Archive for the ‘SURF — tech’ Category

Technology Spotlight: The Clarisonic

Posted: October 28, 2012 by jerkmagblog in SURF -- tech
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If there’s one thing you should know about me, it is that I am neurotic about my skin.  Even after a night of going out, I still manage to make my way to the bathroom and get my makeup remover.  In high school, I literally went to an esthetician twice a month just to get facial peels. Once I got to Syracuse, however, this obviously posed a problem.  I could no longer get them done because 1) Where the hell was I actually going to find an esthetician that I trusted not to burn my skin off? 2) Refer back to 1.

Thankfully, I met a girl in my freshman year dorm bathroom that was using the Clarisonic Mia, and raved about it.  After some research, I decided to purchase the Clarisonic and give it a try.

The Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing Systems uses a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second that removes six times more makeup than other facial cleansers. It also reduces oily areas, dry skin patches, blemishes, reduces pore size, and reduces the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles. Not to mention, it leaves your skin looking and feeling younger and smooth and is gentle enough for twice-daily use.

The Clarisonic has been recommended by dermatologists, aesthetic consultants, and cosmetic surgeons alike.  The Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing System has 5 different models that include: the mia, mia 2, aria, plus, and pro.  The models vary on price and speeds offered.  There are six Clarisonic brush heads to chose from that are compatible with all the different Clarisonic models.  The six different heads vary from sensitive to deep pore and work for all skin types.

If you don’t already have a Clarisonic, go out and buy one.  It truly does clean your skin so much better than just using soap, water, and your hands.  I’ve been using mine for over a year now and my skins never felt, or looked better.  I don’t even go to my esthetician anymore when I’m home on breaks or in the summer, I just use my Clarisonic.  So shout out to the girl from my freshman year hall, you saved my dad hundreds.

– Lauren Levine

 

Are you kidding me? For this week’s post I should just submit this picture and be done with it. Yes, I write about technology, and yes, this is definitely (kinda)technology. It’s the HotTug. A hot tub and a tug boat. The HotTug. What is it? Exactly what you think it is. Exactly what you want it to be. It’s a tug boat which can seat 6-8 people. It’s also a freakin’ hot tub. The boat fills up and heats the water. So while you’re tugging around in your lake, maybe getting a tug of your own, you’re in hot tub, staying warm. If you want to stay dry and keep tugging, just drain the water.

This thing is seriously awesome. It’s made out of wood, with a layer of “glass fiber reinforced polyester.” The HotTug measures 95” x 150” x 44”. It’s equipped with a stainless steel stove which heats the water to the temperature in just about three hours.

You want this bad boy for yourself? Take a break from school, take that tuition money of yours, and pay up $20,650 to have one delivered to your doorstep. That’s right, twenty grand. Call me when you get it.

– Can Cakmak

The fuss over the iPhone 5 is everywhere. While someone people are madly in love with it, others are more critical and don’t see the point. As Jimmy Kimmel’s experiment will show you, some people even have no idea what the difference is, but still love it, just to fit into the Apple crowd. One thing’s for sure, the iPhone is different. And as a tech blogger, it’s a must-cover topic. The 5 is taller, wider, and probably harder, better, faster, stronger.

Size
First off, the size. The iPhone 5 packs a 4″ screen, an upgrade from the 3.5″ that Steve Jobs had initially presented years ago. This goes a long way when it comes to day to day use. It’s the same width as the previous phones, and just a little taller. So it’s still quite familiar to the veteran iPhone user, but allows a fresh breath of air as you hold something new in your hand. According to user reviews, it’s still ‘small’ enough that one hand use is convenient for any thumb.

Dock: Lightning
The dock is one of the biggest physical changes with many internal impacts. The ‘Lightening’ takes up less space in the overall physical frame of the phone, space which is saved up for other internal hardware and ultimately creating less weight. I personally don’t love the fact that my old iPhone chargers will become obsolete once I order one of these bad boys, but eh, it’s a good change for Apple and a solution that can be solved by an extra $30 for a second charger. According to Engadget, while the old adapter took five minutes and 6 second to downloaded 5.5 gigabytes of information from the 4S, the Lightening adapter took three minutes and 57 seconds from an iPhone 5.

