get the optimized application from. This will tell you what to do to create an app_info.xml file or will even give you an example file to work with. First, set the project to "No New Work" and crunch any wu's you have now and report them. Shut down all boinc programs and install the files for the optimized enhanced app into your project directory, make sure you have the correct changes made to the app_info.xml file. Now restart boinc and set the project to "allow new work".
You can also search the message boards and find threads dealing with app_info.xml files, including example files and hints and tips on installing them along with the optimized applications, however the main source of information should be the website you download your application from or from info actually found in the download itself. This info will be specific to the particular application you are downloading.

Note: If you have been a member for a very long time! Some of the URL's to contact servers at various projects have changed. The Best way to introduce 5.4.9 in that case is to run work down to Zero. Uninstall the old version, install 5.4.9. Start the BOINC Manager and then Update each Project! Look at the Messages Tab and if you get a message about Bad URL for a specific Project. Detach from the Project and then Attach to the same project.

Doing that will insure that the "account_setiathome.berkeley.edu.xml" or whichever project will have the correct URL's


FAQ Addition #2

Should I hide my computers or leave them visible?


This is a personal choice, however there are several points that you should consider before making a decision on this.
First is that making your computers "visible" to others here does not pose a security risk nor does it show any private information. Your IP address and other private information that you can see from your account page is not visible to other users. It is visible only to you. Click on my name at the left of this post, or click on anyone elses name on a post to see exactly what information is visible to other users.
The next point is that the information about work units that your computer is processing or other info such as your operating system and speed of your computer is very handy to have available if there is an issue with a work unit that someone may be sharing with you. Many times I've been checking on a work unit that I have crunched and I want to know about how long it would take to get it validated. I can look at the computer of the other people crunching the same work unit and tell from the information shown about how long it would take to have the work unit result returned and validated.
And probably the most important reason is that if you ever have a problem, many times just looking at your computer and the results it is returning can lead directly to a fix for your problem. Even if it doesn't point directly to the fix for a problem, it can provide important information needed to help you get your problem fixed and fixed quickly. If we have to ask you to report information about your computer before we can tell what the problem may be, then that will delay the correction of your problem for as long as it takes for us to ask for the information, your posting of the information, then possibly having to ask for more information and the resulting posts. Having the information readily visible saves a lot of time and trouble when you ask for help.
So while having your computers hidden is certainly an option available to you, we strongly urge you to leave them visible. Or at least if you are having problems and post in the forums for help, please take the time to unhide your computers while you are getting help. It will save a lot of time and trouble for yourself and the people trying to help you.


FAQ Addition #3

What does "Preempted" mean?
What should I do with a "Preempted" work unit?


"Preempted" means simply "paused". It is normal for your computer to schedule work unit processing to make sure that all deadlines for the work units are met. Sometimes it will be crunching on a work unit and it will see by it's calculations that another work unit might miss it's deadline if it is not processed now. So it "preempts" or pauses the first work unit to work on the other one. This can happen with several work units, as the scheduler tries to juggle processing between work units so that they all have a chance of meeting the deadlines.
You should not do anything about the "preempted" work units. The scheduler will eventually get around to processing them after the danger of other work units missing the deadline has been taken care of. Do not abort them, delete them, or anything. Boinc is very effective at doing what it is supposed to, which is taking care of the scheduling of work, reporting results, and general "taking care of business" of crunching for various projects if just left alone.


FAQ Addition #4

What is the meaning of Client, Manager, Application, Server, and what about optimized programs?


There are several terms used that seem to be leading to a lot of confusion. These are the manager, the client, and the application or app for short.
The BOINC system is divided into actually four parts, three of which actually are installed onto your computer. The first part is the Server system. This is a system of computers at Berkeley (in the case of SETI) or some other location for other projects. They are responsible for issuing work units and recording results, among many other tasks. Since they are located at another location and are only "talked to" by your computer, all that is needed to know about them is they are there and communicate with your computer.

