Technology

Mechanical keyboard switch types: what’s best for gaming?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses mechanical switches under each of its keys instead of the wide spread rubber membrane most of us are familiar with today. If you happened to work with computers back in the 80’s and early 90’s you may remember the feeling of typing on a mechanical keyboard as it makes a certain satisfying clicking sound as you type and each key press just feels a lot more “solid” in general.

A mechanical keyboard is also considered to last much longer and while debatable, it can also increase your typing speed. In fact many professional typists prefer using a mechanical keyboard because it is much more efficient and your hands won’t grow tired of typing for hours at a time.

Mechanical keyboardBest gaming mechanical keyboard?

When you compare the different mechanical keyboard reviews on the internet, you’ll notice that almost all of them recommend a mechanical keyboard with either the linear red switch type or better yet the keyboards that come with tactile feedback switch type.

Tactile switch keyboards are considered to be a good middle ground for both gaming and typing because of their low actuation point (the point where the keystroke is registered) meaning that less force is needed to be applied on each key and because they’re not as loud as clicky switch keyboards that can annoy your co-workers or friends at a LAN party.

Different switch types

Regardless of the make and model of a mechanical keyboard, the switch types can be separated into three main categories:

Linear switches are the simplest of the three switch types and come without the additional tactile feedback or clicking sound. Linear switches can be separated into two additional sub-categories: black and red.

The black switches with their medium to high actuation force aren’t considered very good for typing due to their high weighting, but can become useful when playing certain video games in order to prevent accidental key presses.

A red switch keyboard on the other hand is considered to be a much better choice for gaming because of its low actuation point resulting in a much more lightweight typing experience. It’s worth noting that you will also experience less fatigue using a red switch keyboard compared to the black switches.

Tactile switches are, as the name suggests, mechanical keyboard switches that give you an additional tactile feedback in the form of a rather noticeable “bump” as you press down a key. The bump lets your brain know that the key press has in fact been registered and that you can let go of the key.

You might not notice a difference at first especially if you are used to pressing a key all the way down while typing, but over time you’ll learn to apply less force on the keyboard keys which can increase your overall typing speed and is essential in video games where your Actions Per Minute is crucial for winning a match.

Clicky switches are tactile switches known for their extra clicking sound and favored mostly by transcribers and people who have to type for longer periods of time. The clicky switch keyboards aren’t considered to be very good for gaming because of their relatively high weighting.

Mechanical keyboard cherry mx blue

Things to consider

Most mechanical keyboards are much louder than the average rubber membrane keyboards because a mechanical keyboard has, under each key, a separate switch for that particular key so if your workplace has other people in close proximity, a mechanical keyboard will most likely be extremely annoying to your co-workers.

A mechanical keyboard is not meant to be portable and you’ll notice it immediately when you unbox one because it’s way heavier than your average keyboard weighing around 3 pounds or so. A heavy keyboard with decent rubber pads on the bottom works perfectly on a desk since it won’t move around that easily, but if you’re planning on taking it with you on a field trip, it’s going to be more of a nuisance.

Test it before you buy it

Since reading articles and reviews about the different switch types of mechanical keyboards can only do so much, it’s advised to test out the different switch types using a mechanical keyboard switch tester to figure out which one works best for you.

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How to not get infected by a computer virus or other type of malware

It’s true that computer viruses and other types of malware are getting more and more sophisticated by each passing day, but the underlying techniques that hackers use to spread them have remained pretty much the same over the years. Contrary to popular belief among the older generation, computer viruses don’t lurk around the internet looking for ways to force their way into your machine. Nope. The vast majority of computers that have a malware infection have been in fact doomed by the actions of their unsuspecting owners themselves.

How to avoid computer viruses and other types of malware

It’s very common for a user to get tricked into installing the virus onto their system willingly without realizing what’s really going on. An example of this would be when you open an email attachment that looks and feels a lot like your regular utility bill when in fact it’s a malicious computer program in disguise. Open it, and your machine will get infected. While there are numerous safe malware removal tools available on the internet, preventing malware from entering your system in the first place requires only a few changes to your old internet habits.

