Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What is a Billion?

I just saw a video about this and I decided to do some research to try and  understand it better.  Since I like to share things I learn sometimes I figured I'd make a post hoping that maybe someone else who didn't know about this will find it interesting as well.

If I ask you "What's a Billion?"  most of you will probably answer "A Thousand Millions!"

Well, that's technically correct and incorrect.

You see for a long ti^me the British and most of Europe used a numbering system that we now call the "Long Scale".  Americans came up with the "Short Scale" and in 1974 the UK decided to start using the Short Scale. But since 1974 wasn't that long ago, you still have a lot of people in the UK using the older Long Scale.  It is also used in a lot of Europe.

So what is the difference?

Short Scale:

In the Short scale we have:

1 - One - 10^0 (Ten to the power of 0)

Side Note:  When you do a "To the power of" it is always 1 Times whatever number however many times the power is, so 10 to the power of 1 is really 1 time 10 zero times so really it's just 1.  Had it been 10^1 then it would be 1 times 10 once which is 1X10 = 10

10 - Ten - 10^1
100 - One Hundred - 10^2 (again 1 X 10 = 10 X 10 = 100)
1,000 - One Thousand - 10^3
10,000 - Ten Thousand - 10^4
100,000 - One Hundred Thousand - 10^5
1,000,000 - One Million - 10^6
10,000,000 - Ten Million - 10^7
100,000,000 - One Hundred Million - 10^8
1,000,000,000 - One Billion - 10^9

But do you know why we call a Thousand a Thousand?  This is because 1,000 is a Thousandth of a Million. There is a thousand Thousandths in a Million.  So why exactly are we using the Million as some sort of guide?  This is because of the Long Scale.

Long Scale: 

In the Long Scale you go by Millions.

1 - One - 10^0
10 - Ten - 10^1
100 - One Hundred - 10^2
1,000 - One Thousand - 10^3
10,000 - Ten Thousand - 10^4
100,000 - One Hundred Thousand - 10^5
1,000,000 - One Million - 10^6

10,000,000 - Ten Million - 10^7
100,000,000 - One Hundred Million - 10^8

This is all exactly the same but now things get a little different.

1,000,000,000 - One Thousand Million - 10^9
10,000,000,000 - Ten Thousand Million - 10^10
100,000,000,000 - One Hundred Thousand Million - 10^11
1,000,000,000,000 - One Billion - 10^12

As confusing as this may sound, it actually makes perfect sense.

The word Million comes from the word Millione which was used to say "Many thousands".  We already know that the word "Bi" is used for two and the word Tri is used for 3 and so on.

So, wouldn't it really make more sense for the word Billion to be a Million Millions rather than a Thousand Millions?  Then a Trillion would be a Million Million Million or a Million Billions?

I guess I will have to add the "Short Scale" to the list of Units Americans have messed up, right there with Miles, Yards, Feet, Pounds and Fahrenheit.

Javier Torres

Google +

LOL Video: I have Timeline

Here is a fun video I found online about the Facebook Timelines.

They kind of forgot that there is indeed a cure for Timeline, it's called Google +

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Chrome Computers....

Before I start talking about this I should probably explain to people what a Chrome computers is.  No, it is not a shiny computer, although that would probably be better.  Chrome computers are computers running the Chrome Operating System.

So what is this Chrome OS?  Well, Computers always need some kind of operating system in order to work.  We are mostly all used to the one called "Windows".  Or the one called "MacOS".  Some of you probably even know "Linux".

Google had the idea that now a days a lot of us only use our computers to do things online.  Be it to be on social network sites or checking emails or just catching up on the news.  So they created an operating system based on their Chrome web browser.  Basically the whole operating system is just their web browser.  So you don't have to worry about installing or uninstalling programs, or what kind of stuff is running in the background that is slowing down your PC, or basically just a lot of the issues a lot of crapware gives our computers now a days.

The idea is to have a computer that will get you online in just a matter of seconds.