The second part of the system is the BOINC Client. This is the main part of the applications that actually lives on your computer. In networking a "client/server" system is where one part lives on one computer and the othr part lives on another computer and the two parts talk to each other through the network, whether it be a single cable connecting two computers, different computers on a lan or local network, or computers halfway around the world on the Internet. The one computer that is actually in "control" or "feeds information" to the other computer is called the "server". The part that is on the local computer that communicates with the "server" is called the "client." Now just for clarification, the client and server do not need to be on different computers. They can be on the same computer, such as certain databases and certain games. Almost any good SQL database is a "client/server" database where the database "server" is running in the background and the "client" takes your queries and passes them to the serrver to add info to or retrieve info from the database. Games such as "Quake3" and many others also use a client/server approach. They have a "server" process that runs in the background and the "client" process connects to the server to get details about the game in progress, such as where everybody is, what they are doing, and all other details about the game.

Now back to the "BOINC Client". The boinc client is the part of the boinc application suite that actually connects to the server at Berkeley or wherever your project is located and requests work, downloads it, checks your preferences, runs the "applications" and just generally keeps the system running. You never "see" this program running. You can see evidence of it if you run task manager in Windows or use "top" in Linux or similar commands or applications. You can see evidence of it if you run the Boinc Manager. The client is what actually provides the information you see in the manager tabs.

Now to the Manager. This is the actual graphical interface that most people will think of when they see or hear Boinc mentioned. However as I said, this is only the graphical interface or control program for the actual "client". This program (the manager) doesn't do any task switching, scheduling, communicating with the servers, etc. It is just a way for you to monitor and control the actual "client" which really does all the work.

The fourth and last part of this is the actual "apps" or "applications". Sometimes these are called the "science apps", or something similar. These programs do one thing, and only one thing. They crunch numbers! It is the "app" that processes the work units and records the results. The "apps" are controlled by the "client". The client tells each app when to start crunching, and when to stop. The app continues crunching until it has completed a work unit then it tells the client "I'm finished with this wu." Then the client reports that work unit and if another work unit is ready (which it should be since it's the client's responsibiltiy to keep work available) the client tells the application "Start crunching on this next work unit". The app will then start crunching this new work unit and will continue until told by the client to stop or until it finishes, then the process starts over again.


Now a few words about optimization. Many of you want to "optimize" your system. There has been some confusion about what parts to optimize for best results, since there are optimizations for the Boinc client, and the science apps.

The optimized boinc clients *may* help speed a tiny amount by switching tasks a little tiny bit faster, etc. however they are only useful if they contain features that are desired but not available in the original client.

The real gain in crunching speed comes from an optimized "application". These are applications that have been optimized to take advantage of special instruction sets available on most cpu's (computer chips). These may be mmx, sse, sse2, sse3, etc. Each offers different specialized commands that can be used to speed up crunching. In the old Seti application (the ver. 4.xx series) there was no optimization in the default application at all, so anything was an improvement. Speed increases of up to 300% and more were seen using optimized applications. The new Enhanced Seti application is already highly optimized, so you will not see nearly as large of a speed boost using the enhanced apps, but you will get some benefit. While I've not kept track of the speeds, I've seen claims of between 20 and 40% speed increases using the proper optimized application for your computer chip set.


[/quote]

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Message 383438 - Posted: 31 Jul 2006, 18:39:10 UTC - in response to Message 380078.

We recommend using at least version 5.2.6 and up with SETI Enhanced. The newest version available on the BOINC download page as of 2/19/06 is 5.2.13.

This bit could use updating to mention v5.4.9.

And to use a proper date format. ;)
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Message 384085 - Posted: 1 Aug 2006, 3:19:44 UTC - in response to Message 383438.

We recommend using at least version 5.2.6 and up with SETI Enhanced. The newest version available on the BOINC download page as of 2/19/06 is 5.2.13.

This bit could use updating to mention v5.4.9.

And to use a proper date format. ;)

Just hang on... I'm working on a complete rewrite to update a lot of stuff and make it more readable. Check out the link in my sig for a wiki-based version. The text of the one here will be similar. I've still got a lot to do yet though.
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Message 440675 - Posted: 20 Oct 2006, 19:17:01 UTC

My apologies to everyone for not having an updaated FAQ to present. Since my last post I have suffered a complete loss of all of my data on my hard drive due to a corrupted partition table entry, another partial loss during an operating system upgrade, (inadvertently formatted the wrong partition! haha) plus an unexplained network problem that lasted several weeks with no known cause and no known cure until I tried reconfiguring everything thinking that maybe my system got confused as to which network card went to which network, and when that didn't work, changed all settings back to the original and it suddenly started working again!