Don’t open unexpected email attachments

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to open an email attachment from an unknown sender. As a rule of thumb, no matter what they tell you, you shouldn’t open an attachment unless you are expecting them to send you a file. Another fact worth mentioning is that anyone can pretend to be someone else on the internet so even if your own mother appears to be sending you a file, you should still proceed with caution. If possible, delete the email before you even read it. It also helps to use Gmail because Google is pretty good at weeding out malicious mail.

Keep your windows and internet browser up to date

If you bought your computer from a reputable source, chances are that your Windows license is valid as well. Make sure to always update your operating system whenever new updates become available. You can double check whether your system is up to date right now by going to your Control Panel and clicking on Windows Update.

By allowing Windows to update itself you are essentially making sure that all of the known security holes and vulnerabilities are getting patched up. Of course not every single update is a security patch, but it’s always nice to sit behind computer that’s up to date.

Since we use the internet all day now, it’s also wise to update your internet browser (hint: Google Chrome) whenever new updates become available. Unlike many, you shouldn’t really postpone an update. While you’re at it, check whether your Adobe reader is up to date as well.

Stop downloading games from Torrent sites

If you’re a gamer like me, you have probably downloaded a game or two through a file sharing program. It’s definitely not a good idea because most of them come combined with some sort of a malware. It doesn’t have to be an evil virus or a trojan horse, it can be something a lot less dangerous. For example hackers may turn your high end machine into a Bitcoin mining zombie without you even knowing about it.

Because we now have things like Steam keys, the games don’t cost nearly as much as they used to. Why not support the developers of your favorite games and just buy it? You will benefit from a clean install as well as various fixes and patches that may get deployed at a later date not to mention all of the achievements that can be unlocked!

Avoid these common file types

Most viruses come as an executable file. You should look out for file extensions that end in: EXE, COM, BAT, APK, BIN, MSI, etc. For a full list check out this article.

Note: The thing with fresh Windows installs is that the file extensions are hidden by default and you should definitely not trust the icon alone because it can be changed easily. In order to see the file extensions proceed to your Windows Control Panel, click on Folder Options, open the View tab and uncheck “Hide extension for known file types”.

Prefer software that’s open source

First of all you shouldn’t download and install everything you see. Second, you should prefer open source software because they are basically “naked” in the eyes of developers and therefore it’s highly unlikely that these types of programs come with malicious code. Good places to download these programs are SourceForge and Github.

Recommended software for every day use

Here’s a list of software that I recommend using if you’re a casual internet user:

  • Videos, Movies and Music: VLC Media Player
  • Zip, Rar, Tar, etc Archives: 7 Zip
  • Photo editing: Photo Filtre (the free version)

You should also download and install the free version of Comodo Firewall which is a great tool for detecting potentially unwanted applications. The notifications may get a little annoying for a more experienced user, but it definitely provides safety and security for most people.

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Filed under: TechnologyTagged with: ,

Why are people so afraid of artificially intelligent machines?

Whenever I start a conversation with my friends about the emergence of autonomous technology and artificial intelligence, most of them seem to be terrified about the future and imagine it to be some sort of a grotesque dystopia similar to Huxley’s “Brave New World” or perhaps like in the movie The Matrix where a human being is nothing more than a power source for intelligent machines. Another very likely movie to be mentioned is of course the Terminator where bad ass looking evil robots are hell bent on destroying the world.

terminator robot

But why is that?

Do you remember the last time you were angry at your smartphone or computer for freezing up or doing something “stupid”? Perhaps you even went as far as break the poor thing in the heat of the moment? The fact that most people believe an intelligent machine might want to try to take over the world, kill all humans or worse, enslave mankind is more closely related to this than you might realize at first.

Projecting our own feelings

Almost all humans have a tendency to project their own feelings, emotions, fears and what not on a machine or an artificially intelligent system without realizing that a machine or an A.I is simply not capable of feeling such things. It’s just a complex computer program, nothing more.

Sure, it could theoretically understand what you’re going through when something tragic happens by analyzing your blood pressure, dopamine levels and neuron firing patterns, but it wouldn’t be able to actually feel it the same way as you do and so it would never react to a difficult situation the way humans do and it would definitely not make silly errors in judgement due to being overly emotional.

The perfect servant?

Because an A.I is nothing more than a complex computer program capable of rational thinking without the feels, it can never like, dislike, love or hate us and therefore it would most likely work quietly alongside us in the future, like TARS from “Interstellar“, analyzing various situations and events and coming up with the best possible solutions. A machine like that would make our lives so much easier. Don’t you agree?

Note that I emphasized “most likely” because there is a small chance a true A.I would one day analyse human behavior, realize that we are destroying ourselves and the planet as well as all the necessary resources meant for the machines to function properly and therefore it could come to a conclusion that wiping us out would benefit everyone in the grand scheme of things. It’s a possibility, albeit not something I would worry about just yet. And can we really blame them if that indeed were to happen?

Boston Dynamic’s humanoid robot, Atlas, as seen on michiyamamoto.com, a collection of awesome products of the future.

Machines that become smarter than us

Another argument against intelligent machines is that one day they will surpass humans in every way possible after which technological progress would speed up so rapidly that every morning when you wake up you literally wouldn’t recognize the world any more because so much has changed over the past twelve or so hours. The event is often referred to as Technological singularity and it’s predicted to happen somewhere around the year 2045 by looking at the exponential growth patterns of today’s technology. But is it necessarily a bad thing?

Humans as machines

When I look at a human being I see a remarkably complex machine created by evolution over the course of millions of years. It has taken millions of years of trial and error to figure out what works best in the current environment. While evolution has been great so far in adapting to the ever changing world around us, it’s just too damn slow! An intelligent machine with enough processing power could potentially continue the evolutionary progress but at a much, much faster rate.

Artificial Intelligence

Along for the ride

Humans don’t necessarily have to be left behind either. In fact one of the most widely spread ideas among futurists like Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk is that we could simply “update” our own brains using technology and “merge” with an artificially intelligent system which will lead to a lot of interesting and new concepts including a Brain Network and Cloud Based Thinking.

In fact it’s already been somewhat proven in rats and monkeys that it might just work. And when it does, we would be able to coordinate the A.I systems using our thoughts or furthermore, become the A.I altogether.

Essentially we created a super-brain. A collective brain created from three monkey brains. Nobody has ever done that before.

Miguel Nicolelis, the Duke University scientist behind the experiment.

Finding the meaning of life with the help of A.I

As much as we would like to hold on to our egos and not let machines “take over” and become better at everything we do, we have to eventually realize that it’s better this way. Why?

Because there’s just so much we don’t know about the universe and isn’t the whole point of our existence to eventually answer questions like what’s the meaning of life, what our purpose in the grand scheme of things is and most importantly- are we alone in the universe? These and other big questions have been tormenting philosophers and great thinkers for thousands of years and we could finally find an answer to them with the help of advanced technology.

We don’t even know “the question” yet

Knowledge is a fascinating thing- it can answer unanswered questions and paradoxically it can lead to new unanswered questions. It’s like going down deeper and deeper into the Rabbit Hole. Just think about it, we probably haven’t even asked the ultimate question yet because we simply don’t know what it is due to our lack of understanding of the universe and our place within it.

There’s a long journey ahead where each and every one of us has to let go of their egos and the things that define us in order to be able to collectively work together towards a common goal. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe technology will help us get there.

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Fix  character in Google search results and Facebook share description

If you’re seeing a strange  character or characters in your Google search results description or when sharing your articles and blog posts on Facebook but not in your article body itself then trust me, I understand your frustration because I thought I had tried every solution out there and none of the common fixes seemed to work for me. Read more to find out how I fixed the problem for my website and hopefully it will help you as well.

When it’s not in the body

If and only if you’re not seeing those characters anywhere else except for when you share your post on Facebook or do a simple Google search for your article then the solution will most likely be tied to how you’re telling Facebook and Google what your website is about.

Yep, I’m talking about the Facebook’s Open Graph properties and Structured Data that Google looks at. Have you been trying to implement these features into your website recently by any chance?

Double check your code

After spending hours of trying to figure out what the problem was and after creating this video to demonstrate the issue I finally realized the problem wasn’t related to WordPress at all. The problem was me and more importantly my lack of understanding the difference between two of the most widely used PHP functions: htmlentities(); and htmlspecialchars();

For a long time I was using the following code to give Facebook my article’s description:

<meta property="og:description" content="<?php { setup_postdata($post); echo esc_attr(htmlentities(get_the_excerpt())); } ?>"/>

And there’s nothing wrong with that… other than the fact that if you happen to have a special character somewhere in your content, it’s going to be translated literally.

Check out the htmlentities(); description

all characters which have HTML character entity equivalents are translated into these entities

If I had read the description beforehand none of this would have happened!

The trick was to replace the function with htmlspecialchars(); which doesn’t translate any special characters and the output remains clean.

<meta property="og:description" content="<?php { setup_postdata($post); echo esc_attr(htmlspecialchars(get_the_excerpt())); } ?>"/>

Once you’ve made the change make sure to re-scrape your content using Facebook’s debugger.

If the character is in the body

If you’re seeing the character all over your article’s body and you have no idea what I just talked about above then your solution could be as simple as putting the following code somewhere in your head tags:

<meta charset="UTF-8">

Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

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Glidecraft S600 is the closest you’ll get to a practical hoverboard

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, chances are that you’ve heard about the Lexus hoverboard that supposedly lets you glide around like Marty McFly from Back to the future 2. What you may not know, however, is the fact that it isn’t a real hoverboard. Yes, it hovers in mid air and it is a board, but in order to ride it you need a special kind of track filled with magnets and you need to refill it with liquid nitrogen every 10 minutes. A process which takes roughly 10-15 minutes to begin with.

On top of that it’s incredibly difficult to ride. So difficult, in fact, that it took a professional skater Ross Mcgouran, who has been skating for about two decades, six months to ride the hoverboard well enough to shoot for the commercial. It basically feels like you’re walking a tightrope or “an invisible air rail” as Ross describes it.

It’s just not practical

I hope I didn’t ruin your childhood dreams just now, but as far as we know, there isn’t a real and practical hoverboard out there just yet.

Sure, there are a few startups here and there who are either working with hovering technology powered by magnets or something along the lines of huge drones, but if you want to take a ride on something as rad as the gravity defying pink hoverboard featured in Back to The Future 2 right now, it’s just not going to happen. Sorry.

What about that awkward “mini Segway”?

For quite a while now various companies have been taking advantage of the hoverboard craze and misleading us by labeling a miniature version of the Segway with no handlebars as a “hoverboard” when in fact it doesn’t hover at all and you have to be rather messed up in the head for it to resemble anything remotely board-like.

They are also known for spontaneous combustion, exploding and they’re definitely not as safe in terms of balancing as the classic four wheeled skateboard is. Still, it’s more than possible to learn to ride one and once you do, chances are you’ll become very good. Some have even said it’s like riding a bike.

Glidecraft hoverboard S600

All this aside, you can now buy a hoverboard from Glidecraft, a New Jersey based startup, who seems to be on the right track with their latest model, the S600.

Glidecraft s600 hoverboard ynef

Unlike its predecessors, the S600 features just one wheel in the center of what appears to be a rather futuristic looking skateboard and when I first saw the video where people rode the thing, at certain angles it truly looked as if the skater was hovering in mid air because you couldn’t see the wheel. The cool LED light show that surrounds the board also helps to make the illusion complete, especially at night.

With a top speed at around 10 miles per hour, it can ride up a slope without problems thanks to its powerful electric motor and certified Lithium Ion batteries that last approximately 3 hours before needing to be recharged.

Because of its self balancing features and the fact that you can stand on it as you would stand on a normal skateboard, a position which by the way is a lot safer, the chances of falling on your ass are greatly diminished unlike with the “mini Segway” where you stand horizontally on top of a two wheeler with its center of gravity working against you.

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Glidecraft hoverboard is the ultimate toy for gamers

What Disney turned into a video game some time ago, you can own in real life. The all new one wheel skateboard is probably the closest thing you will get to levitating in air. Since the wheel is in the center, when you are riding this new one wheel hoverboard to everyone, it looks like you are suspended in air. Since most video gamers are not the biggest workout enthusiast, they made moving on this new hover skateboard easier than any classic 4 wheel skateboard around.

One wheel hoverboard Glidecraft

When you turn it on, it assists you on your balance which from what I know its the only one of its kind. Every other skateboard takes weeks, maybe months to learn not to hurt yourself, but this new Glidecraft model it takes literally minutes and then it rides like you were born to be on one.

One wheel scooter Glidecraft hoverboard

The reason the S600 is the ultimate must have for any gamer is because it gets you to go outside! These boards are so much fun that going out just became way more attractive. Because many people will think that hoverboards don’t give you much of a workout, we have included this hoverboard workout video from youtube. Even though you are not walking, you still get quite the workout just from standing and balancing on one, especially if you take it outside on pavement.

Glidecraft one wheel hoverboard

The most important part is that you are having loads of fun while riding. These new skateboards gave me more satisfaction than most of the games I’ve played so far!

This new Hover skateboard looks way better than the original hoverboards for sale and they go just as fast, 10-12 miles per hour. They are lighter in weight, there is a handle to hold it. They feel way more durable.

If you put your feet close together you can actually jump up a curb with one, which I felt the regular two wheel hoverboards were missing. At first the $550.00 retail looked a little scary, but when looking at the price of most electric longboards and other electric scooters and comparing it to the workmanship of this unit, its well worth it.

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Filed under: GadgetsTagged with:

How To Increase Your Website Speed

In 2016, most web users expect websites to load in less than 3 seconds and if they don’t, they will click the “back” button in a heartbeat. Also, slow websites are typically penalized by Google, which will cause any natural rankings you have to drop over time. This is definitely not good for business and in this article, we will look at a few tips to increase your website speed.

Minimize HTTP requests

The first tip is that you should minimize HTTP requests. When someone enters your website’s URL or clicks on a link to your site, 80% of those few seconds are spent loading the different aspects of your page. These aspects include your style sheets, flash animations, images, scripts etc. In order for these elements to load, HTTP requests need to be made for each element which takes time. So, the easiest way to speed up your website is to reduce the number of HTTP requests that need to be made by simplifying your website, combing various style sheets into just one, using CSS instead of images, reducing scripts etc.

Enable compression

Next, another tip is to enable compression of your web pages. If you’re creating high quality content pages as you should, then you probably have pages that are 100kb or more. This is quite large and will cause your site to slow down. You can fix this by compressing your pages with tools like Gzip. By using a compression tool, you can reduce download time by as much as 70% since compression will reduce the overall bandwidth of the page.

Enable browser caching

Lastly, be sure to enable browser caching for your website. This is basically when a person visits your site for the first time, all of your website’s elements are downloaded and stored in their temporary cache. This information is kept in the cache so that any subsequent visits will cause the site to load faster and increase your website speed for that user.

In closing, we have just looked at a few ways to increase your website speed. Once you implement the above tips, be sure to continue testing and experimenting with other methods to see what works best.

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Filed under: SEO, Web development