Archive for May, 2008

HOWTO: Build a Parallel Port Interface Card

May 17, 2008 Comments off

So I have a hankering to get my computers to interact more with their environment (not in a Terminator kind of way, honest). I ordered a nice USB input/output interface today which should arrive next week. Being hugely impatient, I browsed the local DSE store and found a (soon to be extinct) parallel port interface card (more info here).

This bad boy has 10 analogue inputs, 2 analogue outputs and 8 digital outputs; quite a bit of jazz for $20. The only downside is the sample software is written in QBASIC (and included only in printout form!). After a little Googling I found a company who had written some nice basic C++ functions to read the inputs and write the outputs.

See the blank PCB and the finished product below (And no, the kit did not come with that nice little tidy box. I like to prepare by separating all major components out, resistors, capacitors, transistors/regulators, IC’s, connectors and other miscellaneous mechanical components then install them in that order. 🙂 )

Categories: How To

Extreme Folding (@Home)

May 7, 2008 Comments off

Had the opportunity to stress test a new server today. Pretty average specs apart from the dual quad-core Xeon’s. Booted up Ubuntu off a live cd so I would not disturb the Server 2k3 on there and downloaded the FAH v6 client.

Only problem though was I could not get it to run in SMP mode because I was running a 32-bit Ubuntu. No problems, I will just boot the 64-bit version. After booting the AMD64 cd, fah6 would not load; just giving an error from bash “file or folder cannot be found”. I had a quick play around but it seemed to be an issue with the 32-bit compatibility libraries (I file’d the executable and it said it was a 32-bit elf). Running out of time I simply made 8 directories and ran 8 copies of the program, changing the machine id for each instance

Check out the screenshot of the 8 terminal’s open running F@H and 8 cores running flat stick!

Edit: As you can see, that screenshot was taken just after the machine was booted. Once all the cores engaged and were left humming uninterrupted the load average sat at a nice 8.01.

Categories: General