A Separate State of Mind Now Has an iOS App!

It makes me so happy to announce that my friend @TawaNicolas has made an iOS app for this blog.

Download it at this link (click).

The stateofmind13 iOS app is basically a reader for the blogposts that I write, with enabled post-replies and likes. 

You’ll also be getting push notifications whenever I publish a post, to keep you updated – if you want to of course.

Subsequent updates will, hopefully, feature more Facebook integration to allow you to “like” posts and share them easier.

The app is also 1.3MB only, so ideal for Lebanese internet downloads. ✌🏻

I would like to thank my awesome friend Tawa for his awesome work with this app. I couldn’t have imagined a better or easier app for this blog and I’m so glad he took the time and effort to do it.

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University Crushes Taken To A New Level: Psst App

Psst App

The LAU, USJ, AUB, USEK, NDU & UOB Crushes pages which occupied 95% of our Facebook timelines over the past few weeks have gone to the next level by finding a companion in a new app called: Psst App. Yes, the “psst” is exactly what is said to grab someone’s attention “psst, psst.”

The premise is very simple: You log in through your Facebook account and use the app to talk anonymously to anyone you want, effectively making the possibilities much more diverse than simply talking to someone you like.

So if you have a crush who happens to be a Facebook friend, you can take it to the extra level now and stop posting anonymously about them on your university’s crush or hottie page.

You can add the app via your Facebook account by clicking here or downloading the Android version here. This is gossiping, Lebanon style.

The Facebook Camera App: My Impressions

Seeing as I have a US iTunes account, which I dearly cherish, I got to download the Facebook Camera app, currently exclusive for iPhone, before its availability on other stores. So I tested it for a whole day on my iPhone 4S and these are my initial impressions.

It’s pretty fast. Once you launch the app, it takes you immediately to a news feed version for Facebook’s photos. You can see pictures that your friends uploaded and comment on them. This is where the pictures you take will go as well. You can swipe among the pictures your friends were tagged in. Loading the pictures is much faster than the regular Facebook app, which I think is horrible at handling pictures.

Facebook Camera is streamlined enough to post pictures on your Facebook timeline without much effort. Once you take the picture, you’ll get many filters to choose from before sharing your work. Those filters are a total of 14 (apart from normal). You access them by tapping on a brush button similar to that in Apple’s iPhoto app. They are similar to the filters you get in instagram but are named differently, obviously. You can upload pictures in batches, faster than with the regular Facebook app, and in higher resolution.

Once you’ve chosen the filter of choice, you click on the button to post. Now you’re back to familiar territory, similar to the Facebook app for iOS. However, you can actually save a post draft here in case you decided you wanted to save sharing the picture for later. That’s something I hope they add for the regular Facebook app.

Once you share the picture and it uploads, it’ll appear on your timeline as posted from “Facebook Camera.”

Overall, I think it’s an interesting app. I really like the icon, actually. But it’s not quite a home-run. Will it overtake instagram? I doubt that’s Facebook’s intention but they’re not betting right if they think it will. While it has its advantages, such as saving the original picture in your camera roll immediately after taking it, it has its drawbacks as well. For instance, it doesn’t save the modified picture in your camera roll, unlike Instagram.

Instagram has become so ingrained with users that uprooting it will take much more than an app which shares exclusively on Facebook and using it means flooding un-wanting users with pictures of things you find interesting but they have no interest in.

At the end of the day, where Facebook Camera falls short is in it not being a photo-exclusive platform. It comes with the baggage that is “Facebook.” Bonafide photography applications, such as Instagram and Camera+, cater to those who have a hobby for photography. They created an environment where those users can stretch their wings with exotic shots that they wouldn’t necessarily want to share with their Facebook friends.

Facebook Camera caters to the Facebook crowds whose pictures are less interesting than the Instagram crowd. But they are much, much more numerous. For once, however, Facebook has created a mobile app that is actually good. Hopefully that’s a sign of what’s to come for the regular Facebook app.

Brace yourselves, everyone, the Facebook Camera posters are coming.

