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Post “Apple-Pocalypse”: Why You Should Upgrade to iOS 7 (after the servers cool down)

Yesterday we all survived the “Apple-Pocalypse”.  For anyone who owns a recent “i” product from the white fruit company, there was a sudden peer pressure to upgrade to the newest version of operating system.  Namely, “iOS 7″.  Not creative, but the name probably shouldn’t detract from the shiny-ness of the product itself.  

After having used the OS for about a week prior to launch thanks to a “Lifehacker” blog, I was able to test drive some things and see what I liked and potentially didn’t like before the servers exploded on launch day.  If you haven’t downloaded yet, now might be a good time and this is why I think you should:

(1) Everything looks and feels better.  Apple has spent a lot of time fine tuning the Keyboard, making the OS move faster (I’m running an iPhone 4S), and taking away all the fake Bevels and Gradients that clogged the visuals of previous operating systems.  The new look is solid and much more cheerful (bright and airy).  At the same time, the backgrounds are much more detailed and beautiful (honing in on the Desktop Background experiences as Handheld computing becomes more popular).  The fonts have been redone to embolden or recede as necessary in the Phone and Texting Apps, and the icons create a different ethos than was previously had.  Even the notes app is brighter and easier to use.  Going back to iOS 6 would be abrasive visually.

(2) There has been much more added functionality (and accessibility).  The number one improvement I like is that you can go into your “Cellular” settings and choose which apps are allowed to use Cellular data.  If you want to cut off a data hog thats not always necessary, you now have the precision tool to do it.  New Menus are also accessible by thumb swipes giving easy grap of the new built in Flashlight button, music controls, bluetooth, wifi, sleep, airplane mode, and especially at Brightness slider – all in one spot.  Some utilities like Camera, Calculator, and time are also there for quick picks.  Lastly, the Folders now can slide and have multiple pages – not sure if I need it, but its nice to know its there).

(3) The movement is more bouncy, and feels fun.  Texts bounce up and down when stopping (though only slightly), notes are similar when going up and down, the apps fly on and off screen when locking/unlocking the phone, and the folders grow and retract more smoothly than I remember.  The background creates depth by moving in the background, so my chosen image of stars and clouds tilt as I tilt the phone.  Its fun to show others and to do when I’m bored in meetings while checking the time.

Other things: The basic app selection on the phone doesn’t seem to have changed much.  Facetime seems to appear more prominently, with the same green icon as Phone and Messages, but apps like Passbook are growing in utility as apps come out that allow you to collect plane tickets, gift cards and movie stubs.  I hope this continues to develop.  The Maps app still isn’t as good at Google Maps, Gmail (for Gmail users) is still more precise search-wise with Google’s app than Apple’s.  The camera is more robust now with different modes and filters on live images which is fun (having instagram like abilities from the get go.  All the apps still work too – so its not like you’re going to miss much, and the new things will take some time to play with, but will soon become useful.

In conclusion, pick up the new iOS as soon as you can.  There really isn’t a downside and it seems like there is a lot of upside.  Its fun, pretty, and functional (and continuing to get better with each revision).  For Apple fans, just do it.

 

(Photo Credit: http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u154082/ios7_cover_photo_2.png)

Apple Rumors Before the Announcement at 1 PM – Iphone 5? Iphone 4S? Both? Here is a Rumor Roundup

 

JUST ANNOUNCED, IPHONE 4S is Upgraded IPHONE 4 – My PREDICTIONS WERE RIGHT (read below)

Ars Teknia, Live Feed of Apple Event.

THE IPHONE will receive a new iteration today when Apple goes live at 1 pm today in Cupertino.  Rumors and speculation have swirled and it seems that there are some big chunks that have some validity.

Rumor 1: An Iphone 4S will be released, basically a beefed up Iphone 4, with the Ipad 2’s more powerful chip and upgraded software and an 8 MP camera on the back.  (This rumor seems likely.  Apple does need to retain the Iphone 4, and since it doesn’t require a major redesign, they could put some better parts in, have very little R&D costs, and have excitement around a cheaper to mass produce handset with a proven record of popularity to continue to challenge Android.)

Rumor 2: Sprint has paid 20 Billion dollars to buy up inventory and get the Iphone 5 exclusively, basically betting the farm on the cult of Apple.  (Not likely.  While they are dropping some big change, exclusivity for Sprint isn’t going to happen.  Apple needs as wide a swath as possible to continue the proliferation of IOS, and limiting it to the distant 3rd carrier, Sprint, would be a disastrous move, even for 20 Billion bucks, and considering how much cash Apple is sitting on, $20B isn’t really scratching their back that much.  Sprint is merely buying in and ensuring they aren’t left completely behind, for a huge amount of money for them. Also, this rumor came out yesterday – probably just attention seeking with a big “?” for buzz.)

