[ExI] homebrew cold freon bath super computer

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 12 22:31:59 UTC 2012

I'd love to go to a Maker Fair with this group.

John  : )

On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM, Tomasz Rola <rtomek at ceti.pl> wrote:

> On Sat, 10 Mar 2012, spike wrote:
> [...]
> > I presented the question this evening to a friend who is a processor
> > hipster, and he assured me there are plenty of processors available whose
> > power use is so low, I would be unlikely to need to resort to heat
> transfer
> > heroics.  So then my task was to convince him that I really like heat
> > transfer heroics.
> Cool. If you'd like to play more with this, maybe overclocking some big
> multicore cpu would satiate you :-).
> [...]
> > drops below about 2C.  I think GIMPS would be a good application: very
> > calculation intensive, doesn't require a lot of I/O, and if for whatever
> > reason there is no I/O available for months at a time, it stores the
> work it
> > has done.  We could have them grind away on 100 megadigit primes, for
> which
> > the EFF 150kUSD prize is still out there.  Of course it wouldn't pay for
> the
> > electricity used, since it would cost about 8 cents for each candidate,
> and
> > the mathematical expectation is just over one cent each, but it would be
> > cool anyway:
> >
> > https://www.eff.org/awards/coop
> Yes, primes, very sexy. I like them, too. Even without a prize.
> > Tomasz, there is something I need to explain.  Back in the 80s, before
> there
> > were all that many computer applications, those of us who were into that
> > kind of thing used to build up fast computers, by finding the fastest
> > processor board available, overclocking it, getting the fastest memory
> > available, the biggest disk drive, some of which held a thousandth as
> much
> > as a five dollar keychain drive today, assuming one had plenty of extra
> > money to spend on it, and connect it all up to a 15 inch color monitor.
> > Then we were in tall cotton, my young friends.  We were hot stuff, the
> bees
> > knees.  It was a natural geek version of having a hopped up car.  Of
> course
> > we still didn't really have any good applications for the machines in
> those
> > days.
> Yes, those were great days, in many ways. However, I would say there was
> nice soft back then, and even more important, people wanting to play with
> it. My definition of nice soft... well, let's say Common Lisp and
> Smalltalk fit the definition and leave it there. Now, there is all kind of
> computing power you'd want, but people program in languages like Java or
> Visual Basic, and I cannot see this as cool.
> OTOH, I can see how it is always about making things from elements. Making
> hopped up cars, DIY computers or software from parts. The rest is in
> details, but general rule seems to stay the same.
> > But it is making me nuts to think of processors going into the trash,
> > when they could be salvaged perhaps and put to work doing something,
> > even if useless.
> I'm afraid you can't help it. I think about a decade ago, things were
> designed in more hack-friendly manner - like first models of iPaq PDAs
> which had JTAG interface, so it was possible to reprogram their flash
> even after bricking them. But I guess those days are over now. Myself, I
> simply got used to thinking of those devices as cement bricks. Once their
> software cannot be updated, they are as dead as if they browned out.
> BTW, it is possible electronics is or will be designed in such a way, that
> after, say, five years something will pop and brown anyway. You know, just
> to be sure you upgrade to "better" thing. Unless you eke out more money
> in a shop, in which case you may get "unenhanced" version that will last
> ten years.
> Thanks to computing entering mainstream consciousness, not many people
> care about hackability anymore. Selling products (and bringing money home)
> is important and since business always grows on throwing old stuff away,
> there is no point in reusing old product. Primes? What's this? Are they
> sold? If not, either they don't exist or are unimportant enough for the
> public to care.
> Regards,
> Tomasz Rola
> --
> ** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
> ** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
> ** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
> **                                                                 **
> ** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **
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