About Max Swisher

14-year-old web developer and writer. Avid collector of vinyl, cameras, and typewriters.

A Quote

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There is something inspiring about the outstanding level of brains, talent and drive among the people seeking to achieve something in Silicon Valley. But it’s disheartening and an honest shame that so much of this talent is being enthusiastically channeled into producing what can justifiably be viewed as an indulgent and frivolous waste that serves only a privileged and small portion of the population. A preoccupation with coolness can only take us so far. So much more is possible.

-Celeste Benson, posted to nytimes.com

And with that, I bid thee farewell.

Apple’s iPad Event: What you need to know in 100 words

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Ooh, shiny

It’s that time of year again, where Apple announces their new iPads. (Actually, this is only the second year that the refresh has come in fall).

Instead of making you read a long lengthy post about it, I decided to update you in under 100 words.

Here’s what’s up: They thinned it down, and it now only weighs one pound and has a sexy contoured exterior. It now has a faster A7 chip, and the magical M7 graphics “helper” – giving it twice the processing and graphics performance of the last iPad. It has another Wifi antenna giving it extra bandwidth and speed.

The ten hour battery life is maintained.

They also created a Retina version of the iPad mini with essentially these same features.

That’s all, folks. Now get back to work.

Tutorial for Everyone: LaTeX

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There may be times in your life where you need to make a mathematical figure or equation on your computer.

For me, as a high school student, this occurs often in both math and biology. There is no easy way to create a fraction that looks nice in word. Most people use awkward line spacing and tabulation to make fractions, but isn’t there an easier way?

Yup. It’s called LaTeX. LaTeX is basically a markup language that is often used to draw equations.

Start out by going to The Codecogs Equation Editor.

Up above you’ll notice a giant bank of mathematical symbols and templates.

Click one of these and you’ll get some markup in the text box with some empty brackets. Stick some numbers in the brackets and see what happens below the box.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.43.46 PM

 

Look at that, you’ve created a mathematical figure!

To extend your equation, just keep adding symbols and they’ll fill from left to right. You can also nest these items within each other, so you can have a fraction within a fraction, a number with an exponent within another symbol, and so on.

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Using this, I bet most of you will be able to figure out how to write some great and useful equations just by playing around with it.

Once you’re satisfied with your equation, you can click the “Click here to Download Image (GIF)” link and a GIF of your equation will be downloaded. It won’t be very high resolution, but if it’s resolution you want I recommend copying your completed LaTeX markup from the Codecogs editing website and pasting it into Roger’s Online Equation Editor. Here you can put in a giant resolution and download an image in some other format.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.52.11 PM

 

Another use I’ve found for LaTeX is in my high school chemistry class. As we discuss radioactive decay, it is necessary to notate isotopes and decay equations on a computer. Luckily, LaTeX is here to save the day.

Lets say that you have an Iodine-131 atom on the left which decays into a Xenon-131 atom and a beta particle. This can be notated in LaTeX with

_{53}^{131}\textrm{\textbf{I}}\rightarrow_{54}^{131}\textrm{\textbf{Xe}}+_{-1}^{0}\textrm{\textbf{e}}

You can probably figure out what all of those things relate to in the result:

eqn8694

So there’s your primer on the basics of LaTeX. Enjoy!

New in iOS 7 Beta 4: Snapchat Screenshots

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What has the world come to when I’m posting about the ability to take screenshots in Snapchat?

I need to get out more often…

In the release notes of iOS 7 Beta 4, there was this sentence:

Active touches are no longer canceled when the user takes a screenshot.

This means easy screenshots with snapchat, or any other app that shields the truth when you try to take a screenshot.

In the past, snaps would close upon trying to take a screenshot. No longer!

For you iOS 7 Beta users, you can take screenshots of your snaps by holding your finger on the snap and using another hand/fancy finger-work to hit both the home and power buttons simultaneously.

And for all you snapchatters out there, beware of the snapshotting possibilities.

(P.S. I really haven’t been posting enough lately. I need to decide whether I want to write long and analytical posts every once in awhile, or keep a stream of less interesting but still relevant news articles coming through. Hmm.)

