Stanford App Assists Cancer Research

We are continually surrounding ourselves at an exponential rate with processing power.  Every new gadget it seems is processor based, and deemed ‘smart’ in some fashion.

One of the most obvious of these items are our cellphones.  A cellphone today has – in a single compact unit – replaced what would have required multiple devices as recently as a few years ago!

This is one piece of hardware that I make work for me.  In those 14hrs (more, most of the time unfortunately) that I’m awake, I am constantly using my phone to stay connected and in the loop wherever I may be.  But what about those other 8hrs in the day?  Zip.  The phone sits, charges, and serves no purpose.

Until I found FOLDING@HOME.

FOLDING@HOME is an application developed by Stanford University in conjunction with Sony.  It is an attempt to utilize untapped processing power around the world.

The app is simple.  Once downloaded, you grant the app access to your phones untapped potential when certain conditions are met.

  1. Must be on Wi-Fi
  2. Must be connected to a charger
  3. Must be 100% battery life

When these condition are met, you are now contributing towards many lofty goals as find cures for Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and other horrible diseases.

For those that want to be aware of what it is they are contributing, the app will track and show you the amount of ‘contribution time’ from your device.  You can even share these numbers with others if you choose and see how you stack up against other contributors.  For those that like to share, you can take it a step further and even create an account and gain ‘achievement trophies’.  This adds a little bit of fun to the process, as you are required to contribute a certain amount of hours to gain trophies.  As you progress by contributing more hours, you ‘become’ increasingly complex molecules (Aminoacid – Peptide – Polypeptide – Protein – Enzyme).

The name of the app ‘Folding@Home’ comes from the problem being studied itself.  The processing power is dedicated to mapping the folding, and unfolding patterns of proteins.  By mapping and studying errors in protein folding processes, we can gain an understanding of how these diseases manifest.  This allows for us to avoid, and treat and hopefully one day cure these diseases

Folding@Home is not alone in the space they occupy.  There are other offerings from other universities as well.  For example, Berkeley has developed a more customisable version called BOINC that allows you to choose which field your processing power will aid.  I however find the ease of use much better on Folding@Home, making it my app of choice.

Available as both a phone app, and a desktop variant, why not give Folding@Home a shot, and give science a helping hand!

It’s free, convenient, and helpful.  I think I may just let it run for 10hrs tonight.

Check out their website below for more info

“Opera Max” Compresses Data

Data savings? Check.  Privacy? Check. Free to use? Check.

Although it has been around for a few years now, not many are aware of ‘Opera Max’.  If you are one of many that is constantly bumping up against your monthly data cap, this app may be for you.

Before using Opera Max, I would simply rely on data compression within Chrome itself to save precious megabytes.  I found it frustrating however that this only applied to data transferred within the browser itself.

Enter Opera Max.

By connecting to Operas servers via a virtual private network (VPN), all data transfer is now compressed before being sent your way!  Whether this be in your browser, or any other standalone app.

The beauty of this, is that it has an inherent safety benefit with the way it functions.  By routing this information through their servers for compression, the VPN adds a layer of privacy and safety to your online habits.  Who doesn’t like savings and privacy!

Depending on your habits, users will see varying levels of savings.  If you are a heavy Netflix user like me, your savings will be substantial.  If you simply refresh your email constantly, not as much.  Regardless, even the smallest of savings can mean money saved at the end of your billing cycle if you manage to stay within your data cap.

Here’s the downside.  Free to use, the app generates income via advertisements.  This is a program that is great because, after your initial setup, you simply forget it and leave it running in the background.  This unfortunately means less ad views since you rarely open the app.  Opera has recognized this and added a timer function.  Usage remains free, however you are now required to ‘refill’ your time every twelve hours – therein forcing extra ad views.

Granted this is an inconvenience, I still find Opera Max works for me.  I simply add 12 hrs of usage in the morning, and by the time that runs out, I’m back home using Wi-Fi in the evening.

With a simple interface and quantifiable benefits each month, I find myself a daily user despite its shortcomings.

There you have it!  If you are like many and have become a data pincher every month, check out Opera Max.

“Odd Jobs” an App for Earning Money

Great for travelers and students alike, ‘Odd Jobs’ is an app that is designed to earn its users money.

While perusing through my local buy & sell groups on Facebook recently, I noticed many student posting, looking for ‘Odd Jobs’ to make some quick cash.   I thought this was a great idea at first – it’s free, easy to connect, and take nearly no time to post.

There was only one problem though, with groups populated by thousands, and countless posts each day, their attempts were simply white noise.

‘Odd Jobs’ is a Canadian developed app that is aimed towards two types of people.  Those that have an odd job that needs doing, and those that are looking to do an odd job.

To use the app, you simply open it, and it will utilize your GPS to show/ map out any odd jobs that need doing near you.  Available info such as rate of pay, nature of work, etcetera is made available.  Don’t expect to find any career jobs however.  This is geared towards those short, quick jobs – typically labour based.

If you have a job that needs doing, you simply create a posting with the job details and location.

Since the application is not dependant on location, this is great for travellers as well, as they can simply search for quick cash wherever they happen to be!

The issue that arises in this instance is travelling in foreign countries.  To work outside of your own country in compensation for cash is a ‘no-no’.  For this a work permit would be needed.  So if you find yourself travelling and using this app, consider bartering!  If you find yourself in this situation as an international traveller, check out Bunz Trading (an app dedicated specifically to the bartering process).

As a child, this app would have been a fantastic source of income.  I remember making my summer money by mowing 4-6 lawns weekly as a young teen.  I was lucky in being able to do so.  For those that did not have any other means of making any money, would have I’m sure loved to have used Odd Jobs.

Now as an adult, I will be a regular poster!  For those jobs such as raking the lawn, shoveling the driveway, washing the car, I’ll pay a neighborhood youth.

That’s the gist of it.  There are no frills with this app.  There aren’t even any ads to deal with.

For those like myself that live somewhat rural, the listings can be sparse.  However the app is free to use, so what’s the harm?