Everyone has a paradigm, a perception of reality, and a mental framework that they think within. To them, their perception of reality shapes what they believe to be “normal”.
But what is normal?
Nikola Tesla was an inventor from that past that pioneered some of the most outrageous and extraordinary innovations. His most famous innovations include alternating current, wireless radio, wireless power transfer, and the ubiquitous tesla coil.
Mr. Tesla’s perception of reality and what was possible reached beyond the box that people of his generation thought within.
The box told him that alternating current would never be adopted.
Innovating without Boxes
There are countless stories of individuals who were told that they could never amount to anything, that their invention would never work, or that their ideas were outright ridiculous. But yet, these are the people that have stepped forward and completely revolutionized the world that they lived in.
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” – Albert Einstein
There are so many things that we’ve been socially conditioned to accept. We accept it because it is a box that has been passed down for generations. However, we don’t always recognize how much the box has changed prior to it being passed down to us, nor do we always recognize how much of a change the box is about to experience.
Maybe you’re sitting there asking yourself the same question right now. Maybe you’re wondering how blogging about your ideas is going to change anything. Maybe you’re concerned about disrupting traditions in your family, maybe you’re afraid of stepping out into the unknown.
Humans make new discoveries all the time, and somewhere down the line, if you aren’t the one to think outside the box and revolutionize what people think, someone else will. Someone else is going to make a new discovery that changes everything, and you’ll be faced with a shift in the way that you see things whether you like it or not.
“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” – John Cage
And when you begin to see things outside of the box that has been widely accepted, “normal” looks different to you.
What are some ridiculous ideas that you have that other people have dismissed as crazy? Just hit reply in your email or submit a comment below! (I read every response)
I spend about 25 percent of my day looking at a computer screen. I also spend about 37.4 percent of my day fighting luchadors. One of those statements is false, but illustrates the unique power of the Internet. In the past decade, all different types of media have been finding a digital counterpart to be distributed online, causing changes in the fabric of human interaction that have never been faced before. The Internet gives platform, although a very different kind, to anyone who wishes to speak, regardless of what they have to say.
Take knowledge for instance. Never before have so many people had access to so much free information through a little device in their pocket. Hyperlinking has become the new way of hyperwarping through different thoughts and ideas.
But as a computer science major in the year 2013, I can’t help but wonder what effect technology will have on people’s knowledge and understanding. Some claim that relying on technology to instantly and effortlessly answer questions makes people dumber. In a recent talk by Ken Jennings, the reigning jeopardy champion, he shares about how he feels when IBM’s supercomputer named Watson rendered him obsolete.
However, despite the images of robot apocalypse and other futuristic ideas portrayed by movies and novels, the future doesn’t have look like that. Technology is not something that should be feared, but understood.
Technology is fluid in the sense that it is always changing, and the person who understands how to use it has an advantage over the person who doesn’t. Being tech savvy means knowing how to creatively use technology to build new platforms and present new perspectives. Being tech savvy then, by definition, is a tendency to bend the rules, and even break them under some occasions. It means adding a whole other dimension of thinking and communication to life, one that is virtually limitless.
Of course, that means that people must remain knowledgeable enough about technology so that they can use the technology instead of the technology using them. Google shouldn’t be seen as a life force, but merely a supplement. The moment that people assume that technology is smarter than them is the moment that we resign ourselves to a place of servitude.
The only way that technology will make people dumber is if people use it as a substitute to learning instead of a supplement.
If you’re anything like me and come across talks on YouTube that are hours long on a regular basis, speeding up playback is a great way to get through them faster and have greater focus.
I like to watch videos at 1.5x speed, which is slow enough so I can still understand (usually), but fast enough so my mind can’t get distracted.
Enabling variable speed control on YouTube requires you to enter their beta HTML5 player trial, which you can find here. Keep in mind that your browser will need to meet certain requirements, and the video player may feel slightly different after you enable it.
After you’ve signed up for the HTML5 trial, clicking the little gear button on basically any video will bring up a selection of choices for playback. You can choose to play videos faster or slower.
Surprisingly, I found that when I started listening to talks at 1.5x speed, I ended up comprehending more of the talk than I did at slower speeds. I’m no cognitive expert, but it seems that playing the video faster causes me to pay much more attention.
What do you get when you cross a high-contrast e-ink display with a touchscreen device running android? A cheap, light, readable Nook Simple Touch.
By default, the Nook can’t do much besides read books from the Barnes and Noble ecosystem and perhaps a couple of PDFs that get downloaded to the device. But after a short rooting process, it can read Amazon Kindle books as well as Google Play books. Additionally, it can be configured to read emails, Google docs, or run practically any other application available on Google Play or the Amazon Appstore. It’s only limited mainly by a lack of audio capabilities, and a slow-refreshing screen, so don’t expect to be able to watch videos or play games and music on it.
However, the lack of media capabilities, in my opinion, makes it an extremely valuable distraction-free productivity tool. Evernote on the nook is quite impressive.
Possibly the best $100 android tablet.
After coming across an extremely positive review of these Monoprice earbuds on one of my favorite blogs, I decided to order a pair.
At $8.40, these earbuds are quite impressive. The bass is not extremely powerful, but the mid-range and highs are very crisp. The extremely large drivers produce a much louder sound than standard earbuds. I had to turn the volume on my devices significantly lower while using this pair.
It takes a while to get used to, due to the large driver and somewhat awkward shape, but they aren’t uncomfortable at all. These earbuds come in a cloth cord and straight connector, which is not something you’ll find in earbuds under $10 very often.
