Contact us at (501)279-4545 -- Admin. 205

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Mon - Thur -- 11 am - 10 pm
Fri -- 11 am - 5 pm

The End is Nigh! Where Will You Go?

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As the semester draws to a close and finals disappear into the sunset, the question sets in: where are you going to spend your summer? Be it travel, work, or classes, there are a few gadgets that can make your life a bit more entertaining this summer.

If your plans lean toward adventure and exploration, consider the Skyroam Solis.

This handy device is a mobile hotspot where you only pay for what you use, with literal unlimited potential. Skyroam also offers the option of buying or renting one of their devices, to offer the most budget friendly option for your travels. The Solis specifically boasts a 16-hour battery life, can link up to five devices at once, and has an embedded 6000mAh power bank for charging on the go. Skyroam are looking to add programmable features in the near future as well.

For those among us who enjoy music, enter the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM.

As can be seen in the image above, the WONDERBOOM packs some serious power. This waterproof (yes, actually waterproof, for 30 minutes) BlueTooth speaker boasts ten hours of blasting your favorite sound from up to 100 feet away from the connected device. Or, if you feel like kicking it up a notch, pair a second WONDERBOOM to the same source for synchronized sound through both devices.

This summer, go forth and conquer, wherever your road takes you.

The new Gmail

Posted Posted by Jerred Shepherd in Comments 0 comments

A few months ago Google released a new version of Google Calendar that featured a completely new look with material design. Similarly, this week Google released a redesign of Gmail that also follows material design, along with adding in some new features borrowed from their Google Inbox application.

This long awaited release features better integration with other Google products, such as Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Tasks. You can also now snooze emails, letting them reappear as a reminder for you.

GIF showing email snoozing and attachment highlighting
Other features taken from Google Inbox include smart replies, high-priority only notifications, and unsubscribe suggestions.

Screenshot of high-priority notifications and unsubscribe suggestions

While this redesign isn't available by default yet, you can activate it by going to Gmail, clicking on the settings button, and selecting 'Try the new Gmail'.

Want to read more? You can view the official press release from Google here.

Puppies Destroy Stress

Posted Posted by Harding Humphries in Comments 0 comments

Well, this is it. We're starting off dead week strong and soon we'll be moving into finals. Usually I would write about some new piece of up and coming technology or something big happening on the world stage. Today however, I write about something near and dear to all of our hearts right now: Stress.
I say near and dear to all of our hearts right now because, unless you're very lucky, you probably have finals coming up, and you might be pretty stressed about them as well. Personally, I find myself saying things like "If I can just make it through Monday, I can take a break" far too often. Sometimes it can seem like dead week and finals week will last forever and nothing can keep you safe from the pain they create.

But...What if I (and someone in chapel) told you that there was a way to escape the pain and suffering and stress that accompanies dead week? What would you say? I know what I would say. I would say "oh please show me the way to escape the pain and suffering and stress that accompanies dead week!" Well, even if you didn't say it, I did. So I'll tell you what just might save your week, your brain, and maybe even your grade.

The secret is puppies. Yep. Dogs can save your brain.
Brackett Library will once again host the therapy dogs as part of their Finishing Strong week Monday and Friday from 3:00 to 5:00 in the room next to Java City. There will also be puzzle stations, an encouragement wall, Harding-themed coloring pages, and thank you notes you can send to people who have helped you through this semester. So come and de-stress yourself with the the best good boys around!

Double Vision

Posted Posted by Corbin Roth in Comments 0 comments

I have recently been doing research on smartphones for a friend looking to upgrade. While looking through the variety of prices and brands, I see the smart phone market is constantly under pressure to expand and grow with current technology trends and features, such as Motorola's "Moto Mods" and Apple's new "Animoji". Brands utilize these neat tech tricks to retain their current market, a "look at what my phone can do" mentality. Despite all of the extra features, all manufacturers still turn their primary focus to one important factor: the camera.

Recently, high end smartphones are equipped with dual camera lenses. As technology continues to become cheaper, low end phones will be styling dual camera modules too. Therefore it might be useful to understand if two lenses are worth it or just another neat feature.

