Monday, September 30, 2013

iOS vs. Android

As many of you probably know, the battle between the two major operating systems for mobile devices has been raging on since their creation. Each one boasts a series of unique benefits that could lead you to choose it. The question is: Is there really a better option? Well to start off I'll say that I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I am a big fan of Android but I currently have am iPhone running iOS. Luckily though I will be switching over soon so my morals will be all straightened out.

Comparing the two operating systems there's one thing that stands out the most; iOS just feels better, it is more fluid, more intuitive.Everything is easier to do on iOS which is the reason I got my iPhone. The unfortunate thing is that with this ease it becomes harder to do things that are outside the box. Say for example you want to change the color of your keyboard. Anybody with an iPhone, iPod, or iPad will indefinitely tell you that they either did not know it was possible, or that it took a little bit (okay, a lot) of searching. On Android, there are several free apps that directly edit your keyboard that are easy to find. The reason for this is that Android is based on Linux, which I talked about in my last post, and iOS is based on Unix. These are basically the same, but Unix is less open making it harder to change things, and that's something that's really important if you're a nerd like me.

 As far as apps go on the two systems, they have about the same apps, but another differences lie in the hardware. Going to any phone store and looking at the tags, it is apparent that Android far outnumbers iOS in the number of phones. Android is used on almost every smartphone maker's models whereas iOS is only on, of course, the iPhone. So most likely, if you're going for cost-effectiveness or for a better made phone, you'll be looking at a pool of Androids. Plus if you're an environmentalist, you might just want to stay away from Apple products...The reason for the large number of Android phones is that the maker of the Android operating system, Google, gives it out for free which is a pretty attractive prospect for phone manufacturers.

 Overall, I like Android better because you can actually do more. You're not stuck in the boundaries of the system but can change how everything looks and operates, basically you can do two things: make it look cooler and be more efficient. With the millions of iOS owners around the world, its clear that not everyone agrees with my views on phones, but I've done my best to lay out for you why my way is definitely the right one.

        S4 Android: Arguably the most technologically                 advanced phone in history

iOS Devices

Friday, September 27, 2013

What's Linux?

For many, the word Linux is a new one to them. Not many know about Linux and what it can do, or how to get it. Today I am going to explain to you what it is and what you can do to try it without the risk of screwing up your computer. To start out, I’ll briefly explain what Linux is. It is what’s called an open source operating system for a computer. The operating system of a computer is basically what you see when you turn it on, and open source means you can tinker with it pretty easily. The easiest thing to understand about Linux at first is that its logo is a penguin, so whenever you see that on a computer, you can almost always be sure you’re getting into Linux. Linux at the start does not look that different from Windows or Mac computers. The cool thing about Linux is that you can change it. For example, say you want to see what the weather is and what your calendar has on it. You can put that right on your home screen. You can even do a cool trick where you establish 4 different “workspaces” where you can flip what you see on a screen. To make this easier to understand: imagine you’re working on a paper, but also want to do some social networking, and play some minesweeper on the side. You could put Microsoft Word and the internet on one screen, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram on another, and put minesweeper and a cheat website on the other. All going at the same time, but you only see one of them at a time allowing you to focus only on whatever topic you want. Don’t worry if this is a bit confusing, the error is probably on my part, you really have to see it to fully understand it. Linux is full of things like this, you can basically make your computer show whatever you want it to and make it move around however you want it to. It really brings a new definition to “making a computer your own”. Now for how to get it. In my experience, I’ve found the easiest way to get Linux is through a free provider called Ubuntu. Basically, if you want to put Ubuntu on your computer, you’ll need a flash drive and a computer. First you need to downloadthe .iso file onto your computer. Then you need to create a bootable flash drive. Basically once you’ve gotten to this point, turn off your computer and put the flash drive in. Then turn on the computer again and go to booting options, usually by hitting escape. Then click Try Ubuntu and you’re ready to go. If you do decide to play around with this fun piece of software I hope it works well for you, and if you don’t I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

              Ubuntu Main Screen

Switching Between Desktops

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How 3D Printing Could be the Future of, Well, Everything

So if you’ve heard about 3D printing, you’ve probably heard that it’s expensive to buy the printer and then the materials to actually utilize it. To get all of the resources you’ll need to print off something that will fit in the size of your hand, you’re talking about thousands of dollars. All that’s really been printed off worthy of much amazement is a small rat heart. So that begs the question, why do people want to invest more in 3D printing if it’s that expensive for something that could just be manufactured? Well that’s the topic of my post.