Also my apologies to anyone that has tried to access the new "Wiki-fied" FAQ in the link in my signature. This server runs on the above mentioned computer so it was (and still is) subject to all happenings (or mis-happenings) on that machine. However I have recently got a new machine with the capability to take over the server duties from this machine so things will probably run smoother. I will be spending the next few weeks getting it configured and everything installed on it at which time I will put it online both as a crunching machine and the server, so my RAC can get back up a little higher than what it is now and the FAQ will be online continuously (barring power outages or catastrophic failure).
(I still plan on making another plain text version to post here when I get the time, but lost all the work I had done before so the only thing I have that is even partially updated is the Wiki version.)

For any of you that do check out the new FAQ, please leave me a comment on there in the space provided letting me know that you even got on it. I'm curious to know if all the pages are being displayed properly (links working, permissions set right, etc.) and that I have the permissions on the comment page set properly also.
If you can't access it try again in a few hours. I may just have it shut down temporarily using it for something else. (I have recently made this machine to dual boot Windows so that I can run an important program that requires Windows to run.) If after several tries you still can't get on, then please post here and tell me the problem you are experiencing, or drop me an email at "jrosstheman at bellsouth dot net".

Once again, sorry for the inconvenience in not being able to update this FAQ as often as I would like, and thanks for being patient with me.
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Message 591366 - Posted: 23 Jun 2007, 21:45:49 UTC
Last modified: 23 Jun 2007, 21:48:37 UTC

I have an updated FAQ available. It's still not finished but it's where I can work on it much easier now! Don't use the link in my sig as it points to the old location and the system won't let me change it at the moment! (Says I have several characters left but when I submit it says sig too long!)
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Message 591459 - Posted: 24 Jun 2007, 0:09:10 UTC - in response to Message 591366.

I have an updated FAQ available. It's still not finished...

Hey! "FAQ"s should never be finished! They should be continuously updated to reflect what the most frequently asked questions are...

Looks good.

Two comments:

1: Add the FAQ number to the FAQ-and-answer boxes?

2: Combine 14 and 15 into the one FAQ?

eg:

# What is DCF?
# What is a Duration Correction Factor and how is it used?


to:

"What is a Duration Correction Factor (DCF) and how is it used?"


Looks good.

Add a link to it in the Boinc HELP Wiki?

Regards,
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Message 591495 - Posted: 24 Jun 2007, 1:23:59 UTC - in response to Message 591366.

I have an updated FAQ available. It's still not finished but it's where I can work on it much easier now! Don't use the link in my sig as it points to the old location and the system won't let me change it at the moment! (Says I have several characters left but when I submit it says sig too long!)


For what it's worth, the last time I edited my sig, I had the same problem. Seems to indicate that you have a few characters left, but when you try to save it, you get an error indicating it's too long. Something is being miscounted either by the server when you submit it, or by the webpage as you are editing it. Oh, and while we're at it, allowing another 50 characters or so wouldn't be a bad thing either.
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Message 591497 - Posted: 24 Jun 2007, 1:26:50 UTC - in response to Message 591459.
Last modified: 24 Jun 2007, 1:33:45 UTC

I have an updated FAQ available. It's still not finished...

Hey! "FAQ"s should never be finished! They should be continuously updated to reflect what the most frequently asked questions are...

Looks good.

Two comments:

1: Add the FAQ number to the FAQ-and-answer boxes?

2: Combine 14 and 15 into the one FAQ?

eg:

# What is DCF?
# What is a Duration Correction Factor and how is it used?


to:

"What is a Duration Correction Factor (DCF) and how is it used?"


Looks good.

Add a link to it in the Boinc HELP Wiki?

Regards,
Martin


Hehe thanks for the comments.
When I said "it's not finished yet" I meant the porting and updating. I've just got the basics transfered and a few items updated (recommended BOINC version etc.) The rest of it will come very soon.

