Distributed Computing for COVID-19

I ran across an article Fold for COVID which got me thinking about the old hardware I have literally just lying around. I thought maybe I could put it to use and so far so good. This is a form of community distributed computing where you allocate some of your computer resources to working on various problems. A few projects are specific to working on COVID-19 related issues, either in part or in whole.

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Washington State Pasteur Interleague event

Yesterday December 16 I was with the FIX IT 3491 team in Washington State to attend the FTC Pasteur Interleague event. 35 FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams competed.

Wasghinton State Pasteur Interleague
Wasghinton State Pasteur Interleague

FIX IT did ok in the robot game, but wasn’t selected for any of the final alliances. But they did very well in the judged awards, winning the Motivate Award, 2nd nominee for the Connect Award, and 2nd nominee for the Inspire Award. 2nd nominee for the Inspires Award qualified the team to advance to the State championship in February.

It was a good year in FIRST Robotics

I have been very busy this past year with FIRST.  The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills.

In addition to looking after the FIRST BC website, I’ve been volunteering at FIRST events and supporting team FIX IT 3491.

The big news is that FIX IT won the Inspire Award at the Houston FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship in Houston Texas.

Team FIX IT 3491 winning the Inspire Award in Houston

But there was so much that happened before that.

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Ubuntu 14 LTS upgrade to 16

I’ve been thinking about the Ubuntu 14 LTS to 16 LTS upgrade for awhile. It seemed like it was do-able, though comments on some web sites indicated lots of problems including bricked systems. I made sure I had a snapshot before I gave it a try.
sudo apt-get install update-manager-core
sudo do-release-upgrade

The trickiest part was resolving configuration file updates. But you can preview the differences and they were mostly changes I had made specifically so I kept the old config file.

Naturally, the upgrade broke things. Fortunately, not too badly.

PHP was the main problem. The upgrade un-installed PHP 5 without a replacement. Fortunately PHP 7 installed ok, though I had to re-visit my notes about what else to install, like php7.0-mysql, so WordPress would be happy. That took a couple of re-tries to find all the missing modules such as php7.0-mbstring, php7.0-mcrypt, php7.0-xml, php7.0-xmlrpc which weren’t a problem until BackWPup tried to run.

Looks ok now.