Logitech MX Master Review

A few months ago, Logitech added a new mouse to their MX series. The Logitech MX Master. This advanced mouse packs several new features that makes this one of the best mice on the market.

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The Feel.

Starting on the outside, this mouse looks amazing at first glance. The raised body feels nice to the hand and I haven’t felt uncomfortable yet. Coming from the Apple Magic Mouse, this mouse has been a game changer. Now it’s not as awkward to left or right click the mouse. This is a perfect mouse for working long hours on the computer and it helps prevent hand pain.

The Outside.

With the MX Master, Logitech added an awesome mosaic pattern on the gesture button. They also have a nice brass-looking finish on the edges of the mouse. Next to the gesture button is a 3-light battery indicator that shows the status of the rechargeable battery. Above the gesture button, are 2 buttons as well as a horizontal scrolling wheel. Using the Logitech Options Free software that they offer, it is possible to customize the buttons and scroll wheel to do different things. On top of the mouse, is a “speed-adaptive” scroll wheel that can shift from a ratchet scroll, to a hyper-fast scroll. Next to the scroll wheel are the left and right click buttons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Back.

The back of the mouse is also packed it some awesome features. At the top, there is the on-and-off switch and the connect button. Below that, there is the “Darkfield Laser Sensor” that tracks on any surface including glass. And the last button on the back of the mouse is called the “easy-switch”. The button allows a user to pair the mouse with up to three devices and switch between each device with a press of this button.

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Features and Feedback.

logitech-mx-master-button-for-wheelThe first unique feature on the mouse is the speed-adaptive scroll wheel. The ratchet mode, which is when the wheel moves in a click-to-click scroll, is very useful for scrolling through a document in detail. The hyper-fast scroll, which is when a flick of the finger spins the scroll wheel freely until it loses momentum, is very useful for browsing through long documents or web pages.

Unlike most other mice, the MX Master also features a unique thumb wheel for side-scrolling. However my favorite feature of this mouse is the ability to program all of the buttons of the mouse. Logitech includes software for the Master MX that, in my opinion, goes well with the mouse.

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This allows the user to modify all buttons on the mouse including the adaptive scroll wheel and the thumb wheel on the side. Using the Logitech Options software, the buttons can be programmed to perform a variety of actions. And best of all, some of the programmable actions are native to the operating system.

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However, before buying this mouse there are some downsides. First of all, this is not a gaming mouse. It does not have the features of a gaming mouse. If you want a gaming mouse, then go for something like the G900 Chaos Spectrum also by Logitech. Another downside is the price. At $100, this is one of the most expensive mice out there.

Overall, I think that the Logitech MX Master is the best mouse from a productivity/work standpoint. It feels great in the hand and definetely helps with my workflow.

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Winning the WWDC Scholarship

WWDC 15As Apple’s Annual World-Wide Developer Conference approaches next week, many developers are excited to come together to learn about the future of iOS and OS X. At WWDC, Apple features more than 100 technical sessions, over 1,000 Apple engineers, hands-on labs, and the Apple Design Awards. 

How do you attend WWDC? First of all you need to join the Apple Developer Program. To get a ticket for attending this conference you need to apply in a random selection. If you are chosen, then you need to pay $1,600 for a ticket. If you are not chosen, better luck next time!

Luckily, I was able to win a WWDC scholarship. My dream since I was a little kid was to attend an Apple Conference. My passion for designing and coding has pushed my ability to make awesome things. To win a WWDC Scholarship, you need to apply by building an app and sending it to Apple. Apple will then select 350 scholarship winners world-wide if they like your app. The process is pretty simple. Build an app that is creative and talks about yourself. Submit the app to Apple and fill out some information. And finally receive the email!WWDC 15 Acceptance Full

Receiving this scholarship was not enough for some scholars including myself. A group of about 20 scholars and I decided to build a Scholars of WWDC App that would display the works of the scholarship winners and how you can connect with us. With this app, we are able to showcase our talents and inspire future generation to build things, to make a difference and to change the world. You can check this out at the WWDC Scholars website or download from the App Store.

WWDC is definitely a great place to learn new technologies and take previous knowledge to the next level. I am going to be post another blog post with my experiences soon.

Swift Review

swifticonIt has been almost been one year since Apple released Swift, their new developing language for iOS developers. Swift has had a big impact on iOS and OS X Developers and many people tried out Swift when they announced in the beginning of June last year at WWDC 14. But why did Apple switch from Objective-C to Swift? How has Swift changed the way developers make their apps? Is it better for a beginner to learn Swift or Objective-C first?

Apple has not really “switched” from Objective-C to Swift. They added Swift because it allows the transitions for developers from different backgrounds to start developing for iOS and OS X much easier. Swift is very similar to other modern developing languages and Apple did not want to confuse developers. The second reason why Apple came with Swift was for convincing more developers to make apps. With a language with easier syntax, more developers would want to make apps for iOS and OS X devices which is beneficial for Apple.

