Play Games and use Your Computer to Fight COVID-19

lab

Without a doubt these are exceptional times; I cannot think of another moment in history in which capitalist democracies basically put their economies on hold to protect people. COVID-19 is causing great harm and we have a chance to do all our parts to fight it. The most important thing is to practice social distancing as much as possible.

Use your work computer and your own to passively help researchers using BOINC. It’s a way to use your computational powers to help researchers run simulations to better understand the Coronavirus.

While you’re staying away from people you can play Foldit@Home to help researchers working on COVID-19. Previously Foldit successfully solved an enzyme problem which AIDs researchers were facing. So now is our chance to play games to help fight COVID-19.

Foldit is a free, online game that anyone in the world can download and run on their Mac, Linux, or Windows PC. The main drive of Foldit is our science puzzles. These are weekly challenges that we refresh every week . . . that are directly related to research we’re doing here in the lab at the Institute for Protein Design or in our other labs. Foldit players can participate in the science puzzles. . .  [which] are constructed in such a way that competing players who develop high-scoring solutions make meaningful research contributions.

Read more.

Thanks to Neva!

Dead Laptops are Fantastic Sources for new Projects

E-Waste continues to be a growing problem in our waste streams. This is unfortunate since it doesn’t need to be this way as people can use computers for longer, or, use the laptop for parts. In the video above you can get some really neat ideas for DIY projects all from reusing parts from a dead laptop. Some are practical like reusing the hard drive while others are more for fun. Either way, it’s worth a watch.

How to wire up laptop screen backlights: https://youtu.be/Y2KK4YiOO1o DIY Secondary Screen (from laptop screen): https://youtu.be/CfirQC99xPc Dual Screen Laptop Project: https://youtu.be/J2aY6cvk-WI DIY Smart Mirror: https://youtu.be/puFSdfIRNIw CCTV from laptop webcams: https://youtu.be/CouxmNqxO4A Media PC project: https://youtu.be/e3fnsGHe8eE

A Helping Hand for Shaky Mice

Almost everybody uses a computer daily, even those with involuntary muscle movements. The inability to effectively use a mouse as a result of a lack of muscle control bothered one programmer enough to create a solution. SteadyMouse is a Windows-only piece of software that makes it easier for people with Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis to navigate their computers using a mouse. Software solutions like this are always nice to see to make computers more accessible.

I was unable to find a Mac equivalent (although the built-in accessibility tools may cover this issue), nor a Linux version. If you find similar software please share in the comments.

SteadyMouse is assistive software, designed from the ground up to be your fierce ally against Essential Tremor and the variants that often accompany Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

By detecting and removing shaking motion before it reaches your cursor, and by blocking accidental clicks, the entire mouse experience goes from a chaotic battle to an enjoyable reality.

Check it out.

Compute a Little More Green

I tend to use computers daily and I like the environment, so I like to be as green as possible while on the ol’ computer machine. PC World has five tips for greener computing.

There’s also global shutdown day.

5. FIND A NEW HOME FOR YOUR OLD TECH
So you’re getting ready to upgrade to a new computer, but you’ve discovered that you have no room in the closet for the old one because it’s already filled with a decade’s worth of obsolete technology. What to do? One solution is to recycle your old gadgets by bringing them somewhere where they’ll be disposed of properly. You can find a list of services in your area by checking out Earth 911’s Web site, which tells you where to dispose of everything from batteries to toner cartridges to the 386 you’ve had knocking around since the first George Bush was in office.

Linux Prevents E-Waste

Linux, that open source and free operating system (Windows replacement),continues to impress people interested in green computing. Linux is the most environmentally friendly operating system and CNN is reporting on a study that using Linux reduces e-waste.

Linux runs really well on “outdated” computers. Don’t go buy a new computer, reuse your old one!

A UK government study in late 2004 reported that there were substantial green benefits to running a Linux open source operating system (OS) on computers instead of the ubiquitous Windows OS, owned by Microsoft. The main problem with Windows users was that they had to change their computer twice as many times as Linux users, on average, thereby effectively creating twice as much computer-generated e-waste.

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