Categories
Blog

Unboxing MOTILE 14 Performance Laptop Walmart

If you’re stuck at home and need an affordable laptop to get your work done, the Motile 14 made by Walmart will surprise you!

My fiancee, Kara, needed a laptop to complete her required courses at her new hospital job but did not want to spend the price of a new MacBook. Luckily, I had just watched a glowing review on the Motile 14.

The Motile 14 is available in three colors: silver, black, and rose gold. For Kara, the choice was clear.

The laptop includes Windows Hello facial recognition to unlock the computer. This feature is optional, so if you are not comfortable with facial recognition yet, you don’t have to use it, but if you recognize the convenience of this feature, it’s included! This feature is generally reserved for higher-priced laptops, which is why this $270 model surprised us. It really could be sold for much more.

Categories
Blog

Unboxing Cheapest 1080p Walmart Monitor Surf Onn

When I make my weekly rounds at Walmart, shopping for groceries, I always swing by the electronics section once or twice. I love electronics and enjoy the thrill of experiencing new products, even if its just for a few moments with the display unit.

On my most recent trip to Walmart I noticed the Surf Onn 22-inch monitor for the incredible price of $75! I had been looking for a second monitor to use at work, but since its work, I didn’t want to buy anything too expensive. The lowest I had seen online was on Amazon; a 19-inch monitor for $79. So when I saw this 22-inch FHD monitor, I knew right then I had to get it.

There were only two left on the shelf and I decided to take the plunge and buy them both. I think it’s a great buy and after unboxing it and using it to write this post, I can give you a confident review.

Simply put, it will do what you need it to do. It’s a great computer monitor. No it’s not an extreme gaming monitor that costs 4 figures, but if this is where your budget is at, I do not believe you’ll be disappointed.

Categories
Blog

Fediverse: Mastodon the Alternative to Twitter

I am always looking for new Social Networks to join. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, Vero, Reddit, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, SoundCloud, MixCloud, and the list goes on and on.

There are about 250+ social networks (the last time I looked for a complete list). I thought I had joined most of the big ones. All of the ones I had joined so far were owned and hosted by a single company for profit.

A few days ago I discovered Mastodon. An alternative to Twitter. Mastodon is different because several servers called instances host the network. It is a federation of servers hosting the same protocol. Because of this, no one company or person owns it. The servers are hosting the site from around the world.

And it gets better! I discovered shortly after that Mastodon was part of a larger Fediverse of alternative social networks. Which include diaspora, Mastodon, PeerTube, GNU Social, Funkwhale, Socialhome, Misskey, Hubzilla, Pleroma, PixelFed, and Friendica.

All of these social networks operate similar to Mastodon in that they are community created, powered by an alliance of servers hosting the same protocol. And all of these networks are integrated together using ActivityPub. So not only are the networks federated themselves, but also with each other. Not even Facebook and Twitter do that.

To join me on Mastodon follow this link: https://mastodon.social/invite/wU8KzJra

Categories
Computers

Hard Drive Formats

If you’ve ever wondered what to reformat your flash drive or external hard drive, you are not alone. There are several formats to choose from, but there is likely only a couple that will work for your needs.

Formats

FAT32

FAT32 is the most common format found on flash drives (also known as thumb drives, USB sticks, or jump drives). FAT32 is perfect for these small devices because the format can be read and written to from every major computer or device (including Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux computers).

There is only one problem with FAT32, it cannot save a file larger than 4GBs. That might be a problem if you’re working with video or have a large ISO file that you’d like to store.

exFAT

FAT32 is being phased out for exFAT that can store files larger than 4GBs. Unfortunately, older operating systems do not support exFAT and there may be some compatibility issues.

Just like FAT32, exFAT can be read and written to across many platforms, including Windows and Mac OS.

NTFS

NTFS is a Windows format that can only be written to by a Windows computer (unless special software is installed). NTFS is the format of choice for running a Windows operating system but isn’t ideal for flash drives.

HFS+

Like Windows, Apple also has their own format called HFS+. This format has been the standard for Mac computers and their external devices. This format can only be read and written to by other Mac computers (unless special software is installed).

This format isn’t ideal for devices that will need to be accessed by Windows and Linux computers.

APFS

APFS is Apple’s newest format. It will replace HFS+ in the coming years and will offer several advantages over the 30-year-old format. APFS is designed for solid state drives and will make all of Apple’s devices more compatible with each other. Apple TVs, Apple Watches, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and iMacs will eventually all run on APFS providing greater security and speed in the future.

ext4

ext4 is the successor of ext3, the format used by Linux operating systems. This format cannot be read by Macs or Windows computers (unless special software is installed). Unless you are running a Linux operating system, you may never run across this format.

