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March 2001 Archives

March 1, 2001

You've got a heart of stone, Dave; would you like to do the honors?

I spent much longer than I intended over at my church installing DSL today.

As a result, I missed the weekly LAM meeting. Brian and Lummy were on the road at IU, anyway, but Arun was around. Oops. I am evil. :-(


It turns out that we got a misconfigured DSL router. Luckily, I had brought my windoze laptop, and was able to sit down in the basement of the church's administration building with the router and talk on the cell phone to tech support. It took about 3 hours (with long periods of, "Hmm... let us try some things and call you back") before they got the router going -- they did it all by remote admin. Kinda cool, actually. I think they even flashed the BIOS to upgrade to the latest rev.

But in the end it all worked out. So I had to reset the TCP settings on all the machines in the building and add virus protection to the small number of machines that didn't already have it (they never had net access anymore, so it didn't matter until now).


Today also reaffirmed my believe that Netscape 6 is a piece of junk.

The story that follows is a bit extreme in what I was trying to do, but suffice it to say that Netscape performed horribly, and IE performed adequately.

Two of the staff members at the church have fairly old machines: pentium 133's with 16MB (!) of RAM, and run Windoze 95. They even had the original version of IE (3.something, IIRC). Most web sites won't even work with that version of IE anymore (including windowsupdate.com
-- IE 3.something has no java, no javascript, no CSS, etc.), so I decided to upgrade them to the latest IE.

Well, the 3.something IE couldn't view any sites to download the latest IE. Which is actually pretty ironic in itself. :-) But frustrating, nonetheless. :-(

So I decided to download netscape instead. You can only get netscape 6 these days (or at least you can only get netscape 6 from an IE 3.something browser). So I downloaded and installed Netscape 6.01.

S L O W   C I T Y ! ! !

The machine was swapping so hard that it literally took minutes for any mouse action (hover, single click, double click, etc.) to take effect. Even if you left the computer alone and did nothing, it would continually swap thrash like a bad habit. The hard drive was so busy that it was like listening to a mini gang war inside the chassis (complete with munchkin-like cries of "help me!" and "oh God NO!").

"Painful" is not enough to describe how slow it was. "Agonizing" starts to describe the feeling. I mean, the computer was not just slow, it was in its death throes. Navigating to and downloading the IE installer took over 45 minutes. Incredible.

So I installed IE 5.5 and it worked great. I mean, yeah, it's still a pentium 133, but we had no constant thrashage as there was with netscape 6.0.

So I uninstalled netscape 6.0 faster than Notre Dame shorted its VA Linux stock, and ran with IE 5.5. It does pain me to say it, and I've said it before, but IE really is a better browser these days. I've even been woefully unimpressed with Mozilla on linux. Blech. I have hopes for Konquer and Natulius (sp?); I haven't gotten around to trying the newest versions yet.


Speaking of which, on a lark, I tried the new Mandrake 8.0 beta on my laptop last night.

I wanted to see KDE 2.1, the new Gnome, Evolution, and Nautilus, as well as Linux 2.4.

Are there still bugs?

Oh yeah, baby. Lots of them. Here's some of my experiences:

  • No matter what I did, I couldn't get PCMCIA recognized. It seemed to be a PCMCIA-enabled kernel, but then again I'm no expert here (this was my first experience with 2.4).

  • Someone really needs to scrub their default-selected list of apps. On their "features" announcement page for 8.0, Evolution and Nautilus are two of the highlighted apps. They're not installed by default -- you have to go into "individual package selection", find them, and select them. And once you do install Evolution, it doesn't run because it's looking for an earlier version of some shared library than is installed by default (and trying to install the earlier version breaks all kinds of dependencies, etc., etc.). pine isn't even installed by default. WTF!?

  • DrakConf, their all-in-one system configurator, seems to a) be missing tons of stuff that was in 7.2, b) has oodles of debugging output, some of which contains "ERROR: blah blah blah". How could they release this?

  • I do have to admit, though, that Aurora, the new GUI boot sequence, is cute. I tried to use DrakConf to change the orientation of the boot icons in DrakConf to no avail (the change didn't seem to want to commit).

  • Props to 8.0 for correctly determining my video hardware for X configuration. I didn't get far enough to see if it ID'ed my sound hardware properly.