Rumor 3: The Iphone 5 will come out slightly thinner, with curved glass and a wider screen.  It will be more powerful than the Iphone 4 (close to the 4S rumors, probably using Ipad 2 specs and better camera), and will have IOS5 (like the 4S rumors).  (This rumor is not as likely as the 4S, but probable.  It is hard to determine what Apple will do here.  In the past, Apple has released an Iphone, then Iphone 3G, then Iphone 3GS, then the 4.  Whether Apple calls it the 4S or the 5, I believe it will be the same phone.  If Apple follows their track record, they will release it with the name 4S – but that would seem unsynchronized with the IOS5 aesthetically.  If apple decides to make marketing easy, they will release the phone as the Iphone 5 with OS5, thus maintaining a big ol’ “FIVE” on everything they’re pushing.  It certainly would be prettier.)

Rumor 4: Apple will release an Iphone 4S and the Iphone 5 simultaneously.  One for the low end low cost market to combat cheap Android sets, and one to retain the crown of awsome-ness and blow everyone away with the Iphone 5 as a global minded handset for every carrier.  (Not likely but would be cool.  Apple is still doing well selling the 3GS and could just drop the price on that beast of a phone to nothing OR firesale the old Iphone 4’s.  While I would love to see a beefed up yet cheap Iphone 4S and the 5, it doesn’t seem likely – too much retooling for one announcement.)

Other Rumors – Apple will announce their new Voice Command Software, which better be good.  Controlling your device better with your voice would be a godsend for multi-taskers, but watch out for people who don’t know how to turn their phones to silent response – remember NEXTEL’s walki-talkies – we better not get a repeat of that kind of noise pollution in the public space.  ALSO, Apple will talk about their iCloud which they have been prepping pretty hard and opening server farms for.  This is Apple’s future and they will expect to have a positive response. This will simultaneously make lives easier for people who sync laptops, phones, desktops and televisions; AND Apple will be able to worry less about hard drives in their future devices (who needs a 10 Terabyte drive when you can keep most of your junk in the cloud – access only the 32 GB’s you need at a time).  This will keep devices like the Macbook Air and the Ipad/Iphone momentum and smallness on the go.  LASTLY – Apple will talk a lot about Twitter and Social Media integration.  They’re launching an Iphone Texting app similar to Blackberry’s ability to communicate between RIM devices, and word is they have placed Twitter into everything in IOS5.  Will be fun to see.

Looking forward to the Event at 1 PM – be ready for a news deluge – which is sure to be fun.  Woot!

Pick Your Phone By Your Personality (Windows, Blackberry, Iphone, Android) – Response

I just read this blog on Choosing Your Phone by Personality Type.  The writer makes a statement that he likes the Window’s phone best and then tries to characterize the personalities of those who prefer the different phones.  I felt that his take on the Iphone, however, was pretty shallow and I wasn’t sure what he was basing it off of.  So as a person who prefers the Iphone I will respond and characterize all four operating system users from an Iphone User’s perspective.

Android

Before Verizon had the Iphone, the Android became the status equivalent of the Iphone.  The news follows it rigorously so fanatics can obsess and fanboy over it like iOS.  Many who use Android are the tinkerers who don’t like Apple’s closed code policies so some rebels are among this group.  Since Google developed it, it has instant credibility and name recognition and has become the mass market smartphone.  People can trust it because Google is backing it and has perceptibly near infinite resources to back the project.  These users are not homogenous because there are a variety of devices at different price points.  It is a cheaper mass market option in line with Google’s strategy to dominate everything in every way in every sphere.  Lastly – the little Android guy is cute and may get some business from that angle.  Just saying.

Windows Phone

This phone is for the gamers, especially Xbox fans, and those who are generally fans of Microsoft products.  The design is sleek and there are those people who want Windows flow with an easy to use interface.  Who better to make a phone for pc lovers than MS and the simplicity in this os is surprising considering their past with convoluted menu systems and folders.  I think a lot of people will stumble into the Windows phone and the marketing seems quaint.  It is a phone that is supposed to save us from our phones.  Those who don’t like the direction complicated direction phones are taking may check this one out.

Blackberry (RIM)

Recent dedications to video and beautiful screens cover up the fact that BB’s are really the first smartphone to really take hold.  They are negatively known as “Crackberries” due to the nature of business people always connected, neglecting other responsibilities or relationships without really intending to drop the ball.  When texting, email and phone are always active, who could blame early adopters.  The roller ball and keyboard were well done for the time (though severely out dated since touch technology has become widely adopted).  Those who use Blackberry are now the traditionalist business people who don’t like change.  They got used to this thing so they’ll use it as long as they can.  Some businesses are making the move to Iphone, but I bet that many won’t take this without a fight.  Their market share may be shrinking, but that’s probably due to the market expanding around them.

Iphone

Ok – I’m a little biased.  I’m writing this on a Macbook Pro, I have two Imacs and I have an Iphone 3g (older, I know, but its still nice).  Iphone users tend to be obsessive about their tech (to the point of religious devotion – google it – there was a study on the brain).  The design factor and delight in merely holding such a beautiful device is enough for some, for others it is the integration of all things Apple.  These folks probably don’t mind the loss of a little control for the simplicity of a product that works and has amazing customer service.  They will pay more but get more out of the experience, and their word travels so that Apple really doesn’t have to market as much as it does these days.  Unfortunately, Apple changes things as it innovates and so the Iphone user is almost forced to upgrade every year and half, and compulsive buyers line up for the latest must have handheld.  A last word for apple – they know how to string people along.

