Saturday, June 17, 2017

Remember Google Glasses??? By Karthik Sankar

Remember Google Glasses???
By Karthik Sankar

            It was that amazing Google product with tons of hype around it. If you don’t remember it, it was an AR (Augmented Reality) headset made by Google.

Here are the things it could do:
  • Google. It would be quite strange to have a Google product without google's core service, searching the internet for information. You could Google things on the Google Glass by using your voice.

  • Voice Control. This allows you to use voice commands to control glass by saying things like “Call Jim” or “text Bob”. The only other form of input available on the glass is the trackpad like surface on the right leg of the frame. It can only recognize taps and swipes. Voice control adds a tremendous amount of functionality to your device since you can quickly and easily execute complex commands.

  • Directions. This was an ingenious use case for the glass. Since it is head mounted, it is always in your vision ensuring you can see what you need to in a timely matter. Glass helps you navigate while walking or driving. It will notify you of any upcoming turns without you having to take your eyes off what's in front of you. This has the potential to save lives.

  • Camera. It could take pictures and videos of what's in front of you.  This means you can still be in the moment while taking pictures since you don’t have to pull out a separate device.

  • Video call. (the camera wouldn’t be pointed at your face though). Instead, the camera would see what you saw. This would allow you to really show the other person what your environment looked like. Obviously, their video feed would still be displayed on the glass.

What happened? Google essentially gave up. With concerns over privacy (everyone walking around with a head-mounted camera), looks (you have admit that you would look strange wearing a pair of them around in public) and complaints from developers testing it, Google decided to kill off the glass. It is sad that Glass wasn’t released to the public but at least VR and AR devices are becoming more common with projects like Hololens and Cardboard.

“Book Review of My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows” by Vanditha Krishnan

“Book Review of My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows”
by Vanditha Krishnan

First of all, look at that cover. Don’t you just want to cuddle up in your blanket and begin reading? My Lady Jane is a comical, romantical, and wonderfully written novel by the terrific trio, Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows. These authors, famous for writing the Unearthly, Everneath, and Incarnate series, have done it again with this debut novel series. The other books in the trilogy are releasing later this year and the beginning of next year, and I can’t wait to read them!

Plot: The novel is based off on history -- Lady Jane Grey, a sixteen-year-old cousin of King Edward VI (who is also sixteen), is about to be married to the nineteen-year-old Lord Gifford Dunley, aka “G.” It takes place during the the Tudor Era, which was from 1485 to 1603 in England. The main conflict in the Tudor Era was between the Catholics and the Protestants. My Lady Jane used magical shapeshifters to represent these Protestants, who were hated throughout much of England. In the story, Lady Jane is caught up in an evil conspiracy to steal the young King Edward’s throne, but before she does, she will become one of the most powerful women in England -- the Queen.

Characters: Jane. Oh, Jane. Definitely my favorite book character of all time. She was compassionate, sarcastic, intelligent, and adored books -- all qualities that are relatable to me and many others. Jane wanted to do what was best for England, not just her; that’s what truly made me appreciate her personality. Edward, or should I say, King Edward VI, was a close second. He was one of the few Tudor kings that was noble and magnanimous. Edward was a loyal king, as well as a loving cousin. His relationship with cousin Jane was gush-worthy. And our last character is Gifford. Lady Jane was actually married to Lord Guildford Dunley, and that is one of the significant differences between this novel and history. Gifford, however, was likable. In the beginning of the novel, he seemed reluctant and brooding; eventually, he was supportive and loved Jane with all of his heart. The characters in My Lady Jane were so relatable -- overall, they enhanced the story.

Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed My Lady Jane, but did not appreciate the author speaking right to me. In some cases, this did clarify the actual history behind the novel, but generally it seemed too direct. Other than that, this extraordinary book kept me up for two hours straight, and I appreciate the fact that Ashton, Hand, and Meadows incorporated history into such a hilarious book. Great read!

