Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is Facebook Dead?

Facebook. One of the largest and influential companies in the world today. They operate the largest social network in human history, with about 500 million members. With this kind of membership, it is almost guaranteed to never die, right? No, at least kind of. Facebook is dead in the sense that they are no longer the young, news-based, active network it used to be, but has cleverly worked in protection for itself into its very structure.

First, what has happened to Facebook. I have not been on my Facebook for months, if I have logged in at all it was probably to silence all of the annoying "you have notifications" e-mails I kept getting. My problem is that Facebook quickly became too much older family and not enough younger friends. I finally had it about 2 years ago and got a Twitter and an Instagram, which are luckily still very much alive. The second problem I have with Facebook now is that it doesn't seem to be a "real" social network anymore. Its mostly just baby pictures and huge paragraphs of stories from those aunts and uncles who spend way too long on there (no one in my family, but I've seen some other people's). To me, Facebook is dead, a place where older people occasionally check in to what is going on, with none of the youthful culture that used to exist. This doesn't necessarily mean that Facebook is going to come down tomorrow though.

The reason that Facebook is still alive is that it has worked its way into an alarmingly large number of things in our lives. Games, stores, even other social networks have a lot of people who sign up through connected Facebook accounts. This may be the single-handed best decision that Facebook made, because for me, its the only thing that is stopping me from deleting my account. That and the huge amount of family I have on there, who would grill me at the family reunion as to why I disappeared from Facebook.

So in conclusion, I wholeheartedly believe that Facebook as we know it is dead. Zuckerberg should really just brand it as a data repository to be used to have a central account for everything. I feel bad saying this, because I really admire Mark Zuckerberg, but to be honest, I don't see any future at all in what used to be the latest and greatest social site ever to grace this Earth. RIP.


I'm writing from California tonight, where I plan on going to college, and walked through Rodeo Drive, and saw the Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and the Maseratis. Of all these expensive cars, only one brand is completely electric, and that is Tesla, manufacturer of the Roadster, Model S, and is coming out with the Model X soon. Now these cars are electric, and incredibly expensive, think upwards of $65,000. My driver's ed teacher explained to my class that it was basically a "Prius on steroids" when I brought in an article on the Model S for an assignment. Tesla has had a pretty cool history, and they have an even better future set up.

Tesla was created in 2003, and had the Roadster as its only car. The roadster was a luxury sports car design that, of course, ran fully off of electricity. The company, interestingly enough, did not post profits for 10 years, finally achieving actual financial success in the first quarter of 2013. Elon Musk, of who I am a big fan and wrote another blog about earlier, is the current CEO of the company ad was one of the main proponents of the Model S. The Model S costs about $70,000 and is a luxury sedan. The genius of this car is that it can garner a wider customer base, so when it was introduced,it was much more popular than the Roadster. The cost and the style of the car are both much more suited to business than the Roadster, allowing the profits that finally came in 2013. Tesla is now arguably the leader in electric automotive technology, and has quite a future ahead of it.

Tesla is poised to go places with the leadership of Elon Musk. One thing he really believes in is their superchargers which can fully charge the car for over 200 miles in a little over an hour. He actually wanted to drive across the nation using only superchargers, so the 85 they currently have built are built in a line across the nation, which will be awesome if Musk ever carries it out. The second most promising part of Tesla's future is their upcoming Model X. This is going to be a crossover vehicle, widening the customer base even more to appeal to those who have Range Rovers or Porsche SUVs currently. In the future, I see Tesla being a very dominant brand throughout the motor world, its already pioneering the future of what all cars will be soon. 've loved this company ever since I saw my first Roadster at my apartment in Washington DC 3 years ago. They've come a long way since that time, and will only continue to improve themselves.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dual Booting

I've written a lot of posts in the past about different operating systems I've experimented with, whether its Windows, iOS, Android, OS X, or Linux, each offers a slightly different user interface and different features. Many people decide to do what;s called dual-booting, which is setting up your computer so that you have the option to do one or the other, without having to buy a new computer with the other operating system you want. This method has multiple advantages to it that make it a common trend among people who use their computers a lot. This trend has also been translated to the corporate world, where rumors are popping up about pre-set dual booting machines.

