Clarkwood Software   SETI@Home

Clarkwood Software and SETI@Home

by Bob Clark

originally published 2000; last updated May 2007

Clarkwood Software is excited about the SETI@Home project. It’s such a cool idea to harness the processing power of so many networked computers.

Some of our products function especially well when you’re on a Mac running the SETI@Home client software.

Peek-a-Boo has been used by many SETI@Home users to boost performance of the SETI@Home client application, both while in screen-saver mode and while simply running it as a normal background application. Peek-a-Boo’s Special Technology feature is used to set SETI@Home’s priority to “High” for noticeable performance improvements.

ramBunctious has been used as well. By putting the SETI@Home data onto a RAM disk instead of a hard drive, performance is slightly improved since it doesn’t have to access the hard drive as frequently. Perhaps more importantly, wear and tear are reduced and if you have your hard drive set to “sleep” when it’s not used for a long time, it will successfully spin down.

To set up a ramBunctious RAM disk for using with SETI@Home, create a one-megabyte RAM disk. (You could create one even smaller if you wish -- the SETI@Home data only takes about half of a megabyte.) I set mine up as a disk-based RAM disk with daily periodic saves; that way if I leave my computer running over the weekend and it crashes on Monday morning, it’s still saved most of the work. You’ll have to find your own balance of how often it hits the disk versus how much you might lose in a crash. I also turn on the “Automount Disk” option so the RAM disk is always available when my computer starts up.

These directions assume that you’ve already run SETI@Home at least once so it has set up its preferences in the Preferences folder (under OS 8.6 or earlier) or in the Application Support folder (under OS 9 or later). If you haven’t run SETI@Home, get it functional without a RAM disk. That makes setting it up with the RAM disk that much easier, and reduces the number of variables in case something doesn’t work correctly.

To tell SETI@Home to use the RAM disk, quit the SETI@Home client if it’s running. Then open the Preferences or Application Support folder (inside the System Folder). There should be a folder called “SETI@home Data”. Copy this folder over the RAM disk, then delete it from the Preferences or Application Support folder. Create an alias to the (newly-copied) “SETI@home Data” folder and put the alias in the Preferences or Application Support folder. Make sure the name is exactly the same as the name of the folder was. (When you created the alias, it might have named it “SETI@home Data alias”. If so, you’ll need to remove the “ alias” at the end of the name.)

Once that alias is in place, run SETI@Home again. It will use the “SETI@hom Data” folder on the RAM disk for a somewhat faster and infinitely less annoying (if you hate hard-drive chatter as much as I do) SETI@Home experience.

We hope you enjoy SETI@Home as much as we do.

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