My Rating: 9.5/10

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Microsoft Hololens by Karthik Sankar

Microsoft Hololens by Karthik Sankar

            Hololens isn’t a new thing. It was announced a few years back… And you still can’t buy one. There is currently a $3000 developer edition if you are really excited and want to check it out. Unfortunately, there is no consumer mass market version yet.

You may be wondering: Just what is Hololens?

Well here is what you need to know:
  • VR? AR? VR stands for Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality is when the user in immersed into a completely new world. This is extremely popular for Gaming. Usually, VR programs and games try to get you to forget about the real world and become completely immersed in the virtual world. AR stands for Augmented Reality. This is when you are still aware of your surrounding but get digital overlays over what you see. This can be accomplished by using a  camera or projecting an image on glass. This is usually used when the user wants some additional information about their environment. For example, Google Lens, an AR app announced by Google recently will let you put your phone in front of a Store and it will identify which store you are looking at and overlay that in the form of a card floating over the store. The Hololens is an AR device. It consists of a glass visor that stays in front of your eyes.
  • Virtual Objects. What makes Hololens different is that instead of simply identifying objects it can create location-based artificial objects. For example, You could want a huge flat screen TV in your living room. With a few waves of the hand, you could have one on your Hololens. It would act like a TV with all the functionally. If you move your head it will move away. More importantly, it will only be visible if you are in that room. This means you can leave the room and you won’t see the TV anymore but your TV will stay in that room as if it was a real object.
  • 3D modeling. I think it’s undeniable how amazing 3D printing is. It’s something everyone would like to be able to do but something that has a learning curve. This is partially caused by the fact that when you model in 3D you are still looking at a 2D screen. In addition, You don’t have a scale of what it will look like in real life. Hololens lets you mold your model to perfection in 3D space. You can walk around it, look at different viewing angles and judge its size. Not only that but you can use your hands to sculpt it. A tool almost everyone is accustomed to using.

I think it’s clear Hololens is an amazing product. Let's hope a commercial version comes out soon.

“Top 10 Unique Books Every Young-Adult Should Read” by Vanditha Krishnan

“Top 10 Unique Books Every Young-Adult Should Read”
by Vanditha Krishnan

Everyone’s different, so everyone has a different genre of books they prefer to read. There are, however, books that are written exceptionally well that are not so famous. These books, in my opinion, are a must to read. Here’s a list of unique books from different genres:

1. The Book Thief- This novel, published in 2005, is written by the literary phenomenon Markus Zusak. When I first read this novel in 6th grade, it completely changed the way I perceived World War II. The Book Thief is an interesting genre; it’s historical fiction told from the point of view of a nonmaterial narrator, Death.

2. The Perks of Being A Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky is the author of this masterpiece. When most people think of popular young-adult fiction, they think of The Fault In Our Stars and other novels by John Green. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, in its epistolary form, truly opened my eyes to reflect on many issues, such as abuse, abstinence, and PTSD.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird- Old, I know, but good? It’s WAY more than good. Harper Lee’s novel is crisp and clear, and contains all the elements of an excellent story. There’s action, history, adventure, and a bit of childish romance, but when all put together, you get one of the best novels ever written.

4. My Sister’s Keeper- This realistic fiction novel for young adults is enticing; it’s about a girl, Anna, who was conceived through in vitro fertilization for the sole purpose of being a savior sister. In other words, she was born just so that she could constantly donate her compatible blood, organs, and tissue to help her older sister who has leukemia. Anna decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation, and the rights to her own body. My Sister’s Keeper is a haunting tale that young adults must read at some point.

5. Symptoms of Being Human- By Jeff Garvin, this is one of my favorite novels that I’ve ever read. It’s about Riley Cavanaugh, a 14-year-old who is gender fluid. He identifies as a boy, but some days, a girl. Riley must overcome the media shining over his congressman father and his family, and choose if he must stay unknown, or stand up and risk everything.

