Saturday, October 16, 2010

CIS(theta) Meeting III (2010-2011) - Geek Squad!

Geek Squad!

DavidG, HerbertK, JayW, JoshG, RyanH

Reading: Building Parallel Programs, Chapter3


This week we reviewed the reading from Chapter 2 and the links from Research 2. Then we proceeded to outline some projects for the "Geek Squad!"  

1) A couple of Student Station's Ubuntu 10.04 Desktops got FUBARed, so we talked about downloading the 64bit ISO, burning a CD and reinstalling those stations. Don't forget, we also have to add JRE for SAGE ( to do animation in 3D!

2) The Teacher Station is fine, except I tried to get Adobe Flash to work in 64bit for Youtube Wednesdays, but I just succeeded in banging my head against the wall! So, we talked about getting the 32bit Ubuntu ISO and downgrading the OS on that station only. This station should do all that a Student Station does (ie: add JRE) plus some extra apps.  I have VLC (thanx to Jeremy's 250GB external USB Hard-Drive full of Star Trek episodes) and Xournal (can't stand Smart Notebook for Linux) on there, so I'd like to add them to the 32bit Linux partition also. I'm going to need WINE (on all 25 stations) to run VTI for a final project in programming graphing calculators in my Computer Math class (and I won't have to give out TI-83s). I also never got around to playing with handbrake which I want to use to chop up an old National Geographic special that I want to upload to Youtube called "The Miracle Chip" that I converted from VHS to DVD a couple of years ago. Last, but not least, don't forget the Flash plugin for Firefox!

3) Our new 64bit quad-core Xeon servers are not yet ready for prime time! We finally got the gigE drops, so we need to set up the Ethernet cards to be accessible from home.  Also, these PCs are setup right now like the student PCs except for the JRE (ie just a barebones 64bit Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop, not the Server Edition). What we need to install here is vsFTP and openSSH so each server can take the place of the 2 servers we are currently using.  The idea is to replace both (current ftp server) and (current sftp server) by or which will be mirror images of eachother. Another problem with the new servers is that they have RAID drives as follows: guardian has 2x72GB+2x36GB drives and caprica has 1x72GB+3x36GB drives. I would like both servers to have the same RAID setup, so I'm waiting on an order of 5 new 72GB drives to swap out the 36GB drives. That way, both servers will have a 288GB capacity (current servers only have 80GB) and each server can function as an ftp and an sftp site. I may eventually add "Teacher Station" functionality to Guardian (since the new servers are in Room 429 too) so I can use it in class.  This way, one Teacher Station can run WimpDoze all day and the other can run Linux all day so we don't have to reboot theses stations for different classes through out the day. All we need is a KDM switch so as to have 1 keyboard and 1 mouse for both PCs, plus a video switch for the PC Projector to take either Teacher Station as source! You know, what we realy need is a PC Podium so we can also hook up a laptop on the fly when needed (complete with audio, video and ethernet cables) like I have at Nassau Community College when I teach in the summer and at other colleges where I give conferences. Speaking of conferences, I have 2 coming up: "Intro to SAGE," Staff Development Day, Baldwin High School, 11/2/2010 and "Look Ma, No Calculator," T^3 (Teachers Teaching with Teachnology), Molloy College, 11/5/2010!

Ok, we didn't have time to do all that in one meeting, so we focused on the Student Stations for now. I had already downloaded the ISO and put it on the ftp site.  So, we copied it from there and burned a CD. Then we followed the instructions from but only got through steps 1-3. The next day, I tweaked the desktop and printer settings (step 4) and added JRE (2nd alternate to step 5). So, now all is well with the 24x64bit dual-core AMD Athlon Student Stations!

Well, "That's All Folks," for this meeting. We'll tackle the Teacher Station next meeting in 2 weeks. Check our new Facebook Group, CIS(theta), for our next event! Oh, I added my favorite clip from "The Big Bang Theory" for no apparent reason other than we're all in the Geek Squad, right? Enjoy!

Happy Clustering,

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