Typecast

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I was recently interviewed by a reporter about my love of typewriters.

Yes, I have a bit of a thing for typewriters, film cameras, and flower print. I currently own two lovely typewriters: an IBM Selectric II, and a Brother Charger 11.

The reporter told me about typecasting, and I was immediately hooked.

Typecasting is similar to a blog, except instead of text, it’s scans of something typed on a typewriter. Not image-to-text conversion; just the images of what you typed.

It’s nice for three reasons: Firstly, you get the joy of typing on a typewriter. After all, computer keyboards are overrated for typing – the tactile feedback and instant gratification of a typewriter keyboard will never be matched. Secondly, it’s more personal. The little bleed or empty spots of the letters from the typewriter show up, and it’s much less perfect refined. Thirdly, you are actually typing on a typewriter, not just in a typewriter font. Typewriter fonts try to replicate the little errors and blank spaces in the letters of typewriters, but they’re just never right; with a typewriter, the letters follow the curves and crevices in the grain of the paper, and it’s all just so beautiful.

The day before, I decided that I should make a personal blog: One about me, not the stuff I like. I installed wordpress and added a post, but it was all just so…. normal. Another blog. zzzzzz…..

The night after the reporter came and interviewed me, I knew that I should convert my personal blog to a typecast. However, nobody had created a platform for it yet.

So being my ingenuitive self, I decided to create the platform myself. With the help of my glorious friend Amit Eyal, we toiled through the night. (Correction: because he lives a 10 hour time difference from where I do, I went to sleep right when he left for school, then woke up when he came back.) What we had was beautiful: A simple, usable CMS for nothing but uploading images.

Here’s the section on how it works – computer-illiterate, you may want to skip to the next paragraph. It has a hash database with one auto-increment column called ID, and another called file. There is a password-protected admin page with a file upload link. When you upload the image file, it will move the image to the img folder and add the filename to the database; at this point, it will also add the auto-increment the id to the next number. Now, on the homepage, it will call all of the database values with the id descending (this orders it reverse-chronologically). Then it echoes the img and a tags with the correct image file (which it got from the database) and Voila, you have yourself a typecast.

I would ultimately like to make it free and open source for anyone to start his own typecast. Also, it isn’t necessary to have a typewriter – you can just handwrite a note, scan it, and post that instead.

Click here to check out my new personal blog, which is our original typecast.

 

 

Bananapress: a super-simple CMS

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WordPress is wonderful. People love to use it, and some extremely beautiful and large sites implement it as their backend.

But then there’s those who get tired of wordpress. It works, well, yes. But it is a bit heavy, it can be a bit slow, and it’s not the lightest thing in the world.

So you try our Drupal, but that’s just disgusting – the interface is impossible to use, it has high requirements, and the error messages are nearly indecipherable.

There’s plenty of other CMSes, but they’re all a bit blech. So I decided hey, why don’t I just make my own?

That’s why I made bananapress. It started as just for personal use, then I realized that I could easily create an installation script and make it open source for all of you to use.

Bananapress is a bare-bones simple CMS. It only requires PHP v5.2 and a MySQL Database. Unzip the file, put it in the root of your domain, then go to http://yourdomain.com/install. It will give you instructions on editing the config.php file (I’m hoping to make that webpage be able to edit the configuration file, but I’m not familiar with write and reading text files in PHP). Put in your database information in the config file, then click next on the install page. It should configure a database for use with your site.

Now, you can go to http://yourdomain.com/login.php, enter the password that you entered in the config file, and write and save your first post. Voila, it should show up on your homepage.

And that’s it! I’m working on getting an editing page and some more documentation for it, but it’s a work in progress. So far the feedback has been good.

Feel free to check it out for yourself by going to http://bananapress.co.cc !

Goodbye, MacBook

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No, I’m not talking about the white one (post here).

I bought an aluminum MacBook in 2008, and it has lasted me until today. I loved it, it was reliable, and has lasted through three software versions. I have used it for three years straight, rarely skipping more than 8 hours without using it.

And today, it has finally left us.

I’m not getting rid of this computer, as it was my first real computer and has signatures of apple engineers on the bottom.

You’ll get to find out what computer I get next when I write a post about it. :)

Oddly, however, today is the same day that Steve Jobs has resigned from his CEO position at Apple. Coincidence? I think not.

maxeh.me

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Here on Good Morning Geek, I post fairly professional reviews, opinion, news, etc. However, sometimes there’s things that readers might like to know about, but just don’t have the same professionalism to fit in here on Good Morning Geek.

