App Review: Glitché

Fun fact: You can type the “é” character on Mac OS by holding down the “e” key until the following menu pops up:

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From there, simply select the second option with your mouse and you’ll be right as rain. I’m only telling you this because the application I’ll be discussing today is called Glitché, not “Glitche”.

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Glitché is an app that provides users with “a full range of tools and options to turn images into masterpieces of digital art.” That description is from the app’s official website; a website which also proudly displays the following quote:

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Either this quote is outdated or Mr. Knight is putting more emphasis on the word “compared” than I’m giving him credit for. While yes, one could argue that contextually a 0.99¢ application would comparatively seem like a free download to someone purchasing a nearly $400 post-production suite, I might be more inclined to ask how you define the word “free”.

You see, Glitché is actually 0.99¢…unless you want the other features. Do you want Hi-Res Exports? That’ll be $2.99. Do you want to be able to edit videos? Another $2.99, please. Do you want camera filters? $2.99 it is!

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So Glitché is actually more like $9.96, but that doesn’t sound as good as 0.99¢, does it? You might argue that I’m making a big deal out of this, but I’m just trying to put this all in perspective for you. From here on out I want you to understand that the program I’m critiquing charges $10 for the full experience, which is fairly expensive for a phone application.

Another issue I have with this quote and the description given by the website is that Glitché isn’t trying to compete with Adobe Photoshop. Glitché isn’t a replacement for your post-production suite nor is it your one-stop-shop for turning images into masterpieces of digital art; rather, Glitché strives to give you a wide selection of tools to achieve a very specific look. This aesthetic can best be described as a mixture of To Adrian Rodriguez, With Love and a modern take on cyberpunk. Essentially the app warps and distorts a given image to make it look visually corrupted, glitched, or of VHS quality. It’s a bit hard to describe, so here’s a few examples of some of the more interesting filters.

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Unedited photo for reference

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The “GLITCH” filter. Holding down your finger on the screen causes the flickering and tearing to increase. Tapping once stops the flickering.

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The “CHNNLS” filter. Dragging your finger across the screen sends a wave of rainbow colors across it. The color of the distortion can be changed.

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The “SCREEN” filter works like the “CHNNLS” filter, only it distorts the entire image.

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The “GRID” filter turns your image into a 3D abstract object akin to something one might see in an EDM music video.

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The “LCD” filter lets you move the colors with your thumb while the outline of your image remains fixed.

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The “VHS” filter applies VHS scan lines and warps more aggressively if you press your thumb down on the image.

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The “DATAMOSH” filter. The direction of the distortion depends on the green dot you press in the center reticle. The reticle disappears once the image is saved.

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The “EDGES” filter can be adjusted using both the slider below your image and with your thumb.

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The “FISHEYE” filter creates a 3D fisheye overlay you can move around on your image with your thumb.

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The “TAPE” filter works in a similar fashion to the “VHS” filter, only moving your thumb across it creates a more subtle distortion.

Listing off some of the individual filters admittedly isn’t doing the app justice. While you are able to use a singular filter, the app also allows you to combine and overlay multiple filters to achieve different effects. Here’s something I made using a combination of five filters:

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You can also edit video in a similar fashion (after paying the required $2.99).

The interface itself is simplistic and easy to navigate, though the application lacks certain features one might expect. You can’t save and load projects, you can’t favorite filters, and you can’t perform any complex video editing outside of applying a filter. The app has crashed on me a few times in the past, though this is a rare occurrence. The app is regularly updated with new features and filters.

So, 0.99¢ gets you 33 filters and limits you to Lo-Res exports and GIF exports. $9.96 gets you 33 filters, the ability to export in Hi-Res, the ability to export to GIF, the ability to edit videos, and the ability to record video in the actual application while using said filters.

I keep bringing this back to the cost of the app because that’s really the only place where opinions may vary. The app does what it sets out to do, but the price for the full package leaves a lot to be desired. There are definitely people out there who would gladly pay $10 for this aesthetic, and there are plenty more who would shake their head at it. If any of the filters or images I’ve shown you seem worth $10, then I think you’ll enjoy Glitché. However, if you think this app is a bit too simplistic and overpriced for what it is, I recommend you spend your money elsewhere. It really all boils down to the cost, as the app itself works fine for what it is. In my opinion, the app would be a great deal at $3 or even $5; however, $10 is a bit much to ask for in return for a few nifty filters.

 

Getting Started with Android Studio

Android is a great platform for a beginner developer to make his or her first smartphone app on. Android apps are written in Java, and the graphics are generally written in XML. Android apps are developed in many well-known IDEs (integrated development environments – programs that typically package together a code editor, compiler, debugger, interpreter, build system, version control system, and deployment system, as well as other tools) such as Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, and Android Studio. In this article we will cover the basics of Android Studio.

Android Studio logo

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Fitbit, Machine Learning, and Sleep Optimization


Photo: Fitbit Blog

My big present for Christmas this year was a Fitbit Charge 2. I’d wanted one for a while, but not for any reason its trendy name might lead you to assume. While I do pride myself on my active lifestyle choices and impressive daily step count, I didn’t desire one with fitness in mind at all. My model Fitbit’s key feature (the reason I ditched my reliable $10 Casio watch for it) is its heart rate monitor. The monitor on my Charge 2 takes the form of two green, rapidly flashing LED lights. Visually and technically, it’s similar to the light you may be familiar seeing underneath an optical mouse. Instead of tracking motion though, this light’s reflection keeps track of the subtle changes in your skin’s color as blood pumps in and drains from your capillaries. It sends the data on time between color changes to my phone, which sends the information through a proprietary algorithm to determine my heart rate. Other algorithms take into account my average heart rate and my lowest heart rate to calculate my resting heart rate.

But in the end, these are all just numbers. Some people (like me) simply like having this data, but what can you actually do with it? Well the Fitbit has another interesting feature. It uses your heart rate and motion information to determine when you’ve fallen asleep, when you’ve woken up, and whether you’re sleeping deeply or restlessly. I can check my phone every day for a graphical representation of my sleep from the previous night, and determine how well I slept, how long I slept, and how my sleep fits in with my desired regular schedule (11:45 to 7:45). Kind of cool, right?

With a new market emphasis on machine learning, and sleep researchers making strides in answering fundamental questions, things are about to get a lot cooler.

