Category: Technology

Technology - Bible and Headphones

Thoughts on a Lenten Fast

Twitter logoFor the first time in a few years, I decided to give up something for Lent this year (I have done Ash Wednesday and Good Friday food fasts the past couple years). I had been feeling the urge for some time to take a social media break anyway, so this gave me a good excuse.

Miscellaneous

First, some of the miscellaneous observations so far:

My BlackBerry battery lasts about twice as long. How much of that was directly from the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram apps operating in the background vs how much was because the screen isn’t on as often for me to check it, I can’t say for sure, but I would guess the former because of the next point. If we’re talking about practicalities of living a bit more simply, this is a more significant one than I thought – I don’t have to worry about my phone being dead by the end of a work day plus Home Church, for example.

Technology - Bible and Headphones

Pacifist Video Games

Fallout 4 cover artI just now came across a fascinating story from back in December about Kyle Hinckley who managed to beat the game Fallout 4 without killing a single person. Well, not really. He managed to avoid directly killing anybody, but he did do things like brainwashing non-playable characters into doing it for him.

Kyle said this to Kotaku:

I’d love to ask [the developers] why pacifism is so difficult in this Fallout … I’m a little disappointed in the lack of diplomatic solutions in this game, it’s a lonely departure from the rest of the Fallout series. My version of pacifism isn’t really diplomatic, it’s more exploitative of the game mechanics to achieve a zero-kill record. In other [Fallout] games, you had a lot of alternatives for bypassing the combat, whether it was with sneaking, speech checks, or a back door opened with lock-picking and hacking. In fact, in previous games (at least 3 and NV), your companion kills didn’t count towards your record either.

I don’t know much about the Fallout games at all, but this is a worrying trend in the video game industry in general. I’m not primarily talking about the long-running question of whether we become more violent by playing violent video games.

Cat meme

The Place of Internet Comments

This is a small site. I probably average one comment every two weeks, after Disqus filters out the straight-up spam. About half of those comments are trolls, which I am defining as somebody who posts to tell me why I’m stupid as opposed to actually wanting any dialogue. It’s usually pretty easy to tell who disagrees but wants to give feedback and who are just angry. I try to engage with those who seem to honestly disagree, even when I have a really hard time figuring out why they would think that – sometimes that engagement even helps me understand why they would think that.

I promptly delete trolls. I have better things to do with my time. More importantly, as the owner of this site, I have some responsibility over everything on it, including the comments. If somebody sees a hateful comment directed at them on my feed, I will delete it because I do not want to be a part of spreading those hateful messages to hurt people. The same is true for my social media channels. Sometimes I will get accused of censoring people I don’t agree with, but I’m not going to endorse those messages in the spaces I control. 

Community - MeowMeowBeans

Peeple: the anti-Gospel

Update: There has been some debate about how real this app actually is. It seems there is a strong chance it is vapourware and will never reach market anyway. Also, after the backlash, their social media pages went down and contrary to previous statements they have said that negative comments do not post without your permission. If true, that makes it sort of like LinkedIn’s recommendation system, but without being limited to professional purposes. As always during something causing outrage on the Internet, read Snopes. I have maintained my original post here because I still think it makes a valuable point, whether or not all the details about Peeple are (still) true.


 

There’s a new app in the world. It’s called Peeple. Its being described as “Yelp for People.” The purpose of the app is to put numerical ratings on people you know.

.

.

.

Ok, that was about an hour and a half of stunned silence in confusion that this exists.

Kobo

eBooks vs Print Books

Kobo

My eReading platform of choice: Kobo

I’m going to be a tech nerd for a post here. A while ago, fellow MennoNerd Paul asked in our vlog about eBooks vs print books. Here’s how I would summarize the difference, and why for my priorities I tend to go with eBooks.

Pro: Physical Space

Paul mentions how he first had to downside his bookshelf to move. I’ve done the same. Within a little over 2 years, I/we moved from Kingston to Guelph to Toronto to Hamilton to Kitchener. We unloaded a lot of books along the way because we had to.

Technology - Bible and Headphones

The National – Social Media Shaming

The National, one of Canada’s best news programs, recently showed a piece about social media shaming. I first heard about it through Brianna Wu, a game developer who is on a couple of podcasts I listen to and was featured in the piece because of the various abuse she has received right up to attempts on her life.

The piece looks at how we can completely destroy somebody’s life, often without thinking too much of a nasty comment and usually without any actual malicious intent (although there are some exceptions, like the people trying to kill Brianna).

Church Websites

MennoNerds Screenshot

One of my site designs, for MennoNerds

I once had a conversation with one of my seminary classmates. After she had moved to Kingston, she did like many Christians do: she searched for a new church. And like most people, she started by simply Googling and looking at the websites that came up.

She had to look at multiple websites before she found a church that listed their Sunday morning worship time on their website.

This isn’t simply the obvious impracticality of being able to visit the church. It also sends a big message. If your worship time isn’t even listed on your website, I assume the target audience of the website is the people who are already part of the church. I assume that you’re not really interested in new people joining your community. And so I typically move on to try a different website.

Sexism in my Favourite Games

For those who follow the videogaming world, you’ve probably heard of GamerGate. Short version for those who don’t: a lot of straight, white men get angry whenever people point out the industry is terribly slanted toward them while at best failing to represent and at worst actively harming other groups (particularly women, but also LGBTQ and minorities). There have been months of coordinated death threats, doxxing (discovering someone’s address and releasing it online), swatting (calling SWAT teams to that house in hopes that there is enough chaos for somebody to get shot), and more.

I’ve really gotten into videogames again in the past year and a half since getting an Xbox One. It is a great way to relax for me. GamerGate has caused me to consider what I play a little more critically, though. Here’s the big games I’ve played meaningful hours in over that time and how they generally seem to represent women:

Why I Love Tech

Recently I was talking about stuff on WikiGodPod, a podcast out of the Greater Toronto Area (I live close to GTA in Kitchener) centred around our stories and how that shapes how we understand God.

I’m not somebody who speaks well without preparation, so the potential questions were sent in advance and I spent a few hours the night before and morning of planning. I figure since I already spent those hours writing notes, I may as well clean them up a bit and publish them here.

So without further ado, the first question:

You’re a tech guy? What do you love about it?