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Throughout our class this semester we have discussed a number of issues involving video games, some of which include: whether video game violence translates to real world violence, rather shooting people or assaulting them with the avatar you control is wrong or whether or not the line becomes blurred between video games and real life because of all the new technology making video games more realistic.I have a firm belief in the saying “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” I believe that this line of thinking goes along well with the idea of video game usage affects people’s real world decisions.People who begin to show signs of a blurred line between their video game usage and their real lives likely have some type of problem to start with, people just might not have recognized it before the person played certain games. I have played a number of video games in my life, some in which I fight people, some in which I kill people, some in which I drive really fast and run other drivers off of the road and some where I kill as many animals as possible, all for fun.I think that I have a fairly normal psyche and none of these games have affected me. If one has a sturdy mental makeup, then I don’t feel as though video games do anything with the exception of giving them something to do between classes. I believe that USUALLY, only those who are not fully clicking mentally for one reason or another have problems seeing the distinctly bold line that separates video games and real life.

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It is believed by sources affiliated with http://www.macrumors.com that a new Macbook will be released sometime in 2008. Apple has apparently created a notebook that will have increased startup speed and will be significantly lighter and thinner, though otherwise similar in size to its current 15″ Macbook. This innovation raises a question for me. When will this phenomenon stop, or will it? It seems like notebooks are consistently getting thinner and lighter, but at some point there will be no thinner they can go. Laptops can only get so thin before they are either too fragile to use regularly or are too thin for their components.This makes me wonder if items like the new iPhone are going to forever change the landscape of this market. I wonder if laptops in the form they are in now will be non-existent in 20 years, or if they will decide to keep them a similar size, but instead try to upgrade all of their components. For example, at five pounds the weight of a 15″ MacBook Pro is entirely workable. Instead of trying to make it any lighter, wouldn’t it make more sense to instead work to upgrade processor speed, battery life and screen resolution? I personally would not want a computer that is any smaller, but I would welcome one with a 20 hour battery life and a processor speed that loads all applications in a snap. I think that this topic goes along well with what we talked about earlier in the semester regarding companies constantly trying to one-up one another rather than to sit back and think about how what we already have could be made more efficient. If the focus is always on smaller and lighter, when will we ever have the time to devote to gaining substantial jumps in performance and programming? Could the following ad be true?

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Hello, my name is Matt, and I love Bluetooth. Part of the reason that it has always drawn me could be that my favorite color is blue, or it could be that I love the flexibility it gives me to transfer files, to sync my calendar or to upload my call list from my cell phone to my Bluetooth-equipped GPS. These are the three areas in which I use my GPS the most. First, I love transferring files from my computer to another bluetooth-equipped computer when no Internet access is available or when transferring a 180 MB video file is simply impossible through E-mail. Secondly, I use my bluetooth to sync my cell phone contact list and calendar to my contact list and calendar on my computer. This ensures me not only that I’ll have the same contacts and calendar entries in both location, but it also guarantees me that I have a backup if one of the two happens to be lost. Finally, I love being able to use bluetooth to sync my cell phone to my car GPS. My cell phone sends my contact list to my GPS which sends a signal to my bluetooth-equipped car. The person on the other end of the line then can be heard through my car speakers.Bluetooth just makes my life easier. If anyone actually reads this, let me know what you think about this innovative and helpful technology. 

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There are some things in life that we take for granted without even realizing it. These things can be the most trivial things or the most important ones. Two things that I now realize that I have taken for granted for the amount of time that I’ve owned them are my Battery and my power cord for my laptop.When things are working properly we oftentimes forget about them and think about something that we deem more pressing or worthy of our thoughts. It isn’t simply technological things that we do this with, however, we do it with our own bodies as well. For example, when is the last time that you thought to yourself, “Wow, it feels so good to not have a headache right now” or, “My throat feels so good, it isn’t sore at all.” It is a rare occasion that we think like this, but perhaps we should a little more often. It seems like the only time we appreciate something or someone is after we can no longer enjoy it or express to that person how we actually feel. I know this could seem like a strange stretch to compare physical health to the health of my technology, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Okay, now for the specifics…everything was going just fine for me with my computer, I’d finally gotten all of my software issues resolved and then my battery went dead, and stayed there. For the past two weeks or so, I’ve only been able to use my computer when it’s plugged in, which has really made me understand how much I do like the concept of a laptop.But even then all I could think was how upset I was that I didn’t have my battery working rather than thinking how grateful I was that I did have a working power cord. Well, now I don’t even have one of those.What started out like an ordinary trek across my living room, took a quick turn for the worse as my foot caught my power cord and sent my laptop to the floor. I was already mad enough that I had knocked my laptop onto the floor before I then realized that I had broken my power cord into my computer as well (If you’re wondering how I’m typing this, I’m using my wife’s MacBook).I guess what I am trying to convey in all of this is simply that we need to make an effort to be thankful for what we have while we are enjoying it and not take the small things in our lives for granted. Enjoy a sunny day while it’s here rather than wishing for one during the rain.