Everybody has experienced miraculous four-hour slumbers that leave them feeling like they slept a full night, and heartbreaking ten-hour sleeps that end up making them want to go right back to bed. Although most of us consider those simple anomalies, scientists have caught on, and are actively studying this phenomenon. From what I’ve gleaned online, scientists that study sleep find that allowing a sleeping subject to complete REM cycles (lasting about 90 minutes, with variation) results in fuller and more restoring sleep. In other words, 7 hours and 30 minutes can result in a better sleep than a full 8 hours. It sounds like quackery, but the evidence is widely available, peer-reviewed, and convincing to the layperson.

Machine learning has been a buzzword for at least the past year. The concept itself is worthy of an entire post, but to summarize it for my purposes, it’s a broad term that refers to programming algorithms that adjust their behavior based on data input. For example, programs that predict what a customer wants to buy will show ads to that customer on a variety of platforms and decide where to show those ads more often, based on how much time the customer spends on each platform. Machine learning is essentially automating programs to use big data to improve their predictive or deductive capabilities.

Let’s bring this all together for a look into the future: If my Fitbit can keep track of my heartbeat to a precise enough degree to determine when I am in REM sleep — or can use an intelligent, learning-capable algorithm to set alarms that give me an optimal amount of sleep — I can have a personalized, automatic alarm that adapts to my habits and improves my quality of rest. Would that convince you to buy one?

Can you work off a 32GB storage laptop? The beginner’s guide to switching to the cloud.

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Over the past 5 years the term ‘cloud’ has been moving around left and right. If you are asking what the cloud is then I’ll assure you it is not an actual cloud in the sky, but a term used to say that your data is kept for you in a far-off place. This was to make it easy for consumers to conceptualize where their data is, without too much of a misunderstanding.

Understanding the cloud conceptually:

What cloud really is is remote computing and storage, usually provided by corporate servers. A way to understand this best is by simple example: Let’s say you have a photo gallery on your computer and you want to place it in “the cloud”. I tell you I have a cloud service so that you can always have your files available without having them on your computer. You agree, and send the files to me via the internet. I tell you “you are now backed up in the cloud!” since your files are on my computer at this point. You then delete all the files on your device, but it’s okay since there is a copy on my computer. But now you want to view that old photo of yourself at that last weeks Thanksgiving get-together, but it is no longer on your computer. You simply ask me (the cloud) for that file back, and I send you the photo back for you to view.. and when you are done with it you can delete it again, or make changes to it and send me back the changes. Simple as that. I being the cloud, am essentially a remote flash drive or external hard drive to send you data when you need it.

Now obviously this is not exactly how the cloud works, but it is close. Let’s instead change it so my computer is now facebook or Google’s computers in a datacenter far-off from you, and that data is encrypted for security and provided with highspeed enterprise internet to send you your files as quickly as possible. Now we are using the cloud in the way it really works in the real world! Cloud services make it easy to view your files when “they are not there” in your computer. Such as Google Drive; when you install Google Drive you can view what files are available as if they are on your computer. This is Google’s servers telling you what file’s are on them. If you were to open a file, Google’s data center will send your computer that file to be stored as RAM rather than storage; when you click ‘Save’ you simply re-upload that file back to Google’s servers.

WEB APPS! More than just storage:

Most people think of only being able to store their files in the cloud, but there is much more available to them. As we already discussed cloud storage is a way to send data back and forth between computers. This means we can do more than just store your files, but we can also do tasks to those files and send you back the results in web-based applications!

Google Docs is a great example of this. When you open your Google Drive file in Docs, a website displays your file that is stored on Google’s servers. You can make changes to it on your browser and in real-time Google is making changes to that file on their end.

 

How to adapt to the future:

Cloud computing is starting to become the next big thing. We’re starting to see that we no longer need our computers to have high-end processors and large storage drives as long as we have a good internet connection. This means our computer’s can now be minimal in that they can be thinner, sleeker, and most importantly much cheaper.

Google has expressed this ideology of having a minimalist-type computer with their line of Chromebooks. Anyone trying to get into the web-app lifestyle would love the idea of the device. They’re cheap at ~$250, have fast storage for quick boot times, and have great network cards to maintain a solid internet connection. They only have 32gb of storage, but that’s okay since the entire operating system is based off the chrome browser. How can you manage just using the chrome browser? Again, web apps!

Here is a list of common programs and tasks you can replace with web-apps:

Storage: Box (recommended if you are a UMass affiliate), Google Drive, iCloud, or Mega

Gaming: Gaming Streaming Services! Such as OnLive, PS Now, or you can stream remotely if you have a high-end system.

Photoshop: Pixlr! A great website where you can have most of the features of Photoshop available to you for free all online!

Video-Editing: Use WeVideo, a website to upload videos and edit them all online.

Programming: There are several cloud based programming IDEs available, such as Cloud9 or CodeAnywhere!

Office: Google Docs has everything you need! From word, to powerpoint, to even excel. You and other collaborators can update your documents all in the Google Cloud, and even download them to your computer as a word document, pdf, or image file.

Music: You can use Spotify as a web-app, Google Play Music, or Amazon Prime Music as online subscription-based streaming services!

Movies/Shows: Most of us don’t even save movies anymore. Services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video let you stream thousands of movies and shows instantly.

Other: If you are in desperate need of say a Windows PC or Mac and you have a desktop at home, then you can stream your computer’s session to your device. Services like TeamViewer, RDP, and Chrome Remote Desktop make this incredibly easy.

Recommended:

As you can see most services can be provided by Google, and is my recommendation to use for being in the Cloud. A simple subscription to Google Play services can get you all the apps you would need to perform most to all computer-related tasks today. Chrome extensions and apps are also limitless as you can download thousands of them online.

Conclusion:

My advice is to try to future-proof yourself and use the cloud for all purposes. It’s a great way to keep your data safe and backed up. It’s also a way to spend less on potentially unnecessary computing power. With the world turning to web-based applications, a simple chromebook for $200 could last you years and could save you thousands compared to buying the latest Apple or PC hardware.

