Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Saving the screen, wasting everything else...

If you're not reading Nicholas Carr's Rough Type blog, you're missing one of the best writers in the blogosphere.

His post today is called "Kill All Screensavers," and he tells an interesting story about screensavers in corporate America--he's talked to at least two CIOs who have been prevented from successfully implementing grids on their PCs because of the official corporate screensaver.

He said that while grids were theoretically attractive as a cheap means of harnessing lots of processing power, he faced a big roadblock: his company's official screensaver. It turns out that the corporate communications department created an elaborate screensaver, complete with video clips featuring the CEO, to promulgate a “corporate values” program. Installed on all the company’s PCs, the screensaver sucks up the processing cycles that might otherwise be put to a productive use – like finding a cure for cancer.
When we were first designing the Digipede Network, we looked at a lot at what had been done by other distributed computing networks. Many of them implemented a fancy screen saver (SETI@Home is a good example, but there are many others).

Without thinking twice, we decided not to implement one. Why? Because it's an enormous waste of resources! (See Nicholas's post for some staggering statistics on the power wasted alone). It's bad enough for a pharma company to willingly waste power and CPU hours; it's ludicrous for a grid company to do it. They're wasting the very commodity they're supposed to be saving!

Needless to say: don't look for a Digipede screensaver when you implement the Digipede Network.

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