Categories
Web

How to Make a Website

Your website is an important component of your lead generation strategy. It will be the metaphorical flagship of your online fleet. All of your social media profiles and newsletters will link to your website which should be the centerpiece of your online presence.
Building a website is a lot easier than it was at the turn of the 21st century. You do not need to know how to code or be incredibly tech savvy to launch your own website. But, you might need some guidance on where to go to get what you need. This post will show you one method to achieve this goal.
Once you are familiar with web administration, you’ll eventually feel more comfortable trying different services or configuring your website differently to rank better in Google or load faster on mobile devices. It can get complicated fast, but don’t worry we’re keeping it simple in this article. Baby steps!

Choose a Domain Name

Depending on your personality, choosing a domain name can be easy or hard; it’s a lot like naming your first pet or child. Some thought needs to go into it, but not too much. Remember you can always buy another domain. Many are nominally priced.
Most people are familiar with .com domains. Ideally, you’ll want to go with that.
For example, I launched a website called llamaleads.com I could have chosen llamaleads.net or something more trendy like llamaleads.marketing. But, I chose llamaleads.com because it was memorable and more importantly available.
If the domain that you want is not available you may attempt to buy it from its current owner using a domain name negotiation platform like Domain Agents.
To purchase available domains, I recommend Hover. Try a few names, keep them short, easy to spell, and consider getting a .com if possible. After you have purchased your domain, return here to continue your journey.
Choosing a Domain Name

Choose a Web Host

Congratulations on purchasing your first domain! Now it’s time to put that domain to work for you. I recommended a domain registrar that makes this next process a little easier than most.
You may choose any domain registrar that you wish, there are many out there, but I thought that you would appreciate the one I selected because it offers a lot of one-click choices. You can achieve similar results with other registrars, but I would have to delve into what DNS Records are and I promised to keep this simple, right?
Assuming that you have already purchased your domain from Hover and are already logged in, the following steps will help you connect your domain to a web host (the easy way).

Using Hover Connect to Pair Domain to a Web Service

In your Hover Control Panel click on edit > use hover connect.
Hover Control Panel Connect Domain
You’ll then be greeted by another panel. At the time of writing, there are 23 services to choose from. I recommend taking a look at them all to determine what suits your needs best, but since you’re new to this, I’ll make a recommendation—Squarespace. It’s toward the bottom of the list.
Hover Connect
Once you’ve made your determination, be sure to read the instructions carefully when they appear. By this stage, you’ve already purchased your domain, so if any of these services say it is unavailable, it is because you already own it.
Connect to Squarespace Prompt

Build Your Website

By this point, you should have purchased a domain and connected it with a website development platform. Explore the menus of the web builder you chose and start experimenting. Web development is something you learn by doing. It gets easier with time and you will learn that there are many ways to achieve a similar result.
You may choose at a later date to move to a different web builder because the current one doesn’t fit your needs or hire a professional to develop your website for you. Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged. Keep working at it and you’ll soon discover that it was easy all along! You can do this!

Squarespace Now You See Me Foundation
This is the Squarespace configuration panel for nowyoucme.org (Now You See Me Foundation), a non-profit that supports disabled athletes rebuild their lives after a tragic accident. If you love a good cause, I encourage you to check them out!

 

Categories
Web

Use Google Public DNS to Unblock Websites Blocked by OpenDNS

Use the following instructions to improve your browser speed and circumvent blocks by OpenDNS. Enjoy!

Microsoft Windows

DNS settings are specified in the TCP/IP Properties window for the selected network connection.

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Microsoft Windows 7

  1. Go the Control Panel.
  • Click Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center, and click Change adapter settings.
  • Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example: To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, right-click Local Area Connection, and click Properties.
  • To change the settings for a wireless connection, right-click Wireless Network Connection, and click Properties.
  •  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Select the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) orInternet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and then click Properties.
  • Click Advanced and select the DNS tab. If there are any DNS server IP addresses listed there, write them down for future reference, and remove them from this window.
  • Click OK.
  • Select Use the following DNS server addresses. If there are any IP addresses listed in the Preferred DNS server or Alternate DNS server, write them down for future reference.
    • For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.Replace those addresses with the IP addresses of the Google DNS servers.
    • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844
  • Restart the connection you selected in step 3.
  • Test that your setup is working correctly; see Testing your new settings below.
  • Repeat the procedure for additional network connections you want to change.

Mac OS X

DNS settings are specified in the Network window.

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Mac OS 10.5

  1. From the Apple menu, click System Preferences, then click Network.
  • If the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner of the window is locked, click the icon to make changes, and when prompted to authenticate, enter your password.
  • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, select Built-In Ethernet, and click Advanced.Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example: To change the settings for a wireless connection, select Airport, and click Advanced.
  • Select the DNS tab.
  • Click + to replace any listed addresses with, or add, the Google IP addresses at the top of the list:
    • For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.
    • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844
  • Click Apply and OK.
  • Test that your setup is working correctly; see Testing your new settings below.
  • Repeat the procedure for additional network connections you want to change.

Linux

In most modern Linux distributions, DNS settings are configured through Network Manager.

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Ubuntu

  1. In the System menu, click Preferences, then click Network Connections.
  • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, select the Wired tab, then select your network interface from the list. It is usually called eth0. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:
    • To change the settings for a wireless connection, select the Wireless tab, then select the appropriate wireless network.
  • Click Edit, and in the window that appears, select the IPv4 Settings or IPv6 Settings tab.
  • If the selected method is Automatic (DHCP), open the drop-down and select Automatic (DHCP) addresses only instead. If the method is set to something else, do not change it.
    • For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.In the DNS servers field, enter the Google Public DNS IP addresses, separated by a space.
    • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844
  • Click Apply to save the change. If you are prompted for a password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • Test that your setup is working correctly; see Testing your new settings below.
  • Repeat the procedure for additional network connections you want to change.
Categories
Apps

Shuttle Tracker for iOS

I am currently developing an app called Shuttle Tracker for iOS. I have taken on the project as part of an elective course; formally known as MIS 4399 iOS App Development.

I first came up with the idea during my sophomore year at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) while a friend and I were waiting for the campus shuttle. Since the shuttle doesn’t run on a set schedule – it’s hard to know when it will arrive. A decision had to be made: would it be faster to walk or wait for the shuttle?

There’s nothing worse than waiting 15-25 minutes for a shuttle; deciding to walk, a half-mile, only to get passed up by the shuttle and arrive extremely late to class.

With the app I am developing – there will no longer be a need to make such an uninformed decision again! The app will determine where the shuttles are located on campus, which shuttle is the closest to the student, how long it will take for the closest shuttle to reach the student’s current location and then how long it will take to reach the student’s final destination. The app will also compare how long it would take to walk to the student’s final destination vs taking the shuttle. Then the app will either suggest to walk or wait for the shuttle

Generally, it isn’t recommended to share your app ideas with the public before the app is available in the App Store, but for the class, I needed to run through the whole process of creating an app and marketing it.

Since publishing our apps to the App Store isn’t a requirement – the only way to simulate the demand for our app would be to measure the number of likes it receives on Facebook.

So far, Shuttle Tracker has received 60 likes organically. That means, even after I was awarded $50 from Facebook for receiving 50 likes for my app – I did not utilize their targeted advertising tools. I didn’t want my app to go UIW viral until after I finished it and had it up in the App Store.

Shuttle-Tracker-Aaron-Garcia

Even while trying to keep mum about the app I managed to have a feature article written about it in the LOGOSUIW’s student newspaper. Perhaps at this point, it wouldn’t matter if I used the targeted advertising tools or not – it already has the potential of attracting a lot of attention! I have been told that the article should be coming out in their next issue.

Shuttle Tracker was never intended as just a class project – it has always been something more. And since it’s designed specifically for the students at UIW, it’s only right that they get to witness it develop. I hope to continue working on the app long after I graduate in May. But, until the app is complete, I’ll try to keep the megaphone’s volume on 1.

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Categories
Apps

My Experiences with App Development

I was first inspired to create an iPhone app by Steve Job’s presentation at the World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in 2009. At the time I was a junior in high school and had just transitioned to Mac OS X after terrible experiences with Microsoft Vista and Hewlett-Packard’s customer service. I didn’t know much about Apple, but I knew I wanted to learn. The enthusiasm of Steve Job’s and the others who spoke at the WWDC was very inspirational.

It didn’t take long for me to register as a developer. From the developer member’s page, I was able to download early versions of XCode and the entire WWDC 2010 podcast. I found myself regularly coming up with ideas for apps, including one I called Shuttle Tracker.

The basic purpose of Shuttle Tracker would be to track the whereabouts of shuttles on university campuses. I have continuously developed the idea all the way into my senior year in college, which is when I was walking down the hallway and I saw a poster advertising the iOS App Development course. The poster read: “Open to all majors as a general elective. No experience required!” I immediately signed up to take the course during my last semester.

MIS 4399 iOS App Development is in its pilot stage. Only two institutions offer this course – Stanford University and the University of the Incarnate Word. By far, the difficulty of the material and expectations of the course are exceedingly high. However, the potential of the course is equally so.

Dr. Bo Han at the University of the Incarnate Word is by far the most enthusiastic professor I have ever met. Each lecture he came in ready to share knowledge that could potentially transform everyone in the room to the next self-made millionaire. I was very impressed with his enthusiasm. His enthusiasm was similar to that found on the stage of the WWDCs during Steve Job’s tenure at Apple. I found myself believing that each new line of code was going to change the world – as it already has proven true several times before!

He studied the material very hard and went beyond the two textbooks to develop practical explanations of what each line of code was doing. I cannot stress how much I really appreciated that.

The experience I gained from being exposed to Objective-C and Xcode has already increased my employability. The first question I am asked when meeting with business professionals is usually related to my experience with that course and my progress on the Shuttle Tracker app.

I was definitely challenged by this course. I learned a lot about something I knew very little about and now I can say I am on the right track I’m getting closer to reaching my goal. It won’t happen overnight, but with persistence and the instruction I have received – I know I can change the world!