After these problems, I determined that I had better things to do with my time and re-installed 7.2 on my machine. I'll wait for a stable 8.0. It seems like they only released this beta to meet some deadline. So unless you're a 'drake developer, and/or into pain, I'd advise waiting until 8.0 is stable.

Don't get me wrong -- 8.0 looks promising, but it needs work before I'll use it.

March 4, 2001

Ooohh... secret keys.

Spent a good deal of yesterday afternoon trying to make Brent's new Dell box dual boot Linux/Win2k.

Unfortunately, I ran out of time before I was able to get it to work. I could boot either linux or win2k, but not make it successfully boot either.

Brent mentioned the virtues of DirectTV over cable. In particular, the cheapness of DirectTV over digital cable (~$30/month vs. ~$50/month -- comes out to $240/year, which is nothing to sneeze at). My only question (which I didn't think of later, of course) is, "How do you get NBC/CBS/ABC? How do you see Friends?"

Ok, that's 2 questions. Cope.

I had to leave to meet Janna and Mel and Ruben (Muben? Rel? Hmm. Will need a conglomerate to refer to them...) for dinner at Judge Roy Beans (I was actually an hour late... oops). A good dinner; was good to see them all. Mel/Ruben just had their first child 3 months ago, and this was essentially the first time they had been out since (Mel's mom was in town and was babysitting). They said that it was the first time they had been speaking in complete sentences since Lydia was born.

A good time was all. Our waiter was definitely an induhvidual, though.

After I got home, I did a few web searches and bugged Lummy; found some solutions that should allow Win2k and Linux to dual-boot properly.


I spent a little time this morning improving my journal program --
something I've been meaning to do for quite a while. I used to type all the HTML for my entries, and I've been getting quite sick of it. So I put in a bunch of shortcuts, and cool function-based general mechanism:

  • "=====" is turned into my favorite cenetered-half-line <hr> thingy.

  • The <em> and </em> tags can be abbreviated with "_". So _foo_ turns into <em>foo</em>. For example, this is emphasized.
  • The <strong> and </strong> tags can be abbreviated with "*". So *foo* turns into <strong>foo</strong>. For example, this is boldface.
  • The <code> and </code> tags can be abbreviated with "[" and "]". So [foo] turns into <code>foo</code>. For example, this is code (pine doesn't render code properly :-\ )

  • Anything between { and } is a function call. Everything from { to } is replaced with the output of that function call. The first word (quoting, of course, applies) is the function name; the rest are arguments. The only function implemented right now is "a" (or the synonym "href"). If there is one argument, "a" does:

    <a href="arg1">arg1</a>

    If there are 2 or more arguments, "a" does:

    <a href="arg1">arg2 arg3 ...</a>

    For example, this is the new LAM/MPI web site. It's easy to see how this is a very extensible feature.

  • Any of the above special characters (_, *, [, ], {, }) can be escaped so that you can still have them in the text.

And perhaps most importantly, I have accidentally lost journal entries (sometimes long ones, too) because I hit ctrl-c or ctrl-d at the wrong time, and the journal program quit. So I put in some signal handlers to catch these kinds of things and save anything that has been typed so far to $HOME/dead.journal.entry (homage to $HOME/dead.letter, of course). And when the journal client starts up, it looks for $HOME/dead.journal.entry and, if it exists, asks if you want to preload it into your rant.

These are extremely useful features. I rationalized spending time on them this morning in that it would allow me to be Lazy -- it saves me time in the future.

(actually, typing this entry found two minor bugs that I've now fixed. Rock on!)

Those who use jjc, lemme know if you want a copy of this stuff.


T-1 day until we own a house.

Woohoo!!

But today, back to dissertating...


I've got 707 xmms's running on queeg, out of 795 total. That's 89%.

Coincidentally, queeg has been up and running without reboots for 77 days. The other day, the history in one of my kterms was well over 4000 (I think I've killed that kterm since then).

March 5, 2001

Chez Squyres

WE OWN A HOUSE!

Pictures, of course, at http://jeff.squyres.com/pictures/.
The walk-through went very smoothly this morning. We really only had a small list of things that the builder will fix next week. And we have a full warranty on the house, so any other things that we find over the next few weeks will be no big deal.