 I’ll start out by saying that 3D printing has become a lot cheaper in the last year, making it a more viable option. Not only is it cheaper, around $100 for an extremely basic model, but its gaining versatility very quickly. The first working gun receiver was created with a 3D printer a while ago, and many things, right now mostly scientific models, have been printed off and the database for blueprints is rapidly expanding. The cool thing about the future of 3D printing is that it may get to the point where everyone will have one, and everyone will basically survive off of it. For example, imagine a $100 3D printer that is a basic home edition. The say you have the blueprints for a couch, and you get the basic components of it in a kind of “ink” for 3D printing. At that point, you load the blueprint and the ink and you print yourself a couch, eliminating the need to buy in a store or even necessarily go outside of your home. This does have some obvious implications though. For one, this industry has the potential to destroy manufacturing, if everyone has their own factory in their home. Second, it destroys retail, as there is no longer a need for a place to store products, the blueprint is just sent directly to the buyer.

The benefits of widespread 3D printing use like this are enormous though. It would cut down on waste, no more overproduction in factories and no more overstocking in stores. The other benefit could be the decrease in the amount of gas used for travel. It sounds like a bad future, but there may be a point where driving is no longer needed, especially if teleportation proves possible, but that’s a different article. Aside from the implications, anyone can admit that a 3D printer providing for all of your uses is a pretty cool idea. Imagine, get the right “ink” cartridges, download a blueprint for filet mignon, and print it out for dinner. Want a new phone? Pay for the blueprint and the plan and print it out. In fact, you can even make accessories right now if you have a 3D printer! This can even extend to printing out body parts if something is failing in someone’s body, although this would obviously require a surgeon to actually transplant.

Obviously, this much integration of 3D printing and daily life is far in the future, but it’s an extremely intriguing topic to think about. Everybody’s own needs could be tied up into 3 things, the material providers, the blueprints, and of course, the all-powerful internet. 3D printing is definitely growing and may have home uses sooner than you would think. I hope that I have opened your mind to the possibilities of 3D printing and the cool technology that is poised to reshape our world. Thank you for reading!

                                Fairly Expensive 3D Printer

Basic 3D Printer for About $100

What Should I Choose For Gaming?

As some of you may know, gaming has been a hot topic of discussion recently with the impending introduction of two new consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Many have debated and decided between the two consoles, and also whether PC gaming is the way to go. In this post I’m going to explain to you my position on which device is best and which one will fit you the best. I’ll start the discussion by saying that I would go in the direction of PC gaming, as it is often cheaper to buy games for a computer, and the hardware itself also has more functions than just playing games. PC gaming was is ideal for me because I already have a computer, and most people do, and to upgrade it would be cheaper than buying a console. If you are wanting a console however, I would recommend the PlayStation 4. This console is $100 cheaper than the Xbox, a major factor in my decision, considering they are very similar in performance. The PlayStation also has a better software platform, which allows online play and many other features for free. Looking at the Xbox One you often have to pay for these features monthly, which can add up. For example, assuming the One lasts for 5 years before the next model, that’s another $300 that you’re putting into it to get the same features that are usually free on the PlayStation. These features add up so that in my opinion, it is a lot more cost-effective to get a PlayStation rather than an Xbox, but then you have to factor in the user base. Xbox has a lot more players online as of now because of the cheaper price of the current Xbox. This means that many are likely to have company loyalty and stick with the Xbox brand. So in effect, if you want to play online with friends, there is a larger likelihood that they will be on Xbox. Due to the price of the two consoles though, I predict that more people will buy the PlayStation, possibly eliminating this advantage that the Xbox has. Other features could be debated such as the look of the console, the feel of the controller, or the layout of the home screen, but I’ve laid out what I thought are the most relative points that lead to my decision to choose the PlayStation if you only want a console, and a PC if you are looking at any kind of gaming. As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed and learned something from my blog, and keep reading!
                                                PlayStation 4
Xbox One

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Hello everybody, welcome and thank you for visiting once again. For this post I’m going to talk a little about the popular web service Netflix; how it works and a cool, completely legal, hack to get the most out of it. First, for anybody who doesn’t know what Netflix is, it’s a web service that inks deals with different TV and movie providers such as Universal Studios, ABC, etc. and lets the public access them for $8 a month. Their profitability is based on the idea that customers as a whole will pay more for membership than it will cost Netflix to buy the rights for their collection. With that out of the way I’m going to explain how exactly Netflix decides to put up content. It sounds easy, right? Find popular movies and TV shows and buy the rights for them, but sometimes it’s not easy to find popular. Netflix uses some very mathematical systems in order to find this out, using a set of computer algorithms, basically like a giant equation. Think of it this way, there a bunch of factors set into this algorithm such as how much it sold in the box office, how old it is, and even what country it was most viewed in when released. A bunch of factors like these go into the algorithm and output whether or not it is recommended to carry on the site and whether or not it will be profitable. Sounds simple right? Put in a bunch of ratings and get an output of basically yes or no? Not exactly. In 2006, Netflix had a competition to create a better algorithm with a grand prize of $1,000,000. Teams of some of the best programmers around the nation competed to make an algorithm and ended up only making it 10% better than it was before, and it won them a milli. Now that I’ve explained how Netflix works it’s time for the hack. To do this you’ll need to download the Google Chrome web browser, open a new tab once downloaded, and choose the Chrome store. In the search box to the left search for hola unblocker and download it as an extension. After that technical part here’s what it does and how you use it. This handy little tool allows you to take any given webpage and transfer it to the version you would see if you travelled to another country. It doesn’t seem that useful, but in the case of Netflix, Britain’s version has more American popular movies because they cost less to get the rights for them. TO get the British version just go up into the upper right corner and find the unblocker, and change it to Britain. Voila, more content! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the inner workings of one of the fastest growing companies on Earth, and I wish you well viewing the British version!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Windows 8 and 8.1

