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Archive for July, 2011

Some people like adulthood, some don’t

Posted by Chance on July 31, 2011

I like adulthood much more than I liked childhood.  Adulthood has a lot of responsibilities, but I like the freedom that it offers.  I like making my own choices – if I want to go to Arby’s for lunch I can go there, I don’t have to ask my parents.  I can eat cookies before desert, and I can stay up as late as I want. I can also choose, to some degree, how to spend my own money, although I still have to pay my mortgage and feed my family.

That being said, I have to face the consequences for my choices.  I can stay up late, but I’ll be tired for work the next day.  I can eat and drink whatever I want, but I know that has some consequences health-wise.  That is the nature of adulthood.  To some extent, I have external factors governing my decisions, i.e the bank that loaned me money for my house, my employer, but I have much more freedom now than I did as a child, and I don’t have an active force preventing me from making those decisions, I will just face the consequences later, as opposed to a parent or guardian.

I think there are a large contingency of people who don’t like adulthood, or, they want to be the parents for other people.  These people want to ban smoking, or tax fast food, or tell us how exactly how we should spend our savings.  Let’s look at the fast food tax – this is the antithesis of adulthood.  When I was a child, my parents didn’t let me eat happy meals for every single meal, and even if that was affordable, they still wouldn’t have done so because I needed more balance in my diet.  As an adult, they don’t tell me what to do, I make my own choices and pay the consequences later.  The fast food tax, and similar ideas, tells me I’m not responsible enough to make my own decisions, that I need discouragement from making the wrong choices.  For people who are on board with such an idea, I have two words.  Grow up.

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Posted in Culture, Politics | 2 Comments »

Android apps that I use

Posted by Chance on July 29, 2011

I’ve had an Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S) for a few months now. Here are a few appear I use.  (Note: I suppose I could post links, but that would be a lot of work, and that’s why things like Google exist).

Bible from Lifechurch.tv. Great app. It has many, if not all, of the major Bible versions, and it has an easy to use interface that allows me to get to a desired chapter very quickly.

Nook. I still like using my wife’s actual Nook better due to its superior battery life but if you don’t have an eReader this is nice to use for occasional reading. The animated page turns are pretty cool.

PowerAmp. This is one of the few apps that I have that actually costs money. (about $5) It’s the most driver friendly music app I’ve found, as I can use swipe gestures to skip songs or go to next album.

Angry birds.  As fun as advertised. I like the original better than Rio.

Barcode scanner. I haven’t used it for anything useful yet, it’s just impressive technology.

Overdrive Console. Used to check out ebooks from the library.

TuneIn Radio. Used to listen to various internet radio stations

Word with Friends. Fun to play.  Although I usually lose.

ESPN ScoreCenter. Self-explanatory.  Finally updated to be as good as the iPhone version.

Google Listen. Listen to podcasts

Mint.com. Keep track of finances.

Covenant Eyes Beta.  I was using X3Watch but now am trying out Covenant Eyes Beta since I’m a member anyway, and CE is superior.

Posted in Computers, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Thoughts on Google+

Posted by Chance on July 22, 2011

I was one of the people important and special enough to receive a Google+ invite.  I don’t really have time for a second social network (the other being facebook) but I thought I would check it out.

How it works.

  1. Like Twitter, Google+ is based on one-way relationships.  That is, you can follow someone but they don’t have to follow you.  This is opposed to Facebook where the relationship is two-way.
  2. A central part of G+ (as us privileged few call Google+) is the idea of circles.  So, when I add someone to follow, I can choose from the default circles of Friends, Acquaintances, Family, or Following.  Or I can create a new one.  So, when I share something, I can choose what group I want to share with.  What’s important is that others cannot see which circle they are in.
  3. What a person shares is public, unless they choose to share with specific circles.
  4. I’m not sure what the limit is on posting things, but it is obviously bigger than Facebook’s limit for their status updates.

A few thoughts.

  1. I like the idea of Circles, especially since people cannot see what circle they are in.  This is actually implemented in Facebook via friend lists, but it is not nearly as easy to use, although it is a feature I use in Facebook.  I like sharing general thoughts to all my friends, but things that are more personal, or involving holiday plans (or more plainly said, when I’m not at home) I like to limit to a set of closer friends.
  2. One way relationships will probably only work if people choose to share things publicly.  For example, I chose to follow a sports blogger.  If he, and others like him, choose to share things with the world, then following them will have value.  If they choose to only share with their circles, and I’m not in their circles, then there is no value.
  3. Right now Google+ is not much fun.  While there are probably several pros to Google having a limited group to test G+ and build buzz, it means that not a whole lot is going on.  Right now I have 8 people I’m following and nothing is going on in the Stream (which is G+’s version of the News Feed).

It will be interesting to see how G+ competes with Facebook.  I think people will like the Circles option, although, as some tech-bloggers have pointed out, it’s probably only a matter of time before Facebook makes their Friend Lists feature easier to use and/or more like Circles.  I do like the one-way relationship structure, but as I said above, this will only have value if people share things publicly, as they do in Twitter. I don’t know if right now, in terms of my usage, G+ offers anything new other than something to play with.  But at the very least, I’ll keep the profile around awhile.

Posted in Computers, Technology | 4 Comments »

What’s special about Christmas and Country Music?

Posted by Chance on July 4, 2011

Some of this stuff I’ve touched on before, in this post, but I wanted to explore it a little bit more.

In mainstream music, there seems to be a strong divide between secular and Christian music.  There’s the Christian category in music, then there’s everything else.  There’s a few artists, like Switchfoot and P.O.D. that started out in the Christian genre but now have their feet in both sectors of the music industry, or other groups that play secular music but have Christian members, such as U2 and Lifehouse, but they seem to differ from the norm.  For the artists that do exist in both spheres, they are constantly analyzed to determine whether or not they are truly “Christian”.

Such a distinction does not seem to exist in country and Christmas music realms.  Artists like Carrie Underwood sing unabashedly about their faith, but there seems to be much less debate about whether Underwood is a Christian or secular artist.  It’s quite normal for any country artist to sing about their faith or put God in a song, and it’s not a huge deal.  Why does such a huge divide not exist.

A similar thing exists with Christmas music.  It is not unusual for a Christian station to play secular Christmas songs, or a secular Christmas song to sing  an overwhelmingly spiritual Christmas song.

I’m not sure why such a heavy distinction exists in mainstream pop/rock, but not in country.  The only theory I have is that perhaps country music is composed primarily of middle America culturally conservative type people where faith is a big part of their lives, and there’s no separation between their faith and the rest of their life.  But I know the same has to be true for some rock groups as well.  Is there something different about Nashville, and that where a person records (i.e. Nashville vs. L.A.) that makes such a huge difference?  Is it that most rock groups come from big cities, which tend to be more culturally liberal and less involved in faith/religion?

Even then, these theories discuss why the secular stays away from the religious in rock, but why does the religious stay away from the secular?  Do groups that are composed of Christians feel pressure to focus on “Christian” music?  Is this an effect of the “Christian Bubble” in which sometimes Christians want to stay?

Anyway, just thinking out loud.  Brant Hansen, formerly of the Way-FM radio station – I don’t know what he’s doing these days – has some interesting thoughts on the distinction of sacred vs. secular in music, and how these lines are “blurry”.

Posted in Culture, Music | 1 Comment »