Featured Cruncher - Snafu
Date: Thursday, November 13 @ 00:00:00 PST
Topic: News SETI


Friday is upon us once again? Ok, I don?t get it? It?s mid November and on my way upstairs to finish off this Featured Cruncher article, I had to kill two mosquitoes in the stairway? That ain?t right!!
But anyways, enough nonsense? Let me get to the point, and introduce the Cruncher of Honor this week? and a good week indeed since it was his birthday! So, if I may?
You?ve seen him around the forum, crunching numbers for SETI, or maybe you lost to (or beat?) him in LWD Fantasy Football? It is an honor to introduce to you K9s the one, the only?SNAFU!!


Nattiebo: Snafu? Please give us dogs some personal details about you? !! - Age, Sex, Student/Career?


Snafu: I'm Jeff Dougherty, 38 years old (eff. 11/13); born/raised in Louisville, KY; EE grad from Purdue University; spent 10 years active/2 years Reserves in the Air Force (Acquisition/ Engineering Officer); since '98 I've been a beltway bandit, now working for a small firm of about 13 engineers, in the Fort Meade area.


Nattiebo: Happy Birthday! Any big celebration plans?


Snafu: Yep, my daughter just turned '6' today, so we're joining ranks and heading to Medieval Times with my parents (who are in town for the birthdays).


Nattiebo: That's great that you served the United States in the Air Force! During your active duty and reserve years did you do much travelling?


Snafu: My travelling was mostly limited to temporary duty (aka, business trips), but I did a good deal of it:
- Los Angeles AFB was my first assignment - lots of trips to San Jose and Colorado
Springs; plus one two-month trip to the UK and another to DC- Next assignment was the government office at the McDonnell Douglas plant in Huntington Beach - lots of trips to Denver, Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg AFB, Salt Lake City
- Last assignment was here at Ft. Meade - several, long trips, including being out of the country for most of my wife's pregnancy with our first child... made it back home two days before she was born (she was due three weeks later)
- Even managed a trip to Monterey and Camp Parks (both in CA) while in the Reserves


Nattiebo: What attracted you to venture out of Kentucky and into the Boilermaker land??


Snafu: Well, I wanted to go to a decent engineering school that accepted ROTC scholarships; narrowed it down to Georgia Tech and Purdue. Purdue was out of state, but only about a 3 hour drive away. Plus, how can you pass up attending a school named for a drink? (pssst, that's a joke, they're name came from a sports reporter's claim that the football team looked the size of a bunch of boiler makers from the local rail yards, back at the turn of the 20th century).


Nattiebo: Do you have any hobbies or interests other than computers?


Snafu: Usually, I can be found vegging in front of the magic box, then the PC, then back to the magic box, repeat. Unless, of course, my kids coerce me into playing with them or some such.


Nattiebo: What are your favorite shows or computer programs?


Snafu: Have to have both doses of the Simpsons each weeknight on the local Fox channel. I also like ABC's "Life According to Jim," "Less than Perfect," "NYPD Blue" and "Life with Bonnie." And, of course, just about any college or pro football, college (only) basketball, sometimes baseball, sometimes golf, oh and cricket, like they ever show that here in the states.


Nattiebo: How did you get the name Snafu?


Snafu: Standard military term, S-ituation N-ormal A-ll F-ed U-p. Pretty much sums it up.


Nattiebo: When did you start running SETI?


Snafu: I registered on Aug 17, 2001.


Nattiebo: Where did you hear about SETI?


Snafu: Somewhere between my boss and LWD, it started to seem like a good idea. My boss has been crunching for a few years more than I.


Nattiebo: How did you find LWD, or how did LWD find you??


Snafu: It was back when the "how to change your Windows login screen" article emerged... I saw it referenced on Slashdot, I think.


Nattiebo: On how many machines are you currently running SETI?


Snafu: Only the home PC... an AMD Athlon 1GHz.


Nattiebo: Are you an overclocking "Freak" on your home boxen?


Snafu: Not really... seems I spend more time "correcting" some SNAFU when I have attempted to overclock, so the missus gets a bit perturbed about not being able to use the PC. We both check email and various websites a lot.


Nattiebo: Do you use SETI Queue or any other add-ons?


Snafu: I use command line SETI, SETI Spy, SETI Driver and SETI Queue (20 WUs) for Berkley server problem mitigation, etc.


Nattiebo: What do you hope to accomplish by running SETI?


Snafu: Mostly, I just think it was a great idea to continue scientific research without the massive capital outlay on the part of SETI, and I'm happy to share unused CPU cycles to lend a hand.


Nattiebo: Do you have any goals you would like to reach before SETI ends or any folks in particular who you wouldn't mind passing?


Snafu: I never remember when it's going to end, how about 3500 (or less if it's too imminent). I'm just happy to pass anyone at all anymore... seems once I found my couple-a-day crunching groove, everyone around me began passing much more rapidly, so I dropped anyway.


Nattiebo: What would your ultimate SETI Crunching machine be?


Snafu: Some multi-processor behemoth, like we see at work sometimes... nah, I'd go to jail or be strung up by the short-hairs if SETI were put on there... would be neat though, eh?


Nattiebo: That would be cool... So there is no coercing the boss to let you or would he want to have them crunching for him??? Work machines always seem to be perfect SETI-WU-computing candidates, don't they?


Snafu: Can you say lawsuit? Ft. Leavenworth? Abuse of government property? etc.....


Nattiebo: Yeah I see your point. SETI is cool and all, but not cool enough to send you to the dog house. You've been running it for quite some time now... Do you find yourself checking out your progress less or more or the same??


Snafu: I'd have to say less... I used to constantly check to see how my overall WU average was holding, now I just let things crunch.


Nattiebo: In very the near future, possibly as early as later this month, SETI will be ported over to the BOINC Platform, with Astropulse and the Southern Hemisphere Projects coming online shortly thereafter. Can we count on you to switch to one of those when the Šeta test is over? Which?


Snafu: Sure, as long as they don't do the "Folding" method of selling compute time to others. Don't really have an opinion as to which one.



Nattiebo: What does the misses or good friends think about SETI?


Snafu: What the missus doesn't have to work around doesn't bother her... when Berkley is down, she doesn't like the DOS boxes that end with "will try again in one hour," but can EASILY work around those. Other friends crunch as well.


Nattiebo: Are your other crunching buddies crunching for other teams or are they on their own?


Snafu: Solo flyers.


Nattiebo: Do you and your buds ever have side races or compare WU times??


Snafu: Not really. My boss has slacked off on crunching lately, I believe.


Nattiebo: Have you had any success in recruiting people to LWD?


Snafu: I've had plenty of folks ask me what the heck I'm reading (lots of sharing outloud from the Freaky Findings and Anything Goes fora), but no confirmed assimilations.



Nattiebo: If you could improve anything about the SETI@Home Project, what would it be?


Snafu: More consistent link access to turn in/retrieve WUs.


Nattiebo: What do you think the best thing is about LWD?


Snafu: The camaraderie of the dog pound.


Nattiebo: What do you think of the LWD fantasy football league so far? Who is your most valuable player?


Snafu: Like the league, just wish my record was better. But at least I still retain the "Dan Snyder" crown for the most player transactions. Overall, my MVP has been Brett Favre, though this week was bleak.


Nattiebo: Well, thanks letting us get to know you a little better. Do you have any final comments (free reign here)?


Snafu: That about covers it all. Sniff ya around the dogpound.







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