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.

Yahoo Buying Tumblr? Alright.

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In case you haven’t heard, Yahoo recently bought tumblr for a whopping $1.1 billion.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, says that they don’t want to Yahoo-ize Tumblr. In fact, they want to keep it as a separate entity. Marissa herself actually said that she promises “not to screw it up” on her personal tumblr. But it’s not all cookies and cake: Yahoo! plans on using Tumblr to target ads towards younger audiences.

This means that you can expect to see ads cluttering your Tumblr dashboard soon.

But there’s an upside as well: with a behemoth like Yahoo! running the backend, users should expect to see less downtime and technical issues with the service. That’ll be nice.

Overall, it’s an alright trade. As long as Yahoo! does what they promise to and nothing more, Tumblr should still remain a popular service.

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’s CES 2013 Keynote: Powerful, Green Components, Bendy Displays, and Bill Clinton

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SAMSUNGINTRO

Well, once again, here I am at CES. Thanks to *you* (yes, YOU), I had enough traffic to this site to get a press pass – giving me easy access to the CES Keynotes.

This came in handy when I moseyed on past the crowds of “Industry Affiliates,” “Buyers,” and even “Exhibitors” through the security people and into the large door with “Press” above it to attend Samsung’s keynote. I was a little late to the party – I had no idea that press was allowed in an hour early. A fifth row seat isn’t too bad, though.

Samsung’s CEO Stephen Woo ran the show and talked about three main things: Processing, Memory, and Displays.

Processing

EXNOS5OCTA

The main focus of the processing portion was the new Exynos 5 OCTA
processor. This mobile processor has amazing power – enough to accomplish web searches, a restaurant finder, a GPS, and playing an HD video all simultaneously on a tablet. It also has twice as powerful 3D rendering – as demonstrated by Glenn Roland from EA and a scarily realistic Need for Speed game. The most impressive part of this processor, however, is that it uses 70% less energy than it’s predecessor. Thanks to Samsung’s partnership with ARM, the Exynos 5 OCTA features a technology called “Big Little” (how creative). Essentially, the processor has two sets of 4 cores: One set is of smaller Cortex A7s for simple, efficient browsing; The other of large, powerful Cortex A15s for complex 3D rendering and other processor-heavy tasks. This means that when you’re simply browsing the web, you’re not using a multitude of battery power, but when you open up Need for Speed you have a processing powerhouse at your fingertips.

With this new processor, Samsung showed how their Galaxy Camera would be able to support a 13 megapixel sensor. Woo then showed a video that essentially said that there is too much data on the internet, and it’s all a result of cats (and people making videos of them).

Memory

This section of the keynote was relatively boring. All of the data (that is the result of cats) is stored in data centers across the world, and if every single data center switched to Samsung’s solid state drives, enough energy would be saved to power New York City for 6 months.

Displays

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Brian Berkely Bends a Screen (Getty Images)

This is the area where Samsung got some real cheers from the crowd. Woo brought out Brian Berkely from Samsung’s San Jose Display Lab. Berkely started off talking about how displays have been undergoing a “pixel war”: All of the display manufacturers are battling to get the most pixels into the smallest amount of space. Samsung’s 10.1″ display has the best colors and highest pixel density of any tablet display ever made – 300 PPI. That’s the same resolution of a standard printer.

Berkely went on to talk about how OLED technology gives the brightest, most vivid displays. “They’re super thin and lightweight. Because OLEDS produce their own light, they don’t require thick, heavy, power consuming backlight. And now, thanks to Samsung technology, they can also be flexible.” He brought out a screen prototype and bent it around. Woo then showed a video of a phone that flips open to reveal a large tablet surface.

Then someone from microsoft came out and talked about how samsung is amazing blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah. He showed off Windows Phone on another bendy display. Then there was something with xbox. Here’s a link to an article written by someone who actually cares about it.

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton?

Bill Clinton?

Mr. Woo went on talking about how this new technology should be available for all, and transitioned into the “Samsung Hope for Children” program – providing technology-rich education for third world countries. He then showed a video about the Bill Clinton foundation. And lo and behold, Bill Clinton walks out.

“When I became president, the average cell phone weighed five pounds… There were a grand total of fifty sites on the entire internet. Fifty. More than that have been added since I started talking.”

Then he went on talking about how technology has helped him, and he then somehow transitioned into talking about gun control.

My Thoughts

Samsung’s component announcements will mean very little to the consumer – until a product with one comes out.

Samsung’s display announcements will mean very little to the consumer – until a product with one comes out.

Samsung’s memory announcements mean very little to the consumer and only really appeals to manufacturers.

But in the end, showing off the components in the keynote gives consumers a look into the future of what might be possible using those components.

What we can really take away from this is that the technology exists to have extremely powerful devices with long battery life, energy efficient data centers, and crazy displays.

Oh, and I still don’t understand why Bill Clinton was there.

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 Kills Free Apps for Business

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Google has announced in a blog post that they are disposing of the free version of Google Apps.

For those of you who don’t know about Google Apps, it is essentially the suite of Google Applications (Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, Docs/Drive, etc.) but tailored to fit a custom domain/business. I personally use Google Apps for maxswisher.com, and I must say – it’s great. I love having the spam filtering, organization, and amazing reliability of Gmail under my own custom domain. It’s a wonderful system which I love dearly.

And thankfully, this update to the pricing plans won’t affect any current users – meaning that I won’t have to say goodbye to my beloved account.

For new Google Apps signups, the cost will be that of Google Apps for Business – $50/year per user. This is fairly pricey for an individual, but the services were created for businesses in the first place.

Although I don’t like it, I believe that this is a very sensible decision for Google. Think about it from Google’s point of view: Here are businesses paying $50/year for a full customizable suite of high-quality business applications, and there’s individuals creating accounts just so they can have gmail at their own domain (I am guilty of this). As quoted from Google’s blog post:

With focus we’ll be able to do even more for our business customers. We’re excited about the opportunity to push Google Apps further so our customers can do what matters most to them…

 

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!

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”. )

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!

Spotify for Android gets Overhauled

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Pretty new artist page

Spotify is by far the best music service I have ever come across. For $10 a month, I get all of the new songs streamed to my computer and phone. For the price of one album a month, I can have as many songs and listen to all of them as many times as I want without any ads or issues. It’s magical!

The only problem is the the android app. It really lacks – the interface is a little bit hard to use, it doesn’t offer as much functionality as the desktop app, and the graphics are quite low resolution.

Well, not anymore. Spotify has released a preview of their new app, which features facebook- and twitter-like slide-out menus, cleaner, easier graphics, and a nicer, more refined playing menu. The interface is also a lot faster in general.

A nice new player interface

The application isn’t available on Google Play quite yet, as they’re working on adding a few more features like Last.fm scrobbling, folders, and more. However, if you’d like to update now, you can still download the preview of the new app.

First, you’ll need to open Settings > Applications and check the box that allows you to install applications from unknown sources. Next, open this post on your phone and tap here. The apk file should download. Next, pull down the notifications and tap the downloaded file. Follow the steps and in a few taps you’ll be enjoying the new spotify interface!

I’m excited that spotify is finally cleaning up their Android app – it was getting a bit, well, old.