Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fast Food

Ok, so I’ll admit that I may have had a number of food-related posts of late, but food always seems to work for when it comes to metaphors. Today it’s fast food, the food we get when we are lazy, late, moody, broke, or even because it sounds good. Fast food is exactly what the name implies; it’s fast and inherently convenient.

I looked for him, but did not find him. I called him, but he did not answer.” Song of Solomon 5:6

The passage above describes the “Beloved”, or the female lover in the book Song of Solomon, also commonly referred to as Song of Songs. She cannot find her lover–and it’s not convenient for her. She wants to see him, in fact she goes in search of him, only to be beaten up. She longs to see him, but he is not there. There are always times when we need God. And God will be there for you whenever you truly need him. In fact, he’s always there, just maybe not making everything perfect like we want. God moves behind the scenes all the time. But this isn’t convenient for us. It’s a difficult concept to grasp: Why would God put us through hard times? Why would he have us struggle?

There’s a movie about a nanny, that is, Nanny McPhee, which involves rebellious children coming to learn responsibility and etiquette according to this “magical” government nanny. One of the lines mentioned in both the end and the beginning mentions that the nanny is there when the children do not want her to be, and not there when they would like her to be.

Amazingly, this story applies well to our lives. God, oddly enough, is like the nanny, and, yes, we are like the rebellious children. We have to appreciate God at all times, despite our wishes. I often find myself saying ‘God, why can’t you just stay out of this one thing?’, but it is these moments when we need him most. We have to give all of ourselves up to him to ever live truly happy or successful lives.

It’s not always convenient. God doesn’t arrive at our beck and call. We have to do things his way, not our way, to make things work out in the end.

MWC: Halfway Through

GSMA’s Barcelona event that is redefining mobile has brought about a number of great things presented by companies around the world. Mobile World Congress brings us incredible new devices every year, and we are already two days into it. But what are some of the most major announcements?

  1. The HTC One family is almost complete with the HTC One V and One S announced. It is a lower-end phone with 4GB of storage (still has a micro-SD slot), a 3.7″ screen, and a 5 Megapixel camera and an oddly designed chin, but still rocks the specs with Ice Cream Sandwich inside. The HTC One S is a higher-end phone with its Super AMOLED 4.3″ display and dual-core 1.5 GHz processor. The HTC One X has an unbelievable 4.7″ Super LCD 2 full HD (1,280 x 720 pixels) screen and is powered by the new quad-core 1.5 GHz Tegra 3 CPU. Like the One S, it has a dedicated graphics card. The One X also has 32 GB of internal memory, twice that of the One S. The only odd thing is that the One X has no SD slot, exactly like the One S, but similarly comes with 25 GB of free Dropbox storage.
  2. The Japanese company Panasonic releases its first smartphone for western markets, the ultra light weight Panasonic Eluga with a 4.3″ qHD OLED display and a dual-core 1 GHz processor. The phone has a sleek square-corner design, and should be released as mid-range phone.
  3. ZTE enters a more worldwide scene with its new phones and tablets, including the astonishing ICS-powered quad-core Era and even a Windows Phone.
  4. The Nokia 808 PureView, supplied with the latest of Symbian, has incredible Carl Zeiss optics along with unprecedented camera sensor technology–and a 41 Megapixel camera.

Sources: MWC.com, Android Central, CNET

Stretching Your Legs

Most people probably start losing their flexibility at age 11 or 12, in leaving their childhood and their bodies mature. This means that like any adult, they must stretch to keep their flexibility. Flexibility is more valuable than just striking a wild yoga posture; it can bring relaxation and comfort, basically leaving you feeling good. It’s very important to a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t require much to stay flexible. Just stretch regularly. If you stretch a little bit each day, you can easily stay or grow more flexible.

This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.'” Matthew 6:9-11 (NIV UK)

Our ability to listen to and serve God is a lot like our physical flexibility. We have to give daily effort to stay flexible in spirit. When we forget about God, when we don’t spend time with him for a while, we lose the strength of our relationship. We have to stay dedicated to God and his purpose, to have our “daily bread”, to be strong in spirit.

It’s a simple concept, but incredibly pertinent to us today. It’s just like any relationship, our relationship with God requires time and effort. If you simply talk to someone once a day, never listened, and walked away, how could they be your friend? We have to not only pray to God, but we have to listen to him also. We have to spend time with him to grow with him.