Woo hoo!!!

March 10, 2001

Matthew wants to know if he's going to be fired

Journal entries are going to be a bit sparse over the next few weeks as a frantically scramble to finish my dissertation by all the deadlines.

Some quickies:

  • Went to the OSCAR meeting meeting with Brian. I gave a talk on LAM, and expressed the general rocktitude of LAMness. I now understand what these guys are trying to do, and how it is different than Scyld -- it's essentially what Bill Saphir's group at LBL was trying to do with BLD (Berkeley Lab Distribution). That is, but a "Beowulf 1" cluster on a CD. Sort of a ExtremeLinux 2. Scyld is more like "Beowulf 2", where they have single-system image, etc. If they succeed, I think it will be a good thing. To make a long story short, we got what I wanted: both LAM and MPICH will be included in the OSCAR distribution.

  • I had a few long talks with the Scyld guys while we were there. We finally realized exactly what we have to do in LAM to make LAM work on Scyld. All told, it's probably about 20 lines worth of code changes (including configure.in changes). It's really easy. The talks with the Scyld guys were good, also, because it seems that they didn't know much about parallel run-time systems. Likewise, we didn't know much about Scyld. So it was a most excellent exchange of information. Brian is setting up a mini-Scyld on 3 of our alphas this weekend, and will be doing the initial LAM porting to Scyld.

    We decided that the initial port of Scyld is easy. But how to do more than that, and take advantage of some of Scyld's nice features will take a lot more thought and discussion. It kinda changes the ballgame when you have many machines that are emulating one single machine; there are many... er... "issues" is not the right word. Perhaps "definitions that need to be created" would be accurate.

    Anyway, the Scyld guys seem like a cool, hackish, fun-loving group. It will be good to work with them.

  • I also had a long chat the Patrick from Myrinet. I don't think that I can repeat much of what was said (not that it's secret, I just don't think that the conversation was intended for public consumption), but needless to say he's happily waiting for LAM/gm. Rock on!

  • The conference was at the NCSA in Champagne/Urbana, IL. We took a tour of their machine room (actually, machine building). It was most impressive. There were only 2 SGI machines there, but each with many nodes (hundreds? I don't remember). They had a test x86 cluster as well; perhaps 64 nodes or so. And then a brand-new multi-hundred x86 cluster that was just being installed by IBM. Fully connected by Myrinet. It was huge. We also saw their Itanium cluster (IA-64); yes, these machines actually do exist. They were still under NDA, so the NCSA folks really couldn't say much about them, but they hinted that their performance was fabulous.

  • On my drive home from IL, the realization hit me that my dissertation is literally due in about 2.5 weeks. Ugh.

  • I've spent the rest of this week writing and dissertating. I'm still writing the software, too. poggenc is coming along; I think I've worked out most bugs in the serial code (I re-vamped just about all of the thread stuff last night and made it much simpler, but I think there's still a bug or two left -- you can periodically get an audible "click" in the output. It's running through bcheck right now; hopefully, bcheck will tell me where my error is...). I'm writing the MPI code right now; after all, the whole idea here is to mix MPI and threads. Gotta get this stuff done...

    SLAM is coming along as well, but I can't work on two things at once.

  • I had to be at the new house yesterday when the GE fridge, washer, and dryer were delivered. It's very nice to have a non-coin-operated washer/dryer! Our new bed was delivered today as well. Tracy and I have taken several carfulls of stuff over to the house; our apartment is getting emptier and emptier. The moving truck comes in 6 days (i.e., Friday) to move all our furniture and whatnot.

    The good news is that our phone number finally propagated through Bell's computers and whatnot, and it finally appeared "DSL capable" on Wednesday. I ordered DSL for my new house from seminar room where the OSCAR meeting was being held (it was fully wired; Brian and I were logged in with our laptops); very cool. The order is progressing smoothly, but they can't tell me when it will all be setup. It may take up to 3 weeks. :-( Hopefully, it will be less than that.

Must return to poggenc.
LocalWords: rocktitude LAMness Saphir's LBL BLD ExtremeLinux alphas Scyld's
LocalWords: kinda ballgame er hackish gm NCSA IL SGI Itanium IA NDA vamped
LocalWords: dissertating bcheck Gotta fridge carfulls

March 11, 2001

The world will just have to wait for a lighter shade of whitewalls

Well, I did it today.

