How-to: Install Facebook Home on Any Android Device

Bookmark and Share

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.

SelfControl: Goodbye Procrastination

Bookmark and Share

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

Direct Download

Why I like old stuff

Bookmark and Share

I have a bit of a thing for vintage stuff. Typewriters, film cameras, vinyl records, I like these old everyday items. Here’s why:

Typewriters

IBM Selectric II, Brother Charger 11

Typewriters are nice mostly because there’s no printing. You press the key, the letter appears. You’re done. That’s it. Also, they often don’t require electricity, meaning you don’t have to worry about running out of battery juice. And even if you have an electric typewriter and it loses power, your work is not going to disappear. After all, typewriters have letter-by-letter autosave! How hi-tech!

Also, typewriters are very palpable and mechanical. You touch something which directly affects something else and causes someting else to happen which eventually stamps a letter onto paper. It’s a direct, tangible connection to what you do and what happens.

Film Cameras

From top left to bottom right: Polaoid OneStep Rainbow, Polaroid M80, Polaroid OneStep express, Sprocket Rocket, Diana F+, Pentax K1000

Film cameras are fun partially because of the surprise aspect. You never really know how the final product will turn out until you develop the film. In addition, you never run out of battery – one roll of film and you’re good for 24 (or 36) shots, whether they’re taken all in one second or all in one year.

Similarly to the typewriter, film cameras are palpable. It’s a direct reaction between the light coming in through the lens and how the strip of film under it reacts. It’s a direct connection between what is seen and what is captured.

Another little benefit to film is that the resolution is very high, and is usually dependet on the highest possible resolution of your scanner. A square inch of film has way more silver hallide crystals on it than a camera’s sensor.

Vinyl Records

Vinyl records are known for their sound quality and natural, warm tones. Because vinyl records are analog, they skip the digital conversion into 10100010100100010101010101 (binary) and are straight from analog sound to analog etchings into vinyl to analog sound.

In addition, vinyl records are touchable, tangible, existing things. You can actually hold the music itself, as opposed to some imaginary sequence of 101010101010101011000 (binary).

Conclusion

All of the above items have a couple of things in common. First of all, advantages to digital counterparts. Typewriters don’t need electricity and auto-save on a letter-to-letter basis. Film cameras don’t need electricity and have very very very high resolution. Vinyl records do need electricity, however they have outstanding sound tone and no digital conversion.

The other thing that all of them have in common is their direct palpability. No electrical signals, 101001010110001111, encodings, or digitization; nothing but direct, easy-to-understand cause and effect.

I understand that many may disagree with me, and I would love to hear about that in the comments below.

side-note: feel free to check out my new personal blog http://swsr.me, and follow me on twitter/instagram: @maxswisher on twitter, @maxswisher on instagram). Also, if you enjoy my writing, please please PLEASE make a small donation towards the cause!




Instagram Bought by Facebook for $1 BILLION

Bookmark and Share

Remember Instagram, the fun little quirky photo sharing service that just released an Android application?

As you may know, they’ve been growing in size since their launch and Instagram has become an extremely large and popular service.

Because of this, it was inevitable that they would eventually be purchased by an extremely large company… and who better than facebook?

First of all, $1,000,000,000 is a lot of money. A LOT. I didn’t really think that Instagram could be worth that much.

Second, a little note to Zuck and the whole facebook crew: Please, please, please, please don’t screw this up. Please don’t force it to be built in to the facebook interface. Don’t try to stick instagram into facebook, you’d be doing everybody a disservice. Also, don’t just get rid of the entire thing to eliminate competition.

We will have to see what Facebook is hoping to do with this photo-sharing giant, and I honestly hope that they don’t screw it up.

Why Google+ Is Failing

Bookmark and Share

When I was at the Teens In Tech conference, a speaker told me this:

For your product to succeed, it either must be a new idea or be better than a previous one.

It makes sense – why would anyone switch to your product if there’s already one that does the same thing? Your product needs to have more to offer so people would actually have a reason to “convert.”

Unfortunately, there are few tech companies that succeed with new ideas – so a lot take old ideas and refresh them to make ‘em better. For example, every Apple product ever created; The iPhone wasn’t the first phone in the world – it was just better than the rest; The iPod wasn’t the first small music player ever created – it was just better because it could hold so many more songs and didn’t need CDs or Cassettes.

