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CalendarAugust 22, 2016

Pokémon GOing Away or Here to Stay?

Pokémon GOing Away or Here to Stay?We all knew it wouldn't last forever. The Pokémon GO craze that swept through the world last month has already faded to a fraction of the popularity it had just a few weeks ago.

"Craze" is an apt word to describe rise of Pokémon GO in July. It was crazy how many people — young and old, male and female — got wrapped up in a game they had never played before. Many people who downloaded the app didn't even know what Pokémon was before they installed it.

I have lived in the same city for over ten years and I have never seen so many people swarm together at the park near my house. On a peaceful Tuesday night in mid-July, I decided to go for a run around the park at 11:00 PM. I expected the path to be pretty empty, but there were at least 200 Pokémoners walking around catching the little creatures on their phones. It made for quite an obstacle course.

While I didn't have my phone on me during my run, I was able to document some of the craziness at the end of July. Below is a photo I took at the local park on July 24.

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CalendarJune 30, 2016

Why HiDPI

Four years ago, I bought the first MacBook Pro with a retina display and I've never looked back. In fact, my next computer was an iMac with a 5K display, which I am using to write this article.

Both of these computers have "HiDPI" screens, or as Apple calls them, "retina displays." They have a much higher resolution than previous computer monitors and laptop screens. Most HiDPI displays have exactly twice the resolution of traditional displays, which makes it easy to scale graphics. Below is an example of an Apple MacBook with and without a retina display.

MacBook retina vs non-retina display

Major operating systems like Windows and OS X support HiDPI displays. That means the OS and most programs will display all the text in high resolution. Ultra-smooth text makes reading documents, emails, and webpages easier and more enjoyable. It really feels like you are reading from a piece of paper rather than a pixelated screen. You can also read small text that was previously illegible and you can see the detail of emojis more clearly.

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CalendarMay 24, 2016

3 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Will Fail

3 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Will FailThe VR hype train keeps on going. At some point it's going to crash.

Every few years, virtual reality tries to make a comeback. With each iteration, proponents tout the latest version as "the one" that will finally bring VR to the masses. While more companies have bought into the current VR hype than any previous generation, I still think virtual reality will fail. Here are three reasons why:

1. You have to wear something on your head.

This obvious but often overlooked fact of virtual reality may be a deal-breaker in itself. Most people simply don't want wear a clunky headset — it's that simple. VR headsets look silly and they can be uncomfortable. They are also a hassle to set up and use compared to the standard controllers most gaming consoles provide.

VR headsets could be less of a drawback in a future generation of virtual reality if they can be developed with a form factor similar to glasses. But that's not going to happen anytime soon. Even if it does, I think most people will prefer a handheld controller.

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CalendarApril 1, 2016

Snapchat's Valuation Reaches $1 Trillion

Snapchat's Valuation Reaches $1 TrillionAs the economy stabilized during the first quarter of 2016, the values of tech startups have risen to new heights. None is more prominent than Snapchat, which has only been around since 2011. The company was valued at $3 billion in 2014 and $16 billion in 2015. In the first three months of 2016, the company's valuation has skyrocketed to $1 trillion.

Snapchat is now worth more than all the FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) — combined.

While accelerating user growth would appear to be the reason for Snapchat's lofty value, analysts credit the valuation to the app's incredibly intuitive user interface. "Of all the apps available on the market, Snapchat has the best interface," said Jeff Jeffries from First US Capital, one of the firms confirming Snapchat's thirteen digit valuation. "There simply isn't a more intuitive app available."

Perhaps it the way Snapchat predicted how people would naturally associate light blue boxes with text, red boxes with photos, and purple boxes with videos. Or maybe it is the way the app allows users to continually swipe left or right and eventually end up on the screen they want. It could also be the fact that the only way to access the app's main options is to tap the ghost icon on the top of the camera screen, then click the settings icon in the upper-right corner.

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CalendarMarch 14, 2016

Pi Day 2016 - Don't Forget to Round Up!

Pi Day 2016 - Don't Forget to Round Up!Last year's International Pi Day was a big deal. After all, the first five digits of pi (3.1415) were perfectly represented by the date 3/14/15.

But there was a rounding error.

The first six digits of pi are 3.14159, which means when estimated to the fourth decimal place, pi is actually 3.1416. Last year's celebrations may have been premature. Pi is more accurately represented by today's date (3/14/16) than by any other date in the last century.

So if you want to celebrate International Pi Day with the highest precision possible, today is the day. Go eat some pie and tell your friends to round up!

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