Holiday Shopping the Smart Way

The Holidays are a time of comfort and joy, but preparing for them can be extremely stressful. We all put our shopping off as long as possible, and trying to keep track of everything we need to buy, find it and pay for it all in such a short amount of time usually seems like an impossible feat. Luckily, we live in the age of technology, and our Smart Phones can take a lot of stress out of our Holiday shopping. Here is a list of helpful little apps that can help make the process quicker and easier so you can focus on enjoying your Holiday Season.

RetailMeNot

This is one of the best apps for making sure you don’t miss out on any deals in your area. Available on both Android and iOS, RetailMeNot uses your current location to alert you on nearby sales and discounts. You can also select areas that you plan on visiting later and the app will let you know about any deals there as well. It even has in-app coupons that can be presented at checkout for a little extra savings. And if you need some nourishment while you’re out shopping, RetailMeNot can inform you about nearby food options as well.

Point Inside

How can you find anything in a mall full of people? Well, Point Inside can draw on its database of hundreds of shopping centers around the country and let you search for the item you need. It will tell you what stores to visit and even what aisle to look in! instead of wandering aimlessly around the store, let Point Inside do the finding for you. The app is available on both Android and iOS.

ShopSavvy

So you can find your item and be sure you aren’t missing a deal, but how can you be sure you’re getting the best deal? Enter ShopSavvy. Simply scan the barcode of the product using your Android, iOS or Windows device, and ShopSavvy will let you know where the best price is in your area and whether or not it is in stock. Once you scan an item, you can tell the app to notify you whenever there is a price change anywhere nearby so you are always up to date.

There are plenty of other helpful shopping apps out there as well, but these have proven to be the most useful and best reviewed. Try them out for yourself, happy shopping and Happy Holidays!

 

Finally Making the Switch: Android to iPhone

By now, as you’re reading this, I have made a life altering decision.

A decision not about school, work, stupid purchases, etc., but for the single thing I use everyday when I stumble out of bed in the morning and crash into the same bed at night. That’s right; I switched my brand of cellphone. Yes, I caved into an Apple technology dominated landscape and now own an iPhone.

I should premise this by saying that I am not anti-Apple or anti-Android. Not only have I owned at least 4 other Android phones before I got myself an iPhone (ranging from Samsung to LG to HTC), I also have a PC, Macbook Pro, iPad… you get the picture. So its safe to say I have been a mixed-technology kind of guy my whole life, I just (used to) prefer my phones be Android, sort of like how people prefer their eggs scrambled, shirts tucked in, black cars, how ever you compare it.

On to the good stuff…

The iPhone 6S Plus (source: three.co.uk)

This sexy piece of technology now sits snug in the pocket of my jeans or the pouch in my jacket every day, and follows me wherever I travel to. Being an owner of this device for the past two months, having never personally owned an iPhone, this device has completely blown my expectations out of the water. On the outside, a sleek design is highlighted by its large display, curvaceous edges, brushed aluminum that’s cold to the touch, and yes, that seemingly annoying camera bump.

I count on this thing to do EVERYTHING for me. My whole day is logged in to it. From schedules to work out plans to messages to health logging, this phone does it all for me. [Unpopular opinion trigger warning]: The iPhone is the better device. Over any Android phone, give me the S7, Note 7 (RIP), LG V20, G5, anything you name and I will surely be impressed with the function of my iPhone over them all.

Apple has done something right. For the past ten years, Apple has shown why they are the top dog in the smartphone department. People keep coming back to buy their newer iPhones and continue to be impressed. And this isn’t an opinion guys; this is fact.

U.S. Smartphone brand marketshare for 2015 (source: statisa)

U.S. Smartphone brand market share for 2015 (source: statisa)

According to statisa, the iPhone dominates the current smartphone market littered with many different brands, devices, and companies. Why has Apple, a company with one line of smartphone that comes out continue to have this much of a share over companies cranking out multiple smartphone lines every year? The answer is simple: Apple has perfected the smartphone.

The design, the operating system, the hardware inside, the features of the phone, you name it. All of these aspects continue to make the iPhone great (making iPhones great again). Yes, some Android devices may have stronger components, bigger storages, better cameras etc., but its the perfect blend of all the pieces together that makes the iPhone tower over the weaker competition. All of this, and I leave out the most important thing: functionality.

Functionality in an iPhone is much better than any Android phone I’ve ever used and owned. The iPhone is simply a smoother operating experience in its transitions, animations, multitasking, battery life. Its like upgrading to a brand new Audi, what a smooth ride, every time you hop in the driver’s seat and take it for a spin. After weeks of ownership, you can start to see a weakening in operation and delays in use on an Android phone. A couple months in, my iPhone shows now signs of slowing down.

Let’s face it folks, the iPhone is the best device you could buy. Sure, I’ll miss my expandable storage of my G4 (which is getting phased out of Android phones too), but for the best experience of a phone your money can buy, I’ll take it.

Organize your life with Taskary

Calendar apps are a popular way to organize your schedule and keep track of upcoming events and deadlines. One issue I have often had with these sorts of apps is that they tend to consider everything as an “event”. For example, if all I really need to know is that a paper is due on November 20th, I don’t really need to build in an arbitrary hour long “event” that’s happening on that day just to remember that my paper is due.

What I really want is a To-Do list, in this case, and that’s where Google calendar comes in. Even though the default item you can add to a calendar is an “Event”, with a start and end time, if you click beside it on “Task”, you can just add a single item with a name and a description.

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Then, all it has is a checkbox for you to select once you’ve done it. No notifications about “upcoming events” or anything of the sort, just simple items on a calendar.

However, one downside to this is that the Gmail calendar apps don’t sync tasks. For Android, there is a solution. The app “Taskary” is a great choice, with both a free and premium version, to sync tasks to your phone. You can quickly look at your schedule of to-do list items, as well as check them off once you’re done. And it all syncs back to your google account.

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For iOS users, or Android users who don’t want to install another app, the browser version of Google Calendar should let you access your tasks as well. But if you’re looking for a simple way to plan your schedule and deadlines, and have it accessible in a quick app, Taskary and Google Calendar are a great choice.

Today’s Virtual Reality Headsets

The world of Virtual Reality has had a dramatic increase in popularity in recent years. The technology that people have been waiting for has finally arrived and it comes in the form of a head-mounted display (HMD). There are many brands of HMD which range in their ability to achieve total immersion. The low-end forms of VR use a smartphone and a pair of lenses, like Google’s Cardboard:

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The Google Cardboard costs $15 and is about the cheapest form of VR you can find, assuming you already own a compatible smartphone.

