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.

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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.

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

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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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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.

Pastor: Free, Simple Password Management for Mac

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PastoriconIf you’ve been reading much about security recently, you know that everyone is saying to never reuse any passwords, and to use a password manager to keep track of all of them. 1Password is definitely the most recommended password manager of them all, as it supports categories, cross-platform syncing, and browser extensions.

But it’s $40.

Ladies and gentlemen, enter Pastor. I’m going to say now that Pastor doesn’t have any of the fancy features that 1Password has, but it has the essentials: password storage and encryption.

pastor

The interface is beautifully simple: You can add an entry that contains a title, username, password, URL, and a note. The database is then saved as an encrypted .pastor file using a master password of your choice.

To see your passwords, open the file, type in your password, and you’re there. You can copy a password to the clipboard for use, or hover over the password to see it.

It also has a built-in password generator.

The app is donation-ware, so donations are encouraged. I don’t usually ask people to donate for donation-ware apps, but this app is so simple and useful that I think it’s definitely worth more than nothing. So if you use this app, please donate something!

Enjoy!

Pastor Homepage

Gizoogle: A Gangsta Google Search

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Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 12.42.34 AMGoogle Search is a wonderful utility: type in what you want, and you’ll probably get it.

 

Well, Gizoogle is a parody on Google searches that really spruces up the search results. It has an alternate dictionary which it switches out various words in the search for. Examples include (but are not limited to) hair=afro; love=ludd; good=phat.

The best part is that the search is still completely accurate. If compared to a Google search for the same thing, the results will be identical (other than Gizoogle’s alternative dialect). This is because Gizoogle still uses the Google Search API, meaning you’ll get Google’s same accurate and reliable search results, just in a different dialect. For example, if you type “good morning geek” into Google Search, the first result will go something like this:

 Here’s how to turn it into an “I’m Feeling Lucky” box, so that if you type Good Morning Geek into the bar, it will take you straight to GMG!

Here’s the result for the same search on Gizoogle:

Here’s how tha fuck ta turn it tha fuck into a “I’m Feelin Lucky” box, so dat if you type Dope Mornin Geek tha fuck into tha bar, it will take you straight ta GMG, muthafucka!

 

When a link is clicked, you’ll get the Gizoogled translation of the page, but it will still be the correct page. One of my favorites for this is the Alpaca article on Wikipedia. Normally it will say:

Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern BoliviaEcuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, throughout the year.[1] Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool.

The Gizoogled translation:

Alpacas is kept up in herdz dat graze on tha level heightz of tha Andes of southern Peru, northern BoliviaEcuador, n’ northern Chile at a altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) ta 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, all up in tha year.[1] Alpacas is considerably smalla than llamas, n’ unlike llamas, they was not bred ta be beastz of burden yo, but was bred specifically fo’ they fiber. Alpaca fiber is used fo’ bustin knitted n’ woven items, similar ta wool.

Enjoy! http://gizoogle.net

 

Google Maps for iPhone is Here!

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With the release of iOS 6, the biggest complaint was the new maps app. And I don’t just mean people were whining a bit; I mean that it was such a big deal that many people refrained from updating to iOS 6 just for the bad maps. It was such a big problem that Apple even created a special section on the featured page of the App Store with alternative map apps. And it’s not just the Apple addicts noticing – a slew of memes have popped up mentioning iOS maps as well.

There’s been quite the uproar, but finally Google has fixed our problems. Introducing the official Google Maps for iPhone!

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that what we had before iOS6? Well, kind of. Before iOS 6, Apple had created their own maps app that used the Google Maps API. This new Google Maps app is completely built and maintained by Google, no Apple involvement.

The app is just how you’d expect it to be: A nice, clean google interface with sans-serif fonts and light colors. The zooming is very smooth and font sizes change like water. The “3D” effect is less than that of Apple’s maps, but it is still adequate for getting a general idea of the terrain.

The app also comes with Google’s voice navigation, which is a nice addition for many.

Overall, it’s what you’d expect – a good, solid, full-featured maps app that is a free alternative to the laughable iOS maps.

Click here to download it from iTunes. 


How-to: Turn the Chrome Omnibox into a Feeling Lucky Box

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“I’m Feeling Lucky” is one of the most underused Google Search services in existence. For those who don’t know, I’m Feeling Lucky simply redirects you to the first search result for whatever you enter. For example, if you go to google.com, type in Good Morning Geek, and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” it will bring you straight to goodmorninggeek.com. If you type in “Llamas Wikipedia” and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” it will bring you straight to the wikipedia page for Llamas. This is convenient because it usually gets you where you want to go without the need to have the search page middleman.

