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DIY $3 Smartphone projector

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

You will need:

  • A shoebox or small box
  • A magnifying glass. We went with the smaller one in the end.
  • A paperclip
  • A smartphone
  • A stanley knife
  • Duct tape
  • Black paint (optional)

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Figure out the centre of your box. Place your magnifying glass smack bang in the middle and trace around the lens.

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Cut the hole out!

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Stick your lens in.

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Tape down your magnifying glass, making sure everything is sealed and no light leaks in. Tape down any loose sides of the box too.

Now, if you want to get fancy, paint the inside of your box black. It stops the light from your smartphone diffusing off the sides of the box, optimising your final projection. Science. But we didn’t have time for science.

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Poke a hole in the back of the box to slip your charger cable through.

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Grab that paperclip and fashion yourself a stand for your smartphone. Unlike MacGyver, it took us eight failed attempts before we fashioned a stand that actually worked.

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Like any lens, light passing through your projector will appear upside down. You’ll have to flip the screen to get your $3 home cinema to actually work the way it should.
For an iPhone go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on Assistive Touch. Then touch the floating orb thing that’s on your screen and select Device > Rotate Screen.
For Android, there’re apps like Screen Rotation Control and Ultimate Rotation Control that do this for you.

While you’re fiddling with your phone, turn the screen brightness way up.

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Dim the lights and place your phone on its stand in the box. Move the phone back and forth in the box to find your focus point.

DIY $3 Smartphone projector

Close the box and find yourself a blank wall to project onto.

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I need your help Imgur!

I need your help Imgur!

Hi guys!

I need a little bit of help, and it's easy: get this to the frontpage.

"Why?" ~ All the downvoters

Because I want to get the attention of the Imgur staff.

I need your help Imgur!

About a month and a half ago I submitted an image to the gallery saying that I have been in a job hunt without any luck for the past few months. Then and there came @dvst8or and posted those comments. I'm still out of luck, so I might as well give it a shot, I have nothing to lose.

I need your help Imgur!

I'm an Android developer, and guess who needs one: That's right, the people at Imgur need one.

I need your help Imgur!

That means that I could be working on improving this for you 🙂 (Mobile users should be delighted by now)

I need your help Imgur!

The problem is that I'm not from the USA, and pretty much when you try to apply for a job like this you get an experience similar to the one depicted.

I need your help Imgur!

Also, I just graduated, so my lack of professional experience could be a negative point.

But hey, Alan himself (the creator of Imgur) said on a AMA that he learned about everything as he needed it, so I could do that too, right? (And I have done it already).

I need your help Imgur!

So, I'm asking the Imgur community to make this album see the light of the frontpage. I'm pretty sure that @sarah is going to be kind enough to talk to the team and agree to interview me because we know she can make it happen 🙂

Sarah, if you read this, my name is Julio Garcia and I just sent an email with my resume to the jobs email. I know it's difficult to land a job on a different continent because of the immigration laws, but…please? 🙂

In case this doesn't go as expected and somebody else needs an Android developer, this is me:

TL;DR: I do things, Imgur wants things, please upvote.

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The Olympics of Tech: Gaming, Hacking, Texting


Discus Thrower Holding Laptop

Every four years, the Olympic Games inspire a special brand of competition and camaraderie across the globe. But gymnasts, swimmers, runners and table tennis players aren’t the only ones worthy of praise for their accomplishments. What about the tech world?

We scoured the web to find some truly commendable achievements and contests in the fields of digital, mobile, social, programming and more.

1. Fastest Texting

Sure, you can text fast, but are you the fastest texter in the world?

Only Melissa Thompson of London can claim that title, setting the record on Aug. 22, 2010 with a 26-word message in 25.94 seconds. The text message read, “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.” According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Thompson used a Samsung Galaxy S with SWYPE technology.

Elliot Nicholls of Dunedin, New Zealand, had sent this same message — blindfolded — in 45.09 seconds almost three years earlier.

Individuals aren’t the only ones interested in seeing who can send an SMS message at lightning speed. LG Electronics, one the largest multinational electronics companies in the world, hosted the LG Mobile World Cup as an international texting competition on Jan. 14, 2010, in New York City. Previously, LG hosted such competitions in individual countries, such as the United States and South Korea, but the 2010 event was the first time countries competed against each other.