The cheapest versions of VR use the same same lens-enclosure method of delivering VR. Users are limited to apps they can find on their phone’s app stores, which are buggy at best. Still, if you’re unsure whether or not you want to buy a more immersive HMD, this is a great way to get an idea of what you’ll be buying. The real immersion begins when the display and the technology inside is specifically designed for VR gaming.

The best VR experience while still keeping your wallet happy is from Samsung Gear VR, but it requires that you already own a recent Samsung Galaxy smartphone:

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Samsung Gear VR

AT $60, the Samsung Gear VR has some more intricate technology than the Google Cardboard allowing for a better experience. You could also add the Gear 360, which allows for “walk around the room” immersion for $350 but if you find that price point reasonable you may be better off in the high-end territory. The Gear VR has its own app store with games designed for use with it.

If you don’t have a Galaxy Smartphone, but you do have a PlayStation, you may be interested in what 25818482705_8a1bb716bf_bSony has been working on. Their VR HMD is the Playstation VR. At $400, the PSVR connects to your PlayStation for use with VR-enabled games. The PSVR is meant to be used with the Playstation Move Controllers which will add another $100 to your total. A Sony executive says plans to make PSVR compatible with PC may be in their future.

The high-end forms of VR include the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive:

HTC Vive

These HMDs are designed with PC games in mind. They provide an experience far superior to the cheap options but will run at a high price of $599 for the Rift and $799 for the Vive. The Vive includes two hand controllers which allow the user to have virtual hands for interacting with VR objects. Oculus is working on a similar device, the Oculus Touch, which is available for pre-order as of October 2016.

Oculus Rift

Many companies are investing in virtual reality and creating their own devices to compete with the front-runners. It is expected that the VR market will expand much further, especially once the price point of the high-end HMDs comes down. Virtual Reality is in a state of great potential; the applications of these headsets goes well beyond gaming. The military is interesting in them for training purposes. Educators can use them to teach students. Doctors can use them to treat psychological conditions. I have no doubt that Virtual Reality will eventually become part of our everyday lives.

iOS Programming with Swift

Want to develop an iPhone app? How do I start?

First, If you want to develop anything about Apple, you need a Mac. The only IDE(Integrated Development Environment) for developing apps on Apple platform is Xcode. Xcode is compatible with OS X and doesn’t support Windows. If you want to be a good programmer, starting with swift programming is a pretty good idea. Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. Writing Swift code is interactive and fun, the syntax is concise yet expressive, and Swift includes modern features developers love. Swift code is really easy to understand and produces software that runs lighting-fast. You even can learn Swift on iPad. Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary new iPad app that helps you learn and explore coding in Swift. Built-in lessons and challenges teach fundamental coding concepts as you write real Swift code in an interactive environment designed for touch.

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Basic syntax of Swift 

Constant and Variables

Constants and variables associate a name (such as maximumNumberOfLoginAttempts or welcomeMessage) with a value of a particular type (such as the number 10 or the string “Hello”). The value of a constant cannot be changed once it is set, whereas a variable can be set to a different value in the future.

letmaximumNumberOfLoginAttempts = 10

varcurrentLoginAttempt = 0

This code can be read as:

“Declare a new constant called maximumNumberOfLoginAttempts, and give it a value of 10. Then, declare a new variable called currentLoginAttempt, and give it an initial value of 0.”

In this example, the maximum number of allowed login attempts is declared as a constant, because the maximum value never changes. The current login attempt counter is declared as a variable, because this value must be incremented after each failed login attempt.

Functions

When you define a function, you can optionally define one or more named, typed values that the function takes as input, known as parameters. You can also optionally define a type of value that the function will pass back as output when it is done, known as its return type.

Every function has a function name, which describes the task that the function performs. To use a function, you “call” that function with its name and pass it input values (known as arguments) that match the types of the function’s parameters. A function’s arguments must always be provided in the same order as the function’s parameter list.

The function in the example below is called sayHello(_:), because that’s what it does—it takes a person’s name as input and returns a greeting for that person. To accomplish this, you define one input parameter—a String value called personName—and a return type of String, which will contain a greeting for that person:

funcsayHello(personName:  a href=”” String /a ) ->  a href=”” String /a  {

letgreeting = “Hello, ” + personName + “!”

returngreeting

}

 

Create a simple iOS app

1. Open Xcode and go to New -> Project

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2. Select Single View Application and click Next. Then you can set your project name, your team name and language etc. Click Next again, and you should be all set to start creating a iOS project.

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3. There is a navigation file bar on the most left side, and you should be able to see “Main.Storyboard” (graph 1). Storyboard is the place where you can do designs as well as interactions. There should be a default rectangular like iPhone screen showing up if you are in Storyboard. That is the default ViewController which basically is interface user can see in the real iPhone. If the app you are creating needs three interfaces, you need to create three ViewControllers. On this simple example, I just want to create an App called switchColor. There are two ViewControllers corresponding to two interfaces on this app. And there is one button on each ViewController to be used for switching background color. Let’s start do it.

                                 Graph 1

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4. Click the default viewController. On the right most sidebar of Xcode, you should see View setting (Graph 2).  Then you can change the background color to Blue.  Let’s also add a text on the screen. Type Label on the right bottom corner (Graph 3),  then drag the label to your blue background view controller. By double clicking that label, you can change text to whatever you want. Let’s change it to “ Hello World ! ” .

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Graph 3

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5. Let’s create another ViewController to represent another interface on the app. You can simply copy and paste old ViewController by pressing Command C + Command V or add a new viewController as the way we added Label. Then let’s change the background color of new viewController to Green.

6. You should see two different background color viewControllers in Storyboard now. Let’s add some interactions on it. Type button on the right bottom box and drag a Button to your Blue ViewController (Graph 4). Do the exactly same step again for the Green ViewController. Double click those two Buttons on the Storyboard, and you can change the texts on the buttons. Let’s change the text of Blue one to “Switch to Green”, and change the text of Green one to “Switch to Blue”.

Graph 4

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7. Final Step ! How do we add reactions for buttons ? Hold ‘control’ and click the Button you just created. If you try to drag the button to another ViewController, there will be an arrow showing up. You just need to point that arrow to the different ViewController (Graph 5). For example, you should click the “Switch to Green” button and drag the arrow from blue background ViewController to the green background ViewController as I show picture above. Then you need to do the same step for another ViewController such that your Storyboard should be like the picture I showed below.

