Would you feel comfortable with this?

By Zen ยท 7 replies
Mar 21, 2012
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  1. For the longest time I've always had a fascination with space. For years I thought about doing this, but never really felt to comfortable allowing other people or agencies to have even the slightest remote access to my computer. So before I do something here that I may regret and or suffer computer damage, due to the strong loads that might be placed upon it, I thought about running this by everyone here.

    I've been thinking for years with possibly downloading the required software that would allow the agency known as S.E.T.I. ((Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)) to remotely use a portion of my computer to process and or compute some of their stuff. S.E.T.I. advertises that regular people out there that allow S.E.T.I. access their computers, would be titled Civilian Scientist's. They also advertise that these Civilian Scientist's can get "interactive" with whatever that persons computer is working on. They offer some sort of fancy screensaver thing that allows people to see other peoples computers out there and a little of what those computers are working on.

    The S.E.T.I. interactive non entertainment purpose screensaver.....

    The S.E.T.I. Home web site.....

    So would this be something worth my while, to help contribute what little I can to the scientific world that is looking for possible life amongst the stars? Or is this something that you would stay the heck away from, for whatever reason or reasons?

    Please let me know what you think......."thanks"!
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Looking at what other people's computer's are doing seems a bit odd, is it different than just being able to see their stats? I wouldn't think they would allow you to connect to another user's computer.

    Also, we've done this before.
    NEW !!! TechSpot SETI@HOME Team <- Thread from when this version of the forums was still really new (look at the topic #)
    -=( TechSpot's Seti@home FAQ )=-
    Setiatwork : SETI@home team & individual stats on a daily basis <- The link for the daily stat's page is no longer alive, but its interesting to read the comments in the thread.
    -=( Techspot SETI @ HOME team )=- going BOINC

    I still think its a valid project to get involved with, but fewer people seem to do it now. Likely because people seem a lot more concerned with CPU/GPU temps now than they did back in the early 2000s, and also, power consumption.

    If you want to get involved in the project, it would be cool if you joined our team. Although you may be the only active member. I remember folding for a long time, yet I'm next to last on the stats page. Wonder if I never got credit for my SETI Classic results. I kind of lost interest in the project when they switched to BOINC, it wasn't as nice to use as the Classic app.
  3. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,334   +36

    Zen, I ran the S.E.T.I. several years ago. I thought- well heck, if I can contribute something to science, why not?

    There were fewer options then- as I remember, you either ran it or you didn't!. But in the end, I was just not comfortable with this running in the background. I didn't know of any way to actually monitor what it was doing or if it was only doing what it was suppose to!

    I don't think the average home computer is the place for SETI- maybe better a group of people, maybe setting up an 'Intranet.' As you may guess, I am very skeptical and slightly paranoid of the internet based on what I see daily on systems run by honest, clean users who don't know what hit them when malware shuts them down.
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I'd agree with Bobbye on this really.

    Its for a good cause, but your never "really" going to know the exact "functions" as it runs in the background despite being for a good cause.

    If it was me, I would set up a computer *isolated* from the rest of your network and use that solely for folding with a lightweight OS on it, in order to give the software the most available resources. At least that way you don't need to be concerned about the potential impact of any damage moving forward.

    There is no way I'd run it on my daily rig though, and I certainly wouldn't run it on any of my servers.
  5. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Bobbye & Leeky : Well after some pondering here, I decided "not" to run this S.E.T.I. thing on any of my personal computers that are on my in home network. If I do this, I will take Leeky's lead here and maybe set up a small little computer, nothing fancy, just bare bones and run the S.E.T.I. stuff on that. I have the parts laying around, an ECS mini micro motherboard, 80 Gig HD, a spare 10/100 net card, 2 Gig's of RAM, a 400 watts micro power supply, a 32x CD drive, and an old Nvidia 6200 video card. I guess just build a micro system and slap Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP (32bit) on it. And yeah, keep the thing "isolated"! Now I just have to kick back a while and think if this is worth it? And your right Leeky, I ain't putting that stuff on my in home server or two remote servers I got, no way, risking to much there!

    Now I just have to give this some thought!
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    If you use your computer and home network for "social and personal" usage then I think you'll be fine, it all depends on how secure you want your data to be really.

    Being realistic, the risk is pretty bloody low that anything bad would happen, but I'd rather be overly cautious, and if I can't understand or find a way of knowing exactly what is being transmitted I'm unlikely I'll do it.

    A dedicated rig is the way forward though, in my personal view. Something low powered, that wouldn't hurt you on electric, but running 24/7 should be worthwhile.

    I've often thought about this myself, but the energy consumption of my systems is high enough already. Still, at least the by-product of all that heats my office nicely in the winter! :haha:

    If you just want to "make" a small contribution, another possibility is to create a virtual machine and dedicate some CPU and GPU resources to it. You could isolate that on your main computer no problem, but the performance of that depends solely on the available resources of your computer running the VM. Its a thought though. I'd imagine it would be much better at crunching with the CPU though in this case.
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    While I can't say with 100% certainty, I think you can be pretty sure this is 'safe'. It is ran by a university with probably tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of machines running this 24/7 for over a decade. If something nefarious was going on it would have been all over the tech world by now.
  8. Zilpha

    Zilpha TS Enthusiast Posts: 319

    To be sure, but then you have to wonder what happens when that one indoctrinated person decides to go rogue! then there is reapers everywhere.

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