I finally gave up on parallel ogg/vorbis. I think Lummy will be telling me, "I told you so..." pretty soon.

I did some tests with the serial encoder to prove that it just won't work. I'm not sure if it's by design, or if it's a bug, or if I did something stupid in my tests. But I don't think it's the last one
-- I think it's one of the first two.

The first step to parallelizing anything is to split it up into lots of little chunks so that you can process those chunks independently, and hopefully simultaneously. Ogg/vorbis provides a nice way to split the work up into chunks.

However, from my tests, it seems that if you process these chunks in any order other than sequential, the resulting output is different. i.e., you get nondeterministic output since all the chunks will effectively be running in some different order every time you run the program. BONK!!!

So I sent some mail to the vorbis-dev list this morning about this problem, but haven't gotten any response yet. I think the developers might be traveling or something...

So I formally decided to ditch that from my dissertation. Which means I need another sample application for that chapter.

Yep, you guessed it.

Or maybe you didn't.

But I did.

And Lummy is definitely saying "I told you so" now.

And Stevenson is probably laughing his butt off.

Yes, it's PIPT -- the parallel image processing toolkit. Ughh!!! My entire life seems to revolve about this dang-blasted project.

I spent the day de-ogg/vorbisizing the code and turning it into a real framework. I also scavenged the TIFF reading/writing code from the old PIPT, and threw in a bunch of extra datatype handling functions to boot.

I named the whole thing "Son of PIPT" (or "Son of PIMP", for those in the know). It now generates a libpipt.a and and libsop.a, and I have one sample application that compiles/runs right now. The application just provides a function (actually, a class) for input, a class for the worker, and a class for the output. Then it invokes the SOP engine to do the rest.

It took literally all day to get this far, but it seems to be working. Now I'll need to code up a real application and add in the MPI hook-ins (it's only threaded right now, but I did all the MPI groundwork last night in the ogg/vorbis code, so it shouldn't be too hard to add the MPI proxies into the general framework).


On the other hand, Brian did a fair amount of research into the laptops that we can get for IU. The Dell Inspiron 4000 with external keyboard, mouse, and monitor looks really promising. If Lummy gives the go-ahead, I'm gonna sign up for one of those puppies!

March 16, 2001

What was the final score on Dave's coffee cup today?

"The warriors may get all the glory, but engineers build societies."

A great quote; I may have even put it in my journal before. Amusingly enough, it is from Belanna Tores (probably spelled all wrong) from Star Trek Voyager. I'm not really a trekie, but I do enjoy the shows. Belanna's character said that in the rerun that was on tonight.


Brandon Moore and ..... released their Palm Pilot app that plays ND school songs (the fight song, the alma mater, and the victory clog). It totally rocks. You must go download it. Now.

In the words of Arun, "if you don't have a palm pilot, go buy one so that you can use this app. And Jeff Squyres is a God." Ok, I'm paraphrasing.

http://www.nd.edu/~bmoore/NDPMP/

I sent a message about this palm pilot player to many, many ND grads. I got several positive comments back fairly quickly. Including one from Renzo, who, within minutes, submitted a bug report. What a geek. :-)

Dan, a friend of mine who graduated with me back in '94, had a good quote:

"Had an amusing inbox incident today. After receiving your original e-mail announcing the palm pilot app, I received multiple copies of that same e-mail from different sources over the next 2.5 hours. There's got to be some way we can make money off of Jeff's Notre Dame connections..."

Anyway, this app rocks. Go download it. Now.

Stop reading -- go download it!

No, really!


Did much moving stuff today: we hired a service to come over an move all of our furniture to the new house. So I spent all morning doing that. The apartment is getting really barren.

The three guys who came to move the furniture we quite friendly; I got along quite well with them. Over the course of the morning, I told them that I was "a computer geek", and told them that I was finishing up at ND.

We actually had a lot of laughs, talked about a variety of subjects (including other "professional students" that they knew --
one of their nieces apparently is about 4-6 hours away from about 3-4 majors; she just can't make up her mind), and they did a pretty good job moving all of our stuff.

After they had moved all the furniture into the house, when they were getting ready to leave, one of them asked me, "So are you like [my niece] -- you just can't decide on what major to finish on?"

"Oh no, I already have three degrees -- I'm working on my fourth. I have undergrad degrees in English and Computer Science, a Master's in Computer Science, and I'm working on finishing my Ph.D. in Computer Science."

He just looked at me.

"Hey, I told you I was a geek -- you just didn't know how much!"

He kept looking at me.

He finally said, "Yeah, but you just seemed... normal."

I laughed. Really hard. :-)


DSL should be installed at the house next week. The apartment is so barren that I'm not too excited about spending time there (even though it has DSL), so I'll probably head up to ND next week. Yes, I'm just using Notre Dame for its high speed^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H internet access.


Speaking of DSL, apparently my teenage cousins racked up a $900 phone bill last month on AOL (my aunt/uncle didn't have a flat rate local plan; they've never needed one before). I'm guessing that my cousins finally discovered ineternet porn. :-)

My uncle e-mailed me asking about DSL. Indeed, DSL would have saved them much money this past month. A great quote from my uncle:

"You came this close // to being minus two cousins when we got the phone bill a few days ago..."

Brian is going to Sandia this summer to do All Manner of Things LAM. Well, he's actually being funded to do specific things in LAM (fault-tolerant things), but either way, it's Rockin' cool. Brian also won some DOE fellowship the other day. Talk about being set... that just rocks.

Off to do some more moving things, and then spend our first night at the house (there's no bed left in the apartment). Woo hoo!

March 24, 2001

Queeg rides again

Queeg rides again.

After successfully setting up DSL last night, I went over to the apartment today to get queeg (my desktop, for those of you who don't know). The plan was to leave my router box over at the apartment for a few days so that squyres.com could continue to be served properly while I was switching IP numbers.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring a screwdriver, so I couldn't open up the router to get the extra NIC out of it (I have a computer back at the house to be the new router, but I needed a second NIC for it so that it could become a router). So I made a command decision and just took the router down and brought it to the house.

After playing around with settings for a while, I finally got the networking going again, and I now have a nice LAN going in the house. The router is now in a closet, along with my new telocity modem. I don't think that they will put out much heat such that being in an enclosed space will be a problem, but I'll keep an eye on them.


I moved the DNS for squyres.com and waynetruevalue.com to register.com -- I think that their server farm is much more resilient than my and Darrell's home computers, and there's probably much less latency to them, too. I've been burned a few times with DSL outages, or stupidity on my part such that badness happened to squyres.com unexpectedly, so I figured that hosting it at register.com (it's a free service, since I bought the names from them) was a much better idea. So since I unexpectedly took the old squyres.com DNS server off the net today, it will take a little time to propagate around the world, and there is a void where everyone else things it should be right now, but that will be fixed soon enough. 48 hours at the most.

I see that all my names are now on register.com's DNS servers, and they're starting to propagate, because the whois info is starting to propagate. I've already had a few calls from family members, though, asking why mail was going awry. Oops. Sorry -- I really didn't plan it this way. :-(

I called Ed and told him to update www.fhffl.com to point to my new IP address, too. I see that he's already updated his register.com DNS entries, too, so that's just in propagation delay right now.


Queeg is now happily running away in his/my new home.

One bad thing, though -- I accidentally plugged the wrong power supply in to my linksys switch and fried it. Arrgghh!! The plugs are all the same size... Luckily, I have an old hub lying around, but it's performance is already sucking (since I'm streaming MP3s from my router to queeg). I'm just gonna have to bite the bullet and go buy a new switch. Grumble...

I'm playing The Matrix soundtrack, good and loud. This sub-woofer really rocks. I've heard it good and loud in the LSC before, but my office is a much smaller space than the LSC, and that just makes it all the more powerful. I can feel the woofer vibrating in the carpet. Yummy!


There are a measley 19 copies of xmms running, out of 92 total for a wimpy 20%. We'll keep playing MP3s to pump this stat up. :-)

I demand an immediate and comprehensive investigation into the disappearance of office canes!

Quick journal entry today:

  • I was up at ND all week to spend some quality time in the library, and to touch base with Brian and Arun w.r.t. LAM/MPI.

    • Got a whole bunch of good stuff from the library from the various journals and whatnot for my dissertation.

    • Scyld stuff for LAM is turning out to be more difficult than we thought (imagine that). Biggest source of problems: Scyld is "single system image" because it doesn't force you to have a common filesystem (and when everything in unix is a file, this is kinda critical).

    • Lots of Myrinet progress -- still not complete yet, but I think we're down to the "mopping up the details" phase. Long and short sends seem to work. There's a few issues with fork, and I think MPI_IPROBE doesn't work properly (possibly MPI_PROBE as well), but it's getting to be releasable.

    • HP has graciously given us a machine to play on (both for LAM testing and for IMPI testing), but it's taking a while to get it setup
      -- first they forgot to add an account for us, and now we're waiting for C/C++/Fortran compilers and HP/MPI to be installed. Hopefully, it will be ready by Monday.

    • LAM finally works on HP-UX 10.20.

  • Got home last night and fired up DSL at the house -- it was
    to setup on Linux! I plugged in the modem, plugged in ethernet to my laptop, and fired up a browser to the 10.x.y.z address that my install book said to do. I agreed to the TOS, typed in my phone number, and the modem installed itself (it seemed to look up configuration and whatnot from central Telocity servers and whatnot, keyed on my phone number). Pretty slick! The router than rebooted, I forced Linux to re-DHCP (just removed my card and put it back in), and I was live on the net! All in all, I was damn impressed -- you don't get much easier than that.

  • Ironically, today, Tracy wanted to get her e-mail, so I figured I'd just plug ethernet in the 'doze machine and let it DHCP from the modem and it should be good to go. Nope. There's a whole separate (and non-trivial) install procedure that I really didn't want to go through. Weird that the Linux install was , but the Windoze install was complicated. Must go get my backup linux router box from the apartment today, and setup NAT properly, etc., etc.

  • So doing more house stuff today, including setting up my office and bringing queeg and my new router over. I'll have to leave the old router running at the apartment for a few days to give DNS a chance to propagate the update of the IP addresses nicely (can take 1-3 days to go all the way around the world).


There are currently no xmms processes running, 'cause I never bothered to setup sound on my laptop. ;-)

March 28, 2001

I am a cipher wrapped in an enigma, smothered in secret sauce

This is somewhat annoying.

DSL has gone out today, sometime between 10-11am. I called Telocity probably about 30-45 minutes, to see if they had an estimate as to when it would be back (thinking that it was a general outage). Turns out that it's just me -- there's some kind of glitch between me and Telocity.

It appears that I have connectivity to my DSLAM (if I get this right: "digital subscriber line access ....". Ok, I don't remember the last word. It's the routing point at my local phone company (Bell South) to Telocity. Anyway, Telocity can reach my DSLAM, but not me. I'm not sure what I can reach -- I can ping my modem, but I don't know if the DSLAM is supposed to respond to a ping or not (it doesn't).

Two things concern me:

  • Yesterday, I called Telocity to disconnect my old DSL line (i.e., the one in the apartment). They said that they had to confirm this through e-mail; they'd send me an e-mail, and I would have to reply to it. This kinda struck me as strange, especially since she asked me for my e-mail address. So even if they're trying to get a solid confirmation from the customer, who's to say that I'm still not a malicious person with a random hotmail account handy that I could use to "forge" the real user's authorization. It's like the "Sir, I cannot accept your credit card because it is not signed" urban legend.

    Anyway, I got the e-mail this morning and replied to it, being careful to specify my old phone number. I'm kinda concerned because my new DSL service shut off about 2-3 hours later... I called up Telocity billing a little while later, and they swear that this is not the case. But I'm not [yet] convinced...

  • When BellSouth installed our phone a few weeks ago, they ran a cable from the pedestal at the street to the side of our house. Literally. And they left that cable sitting on our lawn. They finally came back and buried the cable today. My phone still works, but did they jar some secondary connection that disconnected my DSL service? Hmmm...

All this is pure speculation, but the timing is suspicious. Meanwhile, it's at least 7 hours later and I still don't have connectivity. Arrgghh!!!

