The Truth and History of the Hardware in Smartphones

armv chip

Here’s a trivia question. What country is responsible behind designing the ‘brains’ in all modern smartphones today? Is it:

  1. United States of America
  2. South Korea
  3. China
  4. Great Britain
  5. Japan

Okay, if you are unsure, try to eliminate just one country. Did you pick Great Britain? Congratulations, you got the question completely wrong! The ‘brains’ of a smartphone is of course the CPU which is part of the system on a chip ARM architecture, a company out of Great Britain. Not sure on whether to invest money in Apple or Google’s Android platform. Just simply invest in ARM to put yourself in a win win situation. So while Great Britain has been behind the curtain throughout this technological revolution, when all the news will talk about is innovative, genius design of smartphones by Apple, Samsung, and the rest. We also hear about the mass production at the Foxconn factories in China. Great Britain is such a mature, ultra civilized nation that I grew appreciation for over time. They’ve literally conquered the world after starting as a small island. Then they outgrew it and no longer crave attention. My family name has some English roots, how else would I be related to the Royal Family?

I’m writing this post about hardware to celebrate my little brother’s acceptance to a position at Intel. My little brother Phil is a PHD student studying electrical engineering (really computer engineering) and will be working near Portland, Oregon once he finishes his PHD in the fall. Please don’t ask who is the smartest, I’m pretty sure the three of us will all say the standard, “it depends”. For what it is worth, my older brother, an aerospace engineer will admit that Phil learns better than him, which could be why Phil is going all the way to a doctorate degree, while I was an aspiring dropout. Unfortunately, I graduated.

Anyway, I was browsing Youtube one day, and I came across this video which I found to be very funny in itself.

My appreciation for British culture also grew when I got stuck in Manchester on a switch flight coming back from my first European vacation. I have thought about escaping the not so fun things about running my own LLC, and taking a break to study at Cambridge on a whim. I need to press forward with my entrepreneur mind and actually make it happen sometime.

Entourage Movie Review

Entourage-Movie

Okay being that this is my company blog, I don’t have any rules as to what I can write about. Besides frustration in Apple Watch / iOS programming, I saw the Entourage movie with my girlfriend last night. Several people have told me, “Hey, you like that guy from Entourage.” I am indeed a fan of the series but you do not have to know the show to understand the movie. However, if you do watch the series, I feel like you would appreciate some of the humor more. Anyway, I expected the show to contain lots of laughs, appeal to the masses, along with a detailed story line. From my girlfriend’s reaction, I can say this, if you are not a fan of the show, or did not like the previews, you will probably not like this movie. For the movie, they seemed to upped the debauchery, upped the crude humor, and increased nudity. Some of it was too much for me to appreciate. I hate New York Time movie reviews that reveal the entire movie (why even watch it) so I promise not to spoil anything. I did end up cracking up towards the end of the movie which had to do with me knowing the characters well. Here is something that only my girlfriend could point out, the kid from the movie, “The Six Sense”, is a pivotal character in the movie. There are tons of cameo appearances from countless celebrities playing themselves, some having no more than a one liner, and others playing a more significant role. I’ll bet fans of the show have compared themselves and their entourage to the characters in the movie. I have a friend in Hoboken who works in sales who is exactly like Ari Gold, who I consider the funniest character.

To wrap things up, Entourage is certainly a bro movie, so unless your girlfriend likes the show, it is probably best to watch it with your friends.

Zelda on an iPhone or Android, the state of the Best Games

zelda oculus rift iphone android

 

I remember it like it was yesterday. Taking a ride to the Toys “R” US in Livingston, NJ to try out Nintendo 64. For me, it was like going to the World’s Fair. I had been playing limited side scrolling video games my whole life, and Nintendo 64 eliminated limitations for game developers. We can now roan free in a three dimensional world with graphics that blew away those of Super Nintendo. When I got Nintendo 64 for Christmas, my brothers and I basically knew how to beat most of Mario 64 because we played it so much at the mall, we were basically glued to the TV for a week straight. While some people don’t appreciated good video games as much as I do, I can tell you it is silly to write off playing video games as wasting time, or being mindless. For instance, Starcraft 2, which is probably my favorite game of all time, is compared to high speed chess. In Korea, there are competitive leagues where the pro gamers train as hard as professional athletes learning the endless strategy types to win.