Software
Internally, the iPhone 5 has the new A6 processor chip which makes it twice as fast as the 4S. Geekbench has calculated that this creates a total of 1 gigabyte of RAM. If you’re an average laptop user, your laptop will most likely have 4 gigabytes of RAM, making your iPhone an impressive 1/4 as fast as your freakin’ computer. There are a lot more internal technicalities that are not as interesting to read about. One thing though, is the addition of LTE, which makes the wireless connection on your new iPhone 5 faster. While this technology has been around in other phones, it’s definitely a great addition to the 5.

Display
While I can’t wait to see and test this for myself, the screen of the iPhone 5 is said to be fantastic. The 4S already had one of the best screens on the competitive market,  and the new screen made things just a little better. One argument against iPhones, and similarly iPads, has always been the screen’s weakness out in sunlight. By having less layers in the construction of the iPhone screen, this makes the screen more powerful outdoors.

Camera
The front camera on the iPhone 5 takes the spotlight as it is improved from a regular VGA to a 1.2 megapixel badass for FaceTiming and Skype. While some users don’t really turn on the front camera except for the white-girl-wasted party photos, for those of us who actually use Skype often, this is a huge improvement. The back camera is essentially the same. With the new A6 chip within the phone comes a faster shutter speed which competes with other competitors such as the Galaxy Nexus. An additional feature is the Panorama mode, which is a built in Panorama software for your camera. Just hold the phone up, and go from left to right to capture a 11,000 x 2,500 pixel image. Let the new Facebook and Instagram photos begin.

Overall? Apple kept it’s promise. The iPhone 5 is two times faster, better display, better battery life, and a new and slightly improved design. I personally love the fact that it’s a 4”. The extra .5” will go a long way. For now, I have to enjoy my cracked iPhone 4S. The poor thing is due for a replacing. It’s fallen in puddles, a toilet right after urinating in it,  (held my breath, dunked my hand in, and picked it right out), fallen down stairs, and much more.

No matter what you opinion is, I’m personally very excited. And for those of you out there who don’t even know the difference, go buy a Nokia.

-Can Cakmak

I’ve always been fascinated by the amount of information we have on our cell phones. If someone were to get a hold of your iPhone, for example, they would potentially have access to your Facebook, bank account, Twitter, emails, Amazon account, and more. But these are just account names and passwords; it’s hard to comprehend how vulnerable we really are.

This is exactly what Malte Spitz wanted to highlight. In his ten minute TED Talk presentation, he talks about how much power and information the cell phone has given to the individual. During social movements in the last few years, such as those in Egypt and Syria, cell phones and social media have played huge roles. There is no doubt the cell phone is no longer a novelty, it is a part of our day to day lifestyle. However, this is also where issues begin to arise. While cell phones have provided their users with all sorts of services, they also provide the service companies with information we probably don’t want them to have.

Every time we use our cell phones, there is a record of it; even more so now that location services are so readily available. Service providers can easily store this information. Spitz wanted a straight answer – what kind of information does your service provider have and how much of it? He requested the data, and after a few attempts and a couple of lawsuits, Spitz “received 35,830 lines of code — a detailed, nearly minute-by-minute account of half a year of his life.”

How scary is that? Spitz wanted the convoluted lines of code to be better understood by everyone in order to represent the drastic amount of our personal lives that are on record somewhere. He converted the codes into visualization. You can see 6 months of his life here. Your regular cell phone services which have been around for a decade, combined with location services, begin to reveal a lot about your lifestyle. In Spitz’s train ride from Berlin, you can see his call records, duration of each call, text messages received and sent, the amount of data he used and more. This information is all in the hands of our cell phone provider, whether we like it or not.