secondlife_1.jpg  After researching second life and actually playing around on it a bit, I came to a couple of conclusions. One, I don’t like Second Life and two, is there actually a possibility that second life could ever be used as a tool to bring non-Christians to God? I’m not asking if there is a way to minister to members who are already Christians, I am wondering if Second Life will ever be able to be used specifically as a “soul-winning” tool by some organization. There are currently church services being held in this virtual world, but it is highly unlikely that any non-Christians are attending those, so what can Christian organizations do (if anything) to minister here? What would need to be the first course of action for one of these ministries would be to determine to what demographic they wanted to minister. Secondly, they would need to decide how they are going to advertise their mission without overtly coming out and saying it on Second Life. Thirdly, they would need to have representatives on call so to speak who would actually be able to interact with other users to help them with any questions or concerns they might have. But now we are back at the heart of the question, “Can Second Life ministry actually work?” I think what lies at the heart of this question is the intentions of the users who join this site. Sure, some might join it and interact one time in it and then never open it again, but what about those who take part in it for hours a day every day. Why are these people there? Is it to find a partner, a friend, a place to be someone else or a place to be anonymous or famous, depending on one’s nix? In reality (no pun intended) the high number of people in second life are likely there to separate themselves from their real lives, whatever those may be like.Would someone wanting to separate from his or her real life really want to make a decision in a virtual world that directly affects his or her real life? If not, is there really any type of full-blown ministry effort that could succeed in second life? Would Christians be more successful ministering to people if they used “in-world” Christian psychologists to help those in mental need who turn to second life as their escape What do you think?

Well, my last blog was about my troubles dealing with Apple’s new O.S. Leopard and it seems that the problems are continuing to flow between me and software. About two weeks ago I decided to purchase iLife 08 since my 04 version is somewhat out of date. The main reason I wanted to purchase this program was so that I could get a new version of iMovie, a program that I use on a fairly regular basis.Before I bought the program, I thought to myself, “My computer is relatively new, I shouldn’t have any issues running this program.”Well, I assumed, and you all know what they say about assuming. After I received the program, I placed it in the computer and it started loading. Then, the first message that popped up said that all of the programs would be loaded onto my computer, except for iMovie 08. The reason? Because my computer has neither a G5 processor (I have a g4) or an Intel processor like one of the new MacBooks.Long story short, two recent Apple software purchases, two big problems.  I just bought an iPod last Friday, let’s hope my next blog is about something else…ilife-software1.jpg

This is great! Finally! After months (years really) Apple finally released its new operating system Leopard. I pre-ordered it and was anxiously sitting at the door on October 26th, the day it was to arrive.I received my shipment from FedEx (after what seemed like hours of waiting) and I hurried to my computer to get my “download on.” Little did I know what stress laid ahead of me. The directions seemed simple enough, just insert the disc, push a few buttons and you’re ready to enjoy!Attempt number one, “Download failed.” Oh no, I thought. This can’t be happening to me right now. I just paid $200 for a disc that doesn’t work. I starting thinking, what if i got a bad disc? Has Apple released the disc too soon without fixing some of the bugs? How long am I going to have to wait?Okay, time for the second attempt. Disc in, disc initiation started. 5, 10, 15 minutes went by. Is it going to work? Nope, second attempt failed. By now I’m really freaking out. My pulse must be 160 bpm and rising and my blood pressure is certainly on the rise. I took the disc out and then slid it back into the slot for attempt number 3. This will be the time, I thought. It was, but not without a huge headache. When I inserted the disc the third time, I was not given the option to install, only to completely erase and reformat my hard drive.No way, I thought, this cannot be happening to me right now. After coming to the realization that I had no other choice, I backed up my most important stuff and erased my hard drive. The erase was both terrifying and relieving. On one hand, I was scared that I’d forgotten to back something important up, but on the other hand, I had 100 GB of space left to work with. All of the clutter that I’d accumulated over the years was finally gone with no chance of reprieve. When the reformat was finally finished, I tried once again to install and, I guess third time really is a charm, because it finally worked for me.I was so excited to try out the new O.S. that I quickly forgot all about the trouble that I went through to install it, that is until I realized that when I reformatted my hard drive I erased all of the programs that I had on the disk…but that will have to be the story for another day. apple_leopard1.jpg 

Ahhh…what can’t I say about “Apple?” I have owned Apple products for the past couple of years now and there is no part of me that would ever go back. Apple products – especially Apple computers – have so many options and conveniences for the average user that when compared to a PC, it’s almost like comparing apples to oranges…rotten oranges at that.

Whether someone enjoys music, photography or enjoys making home movies, a MacBook, PowerBook or iMac is definitely the way to go. Add to that features like Dashboard, Widgets and Sherlock and one has all of the enjoyment that he or she could possibly desire from a computer. Now Apple has come out with the iPhone, probably the most marketed phone of all time and they continue to come out with state of the art technologies for all of their products. One has to wonder how far off a fully touch screen computer is?

To close, Apple technology is some of the most innovative around, and I look forward to buying each new product that Apple makes in the future…that is until my bank account can no longer keep up with the innovations. I guess that is what loans are for?!

As far as technology goes, I am not the first guy to hop on the bandwagon and I’m not the last. I have an Apple Powerbook, but not a MacBook, I have a flat screen TV, but not a Plasma screen and I have a GPS for my car, but it isn’t the newest model off the shelf. I am probably closer to the middle of the road as far as adopting new technology goes. I like to do research, look at numerous consumer reports-type reviews and talk to my friends about the pluses and minuses of new technology before I actually partake. There is no part of me that wants to be the first person to find out that the new touch screen iPod has a serious design flaw. I’d rather let other people find out as many of the kinks as can be found and then I’ll make the particular purchase. I suppose that I would find myself to be in the Early Majority of technological adopters. If I were a millionaire, however, I might find myself in the early adopter category…but I think that even dreaming about that predicament puts me a little ahead of where I am currently.

Aside from the aspect that I need to pass this course to graduate in 3 months, I think the value of blogging is a helpful one especially for COM majors, because it affords one the chance the put his or her thoughts into words (or at least text) in an environment that isn’t highly critical of what is said or how something is said. I hope to become better at releasing some of my inner thoughts and hope to improve my writing skills throughout this semester.