Ha Mok-min, 16, and Bae Yeong-ho, 17, of South Korea, made up the winning team of the 2010 Mobile World Cup. They won $100,000.

LG’s 2012 U.S. National Texting Championship will take place on Aug 8.

2. Cellphone Call Placed at the Highest Altitude

Climbing Mount Everest wasn’t enough of a feat for Rob Baber. When he reached the highest peak of the Himalayas at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters) on May 21, 2007, he took out his Motorola Moto Z8 phone and called a voicemail inbox at the telecommunications company, saying, “It’s cold, it’s fantastic, the Himalayas are everywhere. I can’t feel my toes, everyone is in good spirits — we got here in record time, it is amazing.” He also sent a text message to Motorola, which read, “One small text for man, one giant leap for mobilekind — thanks Motorola.”

The temperature was -30 degrees. Baber couldn’t leave a long message, since climbers can usually only stay on the summit for 15 minutes, and using the phone meant that he had to remove his oxygen mask. According to Baber, service was available because China Telecom set up a cell tower in Rongbuk a year prior, about one mile from the base camp.

3. Longest Skype Call

According to the website RecordSetter, which allows anyone to attempt, beat and document world records, Alex Foltyn of Sydney, Australia, set the record for longest Skype call with her friend on Oct. 20, 2011. The clock stopped at 240 hours, 10 minutes and 23 seconds, which amounts to a little over 10 days.

In order to set the record fairly, Foltyn and her friend needed to follow one rule: maintain a continuous conversation throughout the call. This guideline seems a little loose, so we have a feeling that sleeping was done in shifts, while one of the participants carried out half of the “conversation.”

However, there’s no information that confirms this. Perhaps Foltyn and her friend really did stay awake and conversed for 10 days — it isn’t much compared to one Los Angeles, Calif. man, who claimed to have not slept for 968 hours in 2010.

4. Longest Google+ Hangout

Laptop Camera

The longest Google+ Hangout is currently clocked at 143 days, and it’s still going.

On July 20, 2011, Mark Olsen started a Hangout when the Google+ platform was brand new. Little by little, more people joined, and thousands have participated since.

Olsen hoped for the “Marathon Hangout” to go on perpetually, but because of technical issues, the previous record was set at 77 days and 11 hours, according to the Hangout’s website.

The participants are hoping to beat that record, and it can be watched via live stream here.

5. Hackathons

A hackathon is an event that usually lasts between one day and one week, during which computer programmers work together on projects related to web development and software. It can also be called a hack day, hackfest or codefest.

Hackathons have been around for more than 10 years, and the premises for the events can range anywhere from app creation to calls for action and social good. According to Wired, more than 200 hackathons were held last year in the United States, and about the same were held around the world.

BeMyApp World Cup is a hackathon challenging participants to create and present a functioning Android mobile app within 48 hours. Last summer, Foursquare held its Global Hackathon, which took place simultaneously in New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Paris, as well as remote participants. Ultimately, 500 developers from 90 countries participated.

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is a hackathon co-sponsored by Google, Microsoft, NASA, the World Bank and Yahoo that has taken place in various cities across the globe. It brings together developers and designers to create technological solutions and aids in the fields of disaster management and crisis response. A group of Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley researchers won first place at the first RHoK in November 2009, after creating an app called “I’m OK,” which people could use to easily notify friends and family of their safety.

Perhaps even more notably, the second place winner that year, “Tweak the Tweet,” created by a Colorado University grad student, was used in disaster response during 2010’s Haiti earthquake. This edit hack used modifications of hashtags using location, status, needs, damage and other necessary elements of emergency response.

6. Pro Gaming

Video Game Controllers

Gaming can be more than just a hobby — sometimes, it becomes a lifestyle.

That can be said for many of the participants in Major League Gaming (MLG) competitions, which take place in arenas where players go head-to-head at a certain game, such as StarCraft or League of Legends. MLG was founded in 2002, giving aspiring gamers around the world the opportunity to compete, work on their skills and socialize. There are 750,000 matches each month online and live in-person Pro Circuit tournaments in cities throughout the United States.


A quick search on MLG’s results page shows player DongRaeGu in first place for the most recent StarCraft II spring competition, with 16 game wins, seven match wins and an 87.5% win rate.