That is why I have made a new, smaller and less professional site – maxeh.me.  I post about more random stuff, with possibly a few more typos and/or grammatical errors.

Enjoy!

Google+ for iOS released, Welcome to Crash Central

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Google+ is Google’s stab at facebook that has some great new features that really puts it in the competition (read more here). The Android app was available immediately; the iOS app was supposed to come a few weeks after.

Well, it’s here. Unfortunately, it’s not worth getting.

You are greeted with a front page where you can view your stream, profile, huddles, circles, etc. Everything works until you hit stream; that’s where it crashes. It will give you a spinner saying that it’s loading… then it will keep spinning… and spinning… and spinning… and when you’re sick and tired of it, you just hit the grid to go back to the home screen. But it doesn’t go. So you hit it again. Same result. So you start frantically hitting buttons, but it’s not going to respond. Then, there’s the crash.

For now, this is all you’ll get. Jailbroken or not, iOS 5 or 4. The app is just a crasher.

Google introduces new look to Gmail, inspired by Google+

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Google has introduced a new look to Gmail that has tons of reminiscence from Google+.

Lets compare. Click the below image to open the screenshots in a new window.

If you look at the above screenshots, the first thing you may notice would be the sidebar. In both Gmail’s “Labels” and Google+’s “Circles”, you see that the selected item is highlighted in orange, both in the same font (highlighted in red).

Another similarity would be the buttons. Look at the “Share” button in Google+, then the “Search” and “Compose Mail” buttons in Gmail. You’ll notice that they are the same style and size (highlighted orange).

Last (and frankly least) the logos look the same (highlighted green).

Now lets compare the new Gmail to the old Gmail. Click the below screenshot to open it in a new window.

The buttons are different, and have no similarities to Google+. The selected label is simply bolded, where in the new theme they are colored orange in addition (highlighted red). In the new Gmail, messages are also farther apart (highlighted orange). I guess it gives a cleaner look, and it’s a little less dense on the eyes. In old Gmail, the buttons are less clean than in the new Gmail’s (highlighted green).

I know these are just interface changes, but it shows that Google is trying to really uniform everything around Google+ – even the top bar anywhere on google has been themed dark with orange highlights. Google+ is more than a social network – it is becoming a social Google.

Facebook announces video integration with Skype

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During a live facebook event that took place today, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has partnered with skype to provide one click video chatting to users.

It is referred to as a “mini skype client” by the CEO of Skype, and installs with a simple download of a java applet.

Zuckerberg claimed that there are no financial agreements with Skype, which is interesting to try and figure out who is benefiting from this. Skype CEO Tony Bates said that “We are planning to add paid skype over time as well.” This means that if you have a skype premium plan, you might be able to group video chat – but that’s just an assumption.

Speaking of group video chat, Facebook doesn’t have it! With Google Hangouts, Google’s chat service that allows up to 10 person video calling, may have an advantage over facebook. However, facebook has 750+ Million users – that’s a lot of people that are one click away from a video chat.

Video chat is available now to the public, just click here to get started.

Hey! That’s not the theme I’m used to!

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A little while back I changed the theme of Good Morning Geek to a theme called Arras. It had a very newspaper-like feeling, which I really liked.

Then, WordPress 3.2 was released. I upgraded and got a long fatal error.

Crap.

I figure out that it has to do with arras and SSH to my server and delete the theme. I was then able to login and change the theme.

But that means no more arras :(

I am using the new Twenty Eleven theme from WordPress, and I like it a lot. I had to redesign the header as in Twenty Eleven the header is much taller than in Twenty Ten – but that was a very minor setback.

So that is the story of the sudden theme change.

The NEX-5 Revisited

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You may remember this review of the NEX-5 that I did.Well, it’s quite a while later and I just wanted to revisit this camera.I feel that the NEX-5 is proof that the size of your camera doesn’t mean that it’s more or less capable of taking great photos. The NEX has taken some amazing photos, and I never have to do any staging, fiddling with settings, or laboring by carrying a huge 10 pound SLR. Here’s a couple of the photos that I’ve taken with the NEX:

Long exposure shot from my backyard.

As you can tell, the NEX can take some dang good photos. It’s a small and compact camera, but it is still capable of taking amazing pictures without much effort. It’s a nice balance between the ease of use and size of a compact digital camera, but has near equivalent picture quality and advanced features as a full SLR. When you hold the camera in your hand it feels great, as it has some weight to it, but isn’t a huge SLR that’s a pain to carry. It’s nice to be able to have extremely great picture quality without having to go through the pain of carrying a bulky SLR.
And as you can tell from the pictures above, the NEX can take SLR photos without all of that bulkiness that advanced users may have gotten used to.
If you are interested in the NEX-5, please click here to read my full review and purchase it.