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Graph 5

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The switching color App is done. You can run this app by clicking run button. If you click “Change to Green” button, the background will be changed to green. If you click “Change to Blue” button, the background will be changed to blue.

If you are interested doing Swift Programming and iOS app development,  you can check Apple Swift Guide on https://developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/Swift/Conceptual/Swift_Programming_Language/index.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40014097-CH3-ID0 .

Organize your Gmail with filters

If you are an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, you have a Google Apps account for your student email. And, if you’re anything like me, sometimes your inbox can get a little cluttered from different classes and announcements.

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If you find yourself wishing to keep all of your emails but don’t need to see all of these mass emails every time they pop up, a Gmail filter might be of interest to you.

To see the options for Gmail filters, start by navigating to Settings and then click the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab.

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Click “Create a new filter”.

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You will now see a few options for what your filter can be based on. For example, you can filter emails “From” a particular person or mailing list, you could filter emails with a certain keyword in the subject, or you could filter emails based on having or not having certain keywords.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 11.01.23 AM

Once you’ve selected what types of emails you want to filter, click “Create filter with this search” and you will be presented with options of what to do with those filtered messages.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 11.02.36 AM

Like the previous step in choosing what to filter, these options are basically up to you depending on what you want to do. Personally, I find it convenient to use the “Skip the inbox” and “Apply the label” options. The drop down will let you create new labels, with my example screenshot having a label named “homework”. This way, you aren’t deleting emails but won’t see them in your inbox until you click on the label you applied them to. In the following example, I created a filter for emails from Doodle which causes them to skip the inbox and go under the label “doodlemail”.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 11.34.39 AM

Now my regular inbox won’t be flooded with notifications every time someone replies to my Doodle poll, and I can check it whenever I want. However, this is only one example of what you can create with the different filtering options. Maybe you want to star every email from career services, or make sure certain newsletters never get sent to spam. The choice is yours, and the power of filtering options will allow you to keep your inbox as organized as you’d like it to be.

What is Secure Online Storage at UMass Amherst?

Many students are not aware that they have access to UDrive, an online file storage service hosted by the university. Undergraduate students from 2013 onward have a (Google) Apps account which provides email, drive storage, and online office tools. In many ways, your Apps account doubles as an account to a superior online storage solution. This spring, UMass Amherst Information Technology has added Box to the online repertoire of students–a new service that is superior to Apps in a few ways.

Continue reading

Working towards Perfect Information in the Digital Age

Voting with your dollar has been an idea since the earliest days of economic theory. It goes like this: In the absence of government intervention, ethical standards will be upheld by consumers, who will — being moral people — refuse to buy from companies that violate what they see as important rules and standards of ethical conduct.

As great as this idea sounds, for most of human history, it’s been a bit of a fantasy. After all, who but the most devoted of humanitarians with the most leisure time would take the time to research and evaluate every one of the companies they patronize? Like everyone interested in technology, you’re probably looking at this problem and wondering… Isn’t there an app for that? The answer is YES (http://www.buycott.com/): there IS an app for that. Multiple, in fact, but Buycott is my favorite. They crowd-source everything, and create a collaborative knowledge database on companies both in America and abroad, noting everything from corporate family trees to campaign donations.

Here’s how it works: You create an account, and the app immediately prompts you to choose from a number of causes that you feel strongly about. Be that GMO labeling or Female empowerment in developing countries, or even acceptance of Bitcoin, you can probably find a campaign that suits your interests. The idea is that you select support for multiple campaigns, then use the in-app barcode scanner to check items you plan to buy, and see how the companies you support stack up to your dearly held beliefs. If they don’t (which is a probability if you’re like me and buy a lot of cheap products from large, monolithic corporations), the campaign suggests an ideology-safe alternative.

Can’t find a cause you’re looking for? Make your own! All campaigns are user-generated and user-maintained, and on the off-chance you scan a product Buycott hasn’t yet heard of, it prompts you through a simple module to enter it into their database for the benefit of other users.

Never before has voting with your dollar and living according to your beliefs been so easy. Through technology, Buycott has created a community of consumers, dedicated to giving the buyer more bargaining power to engage in activism without giving up quality of life. As technology advances and people become more open to the idea of sharing their thoughts and activities with the world, we can move closer and closer towards a perfect market, in which all parties to an exchange know of alternatives, of each party’s activities, and of the moral character of those with whom we trade, and make redundant the clunky regulation of government intervention.

 

PS: There’s also a Chrome Extension

Welcome class of 2019! What you need to know about IT at UMass.

UMass Amherst IT would like to welcome the incoming freshman class to campus! As you move in and go through the first week of classes and fall New Student Orientation, you’ll discover the countless web services and technologies used at UMass Amherst. We see many freshman coming into our Help Center during this time to ask questions, and we are here to help in the Lederle Graduate Research Center lowrise, room A109, from 8:30 am – 4:45 pm (the building right across the street from Northeast dorms on the first floor), as well as the W.E.B DuBois Library Learning Commons during the day and after hours until midnight.

But, if you prefer not to make the walk up from Southwest or down from Orchard Hill, there’s quite a bit of information on our website at it.umass.edu and I’d like to take this time to highlight answers to what are some of our most frequently asked questions from new students:


1.) How do I connect to the wifi?

Eduroam – FAQ

Access to the wireless network is vital for any student living on campus, and is one of the first things you may do after moving in. You will see two networks in most areas of campus, “UMASS” and “eduroam”.

The basic process for most devices is as follows:

1.) Connect to the UMASS network.

2.) Open a browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) and try to load any web page. You should be redirected with a “wireless at UMass Amherst” page with a yellow rectangular “eduroam” button near the top. If you do not see this page, type login.wireless.umass.edu into your browser to view the page directly.

3.) Click the yellow “Connect to eduroam” button at the top of the page.

4.) Enter your netid and password on the Web Login portal and follow the instructions.

For more detailed instructions, please follow the links here:

Windows – connect to eduroam (also works for Windows 10)

Mac OS X – connect to eduroam

Ubuntu – connect to eduroam

iOS – connect to eduroam

Android – connect to eduroam (note: many find the manual configuration easier and faster to set up for Android devices, however running xpressconnect is still an option if you choose to do so).