Apple Unveils Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and Messages App

It looks like OS X Lion will have a short time to stand as the newest update for OS X. Mountain Lion is coming this summer for all Mac users and it’s bringing more iOS features with it to the Mac, including Twitter integration, more iCloud integration, Game Center, Notification Center, Notes, Reminder, etc…

For a full list of what features OS X Mountain Lion is bringing, go to this link. Or you can check out the following:

This is OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

This is notification center

The new Notes app

Game center integration... awesome, no?

This is reminders

Apple has also introduced a new feature called Gatekeeper helping users to specify from which sources apps may be installed on their computers. For a hands-on experience of Mac OS X Mountain Lion, you can check out Engadget or Macworld.

And as promised, Apple has unveiled a new messaging app for the Mac. This new app, called Messages, will replace iChat in function. It will allow unlimited messaging to any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 5.0 or higher. It will also integrate Facetime, whilst supporting normal chatting services such as Gmail, AOL, etc…

This is Messages

The good news? You won’t have to wait long to get Messages. A public beta is already available for you to download (click here). Messages requires OS X 10.7.3.

All in all, a great time to be a Mac user, isn’t it?

Mac OS X Lion – Overview

Mac OS X Lion has just been released and these are my thoughts of the new Mac operating system that I’ve been using for a couple of weeks now.

Installing Lion is a very easy task. You just run the installer that you download, input your administrator password and the OS automatically installs. Of course, it’s always advisable to back up your data beforehand since you never know what might go wrong but most probably nothing will.

Once the installation is done, you’ll be taken to a newly designed welcome screen where you enter your password and access your desktop.

The first thing Lion welcomes you with is an introduction its new way of scrolling. However, Apple has decided to set the scrolling to “natural,” which, like the iPad, is actually the reverse of what you’re used to: scrolling up takes you down and vice versa. However, unlike the iPad, your Mac does not have a touch screen making the scrolling as set by Apple not “natural” at all. So I went to system preferences and changed it.

OS X Lion boasts many addition and tweaks that are truly great. But I think there are five which can be considered as the highlight of this update: Resume, Mission Control, Airdrop, Full Screen and Launchpad.

1 – Resume:

Have you ever shut down your laptop and regretted it because you didn’t have something saved? Well, with OS X Lion, you don’t need to worry about that anymore. Whenever you turn on your mac after shutting it down, you will be presented with the exact same state you left your mac in prior to shut down. Did you have iTunes, Twitter, Firefox and iPhoto running? They’d still be running and open to the tabs you were browsing, the tweets you were seeing and the songs you were selecting.

I’m the type of people who don’t like to turn off their laptops simply because I find the time it takes for them to boot and start launching my apps too long. With OS X Lion, I boot my Macbook Pro and before I know it, it’s as if I never turned it off. That is truly this update’s highlight. Sure, it’s not the most dazzling addition but in the long run, it’s the most useful one.

You can opt out of it before shutting down. But why would you?

2 – Mission Control:

The negative thing about mission control is that it takes time to get accustomed with the new finger gestures. I had my mac set up for four-finger gestures: up removed all windows from my desktop, down took me to expose. With OS X Lion, the four-finger gestures are removed entirely and replaced with three-finger gestures.

Going up with three fingers + thumb launches Mission Control.

Don’t mind my Harry Potter wallpaper. The movie is simply epic after all.

What Mission Control does is show you all of the windows and apps you’re working with, allowing you to organize them.

You can drag for example your internet browser and make a new desktop out of it.

This new desktop can now be accessed via a two-finger swipe to the left (or right, depending on where you are).

Mission Control is highly useful when you want to relieve yourself of clutter. Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed with windows, simply drag a few of them into new desktops and go to those desktops to finish your work. When you’re done, hover your cursor over the new desktops and you’ll be able to close them.

3 – Airdrop:

Ever wanted to share something with someone and you were out of a flash drive or any way to send it over to them? Well, if you’re on the same Wi-Fi network, OS X Lion has the solution in the form of Airdrop.

Found in all the windows of “Finder” on the side, airdrop allows you to share that file with any Mac in the vicinity.

