Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Next Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Said to “redefine the series”, Black Ops 2 is the next heavily anticipated game in the Call of Duty series. The game is going to be set in 2025, nine years after Modern Warfare 3. That’s just one reason why there are so many experts working on the game, trying and make it as realistic as possible–even more than the already credibly real gameplay of previous CODs. One of the many changes brought to Black Ops 2, is that you can change people’s fate. In earlier games, NPCs are programmed where and when to die. But in Black Ops 2, you can now save people or lose people unpredictably. This means there can and will be many endings (and difficult achievements) depending on who dies, who doesn’t, and where. The game already has far more pre-orders than it’s predecessors, but that’s hardly surprising with all of it’s promising changes.

Jaws

We all know of the Steven Spielberg hit, Jaws, where a giant great white shark attacks a popular coast chocked full of tourists, and I’m pretty sure most of us are thankful that isn’t real, at least when we go to the beach. But there is something quite like it we face everyday. As we go through life, we all kind of wish things could be like a day at the beach. But our big white shark is sin, which it tears us to pieces, with its jaws, trying to separate us from God. Those who are controlled by sin are what sin uses, to get us to turn from God. As I talked about in my post last week, sin uses world pollution to control us and get us to turn away from God–hence, we suffer the ultimate punishment and go to hell. The believers throw out the sin where there is gnashing of teeth.

Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 22:13

The jaws of sin are impossible to break free of, unless you have asked Jesus into your heart, and you do what he asks you to. Sin can control us and when that happens, we can do some horrible stuff to ourselves and to others.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” Romans 7:17

As Christians, we must learn to let Jesus forgive our sins, so that we can have a relationship with him. When we accept him and his Spirit, we gain power through him to combat sin. And, I think, once we have the power of God on our side, sin won’t be quite the big scary shark it once was.

Can Smartphone Companies Keep Up With the Market?

How can you tell when a market is moving quickly? It’s a sure sign when some companies are falling behind, and worse–they don’t recognize it. Whether it be the hardware, the software, the tablet or phone, the market in cellular and mobile devices is growing at a very fast pace and becoming even more profitable than ever before.

As of early May, we can tell that its likely that about half of everyone in the U.S. who pays regularly for a phone has a smartphone. This is up from about 29% in October 2010. The growth of the smartphone industry has followed, growing significantly as well.

Here’s a severely obvious statement: The entire market in mobile is growing and has grown a lot. Facebook is continuing its unprecedented social network expansion, and Apple is continuing to set precedents with pioneer technology. They’re are growing rapidly, to put it mildly. Maybe a better example is Verizon, which has seen only further growth this quarter, as it has more than the past year. AT&T has exceeded profit expectations with record smartphone sales both 2011’s Q4 (4th Quarter) and Q1 this year. And that’s just in the US.

What’s new, then? Companies in the line of phone making, selling, and supporting are doing great with more smartphones, right? Not necessarily. It seems to be the strategy of many Android OEMs to pump out phones every month or two. But as we saw back in December, HTC was the first to discover that this hit-people-with-everything-you’ve-got method isn’t the most effective. As we go back to Economics 101, the demand, though growing rapidly, isn’t meeting that volume of supply. Without saying anything specifically about HTC’s future, balancing constantly improving and innovating in devices and getting that on shelves and making sure it actually get bought (or that there is sufficient demand) is difficult.

We’ve seen a lot of executive stepping up and stepping down recently anywhere from RIM to Best Buy. HP is reportedly cutting as many as 25,000 jobs as of Thursday. RIM got their new CEO Thornston Heins not too long ago, and is said to be adopting two new executive staff members from Light Squared and Sony. Best Buy has lost its chairman Richard Schulze and CEO Brain Dunn in a scandal, and is in need of a replacement CEO–along with a new strategy. They’re hoping to start this off by cutting 50-some stores, but while already looking at huge losses in revenue. And there are more examples of major rethinking in companies dealing with mobile products, and which are effecting companies’ strategies in the mobile market. The question for these companies and others is ‘Are the changes they’re making to adapt to this market enough?’.

