Thursday, September 28, 2006


I will be posting some pictures that we took when we and some friends were in the Shasta/Redding area. They may already be up by the time you read this.

We visited the Three Shastas, the Lake Shasta Caverns, the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, and the Sundial Bridge. The highlights for me were the caverns and the bridge, one natural and one man-made. I don't believe you'll see a lot of pictures of the caverns just because I usually just post pictures that have us in them. :) But don't worry. You're not missing out. The pictures do not give justice to the real thing. You have to be there to really appreciate it.

The caverns tour was the most tiring. It involved a lot of walking up and down the steps (which were man-made, of course), plus Janelle would not walk properly nor did she want to be carried completely. I had to awkwardly drag her most of the time. Good thing we were indoors, shielded from the sun. Otherwise, it would have been a real mess. The whole trip in general involved a lot of walking, which was actually nice. At least everyone got the chance to exercise. For some reason though, when we got home, our scale showed that we actually gained weight, much the opposite of what we were hoping for. I hope it's the muscles. :)


Sunday, September 17, 2006


I used to donate my idle computer time to the SETI@Home project. For some reason, I stopped. Recently, on a whim, I decided to join The Planetary Society. Actually, I've always been interested in Space Science and the interconnectedness (is that a word?) of all things (including us humans). Anyway, I found out that they were the ones who initiated (or helped somehow with) the SETI@Home project. That made me revisit the site and boy, was I pleasantly surprised with what I saw. It now uses this software called BOINC!, which stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure Network Computing (or something like that... sorry, too lazy to check). Apparently, there are now several projects out there that uses this same software. So, instead of contributing your computer's idle time to just one project, you can contribute to as many as you want.

I'm starting out with SETI, Rosetta, and World Community Grid. SETI stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. The other two are for health-related research. I would sign up for more but my computers are not fast enough. The software is smart enough to distribute the time among the different projects but of course, the more projects you have, the longer it will take for each task to complete.

If/when you sign up, I suggest that you do using what is called a BOINC Account Manager or BAM for short. One such BAM is BOINCStats. I forget what the other one was. What a BAM does is consolidate all your accounts so that you can set them up using just one site and be able to synchronize your settings with all your computers in one click (well, maybe two). Without a BAM, you would need to manually connect to each project from each computer.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't know about BAM right away. So, I had to do it the harder way. The only thing with BAM that I'm slightly cringing at is that you need to use the same email address and password on all the projects. I like using a different email address for each site/company I sign up with just so I know who's selling my information. But I signed up anyway. A good bonus, which played a key role in my decision to join, is an automatic image that will display your statistics. If you haven't noticed, I have such image on the right panel of this page. It's pretty neat. It does take a while before BOINCstats obtains the latest credits. And of course, my Classic (pre-BOINC!) SETI credits (917 workunits) will never show there. :(

If you'd like to contribute some of your computer's idle time to worthy causes, you've got to check out BOINC! Oh by the way, one other feature I like with this new software is that you can choose to have the projects run all the time (unlike the classic SETI that only ran as a screensaver). And when you really need your CPU's full attention, you just tell BOINC! to snooze and it will snooze for one hour or until you turn off the snooze again.

Happy BOINC'ing! While I'm at it, Happy Birthday to both Gary and Ma (well, it's now 1 am in the morning so, belated).

Lastly, Jed had started going to the school for the gifted. He's liking it there. However, there are some behavioral issues that we need to work on. His teacher said he was probably not used to the classroom arrangement/routine yet. We hope he's right.

Calling it a night...