[RC5] Re: Screen Saver

Mike Faunce mfaunce at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 3 10:15:05 EST 1999


Here's another idea:

One "purpose" of these challenges is to "reveal" the answer.  Why not have
some "sub" contests that "reveal" a picture.  For RC5-64, at each sub space,
distribute an "encrypted" picture.  The picture is made up of pixels, reveal
pixels in a random, but predetermined, order, based on the progress through
each sub space (0% of a sub space = 0 pixels, 5% of a sub space = 5% of the
pixels colored correctly, and so-on).  This would take little additional
bandwidth:  A) download the encrypted picture (once), B) check the % of sub
space complete with each fetch/flush.  For shorter contests like CSC, use
the entire space.  RC5-64 sub-spaces may be too large, there should be a new
picture about once a month.

As others said, this should be optional.  People running the client on
multiple PCs may only want to enable the saver on one PC.  The picture is
revealed at the same rate for all users (it's based on total progress, not
individual progress), so having it enabled on multiple PCs doesn't give an
advantage.  Having a faster PC doesn't give an advantage to any individual
(that's one of the points of D.Net, all input counts towards the ultimate
goal, right?)

The formula to "reveal" the pixels should use a random, but repeatable
order, so that everyone sees that same section of the picture.  IE, the
first pixel revealed, to anyone is (1,1), the second is (40,32), the third
is (22,95), etc.  Lowest Common Denominator is 640x480 pixels of image at
256 colors per pixel, that's a 307,200 pixels/bytes.  Each .01% of progress
reveals ~30 pixels, or a pixel is revealed every ~.0325% of key space
completed.  Currently in CSC, we're doing about 1% a day, so, about 3000
pixels would be revealed each day.  The only thing that I would like to see
is a way for the pixels to be added gradually, not all at once when the
stats are updated.  For example, if 1% of CSC (or ~3000 pixels) is the
amount to be added on day "X" , add them over day "X+1" (the next 24 hours)
at a rate of (24 hours*60 minutes*60 seconds)/3000 pixels = a new pixel
every ~29 seconds.  The only thing I don't know is what to do about people
who only connect once a week or so (just go with the same rate (at the last
time they connected) until the next time they connect?)

To be an effective screen saver, the image needs to do something to prevent
burn in.  If the display is larger than 640x480, the image should shift
periodically.   The "un-revealed" pixels could cycle between colors (say the
16 basic colors).  The D.Net logo at 640x480 should be swapped for the
"picture" every so often as well.  In other words, keep it simple.

The pictures should be things that would be widely recognized, historical
figures, landmarks, places, etc.  techie things (chips, etc.).  Maybe have a
contest to see who guesses it first (no prizes, just a mention on a web page
at distributed.net).

I think this gives the "required" eye-candy to get "non-techies" involved,
lets us keep the bandwidth overhead low, and gives pretty pictures (in more
ways than one) for people to look at.

It might even the best thing to totally separate the client from the screen
saver.  The screen saver could then have the "requirement" to connect to the
stats box daily so it knows the current rate.  You could run the screen
saver on any PC (whether it participates or not) and then it wouldn't
interfere with the coding of the client.  Seems to be it would only be a
matter of setting up the communication methods between the screen saver and
the stats box (daily update, new picture when required).

Any comments?

Mike
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-rc5 at lists.distributed.net
[mailto:owner-rc5 at lists.distributed.net]On Behalf Of Michel Donais
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 1999 5:40 PM
To: rc5 at lists.distributed.net
Subject: [RC5] Re: Screen Saver


[START OT]

Hi. My name is Michel and this is my first mail so here are some personnal
stats. I'm from Montreal (yeah, a french canadian). I'm a computer
programmer for a satellite company and I'm currently writing a game with
friends for both Mac / PC. A RPG if you're interested.

[END OT]

I don't think a really heavy screen saver is required for DNet... There are
a few points that need to be really emphasized though.

Let's face it, we don't get to have a lot of chances to win this contest. To
show that to the user would only demoralize him. Showing him that he made
0.000000001 percent of the full keyspace in a day on his brand new
Coppermine is not something that would make him stick up for the software.

Only hopeful notes should be shown. Progress of the current packet, progress
of the full buffer (with nice colors), prevision of statistics against his
best/worst days... Do things with the log more or less.

I really don't think that requires a lot of processor.

We could show also a calendar with nice colors for when the user was "hot"
and when he wasn't... When his buffer should expire...


Basically, there's a lot of things to show!

Have a nice day
Mike

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