So what do we do about this? Nothing. We live this way. I mean, it’s not like your service provider workers are sitting there going, “Check it out, Joe just went on RedTube.” The information is available in their hands, but it’s likely ignored… in most average people’s cases. Just hope your significant other doesn’t get a hold of your cell phone data. Another option still remains; you could go AWOL, cancel your cell phone service, stop shaving, and go live in a tree.

-Can Cakmak

This is the kind of stuff that makes me mad at myself for sitting around watching Seinfeld episodes and being a bum during the summer. This is easily one of the simplest, yet intriguing innovations I have seen in awhile.

Tembo Trunks are an idea that emerged as two friends were traveling through Africa. Have you ever been in a situation where the volume on your iPhone wasn’t loud enough, so you simply made a cup like shape with your hand to amply the sound? Well hopefully you have. Tembo Trunks operates on the same concept. They are the first speakers of their kind; a speaker system that requires no batteries. Which was the main goal of the innovation. It’s made out of silicone and is nearly indestructible.

How does a speaker system work without power? Well – it’s not really a speaker system. In fact, the volume would probably not be satisfactory for a lot of people. The way it works is the smaller end of the cone shape is designed so that your classic Apple headphones can fit snuggly into the whole. With that setup, the cone geometry does the rest, and amplifies the sound from the bigger end. If you want to get your moves on while listening to Skrillex, this probably isn’t the kind of bass system you’re looking for.

What really intrigued me was the idea. It’s so simple, innovative, and cheap. Furthermore, the website that hosts this innovation is a great one too, Kickstarter If you click the link to read more about the project, you can see that this project has raised $88,321, above and beyond their original goal of $10,000. If you’re an innovator and believe you have the next best idea, this is the website to check out.

Check out this video for a review (skip to 1:30)… maybe not so impressive after all? Judge it for yourself, and don’t forget, after all it did raise almost a 100 grand.

-Can Cakmak

 

Tablets Gone Wild

Posted: June 29, 2012 by jerkmag in SURF -- tech
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I remember the day Steve Jobs stepped up on stage and announced the iPhone. It was unbelievable. It wasn’t so much the technology that was impressive, needless to say it was, but it was the whole presentation and the amount of thought put into the user, not just the phone. Then the iPhone 4 came out. It had a camera at the front – Steve Jobs set on a comfortable couch and demonstrated FaceTime. I looked at my mom’s Nokia phone, which at this point was about three years old. There was a tiny square at the front of the phone. It was a camera, and I pointed it out and asked my mom if she ever used the front facing camera on her phone. “What front facing camera?”, she asked.

Apple wasn’t necessarily making up new technology as they went along. They were selling a service, an experience, something that people would feel like they needed in their day to day lives. If you’re interested in why Apple, and other similar brands, have become so successful, you might want to check out Start With Why by Simon Sinek. It’s a really simple read and quite cheap to order from Amazon.

Exactly a week ago, Apple had its June Keynote and announced a few new things. I’m always amazed by how far ahead Apple seems to be. Even their ‘campus’ where all their innovation happens is so secretive. In fact, they are actually in the planning stages of moving to a new location. Check it out, it’s just as sexy as all their products.

So with all this Apple build up, I decided to write about… the new Surface tablet by Microsoft! Yay! All the new Apple announcements are covered extensively all over the web, you have more than enough information about it at your fingertips. If you’re super lazy and don’t want to type “apple june keynote highlights” into Google, then here.

Remember the Zune? The brand was completely terminated by Microsoft last fall. The Zune is a failed competitor to the iPod. Back in the day Microsoft was playing catch up with Apple’s innovations and produced the Zune in hopes of taking on part of the market and failed. But Microsoft isn’t one of the biggest companies in the world for no reason. Today, it announced the Surface, the competitor to the iPad. The Surface is a personal computer tablet that will run Windows 8. It is the first product that has been designed directly by Microsoft, something Apple has been doing since its beginnings. The Surface is packed with features that you would expect, including a HD touch screen, front and rear cameras, thin and light design, and the rest. It comes with design features such as an unfolding protective cover that doubles as a keyboard, a touch pen that clicks into the device, and a built-in kickstand.

