How nerdy am I? I’ll give you a hint – I do physics in my sleep. Specifically, I built a custom computer that runs the distributed computing project Einstein@Home 24 hours a day. You can see the project’s ultra cool screensaver running in this photo.
The computer hangs on the wall behind my desk. I like to think of it as a kind of art installation. I call it “AMD Outside.”
Here’s a picture of it in the dark.
It has the following stylish bits: an AMD Athlon 64-bit 3700+ processor, a dedicated Linux drive, a dedicated Windows Drive, a shared Linux/Windows drive, a DVD-RW drive with the cover taken off so you can see the DVD spin (my son did that while I was at work), a persistence of vision display on the CPU cooling fan that constantly shows the temperature, a dual core processor capable mother board so I’ll be able to upgrade when I have the cash, a power supply with a transparent cover so you can see the power transistors and monster sized capacitors, 1 Gigabyte of RAM with integrated LEDs that show how hard it’s working on Einstein@Home, a TV card, a web cam so that I can check in on Shiner (my Australian Shepherd who suffers from epilepsy) while I’m at work, fluorescent cabling and custom phosphorescent paint along with 2 black lights to make it all glow in the dark, and a flexible neon light to decorate the otherwise boring drives.
I built this with the pieces left over after I fried my previous CPU by overclocking it WAY too much to get extra credits on Einstein@Home.
One advantage is that it is frees up valuable floor space in my tiny town house. It is also quiet – I used to run the overclocked machine in a case with seven fans in addition to the CPU fan and the two power supply fans. It sounded like a Cessna landing in the living room. Now it’s almost totally silent and cooled by natural convection in the room.