Okay, so lets take a look at Google+. It’s a great social network that has tons of new features that are definitely in demand. Who would wan’t multi-person video chat, along with a slew of easier to manage privacy features?

“Okay, so Google+ “better” than facebook – but why isn’t it succeeding?”. This is a question I’ve been asked many times.

Lets think about it in terms of a lamp (yes, the one on your desk). First, we have our facebook: A standard lamp with a normal switch that emits very bright light. Then, lets look at our Google+: A large, fancy lamp with pretty designs on it, a bendable neck, and voice activated controls – but we forgot to add in a socket for a lightbulb.

In this analogy, our Google+ Lamp is “better” than our facebook lamp – but it doesn’t do what people want to use it for (illumination).

Lets take that analogy back to Facebook and Google+. What is the real reason people ever go on facebook?

The real reason is their user base. There are very very few people who aren’t on facebook, and there are very very few people on Google+. Google+ has all the new doohickeys and thingamajigs, but it’s forgetting the light bulb (user base).

And because nobody is on Google+, nobody wants to join – they’re satisfied with Facebook and their 1500+ “friends.” What’s the use of having a ten person video chat if there’s not even ten people on Google+?

Google+ is a good idea, with a perfect execution – but the social networking field has been completely dominated by Facebook and Twitter. It’s unfortunately like this for many social internet startups: many of them rely on a user-base to be the least bit useful, and without a user base you won’t be able to expand your user base. You can get a user base by having a user base, because if you have a small user base people want to join to be part of that user base, which makes more people want to join etc.

Hence the reason most social startups fail. Gaining a user-base is a domino effect, with the first domino being a giant brick wall. You need to hope that something will come and knock it over, as getting the domino train started is definitely the hardest aspect of the whole process.

Facebook announces video integration with Skype

Bookmark and Share

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.

Alfred

Bookmark and Share

A wonderful little app with the worst name they could come up with.

Alfred is a Spotlight Alternative. It is similar to quicksilver, but is quite a bit simpler.

Basically, it is a plain text box that opens on a key command. you can type to search through your hard drive, but if there are no files then you can choose to search through google, wikipedia, or even amazon.

In addition to searching your hard drive alfred can search numerous things.

For example, you can type “lucky doorknob” an it will open the first google result for a search of doorknob.

You can also do things like type in a URL and it will open in your web browser. In the screenshots is a list of some of the functions included with the app. You can also create your own which comes in handy if your favorite search engine doesn’t come with Alfred by default.

Now although those functions are useful, it prevails over spotlight mostly because if it’s speed. Everything happens faster for some reason, but let me just say, I like it.

Alfred is free and highly customizable when it comes to interface. Download it from alfredapp.com.

Screenshots:

RockMelt

Bookmark and Share

RockMelt is an attempt at making a new browser.

Unfortunately, I am not very happy with the results.

The big thing with this is social integration. There are two sidebars on each side. One shows online facebook friends that you can chat with and the other has buttons that pop up a small feed of facebook, twitter, or any other RSS feed.

This would be great, however I find it bordering a little bit from web to desktop. I feel that when I want to have a desktop social app, I get a desktop social app. When I want a web browser, I get a web browser. And often, social (facebook in particular) tends to be online. That’s fine with me. But it seems like putting a wordpress editor inside of a web browser (which is why I don’t like Flock). It’s nice how you can chat with your friends out of the blue without having facebook open but this tends to be quite a distraction seeing who’s online and everything without even clicking a button.

Other than that, RockMelt seems like a complete rip on chrome. It was built on chromium which explains why, but I feel like they don’t need 30 employees to implement a few APIs.

Indeed, rockmelt is painfully slow. If your cache is empty, Good Morning Geek takes about 15 seconds to load the background.

Unfortunately, I give this browser a 2 out of five. It has a great execution, but I feel like the idea behind it is a little bit out of place.

RockMelt is only available in private beta (you need an invite), so unfortunately you can’t try it out. However look at the gallery for some screenshots.

Facebook Places integration for Android!

Bookmark and Share

After months of grueling on the facebook mobile website, places integration is finally here for the facebook android app. It works just the same as the iPhone, and it works perfectly. Now I check in almost everywhere because it’s so easy. :) Screenshots below.