I’m not going to lie, it looks kinda cool. Last quarter, the Windows devision of the company alone recorded $4.6 billion in sales, “$3 billion of which was pure profit”. It holds the 6th place for the highest profit margin in the Fortune 500 List. Microsoft isn’t one of the biggest companies in the world for no reason… I’m really curious to see how successful the Surface becomes. Check it out yourself, and we’ll make sure to you keep up to date with it.

-Can Cakmak

I recently moved to Washington, DC for the summer. Before I even arrived to the city, I was on the phone giving out my personal information to the company I’m renting my apartment from, the people who provide internet, the electricity dudes, the moving company, yada, yada yada. Name, phone number, occupation,  address, permanent address, credit card number, even my social. On top of that, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, all my saved passwords on my laptop, my info on my iPhone, and more yada yada yada. I’m quite a careful person when it comes to this stuff, but I feel uncomfortable… And I have reason to be.

Last week, LinkedIn, the professional social network, was hacked. Over six million accounts were accessed and passwords were stolen. The passwords were very lightly encrypted and actually stored in the databases as simple text files. Once retrieved, millions of passwords were casually posted on a Russian blog.

According to NYT article on the matter, companies are constantly being attacked, sometimes successfully – large companies such as Lastfm.com, eHarmony, and others, have all been jeopardized. The surprising thing in this case was how poor LinkedIn’s password protection services were. Experts say that LinkedIn would be given a letter grade “D” for it’s security, which is absolutely appalling. Being one of the biggest social networks, such carelessness is unacceptable.

Hackers can create codes that scan up to a million password combinations a second. It is up to the companies to hire the right kind of security and keep their users feeling safe, cyber-ly safe, that is. One of the worst things about such a situation, especially with this kind of a website, is how helpless users are. For the most part, everyone remains quite, simply changes a password, and continues to keep a lot of their personal and professional information for the public to see.

If you’re hearing this news for the first time, and you have a LinkedIn account, just go ahead, change your password, and feel a little safer until the next attack comes along. In my case, and I’m sure in almost all your cases, LinkedIn is one of dozens of websites where I have an account… I can’t help but feel helpless and just hope for the best.

-Can Cakmak

Wanna go to SPACE?

Posted: June 5, 2012 by jerkmag in SURF -- tech
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Friday, May 25th, 2012 was a historic date for space travel as the first spacecraft built by a commercial company and not a ‘national space program’, took off into outer space.

The unmanned space craft, named the Dragon, will be put through many tests during its flight. Its main objective is to catch up with the International Space Station, which is a collaboration between United States, Russia, Europe, Canada, and Japan. It will take about three days for it to reach its target, at which point it will be given the ‘go’ to attach onto the space station. The connection will be made by robotic arms controlled by the astronauts in the station.

The Dragon is about 14 feet by 12 feet, and its design can be described as a ‘gumdrop’ shape. The capsule is filled with science experiments set up by students, items of clothing, and other supplies for the astronauts on board the 100 billion dollar Space Station. The Dragon will be attached to the station for approximately a week. During this time the astronauts will be able to unload the Dragon, complete some of the student experiments, and load any unused items from the station to be shipped off to Earth.

An unmanned spacecraft which takes off from the Earth to deliver goods to a Space Station orbiting in space – this would have sounded absolutely crazy a couple decades ago. Technology is evolving at an incredible rate and we are lucky to be spectators of this growth. Just like how Boeing and Airbus are commercial airplane manufacturers, having a commercially built spacecrafts opens the door to possibilities of more commercial space travel. Although this is looking way into the future, it’s not far fetched.

If you’re really into this kind of stuff, you can actually see the Dragon in the sky during it’s flight. You can track it here.