Just recently Google updated it's product line with 2 new models.

The Laptop type computer above is the the Google Chromebook while the other one is the new Google Chrombox.  Chromebooks they've done before, this is the first time they are doing a Chromebox.  These are not monster computer systems as far as specs, but Google Chrome uses so little power that these systems can certainly manage to handle it just fine. 

Here is where I have a problem.  The ChromeBox which is simply just a little computer like the MacMini that you connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor to it, costs $329 while the ChromBook laptop style costs $449. 

I like Chrome, I really like the idea of it, there is certainly a lot of people out there who never use anything on their computers other than a browser.  But these prices kill it for me.  If I want a desktop computer, I may not be able to get much for $329, but I can certainly get a full desktop for not much more than that.  If I wanted a laptop I can certainly find something for $449 that would be a full laptop.  

If these things were $199 and $299 I'd seriously consider them but at these prices I can not tell anyone that they are a good idea.  I just can't because sooner or later people WILL want to do something that you can only do on a real computer.  

Now if Google wants to take that Chromebook and Change the OS to Android and put a capacitive touch screen on it, I'll buy one for $449!  Which brings us to the question of why is Google even trying to force this OS into becoming a reality when they already have a very good operating system with thousands of apps?  

Javier Torres
Twitter: @tsnstuff

Seriously Facebook? Seriously?

The title of this post may be a little misleading, when I say Facebook in this case I am not talking about the actual company, I'm talking about people on Facebook.  Don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of issues with the company but right now i just want to talk about a few things that seriously bug me.


You know, I understand how sometimes we want to say things to God and it just feels like posting it on Facebook is the right thing to do,  I'm sure that at some point or another I've done it myself.  But next time you feel like going "Dear God, please help me deal with this issue" remember that God doesn't read your Facebook page. . . well, I shouldn't say that, I'm sure he probably gets the message but there is absolutely no need to post it on facebook because he doesn't actually go on Facebook to see what people want.

Honestly when I see people posting their prayers on Facebook I just see it as "omg look at me, I'm such a good person, I care so much, see!".  So please people, stop posting prayers, if it's something for God just tell God not everyone.


I understand that back in the days of 140 Character limits (and I guess Twitter) we needed to shorten up a lot of things, but there is no need to do this on Facebook!  Some of you just plain talk like idiots.  No, being from the "Ghetto" does not mean you can just go through life without learning to make a proper sentence.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just say something like "I would like to drink some water" instead of "I be wanting some water yo".

Dead People

We all lose people we love, it's part of life.  Everyone will at some point die. Taking pictures at a funeral in my opinion is something you should have a specific person who understands the rules deal with it.  I certainly don't think it's weird, I've even been hired to do funerals.

However, when posting pictures of a funeral on Facebook, you really should avoid posting pictures of the deceased laying in the casket.  That to me is just super weird.  Posting pictures of the flowers and the closed casket and stuff like that is ok but not that many people want to see the dead person laying there.

Now I do understand that sometimes some people are unable to get to the funeral and we just want to help them, but that's what email is for.


What is it with people begging for Likes?  I understand that people want people to like their stuff so that it becomes more popular.  But lately people are just begging for Likes and some of it is just going too far.

The ones I'm noticing that really annoy me are the ones that show you a picture of a messed up baby and then they write down something about how for each Like the baby will receive one prayer.  This to me is just a horrible way to try and get Likes.  The even sadder thing is how many people actually do click on Like.  A lot of these are either seriously old pictures or Photoshop.  But even if they were real you just simply don't use such things to beg for Likes on Facebook!!

I'm sure there is quite a bit more I could write about, things like kids and pets getting accounts, but I'll leave it at this.... for now!

Javier Torres
Twitter: @tsnstuff

Monday, May 28, 2012

NBC blocks content creators on YouTube

Imagine you make a YouTube video that you think is funny.  Then one day you find out that your youtube video was used in the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  You'd be pretty excited.  They don't mention who you are or anything but just to have your little YouTube video on national television like that, it's gotta be awesome.

