Monday, December 29, 2014

Installing Windows After Ubuntu

I recently installed Ubuntu and then reinstalled Windows 8.1 over it. After installing Windows, I noticed that I couldn't get back into Ubuntu anymore due to the fact that the Windows installer does not account for non-Windows operating systems, so it blows the bootloader away and installs its own.

However, after burning a live-flash drive, I was able to boot into Ubuntu using the GRUB prompt. Following that, I simply used apt-get purge grub and apt-get install grub to regain control of the bootloader. Running update-grub updated the GRUB prompt at boot so that I could boot into either operating system whenever I wished.

The alternative option would be to chroot into the Ubuntu installation, and then reinstall GRUB from there, but I feel like the former method is easier.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bitcoin Core OpenSSL HeartBleed Vulnerability

Anyone using Bitcoin Core (used to be Bitcoin-qt) for storing their Bitcoins should immediately update to version 0.9.1 if they are currently using 0.9.0. If you are not currently using version 0.9.0, your Bitcoins are not in immediate danger, but you should consider updating anyway. You can get the latest version of Bitcoin Core from
Your Bitcoins may be considered compromised if:
- You used the payment protocol by clicking a bitcoin: link and a green payment box popped up.
- You used the rpcssl command-line option on any other version of Bitcoin Core (0.9.0 included)
If this is the case, you should move your Bitcoins to a different password encrypted wallet.

Anyone who compiled Bitcoin Core themselves or use Linux should update their system's version of OpenSSL.
Android version 4.1.1 is vulnerable to HeartBleed. If possible, update to a newer version of Android. People who are using Bitcoin Wallet on their Android device should update to at least version 3.45.

The HeartBleed bug is a vulnerability in OpenSSL where anyone can read the contents of the vulnerable computer. It is very simply explained in Friday's XKCD:

Saturday, February 01, 2014

How In-App Purchases have Destroyed the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry is on a path to destroy itself. Today, game developers are all about greed, sucking as much money out of players as they can. It now takes three hours to construct something, forcing even the most patient people to spend real money to play a game - and experience which is supposed to be fun for those who spend time, not one which takes a few days to get something you want done.

Ten years ago, a game may have cost $9.99, but you got everything. You received the game, all the extra content (such as expansion packs), with everything unlocked. It was actually fun. Things that take ages to create today only took two minutes or less, and it was okay. There were no free games, but the ones you payed for didn't have developers trying to swindle you.

Back in 1997 there was a game by Bullfrog Productions called Dungeon Keeper. You can get it for $5.99 here. Look up any video of its gameplay to see how fast and easy it was to create a dungeon. Now, let's revisit this same game, but a newer version. As of right now, you can see it in the Apple App Store as published by Electronic Arts. It is an Editor's Choice game of the week. So I naturally downloaded it to check it out. But of course, you should always read the user reviews first. I saw that many people who have played the original version are frustrated by the micro transactions and would have gladly payed for a full version. I have to say, things are looking pretty bad. There is a lot of waiting. This is not a game, this is a thing where either you don't play or you end up throwing a lot of money the developers' way.

The worst part about this is that for people nowadays, this is the norm. And as time passes, people are not going to remember what the "good old days" of gaming are. Do you really want a future like this? It's as if someone gives you a frame for a chair, but then charges you for every scrap of leather and the cushions and the legs. Sure, you could have just the frame, but that wouldn't be very fun. So stand up against this. Tell the developers to cut the crap.

And for those who are still making games like Dungeon Keeper, keep up the good work. Games like Minecraft and XCOM are the games that are worth playing, not these games made by greedy developers. So think about that next time you think of buying something for a game.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Android vs iOS

Android contains more customization, is open source, and is just better overall. But what makes it so good?
I'm not trying to diss Apple, I'm just saying why I'd rather use an Android device.

It's Open Source
I think one of the things I like most about Android is the fact that Google has made it open source. What does this mean? This means that even if older devices don't get OTA updates anymore, they can still upgrade to a newer version of Android through someone who has ported the newer version to the device, such as CyanogenMod.

Rooting is not an Exploit
When you jailbreak an iDevice, you are using an exploit in the software to get root access. Things that people want to do with their iDevice, such as change the theme or sideload applications, is included with Android! In addition, Google is generally all for rooting, where as Apple only wants you to use things distributed by them.