-Can Cakmak

One Way To Take Care of Your Laptop

Posted: May 29, 2012 by jerkmag in SURF -- tech
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“Not enough memory on your hard drive”… or something along those lines, popped up as an alert on my screen during finals week. Being in a major where I constantly use my laptop for pretty much everything I do, this message on my screen, in my sleepless, caffeined up, and frustrated state, was the absolute last thing i wanted to see. I had to stop renders, save everything, and start deleting stuff. Going through my folders and finding things to delete was not on my to-do list.

Not taking care of your laptop can come back to haunt you. Maintaining your hard drive is a great and easy way to treat your laptop right. Some sources will say that you should not exceed 80-85% of your hard drive space. If you do, you will probably start to notice a lack of performance. Now, if you’re one of those people who just got a Macbook because everyone else was doing it, the kind of work you’re probably doing won’t be too much of an issue. No, browsing through Facebook photos does not take up space on your hard drive. If you were concerned about that, you can stop reading now.

Third party apps are always a solution. The “Omnidisksweeper”, for example, reads your entire hard drive and very conveniently lists the largest files on your computer. While it does nothing out of the ordinary, it simply makes it easier for the user to view the files and choose what to delete. If you’re like me, and you’re not a fan of downloading third party apps, you can do this manually. Here are some simple steps:

Open up Finder and click ‘File-New Smart Folder’
 

On the top right corner of the folder, hit the “+” sign, under your search bar.
 

Click on the first drop down and click ‘Other’.
 

On the top right corner, search the term ‘File Size’ and make sure it’s checked.
 

Once File Size shows up, click the other drop downs and select your parameters.
 

This essentially does what some third party apps will do. You can now see what’s taking up space, select files and delete the ones you don’t need. For example duplicates, any old movies you won’t watch again, random large files, etc. Having an emptier hard drive is always the better option. I highly recommend you do this.

For those of you wanting to go a little further and do more than just delete files, check out this video.  This tutorial will help you clean up more of your hard drive and repair any minor issues. The tutorial is given by what sounds like a young kid, so how hard could it be? On top of that, he seems to be Canadian! So you can definitely do it. Check it ‘oot’, as he would say.

One last reminder: it is surprisingly easy to forget, but empty your trash. The files that are kept there are still on your hard drive, and take up space. By right clicking on your trash and emptying it up, you will save a lot of space from files that you wanted to delete anyway.

-Can Cakmak

App Spotlight: Pair

Posted: May 25, 2012 by jerkmag in SURF -- tech
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Will you take Jessica, in sickness and in health, till the Pair app doesn’t work and you can’t communicate anymore? I do.

Assuming you’re able to get a girl or boyfriend, and assuming they somehow stay with you long enough to be in a committed relationship, and assuming they move to a different city and create an obstacle in your relationship’s path… do not fear. The folks at TenthBit Inc. have got you covered. Their “Pair” app is one of the latest ways of keeping in touch. The app’s marketing strategy is directed at couples, and offers them a way to keep in touch in an easier, (probably creepier), way.

The idea is simple; while your iPhone messaging app can share text, images and short clips, this app combines them all and adds much more. It integrates Facebook, Twitter, voice clips and even the ability to draw something. No not the game, actually drawing something and making little doodles for each other. This app essentially combines almost all forms of communication available in today’s world and makes it private between two people.

All joking, sarcasm, and Jerk-yness aside -this app is quite clever and the best part …  it’s free. Before iMessaging, one of the most useful apps on many peoples’ phones were apps like Whatsapp, which allowed you to text through your 3G connection, meaning you could text for free from anywhere in the world as long as you were connected to WiFi. With the release and automated switch into iMessaging, there’s no longer any use for apps like Whatsapp. This is where Pair is very clever. It recognizes what the integrated messaging app on your iPhone can’t do, and makes you feel like you need to do it. Could you survive without Pair? Definitely. But it’s free, and probably quite useful once you and your significant other get used to it. Even for families and friends who live apart, integrating all forms of communication and social media is a great way of keeping in touch.

Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? Actually they have, Ryan the temp from the Office tried to patent WUPHF, but no one believed in him (I hope at least a few of you get this reference).