A few things to note about other devices:

Windows Phones are unable to connect to the eduroam network due to their lack of support for TTLS. We would advise Windows phone users in need of a network connection to use UMASS, however keep in mind this network is not secure and will not keep you logged in for extended periods of time.

Game Consoles are typically unable to connect to the eduroam network, however consoles with a regular web browser should be able to connect to UMASS by going to login.wireless.umass.edu. Please do not run the xpressconnect application for eduroam on your gaming devices, as it may cause problems with your device. UMass Amherst Information Technology is working on developing access for gaming devices in the future, however this project is ongoing and is still in early pilot stages.


2.) How do I check my email?

Undergraduate students at UMass Amherst have Google Apps accounts. Students can check their university email by logging into Google Apps at apps.umass.edu with your NetID and password, or by going to mail.google.com and entering your NetID@umass.edu, which will redirect to the apps.umass.edu web login portal.

Note that your NetID and Password are the same as what you use to log in to both Spire and Moodle and pretty much any other service at UMass. If you are having trouble logging into Google Apps, try the “Forgot Your Password?” link on the spire home page to reset your password.


3.) How do I get my email on my phone?

To add your UMass email account to most mail applications, you will likely need to log in to your account in a web browser so that you can generate an application specific password for your device (phone, tablet, etc). Click here for more detailed instructions on this process and manual configuration details for Apps at UMass.

However, if you are using single sign-on for Android or the iOS Gmail app, this article outlines the quick configuration process for these applications.

If you are using an iOS device using iOS 8 or above (iPhone 4S and above), you can configure your Google Apps Mail by doing the following:

1) Go to settings

2) Go to Mail Accounts and Select Add New

3) Select Google, a Google sign in page should appear

4) Enter your netID@umass.edu and select sign in, you will be brought to the UMass log in page

5) Sign in again and give the device the permissions requested and save the account


4.) How do I get Microsoft Office as a UMass student?

Students can download Microsoft Office 365 for free by following the instructions in this article. Please make sure you follow the instructions carefully and remember the password you create when you sign up for office. Office 365 works for both Mac OS and Windows computers.


5.) How do I print on campus?

The Learning Commons in the lower level of the W.E.B Du Bois Library and the Engineering Library on the second floor of the Lederle Graduate Research Center lowrise both have printers available to students, and other computer classrooms on campus also allow for printing. To print remotely, you can download and install the remote printing software to send your print request to any of these locations. You can also visit these locations and sign into a local computer and then print directly from that computer if you have your documents on a flash drive or in your google drive account.

Click here for instructions on how to install the remote printing software. (NOTE: as of 9/4/15, Windows 10 cannot be set up with remote printing)

Students also have 100 free prints each semester, however if you need to add more you can pay with your UCard Debit account for $0.10 per page. The Printing FAQ article here explains how to pay for printing in more detail.


6.) How do I use the computers in the library and computer classrooms?

You can sign into the W.E.B Du Bois Library Learning Commons and computer classroom machines with your NetID and password. However, you will first need to activate computer classroom access on Spire. After logging into Spire, go to Main Menu > IT Accounts > PC Classrooms and then enter your password and click “Enable Classroom Login”. After a few minutes, you should have access to the computers. This activation process should only need to be performed once, from then on you can log into the library computers whenever you need to.


7.) What antivirus software is offered by UMass IT?

UMass IT offers McAfee to members of the university, available for download through the IT website.

Link to download for Windows computers.

Link to download for Mac OS computers.

You will need to sign in with your NetID and password when accessing those links. After you log in, you should see a green button labeled “McAfee Security for Mac/Windows” which will download the software installer to your computer. Keep in mind that it is usually not a good idea to have more than one antivirus program on your computer. While having certain programs that are meant for virus removal such as Malwarebytes on your computer alongside antivirus programs is okay, if you already have an antivirus program such as Norton, a different trial version of McAfee, Avast, or AVG, you should uninstall those programs first if you would like to use the university’s McAfee download.


8.) Other questions?

More articles and resources are available on the IT website. We are also able to help answer any questions you may have or assist you with any of these topics in person for free in our Help Center in the Lederle Graduate Research Center room A109 from 8:30 am – 4:45 pm Monday through Friday or by phone at 413-545-9400.

You can also email us at it@umass.edu with questions or use our live chat support by clicking the link under Get IT Help on our website. The Learning Commons also has a desk staffed with at least one IT consultant during the day in the W.E.B Du Bois Library.

We hope you have a great semester and a wonderful Fall NSO this weekend, go UMass!

 

iOS 9, What To Expect

Apple announced iOS 9 this past June at it’s 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. This year’s tagline, “A better experience with every touch” confirms the speculation that iOS 9 intends to focus on improving stability over the introduction of new features. The last two or so versions, especially iOS 7, focused heavily on features (along with iOS 8 which was expected to further refine the iOS 7 experience), but overall stability has since diminished with more recent releases. So for this release, the average user could reasonably expect improvements to speed, the ever more relevant battery life, and overall stability. iOS 9 is expected to be released autumn 2015, most likely around mid to late September following previous release trends.

iOS 9 Public Beta 1

Apple released the first public beta of iOS 9 to the masses on July 9th. It contained the following improvements to existing apps, and new features:

The News application (which may not be uninstalled) adds a native reddit styled system to iOS devices. It works based on topics a user indicates interest in, and touts its ability to condense information from multiple sources negating the need for a user to switch apps. News also focuses on “the rich and immersive design found in print with the interactivity of digital media.” (Click on photos to zoom.)

news

Similarly to the OS X 10.11 “El Capitan” beta that is running concurrently, the Notes application is seeing some rather significant function overhauls. Notes may now contain photos, maps, and URLs, and users may also include drawings and native checklists. Users will be able to add content from basically everywhere, and the previous iCloud functionality will allow Notes to be by synced to other devices.

notes

Maps will now be able to provide public transit information (Note: Public transit information is currently limited to the following select cities: Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC, internationally in London, Toronto, and Berlin). Along with enhanced nearby location searching to find points of interest.