Over a year ago, I decided to quit playing Starcraft II as it required too much time to keep up with the ranking I was at. I spent a good amount of time searching for a  good single player game to play. I decided to borrow my brothers Xbox 360 and play GTA V instead of waiting for it to come out on PC.  In case you didn’t know GTA V holds the record for the highest budget in a video game at 265 million dollars. I beat the game in about a week and while I enjoyed it, it did not feel like it was one of the best games I had ever played. So yet again I went searching for another good game to play, looking mostly at new titles, trying them out and not being satisfied. Then I realized something, I had never beat Zelda 64 Ocarina of Time. On top of the game being really hard, I never got much of a chance to play the game when it came out since I had wrestling practice and my brother spent most of his time playing it. He was the first kid in town to beat the game. I downloaded Project 64, a Nintendo 64 emulator and acquired the ROM to play the game on my computer in 1080 resolution using an Xbox 360 controller. I started playing the game in late March, and I did not beat the game until two days ago. The game was very challenging, and I even had to lookup some hints to beat the game. I was glad when after I looked up the hints, since there were some things that I just overlooked in the beginning stages of the game. As opposed to games like Call of Duty, where I can beat the game in one night, it look a very long time to figure out all of the puzzles in the game. When I beat the game, I can confidently say that I liked it more than GTA V despite the fact that the game was published in 1998.

So now that we are in the smartphone era, I feel a bit worried about the state of quality games. As I have mentioned in my previous posts, the top earning games on the App Store exploit people with addiction problems by offering freemium games, and charge real money virtual currency. Even the top game companies are starting to offer their game for free, but expects users to pay for additional content. I am fine with this as long as the games are engaging, the opposite of mindless. I remember getting hooked to this Spiderman runner game that had the freemium model. My friends would ask me why I keep playing that game and I would tell them that I don’t have a good response to that question. Thankfully, I gave up on that game. The thing is, to control a game on a smartphone, the controls need to be simplified, which takes away from the analytical skill required to play a console or PC game. Smartphones are growing at a rapid pace, and Nintendo has flirted with the idea of publishing their games on the App Store, which would be like throwing in the towel. If the mindless games rake in the most money, why would there be any incentive to make a quality game?

Now that I am done with Zelda 64, I am going to play Half Life 2 and GTA V on the Oculus Rift. I was hoping to get on this sooner, as I want to eventually start to develop for the Oculus rift, but Zelda 64 was too darn good of a game to beat in one night.

By the way, my second Apple Watch got published, “Practical Calculator for Watch – Follow Order of Operations”. It is unique from all the other calculator apps, as the buttons are big enough to touch, it is the only calculator watch app I find usable. In addition, no one has figured out the trick to “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose – Rigged Coin Magic Trick Guessing to Win Every Time”. There is a version for the iPhone, if you want to try to figure out the trick on the iPhone, cover 25% of the top of the screen so you will not see the explanation to how to the trick works. I’m still working on the Apple Watch version of “Instalist – Automated Amazon Catalog Gift List Creator” . Unsurprisingly, finishing this task isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. However, it should be ready when the Apple Watch gets to the masses.