6. The Diary of A Young Girl- This autobiography of Anne Frank is poignantly beautiful, and the stellar descriptions of Frank’s life during World War II is sure to touch everyone’s hearts. Young adults around the world will love Frank’s tale.

7. Wonder- R.J. Palacio’s novel is meant for tweens and kids between the ages of nine and twelve.  That doesn’t mean that it should stop you from not reading it -- in fact, many of Wonder’s book reviews on Goodreads are written by adults! This novel will bring out your tears of joy and happiness, and will please anyone.

8. Twilight- Written by Stephenie Meyer, this book is one of the most challenged novels of all time due to its explicit scenes and plot. There are four books to this young-adult vampire-romance series; I’ve heard that they’re all pretty bad. However, the first book is uniquely crafted and most young adults should read it just because it constantly makes the ‘Goodreads Best Books Of All Time’ list.

9. The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton’s classic is infamous for establishing a society where there are ‘The Greasers’ and ‘The Socials,’ commonly abbreviated ‘Socs.’ The Outsiders, like many of the novels on this list, involves an exceptional plot and even better characters. I enjoyed every Greaser, and together, the novel was enhanced beautifully. Many young adults will enjoy this book.

10. Divergent/The Hunger Games Series- If you still haven’t read these series’ yet, don’t worry. Pick up one of these at SBPL, or find the eBook and begin reading. Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins, authors of the respective novels, have you in for a treat!

These books are out-of-the-world extraordinary and I believe that every young-adult should have read them. All of these novels are at the South Brunswick Public Library, and the sooner you get them, the better!

“Staying Busy During The Summer + Summer Goals” by Vanditha Krishnan

“Staying Busy During The Summer + Summer Goals”
by Vanditha Krishnan

We’ve all had those times when we’re so bored. It’s normal. The clouds are out, no kids are outside, you’re out of books, and your sibling is hogging the television. “What do I do?” is the dreaded question. There’s nothing to do, or so you thought....

This post will give you ten tips on how to stay busy during the summer, as well as goals to set for yourself. Whether it’s snuggling with a good book or enjoying a light run outside, you can make the most of your summer after reading this.

1. Prepare to read. I know, you’re thinking, seriously? There’s an amazing website,, that allows you to access online books in .epub format. If you have an Apple device, you can open these books directly in iBooks. Even better, most of the latest books are on the website; simply search up “(title of book) epub vk) and you’ll get a long list of pages and posts. A friend of mine suggested this and I am officially obsessed! If you download 20-25 books on iBooks, and you read three or four books a week like me, you should be set for the summer!

2. Exercise. Yup, I said it. The E-word. For those couch potatoes who don’t go out (I’ll admit, I kinda am one), try to get at least 30 minutes outside a day. One hour is recommended, but 30 minutes is better than nothing. Call your friends and go for a stroll around the park or something. Ride your bike around the community. Do anything, but just don’t binge-watch Netflix for the whole day.

3. Make one new friend. Families are constantly moving during summer vacation, and you’ll definitely have someone new coming in your neighborhood pretty soon. Use the opportunity to introduce yourself politely. Hopefully they’re in your grade!

4. Try a new hobby. Every summer, you should try to learn something different. Photography, coloring, painting, the summer opportunities are endless! Who knows, you might pick up some knitting!

5. Do something you’d never do before. Sorry, fans of classics, but I had a strong dislike for classic novels. I claimed that they were too old and boring. Last summer, I picked up The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a classic novel published in 1922, and to my surprise, I loved it! Reading one different genre inspired me to try new things, so I’d suggest that you do it too.

6. Hold a fundraiser of some sort. My friends and I have always wanted to hold a bake sale -- this summer, I think we truly will. Try to also donate some of the proceeds to a charity; most fundraisers give away 15% or 20% of their total profits. Remember, the amount does not matter, it’s just fun.