Transit: The Best Public Transportation App for iOS

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jpegAs a 15-year-old, I don’t have a driver’s permit or any vehicle to drive. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have places to go.

As many others in the US do, I’ve turned to public transportation. Some people use it because taking a car simply doesn’t make sense (New York, for example). Others because they simply don’t want a car.

But using public transportation can be quite a hassle. For me to go towards San Francisco, I take a bus to a lightrail to a train that will finally go north. Planning and scheduling these multiple vehicles to minimize waiting times and maximize trip efficiency is often a difficult task involving timetables and maps.

It’s a good thing that we have Transit, though.

Transit is soothingly simple. Put in your origin and destination as well as a time of departure or arrival and Transit will search the timetables of all local transit and determine multiple routes to get you where you need to go in the shortest amount of time.

Here’s an example search from Lake Vasona to the Transamerica Pyramid Building in San Francisco.

IMG_0354

 

Transit gives me various options to choose from so I can maximize the speed of the trip.

Once I choose which route to take, I get a beautiful and simple guide that gives me specific times for each leg of my trip.

IMG_0353

 

I also get a nice map giving me visual reference of where I need to go.

IMG_0352

 

Currently, Transit works in 37 major cities across the United States including San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.

The best part about this app? It’s completely free! No ads or bothersome begging here.

Enjoy!

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What You Missed at WWDC

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This is an article from The Next Web. I decided it would be easier to use their article than to write the exact same thing out my way.

No more cats: say hello to OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Apple says it’s sold 28 million copies of OS X Mountain Lion and the Mac install based has doubled in the past five years. So what’s next for Mac? After initially joking that the new version of OS X would be called ‘Sea Lion’, Apple revealed that ‘Mavericks’ is 10.9′s name, indicating a shift from cats to names associated with California.

  • The new version of OS X 10.9 features tabs for Finder, to allow users to more easily navigate multiple windows in the operating system’s file navigation system.
  • A new feature called Tagging works like tags do in WordPress  blog posts, Flickr photos and the like. You can assign tags to documents when you save them, aiding with search. For example, all files relating to your sporting pastimes could use a ‘Sports’ tag to help you find them wherever they are on your local storage or on iCloud.

Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 20.46.49 520x296 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

  • Meanwhile, there’s better support for multiple displays. Using AirPlay, you can use an Apple TV box to run an extra display.
  • The battery life of your Mac should be much better under Mavericks, with technology designed to better handle transitions between power modes. Apple says that this reduces CPU usage up to 72%. The new OS can also rapidly compress inactive memory in order to make space available to applications. This, Apple says, results in a 1.5x improvement to waking a system from standby.
  • Apple unveiled a new version of its Safari browser, which will come with OS X Mavericks. It has a sidebar with reading list, continuous scroll, and a new Top Sites homepage. There’s a Shared Links section that lists links shared by people who you follow on Twitter and the like, and the Reading List now scrolls smoothly between items and has drag-and-drop re-ordering. Safari also has improved browser memory usage and Javascript handling, while an AppNaps feature will pause the processes in tabs that are running particularly battery-draining websites or Web apps in order to improve battery life.

safari sharedlinks 2x 730x466 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

  • iCloud Keychain is a new password management apps that stores your passwords, credit card numbers, WiFi passwords and account information. It syncs them all to trusted devices and all information is encrypted with 256-bit AES.
  • OS X Notifications are improved with the ability to reply to iMessages right from the notifications, and even start a Facetime call. iOS apps can now send push notifications to your Mac, if you enable the feature.
  • Calendar has a new look, with weather information, location suggestions and links to Apple Maps built in.
  • Apple Maps is built into Mavericks, complete with the 3D flyover feature and the ability to plan turn-by-turn navigation routes and send them to your iPhone.
  • iBooks and iBooks Textbooks will be available in Mavericks.

Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 20.33.38 730x317 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

  • A developer preview of OS X 10.9 is available today, with the full public release coming in the fall.