Hello everybody! On this post I will be discussing my views on the Windows Operating System for computers. Windows was created by Microsoft and specifically Bill Gates. This is the operating system that many people have grown up using on their computers and is a sign of the technological might of America. As some may know, in my opinion the current windows, Windows 8, is a terrible form of Windows. I think it stifles the speed and efficiency that consumers have looked for in personal computers since their creation. The tiles on the home screen are inconvenient and the Windows app store is severely limited in the number of apps it has available. There is also no start button on the traditional desktop feature, an issue that you would not find too daunting until you try and operate a computer and figure out it was an easy way to get around. There is a lot of speculation as to why Windows 8 is so bad but my opinion is that it was just released too early. Things didn’t stay in testing for long enough so nobody really knew there would be any problems. There also was not enough time for development of apps in the app store. This feature of Windows was previously only available on their phones, and the phone apps are different than the apps you’d use for a desktop. Therefore, developers didn’t have a ton of time to develop good apps for this market. Despite the flaws of the original Windows 8, there is hope on the horizon though, Windows 8.1. I’ve been hoping for this update since I first heard about it. This update is rumored to fix many of the problems that Windows 8 had, and thank goodness for it too. With the right add-ons to the current version Windows 8.1 could help restore my faith in Microsoft. The Windows 8.1 update is supposed to make the tiles more manageable, give better customization, improve the apps available, and a new start button. The combination of the features in the 8.1 update will hopefully combine to create a faster and better computer for everybody. The official release date for this is October 17th, and this date cannot come close enough for me. I hope you weren't too bored by this somewhat dry topic on features that nobody really notices, but I hope it can add some insight and help into your own experience working with computers.

iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C

Hello everybody this is the first post on Tech in a Sec. This blog talks about what is happening with new technology. For my first post I'll talk about the release of the new iPhones. The iPhones were released September 10th at Apple's keynote in California which was anticipated for weeks by consumers. The iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C were the phones introduced, marking a first for Apple where the 5C is actually a more affordable but lower performance model. Both phones come with the new iOS 7 operating system, which introduced moving wallpapers, new app cover designs, and a few other changes to design. Thank God something finally changed. The company had not changed the general design for 6 years so even though it was a lackluster improvement technologically, it was nice to finally get a change. I'll start out with the good version. The 5S comes with the long rumored fingerprint scanner located on the home button. This feature, although cool, is almost worthless when it comes to security. A potential thief cans till turn off the phone preventing it from getting tracked by Apple and recovered. And for people who think it is super-futuristic, keep in mind that it’s been present in laptops worth $400 for the last 3 years. The iPhone 5S also includes the A7 chip for processing. If you don't know about the processor in phones, it basically controls speed, and the A7 chip performs marginally faster than the A6 found in the iPhone 5. Other than that, the iPhone 5S comes with other minimal improvements such as more durable casing, a little better camera, and a little more efficiency when running. Oh yeah, and it comes in gold! So if you find you want to feel even more luxurious walking around with your $700 phone there you go! The iPhone 5C was even more disappointing to me than the 5S. The 5C has the same processor, the A6, as did the iPhone 5. In other words, if you have an iPhone 5, congratulations! Your phone is basically a new phone for another year! Really, the 5C is the 5 again... except a little worse. The plastic casing makes the whole thing look cheap and the features such as camera, battery life, and screen resolution are almost exactly the same as the 5. The only advantage it has over the 5 is it comes in different colors to match your outfit! All in all I was very disappointed by the iPhone release; the features were not great in the flagship 5S, and the 5C really brought Apple down for their reputation of high standards. Even though this release was not a great step forward for the company, products such as the iWatch and the new Macs have yet to be released, so good luck Apple!


                                                     iPhone 5C

                                                                                      iPhone 5S

                                5S and 5C side-by-side