7. Be green. No, don’t go around looking like the Wicked Witch of the West. Trade those plastic flowers for some houseplants. Revamp your plastic water bottle with a reusable one (which is cheaper in the long run). Cut your steamy showers in half to save water. Staying green is a great way to help the Earth.

8. Visit places. Museums usually offer free admission for students, and on certain days, you can get a pretty big discount. Take advantage of the fact that these places will keep you entertained, and make the most of it.

9. Clean out the old year. Get rid of folders, loose papers, and anything else you might not want to store in your room. That includes the Christmas sweater Grandma knit for you!

10. Visit the library! This is usually what I do in the summertime. If you can’t find anything to do, come to the library! They offer events and classes, and Saleena even holds activities meant for teens! The library is extremely peaceful and an overall great setting to work, study, or simply, relax in.

BONUS. Learn to cook! I can’t speak for myself for this one, but this summer I really want to learn to cook. Not dishes of Gordon Ramsay’s level; as long as I can learn something simple yet tasty, I’ll be happy. Read through those dusty cookbooks, and spend your time productively working in the kitchen.

Your summer is a fun time, but there are surely those times when you are stumped on what to do. Hopefully this post will have given you some basic ideas of how to make the most of your summer vacation. It’s always better to have too much to do than too less…

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review By Anuj Kadakia

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

By Anuj Kadakia

     This movie was the sequel to the first Guardians of the Galaxy, so before watching this movie I would suggest you watch the first one. Regardless, this movie was such an all around movie. It had the humor, the action, and the great acting to seal the deal. What more can you want in a movie? I did not expect too much from this movie when I went to see it, but the movie had my sitting on the edge of my seat watching just to see what snarky remark or bold move I would see next. Almost all of the main actors in the movie had me laughing and watching intently throughout the whole movie. The humor was present throughout so it will give you a good laugh. There is also a constant action-packed story happening at the same time. I think that anyone that is into super hero movies or simply just action movies, should watch this movie. I would give it a 9/10 for a great story and humorous remarks. This is definitely a must see movie with either your friends or even your family. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Things to do on a Mac Terminal When You’re Bored by Rajat Peddinti

Things to do on a Mac Terminal When Youre Bored by Rajat Peddinti

Whether you’re finished with classwork, or bored at home, computers can be a great source of entertainment. If the computer in front of you happens to be a Mac, then there are some interesting tricks to try on its Terminal application that will keep you amused for as long as necessary, and it’ll be a nice introduction to what computers used to be like in the 1970s and ‘80s.

To start, you must open the Terminal application, which you can usually find in the “Other” folder of the Launchpad or the Utilities folder of Applications. This should open up a white window into which you can type system commands.

Let’s start basic: Type “echo” followed by a space, and then some text.
The result should be that text printed back on the next line, like so:


Now for something slightly more amusing: Type “banner” followed by “-w” and a number (how many characters wide the banner should be) and some text. The result will be that text outputted in a banner:

              To go one step further, type “say”  followed by some text, and if the command is supported, you should hear the computer say whatever you told it to.


The black and white color scheme may quickly become boring, so you can try this technique to change it.
            Type: echo -e “\033[32m”
(the 2 in bold can be any digit from 0 to 8).

This will change the text color based on which digit you chose (0 resets to black):

     You can replace the 3 in [30m with a 4 in order to change the background color of
the text.

     Finally, let’s explore some hidden games. Enter the command “emacs”, which will bring up this screen:                                                           

Type the escape key, then “x”, which should cause “M-x” to appear at the bottom of the screen:

From this point, enter “tetris”, “pong”, “snake”, or one of several other games (you can find a list of available games at These should keep you amused for a while.

 Note – If any of these do not work, you may have to check that you did all the steps carefully, and whether your Mac is compatible with the commands being used. If you get this error message (where [commandName] is whatever command you typed),  it means that the command you typed either is not supported, or does not exist.