calculator watch apple iphone zelda oculus

Pumping out Apple Watch Apps and Working Efficiently

chinese nobel prize apple watch

In January of 2011, I made my first trip to Europe. I visited Poland, Germany, Sweden, and Norway. I have German and Norwegian roots, so I was especially excited to see Germany and Norway. My last name is Knag, which is Norwegian and it is very unique. In fact, if you share my last name, I have always been able to trace our relationship on the Knag family tree. Before I went on the trip, I friended other Knags on Facebook and actually met up with Alf Knag in Bergen, Norway. We recognized each other while meeting up from a restaurant window, which is a pretty funny feeling. My family uses Geni to track our family tree and so far I have found out that I am related to Prince William and Barrack Obama.

prince william apple watch nobel peace prize

 

In addition to Bergen, which I think is one of the most beautiful places on earth, is the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo Norway. During the time, they gave Lui Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize for peacefully fighting against China’s one-party system. Liu was and remains incarcerated for undermining the state authorities when he won the award. His actions follow one of my favorite quotes that was said my Martin Luther King jr:

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

In the Nobel Peace center exhibit was a quote that you can see at the top of this post that inspired me. I kept it as my cover photo until I moved to Hoboken. I was the youngest adult that was living in my building. I ended up replacing the photo I took while working all night, and the sun started to rise.

appple watch hudson river apps success

 

I no longer work as hard as I used to, because I think it is important to manage my stress levels. However, I’ll bet you that I still work harder than most people. Well maybe not work harder, but I probably get more done. In the last two weeks, I submitted two Apple Watch apps, a rigged Heads or Tails app, and a Calculator app. Next week, I’m going to publish a third Apple Watch App, an interface extension to Instalist. I am competent in every programming language to get anything I want done, using primarily Objective-C, Java, Python, PHP, and C++. I refuse to learn any ‘new’ language because it is the new trend, I work with what I am most comfortable with. That is why I have never picked up Ruby on Rails or Node.js. Learning these technologies won’t enable me to develop anything I couldn’t develop before.

 

Anonymous Member Exposes Himself as Not a Member of Anonymous

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A Beautiful Mind (Widescreen)(2001)
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When friends and colleagues first walk into my apartment, just about everyone is blown away with my computer setup and electronics. Several people have said it is the most sophisticated setup they have ever seen. After seeing my toys and talking to me, people are convinced I am a genius and an ultimate hacker capable of anything. Many people have asked if I am a member of the hacker group Anonymous. Today, I am outing myself as not an Anonymous member. Most people confuse a hacker as some malicious technological genius that is capable of breaking into anyone’s computer as a result of their technological aptitude. However, this is certainly not the case. The word ‘hacker’ among real hackers has a positive connotation. In real hackers minds, hacker and programmers are synonyms. The history behind the word is that programmers would spend countless hours working for hacking at completing projects. Most of the malicious crackers lack interest in the technology involved in breaking into computer systems. They use pre written programs to perform DDOS attacks and scan for SQL injection vulnerabilities. This member of anonymous leave messages to Kanye West to gain attention. Most of the members that perform media worthy computer attacks may not be as sophisticated as you would think. Take a look at this article. The majority of crackers are non very technical because if they were, they could easily land a good job and live a comfortable life. However, I am smart enough not to provoke them, I know among the bunch that considers themselves in Anonymous, there are people that are knowledgeable.

 

One of the main purposes of this blog is to tell you more about myself. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, if I have a new idea for an app, I would not keep it a secret, I would do the exact opposite. For the remainder of this post, I will reveal to you most of the software and software I use for hacking.

If you don’t know by now, I write mobile phone applications for the iOS and Android platform. I owned a MacBook to do iOS development on but ultimately I decided it was too slow. At the same time, I wanted a better computer to play games on. I decided to build a hackintosh cmputer (a non Apple computer running OSx. I followed a tutorial of Life Hacker, and I was able to run OSx smoothly. However, at the same time, the EVGA GTX 460 was getting rave reviews as an ultimate bargain video card. That video card didn’t work well with OSx, so to switch between Windows and OSx, I had to deactivate a video card. I was still programming day and night and my hard work started to pay off. I decided I should be spending more time programming, and less time tweaking my Hackintosh computer. I bought a 27″ iMac with these specs, plus added on 8 GB of RAM:

PROCESSOR 065-0249 3.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
MEMORY 065-0251 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM – 2x2GB
HARD DRIVE 065-0310 1TB Serial ATA Drive+256GB SSD
GRAPHICS 065-0257 AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB GDDR5
MOUSE 065-0341 APPLE MAGIC MOUSE

In addition, I bought two of these monitors:

I also decided align the monitors vertically. I recommend doing this is you have an external monitor. It saves space, and it feels more natural when reading word processing, and coding. So in order to align the two monitors vertically, I bought two of these:

As we all know, Apple likes to do things their way. They use Thunderbolt™ports instead of regular DVI or HDMI ports. This meant I needed to buy two of these:

To upgrade the RAM, I purchased the right type of Newegg.com, a website selling discount computer equipment, a nerd’s paradise. However, now I heard that it is very difficult to upgrade the RAM in the new iMacs.

I managed to break my Magic mouse, so I bought a Gaming mouse with a matching gaming pad. The extra buttons on the gaming mouse I use to move windows to different monitors, open new windows, and open new tabs.

I also wanted to try out using Apple’s Trackpad as my main mouse. I could see it being ideal for one screen, but when you have multiple screens, I feel a regular mouse works a lot better. However, I still use it for gestures and scrolling.

I managed to spill liquid on my Mac keyboard, and Logitech Mac style keyboard, so I gave up on buying nice keyboards and bought the cheapest one on Amazon:

As you could imagine, I use quite of bit of USB devices, so I bought an extender:

And finally, in order to properly backup all my information and use Time Machine, which I find to be very useful even in world with revision control, I bought a Terabyte external usb drive like this one:

And that about sums it all up, for my Mac and main workstation. I spent well over three grand, but with the speed and screen real estate, it was well worth it. If you wanted to buy a new iMac that I would recommend, I would get this one:

My gaming and Windows machine was built with parts recommended by Life Hacker. However, I managed to fry the power supply twice, and overheat the CPU. Ever since I bought this CPU cooler, and this power supply, I haven’t had any problems. There are some websites you can go to and plug in your computer hardware specs to get a recommendation of what kind of power supply you need.

I also added this solid state drive which I feel should be standard for all computers used today:

I play games on a 55″ Samsung LED TV which I love:

Today, building your own computer is mostly something for the technology oriented people, as you don’t really save that much buy building your own. Aside from the iMac I bought in 2011 that I still use today, I don’t like to buy top of the line hardware. You get less value per dollar and if you wait even just a couple of months, the price will jump down significantly.

On to software, I mostly work on a Mac Machine making iPhone apps. This pretty much forces me into using Xcode, which isn’t bad. I made a decision that I was going to program professionally, so I should be using professional, and sophisticated tools like Vim. There is an XVim extension that lets you do Vim stuff in Xcode. My browser of choice is Chrome, and I use Android Studio for Android development. I use iTerm2 as  terminal with oh my zsh running. For revision control, I like using git.

I recommend taking the time to learn how to be a real hacker, and do good for society. Stealing credit cards online could be tempting for some people, but you would be more than likely to get caught. Learning how to be a real hacker will take real engaging work, but it is worth it.

Mathematicians won the war. Mathematicians broke the Japanese codes… and built the A-bomb. Mathematicians… like you. The stated goal of the Soviets is global Communism. In medicine or economics, in technology or space, battle lines are being drawn. To triumph, we need results. Publishable, applicable results. Now who among you will be the next Morse? The next Einstein? Who among you will be the vanguard of democracy, freedom, and discovery? Today, we bequeath America’s future into your able hands. Welcome to Princeton, gentlemen.

watch

Oh yeah, my Apple Watch came in the mail today. So far I’m surprised and I like it more than I thought I would, I will keep you guys posted. I’m excited to develop for it on Xcode.