Dual booting operating systems has a of of advantages to it. Personally, I am running Windows and Ubuntu on my desktop. I like this configuration because I can have the drivers and support I need for some of my software on Windows that I wouldn't be able to get on Ubuntu. Likewise, since Unbuntu is open source I can go outside the box on Ubuntu like Windows does not allow you to. The combination, though I favor Windows, provides the perfect combination for me to keep my work efficient and to mix it up every now and then with new learning experiences on Ubuntu. I have also yearned for the combination of OS X with Windows, because there are a lot of things whichI like doing on Mac better than I like doing on Windows. Unfortunately Apple makes this a bit difficult since they make you buy an Apple product first in order to do that.

Recently there has been talk of machines coming pre-built with dual-boot capabilities. Huawei announced they were making a phone that could dual-boot Windows and Android, which hasn't really been done before that I know of, short of a hacker's version I saw once. HP also announced creating a computer that could dual-boot Windows and Android. In both these cases, the project has been scrapped because Google and Microsoft didn't want both of their operating systems on one device. Personally, I don't understand the reasoning for this, as it seems as though it would help both companies, because instead of a competition for customers and what operating system they could choose, you work together to upsell your shared product. Seems like a win-win to me, less work on competition at the very least. Now I see the obvious flaws in my reasoning like monopolizing the marketplace and lack of innovation in the absence of competition, but it would seem like a viable option to just have few of these machines on the market!

Dual booting allows users to put all of the advantages of multiple operating systems on one device, instead of having to go out and buy separate devices for each one. This is very helpful to the user, as well as continues the learning curve for computers if you were born in the generation where you need that stimulation. Companies have started to catch on and develop machines that dothis without any work by the user, which have been scratched at the moment, but which I dearly hope will arise again because its a very good practice.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Galaxy S5

Its been out now for a couple weeks, Samsung is continuing their annual release of their flagship S line. It was in Madrid that this happened, and the S5 is the newest product they have. At this point, as far as total specifications go, Samsung now has the best phone on the market. Samsung had a lot of hype for this phone, and much of it lives up, but there are some places I see some issues.

The specifications on the S5 are amazing to say the least. 2.5GHz processor to start with, which now tops the market for the fastest in any phone. 2GB of RAm and a 16MP camera as well, both of which are stellar in the phone market. The operating system comes with the standard array of exclusive Samsung apps, which offer great deals and allow integration with other Samsung devices, such as their TVs or one of the smartwatches they have (they released 3 new smartwatches at the sime time as the S5).

Now for my hating on this phone. First off, I don't like the casing. I've never been a fan of Samsung's plastic casing, but the S5 has little divots in the back, and I cannot stand to look at it. It looks almost the opposite of high-tech, on a device that is supposed to embody that ideal. Of course, you can fix this by putting a case on. Second thing I am going to detract on also is a legacy, and that is Samsung's custom launcher. You can also solve this problem by installing your own launcher like the case solution for the back. I have never liked the stock Samsung launcher, I find it too slow and simply laid out. That may not be very clear, but the bottom line is that I personally just don't like its feel when compared with other android devices.

The S5 is ushering in a new wave of phones, and it is an exciting time. Processing is getting faster, as we just broke the 2GHz level in the G2 a few months ago, and have now broken 2.5GHz (even though the full capacity is rarely used on a mobile device right now). I think the S5 is, as always, the first phone in the year's new line-up that promises to be quite a step forward.

Apple On The Go

Apple recently announced their newest product in a completely different line then they've ever delved into before. This new product is Carplay, in other words, iOS 7 in the car. Right now it is only in a few models from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. This is the first step in anther form of complete integration of technology into our lives. Its an amazing step forward in efficiency, and just the first product which is sure to become as booming a market as the many other integrated technology products that have come out recently.