Now imagine that a few years later you go on YouTube to check out your video and the video is no longer there, it was taken down by NBC because supposedly they own the copyright to it now.  You'd probably be like "WTF???".  

This is exactly what has happened to to Brian Kamerer and Travis Irvine.  They made a video that was used on Jay's show a few years ago and now NBC claims they own the copyright.  Brian and Travis are of course furious.  Specially because the TV show never asked them if their content could be used in the show, they just saw it on YouTube and used it.  They didn't even let the creators know it was going to be used so they could at least record the show that day or anything.  

A lot of people are blaming this all on Jay Leno, personally I don't like Jay Leno but I can't really blame him for this, I don't think he has much to do with such decisions.  And for all I know these guys are full of it and they actually made the video for Jay.  I honestly only know the one side of the story here.  But if the story they are telling is true, then I hope they can fix this fairly easily because I hate to think that it would be THAT easy to lose ownership of something you made. 

Brian has posted an open letter to Jay Leno where he attacks the host quite a bit.  I'm all up for open letters but a lot of what is being said in this letter is just stupid and childish in my opinion.  You can check out the letter here.  

Here is the actual video which currently has to be hosted on Funny or Die because again they can't host it on YouTube.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Google + updated for Android and Facebook Camera App for IOS!

Just wanted to really quick talk about 2 applications that recently have been updated or made.

First I'll mention that the Google + app for Android has finally been updated!  This brings us the new design we saw in the iOS application that got released a couple of weeks ago along with some new features.  You can now start a hangout right from the main menu on your phone and (Honestly I don't know if you could do this one before or not) you can now set up streams for specific circles only.

Overall I really enjoy the new look of the Google + app on Android and iPhone.  I do wish they'd make an iPad version of the program!

Now on to the iPhone and Facebook!  You can now get the new Facebook Camera app right in the App Store for free!  If you'll remember not long ago Facebook purchased Instagram for a billion bucks, well, they've already been making use of that technology!  With the new Facebook Camera App you can take pictures and easily upload them straight to facebook.  You can also add some effects to the pictures and do things like cropping and rotating.

The iPhone never really had a super nice way to upload pictures to Facebook so this is certainly a welcome addition.  Android fans, well, we still get to easily post the picture from our share menu :)

Javier Torres
Twitter: @tsnstuff

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sony & Samsung team up for Minimum TV Prices

You know how sometimes you go to a store and find a TV you like but then you decide you'll just go home and buy that same TV online for less and deal with having to wait for it and risk having it come damaged and then you having to send it back and wait for another one to come in and pray it doesn't come damaged?  Well, Sony and Samsung don't want you doing that anymore.

They have teamed up to enforce minimum pricing of their TVs.  This means that both Brick and Mortar as well as Online stores will only be able to price their TVs at whatever price Sony and Samsung tells them.  This isn't a new thing, we've seen this plenty with video game systems, doesn't matter where you go to buy it, it costs the same.  Apple also does this with it's products.  That's why it's so easy to say the cheapest new ipad is $499 because it'll be $499 everywhere.

The plan here is to help Brick and Mortar stores from falling victims of showrooming.  Which is what I mentioned at the beginning of this post, when people go into a store to check out product and then go online to buy it for less.  But I'm honestly not sure how much this happens with TVs since buying certain things online can be such a pain also.  Normally when I buy a TV I want it NOW.  I don't want to wait for it.  And the idea of waiting for it and having it come with dead pixels or just plain getting damaged during transport is even less appealing.

I do understand that "Showrooming" is a real problem for a lot of stores.  I also understand that they can't always price things as low as online retailers since normally they do need to hire more people for their operations.  They have to pay a lot of other bills as well that an online store wouldn't have to care about.  But in my opinion that's THEIR problem.  The world is changing and if they want to remain relevant then they need to find ways to do so, and I don't think forcing ME to pay more for things is the right way.

