Koush Brings us Root Free Tethering

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.

Why I like old stuff

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!




How to Wirelessly Transfer Files to a Galaxy Nexus

As you may know, the Galaxy Nexus does not have an option for USB Mass Storage. To transfer any files directly from a computer to the phone, it is necessary to plug it in with a USB Cable and open Google’s proprietary Android File Transfer application.

But what if you don’t have a cable? What then?

There’s a couple things you could do. Email works for smaller files, however for larger files things may go slowly and fall apart.

If you have a server or CloudApp or Puush account, you could upload it and then email  the link to yourself. This would work usually, however the Galaxy Nexus’s download manager often will download most of it, then suddenly fail at the end.

There’s also Bluetooth, which is often unreliable. I can’t transfer any files between my Mac and my Nexus over bluetooth, as it gives me a random warning which is just not worth trying to figure out.

There’s really only one good way: DROPBOX.

In case you don’t know, Dropbox is a service that allows you to have a folder on all of your computers that constantly stay in sync. When one file is added on one computer, it magically appears in the Dropbox folder of all of the other computers too. You have 2GB of space, and the real important part is that they have an Android app as well.

Simply open your Dropbox folder, transfer the file in, and wait a few moments for it to upload to the cloud. Then, open the free app on your Nexus. Tap the file that you just uploaded from your computer, and it should download and open. Voila, that’s how to wirelessly transfer a file from your computer to your Nexus without using bluetooth, servers, or anything else that’s ridiculously unreliable and confusing.

Download Dropbox for your Computer

Download Dropbox for Android

Typecast

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.

 

 

Instagram Bought by Facebook for $1 BILLION

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.

Google Chrome for Android Beta Released

Android has always had a great browser built into it, but that browser was never Chrome.

Well, that’s about to change.

Kind of.

Today, Google has released a beta version of Chrome onto the Android Market… for Android 4.0 ICS phones. Luckily, thanks to my Galaxy Nexus, I get to try it out and give you this review.

First off after opening this app you’ll notice a pretty little googlicious introduction to the app.

Firstopen

Quite simple, quite clean, quite google.

I’m going to warn you in advance – many of the features in the Chrome for Android application are identical to those that are available on the desktop version of the browser.

Tabbing

In my opinion, the tabbing interface has been improved from the tabbing of other mobile browsers. Instead of just a list of tiles, Chrome gives you a very pretty sorting-through-a-card-deck like interface.

Tabbing

Don’t want a tab? Just slide it off to either side and it will make a spin-like motion into nothingness. These little effects add some very nice feel to the app.

Slideoff

Sync

The other coolest feature of the Chrome for Android application would be its ability to sync with Google Chrome for Mac and Windows. If you’ve signed in to Chrome on your desktop (Wrench thing > Sign in to chrome…), then all of your bookmarks, history, and tabs are already synced up.

This means that you can easily retrieve them on the new tab page in Chrome for Android. This grants access to one, extremely awesome thing: live tabs.

Basically, if you have a set of tabs open on your computer and need to go somewhere, you can just leave your computer and all of your tabs will show up on Chrome for Android.

Gettabs

Pretty awesome, right? I must say, it’s not perfect – It takes a while for the tabs to get synced, and there isn’t an easy button to tell your computer and/or phone to sync. Remember though, this app is only in beta.

It’s the same deal with bookmarks – they will all get synced across your phone and computer(s).

Feel/Speed

If you use Chrome for Desktop on a daily basis, you already know the feel of the app. Google’s minimalistic style and code makes the app very light and quick to the touch. Pinch to zoom works fine, things render great, and the only thing missing is (of course) flash. But hey, who needs that anyways? We have HTML5!

In fact, lets compare. First, here is the html5test.com result for the built-in browser.

Html5def

Not bad, actually – Firefox Mobile’s score is down the drain.

Now, lets test out chrome:

Html5ch

Sweet!

As I said, who needs flash anyways?!

Conclusion

Chrome Beta for Android is definitely a nice browser – if you have a device running Android 4.0 in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Argentina, or Brazil, it’s definitely something you should try out.

Otherwise, I don’t know when Chrome for Android will be released to the masses.

Enjoy!

Link to Chrome Beta in the Android Market

Bananapress: a super-simple CMS

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 !

Android Wifi Tether Now Working on Galaxy Nexus

The only real reason I ever root my phone is to use the Wifi Tether app. Wifi Tether is a free application that allows you to get the internet from your rooted android phone onto your computer, without having to pay for Verizon’s ridiculous tethering plans.

Right after I rooted, I installed Wifi Tether and was disappointed when it gave me an error and didn’t work. I went to their Google Code page and there was already a very popular thread about it’s dysfunctionality on the Galaxy Nexus.

Well, rooters unite – Wifi Tether has just released an experimental pre-beta version that has support for the Nexus. Although it’s considered “experimental,” I’ve had absolutely no problems with it and I’m loving the 4G speeds. It’s like having a 4G Mifi with no data limits and a much cheaper data plan ($30 a month!).

Click Here to download the app. I recommend browsing to this page on your phone (here’s a shortlink to save you a little bit of time: http://wp.me/p1GtXy-vW) and hitting that download link.

Once it’s downloaded, go into Settings > Security and check the box that says “Install Apps from Unknown Sources.” This will allow you to install the apk file you just downloaded.

Now open your downloads and tap the apk file I told you to download up there, and you will go through a quick install process.

Open up the app and you’re ready to tether over 4G speeds!

If you’re not rooted yet and would like to be, click here for my post on how to root the Galaxy Nexus.

Enjoy your 4G Tethering!

How Hex Codes Work

I know, a lot of you out there won’t be needing this anytime soon, but I think that the way digital web colors work is cool, and I think that you will too!

When designing websites, color is always important. What color should the background be? The font?

All of these colors are chosen within CSS. CSS has a few basic colors built in, like white and black but everyone would like more specific colors. My screen doesn’t have millions of colors for ‘nuthin!

In CSS, specific colors are entered via hex codes. These go #123456, where each digit ranges from 1-F (0123456789ABCDEF). Because colors are composed of three values, Red, Green, and Blue, two digits of a hex code are for each.

This is a bit difficult to explain, so I made a diagram just for you:

 

For example, if your hex code is #FFFFFF, thats FF for red, FF for green, and FF for blue. FF is the highest possible value, so as much of all colors as possible results in white. It’s the same with #000000: no color at all means black.

If you were to have #FF0000, that’s the highest value for red and no value for anything else; you’ll end up with pure red.

I hope you enjoy having yet another little nugget of tech information in your mind! Use it wisely! 🙂

Why Google+ Is Failing

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.

Goodbye, Steve.

Today, Wednesday August 24th 2011, marks an important day in hi-tech history.

Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, the most valuable company in the world, has officially resigned.

” I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Steve Jobs said in his resignation letter. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

The exact reason for Steve’s resignation has not been published. Steve has been on many medical leaves recently, and this day was unfortunately expected.

The new CEO of Apple will be Tim Cook, the current COO of Apple. During Steve’s medical leaves, Tim Cook has taken over – so we won’t be stranded with someone who’s new to the job.

Steve Jobs has made many contributions to this world, and nothing would quite be the same without him. He’s the mind that was able to build the worlds most valuable company, with more money than the US Government, from a garage in Palo Alto, CA.

Steve will be taking place as “Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee,” as stated in his resignation letter.

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.”

maxeh.me

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!