Looking for writers!

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I’m looking to recruit some writers, as I would like to have this site posted to more often while I can handle all of the other stuff that I have to do.

Here’s the criteria:

a. You must be passionate and informed about tech.

I want the integrity of knowledge on this website to remain this good.

b. You must be under 16 years of age.

One of the whole things about this site is that it’s written from a younger yet still informed group of people. I’m not trying to be ageist, but I want to keep this blog unique as it is written from a younger point of view.

c. You must not expect payment.

I have been criticized for this, as people say that good writers deserve money for their time and efforts. But with the age group that I’m targeting, money is all that matters. If I offer money, every person that meets criteria b will jump onboard and write crap just for the money. I feel that if a teen is passionate about tech, they’d be happy to get their work out there and heard by the public, get credit for their posts, get writing experience, and get a nice addition to their resume saying that they wrote for a tech blog at the age of <16.

If you know anybody (or are someone) that meets the above criteria, please send me an email at writers@goodmorninggeek.com.

Thanks for your interest!

–Max

Custom URL Shortener

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Hey there!

You all probably see bit.ly all over the place. Twitter, facebook, websites, etc. Well in case you don’t know, it’s a URL shortener. What it does is takes a long URL like http://goodmorninggeek.com/archives/11567 and makes a link that goes from bit.ly/xF4y7 and redirects to the long one. This means that you can reduce the amount of characters you have in your URL, so there’s more room for text when you are limited to a certain amount of characters.

Well, I have created one of my own.

It’s called gdmnggk.me. So when you hit that retweet button up there, it includes the link gdmnggk.me/XXXXX instead of goodmorninggeek.com/archives/etc. or bit.ly/XXXX.

HAPPY 200th POST!!!

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Well, actually, the last post about GMGtv was the 200th post.

But close enough!

200 is a big number. It’s 100, times two. Yah, that big.

And I would like to answer a question that I have only ever answered when meeting someone at a conference.

How did you get started with your blog?

Almost everybody I meet asks this question.

Here’s the story.

The year is 2007. I am a mere 9 years old.

I have been playing around with computers since 2002, when I was four, so I was doing the usual browsing, finding free software, etc.

And then, I came across Blogger.

In case you don’t know what it is, it is a blog network (now owned by google) where you can create your own blog and post to it easily. Cool!

So on I went, creating my own website. This was so cool that I could create my own website for free!

I created it, then I went on posting.

About the grass.

About the fan on my desk.

About how the sidewalk curves outside the front of my house.

About how I was taking a vacation to hawaii.

Indeed, I was a free, meaningless blogger.

Then, it hit me.

Who cares? I mean, it’s just a sidewalk. Or my vacation. Why would anyone care?

And that is when I decided to make it a technology blog, as some people were interested in it.

Since 2008, I have been posting merely about technology. I have gone through many changes in my website. First, as you know, it was a Blogger site. Then, I transferred it to a WordPress.com site. Then, I was tired of not having the flexibility of themes and the URL goodmorninggeek.com. So that’s when I moved to MediaTemple hosting, got my own domain name, and got wordpress working. (I have learned an amazing amount of server management and DNS since then, however I am still trying to get down the whole database thing.)

Another thing I would like to talk about is my logo. Boy, is this quite the story.

When I started with this blog, I was a HUGE apple fan. I was OBSESSED. I only liked apple stuff, I had apple posters, I had apple gear, I ranted about apple all the time.

So I wanted to incorporate my belief in Apple into a logo.

Here’s the result, the first logo I ever made.

Oddly I still have this on my hard drive.

As you can tell, I was extremely young when I created that picture.

The red was from colourism, a site where you put in your name and birthday and it will find a color just for you. Oddly, I still have this picture as my youtube profile picture.

But I started to get tired of that. So I decided to create a new one!

Oddly I have this one on my hard drive too!

This one I really liked. So I tried to print a Tshirt of it.

But Zazzle gave me an error for copyright because it has the Apple Logo in it.

So I had to start over.

I thought how so  many people called the site GMG instead of Good Morning Geek. So I thought maybe I could get something off of that.

And I knew that the > can be used as a newline code (and it looked technical).

So I decided to have my logo say >gmg. And I wanted it lowercase just because it looked a bit more modern.

As for the gradient, I literally picked those colors with my eyes closed and it just worked out. :)

I have had that >gmg for almost a year, and I have had no copyright issues or anything like that. So I think I’m planning on keeping it.

Thank you all of my readers for supporting me through these years! :)