New MacBook Air models

  • The new MacBook Air promises “all day battery life,” thanks in no small part to power-efficient Intel Haswell CPUs. The 11-inch model promises 9 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch model promises a whole 12 hours. That’s half a day, rather than ‘all day’, but we get Apple’s point.
  • The new models have 802.11 ac Wifi support for faster connections.
  • The 11-inch MacBook Air starts at $999 for 128GB, the 13-inch starts at $1,099 with 128GB. Both ship today. Oh, and there was no word on an Air with a Retina display.

Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 20.22.52 730x261 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

New AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule units

  • The new versions of Apple’s networking devices support 802.11 ac WiFi and have completely new designs.
  • The new Time Capsule is available in 2TB and 3TB versions.

 The new Mac Pro: A black cylinder made in the USA

  • It’s been a long time since the Mac Pro got an overhaul but today we saw what’s on offer when a completely redesigned machine launches later in the year.
  • The new Mac Pro is a small, black, cylindrical machine that will be made in the USA.
  • It’s powered by a new Intel Xeon processor, ECC memory with up to 2x faster performance, PCIe based flash memory with a 1 Gbps write speed. Apple says that it’s 10 times faster than any previous Mac Pro.
  • The device is expandable using external devices over connections using Intel’s new Thunderbolt 2 technology, running at 20 Gbps per port and up to six devices per port.
  • In a play to the professional video production market, the internal graphics processor can handle three 4K displays.
  • It sports six Thunderbolt ports, HDMI out, Gigabit Ethernet. In a cool touch, a motion sensor detects when you turn the Mac Pro around and lights up the inputs for you.

Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 20.24.31 520x483 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

iCloud growth

  • Tim Cook said that at 300 million accounts, iCloud is now “the fastest growing cloud service ever.”
  • There have been 35 billion downloads from the iTunes in the Cloud music service.
  • Game Center now has 240 million users.
  • There have been a total of 800 billion iMessages sent, and 7.5 trillion push notifications received.

iWork for iCloud: Taking on Google Docs

  • In addition to new versions of iWork for Mac and iOS, iWork is coming to the browser in the form of iWork for iCloud.
  • Pages, Keynote and Numbers will all have Web-based versions.
  • Supported files, including Microsoft Office documents, can be dragged to iCloud on your Mac and then worked on in the browser.
  • Although performance is best in Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer are also both supported.
  • A developer beta of iWork for iCloud is available now, with full release planned for later in the year.

Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 20.25.53 730x249 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

 iOS by the numbers

  • 600 million iOS devices have now been sold.
  • Over 90% of iOS users are on the latest version of iOS. ”More than a third of Android users are using an operating system that was released in 2010,” chided Tim Cook.

iOS 7

It was no surprise that iOS 7 would be unveiled today and it didn’t disappoint with a completely new design and lots of new features.

The new design:

  • As expected, iOS 7 features a new ‘flat’ design with a wave goodbye to the real-world-aping, ‘skeuomorphic’ approach of the past. A video featuring Sir Jony Ive unveiling the design received a standing ovation in the auditorium.
  • There are completely reworked icons and the default apps all have new looks. There is system-wide use of the Helvetica Neue, and image based backgrounds.
  • Images are the best way to show it off, so here we g, courtesy of Apple’s website:

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Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 20.28.03 730x469 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

Notifications and mutitasking:

  • Notification Center is now available from the lock screen and features a section that shows appointments and more with ‘today’ at the top.
  • Control Center now offers easy access to many settings like Wifi and Bluetooth, and a flashlight.
  • Better multitasking: iOS 7 detects which apps you use the most and gives those apps more background updates.
  • When an app receives a Push Notification, iOS will update the app in the background so that it’s ready to go when you tap the notification. No more waiting for the app to load and refresh.
  • A new interface for multitasking lets you see the apps live as you switch between them, giving you a view of the content instead of icons.

New Safari:

  • Safari for iOS has a new tabbed browsing view, access to the iCloud keychain, a smart search field and more.
  • The new tab interface is vertical with iCloud tabs at bottom
  • You can navigate the browsing history with a swipe.
  • Shown earlier in the new version of Safari for OS X, the continuous scrolling Reading List and shared links features are coming to mobile Safari.