The precedents that have been set recently with fast advancing technology such as quad-core CPU phones and LTE mean that consumers are continuing to expect greater things from manufacturers and developers. Apple could be argued to have largely brought on this age of smartphones, but the personal precedents they set raise the bar for everyone, themselves included. This means consumers expect them to deliver outstanding results as well. Because of these expectations, it’s more than a difficult market. New devices are coming out by the dozen, month-to-month, and companies have to continuously perfect products to keep up, let alone get ahead. If that wasn’t hard enough, companies have to juggle pleasing shareholders, which is far from an easy task. The strategies that companies have directly effect both their end product and end user, and the experience the user gets (UE or UX) can, overt time, come to directly reflect the share values of a company.

But this is like any other market, right? On the contrary, the vicious pace we’re seeing is more than just business competition. The competition for the best smartphone has been speeding forward at a pace which would cause many businesses strain. At this point, its nearly impossible for smaller companies to enter the game unless they have something which can make consumers think twice about their iPhone. We have seen some heads turned with Nokia’s new Windows Phone Lumia line, and considering the company has only reentered the US smartphone game a relative few months ago, the accomplishment is notable. It will be interesting to see if Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC, Nokia, Sony, RIM, and others, all keep enough of a trusting and trusted userbase to keep on trucking. Can so many companies really keep up?

The answer, however, is difficult. On one hand, the heavy competition and difficulty in pleasing everyone could be a destructive burden that eventually beats out software and hardware giants alike. Yet at the same time, as the market grows, there should be room for more products.

In terms of shares, Apple currently appears to be greatly leading in its industry, to no one’s surprise, with share prices still climbing. Microsoft has been on a downward trend for years, but has had a small trend upwards very recently, though its shares are far below in value. It’s heyday was right around the turn of the century. Google looks tentatively to be trending upwards, growing rapidly, and though perhaps not at the pace of Apple, its share prices are far closer to Apple’s than Microsoft’s. That all said, Google and Apple have under 1 billion shares, while Microsoft has more than 8 billion, meaning that the company’s value could still be equal or higher. Ultimately, its difficult to tell who’s really on top. At least, right now.

Sources: Google Finance, Bits on NYTimes, Bloomberg Businessweek, BGR, Nielsen Wire, WPCentral, Forbes

World Pollution

We all know to save the planet from pollution by going green, but the real problem of pollution is the ungodly kind. There is a lot of evil that often tells you holy things which you are doing are wrong, and there is a lot of temptation to do what the demon-over-your-shoulder tells you to.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-14

Though life may be tough, God  is faithful. While you’re going through hard struggles, he will stay true to his faithfulness… just as he promised  But what the world tells us is very different.The Pharisees told the people of Jerusalem that they should follow them.

But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”” Matthew 9:33-35

That of course, isn’t true. One, he is the son of God so he can do anything. Two, he was not using Satan, the prince of demons to cast out those demons. Satan used the Pharisees to turn the people against Jesus. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not, but all in all he used them to pollute the Jews’ minds with bad thoughts and turn them away from the truth. And he does the same thing today.

Fall Update Overload: iPhone 5, Windows 8, Jelly Bean, And More

There’s a lot of stuff happening this fall. The updates, news, hardware, and tantalizing prospects of the future in consumer technology we’re all looking for are going to come “en masse” this late summer and fall. There are a number of updates and promises and rumors that we should see coming all around this time. Software from Apple, Microsoft, and Google–the big three, of course–are all launching new versions of their mobile OSs. This means not only devices to current phones we love and behold, but a whole new fresh round of devices. From everyone, hopefully. This unified release could lead to some serious competition. When everyone has their latest and greatest on the field, it will be even more crucial to get the public eye, to compete, and to win the individual’s checkbook. Here’s a look at a few of the things which we’re heading into.