 

“I Have This Great App Idea, and I Have to Keep it a Secret”


app idea

“Justin, I have this great idea for an app, we are going to make billions of dollars. I have to make sure it has not already been done. It is seriously an amazing idea, so I can’t tell anyone. I know you are a great programmer and I know you can make my idea come to life. If I tell you the idea, and you work your magic from there on, we can split 80% me, 20% you. Deal?”

Say this to my face and will respond with a smug smirk and disregard everything you say after that. Let me comment on this quote:

“Justin, I have this great idea for an app, we are going to make billions of dollars (Very unlikely, you shouldn’t think like that). I have to make sure it has not already been done. It is seriously an amazing idea, so I can’t tell anyone. I know you are a great programmer and I know you can make my idea come to life. If I tell you the idea, and you work your magic from there on, we can split 80% me, 20% you (Insulting and delusional). Deal?”(No)

These types of thoughts are typical for a novice/aspiring entrepreneur. Unfortunately for them, their thoughts are completely wrong in the majority of cases. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, I suggest you follow this Stanford Podcast. The first podcast is titled, “How to Unlearn Your MBA”, and is a great talk to get beginners into the right ballpark. Spoiler alert, David recommends that no one should aim to make the next Facebook and Google. The chances of having that kind of success is over one in a billion. He instead suggests to design a company with recurring customers through subscription and such that can eventually earn maybe 10 million a year. 10 million dollars a year would make most people happy, and I think he is absolutely right. I actually think it would be better to be a multimillionaire than a billionaire as you would get less attention from the media. Another thing I would like to mention in the app world is that just because you have a good idea for an app, it does not mean you have a good idea for a potentially high earning app. Today’s most profitable apps unfortunately take advantage of people with addictive personalities. These addicts pay lots of money on virtual currency. Meanwhile, a great app idea may only be useful to a select group of people. On top of that, you have to reach out to that target audience to earn your money.

There was another time I met this friend of a friend and he came over my apartment/office. The next day he got my phone number on Facebook and tried to hangout with me as much as possible. One time he slept over all weekend without ever me inviting him. Anyway, him and a group of my real friends were talking, and I brought up an idea for an app.  The app was to make meme t shirt and sell it. This kid says he is an entrepreneur but his resume doesn’t show that. Anyhow, he wrote up a bunch of Power Point slides to show to me and my developer friend. The only thing was he had no idea what he was talking about. He wanted to print and hold and inventory of t shirts to start out and I was able to convince him that he was wrong. Anyway, he wanted to have an all night hacking event where me and my other developer friend put this app together. We were all at my apartment,  but my developer friend and I rightly blew him off. It is an unfortunate reality that if you are successful, you need to watch your back. You can’t be nice to everyone you come across. There’s people out there that want to use you as a stepping stone, and/or be in your scene which in their eyes is better than their current life.

The second no no, that if the idea has already been done, you cannot go through with the idea. I like to argue that in the world of software, the word ‘original’ holds no meaning. Before Snapchat, an app that created the current youngest hypothetical billionaire. Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat is a hypothetical billionaire, or to be more succinct not a billionaire because he cannot liquidate his assets into a billion dollars of cash. Mark Zuckerberg can do this and is thus a legitimate billionaire. Some of his emails just got leaked, and Evan Spiegel was commended by some people for his technical talk. He basically said Snapchat needs to start making money, it has not made any significant money yet. They are currently experimenting with advertising implementations. The venture capitalists own the hundred of millions of dollars they put into the company. But before Snapchat there were ephemeral communication technologies as the do not log feature on Google chat, and it even came built in with the original AOL instant messenger; the chats were not saved. To stick a fork in this incorrect way of thinking, some examples of companies that have thrived, despite having their idea already implemented by another company are Google, Facebook, and need I say more?