File sharing with AirDrop:

  • You can share photos (and presumably more) with nearby people. You simply open up AirDrop from a share card and the names of the nearby people you can share with are listed.

Photos and the camera:

  • The camera now has filters built in and the ability to create cropped, square photos. Instagram, you have a lot to answer for.
  • The new Photos app in iOS 7 organizes your photos into ‘Moments’, for easier navigation. These are automatically generated as you shoot.
  • You can navigate through years of photos by way of tiny thumbnails, sorted by year.
  • Shared photo streams allow multiple people to share photos that they can all see in a single feed.
  • The Photos app has a new landscape mode.

Siri gets a new look:

  • Siri has a new interface and a brand new, smoother voice, available in both male and female varieties. The new voice is available in English, French and German with more languages to follow.
  • Siri now has control over iOS settings like voicemail, brightness, bluetooth and more.
  • There are now Web search results from Bing and Wikipedia results inside Siri.
  • Siri now has in-car support. You can dictate messages, use Maps, and more.

App Store updates:

  • The new-look on-device App Store has a kids section and an ‘Apps Near Me’ section.
  • Your apps will now update automatically.

Facetime for Audio:

  • Yes, Facetime now has a VoIP option for audio calls.

Better device security:

  • If a thief tries to turn off Find My iPhone or wipe your iOS device, they won’t be able to reactivate it without your iCloud password.

New developer SDKs:

  • Developers now get third-party game controller support, BlueTooth LE support, 60fps video capture, the ability to build AirDrop support into their apps and more.

So, when can we get it?:

  • iOS 7 for iPhone is available today in beta, with iPad and iPod touch betas coming later. A full release will take place in the fall.
  • iOS 7 will work on the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2 and later, the iPad mini and the iPod touch 5th generation.

iTunes Radio

Yes, Apple’s long-rumored ‘Spotify rival’ is here, but it’s more of a Pandora rival really. Here’s what the new iTunes Radio has to offer

  • Billed as “a new way to discover music,” it features songs that are trending on Twitter and collections based on events.
  • You can also create your own stations in iTunes Radio, similar to Pandora. There are staff-curated stations, too.
  • To help tune each station to your tastes, there are ‘Play more like this’ or ‘Don’t play music like this’ buttons.
  • There’s no subscription fee. It’s ad-supported, but if you’re an iTunes Match subscriber, you won’t see them.
  • iRadio will launch in the US and expand to more countries.
  • It supports Mac, PC, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

itunes radio 220x391 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list     Screen Shot 2013 06 10 at 20.29.05 220x391 Everything announced at Apples WWDC 2013 keynote in one handy list

And that’s your lot. Phew! Keep it locked to TNW for much more Apple news as WWDC continues this week.

Header image: Getty Images. All other images, via Apple.com

Source: The Next Web

Internet-Speak

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Over the past year, I took the Japanese 1 class that was available to us at our school. This is the first time that I’ve actually taken and completed a language class. In the process, I always compared the challenges of learning Japanese to the challenges a foreign person might have when trying to learn English. For example, in English we use am/is/are for defining the subject of a sentence. I am, he is, you are. However, we also say “they are”, which is the same as “you are”. why is it that we have the same word for both a singular second person word and a plural third person subject? It doesn’t really make sense, but since we’ve grown up with the language, we don’t tend to really notice it very often.

Assume hypothetically that you are a student from Indochinalumbiland. You’ve attended your school and taken one year of English. You can probably write some great, complex sentences and do so with good grammar and spelling. Perhaps an assignment was to write a paragraph about yourself in English:

Hello. My name is Arrow. I was born on May 12, 1996. My favorite color is red. My family is four people: me, my mother, my sister, and my father. I live in Hindrawyt, Indochinalumbiland.

I know that a select few of you might be thinking to yourselves, “there is incorrect grammar here – when listing people in addition to yourself, you should include an ‘I’ at the end of the sentence, as in ‘my mother, my sister, my father, and I.” Well, Mr. English master, I know. Did you get the point? Probably. Despite the slight issue with grammar, the sentence is still easily comprehensible.

Now lets say that our pupil Arrow continues to take classes in English and becomes completely fluent. He can do business in English and has even learned Western customs and culture. He could come over to America and fit right in.