Generally, two is better than one. One lens can be created physically longer to produce quality photos from far away. Of course, if you have two ordinary lenses you will receive two ordinary photos. The power of the two lens approach is acquiring specialized image processing software for each module. This enables the creation of two quality pictures. Additionally, the phone will use a somewhat older technology called High Dynamic Range (HDR), where a photographer takes multiple shots a different levels of exposure to create a sharper picture. In a similar way, the smartphone's lenses can capture two photos and combine their strengths to create a improved image. The entire process is handled by the phone's image processing software. This method also helps phone's with their major issue of zoom. Instead of being the digital zoom (which most phones have today), the dual lenses can be configured to use the longer lens paired with the HDR method to improve a zoom shot. However, the improvement to zoom for phones does not make them significantly better than your average point and shoot camera.

Why stop at two lenses? A rising tech company, Huawei, has a flagship phone that utilizes a triple lens camera! The P20 Pro equips the same methods above, using one lens for enhanced zoom, one for megapixel images, and finally one for collecting sharper detail. All three are tied together using image processing software. Apple is probably working on a quadruple lens phone for their next generation.

If your phone is your primary picture taker, the dual camera lens feature is a legitimate upgrade. But if you want to by the iPhone X so you can look like you are talking as an emoji, go for it!

You have learned much, young Grasshopper

Posted Posted by Mack Peters in Comments 0 comments

Have you ever been interested in learning how to code but have been too intimidated by large textbooks or hefty online courses to really take a dive? Are you looking for an interactive way to learn a new skill that won't require hours of studying or force you to stay in one spot to practice? Do you just love mini-games and solving puzzles, and if you end up learning along the way that's alright too? Well here's the app for you:

Grasshopper is a free app designed to make the process of learning how to code, a skill that is becoming more and more needed in society, easy and fun. Through a process of mini-games you learn the ins and outs of Javascript specifically, becoming a capable coder in the amount of time that you wish to put into the app!

The puzzles, at least in the beginning, are small and designed to be able to be completed in a very short time, so doing a few lessons in your spare time is very doable. The app walks you through some fundamentals and then presents the challenge for the lesson you selected. Naturally the puzzles become more and more difficult, and the app allows you to schedule daily reminders so you don't lose any of the skills you've acquired by not tending to it.

You'll of course start with the fundamentals and then are presented with multiple puzzles for each module. One in particular was described involved placing the correct code, presented in chunks (some correct and others incorrect), to draw the French flag. It then dives deeper into more difficult tasks such as animations and many more complex functions.

Of course in our achievement-based culture there is an achievements section that lets you know what achievements you've unlocked and what it will take to unlock more, you're streak of days that you've been coding, how many Javascript concepts you've learned, etc.

At this point there are no plans to expand to other languages, because according to the companies research over 70% of professional developers use Javascript and the goal of the app is to teach fundamental concepts with Javascript as the platform to do so.

Grasshopper is available on the Google Play store and Apple's App store. Get learning!

Ways to Protect Your Privacy

Posted Posted by Daniel Norwood in Comments 0 comments

        As we as a culture are talking more and more about digital privacy, we need to stay informed. It's important to know what your options are, especially without having to completely delete your Facebook or Twitter account simply out of fear of your information being leaked to some third party. Here are some practical ways to protect your personal information.

1. Check Your Privacy Settings on Current Social Media Accounts

        Many times, we sign up for an account on a website or take a quiz on Facebook without checking to see what kinds of information are being acquired by those sites. An easy way to check this is to go into your privacy settings and determine what your account is seen publicly. Specifically with Facebook, you can go into the Ads tab of settings and see how much information is being gleaned in order to target you with ads. 

2. Use a More Protected Browser

        Maybe you don't want to go to all the trouble of going through all of your social media accounts and figuring out what your privacy settings are. Thankfully, some developers have already made it easier for us by providing browsers with built-in content blockers and privacy enhancers. One such browser specifically for mobile devices is Firefox Focus, which not only improves privacy, but also improves performance by limiting what is loaded when you open a web page and by choosing not to save passwords and browsing history. Other browsers and extensions have similar capabilities.

3. Be Smart

        My final advice is simple: be smart! I believe a lot of us grew up without really worrying about what we put on the internet because we didn't feel like there was much risk; however, nowadays you can never be too careful. I'm not saying all of this to make you feel paranoid because the internet is still an incredibly useful tool and resource, but I still believe we ought to pay attention to what we share about ourselves. So, be smart!