Friday, June 30, 2006

My Toshiba Portege M200 notebook was in need of an upgrade.  A couple weeks ago I purchased an Toshiba Portege M400 and it finally arrived on Wednesday.

After burning the recovery DVD's I set about installing Windows Vista Beta 2 on it.  After my second try I finally got things up and running right, I failed in my first attempt since I attempted to install the Toshiba HDD shock protection driver which caused the BSOD.  I searched around the blogshere and found out that the Bluetooth drivers were safe to install so I did that.  I also had to change the video driver that Vista picked to the 'Intel Lakeport Graphics Controller' in order to view Aero Glass.

So I have everything up and running except the built-in IDE RAID controller and the HDD shock protection driver.

The system has a built-in TPM module which is pretty cool and I'm going to go ahead and try to get Bitlocker running on the machine after I make a backup.  What is interesting though is that windows detected and installed the fingerprint reader but hasn't given me an option of associating a fingerprint with a user account out of the box.  Even though the machine comes with a finger print reader I think I'm going to stick with my plan of using smart cards.  I'm not gutsy enough for an RFID implant and the finger print readers are a little awkward for me.  What would be the bomb for me is an iris scanner.


After a little fiddling around with a manual installation of BOINC it appears to run just fine with Aero Glass. Here is a picture of it.


I'm going to see if the guys at IBM think it would be a cool idea to make the background image in the Simple GUI translucent.  I think that would be neat. 

The Lazy Slug of World Community Grid fame has created a nifty set of tools for deploying BOINC across company wide networks.

If your interested check out for a how to guide.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Starting in the next version of the BOINC client we'll be able to detect CPU capabilities.

It is important to note that the capability detection is actually done by the operating system and BOINC just queries the operating system for the supported instruction sets.  I bring this up because not all operating systems fully support all additional instruction sets supported by the processor.  We are being conservative here to avoid illegal instruction exceptions or privileged instruction exceptions.

For Windows the following instruction sets or capabilities can be detected:

  • fpu
  • tsc
  • pae
  • nx
  • sse
  • sse2
  • sse3
  • 3dnow
  • mmx

On Linux we read the data out of /proc/cpuinfo.

I still need to write the code for the Mac OS. 

The processor information will be passed to both the science applications and the scheduling server.


Well the BOINC Default client is about to get a face lift.  David and I have been working with the guys at World Community Grid to come up with a simplier GUI than the one in use today.

The simple GUI will be skinable.  We will be releasing a specification for how to construct skins at a later date.

It is our hope that skins can be used by both projects and teams to present a better experience for everybody.

What we have nailed down so far is that the skin file will be XML, and it'll contain references to BMPs, JPGs, PNGs, and GIFs.  The skin file will be stored in a subdirectory called 'skins'.

Here is an example of what a skined BOINC Manager looks like: