I'm A Big Dopey

February 28, 2003

Back in the 'old' days, when I used Windows as my primary personal operating system I was a part of several distributed computing efforts. Most notably the SETI @ Home project. Eventually I tired of that screen saver and I stopped using it.

In the meantime I discovered the Google Toolbar for Windows Internet Explorer and installed it. This is a great edition to the browser as it adds an always available search box and other goodies to IE. Somewhere along the line I discovered that it also offered a chance to participate in the Folding @ Home distributed computing project. This project deals with protein research.

So I downloaded it and gave it a try. Only it didn't seem to be working. It never was working on anything and over time I forgot I had installed it.

For the past two weeks or so my workstation at work has mysteriously been running at 100% CPU usage when it should have been idle. I'd leave my desk for a few minutes and return to her the CPU fan going full-tilt and the CPU monitor graph would be pegged. As soon as I'd move the mouse or use the keyboard the usage would drop back to normal usage levels. I was stumped as to what could be causing this to happen.

Then this morning I opened up the Processes panel of the Task Manager so that I could see all the processes at once and waited. After a few minutes the processor usage jumped to 100% and lo and behold the number one task on the list was GoogleFAHCore_6, closely followed by GoogleFAH.exe. I had found the culprit. D'Oh! It would seem the my Folding @ Home client finally woke up and started folding.

I not only disabled the FAH Client, I uninstalled it from my hard drive.

Just goes to prove that no matter how smart you think you are, you're still a big dopey at times.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.