Showing posts tagged technology
Stanford Professor and Director of the Folding@home Distributed Computing Project
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m a professor of Chemistry, Structural Biology, and Computer Science at Stanford University and Director of its Biophysics Program, but I’m perhaps best known as the Director of the Folding@home Distributed Computing project. Folding@home brings together millions of computers throughout the world to perform calculations in biophysics and medicine that would other wise be impossible.
What hardware are you using?
Currently it’s a late 2009 17” Macbook Pro with a 3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. I carry it in a Kenneth Cole brown shoulder bag, which looks slim but yet holds this (relatively big) laptop. When in my office, the laptop is supplemented by a 30” Apple monitor, a multi-drive 4TB RAID (for storing data and backup), and an Apple wirelesskeyboard and mouse.
My phone is a 32GB iPhone 4. I use it heavily during the day writing emails and keeping track of pending issues and often doing video Skype calls. This drains the battery pretty heavily, but I’m happy that I rarely drain it completely and it holds up much better than my previous iPhone 3G.
I also use a flash drive almost daily and so having it be high performance and high density is important. I use a PATRIOT drive, although I wish it wasn’t so wide since it can’t sit in the Macbook Pro’s USB slot and still allow neighboring slots to be used.
I also use a 64GB iPad 2 daily, usually at home in the early morning and late evening to read email and keep track of various web sites. I like using it since I don’t have to drag out the laptop, especially since I’m usually covered with cats or kids in the mornings and evenings and using my laptop seems to be too dangerous in that line of fire. The iPad works great in that setting, but I also find it really useful on long, international flights such as SFO to Frankfurt, Germany, which comes up surprisingly frequently.
And what software?
I’m using OS X 10.6.8, but waiting for 10.7.2 to come out to upgrade the OS. I use Word 2011 pretty heavily, since a lot of my work involves writing or editing papers and grant proposals. I like Word’s markup capabilities for editing very much and use them frequently. I also give a lot of presentations and use Keynote ‘09 (looking forward to upgrading that too). I find Keynote much more elegant to use than Powerpoint as well as faster and more responsive, which is important for fast editing which I frequently do. I also really like its transitions.
The Papers app is also a fundamental part of my day, helping organize scientific journal articles, which otherwise would be a major mess. I’ve been curious about Papers 2.0, but haven’t seen a compelling reason to upgrade just yet.
I use Evernote pretty heavily for just about everything, from todo lists to notes, to shopping lists. Its ability to sync on all of my platforms allows me to capture information quickly (even on my phone, even with taking pictures with the camera), but have it everywhere (laptop, phone, iPad). I use the free version for now, but am curious about the pay version to allow for sharing of notes.
Finally, I use the standard Mac tools for the rest, including its address book,calendar, and mail. All of them sync nicely with Stanford University’s core mail and calendar tools as well as integrating with each other well. I do use the Letterbox extension to make Mail.app usable and useful on big screens and am curious what OS X Lion will bring in terms of all of these.
What would be your dream setup?
I’m waiting and dreaming of a 15” Macbook Air/Pro, i.e. a 15” Macbook Air style machine, but lots of RAM (at least 8GB) and a big drive (at least 512GB), connected to two 27” screens and a very fast RAID via Thunderbolt. That would allow me to have an amazing powerful machine that doesn’t give me shoulder pain on the way back and forth from home to work.
This post is part of our The Setup Series, made possible by the folks at UsesThis.
Kickstarter just might be the hottest new investment trend in technology. Recently the founder of the site said that Kickstarter receives about 250 proposals everyday, 60% of which are accepted and posted to the site. By the end of 2011 over 150,000 projects had been submitted and over $125 million worth of funds were raised to try and get those projects off the ground.
We’ll admit it; we’re impressed. Here are a few of our favorite projects:
Dash is a car stereo run by your smartphone. It is made of a “faceplate” that is fitted to whichever kind of smartphone you have (meaning it can easily be changed if you get a new phone) and a stereo body which is installed in your car, replacing your current stereo. It also charges your phone making it possible to drive from one side of Los Angeles to the other in rush hour traffic without your phone dying. Sign us up.
Timelapse+ is a intervalometer (timer device) for SLR cameras. It can connect to any camera with a cable release and has Bluetooth Low Energy technology for connecting with accessories. This device will allow photographers to control the interval, length of exposure in tenths of a second, the number of exposures per interval (for HDR) and a different duration for each exposure.
Ever been hiking in the woods when your phone suddenly dies? Maybe not, but it could happen. This case uses solar technology to charge an iPhone. A great thing to have in the great outdoors or to keep in your car in case of emergency. As we’ve all learned the hard way: you never know when your phone might die; now there’s an environmentally friendly way to deal with it.
Node uses Bluetooth Low Energy technologyto allow the “code-literate techie to the simple home owner” to enjoy the fun and power of sensors. The “Kore” features allows you to use Node to hang pictures or as a motion-based remote control. “Clima” allows you to measure your climate while “Luma” can turn your phone into a flashlight. This may just be one the most practicals apps yet.
Email…perhaps the best and worst thing that has happened to humanity in the past 20 years. Mail Pilot allows you to finally get control without having to store your information anywhere but your current server. This app allows you to mark messages as read/unread, organize review lists and browse through your emails for efficiently and accurately. The best past is that it’s compatible with all major email servers so you don’t need to get a new address. That’s one less thing to have to worry about!
In case you haven’t turned on a computer today or stepped outside your house, we are here to tell you that Apple made a big announcement: the iPad 3 will be available for sale on March 16th. As with all Apple product announcements, we now get to sit in traffic on our commutes home today and ponder the big questions…
#1 - What are the new features?
#2 - Are the new features worth the upgrade?
The New Goodies
Retina display- resolution on the new iPad will be 2048x1536, double that of the iPad 2….that’s better than an HDTV.
Sharp new camera- similar to that of the iPhone 4 with a five megapixel sensor, able to capture 1080p video
4G LTE- it will have 4G LTE connectivity on AT&T or Verizon networks, Apple’s first LTE-capable device.
A5X Chip- the new chip will be twice as fast as the iPad 2’s Tegra 3 chip and has four times the graphics performance.
Siri (or Siri’s 2nd cousin)- alright, it’s not Siri, it’s not even close to be Siri, but the iPad 3 will have voice dictation.
But, Is It Worth It?
Usually the best way to answer this question is to ask yourself if you are a power user. Are you going to be on this device all day long? Do you work in tech? Web developers and techies are justified in buying the latest and greatest—anything to make the job easier.
Apple did it again though, they out-smarted all of us. These specific product improvements are general quality updates, meaning anyone would benefit.
A screen that looks like an HDTV? A chip twice as fast?
…For exactly the same price?
If you are one of the 15.4 million people who bought an iPad 2 last quarter we understand the hesitation. Having to buy a new case would just be dang annoying.
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