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.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.46.24 PM

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!

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.

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.

Firefox Jumps on the Mobile OS Bandwagon at MWC 2013

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At Mobile World Congress, a bunch of people with ties huddled into a room in Barcelona, Spain to hear what Firefox had to say.

Firefox announced Firefox OS, a new mobile operating system that will inevitably compete against Apple, Android, and the other big names. I’m not going to go into super specific details, but here’s the important stuff:

Firefox OS has secured shipments on many different devices (many of them very cheap) from LG Electronics, Alcatel One Touch, and some other unheard of companies. It won’t be coming to any devices in the US until 2014.

The big headline of Firefox OS is that they’re ditching a typical app store and instead hoping to have an “open market” of HTML5 based apps. In essence, the OS is basically a web browser. “Apps” are actually just links to websites.

Essentially, I think this is a good idea that will succeed in foreign markets but not in the US.

I’ve covered the quality+userbase=userbase++ concept in my post about Google+. In case you didn’t read that, basically, any social networking site’s best feature is more users for people to socialize with. When you have users, other users want to join, and your user base will exponentially grow. This same system can be applied to app stores. For your phone to be successful, you need apps. For developers to make apps for your phone, there need to be users. For there to be users, there need to be apps. The more users you have, the more apps you have, the more users you have, the more apps you have, and so on.

Firefox OS has the edge here because the “apps” are all HTML based (websites). This means that anyone who has ever created a website has the knowledge to create an app for Firefox OS – so there are already 8 million developers for this OS. Removing the learning curve of a new language and new library for a mobile OS will make it much more compelling to developers and, in turn, more compelling to users.

Phones running Firefox OS are going to be released mainly in China and developing cell areas for a fairly cheap price. As a result, I think it will succeed in those markets where iPhones and Androids are often too expensive. I don’t think it’s going to succeed in America as the competition from Microsoft, RIM, Android, and iOS is very hot.

Overall, I think that Firefox OS is a controversial approach to the Mobile OS – websites as apps – and will thrive in less modernized countries, but fail in others.

 

Samsung owes Apple a LOT of Money

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If you think that Apple is too pricey for charging $1000 for a bottom line laptop, get a load of this.

After a long, heated dispute on patent infringements that took a staggering 21 hours in court, Apple’s bill for Samsung comes out to $1.049 BILLION dollars.

To put that in perspective, the US treasury’s cash balance is around 75 billion. Samsung owes Apple around 1.4% of the worth of the US treasury.

But what for? I could go through the entire list, but it basically comes down to Apple’s design patents from device exteriors to the packaging of a plethora of Samsung’s products.

For the 21.5 hour period, the jury was deciding on some “inconsistencies” on two of the products: The LTE-enabled Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Samsung Intercept. It was decided that Samsung would owe around $200,000 for the Tab, even though nobody formally noted any patent infringements.

About the Samsung Intercept, Samsung made some stupid error that isn’t really important enough to mention and they owe an extra $2,000,000 for that.

So finally, the long tale comes to an end, with an unfortunately typical ending: Money —–> Apple.

Brand over Writers? The Magnate Story

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All over the world, blogs are started, maintained, and written to. They are read, whether it be by 1 viewer or 1,000,000,000. Some eventually turn into magazines. Other times, it is a magazine + blog combo. Some just stay blogs. Others might collate their blog posts into a book.

These blogs, sites, and magazines are written by people of all kinds of ages for people of all kinds of ages. There’s fashion blogs written by experts, food blogs written by stay-at-home moms, and there’s plenty of blogs written by tech-savvy teens about tech.

Lets take an example: Magnate Magazine.

Magnate was a magazine that followed Corby magazine, all manned by Sean Spooner.

At the beginning of Magnate’s journey, Sean asked a bunch of people that he knew to start writing and give it some content. A bunch of people from many different age groups said yes, most of them fairly young.

I was one of them, along with a couple more of my friends, Jack Benson and Miramar Jackson.

All three of us volunteered and wrote a few posts for Magnate, all of which got attention and were great content.