As to your first suggestion, I don't know how to do that yet. I'm using a new CMS (at least to me) and I'm still learning how to get things done. I learned the basics of creating a FAQ using the system and ported it from my old wiki over to this. I still haven't got the new system completely figured out yet. (Took me two hours just to find out how to link to it! hehe)

And combining the two questions, yes I should have realized that. It was that way in the original FAQ, two links pointing to the same answer, but this FAQ form doesn't let me do that. Thanks for reminding me about it though. I will see about rewording the question and deleting the second duplicate answer. (I thought something looked fishy about that one when I was copying it!)

As for linking to it, by all means go ahead. I've finally got a fairly reliable server so the previous outages shouldn't happen often. I'm probably going to have a short one sometime in the near future to rearrange things and route my network cables in their permanent place but other than that I think it's ready for full time duty. The only concern I have is I'm only on a DSL connection and even though I have a fast downlink speed my uplink speed is limited so if you post a link please add a note to inform people to be patient in case my uplink is loaded down at the time.
Also to the linking, I would prefer that over a copy being posted elsewhere as I did a search earlier for it and came across quite a few of the "original" copies from my very first posting. A link would let everyone have access to the latest version.

Also if anyone has any comments or suggestions for new questions feel free to post them. I "think" I have the permissions set properly to allow anonymous users to suggest questions. If not, post it in the shoutbox. This is a new site I'm setting up so I have a lot of stuff to do in the other sections too but I will be switching back and forth adding, modifying, and general editing to clean things up as I have time. (I'll work on one section until I get tired of it then I'll work on another!)

(Edit) Just checked and I remember now about the double question. I had already created the second question when I realized the answer was the same. I'll still see about changing it. It would be better. I was just in a hurry to get it ported over and didn't go back and fix it.
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Message 591506 - Posted: 24 Jun 2007, 1:40:10 UTC - in response to Message 591495.

I have an updated FAQ available. It's still not finished but it's where I can work on it much easier now! Don't use the link in my sig as it points to the old location and the system won't let me change it at the moment! (Says I have several characters left but when I submit it says sig too long!)


For what it's worth, the last time I edited my sig, I had the same problem. Seems to indicate that you have a few characters left, but when you try to save it, you get an error indicating it's too long. Something is being miscounted either by the server when you submit it, or by the webpage as you are editing it. Oh, and while we're at it, allowing another 50 characters or so wouldn't be a bad thing either.

I agree. I made sure they were five or six characters left in the count but something must be wrong somewhere. We do need a few more characters available just for long URL's like mine. The actual URL is http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_faq.php?faqId=2 I can leave off the "www" and I tried that, but it still didn't work. I tried removing other text and stuff and still didn't work. Only way I can get both links in my sig is to take out some of the GQFCrunchers stuff. I can save quite a few characters by removing the color tags so I might try that next.
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Message 591674 - Posted: 24 Jun 2007, 7:26:32 UTC

Why not use something like tinyurl to shorten it? Like this for example

http://tinyurl.com/ynuunv
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Message 591886 - Posted: 24 Jun 2007, 15:35:49 UTC

Got it!
The problem is in the character count. When I first viewed the prefs page it said one character left. As soon as I clicked in the sig field it jumped to six!
I had it down to three or four chars left but it wouldn't save it because of the five character difference. I used my IP instead of the domain name, removed a few words and took the bold tag off the club text.

So the link in my sig works now!
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Message 592307 - Posted: 25 Jun 2007, 6:57:02 UTC - in response to Message 591674.

Why not use something like tinyurl to shorten it? Like this for example

http://tinyurl.com/ynuunv

Which works for only as long as tinyurl is in business... BOINC should not rely on that. The sig character limit is way too small for the usage of URLs. We need to bump it up to at least 1000.
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Message 592387 - Posted: 25 Jun 2007, 12:44:01 UTC - in response to Message 592307.
Last modified: 25 Jun 2007, 12:45:25 UTC

Which works for only as long as tinyurl is in business... BOINC should not rely on that. The sig character limit is way too small for the usage of URLs. We need to bump it up to at least 1000.

"Tinyurl" is a 'nice' idea but I've never seen a 'must use' need for it. Far better is for websites to have sensible urls in the first place! (OK, so including 'data' in the url will make it long for such as search engines...)

I would suspect that the 250 char limit is due to the database field type used, likely for speed and convenience. Getting two or three urls in there is rather tight!

However, on the scale of development problems, I would put fixing that as very low priority...