Aside from the reasons why Apple created Swift, why is this language easier to use? For a beginner, Swift is easier to use because:

  1. Less files. Only one swift file per view controller instead of two confusing .m and .h files.

    One swift file per view controller
    One swift file per view controller
  2. Easier syntax. There is cleaner code which helps to debug, read, and maintain. For example the optional semi-colon means that developers don’t have to put a semi-colon after every statement. And the less problems that a developer has to face, the better.
  3. Playgrounds. A feature that Apple has released in Xcode 6 along with Swift.playground
    • Can be used to design a new algorithm, watching its results every step of the way.
    • Can be used to Experiment with new APIs.
    • Can be used to be more familiar with the Swift language.
  4. LLVM Compiler. Using the high-performance LLVM compiler, Swift code is transformed into optimized native code. This means that Objective-C code can be compiled with Swift code by using a bridging header.
  5. Safe. Variables need to be initialized before use, arrays and integers are checked if they are overflowing, and memory is managed automatically. This helps preventing problems which can be a headache for the developer.
  6. Better Performance. According to Apple, Swift is up to 2.6x faster than Objective-C and up to 8.7x faster than Python 2.7.
  7. Easy to learn. Apple has released their own book that teaches the syntax of Swift and there are many online tutorials that teach how to make apps with Swift.

Back to the big question: “Is it better to learn Objective-C or Swift?”. For a beginner in iOS development, I highly recommend learning Swift first because it is easy to learn, the syntax is easy, and it is not any less powerful than Objective-C. A reason why learning Swift could not be the best decision is because not everyone has adapted from Objective-C to Swift. I would say that Apple is very successful in making iOS and OS X development easier with their new powerful language.

Forgetting an iPhone 400 Miles Away

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Over Thanksgiving break, my family and I decided to go to Southern California. With me, were all my devices including my MacBook Pro, iPad mini, and iPhone 5S. For four days, I enjoyed using my devices, surfing the internet, talking with my friends, and using my apps. However, when I accidentally forgot my phone in someone’s house, I didn’t even notice.

I used my iPad if I even needed it in the car. Four hours into the drive, I reached into my pocket, and my heart dropped. I was so shocked and I looked through everything. My bags, the seats, and the floor. Next thing I did was call it several times, but I could not hear anything. Last thing I did was use Find My iPhone using another family member’s iPhone.

In the list of devices, I selected my iPhone. The next thing it did was bring up a map where my iPhone was. Its location was somewhere 300 miles away. I couldn’t believe it. I refreshed it over and over again trying to see if it was the previous location of my iPhone. Next thing I saw in the center, was a “Lost Mode” button. I selected that, and started setting it up. First thing it asked me to do was enter my iPhone’s password. Then it told me to enter a phone number where I can be reached in case my iPhone is found. Then enter a message that will be displayed on the phone while in Lost Mode.

Realizing that the location of the phone was my friend’s house, I immediately called my friend. My friend said the phone was not visible, but when I played the sound, the phone started to ring on the couch. I asked my friend to send my phone to my house 400 miles away.

Knowing that my phone was okay, was a great feeling. Now I could sleep without having to worry about where my phone might be. However, waiting for my phone was torture. Every single day without that phone I just needed to use my iPad or something else (yes I know, I need my tech). I even tried to use my phone to make calls or something using Apple’s newly announced feature “Continuity/Handoff”. But my iPhone could not connect to my iPad nor Mac (obviously, it might have been dead).

Finally, after 12 days or so, my phone finally arrived and everything was okay. Losing an iPhone 400 miles away is not as bad as it sounds if you at least know where your phone is!

What is a Raspberry Pi?

In today’s market a decent laptop or desktop costs around $1000. But there is a computer for only $30! A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that is the size of a credit card. This computer was originally made for everyone to be able to program. Before you buy one, just know that the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers are not free and not included. Just like a computer, the Raspberry Pi features HDMI port, Ethernet port, USB ports, Audio Out port, Composite Video RCA port, and a Micro-USB port.

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Raspberry Pi Model B

To power this mini computer, plug in a power cable (like a Samsung phone charger), plug in a monitor using an HDMI cable, and finally plug in the keyboard and mouse via USB. After the Raspberry Pi is setup the user will be greeted with command prompt where the user can log in to use the computer.

The Raspberry Pi operating system, Linux, is very beneficial. Linux is a free operating system that could have Apache, MySQL, PHP, or even make a Raspberry Pi server. The cool thing about the Linux operating system is that it looks just like a Windows 7 operating system.

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Raspberry Pi operating system

The only major thing that distinguishes a regular computer from a Raspberry Pi is the specifications. Raspberry Pi is not made for advanced tasks like what a regular computer could handle. For example, visiting social networks, playing games, or watching movies are definitely not for this computer.

What is there to do on a Raspberry Pi? There are many projects on a Raspberry Pi. Programming is perfect on this device. For example, program in Python using an application “IDLE 3”. Connect devices to the Raspberry Pi and you can do even more! For more projects, look at the following websites:

Is a Raspberry Pi worth it? Depends who you are. If you are a person who wants to program and do projects with something cheap then this is the device for you. If you are someone who wants a computer for daily use, checking emails, or going on the Internet, then get a Mac or PC.

