Folding: Something else to try while PSN is down

In case you missed it, the PlayStation Network is still down, with no real sign of coming back any time soon. With the weekend looming ever-closer, it might be a good idea to start thinking about what you’ll get up to.

PlayStation Network

What to do... what to do...

Obviously, you could fire up the Xbox 360, your PC or any of the portable gadgets you’ve got lying around, but what if you’re really jonesin’ for a PS3-specific fix?

There are still a number of options open to you.

How about watching your Blu-ray movie collection? Revisit the single-player campaigns of your favourite games? Invite some mates over and join in some multiplayer action while you’re in the same room?

As Activision community guy [surl=]One of Swords[/surl] explains, these options are a little obvious, but he does point out one that you might not have thought of. Using your PS3 for good, while you wait for the service to return.

[surl=]Folding@Home[/surl] is a project run out of Stanford University, and while it does involve your console connecting to the internet, it doesn’t rely on the PlayStation Network.

The software instead utilises the power of your idle computer or console to research how proteins assemble themselves (or “fold”), with the information eventually leading to advances in how to cure diseases such as Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and even cancer.

What proteins look like on Folding@Home

What proteins look like on Folding@Home

[surl=]One of Swords[/surl] explains:

All you have to do is set up the software on your computer, which then downloads “work units” and kicks in whenever you’re not terribly busy. The system assigns you points for your work; I’ve been running clients on my home and work machines for years (as part of the Maximum PC team that was set up when I was at Future US), so I’ve processed over 17,000 work units and earned 5.8 million points. It’s like Trophies, only this time, they really might mean something beyond personal digital glory.

So. The software’s already on your PS3, as part of the Life With Playstation set up. You just need to put in your name and you’re set to go! There are a bunch of teams that you can join, many already organised for a whole bunch of “geek groups”, including the shiny new Team 205163, for fans of OneOfSwords! If you’d prefer to go it alone, that’s an option too – your work will still contribute to the project even if you’re not in a team.

Then, it’s just a matter of leaving your console on when you’re not playing, and the machine does all the work for you! For more information, head to the [surl=]Folding@Home FAQ[/surl], and take a look around at the Life With Playstation setup, it’s pretty easy.

Tetraloops and Folding@Home density maps

Tetraloops are a ubiquitous and functionally important motif in RNA.

To recap – the PlayStation Network outage will not affect how the client works, but it does mean you won’t be able to see leaderboard data. Sorry, competitive types! Your work still counts!

A final observation from [surl=]One of Swords[/surl]:

…you can’t Prestige in Black Ops online right now… but you can do something even more prestigious in the meantime.

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