Maps (Transit)

Passbook has received a re-brand as Wallet and now has greater integration with Apple Pay introduced in iOS 8. Wallet will have integration for store specific cards, and reward cards (Dunkin’ Donuts Perks included). Users may now double-home-click while on the lock screen to access Apple Pay.

wallet

Siri has once more received an update to find information on a widening range of subjects. Siri is now able to return results faster, along with a small GUI change. Siri can (in a limited way) interact with some apps to create reminders. Siri is also now powering a search system referred to as Proactive. Proactive appears as a new search area that can be found by scrolling through the apps screens all the way to the left beyond the home screen (Basic search is still available if you pull down on an app screen). However, when Proactive is used the system is already pre-populated with frequent contacts, nearby points-of-interest, news, and suggested apps. Proactive also permeates elsewhere within iOS 9. Plug in headphones, and the podcast you left off on will resume where you left off, email will suggest contacts that are frequently emailed together, received messages that include events will be pre-loaded into your calendar, and unknown callers whose numbers have appeared in messages will get a “Maybe: <this person>” tag. Overall a lot of small features that end up being pretty slick.

siri proactive

Performance & Security

In the context of performance, iOS 9 is expected to streamline the update process by reducing the storage footprint required to perform the update. Users installing iOS 8 on top of the latest release of iOS 7 were required to have 4.58GB of storage. Users installing iOS 9 will only require 1.3GB of free storage, and if this is not available iOS 9 will be able to uninstall and reinstall applications to create adequate space.

Apple has touted extended battery life as part of the benefits to updating to iOS 9. Settings now includes a “low power” mode to extend battery lifetime when critically low. What is unsatisfactory, so far, is that even with optimizations and this low power mode, Apple is boasting extended lifetimes of only one hour.

iOS 9’s focus on security changes the default system passcode from four to six digits, or 10,000 to 1,000,000 possible combinations. Two-factor authentication will also see greater integration regarding AppleID based services.

Users of Android devices who desire to migrate to an iPhone will be able to use a Migration App that will securely copy a user’s contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free books. It will also suggest apps based on android downloads.

Android-Iphone

Other changes include:

  • System font change from Helvetica Neue to San Francisco
  • Settings are now searchable from within the settings application
  • Keyboard capitalization is now decidedly less ambiguous
  • Battery widget
  • Apps can take greater advantage of Metal graphics APIs

iPad Productivity (Finally)

iPad-only productivity features include Split View, Slide Over, Picture in Picture, and new features to the QuickType keyboard.

iPad (certain models) will now have the ability to multitask beyond the double-home-click to quickly jump between apps. Users will be able to pin two separate apps to half the screen (Split View, only confirmed on iPad Air 2) and/or open a second application without exiting the one a user is already in (Slide Over).

splitview

Slide over works by sliding a small tab from the right edge of the screen while in landscape orientation.

slideover

Picture in Picture will allow users watching video or Face-timing with someone to be able to open other applications underneath a floating miniaturized version of the video screen.

Picture in Picture

QuickType (if you were not already aware) is the name given to the default keyboard iOS uses. The next release includes three additions to functionality: a shortcut bar, easier text selection, and keyboard shortcuts. The new shortcut bar enables easy access to functions like bold or italicize. Using two fingers while typing allows you to quickly move the cursor along text. Shortcuts will work across all keyboards (onscreen + wireless) and shortcuts will vary by app but common ones include search or app switching.

Compatibility

According to Apple iOS 9 will be available on the following mobile devices:

  • iPod Touch 5th generation
  • iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6+
  • iPad 2, iPad 3rd generation, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad Air, iPad Air 2

Sources:
Apple Software Beta Program: https://goo.gl/1p2iTZ
Apple iOS Preview: http://goo.gl/NVOGpi

New Dual-Boot Android/Windows Phone

Ever wanted to have an Android phone but still be able to play Xbox Live games on mobile? Soon you’ll be able to!

An upcoming handheld developed by a Chinese company called Elephone will be able to do just that! The new phone rumored to be arriving in June will reportedly be able to dual-boot Android 5.0 and Windows 10 giving you the best of both worlds.

 

 

Although Windows phones are not nearly as common as Android devices and iPhones, they are still packed with plenty of useful features.

  • Full Microsoft Office Suite. Word, Excel and Powerpoint are included on all Windows 10 phones. The Suite will work the same on your phone as it does on your desktop with minimal compromises. Outlook and Calendar are also being revamped for 10.
  • Xbox Live gaming on your phone. Currently with the Xbox Live app you can tweak your avatar, check achievements and Gamerscore and message your friends. Using the SmartGlass app from the Windows Phone store you can navigate your Xbox dashboard, start and pause movies, and view information about your games and videos. In Windows 10 Microsoft is planning to be able to allow users to play Xbox Live games on their phones. Although the list is short Microsoft is working to integrate mobile and Xbox multiplayer capabilities.

  • More Space! When you sign up for a Microsoft Account you get 7 GB of free space on their OneDrive cloud-based storage. You can automatically sync your photos and videos to your account.  You’ll be able to able to access all your content through your Xbox on the big screen.
  • Messaging. With inline messaging you’ll be able to send text messages and Skype messages through one app. You can also resize and drag the keyboard around for more one-handed usability.
  • Cortana. Windows’ version of Siri can assist at making phone calls, texting, making calendar events and setting reminders, control alarms and music, set up directions and help you find places to go. You can ask Cortana about certain facts, ask her to check sports scores, suggest weight loss workouts, and find out how the Dow Jones did today.

With the dual-OS option you’ll be able to access all those great features and at the same time run Android Lollipop which has a whole slew of unique features itself:

  • Access to the Google Play Store which contains the most mobile apps ( over 1.3 million) compared to the iOS app store, Amazon Appstore and Windows Phone store. You can also download movies, books, and music.
  • Full integration of Google Services. Out of the box Android phones come equipped with apps like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, Hangouts, YouTube and Google Drive. It’s handy having everything in one Google folder on the home screen.
  • Google Now. Although originally a Google Search application, Now can do everything Cortana and Siri can do. Google has announced that they will also begin supporting third party applications such as Pandora, Duolingo and Lyft, among others.
  • Open Source. It’s easier to design and program applications for Androids as they are written using the Java coding language. There is a lot of documentation out there and free programs where one can learn to develop mobile applications.