In Google Chrome, the top bar serves as a URL bar and a search bar – referred to as the “OmniBox.” Typically, you can enter any google search into that bar and it will take you to the search page. Here’s how to turn it into an “I’m Feeling Lucky” box, so that if you type Good Morning Geek into the bar, it will take you straight to GMG!

1. Go into Chrome’s Preferences and click “Manage Search Engines.”

2. Scroll to the bottom and click “Add New.” In the first field, type “lucky”, in the second field type “lucky”, and in the third field copy and paste (without the quotes) “http://www.google.com/search?q=%s&btnI”, then hit okay.

3. Open “Manage Search Engines…” again and find the lucky search engine that you just made. Hover over it and click the box on the right that says “Make default.”

4. Hit Ok at the bottom, and enjoy! Try it out: type “ostrich wikipedia” in the search bar and hit enter, and marvel at how it magically redirects you!

If there isn’t a result with enough in common to be sure, Google will just redirect you to the search page.

If you want to do just a normal google search, just type in “google” then press tab, and enter your search.

Enjoy!

Instagram Announces Web Profiles

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Instagram, the mobile photo sharing network that was recently bought by facebook for a large sum, has now announced a web-based interface.

In the past, to view someone’s instagram profile, you needed a mobile device with the Instagram app installed. There were many online profile alternatives that were based off of Instagram’s API, but none of them were worth writing home about.

With this update, you’ll be able to find a facebook-like profile of someone’s instagram account by simply visiting instagram.com/username.

Source: Instagram

Even more importantly, Web Profiles also brings instagram to the web. It will now be possible to like and comment on photos as well as follow other users with the new web interface, and will eliminate the mobile-exclusivity aspect.

Just like the web profile, this has been done in the past with the Instagram API – in fact, quite well in one case. However, the Instagram-made site is bound to be impressive and a nice addition to the Instagram portfolio.

One thing worth mentioning is that the updated site will still not support photo uploads from a computer as “Instagram is focused on the production of photos from mobile devices” (Press Release). I don’t believe that the functionality will ever exist for this reason, however there are ways to upload a photo not taken with a mobile device to Instagram (such as dropbox).

All of these features will be rolled out to different accounts over the course of the next week.

My account has not gotten the update yet, but feel free to check by going to http://instagram.com/maxswisher.

Also, follow me on instagram! @maxswisher

 

How Secure is Your Password?

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I was doing internet-type things and stuff when I stumbled across this clean, simple, and useful website:

http://howsecureismypassword.net

It’s simple. You type in your password and it estimates how long it would take a standard desktop PC to guess your password based on the length, words, characters, and numbers that you’ve entered.

Even better, it tells you what you should fix. It will say if it’s too short, or if you need more characters, or if it shouldn’t be based off of a word. It tells you how secure your password is then tells you how to make it even more secure.

It also has a database of the most common passwords that it compares to. So if your password is under that category, you might want to seriously reconsider your online security situation.

These are all nice, but there’s one part that I absolutely love: The background. If you put in a super awesome, secure password, it will turn green. It does this by checking the password against the database, and if it’s good, it returns it to javascript which then changes the background color. The background color change is a nice, even fade thanks to CSS3 transitions, and they even bothered to add in entries for webkit, mozilla, and opera. Oh how I love CSS transitions.

And their font is nice.

http://howsecureismypassword.net

 

SelfControl: Goodbye Procrastination

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Selfcontrollogo

Okay, so you have a ton of stuff to do. Emails to respond to, presentations to finish, proposals to complete. Calls to make, appointments to schedule, packages to deliver, documents to sign. 

But that one tab… it’s flashing. It beckons you. 

“Bob sent you a message!”

Bob. He sent you a message. 

All of the sudden, your entire agenda turns to nothing as you get sucked in to this pointless conversation with Bob. 

But wait – you have a new notification. Someone commented on your cat photo. You need to respond. If you don’t, then your opinion wouldn’t be expressed to the world! Oh, that post, it must be liked. Oh, there’s Bob again – Gotta reply to that. Oh, new comment on that cat photo. What?! They don’t think cats are better than dogs? I need to google why cats are better than dogs. Oh, there’s that flashing tab again! It’s Bob. Oh, I have a new chat. I have to respond to it. Oh hey, there’s my old high school friend! I should say hi. Oh, that post is cool, I should like it. Oh, I need to respond to bob. Oh, someone liked my status. Oh, I have to respond to my chats. 

