I figured this would be a good way to start promoting the MacRumors SETI@home team. Can we get this off the ground like the Folding@home promoters did? I dunno. Note, however, that if you have any old Macs that can't run Mac OS X, you can still run SETI@home on it, so we can get some of that older processing power that Folding@home can't access. (Thanks to Rower_CPU for providing the template for this set of FAQs. Admins: could you make this a sticky?) Q: What is the SETI@home project all about? A: The SETI@home home page has some great information about the project: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/ . Q: Where do I download the client? A: You can download Classic Mac OS and Mac OS X graphical clients, as well as a command line client for Mac OS X at this page: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/download.html . Q: Is there an OS 9 client? A: SETI@home can run on computers that have System 7.5.5 or higher installed. See the download page for the Classic Mac client for other system requirements: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/mac.html . Q: Which client should I download? A: It depends on your level of comfort with Terminal.app. The graphical client is easy to set up and monitor, but the added overhead of the graphic display wastes precious CPU cycles. We highly recommend using the text console version. Q: Can I run SETI@home when no user is logged in under Mac OS X? A: Yes. Simply download and install the graphical client for Mac OS X. It will continue to run even when no user is logged in. Q: Is there a screensaver module for SETI@home? A: Because screensavers only run when a user is logged in, the SETI@home creators decided to create their own engine for SETI@home rather than using the built-in screensaver in Mac OS X. Q: How can I join the MacRumors.com - Team SETI group? A: Simply go to the group's page ( http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/stats/team/team_139691.html ), and click the "Join" link at the top. Our team number is 139691, if you ever need that. Q: Are there instructions to set up and run the clients? A: Follow the directions on the SETI@home site. For the graphical client for Classic Mac OS, see this page: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/mac_help.html . For the graphical client for Mac OS X, see this page: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/ReadMe_OS_X_SETI@home.html . For the command line client for Mac OS X, the Read Me is included in the download. Q: How can I set up the command-line SETI@home client to run automatically without having Terminal.app open? A: Currently you have to do this manually, but a script for doing this may be added in the future. Q: Do I need to be connected to the Internet to have SETI@home running? A: No, SETI@home only needs to be connected when it actually sends and receives work units. It processes the work units themselves offline. Q: How can I run SETI@home on my dual processor Mac? A: Currently SETI@home cannot natively use dual processors. However, if you have a dual-processor Mac and run the command-line client, you can run two instances of SETI@home, and Mac OS X will likely allot one of them to one processor and the other to the other processor, to maximize efficiency (this will not work on Mac OS 9 due to the poor multiprocessor support). Q: Where can I find statistics for my contribution to the team and our position relative to other SETI@home teams? A: To see your contribution to the team, see this page: http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/stats/team/team_139691.html . Currently, the SETI@home project only keeps track of the top 200 teams in each group, and the 200 top teams overall. Since the MacRumors SETI team isn't high up enough to be on a top 200 list, there's no way to know our position relative to other SETI@home teams. However, MacNN does provide a page where you can get graphs of various stats about our team, which can be accessed here. Please allow some time for your work units to register in the Berkeley server. Q: How long does it take to complete a work unit? A: The only factor that determines the time to complete a work unit is the computing power available to process the work unit. Unlike Folding@home, all work units for SETI@home are the same size. So your computer speed and available processor time are key in determining how long each work unit will take. Obviously, a 1GHz G4 should be twice as fast as 500MHz one, but if the 1GHz only works half the time, or at 50% of its capacity, it is equal to the 500MHz machine running full-time at 100% capacity. Q: Will SETI@home slow down my computer? A: SETI@home uses your idle CPU cycles, scaling up and down depending on what you're doing on your computer. If you're playing a game, editing video, or doing some other CPU intentive task, SETI@home will drop down to a fraction of your CPU power. SETI@home will then scale back up to use more CPU time when it becomes available. However, if you are doing critical work, it is probably wise to quit SETI@home first. Q: Will SETI@home preempt other tasks? A: SETI@home should take the lowest priority of all tasks on your machine (unless you explicitly tell it not to). Applications you run, even when in the background, will have higher priority for CPU time that SETI@home. SETI@home only uses idle CPU time that is not being used by other programs. Q: Will SETI@home damage my computer or shorten its lifespan? A: Only if you do not have adequate cooling. As with any CPU intensive task you need to make sure that your machine stays cool and doesn't overheat. Other than that, SETI@home is just like any other application. Q: How can I see my current progress? A: You can either go to your personal contribution page, which you can access by going to this page and entering in the e-mail address with which you registered: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/individual.html . Or, if you prefer, you can use the excellent piece of software called "SETI Menu", currently at version 5.1, to monitor your progress right from the Mac OS X menubar! To download this piece of software, simply go to this page: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/vigan/aksoft/index.html . Q: Where can I find info about the work unit I'm currently processing? A: Currently there is no way to find information about the work unit other than the information given in the graphical clients. Q: Does SETI@home take advantage of AltiVec and/or SSE? A: Currently, SETI@home does not take advantage of AltiVec or SSE, because it is designed to be processor/architecture-agnostic. Q: How can I spread awareness of SETI@home and advertise for the team? A: Most SETI@home participants add some text to their signatures to indicate their participation in the project. You could also copy and modify some of the Folding@home signatures, too. Just don't tell them that you did it. Q: I understand that Stanford, which manages the Folding@home project, and Berkeley, which manages the SETI@home project, have a big rivalry. Which college should I support? A: Well, don't tell anybody, but I'm a Stanford student and I'm running SETI@home. I think the more important thing is establishing a rivalry with the MacRumors Folding@home team, especially since you can install SETI@home on all those older Macs that don't support Mac OS X. Happy SETI-ing and welcome to the team!