The Summer League of Legends Arena took place this past weekend, and the Summer Fighting Game Arena will take place this Friday, Aug. 10. From Aug. 24 until Aug. 26, MLG will hold the Summer Championship in Raleigh, N.C., featuring all games.

All of the upcoming events will be streamed live on MLG’s website. The last championship event drew more than 4.7 million unique online viewers.

What digital feats have you come across? Let us know in the comments.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, PeskyMonkey, skegbydave, Arsgera, erikreis, MrKornFlakes.

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I knew the enterprise was piloted by an Android OS.

I knew the enterprise was piloted by an Android OS.

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10 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Computers

Computers are no longer just something we use every day but an integral part of our daily lives. Unfortunately, their omnipresence in our society doesn’t mean everyone has a full understanding of them. Many people have misconceptions about their computers and how to protect themselves from those who would target their systems maliciously.

10 – Password Length And Complexity

One of the most enduring nuggets of computer-related wisdom is to make your password as long, complex, and cryptic as humanly possible. As a result, incredibly easy-to-guess passwords like “password” are becoming a thing of the past. However, that doesn’t mean that people have learned their lesson. Some people make passwords so long that they have trouble remembering them, so they write them down somewhere. This makes it very easy for someone else to find their way in. Many people also choose passwords related to something they like, which makes it easy for someone who knows them to guess.

While your password shouldn’t be easily guessed, it doesn’t really need to be that complex. What’s more important is not reusing it across different sites. With so many different sites to log into and passwords to remember, many people have chosen to use the same password everywhere. The problem is that if a hacker manages to break into a site and snatch their database, they can now use your password across multiple sites. The best thing you can do to keep your passwords in your head, something mildly complex but easy to remember, and vary them over multiple sites.

9 – The Blue Screen Of Death

Many people assume when they have a blue screen of death that either their computer is about to die forever or that they have a virus. But while blue screens used to be a sign of much more serious trouble, they are rarely fatal errors anymore and rarely have anything to do with a virus. A blue screen nearly always occurs because a new program or a driver update caused a problem, and the computer responded by shutting itself down to prevent damage.

More recent versions of Windows deal with blue screen errors much better than in the past, so it isn’t usually much of a problem to worry about anymore. Of course, it can still occasionally be a serious hardware problem, but it won’t be because you have a virus. The best thing to do is plug the error message into Google and go from there.

Usually, all you need to do these days to fix the problem is restore the system back to a safe point (don’t worry, it won’t affect your files if you backed up properly). If that doesn’t work, delete any recently installed programs, as they are possible culprits.

8 – Random Access Memory

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is often just referred to as “memory.” For this reason, many people think that when they are running low on space, they need more RAM. However, the long-term storage device is the hard drive, which can be confusing, because it doesn’t have the word “memory” in its name.

Memory in a computer works similarly to memory in the human brain. The human brain has long-term storage, where we keep memories, and a working memory where you can keep a running conversation and do arithmetic in your head. While we are performing these tasks with our working memory, we also have the ability to retrieve memories from deep storage.

A computer runs in much the same way. The hard drive contains the computer’s long-term memories—videos, pictures, and other files. The RAM is your working memory and performs immediate tasks, such as running Facebook, playing Candy Crush, and loading email while chatting on Skype. If your computer starts to perform slowly when you are trying to do all of these tasks, you probably need more RAM. If you find you don’t have enough room for all of your files, you need a bigger hard drive.

7 – Slow Computer

Whenever a computer becomes slow, viruses are almost always blamed. There are a small number of viruses that hog RAM in the background, but it will become obvious very quickly. The truth is that computers slow down over time for numerous reasons, and most of the time, it doesn’t have anything to do with viruses.

One problem may be that, like anything, computers get old. Your computer may have been really nice when you first bought it, but the constant demands placed on the system make it harder to keep going. Also, the longer you own a computer, the more programs you are likely to have downloaded, which exhausts your RAM. Computers may also slow down when their hard drives start to fail, and not much short of replacing it is going to fix that. Sometimes, Internet connections slow down due to outdated browsers or Flash programming.

So if your computer is starting to get slower, don’t jump to the virus scanner. Check the health of your hardware, stop unnecessary programs running in the background, and make sure all of your software is up to date. If all of that is okay, the problem may be a virus, but there’s still a good chance that it’s something else.