Elephone is planning on releasing two phones, one just with Android and the second with the dual boot capabilities. Both versions will have large 5.5-inch 2K displays (1440 x 2560), 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of built in storage. There will also be a a battery reported to exceed 3800 mAh  For reference, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2800 mAh battery and advertised for 21 hours of talk time.

There are slight differences in the 2 handhelds as the Android version of the phone will contain a 64-bit octa-core processor while the dual-OS phone will only contain a quad-core chip. Also, the Android-only handset will come with a 21MP camera while the dual version will only be 20.7MP. Both are expected to also come with fingerprint scanners.

If you, like myself, have been used to the Android interface but want to see what’s different or special about the mobile Windows OS you’ll be able to get both without sacrificing anything. Elephone is already popular outside of the United States for making affordable Androids so it’ll be interesting to see if they make any impact in the US market.

Bittorrent: An explanation of the Protocol

What is BitTorrent as a technology?

BitTorrent Logo

BitTorrent is a technology that is mainly used in the sharing of large files, though it is also favorable in achieving maximum redundancy of a file on the internet. Basically the technology is a Peer-to-Peer system, in which clients (your personal computer) connect to a central tracking server, the “tracker”. This “tracker” keeps track of all the “peers” connected to a single file that is being shared on the network. When peers connect to the server they begin to capture bytes of the file that is being downloaded and in the same likeness begins re-uploading those bytes to allow other “peers” to get at the file being downloaded. The action of re-uploading is also called “seeding”, which allows other “peers” connected to this file to get a maximized connection for download. All in all, it can be summarized as being a file sharing service.

What’s the controversy?

The controversy around the use of BitTorrent technology lies in the notorious connotation that the technology has with enabling copyright infringement. Infamous torrent trackers make headline news as they are among some of the most trafficked websites in the world. According to the Alexa Internet Site Ranking service, the 217th most trafficked website in the world is a known torrent tracker. People are very aware of these websites, but if they are unfamiliar with the technology and what it means to be a patron to these sites, they can suffer consequences that can impact their lives severely.

What’s “seeding”?

Seeding is the act of uploading to a torrent data stream. As a key part of the technology, seeding is what allows for data redundancy when other seeders go offline, as well as a boost to overall throughput/data speeds when other peers want to download a file. As a seeder you connect to the torrent network, and other peers are able to see where to retrieve data for the file they want to download. The way the download works is based on a network identifier known as an IP Address, so every “peer” connected to the same torrent are either uploading or downloading and are known to every other “peer”.

What’s being a “peer”?

A peer is anyone connected to a torrent file, and downloading or uploading data to the collective network.

What’s being a “leech”?

A peer who rather than committing to upload and download data, is stopping their clients uploading to resist contribution to the collective network.

BitTorrent Protocol Diagram

BitTorrent for legal and legitimate use.

BitTorrent can be legally used for file transmission, when the material isn’t subject to Copyright, some materials such as open-source software or media with Creative-Commons licenses can be subject to a lesser extent of Copyright, and are often okay to distribute freely. One such site that takes advantage of the BitTorrent protocol is http://linuxtracker.org/ where individuals can download various distributions of the free and open-source Linux Operating System using BitTorrent.

What are the consequences of infringing copyright?

DMCA Logo

Because of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act enacted in 1998, any person caught violating a copyright owners exclusive rights, can be penalized in ways where the violator would have to pay damages, being forced via injunction to stop infringing activities, and potential jail-time. As a UMass student you are also subject to the policies of Copyright and Fair Use instituted by the University, which outlines penalties for violating Copyright.

UMass Copyright Policies: http://www.it.umass.edu/copyright/copyright-umass-amherst-higher-education-opportunity-act-information

Source: https://www.lib.purdue.edu/uco/CopyrightBasics/penalties.html

Stream services for TV and Movies

From cable-cutters to college students, nearly everybody is interested in video streaming services. You may be tempted to use torrenting software to get your TV shows and movies, but this software is notorious for landing people with copyright violation notices and occasionally some hefty fines. There are many legal alternatives to torrenting software, and I will discuss them here. Continue reading

Thankful For Google

I created my first Gmail account right before I started high school. I figured that my aim.com email, with my cheesy instant messaging screen name attached, would be unsuitable to send emails from in the future. It never crossed my mind that this one account would later link all facets of my life together in a neat, user-friendly package. With this one account, I am able to sync my email, calendar, documents, photos, notes, alarms, mobile apps, and music across my phone, tablet, and PC. Continue reading

Customizing Your Android

Android phones and tablets have many apps that allow you to customize how your device looks and behaves. Although the stock options do look nice by installing a few apps you can customize your device to your liking. One of the first things you will want to change is your wallpaper. Continue reading

Digital Education

ibooks_itunesu_ios7-600x300In today’s world, it seems that we have an application for everything. We have apps for managing our schedule, listening to music, and creating and editing video. We have apps for helping us watch what we eat and making sure we get enough exercise. We have apps for entertainment and we have apps for productivity. Within an application market filled to the brim with apps to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, it would just make sense to have an application dedicated to education. As of right now, this market resides as a largely untapped resource. Many of our readers have probably owned an iPhone at one point, and many of these owners have probably noticed an application called “iTunes U”, which they have probably ignored, myself included. iTunes U is Apple’s attempt at an app dedicated to education – populated with courses and integrated with iBooks and the cloud, iTunes U is a work in progress that has the potential to kick start the digital education market, and help revolutionize how we learn in this day and age.

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Listen to YouTube on iOS

YouTube has tons of uses – primarily video watching, but often podcasts and music can be found on the great video behemoth. While iOS 7 has plenty of music players, sometimes you want to listen to something you’ve found on YouTube without killing your battery by leaving the screen on. But when you want to listen (and not watch) a video on your iPhone, what do you do?
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iOS Apps: Comic Book Readers

XMEN

Reading comic books has been a cherished pastime since the 1900s, and comic strips  were even getting published as early as in the 1800s. As technology advances, the way we read comics changes – while some still buy physical comic books, many of us have opted to go digital. There are plenty of programs to use to read comics on your computer (check out this LifeHacker article for a few good recommendations), but what if you want to read comics on the go? There are a lot of options out there, but we’re going to go over a few that are widely considered to be the best iOS apps for reading comics.

If you’re an Android user, check out our article Android Apps: Comic Book Readers.
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