I took the opportunity to do a whole bunch of house stuff, and fixed up a few nagging issues in the jjc code, and I did some more work on my taxes (good and complicated -- ugh!). But I wasn't productive in terms of dissertation stuff. :-(


I did read some papers from a SIAM conference that Lummy went to recently (he gave me the CD of the proceedings). Some of the papers made me mad; at least one author claimed that MPI sucked because they were using a "pure MPI code" on a cluster of SMPs and the message passing performance on each node sucked.

DUH!!! MPICH doesn't have a TCP/shmem device. This is a well known shortcoming of MPICH. Did the authors use LAM/MPI, which has a TCP/shmem device? No, they just claimed that MPI sucks, only because one aspect of one implementation of MPI sucks. (don't get me wrong, LAM/MPI certainly has its own weaknesses; this issue just highlights one of MPICH's weaknesses)

Indeed, MPICH is just about the only MPI that doesn't have a TCP/shmem device; LAM/MPI does (as I pointed out above), as well do all the vendors MPI implementations. The authors didn't try any other MPI implementation -- only the one that would support their theories.

Had I been to this conference, I surely would have pointed this out to the authors. I still might well mail the authors. Grrr....


I got a carpet chair mat thingy today for my office. I can now roll my chair with ease. Yummy. :-)


I've been using TurboTax for my and Tracy's taxes. I went out and bought "TurboTax/State" today to do Tracy's Kentucky taxes (I was an Indiana resident last year, and already have the TurboTax for Indiana/2000). Taxes are complicated. Taxes suck. Some of my friends are convinced that taxes are illegal (they have a great story line/rationale as to why this is so), and they just don't pay taxes. Although their rationale is quite convincing, I'm not quite to the point where I won't pay taxes. :-)

Right now, I'm just trying to figure them out. Ugh. Very complicated, because there's 6,000,000 special rules and exceptions. Yes, I'm 29 years old, and my dad has always done my taxes before this. Is that pathetic?

Hell, no! It saved me oodles of time up until now. :-)

But I figure that now that I'm married and have a home, I should probably try to figure out these taxes things...


I had to reboot queeg today; it had mysteriously dropped off the CAN (right about when DSL went out. Hmm...). So there's only a measly 55 copies of xmms running right now, out of 124 total, for a grand total percentage of 44%. The high point earlier today (i.e., pre-reboot) was 339 copies out of 413 total processes, for a total of 82%. Not impressive, but nothing to sneeze at, either. Give it a few more days, and we'll have respectable xmms-crashing numbers again...


DSL came back around 7:30pm or so. Woof.

March 30, 2001

And my special "spooky" version of the Hokey Pokey

Been doing housework and dissertation work.

Had another DSL outage for several hours again today. Foo. Turned out that power cycling the DSL modem fixed my woes. Arrgh!

Saw a great quote in a mindless action novel that I was reading the other day. A bunch Americans who have colonized the moon, and the Russians have flown several soldiers to the moon to take over the American colony. The stereotypical Russian soldier is squaring off the the lead American:

American: I must warn you, Major. We have a secret weapon. You and your men will surely die. Russian: A crude bluff, Mr. Steinmetz. I would have expected better from an American Scientist. American: Engineer -- there's a difference.

And, of course, the engineers go on to defeat the soldiers and save the day. God bless America.


pine has been annoying the crap out of me lately, so I gave wanderlust a whirl today (an emacs mailer that can do IMAP, SSL, threading, filtering, archiving, online and offline operation [which is truly cool -- pine really needs that], and make your dinner). Wow -- it's complicated. Perhaps even more complicated than mutt.

I couldn't get some of the basic functionality working properly (sometimes the index and the messages wouldn't match, or wouldn't display at all). So I gave up and decided that I'll spend quality time with it after I defend my dissertation. It looks like a really powerful mail program, but I just don't have time to spend with it now...


Nothing else too exciting to report. We turn over the keys to our old apartment tomorrow. Woo hoo! We sold 2 of the 3 room air conditioners; the third will stay in the apartment (it's a big momma-jomma) -- the owners said that they could probably sell it for us.

Much dissertating to do this weekend...


During my DSL woes today, I rebooted queeg, so I've only got 78 xmms's running, out of 157 total, for a pathetic 49%. Woof.

About March 2001

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in March 2001. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2001 is the previous archive.

April 2001 is the next archive.

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