Happy crunchin',
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Message 601493 - Posted: 10 Jul 2007, 22:38:16 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2007, 23:37:17 UTC

Well, I've been busy again...

I've added some new questions and updated some that were made incorrect by the new server changes. I'm still digging for more info to add, especially concerning the new MultiBeam which should be appearing here shortly.

You can reach the FAQ at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_faq.php?faqId=2

Feel free to use the "add suggestion" feature (found at the very bottom of the page) to suggest a new question to be added.

I have also opened a forum for SETI if you would like to discuss the FAQ. You can reach it at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_forum.php?forumId=12. (You must register to post)

And again, the links in my sig work now so you can visit the faq from any of my posts.
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Message 601574 - Posted: 11 Jul 2007, 3:03:12 UTC - in response to Message 592307.
Last modified: 11 Jul 2007, 3:15:40 UTC

Why not use something like tinyurl to shorten it? Like this for example

http://tinyurl.com/ynuunv

Which works for only as long as tinyurl is in business... BOINC should not rely on that. The sig character limit is way too small for the usage of URLs. We need to bump it up to at least 1000.


Looking at db/schema.sql I see:


create table user (
...
signature varchar(254),
...
) type=InnoDB;

In MySQL (before 5.0), CHAR/VARCHAR fields have a limit of 255 characters, so the limit in the database of 254 can't be helped too much unless the MySQL version is one of the more recent ones that allow the field to go up to 65K characters. Otherwise, the structure would have to be changed to a TEXT field to accommodate signatures with a longer length. However, in the manual:


Each BLOB or TEXT value is represented internally by a separately allocated object. This is in contrast to all other data types, for which storage is allocated once per column when the table is opened.


But I haven't found anything definitive about whether this translates to an actual performance hit.

Just as a comparison, phpBB 2.x forums also have a similar limit of 255 characters.
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Message 608909 - Posted: 26 Jul 2007, 14:20:24 UTC - in response to Message 601493.

Changed FAQ to reflect new recommended versions of BOINC.
See Question 2 in the FAQ. Also did some recent editing to clean it up and modernize it.

You can reach the FAQ at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_faq.php?faqId=2

Feel free to use the "add suggestion" feature (found at the very bottom of the page) to suggest a new question to be added.

I have also opened a forum for SETI if you would like to discuss the FAQ. You can reach it at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_forum.php?forumId=12. (You must register to post)

And again, the links in my sig work now so you can visit the faq from any of my posts.

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Message 645485 - Posted: 21 Sep 2007, 5:08:19 UTC - in response to Message 608909.

Changed FAQ to reflect new recommended versions of BOINC.
See Question 2 in the FAQ. Also did some recent editing to clean it up and modernize it.

You can reach the FAQ at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_faq.php?faqId=2

Feel free to use the "add suggestion" feature (found at the very bottom of the page) to suggest a new question to be added.

I have also opened a forum for SETI if you would like to discuss the FAQ. You can reach it at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_forum.php?forumId=12. (You must register to post)

And again, the links in my sig work now so you can visit the faq from any of my posts.


Hi Jim-R. thanks for the work you've put into this.

However, the 2 main links you've provided does not work this end. I get the page with the toolbar stating "thousands of sexy singles online now
& the rest of the page blank. The bionc wiki link works.

Could this be a problem at my end?
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Message 645598 - Posted: 21 Sep 2007, 8:44:27 UTC - in response to Message 645485.

Changed FAQ to reflect new recommended versions of BOINC.
See Question 2 in the FAQ. Also did some recent editing to clean it up and modernize it.

You can reach the FAQ at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_faq.php?faqId=2

Feel free to use the "add suggestion" feature (found at the very bottom of the page) to suggest a new question to be added.

I have also opened a forum for SETI if you would like to discuss the FAQ. You can reach it at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_forum.php?forumId=12. (You must register to post)

And again, the links in my sig work now so you can visit the faq from any of my posts.


Hi Jim-R. thanks for the work you've put into this.

However, the 2 main links you've provided does not work this end. I get the page with the toolbar stating "thousands of sexy singles online now
& the rest of the page blank. The bionc wiki link works.

Could this be a problem at my end?