It is now quite a while later. Magnate has grown a bit, and they’re getting ready to print their first hard copy issue, when both Jack and Miramar get this email:

Dear Jack,

First of all, I would like to thank you for contributing to Magnate Magazine. Your pieces have helped build and develop the website to the point that it is at today and it couldn’t have been done without your support and hard work.

As we near the launch date of November 10th, 2012 we are looking to strengthen our online and print teams. Because of this, we are required to seek new authors who meet our target audience and due to your age, this does not factor into our ideal target age and we are saddened to say we are having to let you go.

Thanks again for your support and contributions, Jack. We are very grateful and wish you the best of luck for the future.

Warm Regards on behalf of the Magnate team,
Jonny Rowntree
Head of Online

They’re not at the ideal “target age”.

Not to mention, I was kicked off the team without them even telling me. Thanks.

Anyways, why is “brand” associated with “age”? Why do they need to be connected?

Well, here’s what magnate did.

  1. Start off with a website and get anyone we can to write for free
  2. Collect ad revenue and don’t give it out
  3. Create a print magazine
  4. Kick off everyone that was young and helped out in the beginning to make the brand seem older

Basically, they’ve used us. They used us to get them going, then screwed us off because they have more important things to deal with.

I know that this isn’t the only time that something like this has happened. It happens all of the time – people give young, passionate writers a place to write, then once they’re big enough, they forget about the young and passionate writers and move on to being a brand.

So this is what I say:

People with companies, please don’t just forget about your writers who sacrificed their time and effort for you.

People with computers, try to stay away from sites or magazines that you know doesn’t care about writers.

I’ll let you all know of more sites like this, but for now, stay away from magnate – don’t let them win. #boycottmagnate

(PSST: Click here to tweet that you disapprove of Magnate’s “brand development strategies”. )

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.

Apple Says Things at WWDC

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So Apple had some fun at the WWDC Keynote this year.

Siri did stand-up comedy to open.

No really, I’m excited about the new Samsung. Not the phone, the refrigerator.

I must admit, that was pretty funny.

First of all, Apple updated its notebooks. The MacBook Air finally got a speed boost, the MacBook Pro got a speed boost, and the 17″ MacBook Pro bid farewell.

Apple also announced their next generation MagBook Pro, which is almost as thin as an Air, has a retina display, and a new Magsafe Port. Great.

All of these computers have gotten upgrades to USB 3, which is nice for those people who actually have devices that can take advantage of that.

Then, our friend iOS got an update.

Finally, iOS has turn by turn navigation. Siri is available on the new iPad, and has supposedly gotten a bit better. Facebook is now integrated as much as twitter. FaceTime is available on cellular networks. Photo streams can be shared. A new app called Passbook allows you to store tickets for planes, movies, and stores. There’s also a few other things that aren’t worth mentioning.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion didn’t get anything new from what we knew already, except thatdictation will be available in any text field. For many people, this will definitely come in handy.

Some people were unhappy with the absence of an iPhone 5. But I think we should be content with iOS 6, and expect the new iPhone this fall – along with the public release of iOS 6.

I’ve been playing around with iOS 6, and so far it works well. Siri works just as expected, and the Facebook and twitter integration is also very handy.

The MacBooks that were updated are available now, but iOS will be available in fall. Mountain Lion will be available this July.

MacBook Pro

Macbook Air

iOS 6

Mountain Lion

Spotify Answers our Prayers: the Spotify iPad app!

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Look at the beautiful artwork!

It’s about time.

I have been craving this exact item on the menu for the longest time, and finally Spotify has granted our wishes.

Previously, it was necessary to use the iPhone application on the iPad, which was disappointing as spotify could have done so much more with the large screen real estate.

The new iPad Spotify app is really the new Android Spotify app‘s older brother. It features a similar interface with  all of your standard Search, New, Inbox, and other menu functions in a left menu. It is also similar to the Facebook and Twitter iPad apps thanks to it’s clean, sliding panels.

Spotify integrates a lot of album artwork, with their signature two-by-two paneling of playlist album art.

If you want Spotify on your iPad, it is a free update for those who had the iPhone app installed previously, or you can go to this iTunes store link.

Thank you Spotify!

How to Wirelessly Transfer Files to a Galaxy Nexus

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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

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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.

 

 

Instagram Bought by Facebook for $1 BILLION

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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.