SETI@home / Oh, the clocks changed already.

My alarm went off at its usual time this morning, and as I toddled off for my morning constitutional, I was starting to feel puzzled by how bright the morning was. “It must be a cloudless morning,” I thought.

Eventually, after checking another clock for confirmation, I learned the clocks changed last night; my alarm clock does this automatically, along with my computers. I had it in my head that this wasn’t supposed to happen until next weekend. I was thankful for the extra hour of sleep though, and enjoying how awake I was at this hour, and since it was bright enough already, I went for my short morning jog; I’ve missed a lot of days this month, partly due to not having the energy/enthusiasm/will power, but also because the darkening mornings have meddled with my morning routine.

Anyway, SETI@home…

Regular readers may recall that I participate in SETI@home (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), or rather that I do so during the winter months, between the points when the clocks change; during the summer my house doesn’t need the heat that my computers generate whilst participating, and I can save some money on my energy bill then instead.

I’d ended my last stint back in March in 8th place in the UK, and just a hair’s breadth short of taking 7th, with around 125 million points. Since then a few people have overtaken me so I have some places to regain. It’s almost like I haven’t stopped and started again because the person just ahead of me no longer participates so the gap between us is pretty much as it was.

I’d actually started to switch a couple of computers back on a couple of weeks early because, due to it being a soggy summer, my house (being an old on) had absorbed a lot of moisture. It was also feeling chilly in my bedroom (<15 degrees C is my feel chilly point). Switching them on again is like meeting an old friend since I’ve had them for a good few years now.

As always though, I’m torn between running computers when I don’t need the extra heat and making as much headway as possible. In addition to this predicament I had to decide if I would buy any new equipment or make do with what I’ve got, but this was made a little easier by the fact I had sold a few graphics cards once I’d finished with them for the winter-stint, and by an offer from Zotac of a 5 year warranty on one of the graphics cards I was looking at.

I had played with the idea of selling graphics cards once I’d finished with them, and then buying replacements when I start needing them again, since these things lose value. However, it turned out that the ones I was using weren’t quite losing enough value in relation to the hassle of selling, and posting, and re-buying. A five year warranty means I can not only buy with confidence, but use and abuse with confidence also! If things run a little hot and fans wear out prematurely (as I’ve known happy) then I should be able to send them away for a free repair. That’s my justification anyway.

I would like to regain 8th place in the UK by the end of the winter, but this might be a tall-order. Watch this space!

PS. I’m also in 28th position in team GPUUG.

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