Monday, 21 April 2014

Recommended Android Apps

Social Networking/Messaging

  • Facebook & Messenger
  • Twitter
  • Foursquare
  • Whatsapp
  • SimplyText
  • MightyText

Games

  • Quiz Up
  • Dead Space
  • Despicable Me
  • Wind Up Knight
  • Cut The Rope
  • Angry Birds
  • Flow Free
  • Cookie Clicker
  • Draw Something
  • PewPew
  • Memory Trainer
  • Wordament

Themes/Widgets

  • Dashclock
  • Freshbacks

Music/Photo/Video

  • Cartoon HD
  • Plex
  • Movies Planet
  • QuickPic
  • Shazam
  • Spotify
  • TVcatchup
  • VLC

Maintenance

  • Clean Master
  • TasKiller
  • App Cache Cleaner
  • Battery Notifier

Security/Access

  • 1Password
  • KeePass
  • AirDroid
  • Authenticator
  • RD Client
  • Remote Control

'Find My iPhone'

  • Lookout Security
  • Android Lost
  • Prey
  • Android Device Manager

Location/Scanning/Shopping

  • Barcode Scanner
  • Google Goggles
  • Fancy
  • Wish
  • Just Eat
  • National Rail
  • RAC
  • Google Opinion Rewards
  • Tube Map

News

  • Zite
  • Flipboard

Tools/Keeping Organised

  • Automatic Call Recorder
  • SolCalendar
  • Instant Heart Rate Monitor
  • Google Keep
  • Link Bubble
  • OI File Manager
  • PushBullet
  • Speedtest
  • Swype
  • Wifi Analyzer

Dating

  • Blendr
  • Grindr
  • Hornet
  • Tinder
  • Jack'd
  • Bender

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Most twisted things I've seen


Sometimes there are shows or movies that raise massive ethical questions or are just incredibly twisted/messed up, this covers some of them.
  • Heroes - when Sylar's physical image and memories were replaced with those of Nathan Petrelli
  • Jeepers Creepers
  • Saw
  • Human Centipede
  • Hannibal
  • The Thing
  • The Fly
  • The Matrix

And the most tragic/left me reeling:

  • Groundhog Day
  • Butterfly Effect
  • Oblivion
  • Up
  • Spirited Away
  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • Toy Story 3

Monday, 24 February 2014

Android Daily Wallpaper changer app :)

Freshbacks for Android is an awesome wallpaper-changer-app that keeps your phone fresh with always changing, beautiful wallpapers! 

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Google Chrome: Flags you should enable

