WISDOM COMES FROM CENTRAL PROCESSING, NOT FROM I/O.
Gravitational Acceleration and Steering of Spacecraft
If you have ever wondered how spacecraft can be accelerated toward
their destinations simply by passing close to planets and moons,
a brief explanation can be
Plant a Tree--Save a World
A brief description of a simple way individuals can help curb global
warming which might not have occurred to some is described
Stop Wasting CPU Cycles!
How much time does the CPU in your computer lay around doing nothing?
If you are not familiar with any of the distributed computing projects
currently running around the world, you might be surprised to find out
just how much time your computer is wasting as it does nothing or
waits for you to make that next key stroke or button click. Even the
little personal computers people use at home are capable of performing
millions (or billions) of instructions per second, so the CPUs in even
these relatively simple machines are often doing nothing more than
waiting for something to do. Larger computers may well waste even
more CPU power while they do nothing at a much higher rate. If all of
this wasted CPU power is added up, the fact becomes quite clear that a
huge amount of processing could be performed if even part of this
wasted power could be recovered.
The best use of these wasted CPU cycles I have found is distributed
computing projects. These projects involve breaking huge processing
tasks into large numbers of managable pieces, and then passing these
little pieces out for processing on many computers throughout the
world. The little pieces are usually processed at low priority so
the processes can be easily pushed aside when another job needs CPU
time, and then automatically continue operation when the CPU is no
longer busy. In this way, a computer can be used as usual without wasting
CPU cycles as it does nothing. As the little pieces of a project are
completed, they are sent back to the central project server(s) for
final processing and/or reintegration.
My favorite distributed computing projects are managed by
because they offer clients which run on a wide range of computers
and operating systems (even 80386 PCs running DR/MS/OPEN/PC-DOS are
supported) as well as at least one game console. For various reasons,
other people prefer to run
but the idea is usually the same-- use spare/wasted CPU cycles to do
some actual work. I hope you will consider running one or more of
the available projects on computers where you can get permission to
do such things. Who knows, you might be running the client which
produces a discovery as profound as a cure for cancer, proves that
aliens actually do exist in outer space, makes a new discovery in
genetics, or you might even win a prize for running a client or
completing a task. I encourage you to find a project which best
suits your interests, and once you have obtained any needed
authorizations, install and run it on as many computers as you can.
Setting up a distributed networking project of your own is possible,
but the task can involve considerable time and effort. Not only will
the program(s) need to be written to process the data, but user
interfaces will likely have to be set up for installing and
initializing the program(s) as well. Also, some sort of interaction
(such as an email list) will need to be established so participants in
the project can carry on discussions about installation, operation,
and perhaps bugs which come up in the project. Producing some sort of
statistics is also a good idea so participants can see how their
efforts are helping the project move forward. You can get a small
taste of what it takes to set up and manage a distributed project by
a little assignment
I have put together.
Your Smelly Web Page(s)
Do you create web pages that are limited to viewing by one web browser
on one operating system? How will you ever sell me anything doing
something so silly? Try getting through your web site(s) with: firefox
(or your own mozilla favorite), links (the chain), lynx (the cat),
and msie. If you can exchange useful information via your web site(s)
with all of these web browsers, you have a chance of attracting my
business. Otherwise, you may be throwing away at least one sale or
losing at least one informational exchange.
Bits of Ada
My little contribution
to the Ada programming language (mostly through its use) is
available. I encourage anyone who is working on any serious, large,
or even barely significant computer program to consider writing the
program in Ada.
Text Adventure/Interactive Fiction Games
If you like text adventure games, you should check out
for some links to some interactive fiction sites containing IF games
and info. I may include a game or two on my little IF page of my
own eventually (if time allows).
A special memorial notice
for someone I loved very much.
Have a great day!