Carplay is a replacement of the dash board, essentially. It varies a little bit by manufacturer, but the basic idea that comes with each is that you connect your iPhone into your car, and that's where the magic happens. You can answer calls, play your music, and get phone navigation. The idea behind it is that Apple is accepting the fact that people are using their phones in the car, so they are attempting to make it safer to keep yourself connected while in the car. I'm personally excited about this for two main reasons: it consolidates a lot of separate technology into one user interface and it foreshadows the entrance of other companies into the same realm.

First: the consolidation. Carplay combines the traditional GPS unit into an auxiliary chord, a call-answering system, and a satellite radio. Those are rough estimates, as everything is slightly different, but the main idea is that Carplay, despite the higher cost of the car, actually saves you quite a bit of money. You're looking at at least $200 to get something equivalent for a "normal car". What I am looking more forward to though is that the introduction of Carplay almost guarantees the emergence of other companies into the integrated car technology market, As always, I am most looking forward to a Google system with android, especially because I myself do not have an iPhone anymore. I think that an android product will create the competition needed to really develop this market into something that is built into every single car.

Integration into our lives has been inevitable in the spread of technology over the years. The latest is Carplay, which aims at bringing together separate technologies and making technology in the car safer. I realy like the idea of this technology, and I really want an android system to match. Time will only tell is this kind of integration survives, but my personal opinion is that it will stay and it will grow to become a staple of our driving experience.

Cloud Storage: The Best Option

Cloud storage is a relatively old phenomenon of the internet. In its most basic sense, it can be defined as storing files online in huge data servers that can be accessed from almost any electronic device. This basically replaces a hard drive or a flash drive, which are either built into the hardware or are more portable. The advantage of cloud storage, especially in the age of cell phones, is that it is much more available, and much cheaper. Services like iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon Cloud, to name a few, are growing rapidly in membership and are becoming much more efficient.

Cloud data services are becoming much more available, especially when you compare them to the most portable forms of hardware storage. A flash drive or a portable hard drive is becoming much more challenging to carry around in an age of increasingly lowering the amount of things we have on us. Many people have also been plagued by the chronic problem of forgetting these things. There have been so many days where I have had a presentation stored on a flash drive, only to arrive at school and realize I left it at home still plugged into my desktop. With cloud storage, I could leave the document open on one of my home devices and still access it on a school computer, eliminating the need for transporting hardware, no matter how small it is. It is also generally easier to simply log into your account, as opposed to putting in a flash drive and opening it on your screen. Of course, if you are like me and feel the need to rack up over 20 gigabytes of storage by signing up for every new cloud storage company, then it might be a little tougher to log in. Regardless, cloud storage is much easier as a whole to deal with, without the hassle of multiple flash drives that you mix up, losing one of them, or leaving one of them behind.

As for the cost of traditional vs. cloud storage, cloud storage also wins by a long shot. For the cloud services that I have; Google Drive gives me 15GB for free, Dropbox gives me 2GB, Amazon Cloud Drive gives me 5GB (though this is an account I manage for my parents, so its arguably mine), and iCloud also gives me 5GB. Plus, for only $2 a month, Google just recently changed their plans so you get 100GB for that money. Now compare this to a 100GB flash drive at several hundred dollars (I'm not kidding) or if you wanted to go to the alternative 5 or 6 16GB flash drives which would be roughly $40-$50, which would equal almost 2 years of Drive storage, and what if you only needed that amount of data for a month? Then you've got 6 flash drives lying around that you're never going to use again. For the vast majority of situations, cloud storage provides a much more viable option to store your data.

Cloud storage is something that many people have but do not fully utilize at this point. I encourage everybody (which is probably nobody) who reads this blog to use it just a little bit more, because only with mass support from the public will there be mass support from everyone else. Cloud storage is the best new technology that is used to store your files, and it should definitely have more popularity.