God loved us enough to send his son to die. He wants a relationship with us. All we have to do is what we would with any friendship. We spend daily time, prayer, and concentration–our daily bread–to stay flexible in the spirit. So loosen up. Stretch your legs.

Eat Your Cereal

I’ve always been fond of metaphors, though I think to have a true appreciation you have to be willing to change your perspective. Lately, I have both become more fond of cereal, and God has used it to show me something. Also, having recently begun Lent, I thought I would

Every January, my church does a fast as a congregation. During the fast, I gave up a number of food items; sweets, soda, and the lot, and cereal was naturally included. I don’t know why, but I find that it can be a relaxing afternoon snack. So during the fast, I was left strangely craving cereal–something I would not have expected. So eventually, when I broke my fast, I broke it with a bowl of cereal. With that, the bowl of cereal became for me the symbol of spiritual blessing, or something that had more depth and meaning, something that connected me to God on a personal level. With this, I was inspired with a metaphor, and one that really applied to me. Every blessing, every wonder and moment, every truth–it’s like a bowl of cereal. For everyone, it is surely different, but for me cereal is a symbol of a truly meaningful blessing.

Granted, it is mildly strange to be comparing my family to bowls of cereal, and I can’t deny that there wasn’t any humor meant to be involved. But either way, the fast helped me to gain a perspective of thankfulness I had never experienced before. I was able to look past the Thanksgiving thankful list, and see that there is so much more to be thankful. We have all been placed in positions by which we can live for Christ as he would live. Personally, I had never seen the places, people, and opportunities I had been given until that fast–until I looked around and saw that I was surrounded by cereal.

We have blessings, honors, and wonders in our lives, but those naturally come with responsibility. We need to embrace those opportunities, to eat your cereal if you will. Having been given such things we have to make use of them. That’s just one of the reasons that we fast. We remember our responsibilities as we gain perspective and knowledge.

 …indeed, if you call out for insight, and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:3-5

It’s a pretty great honor to have “knowledge of God”, so it takes a truly humbled heart and cry to hear God’s inspiration. That humility is one part of fasting. Just as well, it’s easy to look for riches or the things we desire with eagerness, but if we look for fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God, we can find those things which are far more valuable (and honestly it’s probably easier than getting rich).

The things we are blessed with in life arte so often overlooked. We are blessed with more than just worldly things, or more than just family even. We are blessed with the opportunities and possibilities we are given, and we have to take advantage. We have to humble ourselves to seek God. We remember our responsibilities as we pursue the fear of the Lord. So, don’t leave it on your shelf. Eat your cereal.

Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 3: Speed

Whether you’re a daredevil driver who’s always dreamed of the autobahn, a lover of racing games, or even a regular street-law abiding person, we all have a need for speed when it comes to smartphones.

While benchmarks and tech specs have their advantages, there is more to a smartphone than just the hardware inside. Without an efficient and optimized operating system, even a dual-core 1.5 Ghz phone is about as fast as streaming an HD video with roaming data in a mountain range. Sometimes you just need to see how things work in the wild. For a quick comparison, I have an Android 2.3 Gingerbread phone, an iOS 5.01 device, and a Windows Phone 7.5 Mango phone, all only connected to the same WiFi network. The three have very similar hardware aside from the iOS device, with a clear disadvantage in hardware. I ran a few field tests and came up with some relative data, subject to a multitude of complications, but interesting still.

iOS 5 vs. Android 2.3 vs. Windows Phone 7.5
The three platforms face off in a field test.

As seen above, each operating system seems to have its strong suits. iOS never loses by much and maintains respectable comparative speed, Android is sometimes a ways ahead and sometimes a ways behind, and Windows Phone sticks out in a couple tests and is mediocre in others. In truth, its difficult to find a clear winner. Despite this, it is important to note that the Windows Phone and Android devices had the same chipsets, the slightly older iOS device had a more dated processor.  Knowing this, one would easily conclude iOS superior, comparing with hardware with an edge on it, but there are a lot of other factors involved. One strike against iOS is that the YouTube video would not play in the browser with the mobile HTML 5 version of the page, requiring a plugin to function, which is the only reason for the “n/a” displayed above.

Writing from personal experience, iOS and Windows Phone surpass Android in speed. That said, I have very little exposure to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, so I can’t say too much.

Wrapping it all up, the platforms tend to really have individual strong suits. iOS has everything there, but the design is not always the most functional, requiring an “app for everything”. Android has some degree of integration, but is sometimes inefficient. Windows Phone has the opposite problem of iOS. While it has a streamlined design, the app usage and some functionality is lacking. This all affects the speed of your day-to-day usage, so to make the most of your phone, you really have to find which is best suited to you.

Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 1: Apps

Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 2: Ecosystem and Extras

Remembering Others

Let’s face it–we are generally classified as the awkward archetype, and it doesn’t help that most of us are. But as Christians, we are called to live while considering others and their needs.

Solomon shares with us an incredible amount of wisdom in Proverbs, and in two specific excerpts, seemingly unrelated, we get some insight into the original “putting yourself in others’ shoes” phrase. Both are found in Proverbs 25, and they are 25:20-22:

20Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,

or like vinegar poured on a wound,

is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;

if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,

and the Lord will reward you.”

Basically, the proverbs give us two situations:

The first situation describes two people, one who is of a “heavy heart” and the other, the “one who sings songs”,  in a situation where singing may not be the best. From this, we can gather the true importance of good social timing. In reality, there is a time for everything, as King Solomon tells us (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and when someone has a heavy heart and is having a truly unfortunate time, sometimes its better to back off and leave it up to God. This isn’t to say, however, that God doesn’t use us in the lives of our family and friends, and we should always be looking out for one another.

The second situation describes “you” and “your enemy”. Your enemy is hungry or thirsty, and we are supposed to help him; to attend to the needs of even the person who hates us. While it may not be giving them food or drink, there are infinite parallel situations to this. God tells us that what we do for the least of all people, we do for God himself (Matthew 25:40). This proverb is very much the same, and  Basically, this sets the precedent in many situations–your enemy is in trouble and you have the upper hand, we are told to assist him. And all this despite the difficulty; fighting the urge to trample them in the dust and gloat over the moment (because I know I would want to). As Christians we are called to a greater lifestyle, and as geeks, we live a lifestyle where, often, no one expects us to step out.

We are called to living righteous lives, giving up our sin in redemption. Part of that means remembering others. When you have a friend who’s mourning, it is not always right to attempt to cheer them up. Think about how you would feel–for there is place for mourning. And, as the same, think of your enemy. We do not humiliate our enemies, and any Sunday school regular knows we are called to love them. In order to seek God, and to grow in Him, we are called to live morally right lives, and remembering others is absolutely essential.

On the Radar: Kid Icarus: Uprising

Remember the guy named Pit in Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Believe it or not, the forgotten hero appears to be getting another chance to shine. The upcoming game Kid Icarus: Uprising is a game in the series Kid Icarus. This game will be the third in the series. The first game was Kid Icarus for the NES, and the second, Kid Icarus: Myths and Monsters, was for the Game Boy Advance. While these two games were side-scrolling platformers, Uprising is a 3D game that is also, you know, a 3D game. This is because the game is being released on the 3DS and its 3D capability while it also has a three-dimensional world. Uprising also takes weapon selection in the saga to a new level. While the original games had one weapon, Uprising has a vast amount. This is possible in that all weapons are unique So even if you the same weapon it could have different stats. Kid Icarus: Uprising may be a long-awaited sequel to a little-known series, but it’s a game that may leave us pleasantly surprised.

Ephesians 6:18 Prayer Campaign

Hey folks! In light of our relative newness, we have yet to get a substantial number of followers. We would like to offer all of you the chance to both help us out, and get some support. In Ephesians 6:18 we are told:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

So it’s everyone’s duty to do this, and this is our verse to live by as we promise to pray the name of everyone who likes our Facebook page! We have our team ready for dedicated prayer to all of you, but we would love to have your name to pray over. You can follow our twitter for further information, and don’t forget to spread the word.

When does it start, you ask? As soon as you like our page!

Precious Time

I’ve been asking a serious question recently: “Where in the world did my day go?!”

Lately, time has been passing me intangibly fast. I haven’t been able to properly manage my time between all of my duties and hobbies, and, of course, this blog. I’ve been drifting through the days, often forgetting things, and not being the brother, son, or boyfriend that I need to be.

In our lives, we often go off spending our time striving for this or that, like that raise, or maybe that new car. Or maybe even smaller; perhaps you spend way too much time playing Skyrim or replaying old Legend of Zelda games. All too often, we lose sight of how to manage our time in a way which reflects what is important. If God really is more important to us, shouldn’t we spend more time devoted to him than anything else?

Honestly, I don’t think any of us could truly accomplish this feat, but it is an interesting question. Why shouldn’t we devote more time to God, let alone effort, if we want to follow him before anything else.

Time management is a daunting task, for everyone who’s not a schizophrenic schedule monger. I know it’s difficult, but we have to trust even this to God. Like everything else in life, God has the answers. Even when it’s difficult, we need to entrust this to God.

As Matthew 28: 19 (NIV) says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is what God has told all of us to do for everyone everywhere. So join me in the quest to not only live life to the fullest, but also to always work to bring people to Christ. And seriously, there’s a lot more people than just us out there with the message of Jesus.

I’m working on setting my priorities straight, and making sure that this purpose comes first.

Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 2: Ecosystem and Extras

Previously, I released a post titled Battle of the Mobile OSs Part 1: Apps. So, in the continued battle of the smartphones, I know bring to you my spin on the ecosystems associated with each major mobile platform.

This is less about statistics than the plain and simple user experience when it comes to a platform. But this simple experience, or perhaps not so simple, is not to be overlooked. All considered, this ecosystem is one of the biggest things that a consumer new to the smartphone market will look at. Many phones have the same apps, hardware capabilities, and other overall features, but consumers will start looking to what else the phone has to offer. Ecosystem, in layman’s terms the functionality and compatibility with other hardware and software components, is key to every device. To every phone, it’s own.

Android has convenient functionality with the vast majority of Google products. Apple has extremely simple but effective functionality between other Apple devices, including iCloud and AirPlay, but most key is its amazingly mainstream media software: iTunes. Windows Phone has holds its own with its integration with the Xbox and the Zune software, along with other Microsoft products. Blackberry has unique features in this realm including some functionality between a Blackberry phone and Playbook tablet, but more importantly, Blackberry Messenger  (BBM). Each mobile platform has a unique foundation under it, making each appealing in its own way.

I suppose I should start with the platform which most prizes its unique ecosystem: Windows Phone. Among many things like Microsoft Office and Xbox Live, Windows Phone 7 has capabilities built in that are unavailable or not cheap on other phones. Backed by one of the most essential software corporations on the planet, Windows Phone has plenty of power behind its punch, even if it has yet to fully mature. Windows Phone is also wired to automatically integrate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Windows Live, and other accounts to present you the latest in statuses, tweets, and news, along with contact linking and other functionality. What truly comes to mind concerning ecosystem for Windows Phone is the future in Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and the new Xbox; the idea being to unite all of Microsoft’s platforms

It could also be argued that Blackberry’s ecosystem, or rather its characteristic extras, make it the most secure mobile OS around. Blackberry supplies features which though unique, often come at the cost of others. The platform does however elevate above the rest when it comes to fast, easy comunication–with BBM. With new features like Blackberry Music, Blackberry is also becoming a more social phone, and can be argued one of the best for chit-chatting, texting, and talking digital-style. However, on a stricter interpretation of “ecosystem”, Blackberry is somewhat of RIM’s only child, outside of the PlayBook.

The OS with the most true punch, the hip and the now, iOS takes the cake when it comes to media ecosystem. Outside of apps, however, the platform suffers on a lack of built-in functionality. iOS offers many features like iCloud, allowing the seamless transfer of data, and also AirPlay, used for the access of an Apple TV. The platfrom could be considered relatively barebones, leaving the user to rely sometimes inconviently on apps. The core functions, such as Settings, Music, AppStore, and iCloud are also apps in and of themselves.

The Google phone, Android offers everything from Gmail, YouTube, Latitude, Calendar, and just about every other Google product, often preinstalled as an app. The app-for-everything approach can get repetitive when you have it for every little piece of software, however, it offers capable access to all Google programs. Aside from this, the Android plane is relatively open to whatever you prefer.. The Android Market now has music, movies, and more through a variety of Google services including Google Music, Google Books, and YouTube. While it may seem a little disorganized, the Android Market unites the majority of Google media products to utilize the core functionality. Nonetheless, if you don’t care for Google products, you’re out of luck.

Ecosystem is essential to every smartphone. Without it, we would have no music, videos, apps, or anything on our phones. We need ecosystems for just about everything behind our phones.  So, without discrimination, I can only leave the choice up to you.

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