About me: My name is Solène Rapenne, pronouns she/her. I like learning and sharing knowledge. Hobbies: '(NixOS BSD OpenBSD Lisp cmdline gaming security QubesOS internet-stuff). I love percent and lambda characters. OpenBSD developer solene@.

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The Old Computer Challenge V3

Written by Solène, on 04 June 2023.
Tags: #life #oldcomputerchallenge #nocloud

Comments on Fediverse/Mastodon

1. Introduction §

Hi! It's that time of the year when I announce a new Old Computer Challenge :)

If you don't know about it, it's a weird challenge I've did twice in the past 3 years that consists into limiting my computer performance using old hardware, or by limiting Internet access to 60 minutes a day.

Blog posts tagged "oldcomputerchallenge"

2. 2023's challenge §

I want this challenge to be accessible. The first one wasn't easy for many because it required to use an old machine, but many readers didn't have a spare old computer (weird right? :P). The second one with Internet time limitation was hard to setup.

This one is a bit back to the roots: let's use a SLOW computer for 7 days. This will be achieved by various means with any hardware:

  • Limit your computer's CPU to use only 1 core. This can be set in the BIOS most of the time, and on Linux you can use maxcores=1 in the boot command line, on OpenBSD you can use bsd.sp kernel for the duration of the challenge.
  • Limit your computer's memory to 512 MB of memory (no swap limit). This can be set on Linux using the boot command line mem=512MB. On OpenBSD, this can be achieved a bit similarly by using datasize-max=512M in login.conf for your user's login class.
  • Set your CPU frequency to the lowest minimum (which is pretty low on modern hardware!). On Linux, use the "powersave" frequency governor, in modern desktop environments the battery widget should offer an easy way to set the governor. On OpenBSD, run apm -L (while apmd service is running). On Windows, in the power settings, set the frequency to minimum.

I got the idea when I remembered a few people reporting these tricks to do the first challenge, like in this report:

Carcosa's report of the first challenge (link via gemini http bridge)

You are encouraged to join the IRC channel #oldcomputerchallenge on libera.chat server to share about your experience.

Feel free to write reports, it's always fun to read about other going through the challenge.

3. When §

The challenge will start the 10th July 2023, and end the 16th July 2023 at the end of the day.

4. Frequently asked questions §

  • If you use a computer to work, it isn't affected by the challenge, keep your job please. But don't use it to circumvent your regular slow computer.
  • If you use a computer with lower specs, this is compliant with the challenge rules.
  • Feel free to ask me questions, I want this to be easy to everyone to have fun together. I can update this blog post to make things clearer if needed.
  • Gnome desktop doesn't start with 512 MB of memory :D