Interacting with BOINC
To begin, getting setup and running with BOINC was extremely easy. Download, install and add projects. After the initial installation however things became a little more unclear. Once I had added projects, my computer started to work hard causing the computer to heat up and drain the batter quickly. This was ok but I started to understand better what the computer was actually doing (i.e. what the task actually consists of) but was unable to find this information. I was a little clueless on what the tasks were and how to choose which tasks I wanted to run. Something I think would also be very interesting is if the user was able to see what other users are currently running tasks and to see which tasks they are performing. The platform is clearly very community centered and being able to see what tasks other users were performing would give me even more of a sense of connectivity with the project and the community.
I found it rather annoying that the majority of the buttons on the interface lead you directly to websites. There just seemed to be a lot of back and forth between the application and the internet while I was primarily interested in exploring the application. Furthermore, all of the webpages were clearly designed by scientists for scientists. There really is no interest to make the webpages appealing or user interface friendly. That however isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.
One of the strongest things about BOINC, which is obvious throughout the entire system, is that the community surrounding these projects are extremely important. After adding a project, the user is then prompted with a page to search for different groups who are also apart of the project. At first I was completely confused as to why during the initial project addition phase I was presented with a search bar for various groups. During a setup phase I expected to find tutorials and how-to-explore presentations(i.e. Dropbox), however, the focus of searching for groups and developing a community around these projects seems to be at the center of participating in BOINC.
Number of BOINC users: 2,458,736
Number of active users: 263,949 volunteers, 390,492 computers
Number of BOINC projects: 82
Number of active projects: 70
Compared to BOINC, Zooniverse is totally different. Entirely web based, it was even easier to get started on a project. After just a few clicks, I was already looking at ancient egyptian text and starting to decipher the symbols. Also unlike BOINC, there was a simple training mechanism to explain exactly what I should be doing. As I began the training section, I found myself very meticulously reading each direction and going over them multiple times. I realized this attention to detail was because I wanted to make sure I was 100% correct in the work that I was about to do. This I found to be very interesting. I had absolutely no connection to the piece of paper or its meaning, and yet I spent a large amount of time making sure I got it right.
Zooniverse also does an amazing job at helping the user understand how they are contributing the overall success of the project. It is very easy to see what work you are doing and how that work relates to the larger project. This feature helps to increase the desire to participate in the project and excitement around the project. After viewing the website for a brief period, I found myself telling everyone that I ran into to take part in these projects.
The downfall with Zooniverse however seems to be the lack of project options. There are a total of nine project on the website in which users can participate.
Citizen Cyberscience Superpower
When it comes to Citizen Cyberscience, my superpower lies in dealing with the citizens. Communication is based on so many factors outside of simple language communication and very often these various forms of communication get lost in the mix. My superpower is the ability to interpret and translate these various communication methods to allow smooth communication between the citizens involved. In a way this superpower means nothing, and in another way it holds all of the keys to success!
In parallel with acting as a communication conduit, I fancy puzzles and problems. Each puzzle and problem is its own unique challenge to which I employ every resource I have to overcome. There will be no rest until all of the pieces fit together and we have double-check our results. Historically, I have referenced programming technologies to address these quandaries but often find that being self motivation, fostering the same motivation in others and creating deadlines yield the best results.