Once I settled in Zürich, I bought myself a Playstation 3, which was for me an exciting product, besides the games, you could play video of the local area network, display Facebook photos on the TV, and there was a Folding@Home client. I really liked it as it showed a world map with dots illuminating where computations were done, it really looked cool on the big television screen.
This was in 2009, the big news were that Australia was ravaged by its largest wildfires in its history and that the US president had signed a deal with China, India, South Africa and Brazil to curb global warming, and, of course, the swine flu…
We still use the Playstation as a media player (it has a Netflix client) in the basement, but it has stopped being a very powerful computer a long time ago, the Folding@Home project faded away, the PS3 client got killed in 2012. Things moved on, other distributed projects came and went, spare computing power was used to mine crypto-currencies. The Covid-19 brought the Folding@Home project to the forefront, with projects to understand the structure of the virus. This brought the system into the ExaFlop scale.
So after all this time, I re-installed a client for my laptop. First observation: the system feels old, the native user-interface does not handle high-DPI screens, there is also a web user-interface that is a bit enthusiastic about opening random sockets. The client also does not seem to be able to use the Intel Iris Plus Graphic chip in my laptop. Still I was able to contribute a few points. This surge of attention brought some improvements, a new version of the Mac OS X client, and work to open source the various clients. We will see if this will only be a temporary surge, or something more stable will appear. In the meantime, if you have a machine idling at home, consider contributing.