Block sizes...

Dakidd (dakidd@mindspring.com)
Sat, 10 May 1997 22:59:13 -0400


Uhhh... I know I'm a complete rookie on the list, though I have been
running the client on my Mac IIci for the last few days (ever since someone
mentioned on a local mindspring. group that this project was going) so
please forgive me if this has been asked before.

Is there a way, using the Mac client, to force the block size to stay at
the 2^22 level?

I can hear you all gasping "For god's sake WHY?!?!?!?" already...

This afternoon at about 2PM I fired up the client with a "niceness" of 8
(since I planned on letting the client "take over" the machine while I was
at work) and my mailer (to keep the connection alive... got a 30 minute
inactivity timeout here at Mindspring) and got handed a 2^22 block. I went
back to work from my lunch break. Came back 1818 seconds later (actually, a
bunch more than that, but...) to find that the next block I'd been handed
was 2^26. At roughly 9:30PM, after waiting 4 hours, I gave up on waiting
for it to complete the block. I had roughly 18 periods on the screen, and
no sign that it was ever going to finish. Since I've had no luck whatsoever
getting a civilized "quit" out of it, I forced the quit, and proceeded to
do my thing. (obviously, losing the results, whatever there may have been)

I'd like to be an effective participant in this little operation, but it
seems that the only way I can do so is with either (A) fixed-size (read
that "relatively small") blocks or (B) ridiculously high niceness values
(128 seems to be a decent setting so that the client still works on the
problem, albeit slowly, yet still allows me to use the machine with the
client in the background) or (C) give up my machine entirely and let the
client take over (which, in all honesty, is simply *NOT* an option)

There is a fourth option, I'd say, but it involves a re-write of the client
(or at least a partial re-write) that would either let me kill the client
and restart where it left off after twiddling the niceness value in the
preferences file (probably the easiest method) or let me change the
niceness on the fly. (perhaps by having it re-check the preferences file's
timestamp every "x" iterations and re-reading it if it differs from the
last check?)

Also, another suggestion: Can the client be made to close down the
connection to the server so that when a dial-up user such as myself loses
the modem connection due to the timeout, the client can keep on trucking
until it finishes the block, then redial/reconnect to pass the data back
and retrieve the new block? I'd think that would be VERY simple, since
losing and re-establishing a PPP link can be done (practically) invisibly
to a client program, so long as the client doesn't generate an error when
it tries to throw data at a connection established across a link that has
gone dead.

I appreciate (and agree with) the reasons for not generally releasing the
source code, but I also think that I've got the know-how (and the tools...)
to do the re-writing I'd need to make the client more freindly on my
machine if I had a copy. Any hope of that? I'm running CodeWarrior 8 (I
know, it's old. But it works for me! :) ) and I see that the prefs file at
least is being done with CW. I haven't hacked into the client yet to see if
I can tell what built it, but I'd bet it's some version of CodeWarrior.

Feel free to email me direct at dakidd@mindspring.com to keep from spamming
the list with irrelevant chat.

Thanks in advance...