  • iPhone 5. This phone may have been the most rumored device in history. This extremely-long-awaited phone could have some difficulty in competing in hardware to some Android devices like the HTC One X or Galaxy S III. The amount of time that Apple has made consumers wait for this phone will also mean the expectations will be extremely high. Larger screen? LTE? 1 GB RAM? Quad-core? Full HD screen? 20 MP camera? Built-in keyboard projector? … Apple released the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, but rumors do seem to be pointing to later fall. We’re just going to have to wait.
  • Windows 8.The only computer OS which is getting a major update is getting the most major update it’s seen in years. Microsoft is bringing its revamped and reinspired OS to tablets, PCs, and everything in-between. The shear number of products that should come with this release will probably be overwhelming.
  • Jelly Bean. The next iteration of Android is rumored to be coming this fall, but hasn’t truly been confirmed. (We should get more details this summer.) Supposedly, we’ll be looking at more tablet-friendly interfaces and some potential Jelly Bean notebooks. There was also word of a dual-operating system feature with Chrome, allegedly allowing you to dual-boot without having to reboot. Stay a little hesitant there.
  • Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 7.5 “Tango” should be just around the corner for many users, if their carrier is willing to give it to them. New devices, however, have been limited by the hardware limitations of the current Windows Phone version. Windows Phone 8 is rumored to be a complete rebuilding of the OS, and will likely unify the experience with Windows 8 even futher, while allowing for more impressive hardware specifications.
  • iOS 6. If Apple continues to follow their pattern of releases, it is likely we’ll see a new version of Apple’s operating system, which should make way for the iPad following the 3rd generation iPad, and likely also the iPhone 5. Given that Apple has waited so long for the iPhone 5, it’s possible we’ll see something big with this update. The OS has been around for a long time now, looking practically the same. The features of iOS 5 enliven the experience, but a whole new homescreen redesign may be in order. Surprise us, Apple.

We’ve got a lot coming to us, but we should get peeks and leaks before we get our hands on anything. It’s going to be a wild ride this fall. Stay tuned.

via: AndroidCentral, Technorati

Also: Windows 8 Overview , Windows 8 Gallery

Remembering A Classic: Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong is a classic arcade title that helped define not only the platformer genre but also Jumpman, later known as Mario. First released in arcades, Donkey Kong was an instant hit. Nintendo’s president put an employee named Shigeru Miyamoto in charge of the game. The game was originally going to be based off of the TV-show Popeye, but Nintendo did get the licensing rights in time. So Miyamoto had to thank of something else. The result? Jumpman, Pauline, and Donkey Kong. The purpose of the game is to climb to the top of the tower to rescue Pauline. The game spans four intensely difficult levels. Donkey Kong is the game which started all Mario games; without it, there would be no Mario.

The Children are Called

All people take part in the body of Christ. Even children are called to do their part in God’s brilliant plan. From the 4 year old to the 18 year old and older, we are all called to do great things.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”” Matthew 21:16

That praise is telling the world that the Redeemer died and has risen. As James [Jesus’ brother] tells people to not be polluted by the world, and so children haven’t had as much time to be “polluted”. Whether you have children or not, kids you come in contact with should always be encouraged by you. Children are easily convinced of things, so always make sure you’re always telling them the truth, as well.

 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1

All people, children, people of all ethnicities, ages, of all backgrounds, and sexualities as well, all people have a part in Christ when they are a part of his church.

We Are Teachers

I don’t know about you, but while I always liked learning, I never did like helping other people to learn. Believe it or not, we are called to do just that.

Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.” Exodus 18:20

Even more than bringing people to Christ, we have to help people understand the truth about Christ. Without a firm foundation in their faith, without the understanding of the concepts they are believing in, how can they ever stand up to the world? Or stand up to themselves? Without the proper support, encouragement, and teaching, people cannot grow in Christ, new believer or not.

‘As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.'” Matthew 13:4-7

This parable is the perfect example of how we are to bring the gospel. We aren’t supposed to just tell people about the gospel. We need to teach the gospel! In order for people to be solid Christians, they must have a solid root in the message of the kingdom. Jesus then explains the parable:

‘When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.'” Matthew 13:19-21

We are called to help people to have solid root in Christ, firm understanding, and a true relationship which guides them as they listen on a personal level to the Holy Spirit, living their lives for Christ, and seeking the Lord. Don’t just tell it–teach it.

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