Quick Reviews

Current Favs

I always install different apps on my phone much to its demur. When it complains of little space, I ignore that annoying notification and go on pressing “install” on whatever app I have in mind at that moment. It could be a recommendation from a friend, one that had good reviews, or a completely unnecessary one I found in my aimless wander through play store. Some of, actually most of them I never even open, let alone use. Those are the ones I uninstall to create room for the new exciting ones. However, there are some that I am so happy I came across. Here’s a list of my current favorite apps.

Wunderlist

I have to admit, there is nothing I find more satisfying that crossing stuff off my to-do list. Looking at a list of tasks that are completed makes me so happy! My inner child does a little dance.I started using Wunderlist while in school and I was able to stay on-top of things the whole time. I would list my assignments, projects, presentations, set deadlines and reminders then just relax and not panic last minute.

My favorite part is that it has categories or folders, so I don’t have to mix personal tasks, work tasks and errands together in one long and very unappealing list. Every task has it’s own little folder.

 

Pinterest  

Sigh of satisfaction. Pinterest is just an endless pool of ideas. I think I go to pinterest more times than to actual people for ideas. Saying that out loud makes me realize I need to reevaluate some aspects of my life. But it literally has everything: Color schemes, jokes, art, recipes, poetry… anything. I think it’s a really nice platform to share your ideas with the world. If you have not tried it, I think you really really should.

 

Google Podcasts  

 

 

Sometimes I get bored of listening to music on my commutes but I would still want to escape to my own world with my earphones on. I discovered google podcasts just recently and have I loved every minute of it. It has a collection of different podcasts on so many different topics. It even has audio books for any book lovers out there.

Currently listening to the case book of Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aaaand…. I can download some episodes and have them offline so I don’t have to be connected to the internet whenever I want to listen to anything.

 

Infinity Loop

I love puzzle games. I try having one puzzle game at a time on my phone so I can finish it without being distracted by a different one. The one I am currently playing is Infinity Loop.

 

 

The challenge is to either disconnect an infinite shape made up of many tiny individual pieces until each piece is independent or to connect the same tiny individual pieces to make an infinite shape. Stuck on the latter’s level 11. It’s a good game to keep your brain’s juices flowing.

 

Pomodoro

This is actually a technique. It does have an app which I uninstalled but still use the same theory with my timer. The Pomodoro technique is a time management method, where you break down your work into intervals of 25 minutes (called pomodoros), separated by short breaks of like 3-5 minutes. This has been life-changing because I have the attention span of a goldfish. I could be in the middle of writing code, then a few seconds later I find myself scrolling through my pinterest feed or looking for online shops with sales. It can get quite frustrating. Anyone going through the same would appreciate being able to stay focused for a whole 25 minutes without wandering off to Narnia. Plus it has made me so productive.

 

Which are your favorite or worst apps?

Ciao:)

Behind Snapchat’s Inane Filters.

All Snapchat users are aware of their hilarious, scary, cute filters. Just recently I decided to try them out and was truly fascinated by how they recognized my facial features in real-time. Many people may find them silly, ridiculous or cool but the architecture and engineering behind these filters or lenses as Snapchat calls them, is no joke.

The technology that made all this come to be is Looksery, a Ukrainian startup that snapchat acquired back in late 2015 for a booming $150 million. Snapchat’s filters are tap into the largely growing field of Computer vision (Applications that use camera pixels to interpret objects and 3D space.), which in layman’s is how Facebook knows who is in your photos, or how self driving cars know how not to hit people or objects and of course, how you give yourself bunny ears.

 

Computers don’t exactly “see” like the human brain does.

How my face appears to a compute
How my face appears to the human brain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Viola-Jones algorithm is the tool that computers use to detect faces, The theory behind this tool is looking for areas of contrast, for instance the eye-sockets are darker than the forehead and the middle part of the forehead is lighter than the sides of it. If these tests find enough matches in one area of an image it concludes that is a face, which is why cameras put boxes around a face.

However, in order for the filters to be placed appropriately on a face, the app needs to do more than detect the face.It should also locate facial features. According to Looksery’s patents, this is made possible by a statistical model of a face shape that has been trained by people manually marking the facial features on thousands of images. The algorithm uses this trained data as a “template” because it is never a perfect fit.The algorithm adjusts the points of the template to match those of your face.These points are used as coordinates to create a mesh, which is a 3D mask that can rotate,move and scale along with your face as the video data comes in for every frame. Once they’ve got that, they can do a lot to the face mask like change the face shape, eye-color and trigger animations once you open your mouth or raise your eyebrows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This technology is not new, but setting it to work in real-time on mobile devices is pretty recent. I have to say as much as these filters may seem inane, they are pretty impressive form a technical point of view. 🙂

Can’t wait to see the next step in Computer Vision.

video_2017-04-19_00-13-27

Cheerio:)

WORDPRESS ON HEROKU VS ON AMAZON (AWS)

Some say it is human nature to go for options that avoid incurrence of charges, or preferring to try out something first before being charged for it.

Blogging has sort of become a way of life in this world. It is how people all over the world share their thoughts, ideas and opinions on any topic they could think of.

New blogs come up every day and most likely a new blogger would not want to always incur monthly hosting charges (which is common for most hosting sites) for his/her site, and good thing is, they actually don’t have to, thanks to Heroku and Amazon (hosting sites popular for their reliable free tier of at least a year). Among the many advantages of word press, it can be deployed on both but either has its pros and cons.

 

Heroku pros

  • It has a free tier (probably the best pro 😛 )
  • Zerigo provides an excellent DNS service for custom domain via the Zerigo DNS add-on

 

Heroku Cons

  • Out of every 24 hours, the free tier has to sleep for 6 hours (So a site would be down for a continuous 6 hours)
  • Installation of themes and plugins is abit tedious because they have to be installed locally then manually pushed to the Heroku file system.
  • As much as its free though, it is not as powerful as the paid version and there are some features that the paid version has and the free one doesn’t.

 

 

Amazon pros

  • (As usual I’ll start with what we’d want to hear) It’s free for a year.
  • Installation of themes and plugins is not manual. It can be done via the admin panel. (another one of my all-time favorites)
  • The site is always online 😀

 

Amazon cons

  • Manual set-up of php, MySQL and WordPress (done only once though so it is not such major con).
  • Handling of software updates
  • Server maintenance (which is actually not as hard as it might sound because the server is virtual).
  • Amazon’s free tier is also limited in performance compared to the paid version.

 

Personally I’d go for AWS (amazon). Its pros outweigh its cons and it doesn’t require so much handiwork, so someone doesn’t really have to be an IT guru to use it. I’ve used it and so far so good, it has not disappointed.

So for any new/ upcoming bloggers out there, there’s a really cheap and reliable way to begin.