The next time you turn on your PlayStation 3, head over to the Network section of the XMB. Scroll down past Remote Play and Internet Browser, and you'll surely find an unassuming bubble icon next to the words "Life With PlayStation". Some of you probably already use this, but the number of users who haven't updated or even installed it far outnumber those that have.
It's a shame, because Life With PlayStation is an application that provides a variety of services. Upon start-up, you're greeted by a huge high-quality render of Earth - the "LIVE" channel. From this spectacular view, your options are plenty. By holding Square, you can select from a variety of channels, each with a different service. The music menu allows you to select and play any music track from your hard drive while browsing channels and reading new content from places like the "LIVE" Channel. As Earth slowly rotates, it zooms automatically for countries and cities of interest, displaying breaking news for that area. If you notice anything that catches your interest, pressing X selects the city and allows you to pick an article to read. An internet browser opens within the app, allowing for convenient reading and easy selection of different stories.
PlayStation Network Game Trailers is a pretty self-explanatory title for the second channel you can access. A grid of available trailers to stream appear on screen, and you are free to select whatever you'd like. More unique is the World Heritage channel, which displays the globe from "LIVE" with more color and topographic detail. Instead of roaming from major city to major city, the view now pans to beautiful locations from all around the world. This channel will show you pictures of all the waterfalls, glaciers, forests and monuments worth seeing. Pressing X brings up the Wikipedia page for these wonders.
The final channel you can select is actually running in the background the entire time Life With PlayStation is being used. Folding@home is a program that allows Stanford University to access the processing power of your PS3 for the simulation of protein folding, computational drug design, and other disease research. Your system is sent a "work unit" and depending on it's size and work load, completion time varies. You receive points for every unit completed, and these points determine your rank on the leaderboard. You can also join a team, and aid in pushing its rank to the top. If you're interesting in joining the PSU Folding@home team, our group number is 54376.
All things considered, there may be nothing better for your PS3 to do (outside of gaming, of course) than to use Life With PlayStation. The app allows you to listen to your stored music, check out global news, watch the latest trailers, and view all the eye-candy nature has to offer, all while making your PS3 a part of history in Stanford University's fight to combat diseases. And don't think it's a hassle to load up the app for a good cause; just as you can set your PS3 to power off after a set period of inactivity, you can choose to start Life With PlayStation after a certain amount of time. So after you've finished an epic journey to save some distant land or faraway planet, let your PS3 keep you informed, play your tunes, and use its processing power to help save ours.