Then Arrow discovers the internet. All of the sudden he is faced with a new, untaught version of the English language.

eyy, wassup?

not much lol, just tumblin

ermagerd turblurrrr lelelel

omfg lel?

:D

lol, dont judge bro

lol im not. amyways I gtg. c ya late

What is this mad language? Arrow never learned about this odd dialect in school. It’s still Emglish, but it is vastly different. Arrow has come to the barrier of Internet-speak.

The Internet is a very interesting experiment in language and communication. Online, there is no MLA or Oxford Dictionary telling people what’s allowed and what isn’t. Instead, users have taken the English language and adapted it to their needs. Due to faceless communication, people online use a plethora of acronyms and emoticons to adapt non-verbal communication to be suitable online. In addition, words are shortened and grammar is omitted in favor of shorter words that are easier to type. The internet is a wonderful example of the evolution of language. In fact, the online version of English is basically an entirely new species. A well-educated English speaker from the late 1900s would have a hard time understanding the conversations that are held online today, only a few decades later.

However, this presents a new problem for modern people: We must all be bilingual and use the appropriate language depending on context. Teens in school must know how to talk online in lolspeak and the next day write a paper in diverse, formal English. For some (like me) this hasn’t been much of a problem. However, many others haven’t been so lucky.

Terry Wood, a foreign language teacher at St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Md., has seen a “dramatic decline” in the writing abilities of her students “due to Tweeting, Facebook, and texting.”

“They do not capitalize words or use punctuation anymore,” Wood, a teacher with 10 years of in-class experience, says. “Even in E-mails to teachers or [on] writing assignments, any word longer than one syllable is now abbreviated to one.”

(US News)

Online communications has revolutionized not only the method of communication, but also what is being said. The internet has become a fast-paced consumer-controlled network of information and communication. Perhaps as the internet becomes more prevalent in our lives, formal English will fade out from our society in favor of more widely-used Cyberspeak. Prominent dictionaries have already begun to add words such as LOL and OMG to their vast expanse of words, but only time will tell what the future of communication will truly look like.

Yahoo Buying Tumblr? Alright.

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In case you haven’t heard, Yahoo recently bought tumblr for a whopping $1.1 billion.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, says that they don’t want to Yahoo-ize Tumblr. In fact, they want to keep it as a separate entity. Marissa herself actually said that she promises “not to screw it up” on her personal tumblr. But it’s not all cookies and cake: Yahoo! plans on using Tumblr to target ads towards younger audiences.

This means that you can expect to see ads cluttering your Tumblr dashboard soon.

But there’s an upside as well: with a behemoth like Yahoo! running the backend, users should expect to see less downtime and technical issues with the service. That’ll be nice.

Overall, it’s an alright trade. As long as Yahoo! does what they promise to and nothing more, Tumblr should still remain a popular service.

Axis: App Shortcuts on your Lockscreen!

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App Shortcuts from your Homescreen!

App Shortcuts from your Homescreen!

One of the cool features of the iPhone is the camera button on the lock screen. The camera is just a swipe away from the lockscreen, meaning you won’t miss anything while fumbling for your Camera app.

Well, here’s a jailbroken tweak that will allow you to add more shortcuts to your homescreen just like the Camera shortcut for any app you so desire.

The app is called Axis, and it is available from Cydia for $0.99. This means that you need a jailbroken device.

Once installed, open the Settings app and find the Axis settings pane. Change around which shortcuts you want to do what, and the next time you unlock your iPhone you’ll notice that… it looks the exact same. What?

thing3Now put your finger on the little Camera shortcut. You’ll see the “slide to unlock” slider is replaced by all of your shortcuts. Slide your finger over one of them and swipe up to open it.

And don’t worry about your passcode – Axis will request your passcode before you open up an app.

Personally, I like to have my Phone, Messages, Spotify, and Google Maps at my fingertips. You can play around with the Axis settings and customize the shortcuts to any app of your desire. Enjoy!