They aren’t your shure earbuds, but for $8, they’re quite impressive. Click here for the Amazon product page.
Basically, if you are unfamiliar with either service, both provide a way to manage mailing lists by allowing people to subscribe/unsubscribe to email updates whenever you send them. Phplist, while it got the job done, just wasn’t very friendly to the average user.
Phplist is an php application which needs to be installed on a server, because phplist only provides the application, and not the server.
Then I found MailChimp. Finding MailChimp was like finding the perfect match to what I was looking for. It allowed me to create a custom subscribe page and easily manage and email subscribers.
At first, I was skeptical that something like this would be easily integrable with a custom-designed existing website. But after the initial registration process, I found that it was very possible to integrate it with a custom html page with a simple php form action. I also found the page customization feature on MailChimp very easy to use.
I was a bit confused when I saw the term “campaign” used instead of something more clear, like “message” or “update”. But after I figured that a campaign was simply an email update to all the subscribers on a list, I quickly began playing around with the settings. The campaign editor has a huge variety of designs to choose from, which can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t have a particular color scheme in mind. The built-in email WYSIWYG editor is very coherent and easy to use.
This feature of Mailchimp impressed me the most. It gives you realtime, constantly updated statistics as to how many people have opened and read your campaign, as well as the statistics of clicks on links you may have provided in your campaign. This data can be very valuable for determining the reach and popularity of each of your updates.
MailChimp is definitely a very powerful, polished web-application that helps you maintain and stay connected with a group of subscribers. It’s got great features and a smooth interface that is unobtrusive and easy to use.
Since one of my most viewed posts to date has been about finding a laptop for college, I have decided to write a post about my own setup.
I use a Lenovo Thinkpad R400 for traversing the Internet and being productive on a daily basis. The computer is about two years old, but I have been constantly upgrading hardware and software elements to keep it running in top shape. I have upgraded the RAM a couple of times, as well as equipped it with a Solid State Drive.
Hardware Specs: 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8GB RAM, 256GB Crucial m4 SSD, 500GB Toshiba HDD
Personally, I’m a fan of the Thinkpad series for a variety of reasons, including their durability, “upgrade-ability”, comfortable keyboard and trackpoint, among other things. The ability to have a dock is also notoriously useful. When I’m at home, I generally will dock my laptop into the dock, instantly connecting it to my dual monitor setup, keyboard, mouse, tablet, printer, and other peripherals. That way, it feels almost like a desktop computer when I’m at home.
Being an older thinkpad model, it isn’t the lightest nor thinnest computer out there, but it’s manageable in terms of size and weight. Battery life runs about 4 hours on average off of my 6-cell battery pack, so not terribly impressive there either.
In terms of software, I use a combination of Windows 7 and Ubuntu depending on the task at hand. Windows is used for the more casual emailing / chatting / browsing, while Ubuntu is dedicated to the programming side of things. (Who doesn’t love the linux terminal?)
What are you using? Feel free to comment if you have any questions.
You read that right. If you want a website done, and you have no idea where to start and don’t want to have to get too technical, here’s how I can help.
I am willing to design / redesign a website completely free of charge. Domain registration and hosting will also be on me if you don’t have these already.
To apply, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title “Website” (without quotes) and the following information:
- Your Name
- Purpose of the website
- Website description
- Website audience (number of hits, visitor demographics, etc)
I will pick one winner Sunday, July 1st. Feel free to tell your friends and anyone else you know who is interested in getting a website done.
I often hear people saying that waiting for the laptop battery to reach 0% before recharging will prolong the lifespan of the battery. The sad reality is, regularly discharging lithium-ion batteries to 0% will not necessarily make your battery last longer.
This used to be true when batteries were made of Ni-Cd, due to the memory effect of such chemistry, but Li-Ion maintenance is different.
Generally, keeping lithium-ion batteries charged between 40%-80% is the best for the battery.
The real killers of battery life include keeping it charged at 100% for extended periods of time (weeks or longer) and / or exposing the battery to hot temperatures: Batteries should be kept in a cool, dry place for maximum lifespan.
But no matter what you do to your lithium ion batteries, they will die in a few years no matter how you treat them, so there’s no need to be too uptight about your charging habits.
Check out this link for more information.
To Lynbrook High School Students: Sometimes, you may just be sitting at school, perhaps stuck in class, and you’re itching to get on facebook. After all, your class isn’t really doing much and all your senior classes are wasting time anyways. I mean, who really expects seniors to do any work? So you might as well just kick back and use your University-To-Be’s VPN to access facebook.
I mean, everyone knows there are other ways to get past the iprism filter, such as the extremely trashy piece of software known as “Hotspot Shield”, but seriously, if you want to avoid glares of judgment from the highly technologically savvy individuals, don’t do it. Please don’t ever install that flaming piece of uselessness on your computer.
VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network”, and it is designed to allow students to access the Internet from anywhere as if they were browsing from the physical location of the VPN server, in this case, your university. Now, you’ll have to double check to ensure that your university has a VPN, because it may be different for each school (UCs all have a VPN).
Go ahead and Google the steps to set up a VPN with your school, going through whatever authentication is necessary.
UCSD’s can be found here: http://blink.ucsd.edu/technology/network/connections/off-campus/VPN/index.html
After you get that set up, you should be able to connect to an unfiltered Internet connection anywhere you go! Not only is this useful for bypassing Internet filters, it is also recommended to use a secure browsing whenever you are connected to a public network, such as libraries, coffee shops, your neighbor’s Wi-Fi, or the random “linksys” you find on the side of the street.
Feel free to contact me if you need help setting up a VPN!