My apologies for this. I've been out of town again for the last week and when I got back I noticed my server machine seems to have developed a flaky drive controller. The toolbar you get is from the domain name provider I use, not my own server. (The link in my sig uses my IP address instead of a domain name so you won't get this toolbar.) Please bear with me on this wile I get it worked out. I wish it was as simple as it was in the old days when I could just pop in another controller card and be done with it but it's built into the motherboard so I've got to change the entire mobo. I'm working on another machine that can take over duties of the server but it will probably be Monday before I can get it online. (I only had about 26 hours that I could spend at home then I have to go back out of town again! At this time I only have about 12 hours to go!)
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Message 647481 - Posted: 23 Sep 2007, 23:00:36 UTC - in response to Message 645598.

My apologies for this. I've been out of town again for the last week and when I got back I noticed my server machine seems to have developed a flaky drive controller. The toolbar you get is from the domain name provider I use, not my own server. (The link in my sig uses my IP address instead of a domain name so you won't get this toolbar.) Please bear with me on this wile I get it worked out. I wish it was as simple as it was in the old days when I could just pop in another controller card and be done with it but it's built into the motherboard so I've got to change the entire mobo. I'm working on another machine that can take over duties of the server but it will probably be Monday before I can get it online. (I only had about 26 hours that I could spend at home then I have to go back out of town again! At this time I only have about 12 hours to go!)


No problems Jim-R.

After reading the thread, I just wanted to look in.

Could you let us know when you're completed it?

Many thanks.

Regards

PJ
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Message 678912 - Posted: 16 Nov 2007, 16:51:18 UTC - in response to Message 608909.

Changed FAQ to reflect new recommended versions of BOINC.
See Question 2 in the FAQ. Also did some recent editing to clean it up and modernize it.

You can reach the FAQ at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_faq.php?faqId=2

Feel free to use the "add suggestion" feature (found at the very bottom of the page) to suggest a new question to be added.

I have also opened a forum for SETI if you would like to discuss the FAQ. You can reach it at http://www.theprofessor.us.tt/tiki-view_forum.php?forumId=12. (You must register to post)

And again, the links in my sig work now so you can visit the faq from any of my posts.

Ok. Sorry for the delay in posting.
I've had numerous server problems, as you might already have found out. Most of these were because of intermittently loosing either a network card or a hard drive. In both cases a power down and reboot would cure the problem, but I would have to notice it first. (Mostly when I couldn't access the Internet from home since that computer is also my router for the home network.) I tried everything from substituting other hds and net cards to disassembling and cleaning everything to no avail. Finally I came up with another computer that I could use in this one's place so I put my hard disks containing the website files etc. in the new computer and powered it up. Amazingly I didn't have to reconfigure much to get everything to work in the new computer.

This was about a month and a half to two months ago. I decided to give it this time for a "burn in" test to see that everything worked and *kept* working :) before I announced it here. (Have done a major rewrite of the SETI Enhanced FAQ) Little did I know that although everything worked from my local network, and I could access the site through the links here and everything else, it took a comment from a friend on IRC yesterday that said "hey, did you know the site is still down?" "Still down?" I asked. "Yes, ever since you talked to (another friend) when you changed computers we haven't been able to get in." Well it turns out that since I used a different network card in the new computer to connect to my DSL modem, the modem gave it a different internal IP address! This is the address that my website replies on! So even though I could access it fine from my network, and everything else worked fine, requests for the website from the internet were going unanswered! I could get replies on my own comp through the web links because the query came in through the Internet IP but the reply came directly to my computer through the local network. Well I had to do a hard reset of everything and reconfigure my modem but finally got everything talking on the right addresses (I hope!).

This is where I need your help.

Please test the links in my former post above and make sure you can access everything, try posting in the forums, try suggesting a question for the FAQ, etc. and let me know if everything works right. If you can post in the forums, let me know there. (You shouldn't have to register to post in the SETI forum.) If you can't post there, or if you can't access anything, please let me know here. You can also try the "New Enhanced Faq" link in my signature, as it uses my direct IP address instead of the domain name.

This system has been running flawlessly for nearly two months except that it just hasn't been able to reply to the proper address!

Once I'm assured that everyone can access the site properly I'll make a new announcement and post it here and remove this old thread. Thanks for everyone's help in advance.
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