Searching for ET

It's noble to volunteer for worthy projects, isn't it? But we have so little extra time today. What if your personal time was not involved and only a few cents of your income, would you volunteer?

Here's the deal. It's your computer that "we" want. "We" meaning the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at Home project. For 5 cents a day you can leave your computer on all the time and let it volunteer to accomplish "work units" while you are not using it. The University of California at Berkley is harnessing the power of multiple computers to crunch sets of mathematical measurements from particular parts of the sky. (See their site). They provide you with the software that works with a screen saver. When you stop using your computer the screen saver comes on, dials up California and downloads a work unit to crunch. If you begin to work again, it politely saves its work and gets out of your way. When one work unit is done it uploads the results and gets another unit.

Okay, you don't believe in ET, then would you let your computer volunteer to crack encryption keys?(Try this)


Of course you can't compete with Teraflops

That's Sandia National Laboratories' monster computer that has reached the long-sought trillion floating point operations per second. - a speed of 1.8 teraflops. How fast is that? In comparison, it would take a hand-held computer about 57,000 years to calculate a problem that the Sandia system could compute in one second.

In its 9-5 job, Teraflops helps researchers simulate nuclear explosions (we won't even GO THERE), but after hours it works on civilian projects and scientific research such as we talked about for your own philanthropic computer. Projects such as creating a detailed model of what would happen if a mile-wide comet hit the earth. We are not GOING THERE either. (But you can if you click on Sandia.)


That's the Inside - How About the Outside?

It's hard to believe I know, but IBM now has designer covers for their Thinkpads. That's right, you can choose from such metallic color options as Mars Red, Terra Green, Eclipse Blue, or Lunar Gray. Snap 'em on and away you go "bright and classy," in IBM's own words. And we thought iMac was the living end.


Or You Might Want Electronic Paper

Xerox has ePaper, which is static monochrome that works by rotating beads in capsules. E Ink has Immedia, static color using dye and pigment in capsules. Lucent Technologies proposes to work with E Ink to provide paper that drives the ink via generating transistors on flexible plastic. You say you want images as well as text, Then take a look at Cambridge Display Technology and their development of light emitting polymers. These plastics emit light when an electrical current is applied to them. Philips will use this technology to launch products for cell phones and car displays, first monochrome then color, that are no more than 1-2mm thick and can handle moving images.


In the Meantime, Just Download a Book

Barnes&Noble is advertising The Rocket eBook. A hand-held device about the size of a regular book to which you can download RocketEditions of selected books and magazines. I wouldn't request War and Peace though.