On to the next fallacy, the belief that you should not tell anyone about your idea, because someone would steal it. I personally have never had this belief, but with the story of Facebook in the movie, “The Social Network”, Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea and ruined the Winklevoss twins. Let me just point out that those guys are hilarious to me, they seem like real life fictional characters. The Winklevoss twins got Mark Zuckerberg to work on their project for no pay, and they didn’t make him sign any contract. First off, that is very disrespectful to expect someone who was offered 7 figures to work for Microsoft out of high school to finish their project without pay. On top of that, the fact that they didn’t make him sign any sort of contract puts their business intelligence in the mentally retarded range. MBA degrees from Oxford and Harvard educations can not prove that someone is intelligent anymore. Anyhow, they were able to bust Zuckerberg by hiring an investigator to dig up AOL Instant Messenger conversations with Zuckerberg basically saying, “I’m going to screw them over”. Bing it if you want to know what he really said. Going back to the fallacy, you actually want to tell anyone and everyone about your idea. The reason being is that you need to get input to see if people would be interested in your product. That basically sums it up.

The final fallacy novice entrepreneurs have inside them is that delusion that the idea is what is valuable. The Winklevoss twins cried Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea. An idea is worth exactly 0 dollars if it is not implemented. That is where the developer comes in. On top of that, it isn’t just the development of the product, the application of the software needs to trump competitors. You don’t have to be a technical guru like Bill Gates are Mark Zuckerberg to succeed, you just have to know how to run the show. Some people believe that they can just spit out an idea, and expect me to take everything else from there. That is insulting.

So if we ever cross paths and mobile phone apps come into the discussion, you should now know how to approach me. You are welcome.

March Madness Tournament Bracket Chances

March Madness is coming up, and before I get into technical talk about your March Madness Tournament Bracket Chances let me just say the NCAA is pretty evil with the way they run sports. Basically, the coaches make ridiculous salaries higher than the president of the University. Title IX created an adverse effect on sports participation with dropping men’s programs like gymnastics and wrestling, which is actually a coed sport. On top of that, the football and basketball athletes work on a grueling schedule, and the college degree that they earn is a sufficient payment to them. Most people know that the big time college athletes are given breaks and take joke classes. The last case I heard of a potential high earning prospect got a respectable degree was David Robinson. I remember a couple years ago they showcased this one wrestler from Stanford in the NCAA Division I finals with a 3.9 something Mechanical Engineering GPA. Coaches love to use them as an example and their delusion that all student athletes are capable of doing such things without struggle. Their real job is football or basketball, and they are not paid a dime. If the pro hopefuls do not make it, they essentially lost 5 years in salary. I remember the school quarterback at the University of Colorado got busted robbing a house wearing a Scream mask about a year after his college career. He obviously didn’t get drafted by the NFL. It would be horrible decision for a high school player good enough to make it into the NBA rather than risk getting hurt playing college basketball on your $0 a year salary. Watch the video above to see John Oliver say it how it is.

Last year there was a lot of talk about Warren Buffet offering a billion dollars to anyone who can predict a perfect bracket. To the people who think they have a chance at picking a perfect bracket and winning one billion dollars, let me tell you something. To store all the individual NCAA bracket permutations in the simplest form (A binary number consisting of 67 ones and zeros) for March Madness, it would take

267 / 8 / 1000 / 1000 / 1000 = 18,446,744,100

terabytes. The internet consists of about 170 terabytes. We all know how big a terabyte is and this large number of terabytes happens to be higher than the number of seconds since the Big Bang! So go ahead and full out multiple brackets believing you are doing something productive. What is interesting is that all of these permutations can be represented in a data structure that would be less than one kilobyte. I could be wrong, but I believe a Suffix Tree would be the most efficient.