I do believe Walmart is still the richest company in the world so I'm not sure how much these stores really are hurting, but I know they could also find ways to make me want to go there and buy from there.  Give me something that online stores will not be able to give me.  Not the merchandise because you just wont be able to compete there, how about you make the experience of shopping at your stores so much better?  Instead of so many locations, give me better customer service!  Give me Cookies and coffee!  Give me free installation!  There is all kinds of things that would not be able to provide for me.

Javier Torres
Twitter: @tsnstuff

Friday, May 18, 2012

We Found Love & Alisha Popat

Some of you may know how much I like Lindsey Stirling.  I love the way she's using You Tube to gain more and more popularity.  She's super talented and I certainly expect to see more of her in the future.  Her latest video is called "We Found Love".

I have to say I absolutely loved this video.  It was filmed in Kenya which for the longest time it's been one of the places in my "Must go to some day" list.  There is a lot of things I love about this video, not only did Devin Graham do an amazing job at filming it, but I think they also did a really good job at showing how the people there are just regular fun loving people.  They are not all starving and dying like so many places like to make us think.  Don't get me wrong, there is still a lot of poverty and a lot of them could use our help.  

I also loved how Lindsey was calmer on this video.  Don't get me wrong, I love her, but sometimes I'm like "STAY STILL LADY!" I can only imagine how much energy that girl has off camera. :)  

My very favorite part of this video has got to be the main singer, Alisha Popat.  

She has an absolutely beautiful voice.  Not only is her voice beautiful but she is beautiful as well. Not only is her voice and physical body beautiful but her personality is beautiful as well.  She's just this very down to earth Kenya born and raised, music loving, nerdy, fun girl.  

She has been singing for as long as she can remember and has been working on an album for a few years now.  In the meantime she has been doing a lot of concerts with other people and openings, she was also performing at the 2010 FIFA world cup opening ceremony.  

This video has been seen over 2 Million times in less than 2 weeks.  So I really expect to see more of Alisha Popat in the future.  With her talent for writing and creating music, beauty and personality it would be a real shame if we didn't.  

You can find Alisha on Twitter @AlishaPopat and Lindsey @LindseyStirling 

You can find me @tsnstuff or on Google +


Javier Torres

Thursday, May 17, 2012

UPDATE: Verizon's at it Again

Yesterday I mentioned how Verizon was planning to get rid of Unlimited Data plans.  Well, today Verizon decided to clear things up a little.  They are saying that anyone who buys a LTE phone using the subsidized 2 year contract method will be switched to a Data Shared plan and will lose the Unlimited Data.

If you want to keep your Unlimited Data you will need to simply not get a subsidized phone.  You will need to buy your next phone at full price (usually around $700).  This of course means that you are not doing a 2 year contract.  Which sounds very sneaky to me, makes me think that Verizon will simply find some way to screw me out of my unlimited data later and I won't be able to complain about it because it's not like we have a contract. . . .

Anyway, just thought I'd share the update.

Javier Torres

Tired of Crapware!

Microsoft is announcing a new service they have where you can bring them a new computer you bought somewhere and for $100 they will remove the crapware from it.  You know, all those little TRIAL games and trial versions of this and that.  All these things slow down your new computer.  So the fact that Microsoft is willing to remove it for $100 is good right?

Well, yea, it's good, but what if they quit putting all that stuff in our computers to begin with?  It's so sad that we are at a point where we would need to pay someone to remove the stuff from the computer we JUST bought.  Microsoft is not the only one doing this, plenty of other places offer these services.

I know a lot of these companies that add the crapware are getting paid to put it there, I'm not sure if this translates to a savings for us but I doubt it's a $100 savings per computer.  I'd much rather pay more for a computer from the get go and have a crapware free computer than have to buy the computer and then take it somewhere else to get it fixed already.

I HATE doing this but I'm going to give props to Apple again because when you buy an Apple computer you get the computer with the operating system and that's it.  They don't install a thousand other little things for you to try out.

The other option of course is always to buy your own copy of Windows so that you can reinstall it right away but that can be a pain if you are unfamiliar with it.

Javier Torres

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nintendo Special 30,000 Dominoes!

Found this really cool video where they use 30,000 lego pieces to pay some tribute to some Nintendo Characters.  For some reason they have Sonic in here, not sure why, he isn't Nintendo but he does have a history and is certainly worth putting here.  Anyway here is the video :)

Verizon's at it again!

Oh you know how much I just LOVE talking about Verizon. . . .

Today Verizon has announced their new Shared Data Plans that are coming this year.  You have a family share plan where you share your minutes , so why not a Data Share plan where you can share your data as well?  This is exactly what Verizon is going to be providing this summer.  A great thing if you have a lot of users with smart phones but they don’t really use much data.  It’s silly to have to pay $30 for each of those lines.  So this sounds like a great thing, what exactly is my problem? 

My problem is that Verizon plans to end all grandfathered Unlimited data.  They are saying that EVERYONE will be moved to these shared plans.  This makes a lot of sense for people in Family plans but it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense for people in single plans.  Maybe they plan to just have 1 type of plan?  This kind of stuff just upsets me, I keep saying that the longer I am in Verizon the less they can do for me.   I’m very confident that if they introduce this Data Share plans a lot of people would probably want to change to them.  My sister and I are in a Family Share plan, every month I use up quite a bit of my data but still not all of it, and she hardly uses any of hers, so in our case it would make sense for us to get into something like this.  As long as we get to pay less than $60 a month for a good 5 Gigs or something like that.

Point is, plenty of people would have voluntarily moved to these plans, they already Throttle down those unlimited users who use too much data anyway so is there really a need for them to force people into a Data Share plan?  I don’t think there is.  Once again Verizon finds more ways to make me want to switch. 

Javier Torres

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Another Google + Post

A lot of people joke how no one uses Google + but the truth is, there is a lot of us out there that use it.  I know a lot of people are still kind of confused by it and many others are simply too comfortable with their current Social Networking website. But I figured I'd make another post trying to explain some of the reasons why I prefer Google + over other Social Media sites.

1. Circles:  This allows you to add people into different groups.  So you could have your Family Circle, Friends, Work, Etc.  Lets say you want to post a picture that only people in your family should be able to see, you simply post it to that group alone.  If you want everyone but people from work to see it, you can post it in multiple groups, so simply just don't add "Work" to the mix.  I know Facebook has groups now but they are nowhere nearly as user friendly as Google +'s Circles in my opinion.

2. Auto Photo Upload: If you have a the Google + app on your phone, take a picture and the picture goes straight to the Google + server in a private folder that only you can see.  Then all you have to do is select it and share it.  This is of course optional, but i love it, specially when I take a picture of someone and they think they are clever and go and delete it from my phone, it's ok, I got it saved!  It's also great if you ever lose your phone or accidentally wipe its memory, it's ok, all your pictures are safe.

3. Messenger:  Again with the Mobile app.  Basically the same idea as Apple's Messenger where you can send messages to other users using the app and not have to waste your text messages.  However, Apple's Messenger only works between iPhones.  With the Google + Messenger you can text to any phone with the Google + App.

4. Video Chat:  Facebook has Skype, but Google has it's own video chat capability so that you can have one on one video conversations.

5. Hangouts:  I really should put this as Chat but it's really so much better.  Lets say you have a Circle for all your family members that use Google +.  You can start a Hangout with them.  They see a message that lets them know you are hanging out and they have the option to join in.  Soon you could be video chatting with your brother in one city, your sister in another and your parents in another.  Or you could just make a public hangout about something that interests you so that you can talk about it with other people who are also interested in it.  President Obama has used Google +'s Hangouts to talk to Americans in the past and just last night TV Show Host Conan O'Brien did public hangout, I certainly can see this becoming more and more popular with celebrities.

6. Search:  This kind of reminds me of Twitter because you can search for all posts including certain things and you can also see the things that are trending.

7. Nearby:  Another Mobile app thing, it'll let you know what people nearby are posting.  Kind of a neat way to get to know some of the people around you.  Although right now it seems to think Chicago is "Nearby" Mundelein.

One of the things that I am enjoying the most about Google + is the same thing I have enjoyed about Android, watching it evolve, as time goes by I see it become better and better.  It is just this amazing social networking site that's just waiting for more people to take full advantage of it.

Not saying leave your current Social Media site but I'd certainly give Google + a try, you just may like it.

Javier Torres

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The $99 Xbox 360 "Deal"

Ok so I've been hearing a lot about this $99 "Deal" that Microsoft has going on with the Xbox 360.  Basically you get a 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinnect for $99!  Great right?? Not so fast.

First of all, 4 Gigs? Really?  I've seen $5 flash cards with more memory than that!  Second of all, apparently you can only get this deal at a Microsoft Store.  Have you ever been to a Microsoft store?  Neither have I!  I thought there was only one!  Third, and this is really the number 1 reason to rethink this, it's not just $99! You have to get into a 2 year contract of Xbox Live.

These type of subsidized pricing is nothing new, we've been doing it for ever with cell phones, get a new one every two years for a lot less than buying it off contract, but even with cell phones I don't think it's a strategy that will continue to work here in America.  Too many customers are tired of it.  Right now Google is selling the Unlocked GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus for $400.  If I was in a GSM network (Tmobile, AT&T) I'd much rather get that than get into another 2 year contract.  I can only hope that more companies start selling their own phones for less.

Anyway, the cost of the system and the two years of Xbox Live comes off to about $460.  If you know for a fact that for the next two years you'll be paying for Xbox live then by all means go for it, assuming you can find a Microsoft Store, otherwise I wouldn't jump at this "Deal" much.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Preferring iPad over Android Tablet??

Hello Everyone!

So today I want to write about something that has been on my mind for a bit now and that is the fact that I seem to be enjoying my iPad more than my Android Tablet (Asus Transformer TF101).

Now, don't think the world is coming to an end yet,  when it comes to phones I sure as hell prefer Android over iOS.  But in the tablet world, I think Android has a lot of work to do.

This all started after I got the new iPad and my Android tablet got it's update to Ice Cream Sandwich.  Everything was going wrong with it, it kept rebooting every now and then, it would sometimes reboot and get stuck at a loading screen which would then just drain the battery.  The screen would just turn on whenever it wanted also and sometimes I'd pick it up and the touch screen would just not work.  I'd have to restart it when that happened.

Now, Asus has been great and they've been pushing out updates to fix a lot of these issues, but a lot of the issues have to do with Android not working well with the hardware and also with certain programs not working right with the new android.  So a lot of the solutions that you see floating around online require you to do a lot of things that you really shouldn't have to do.

Now, my Android tablet currently is working fine, but I'm at the point where I'm afraid to install anything on it because I'm scared it'll trigger something that will make it go crazy.

So for these reasons I think that Android on tablets really need to get their act together, there are too many tablets out there and we just have a mess.  I will still say that you can do a LOT more with an Android tablet than you can with an iPad, but when you are afraid of installing stuff on your tablet, that's an issue.

Another reason I'm enjoying the iPad more now is the apps, they are simply better.  Much better looking and much smoother.  I can't think of anything that I can do with an iPad that I can't do with an Android tablet and I can certainly think of things that you can do with an Android Tablet that you can't do with an iPad, BUT, in my case, I don't do much with the tablet, so I like it when the few things I do get to look and work real nice.

I certainly think Android has what it takes to win the Tablet market, but they need to work more on standards.  Google also needs to step up their designing skills, their apps tend to work, they work fine, but they look so simplistic.

Anyway, just thought I'd share these things with you all.  Strangely enough I'm writing this on my Asus Transformer TF101 because it has a keyboard I love.

Thank You for reading!

Javier Torres