There's an Actual File System
In Android, there is an actual file system that you can see! This makes modding much easier, from editing build.prop settings to just changing the GPS configuration. In addition, most Android phones have a micro-SD slot to help you transfer files between phones, from your phone to your computer, or just simply for more storage space.

Flash All the Things!
Since Android is based on Linux, you can flash ROMs (different, modified versions of the Android operating system such as CyanogenMod) and kernels to your heart's content. Apple will not let you do this, because they want you to use Apple products.

Automate All the Things!
Ever hear of Tasker, or Llama? These two apps were made for automating your mobile life. When you leave the house, it turns WiFi off and Mobile Data on. When you get to work, the ringer is set lower, and when you're in a car, GPS is on and the ringer is set higher again. This is nearly or absolutely impossible with an Apple device.

Navigation Bar
Used to compensate for a missing or broken physical button. In iOS 7, Apple has implemented their Control Center, which could replace the volume buttons, as well as the Assistive Touch, which compensates for the loss of the Home Button. In this group, they're probably evenly matched.

A Back Button
Apple has only one button. Sure, you can customize what it does when you press it once, twice, and three times, but there's a point where it starts to get ridiculous. In iOS, every app has its own back button, which can be confusing. Android devices have a built-in back button, if not hardware, then in the Navigation Bar.

The Ability to Change the Keyboard
One of the biggest things I noticed about Apple's keyboard is that there is no way to change it! With Android, it is easy to change the keyboard - either the whole keyboard itself or just the theme. For example, you can use Swype in Android. However, I do like that iOS's keyboard has pretty much every language in it, instead of needing to download language-packs.

Choose your Icons
Whenever you download an app from the App Store, iOS just plops it down on your screen. Android has an app drawer, where you then place the apps you want on your desktop. This is a much cleaner way to still have the apps you need every once in a while, yet have them out of the clutter.

Easier to Use Notifications
Apple released a better notification system with iOS 7. However, you still need to open the app to take action. With Android's notification system (4.0 +),  you can quickly choose to respond to an email from the notifications or archive it.

Multiple User Accounts
With this, you can set different user accounts for people using the tablet, and restrict what each of them can see - something iOS doesn't have.

Google Now
Google Now can comb the web and give you fast results. For example, try asking it about the temperature of the sun, or how far Polaris is from the Earth. However, Apple's Siri is slightly better with 'assistant' commands, such as creating a reminder.

Music and Ringtone Origin
Android doesn't care where your music came from, it just plays it. Apple products require that it is from iTunes. You can even use your own music as a ringtone with Android if you like as long as it is in the correct format. In iOS, you have to purchase ringtones from the iTunes store.

Unlock Options
In newer versions of Android, you can unlock to certain apps you always use, such as 'Dialer' or 'Messaging'. iOS can't do that.

Third-Party Launchers
iOS only has one launcher - the stock one. Launchers like Nova or Apex allow you to have cool animations, gestures, and allow you to customize the way you like to use your phone.

Okay, so then where does Apple win?

User Interface
Whereas Android's interface sometimes is unstable and jerks around, Apple always puts user experience before anything to make sure that it is never laggy and so that users can have a fluid experience.

Better Aesthetic Standards
Apple pats themselves on the back for a job well done, and they deserve it. Overall, they have a very slick, compact design. While Android devices give you a lot of choice in which device you want to buy, you sometimes sacrifice hardware quality for that. Apple makes the whole device. Google just makes the firmware.

Why Nobody Cares
You have your device, I have mine. We both find it useful for what we want to do. There is a place in the market for both of them. So who cares?

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Free 10 TB of Cloud Storage

For a limited time, you could get a free ten terabytes of cloud storage!

Just follow the steps on this site:

I have used this, and can confirm that the site give you the free storage.

It does require you to download a free app on your phone, but you can uninstall it after you've completed the process.

You will have 10 TB of storage available for use forever.
 You can view your cloud here.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Computing, Androids, and Bitcoins

I will post any computers/android/Bitcoin related stuff at a different blog from now on, so that this blog is not biased towards what random stuff I discuss.

In related news, I am learning to create websites, have found a few free hosts, and will report back with my progress soon.