Overall, the Raspberry is innovative and it has a successful future ahead.

Is the Kindle worth it?

Amazon had announced their famous product: Kindle, as their first hardware product. Amazon has released various versions if the kindle. The original kindle can read a book as long it is on the Amazon Book Store. At first there was a thin selection of books on the Amazon Book Store, but now there is millions of books that are available to buy with wifi or 3G connection. Amazon became very big on the book business ever since. They released new Kindles into the market such as the Kindle Fire HD’s and the Kindle Paper White. The Kindle Paper White has a lit up display so users can read in the dark. The Kindle Fire was Amazon’s first tablet they ever made. Users could download games, movies, songs, and specifically books. However does the kindle compare to an Apple’s iPad or Barnes and Noble’s Nook?

All new Kindle family
All new Kindle family

A kindle is perfect as a thin-tablet companion. If you are a passionate or quick reader, then this is the perfect device for you. What is so amazing is you can store up to thousands of books on a kindle. However, if you enjoy reading a regular book (turning the pages, having a physical bookmark), then this might not be the device for you. The reading experience is the one thing that the kindle cannot have.

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The original Kindle.

The Kindle Fire is still having a fierce competition with the Apple’s iPad. Both tablets feature very similar features. However, the iPad has an incredible amount of apps on the App Store. So, there is much more productivity with the iPad. The iPad also has a variety of third-party accessories that are not made for other devices. On the other hand, the Kindle Fire has an incredible amount of books on their Book Store. Recently Amazon released a service called “Mayday” that allows any Kindle Fire or Fire Phone (Amazon’s new smart phone) owner to communicate with Amazon’s Help Support. Both tablets have amazing hardware features. They have very high resolution screens, and great cameras. However, I feel that the Apple iPad is higher-quality because of the Aluminum finish.

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iPad Air vs. Kindle Fire HDX

I think that the Amazon Kindle is doing well in today’s market. The biggest reason kindle is worth buying is because of the price of their products. For a good product like the Kindle, the price is amazing because of all the features. If Amazon sells each device for a higher price, use higher-quality materials, then Amazon would be taking sales from companies.

Overall I think buying a tablet would require a lot of analysis. Amazon’s products are amazing, and they will do twice as better in the future at the rate they are moving forward.

New Programming Language: Swift

Is Swift really as easy as it sounds?

At WWDC ’14, Apple announced a new programming language called Swift. Apple claims that the new language is more modern, safe, fast, and powerful. This new language is available to developers through Xcode 6 Beta, but this fall it will be available to everyone who owns a mac via Mac AppStore.

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This is a picture of the playground in which the language can be experimented with via Xcode 6. Courtesy of Apple Inc.

This is an easy example:

var name: String = "Pugi"
println("Hello! My name is \(name)")

In this example, I am calling a variable (var) called name, predefining it as a String (text), and setting it equal to "Pugi" in this case. Then, I am telling the computer to print a line (println) of text with the name variable that I made.

This is another example:

class animal {
    var name: String = "defName"
    var age: Int = 0
    func getInfo() -> String {
        return "This dog is named \(name), and is \(age) years old."
    }
}

var myDog = animal()
myDog.name = "Leo"
myDog.age = 3
myDog.getInfo()

In this example, I created a class called animal and made a variable called myDog that inherits the variables and function from the class. First, I defined the class called animal. Inside the class, I gave variables to the class to give specifications to my class and I created a function called getInfo that returns a summary of the animal. After I created this class, I made a variable (var) called myDog outside of the class, predefined it as a string, and set it equal to the animal class. This tells the computer that myDog is an animal (from the class that I made). The variables and function, from the class animal should be defined to give myDog a more detailed variable. So, I set the name of myDog to "Leo", set the age of the myDog to 3, and passed the function getInfo. When I finally passed the function getInfo, the computer returned "This dog is named Leo, and is 3 years old.".

Is the new language a good starting point for new developers? Yes! Many new iOS developers can start learning Swift as their first language. Understanding the fundamentals are key for developing great apps using Swift. In the iBooks store Apple has released a book that teaches the new syntax of the language. Also there are many online tutorials that explain how to use Swift to build awesome apps. Swift is a great way for beginners to learn how to develop powerful iOS and OS X apps.

WWDC ’14

Apple recently held their annual World-Wide Developer’s Conference and they released many new softwares. For iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch), they announced iOS 8 which includes several new features. For OS X (Mac), they announced OS X Yosemite which refined the look of the current operating system: OS X Mavericks. All of these softwares will be available to the public in the fall, but also available to developers. Equally important, Apple has released many new features for developers. They made many iOS 8 SDK improvements, and also included Touch ID API as well as HomeKit. Then, they announced a new programming language: Swift. Surprisingly Apple did not release any new hardware which was a little disappointing for some people. Overall WWDC ’14 was very interesting and new devices such as the iPhone 6, MacBook Air with Retina Display, and maybe even an iWatch. Watch WWDC ’14 here: