Monday, June 29, 2009

You are the new day

Just some positive thoughts.

I will love you more than me
and more than yesterday
If you can but prove to me
you are the new day

Send the sun in time for dawn
Let the birds all hail the morning
Love of life will urge me say
you are the new day

When I lay me down at night
knowing we must pay
Thoughts occur that this night might
stay yesterday

Thoughts that we as humans small
could slow worlds and end it all
lie around me where they fall
before the new day

One more day when time is running out
for everyone
Like a breath I knew would come I reach for
the new day

Hope is my philosophy
Just needs days in which to be
Love of life means hope for me
borne on a new day

You are the new day

Teens and the media

Common folklore has the average teenager glued to the video game and online all day. Apparently, reality is that teens are just like their parents except less so. In a recent Nielsen study, the conclusion was that teens are pretty normal in their media usage. The key findings are as follows:
  • Teens are NOT abandoning TV for new media: In fact, they watch more TV than ever, up 6% over the past five years in the U.S.
  • Teens love the Internet … but spend far less time browsing than adults: Teens spend 11 hours and 32 minutes per month online. Far below the average of 29 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Teens watch less online video than most adults, but the ads are highly engaging to them: Teens spend 35% less time watching online video than adults 25-34, but recall ads better when watching TV shows online than they do on television.
  • Teens read newspapers, listen to the radio and even like advertising more than most: Teens who recall TV ads are 44% more likely to say they liked the ad.
  • Teens play video games, but their tastes aren’t all for the blood-and-guts style games: Just two of their top five most-anticipated games since 2005 have been rated “Mature.”
  • Teens’ favorite TV shows, top websites and genre preferences across media are mostly the same as their parents: For U.S. teens, American Idol was the top show in 2008, Google the top website and general dramas are a preferred TV genre for teens around the world.
Now, what does this really say? It says most people spend way too much time watching TV. It also says that TV ads actually do what they intend to do, that is sell everybody more stuff. It also says that everybody is media saturated. Rather than being good news, this article points out how really wretched the whole media scene has become and here I am contributing my share.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mormon Myths

Polygamy, black suits, avenging angels, oh my! Myths about the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) are rampant. Despite a huge media relations department and tons of TV advertising, the average person still has some pretty strange ideas about the Church members. First and foremost, under most circumstances you would be hard pressed to identify good church members in a crowd except for the general absence of extreme fashions, tattoos and immodest clothes. Since the Church is international in its scope, it is possible to meet church members on every continent and in almost every country.

Here are a couple of videos that discuss the problem of Mormon Myths:

The second video was produced by the Church:

Why not take time to find out why the LDS Church is one of the fastest growing churches in the world.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What mite happen to you

Wikipedia A microscopic mite Lorryia formosa.

One thing is certain, if you walk out into the grass and/or weeds in the mid-west in early summer you will get chigger bites. OK so now I have five or six intensively uncomfortable itchy bites, so what do I do? Look them up in Wikipedia of course. What do I find out?

Well, to start with, chiggers are the larval stage of trombiculid mites.
Wikipedia Adult Trombidium holosericeum

As the Wikipedia article points out, "The term chigger is sometimes used to refer to a different animal, the Chigoe flea. Trombiculidae live in the forests and grasslands and are also found in low, damp areas where vegetation is rank such as woodlands, berry bushes, orchards, along lakes and streams, and even in drier places where vegetation is low such as lawns, golf courses, and parks. They are most numerous in early summer when grass, weeds and other vegetation are heaviest. In their larval stage they attach to various animals, including humans, and feed on skin, often causing itching. These relatives of ticks are nearly microscopic measuring 0.4 mm (1/100 of an inch) and have a chrome-orange hue. A common species of harvest mite in Northern America is Trombicula alfreddugesi; in the UK the most prevalent harvest mite is Trombicula autumnalis."

By the way, the articles suggest painting the bite with nail polish. That would be worse than the bite, I think. Meanwhile, I will continue to itch.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mormon Channel iPhone App Now Available

In an announcement on LDS Media Talk, the following was made:

I am pleased to report that the free Mormon Channel iPhone application is now available. This application allows iPhone users to tune into content being broadcast on the Mormon Channel, as well as listen to audio recordings of General Conference addresses, magazine articles, and the Church’s standard works. This application also works on the iPod Touch.

We are working on something similar for other mobile phones.

I was able to download the App and get up and listening in a couple of minutes. The bonus was an audio archive of General Conference sessions and audio editions of the Church Magazines. What a gift for traveling and for late nights awake.

Time travel and robots

Two of the dominant themes of science fiction are no closer than when they were first envisioned years and years ago. As it turns out reading old science fiction is usually mildly amusing because of the "modern" perspective. There are certain things that the science fiction writers consistently get wrong.

Think of the movie and the book, "2001," now think about the difference between the space station in the movie and the real space station up there today in 2009. Most, nearly all, science fiction writers over predict changes in the society. One good example is Robert Heinlein's The Door into Summer.

Heinlein, Robert A. The Door into Summer. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1957.

The book starts in year 1970, a comfortable 13 years in the future from when the book was written, but not long enough to have a nuclear war and to develop household robots. Those two developments are still missing. The hero of the book sleeps thirty more years into the future, to the year 2000, now almost a decade ago, but we still lack nearly all of the things Heinlein supposed we would have, like automatic doors in hospital rooms and a substitute for the doctor's stethoscope. Heinlein also assumed that the language and clothing styles would change dramatically, they haven't. But there have been other changes, like no safety pins for diapers and no slide rules. I have yet to read an old science fiction writer that foresaw personal computers like the iPhone.

Even when the writers leave out the dates and make some general predictions, usually they are way off from reality, we don't have star gates, we don't have commercial space travel (not really), we don't have personal airplanes or helicopters, no food automatically created. In fact, we still drive gas powered cars and still shop in stores (some of the time).

Some of the things we do have are more amazing than any of the stories; back to iPhones, GPS, personal computers, the Internet, and on and on. Even post it notes are pretty neat considering.

The point of all this is that predicting the future, even if you are in the business of doing so, is really hard and not very accurate.

Friday, June 19, 2009

iPod saves life of girl struck by lightning

This is not an urban legend (yet). A girl in England was standing under a tree, holding hands with her boyfriend, when she was struck by lightning. Her name is Sophie Frost of Southend-on-Sea, England. Although she remembers nothing about the incident, doctors (whoever) say that she survived because she had her iPod headphones hanging around her neck. However, it is lucky she wasn't actually wearing the headphones or the story probably wouldn't have made international news.

The girl is apparently most worried about her fried iPod and not her fried boyfriend. Apparently, the iPod was brand new.

You can see a picture of her with her scorched clothes online. I would guess that lightning scorched clothes will be all the rage shortly in England and beyond.

In the same article, just for a reality check I guess, there is a picture of a huge hole in the roof of a house caused by a lightning strike.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Apple iPhone to get new video and new operating system

Apple is upgrading both the operating system and and the hardware with the new iPhone 3G S. The phone, which is currently beginning to be available, now comes with a 3 megapixel camera and can shoot video at 30 fps at VGA (640x480). Users can also share videos e-mail, MMS, Apple's MobileMe service, and YouTube.

In keeping with Apple's graphic dominance, "people can "scrub" through a video--that is, click and drag to fast-forward and rewind--as they watch to jump to the spot they want. Likewise, they can trim videos to pare back to the desired portion. The scrubbing and trimming uses an interface that displays the video as a filmstrip sequence of still frames." Quote from cnet.

I am a long time PDA users and I must say that the iPhone, although pricey, has revolutionized my PDA usage. It is just like having a really useful tiny computer all the time, rather than just a list keeper and calendar. We use the GPS functions to look for everything from stores to banks and the fact that it now syncs with my office e-mail frees me from a desktop PC.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New LDS Church History Library

Opening of a new library is an event in our household. We have been known to take out-of-town visitors on a tour of the local public library as a treat. We are especially anxious to visit the new Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. Not to be confused with the Family History Library, the new structure opened for the first visits on June 12 and 13, 2009. As reported in the Church's Newsroom, " After 15 years of planning, four years of construction and a million artifacts moved, Elder Marlin K. Jensen from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed the last historical item on the shelf in the new Church History Library in front of local media."

The article goes on to explain the importance of the last book on the shelf,
Jensen, the historian and recorder of the Church, explained that this last item was one of the 100 scrapbooks kept by President David O. McKay. “It is a personal record filled with photos, letters and journal entries that documented his travels as an apostle in 1921 to the far corners of the earth.” Elder McKay’s world tour took him 55,000 miles to such countries as Australia, France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Samoa, Palestine, India and Egypt to survey the Church’s missions. One photograph captured a moment in Egypt with Elder McKay and his traveling companion, Hugh J. Cannon, both sitting on camels in front of the famous Sphinx. Elder Jensen was joined by President McKay’s grandson, Alan Ashton, when the journal was placed in one of the many vaults of the Church History Library.
You may wish to read the entire article, please go to Media Sees Rare Historical Treasures at Tour of New Church History Library

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The First Church of the Starbucks

Somethings are so strange to me that I can hardly believe they are happening. Today I saw one of those things. Our local televangelist church now has a resident Starbucks. No, I did not make this up. They have a sign up in front of the church. This church advertises something for everyone and now, they are true to their word. Of course, as a Mormon who doesn't drink coffee for religious reasons, I probably am still excluded from their definition of everyone, but this is certainly something to think about. What other tie-ins are there in the future? Are any major merchandising chains in wings ready to merge their operations with the church? What about Sears, Walmart, perhaps going to the Mall on Sunday will take on a new meaning when the either the churches own the Malls or the other way around.

In going onto the church's Website, (and no I am not going to give them a link) I find that a coffee shop is only one of the many merchandising products carried by the church. Here is a list from their store:

Product Categories
Gift Certificates
Activities, Fundraisers, Event
Books: Health & Healing
Business & Finance
Christian Living
Clothing, Jewelry & Accessories
Marriage & Family
Health & Fitness
Political Science & History
Reference Material
Self Improvement
Coffee House

It is interesting to me that along with the store and the Starbucks, they Church does have a tab to "Discover Christ." Well, it is comforting to know that religion is still on the agenda.

There are probably a lot pertinent scriptures at this point, but I will leave with one from Isaiah 2:8 "Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made..."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Serious pornography problem with Microsoft Bing


Recent news articles have touted the new Microsoft search engine, Bing. Microsoft is committing a huge amount of resources to push its new product. However, there are some serious and dangerous drawbacks to Bing.

In an article entitled "Parents beware: Bing previews video porn" cnet explains that "Microsoft's new Bing search engine has a highly touted feature that some parents may find troublesome. Bing's video search tool has a preview mode that lets you view and listen to part of a video simply by hovering over it with your mouse. Trouble is, it works with porn as well as "family friendly" videos."

Please take time to read the rest of the article.

In another more recent article, the author warns "Norton can't block Bing porn." Again to quote the article, "As a followup to my post from Tuesday about the ability for someone to view porn from within Bing, I just heard from a Symantec spokesperson that the company's Internet monitoring and filtering service, OnlineFamily.Norton (review), can't yet prevent Bing users from searching sexually explicit terms for Web sites or videos. The company plans to add Bing to its protected search engines in the next release. Other major search engines, including Google, are covered by the software's SafeSearch feature."

Even more worrisome is the feature as the article states, "Because Bing plays videos within its own site and doesn't require the user to click through, checking the browser history or using monitoring programs like OnlineFamily would only show that they visited, not what videos they watched from within the site."

Please pass this information on.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Yorker cover created on iPhone

This is an amazing video. All of the graphics for a New Yorker magazine cover created on an iPhone:

Check it out. These days, all you need to create magazine cover-worthy artwork is an iPhone and Steve Sprang's $4.99 Brushes app. Oh, and insane talent.