Google Glass Brings Us One Step Closer to the Dystopia of Wall•E

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As you probably know, Google Glass was recently released to a select set of developers for testing. For those of you who don’t, however Google Glass is a pair of glasses that connects to the internet, has a build in webcam, and lets you talk to people and get directions.

This means a few things. First of all, you will soon be able to always have the internet readily available to you without even having to look away from what you’re doing. Secondly, the internet will become such an integral part of our daily lives that we will no longer remember what it was like without it.

Sound familiar? I don’t know if you’ve watched Wall-E, but here’s a basic synopsis: It’s way in the future, and earth was destroyed by the humans. The humans then made a giant space ship and lived on it. It was on this high tech spacecraft that everyone eventually got extremely fat by spending their lives in hover chairs. Every passenger also had a screen projected in front of them, and they were always so focused on what was on their screen that they completely neglected the outside world around them.

walle

In fact, when two people bumped into each other and were forced to interact in real life, it was a new experience for them both.

Here’s just a simple overview of what google glass looks like to a wearer. Notice any similarities?

With Google Glass you can also send and receive messages, get directions, find information from Google Now, and even record video and capture your view through a camera – all available in your eye. Soon people will be walking around completely oblivious to the existence of a real world, and augmented reality will become the only reality.

Compare this scene from Wall•E with this demo of Google Glass:

As you can tell, we aren’t quite to the point of complete social isolation. However, the widespread availability of a product like this will bring mankind one giant step closer to the Wall•e-an dystopia that we fear.

How-to: Install Facebook Home on Any Android Device

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Screenshot 2013 04 14 22 08 09

In case you missed the news, Facebook recently announced Facebook Home, a home screen replacement for android. In a nutshell, when you hit your Android device’s home button, it will bring you to a home screen where you can scroll through and interact with your friends’ posts.

Facebook announced that it would be available on the Google Play Store for a select few devices including the Galaxy SIII and HTC One X. But what about the rest of us?

Don’t fear! Where there’s a will there’s a way, and thankfully the guy with the will made the way easy enough for even the most basic of simpletons to accomplish.

Here’s how to get Facebook Home on any Android device.

First, open Settings on your android device and go to Security. Check the box that reads “Install applications from unknown sources.”

Second, go into Settings > Applications and find and uninstall any Facebook and Messenger app that you’ve already installed.

Now, go to this blog post on your Android device. To make it a little bit easier, just type in this short link: http://a.swsr.info/YouxEG

GMG TO ANDROID, DO YOU READ ME?! Good.

Now, still on your Android device, click HERE, HERE, and HERE.

In your status bar, you should notice a little download icon. Install all three of the files that you just downloaded simply by clicking them and hitting install.

Next, look in your app drawer and you’ll find Facebook home. Open it and log in, and you’re done!

 

The success of this process has varied depending on your device, however I have it working wonderfully on my Nexus 7.

Enjoy!

Credits to Modaco founder Paul O’Brien for this patch.

OmniCleanz: Screen Cleaning Never Sucked Less

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Computer screens will get dirty. That’s just how it is. Hyper-salivating friends, sloppy dogs, and fingers all contribute to the inevitable film that will build up on your beloved machine.

Nobody likes dirty screens. They just plain get in the way.

Usually, cleaning a screen is a whole to-do: Get some household cleaner and a cloth, turn off your computer, and start wiping. Gosh, I hope this stuff is okay for my screen. Crap, there’s streaks. Circular motion? Back and forth? Why didn’t it get that spot?  In the end, you’ll spend half an hour trying to get your screen clean, and in the end you probably won’t succeed.

Not anymore.

OmniCleanz is a screen cleaning solution that actually works. Using it is really, really simple: Spray it on, polish around until it’s all gone. No need to turn the computer off, no need to go in straight lines across. No more worrying about chemicals damaging your screen or residue being left behind. This stuff just plain works.

A 1oz bottle  will cost you a whopping $7, however you can get a 4oz for $10 and an 8oz for $15.

I recommend getting the 8oz bottle; it’s not much more expensive and will last you for years.

Trust me, you need a bottle of this stuff. If you spend a lot of time in front of your computer, having a clean screen will make your life dramatically better.

OmniCleanz by RadTech