The last thing I would like to mention which may be off topic is programming speed. I happen to program in Python quite a bit. I can put things together in very few lines of code and it looks very clean. However, today I did an experiment to see how much faster C, unanimously considered the fasted structured programming language. The test was to add an integer from zero to one billion. I would assume that Python wouldn’t have an issue with running fast on a simple task. But boy was I wrong. First off I am running an iMac with Yosemite on a 3.1 gigahertz Intel Core i5 with 12 Gigabytes of DDR3 Ram. I used gcc to compile:

 

#include <stdio.h>
#include <time.h>

int main() {
time_t start,end;
start=clock();//predefined function in c

for(int i = 0; i < 1000000000; ++i);

end=clock();

time_t t=(end-start)/CLOCKS_PER_SEC;

printf(“time: %ld”, t);

return 0;

}

Here is the Python code, which may hint why I like to write code in Python:

for i in range(0,1000000000):
pass

I was able to track the time using the -m cProfile option when running the script in terminal.

The C program ran in 2 seconds and the Python program ran in 42 seconds. The thing is, most of the time I don’t notice these things when writing code in Python, the scripts I write are probably ideal for Python.

c-programming-tutorial-ncaa-march-maddness-bracket-chances-with-Large-numbers-and-program-speed
The winner

I Use Bing Search as My Default Search Engine

bing vs google cartoon irony

 

That’s right I said it. Try doing a Google and Bing search for Knag Enterprises. The first result in Google is a CrunchBase profile of my company. CrunchBase is basically a database of containing company profiles and includes an official link to this website. Google actually ranks this site and third when this is supposed to be the official site. Bing got it right, why can’t the Google Gods get it right? Upon further review, the CrunchBase site ‘earned’ its spot over my website by having hundreds of backlinks from CrunchBase subdomains. I even spoke with Google on the phone recently to about listing my site, but they only showed the Google Plug page, not my official website. From my experience, the algorithm is really bad and simply outdated. It has been several months now, and the ranking still will not budge. I even tried to remove the content from the CrunchBase site to no avail.

I use Quora quite a bit, and I posted a well-liked answer to the question, “Do people use Bing instead of Google?”. I’ll go ahead and post what I said here:

I use Bing in my Facebook web searches.

Facebook now apparently eliminated Bing Search from their main search engine. However, I have now decided to make Bing my main search engine. I now consider Google to be the equivalent to the yellow pages and feel as though they should not profit of my searches. Bing has an interesting compromise with giving reward points for using Bing to redeem gift cards which can add up if you consistently use it. If you get the max points for a whole year, which is not hard, it can add up to over $120.00 in various gift cards including Amazon. When I am actually researching something, I would likely start out with a Bing search and expect some sort of Wikipedia article. Over time, I found out I was mainly using Google just to lookup Wikipedia pages so I gave it up. However, I will concede that Google is better at finding non-English material. For instance, Google is better at finding programming variables used in various open source libraries.

People that will not give it a shot could possibly experiencing something similar to this:

It’s a well-known fact that elephants are some of the most powerful animals in the world. But amazingly enough they can be trained to believe that they can’t break free from a single weak rope.

How?

Well, in captivity, from the time the African elephant is born it is tied up with a normal sized rope and the baby elephant tries and tries for months to break free but never does. Eventually the elephant begins to believe in the ABSOLUTE POWER of this rope.

No matter how many thousands of pounds of behemoth muscle the young elephant gains, it has now concluded that fighting against the rope is a losing battle. It submits to the FACT THAT IT’S IMPOSSIBLE to break free from the flimsy rope.

It’s mind is controlled and conditioned to believe failure is the ultimate outcome if it bucks against the rope, when in all actuality all it would take is effort to test it out again and the rope would SNAP!

I find this interesting and similar to the mindset of many SEOs when it comes to doing what it takes to break free from the fear of Google’s ALL-knowing/ALL-mightiness.

Have you been TRAINED to believe that Google knows what you are doing before you even do it? Are you afraid to continue persistently backlinking your sites with thousands and thousands and thousand of links, yes DIRECTLY to your site, because you KNOW you will fail if you do? Are you afraid to add your keyword to your title more than twice? Are you SURE that a “sandboxing” is a bad thing and that you MUST stop whatever got you there immediately and pray for Google to let your site live again? If so? Ask yourself this… WHY?

Have you tested it out lately? Have you not GROWN in knowledge as an SEO?

What if that 10,000 lb elephant decided to “test it out” again?

I can assure you that this is not product placement:http://www.quora.com/My-girlfriend-likes-using-Internet-Explorer-what-do-I-do I suggest to use an IE skin from either Chrome or Firefox.

However, I do get more reward points using this signup link.
Use Bing. Earn Rewards.

And here is an addition comment I made:

Thanks. Here is another way to look at it: When searching for things, since many are used to Google and have some sense as to what an accurate search result would include, people may at first be disappointed that Bing search results are not as ‘accurate’ as Google. However, one should appreciate stumbling across unexpected results. With a little more effort, users should run into unexpected information. Over time, Google has turned into  the modern day Yellow Pages as well as answers to questions ASAP.

Here is a link to the discussion on Quora, which I feel is a pretty good website geared towards intellectual conversion. However, in just about every area of the online world exists trolls that do pollute the website.

Oculus Rift DK2 is a Game Changer

Justin Knag immersed in the Virtual Reality world
Justin Knag immersed in the Virtual Reality world

I just tested out the Oculus Rift DK2, and I am blown away. It is going to be a game changer, unlike Google Glass that had good hype up marketing but the product that will never be released to the public never delivered. Facebook made a really good decision in acquiring Oculus. I can’t wait to start developing for the Oculus Rift! I will continue to update this post as I spend more time with the Rift. I’m also excited to finally use Microsoft Visual Studio, which is supposed to be the hands down best IDE.

When I tried out the first demo Unity engine, I was blown away, it was just so cool. I can easily see every kid wanting one for Christmas. In addition, I tried out a horror app which was rather lame, and a roller coaster app that didn’t impress me much. However, as time goes on, more and more cool material will be available for device, and I am happy to part of the movement. One thing that slightly worries me is that Valve, the company that owns Steam is also planning on making a device similar to the Oculus Rift. It will be interesting to see if Playstation and Xbox decide on using virtual reality devices, and what device they choose. I am very worried about which device wins over the market share, since it should be easy to port my project code from one device to another.

So far I have spent the majority of the time configuring it and trying to install various things on it. One thing that is particularly annoying about running various applications is running apps that are not ‘Direct to Rift’, meaning that the application runs as an extended external monitor. With DK2, they added the ‘Direct to Rift’ option that does not treat the device as an extended monitor and is a lot more seamless.  The third day I had it, the visuals looked really blurry. I thought there was something wrong with the device. It was really frustrating, I tried using the Rift with different operating systems and different graphics drivers but nothing seemed to get the job done. Then one day, I look at the lenses, and remembered that this problem happened when I tried out the near sighted lenses. Then I realized I had put on the lenses backwards! I’ve tried out Half Life 2 on the Oculus Rift and I am very impressed. There is a lot of talk about these types of devices being used for pornography experiences. I don’t know if I am willing to throw away my morals for profit, the whole idea weirds me out.

As for my Google Glasses, as I have mentioned before I considered it a gamble in case it took off. They are now stored away with the hopes of being a rare item on Antiques Roadshow one day.

google glasses stored away
Google Glasses Stored Away

Valentine’s Last Minute Gift for my Girlfriend

Hey, I need your help. I was using my Instalist app and I still have not bought a present for my girlfriend for Valentine’s day. I picked out some things, but I’m not sure if she would like products listed. You can send recommendations in the comments or PM via email. Instalist was written about on Engadget.

Created by Instalist iPhone Christmas List Creator
http://instalist.duckdns.org/redirect.php



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