4 – Full Screen:

This update also boasts the ability to go full screen in many apps: iTunes, iPhoto, Garageband, etc…. Whenever you go full screen with an app, you can use a three-finger scroll sideways to switch between all full-screen apps running. I have yet to fully use this capacity, simply because I don’t feel like it’s really needed. What’s the point of looking at iTunes (or any other app) full screen?

Moreover, a simple click on the escape button wouldn’t take you out of full screen mode. You have to hover your mouse to the top of the page in order for a blue box with two reduction arrows to appear. Clicking on that takes you back to normal screen mode.

Interestingly, going full screen in Quicktime automatically transfers you to a new desktop so you can keep the movie you’re watching at full screen when you need to pause it to work with other things. However, I still don’t get how to make Quicktime work as my media player after connecting my Macbook Pro via HDMI to my TV so I’ve resorted to VLC instead.

5 – Launchpad:

Out of the new additions I have chosen to discuss in this overview, I’m the most disappointed by Launchpad. Why? Because it’s practically useless. A three-finger squeeze launches launchpad from which you can launch any app.

As you can see, it has been built in a way very similar to how apps are presented on an iPad’s screen. Even folders are the same. But I’m used to launching an app simply by clicking on my “Applications” folder in the dock and clicking for the app. With Launchpad, it’s one extra step for me to do that.

Installing any app will from the Mac App Store will appear as a “download bar” underneath the Launchpad icon, similar to what happens on an iOS device.

Launchpad is basically the most obvious of bringing iOS to OS X. But it pales in comparison to the other additions in OS X Lion.

OS X Lion has many other tweaks that are not discussed here. Preview has its interface changed, as well as the Mail app, which now allows threaded conversations as well as flagging emails in various degrees of importance. You can no longer change the size of icons and folders automatically rearrange to limit empty spaces between contents.

Is OS X Lion a must-have update? I’m inclined to say it’s no. But I personally advise everyone to update because soon enough Apple will start to iron out the kinks. OS X is a very, very strong operating system that will stay a market leader for long. Windows has a lot of catching up to do and even though OS X Lion is not a giant leap forward, it opened up even more grounds on Windows. After all, by combining elements from Mac OS X with iOS, although far from perfect, has taken the user’s mac experience to a whole new level. Mac OS X Lion gives you the feeling that you are working with a futuristic device, even though for example my Macbook Pro is almost 2 years old.

Apple is known not to release a product unless they’re sure it’s the best they can offer at the moment. Sure, they’ve had missteps. But OS X Lion is not one of them. And for $29.99 and the ability to install it on any mac computer you own, it sure is a bargain. So should you buy it? Hell yes. It offers enough for $29.99 to make the must-have update question I asked earlier somewhat irrelevant.

iPhone 4 Goes To Space

Old news for some but still awesome news nonetheless.

As part of its last mission to space, US space shuttle Atlantis took with it two iPhone 4’s, loaded with apps to allow the astronauts to undergo several experiments.

One of the apps in question is called Spacelab for iOS, which you can download from the iTunes store here. It will allow the astronauts to take pictures of Earth and estimate latitudes, do calibrations using the iPhone’s gyroscope and accelerometer which were proven to function with high accuracy in space. The sensory calibrations along with the pictures taken will allow the aircraft to locate itself, in addition to extensive data collection.

Interestingly, the iPhone 4’s gyroscope and accelerometer are both being considered to replace more expensive equipment because of their high-accuracy function in zero gravity.

After all experiments take place, the iPhones will be returned to have their data collected and analyzed.

Talk about multi-use, right?

Apple Is Recording Your Every Move

Do you have an iPhone or a 3G iPad? Well, if you do, that is the case.

It looks like ever since iOS4 was released, both devices have been keeping a record of your location within a hidden file on the device.

It’s not sure, however, what the point of this mass data collection is but it looks to be intentional as the location databases are backed up and are automatically transferred with phone migration.

The file where this information is stored is unencrypted and unprotected so it can easily be accessed if your phone falls into the wrong hands and they can get an approximation of your location for the past year, since the release of iOS4.

However, should people be as worried?

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