To edit your flags, go to chrome://flags/


Here's a list of flags that I use and would recommend. This is as of Chrome 33 - if using a newer version, the "default-ness" of these may have changed (it isn't clear what it means by 'Default' sadly). This focuses on Windows ones only. I've ignored any flags that are to do with purely experimental HTML and Javascript elements because they probably aren't in common use, are unstable, or could be insecure.
  • Check for known conflicts with 3rd-party modules
    • Normal setting: Off, Recommended setting: On
    • If a third-party add-on crashes the browser, Chrome will let you know. Some of these include RealDownloader, QuickTime
    • Link: chrome://flags/#conflicting-modules-check
  • Enable Instant Extended API
    • Normal setting: Default (Enable), Recommended setting: Off - setting has been removed in Chrome 33
    • This gives you the brand new 'New Tab Page', which makes all of the speed dial thumbnails smaller and sticks a big Google Search box on. I prefer the original. Note that disabling this also removes the 'Apps' button on the bookmarks/favourites bar.
      • Mind you, if you've replaced the New Tab Page with Awesome New Tab page for example, then you might as well leave this enabled.
      • However, if you do enable this, you won't be able to get to your 'Other devices' or 'Recently closed' menus, and the Awesome New Tab page doesn't support these yet, so stick with my recommend setting. This has moved to the Chrome menu as 'Recent Tabs'
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-instant-extended-api
  • Smooth Scrolling
  • Enable auto-log in
    • Normal setting: Off, Recommended setting: On
    • Displays an information bar at the top when you're on a Google Sign-in page to login you in without having to type your password.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-autologin
  • Enable Automatic Spelling Correction, Spelling Service Feedback
    • Normal setting: Off, Recommended setting: On
    • If some spelling is incorrect, Chrome will automatically correct it. It's never caused me a problem or changed any words to words I don't mean.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#spellcheck-autocorrect
  • Enable touch events, Touch Optimised UI, Enable touch initiated drag and drop, Overscroll history navigation
  • Disable touch adjustment
    • Normal setting: Off, Recommend setting: On
    • Same again, but this one is called 'Disable...', so you need to enable this one, to disable the touch adjustment.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#disable-touch-adjustment
  • Enable Download Resumption
  • Enable Rich Notifications
  • Google Now
    • Normal setting: Default, Recommended setting: On
    • Bring useful cards about emails, reminders and the like to your Chrome browser. Once enabled, after a couple of notifications, a grey/white bell will appear in the system tray - white if you have notifications, grey if all are dismissed.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-google-now
  • Enable Synced Notifications
    • Normal setting: Default, Recommended setting: Enabled
    • If you dismiss a notification on one device, it dismisses it from all of your devices, so you don't need to dismiss them multiple times. Of course, only enable if you actually have other devices.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-sync-synced-notifications
  • Enable Google profile name and icon
    • Normal setting: Off, Recommend setting: On
    • If you use multiple profiles on Chrome, it will automatically set your avatar to your Google+ icon for your user. The in-built ones are alright but seeing as you can't customise them normally, this is a great setting.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-google-profile-info
  • Enable password generation
    • Normal setting: Off, Recommended setting: On
    • Displays a small key icon whenever Google has detected a place to generate a password. It will then add your credentials for that website to Saved passwords.
      • Make sure you backup your passwords separately as well!
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-password-generation
  • Enable origin chip
    • Normal setting: Default (Disabled), Recommended setting: Disabled
    • As pere here, it basically hides the URL of the page you're visiting and replaces it with a separate button on the right where you can verify the site is legitimate (normally you click the padlock icon). If you click the bar, you'll get the URL back. Personally I like to be able to check/show off the URL at all times, so this is only if you really don't edit/understand URLs.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#origin-chip
  • Enable search button in Omnibox
    • Normal setting: Default (Disabled), Recommended setting: Disabled
    • Basically just puts a 'Search' button when you're searching from the address bar. The 'Enter' key works fine for me.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#search-button-in-omnibox

Some that I have considered but need improvement are:
  • Show Auto-fill predictions, Enable experimental form filling
    • This can be very handy in pre-populating some form fields with the values you want, however sometimes it gets this very wrong and it's annoying when it does - most websites don't have a 'clear form' button anymore. It also adds placeholder text for some boxes which sometimes break the forms a bit.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#show-autofill-type-predictions
  • NTP Suggestions page
    • This is a great idea - basically makes suggestions for websites for you to visit - possibly in a way similar to StumbleUpon - however I've never seen such a thing working, so you might as well leave it disabled.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-suggestions-ntp
  • Enable new profile management system
    • While it does make the experience better, it has explicit buttons for logging out a user, when most people probably want to keep a user logged in I would imagine. I'd only enable this if there were other people using my computer.
    • Link: chrome://flags/#enable-new-profile-management
  • Enable fast tab/window close
App Launcher
There are also some flags related to the App Launcher, but I'm not a fan of the App Launcher myself - partly because I don't use it/apps very often in Chrome, but I also don't like Chrome always running in the background and using up memory.
The related flags anyway are:


There is also another one specifically for Chromecast users: Device Discovery Notifications. You'll basically be notified whenever a Chromecast joins your network.

Some recommended articles with more:

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Should you upgrade to the Nexus 5 from the Nexus 4?


  • No: bugs/issues with handset - resolved
  • No: battery may be worse due to higher cpu - seems ok
  • Yes: if don't upgrade, then current nexus 4 will lower in value. But, nexus 5 should become cheaper as well?
  • Yes: 32GB storage
  • No: cnet review http://m.cnet.com/reviews/google-nexus-5/35828372
  • Maybe: size is actually same as Samsung Galaxy s4, which doesn't seem too large
  • Yes: WiFi ac, LTE (though not supported fully in UK yet)
Overall review on deciding yes:

  • Considerably and noticeably faster
  • Possibly better battery, definitely charges faster
  • Much lighter - a feather compared to the Nexus 4 which feels like a brick
  • Sell the Nexus for the "remainder" of how much you bought it for, divided by 24 months (normal length of a phone contract) and minus how many month's you've already had it

Google Glass questions


  • What if everyone on the train had one, and was talking on it, you wouldn't be able to hear yourself?
  • Could anyone's voice work with it just by walking past you?
    • Voice control would have to be built in - but what about people who can imitate your voice?
  • Is it waterproof? For wearing in the rain?
  • How much does it compare to Sixth Sense?

Monday, 30 December 2013

Free Stuff, Discounts & Offers

Here are some places I recommend for discounts and free stuff

Cards/in-store
Online/Apps
Free Music
Free eBooks


Mobile/Android only
Free trials
Harder to get
  • Burger king vouchers - sometimes ask in-store for vouchers
  • McDonalds - Metro sometimes has them
  • Vodafone - Vodafone do a discount for employees of certain companies
  • Apple - student discount at university
In Reading only
  • Domino's uni vouchers (Fresher's Fayre)
  • Subway uni vouchers
  • Nandos free meal (Fresher's Fayre)
  • Sizzling Spice (multiple visits in-store and you'll receive a £10 off voucher)
  • Pizza Hut (in the post/on delivery)
  • Bed Bar Member card - for a few places in Reading
Christmas only
  • iTunes 12 Days of Christmas/Gifts
Utilities/Insurance
  • Compare The Meerkat - free meerkat toy
  • Southern Electric - iplan 7% discount
Other links to check out

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Dependence on Technology

There is a really old post (like, 2006) that was on IMDb that I posted, can't seem to find it at the moment, but I saved a copy.
I think I was replying to some guy about a film where we are nearly dependent on technology.

Does technology make us lazy?
I agree exactly, technology is there simply to make things easier for us to do - they automate our processes (hence automaton, 'automatic' prefix to everything). For example, washing machines, self-checkout services, pacemakers. Technology in this sense both protects and extends our lives without it.

Will we ever become dependent upon technology for survival?
I feel that for certain ways of survival this is true - for example, any medical system e.g. pacemakers, life support systems, kidney filtration etc. This also extends into the secondary field of technology which enables you to survive, e.g. if you need an organ transplant, the tightness and agility of the communication and transport technology is essential here.
As for being fully dependent - this begs the question of how much of us is really human - take the game Deus Ex, the film Blade Runner and the Sprawl Trilogy (Neuromancer etc.) by William Gibson - which detail on cybernetic humans - however in these forms the human is still in control. But in both cases, without technology, people (if you can call them that) cannot live.

Designer babies
This begs the question, if people can design their own babies, why can't they choose a baby that is not a 'normal' baby, e.g. one that has 3 heads, red eyes and tail? Once we have the ability to play God like that, who is to say that people won't try to make something out of the ordinary. Just watch an episode of Fringe and you'll understand.

Meaning of life
This goes into another big question about the meaning of life - the meaning of life in general being 'to survive'. Viruses are so powerful and dangerous because of their ability to adapt to new environments and harness the nutrients of its environment - a suitable reference point here being this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7DkeQ0roAM ("A Virus Walks Into A Bar") - "it completely takes over the cell to it's own uses - your cells under new management". Through natural selection the most different and capable ones survive. With humans, if you don't adapt, then you reject it.
What I'm trying to get at here is that it is vital that we adapt, doing whatever is necessary to survive. Technology is a step in this direction as with research we can find new ways to survive - some of this may be fringe science perhaps (e.g. cryogenics, uploading your consciousness to a computer). Any episode of Stargate or Fringe can take you in this direction. I am certain that in order to survive the death of our sun, we will need technology to leave our planet, assuming we haven't killed ourselves by then, asteroids haven't come to kill us etc, this is all discussed on here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risks_to_civilization,_humans_and_planet_Earth
And then what do we do when the heat death/big crunch happens? How do we survive beyond that? Technology and science go hand in hand in this area and will undoubtedly play a large role in our future.

What has science fiction taught us about our dependence on technology?
The danger of the dependence is highlighted in various science fiction entries. The Matrix, Ghost in the Shell, iRobot, Terminator etc.
In The Animatrix, The Second Renaissance Part 1, you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAjdlwnTg5w
"Man made the machine in his own likeness. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise." Like happened in iRobot, a robot kills a human. "Who was the say the machine, endowed with the very likeness of man, did not deserve a fair hearing?"
This shows us that if we give machines too much power and artificial intelligence to be like us, and humans remain stubborn, robots will do the same. If we become far too dependent on technology, we may become slaves to it. And in many ways we are already slaves to the "cold and emotionless rule of machines" as we work and spend a lot of our lives just getting technology to work (technical support and database engineers to name only a few). But what is the gain of this? On such a micro scale such as having access to the Internet, there are still a lot of problems such as viruses, spilling coffee over laptops, electrocution and fire by overheating batteries that have to be recalled (there are many sources on all of these e.g. http://www.dellbatteryprogram.com/, http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/10/30/sony-battery-recall-idUSN3030020920081030) And with the threat of cyber security, technology and the Internet in general are extremely dangerous. When your military of defence or NHS laptop (http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/security-management/2011/06/15/nhs-laptop-loss-could-put-millions-of-records-at-risk-40093112/) is stolen or hacked, there is a great threat and technology is the catalyst in the equation. Technology has therefore become a "double-edged sword" (reference to Jeremy Clarkson again). It gives us great power but it is not to be played with irresponsibly.

Technology is a good slave for us, but only a slave. As a master, it is unpredictable and full of danger. Imagine what the risk management forms would look like working for Cyberdyne Systems (Terminator).

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Existential Thoughts on The Meaning of Life


Wrote this and left in draft about 2 years ago, just a mind dump really. Finally decided to clean it up a bit and publish. I will add some pictures and diagrams when I can be bothered.

Why do we want to be happy and why do we bathe in sadness?
Why do we exist in this universe?
What is the point of being alive?
Why do we have all these intricate emotions and feelings?

How do we exist beyond death?
If we died, what would be be, would it be like Amnesia where we float in another dimension and are able to meet other souls who can communicate with us, would that be the rest of our lives? In that case we had emotions, but emotions are human, they are neurotransmissions sent around the brain to stimulate a reaction, invoke a memory and therefore craft a response or change the internal structure of the neurons by creating and adapting new memories. How could you possibly have this in a soul that doesn't have a body?

Senses are the things of living creatures, not of spiritual soul beings. It would not be possible to interact with the world unless there really are things such as ghosts, the flotsam and jetsam of Torchwood that seeps through from the beyond and touches with our reality - but that is just a fantasy idea to make us believe there isn't nothing after the end of our lives.

So why do we exist, why do we have this capacity for free will and choice and knowledge and emotion and a desire to be intelligent, the intelligent people are more likely to survive and adapt to situations and make sense of the world rather than an ignorant fat lazy cow sitting in some council flat thinking about Big Brother and her hair and her kids and all the taxes and her husband and candles are the most important things in the world.

So what can we actually do when we are interacting with the rest of the world when we are dead. Nothing. We could be sitting in darkness. But consciousness is an entirely human thing is it not? How would something like that transform into another state and exist our bodies or live on and what would happen after millions and millions of years. Maybe the reason we have happiness is just an extra extension that we have evolved and there is no afterlife.

Then why are we actually alive? What real difference will it make if we were actually all dead right now? What if the entire universe didn't exist. What if nothing existed? Why do we exist? Why do things have to be this way? Is our goal to keep ourselves and the rest of the species alive as much as possible? Like with food and so on. Can we get to a point when we don't need food or bodies anymore? Imagine yourself being dead right now, how would that impact the human race and the rest of the world. It doesn't matter how it affects people because they are just people, they will live. There are so many people, why does it make a difference?

Why do we have banter and why do we have sadness? Is sadness meant to keep us going and make us a better person so that we can be stronger next time? But why do we bathe in it and let ourselves be upset and not do anything about it? Why do we stay single? What is the point in being happy?

Is there a point in being really rich or very poor, surely if we wanted to keep as many of our numbers alive as possible we would need to give money from the top rich people and give it to the poor so that as many people as possible can survive in the world, and then we would have to make sure food supplies and drink can derive. Will we really end up at a point when some of us start dying off like any other bacteria because we cannot live in our environment anymore, or will it be the environment we have to worry about more, re: are we actually a sustainable species or not?

Why do we need any money at all, why are we so caught up about £10?

What if we stripped our bodies down to be like that of another creature, like a whale. All whales do is eat, search around for food, communicate with others, and breed offspring. It's a basic life. What about dogs, they have a lot of energy, maybe they have emotions as well. Maybe they can feel happy and sad. Maybe all animals can feel happy and sad, but why do we need to feel happy and why don't we do anything about being sad? Or are there lots of people who just don't give into sadness?

Why starve yourself - it helps you to adapt to situations where there is little food

Why do gays exist in humanity - why does it exist in other animals - one example because some species i.e. lizards can reproduce without any male counterpart, they can survive on their own

A picture of how many gays there are in the world (5%) and how many curious people there are in the world (10%), how much would it fill a country, are there still 7 billion people in the world.

...insert picture...

Urges
We get urges because they are calls to enable our bodies to survive, they are things we don't get a lot of control over, we can postpone them and keep ourselves occupied but they do indeed are the prime source of all behaviour
Eating
Sleeping
Sex
Cleaning

Everything else is secondary - entertainment, music...
Why do we need to be happy? What does it enable us to do?

How small we are in the universe

...insert picture...

Explain survival of bacteria, we are a lifeform that has covered the planet, a very successful life form being able to live in a multitude of environments.

.insert explanation...

Why are we so small in the universe?
Maybe each sun and black hole is an experiment, an individual test to see if life can survive there.
Maybe we are meant to extend our reach to the edge of the universe an exit a great big round sphere that someone else has in their lab.
But then why do they exist, are there other instances of life that exist somewhere else in the universe - probably yes but far far away from us in entirely different circumstances

Show a timeline of the history of the universe then when life probably began one earth then the dinosaurs then humanity and how much longer our earth and sun will survive and when the predicted end of the universe is
Put in the end of the dinosaurs as well as other threats to us like asteroids and sun flares and polar changes etc

.insert picture...

We are so small, there is just us on earth and a space station and people who've been to the local area
But there is just so much space between planets and stuff, maybe we are not meant to be able to travel to the edge of the universe, maybe there is a reason everything is so far apart, maybe we are just fumbling in the dark, or maybe we need to try and drive as long as we can, maybe we are a test.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Treatment

After a whole year of waiting since last September, finally the NHS have removed a small sore lump of tissue from the base of my spine, this time done by a hospital, and removed properly, than by my GP.
There have been many nights that I have just cried myself to sleep because of how painful and helpless I've felt about it.
In many ways I am upset, relieved and angry that it had taken this long to remove something that could have become much worse, when it actually could have been properly treated within a couple of weeks of first diagnosis.
After my stitches are removed next week, I hope very, very dearly that it doesn't ever return. Being able to sit or lie down again without any pain is absolute bliss right now and I hope so much it stays like this.
This really makes me think that if surgery needs to be done, it should be done immediately - on the same day if possible. It is less of a risk to perform treatment immediately once a couple of doctors have successfully diagnosed it, rather than your treatment put onto a waiting list that may actually never get back to you, leaving you suffering and allowing your conditions to get worse.
I really do think that treatment should be performed immediately, to decrease risk, decrease suffering and ensure better communication between the whole chain of healthcare.