Three hours have passed. You’ve gotten absolutely nothing done. 

This, my readers, is a daily phenomenon that affects almost 100% of active Facebook users. The term for it is “unconscious procrastination, meaning that you procrastinate and you don’t even realize it until you actually take a look at the clock. And thanks to many sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more, unconscious procrastination is a problem that affects the productivity of the entire world. 

Well, thankfully, there is indeed a solution: SelfControl. 

SelfControl is very simple: Add the sites you don’t want to it’s blacklist, set a timer, hit start, and goodbye procrastination. Any of the sites that you added will no longer work for that amount of time! So no matter how much you might want to get to Facebook to see if Bob responded, you can’t – so I guess that gives you the opportunity to get something done!

One of the beautiful things about SelfControl is that once you set the timer, you can’t stop it. Even if you restart your mac, uninstall the application, whatever, you won’t be able to visit your blocked sites until the timer is up. 

Okay, now for the technical part (those who aren’t interested, skip to the next paragraph). On your Mac there is a file called the hosts file. Basically, it contains a local DNS registry, which usually only consists of localhost being 127.0.0.1. What SelfControl does is adds an entries to the hosts file that direct whatever sites you blacklisted to 0.0.0.0. This means that if you try to visit a site that you blacklisted, you will be redirected to the server at the address 0.0.0.0 – which doesn’t exist. Now for the spoiler: if you really want to get your Facebook and other social networks back before the timer is out, you can use the Terminal to edit /etc/hosts and delete the SelfControl entry.

So say goodbye to Bob, your friends, and your admirers alike; you have work to do. 

SelfControl Website

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MightyText: Desktop SMS through your Phone

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Over the years, there have been many different solutions to texting through your computer.

A couple of carriers would allow you to text over their web interface, but it was usually very unreliable and, well, bad.

Google Voice allowed you to get a phone number that could be used through your computer, phone, or any other internet connected device – but this required you to get a completely different phone number.

iMessage allows you to text from your computer if you have an iOS Device, but this only works for Macs and iOS.

Well, there’s finally a solid solution for us android users: MightyText.

It’s really simple. Install the free app on your android device, install a browser plugin, and you’re good to go.

The entire system works through the cloud. When a text is received on your phone, it pushes the information to the MightyText servers, which then push it back down to your computer. This means that the system will work even if you aren’t anywhere near your phone, as long as your phone and your computer are both connected to the internet.

The computer interface is web-based, and the browser plugin allows notifications to pop up when you receive a new text. The interface isn’t half bad, and if you decide to sync your contacts with Google, then you can get all of the names in the text interface as opposed to all of the phone numbers.

As I said, it’s completely free, and all that you need is an android phone running 2.2+ and an internet connected computer.

Get it on Google Play

Install Browser Plugin (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and IE (but hopefully not))

Koush Brings us Root Free Tethering

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Koush, you have improved the lives of android users once again.

In case you don’t know, Koush is the creator of ClockworkMod, the custom recovery that is used by rooters worldwide.

Koush has now brought us a root free USB tethering solution, for all of you who are either having problems with rooting (like if you have a rooted Galaxy Nexus and you updated to 4.0.4 OTA and your root is gone and no matter what you do you can’t get it back, *cough* *cough*) or if you don’t want to root your phone out of fear of destroying it.

It’s an extremely simple application. On your phone, you download the app for free from the android market Google Play. The free app is a 14 day trial, but you can buy the full version as an in-app purchase for $4.99 (worth it!).

Once you’ve downloaded the app on your phone, you just need to get the drivers for your computer. Now, you’re probably going to be downloading this app because at the time you don’t have internet, and Koush has thought of that as well. In the android app, you can download the app files onto your phone then transfer them onto your computer for installation. Genius!

The small connection application is available for Mac, Windows, and even Linux. Ubuntu users rejoice!

Once you’ve installed the driver, you’re ready to go. Tap the USB icon on your phone, click start on your computer, and in a few seconds, your computer will be connected to the internet through your phone’s network. Easy as that!

If this comes in handy for you, I highly recommend that you buy the app. Koush has created some amazing things for android, and without him flashing ROMs would be nearly impossible.

Thank you Koush for all of your contributions to Android!

Click here to download the app for Android.