26 July 2015

26th of July

Farm news
We're continuing with Seti crunching for the moment.

Last week we got a bunch of Microsoft updates, nothing unusual about that. Its known as Patch Tuesday were MS release their monthly fixes. What was unusual was two days later there was an urgent security update. There is also a microcode update from Intel (its considered optional) which is the first time I have seen one of them.

The Seti optimisers released an updated installer and apps. I spent a bit of time this weekend updating all the machines that run Seti with these new apps and their various configuration files.

Project news - Seti
They got a bit of money for the next 10 years as part of Yuri Milners "Breakthrough Listen" initiative. With the publicity there has also been an influx of new users. This money is expected to be spent on adding receivers on a number of other radio telescopes so they can expand the search from the small portion of the sky that the Arecibo radio telescope can see.

We've already done a fund-raiser so they could build a receiver for the Green Bank, USA radio telescope. I have seen the Parkes, Australia radio telescope mentioned.

20 July 2015

20th of July

Farm news
We are mostly crunching Seti work on the Intel-GPU machines, Asteroids and GPUgrid on a couple of the Nvidia-GPU machines. I finally finished off the last of the climate models yesterday and managed to get them uploaded.

BOINC news
We got 7.6.6 to test this week. The main change with this one is to check for files being locked and wait a second if they are before retrying. This should correct the issue of truncated stderr files being uploaded. The preferences were updated back with 7.6.2, so it includes those changes as well. This one is a release candidate. This will probably be the last version for a while seeing as there are no paid developers any more.

Windows 10
Its about 9 days away from release now. I haven't seen it, just some demos on the Microsoft site, however the people using it seem to like most of it. I am told it will be available on a USB memory stick (aka thumb drive). I will need to get one of them if I am updating all the machines but I don't have any immediate plans to update.

Apparently the Home version will have updates applied automatically, but the Pro versions have the option of choosing when to apply updates. This would cause problems for any machine crunching climate models with the Home version because the models don't like being interrupted.

12 July 2015

12th of July

Farm news
Most of the farm picked up some more climate models last week so we're running them out now. There are no more ANZ models for the time being. Given they take a week and a few machines have spare work units it will be at least another week before they are all done.

I fired up one of the GPUgrid crunchers and its been steadily crunching through their work units, some short ones (only 4 hours) and some long (up to 12 hours). Once the backlog of climate models are done I will get the second GPUgrid machine running. I am waiting on one particular machine to complete its final model in about 20 hours.

I replaced the power supply in the backup file server so now its quiet again. I managed to use the power supply I got last week. I had to break the last 4 pins off the motherboard power connector so it fits the old Pentium 4 motherboard. I used the machine last week to do some experimentation with Debian and the latest version of the Squid (proxy server). I used a spare hard drive that I swapped in. This week its back to its former self.

It turns out Debian install a firewall by default but it has no rules and so doesn't actually do anything.  I tried the recommended rules and had to add a couple of my own. While doing regular housekeeping on the Pi's and Parallella's today I added the same settings so hopefully they are a bit more secure now.

Internet gateway
Now the file server and the backup file server are done another little "project" I have going is to set up a machine as an internet gateway. Not like your domestic grade router/firewall but having more advanced features like caching and virus scanning. I could just buy one but they get expensive. I was looking at an F5 but they are more of a load balancer.

I have given the computer shop some specs (motherboard, case and power supply) and as seems to happen quite regularly now they and their suppliers don't have the parts. There is no rush to get this implemented so I can wait. While the hardware is ordered I have yet to decide on the software that it will run.

05 July 2015

5th of July

Farm news
The second batch of climate models that I had running finished and were getting upload issues. They needed a bit of manual intervention to get them through. Their files are rather large and when you have multiple machines trying to upload at the same time its very easy to max out what little upload bandwidth there is. I usually manually allow them to upload 2 at a time to work around this. Another project that also has huge files to upload is GPUgrid, but at least theirs are once the work unit has completed.

Th cable for the RAID card finally turned up and so the file server now has its hard disks in a RAID 6 configuration.

While I was in the computer shop sorting out the RAID I also got a 1Gb PCI network card for the old file server and a replacement power supply. The fan in the old power supply is making all sorts of noises so is likely to fail soon. The replacement power supply has too many pins on the motherboard power connector for the ancient Pentium 4. I will have to use it in another machine. The network card has been installed and is working fine.

BOINC funding expires
Dr Anderson announced to the mailing list that the funding from the NSF ran out so there are now no dedicated BOINC developers. It will become a volunteer effort to maintain and update it. I am not too sure what that means for its future. Hopefully some of the suggested changes that have previously been ignored will get incorporated into it. I would have liked to see development of the Superhost idea too.

The details can be found here: http://boinc.berkeley.edu/trac/wiki/ProjectGovernance