6 – Smartphone Viruses

Many people don’t really think of their smartphones as tiny computers, but that’s essentially what they are. Unfortunately, malicious people are now targeting smartphones the way they target computers.

In 2011, one virus found its way in through a third-party application to send messages from the user’s phone, which cost the user money but made the creator of the virus quite a profit. Emboldened by successes like these, viruses have begun inundating the smartphone world.

These viruses usually infiltrate smartphones through downloads of applications from the marketplace. Google’s app store is an open marketplace where anyone can sell an app, which is good in a lot of ways, but it also means that the store is full of third-party applications that haven’t been vetted. People may feel like they are getting something from a trusted source, though, and unwittingly expose themselves to malicious programs.

In this case, it’s usually best to never download anything from an untrusted source and check the permissions that applications require. If the permissions they want seem strange, don’t agree to them without doing your research.

5 – Laptop Fires

Many people believe that you shouldn’t leave a laptop running too long or leave it on a rug, bed, or anything flammable for fears that it will catch fire. However, there isn’t any evidence of that ever happening. On the rare occasion that a laptop does cause a fire, it’s because of something like a defect in the wiring.

More recent laptops even include better ventilation and fail-safes designed to keep the machine from overheating in any capacity. If your machine is overheating constantly, it’s probably a sign that something is wrong with the hardware, you are exceeding its normal capabilities, or it’s a really bad design.

There is a much more real danger with laptops, and that is laptop burn. Many people sit with their laptops directly on their laps, and contrary to the name of the machine, this is a terrible idea. Hot laptops have caused serious burns through clothing within just a few days of moderate usage. If you must use a laptop on your lap, remove it if it starts to feel hot and find another surface to put it on.

4 – Bottlenecking

Many people are under the impression that if their computer starts to fail, they can just replace whatever part is dying. However, technological advances move quickly, making upgrading much more difficult due to compatibility problems.

For example, someone might find that their processor is failing, but no one makes processors anymore that work with that particular motherboard, so now they need to replace that, too. Once they’ve replaced the motherboard, some of the older parts won’t work with the new board, and now they might as well build a new system. This is known as “bottlenecking.”

Even if you don’t have any compatibility issues when you upgrade, your system will eventually bottleneck. To a certain extent, your computer is only as good as its weakest component. For example, if you decide that you need to upgrade your video card, but your processor is too weak, it’s not going to make a noticeable difference.

3 – Hacking And Cracking

Anytime a website is defaced, an important account is compromised, or some group steals a bunch of login information, it’s always blamed on hackers. This is the result of a misunderstanding about what hacking involves, though. Hacking is when someone who has a strong knowledge of computer security finds a vulnerability in the system and uses it to get in, usually through some kind of backdoor method.

Cracking, on the other hand, involves using a program written by somebody else that sort of breaks the virtual door down, often by trying different combinations of passwords over and over. These are known as “brute force” attacks. To make things more confusing, the media often refers to things as “hacking” when nothing was hacked or cracked in any way.

2 – Viruses And Spyware

Virus in program code
Viruses are one form of malicious program, but there are many others with different names and methods of distribution. Some are entirely different groups like Spyware and Adware, which are designed to steal your information or annoy you with spam. Some malicious programs are designed so that you will never even know they are there—they hide from your anti-virus software and wait to use your computer, not affecting its functioning in any noticeable way.

While the various programs you use for security may be helpful in dealing with this, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. You’ll have a better chance at dealing with malware if you know what you are up against. Protecting yourself isn’t as easy as keeping your anti-virus up to date, either. Oftentimes, the anti-virus companies themselves aren’t up to date on the latest malware threats, and people with evil intentions are constantly looking for ways to get around your security.

1 – Malware From Email

Warnings about awful viruses waiting in your inbox have been circulating since the advent of malware, but oftentimes, the warnings are false alarms. This has fueled all kinds of ludicrous practices, such as deleting suspicious emails unread due to the belief that even opening such a message can lead to viral infection. While it is certainly true that you should never open an email attachment from an untrusted source, you cannot get a virus simply from reading an email.

However, there are other situations where getting a virus or other form of malware can be much easier than you might imagine. Simply by visiting a shady site, for example, you may fall victim to a drive-by download. If you’re lucky, you will receive a pop-up message or other warning, but many drive-bys won’t warn you of their presence before they install hidden malware. This is why it is a good idea to scan your system regularly, just in case.

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