Conclusion:

Hopefully this added a different perspective to the above blog (linked).  All the phones are good for someone, but they won’t fit everyone.  As phones become works of art and fashion they become more subjective.  Buyers should first start with the question of functionality and look at reviews of the device to determine the best phone, then look at the form factor.  Hardware and OS are key.  Find the right fit and you’re golden.  Good luck!

You Version Bible App Opened My Eyes to Lent’s True Meaning On My Iphone

Lent helps us celebrate Easter with fresh eyes, clear hearts

Published Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I’m going to warn everyone, the beginning of today’s column might be a little dry and geeky, but it gets juicier, so stick with it, and you will be rewarded with some actual insight into Lent.

There is a new app for the iPhone called You Version. It is an online Bible with many contemporary and traditional versions. It offers an interesting option of using a reading plan. I recommend it to everyone who has a smartphone, simply for its ease of use.

The front page of my smartphone, which holds all my most-used applications, has become a representation of who I am and what I use in my digital life. The first button is for my email, the next for Twitter, then Facebook and then a Web browser. Other apps on the front page include games, a calendar, contacts and Dropbox, a storage app that has made flash drives unnecessary.

I felt strongly that I should also make a Bible app prominent, if only to remind me to do my devotions.

At first, I used Paul Avery’s Bible, which was a straight app completely loaded on the phone, but I found that I often didn’t open it. Like that huge Family Bible on the coffee table, it gathered dust. Then I started seeing tweets about You Version, so I decided to try it out.

I opened the app and saw the reading plans. I decided in this season of Lent — and it is the first time I have ever been at a church that truly celebrated the season of Lent, I would dive in.

The app has changed my perspective.

My wife and I went into Lent knowing we would deny ourselves something, or fast, in order to be closer to Christ this season. I thought it was meant just for us to relate to Christ’s sufferings. So I chose TV shows (a difficult decision) and, harder still, my wife chose cheese, not realizing that almost all the food worth eating is smothered in wonderful cheese.

We denied ourselves and tried hard to be perfect like Christ was perfect.

But we found ourselves stumbling all the time, though not purposefully. We would have breakfast sandwiches and halfway through my wife would lament, “No! I’ve eaten cheese!” Or I would find that on Thursdays, when my favorite comedies came on, my eyes would wander from the book I was reading to the TV screen. My wife would just shake her head.

It wasn’t until I delved into You Version’s Lent devotional plan that I started to understand the fullness of what was happening.

In a short paragraph, it was pointed out that in Lent we try and often fail to be like Christ. In its fullness, Lent is about relying on and remembering the grace we have all received because of what Christ did on the cross.

So as we were messing up and crying out in our mistakes — much like stubbing your toe and being quite upset — we began to see us for what we are: imperfect people who are trying to become more perfect but are still dependant on Christ’s sacrifice.

It is all about Jesus! Not our own ability to be stoicists.

As Easter approaches, it has become quite clear to us, thanks to the words sent across the electronic highway of the Internet, that we are still in need of a savior and that we can celebrate Christ’s resurrection with fresh eyes and hearts cleared of self-pride.

Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Follow him on Twitter @dannonhill.

Advice for Beginning Strategies in Kingdoms Live (Storm 8 Iphone War Game)

In the Iphone game Kingdoms Live, I am Muad’Dib (2ps1r) in the GOW clan.  I have been playing for 2 years, almost since the game came out in the first place.  I am level 122 with 15 million and hour in income and I did that without spending more than a few bucks on the game.  We just won a war which is exciting, but I also invited a friend who just received an Android phone to get into the game.  I hope he continues and we can recruit him sometime.  Regardless, I wanted to provide some tips for new players into the dynamics of the game before you start really building your profile.

(1) When you start out – you will find that just about everything in the game revolves around gold. Mana is pretty much useless because in later levels the weapons you receive by doing quests (which use mana to complete) are not as good as what you can buy.  By having a strong cash flow you will be strong.  So when choosing your character traits try to pick what makes more gold in the long run.

(2) Learn the art of the camp.  I have a little level 11 account on my wife’s ipod which already has 700,000 gold an hour.  When you first start, your measly 15 – 300 gold an hour seems paltry.  But one maxim that gets you everywhere is this: “Patience is currency”.  See your growth in terms of months, not in days.  Often a one or two month “camp” (no gear and doing nothing but buying land – which you can’t do until level 7) is a good thing to do.  You will have all Lands available at level 60 – so some people can get away with leveling how they wish until level 60 and then super camping for three or four months to gain land.  Fighting is fun, but only if you can win, and to win you need weapons, and to have weapons you need lots of land.  Don’t skimp or you’ll be bulldozered out of the game.

(3) Before you join a clan, realize that good clans have requirements.  A clan is a group of players that have banded up to fight others or defend their mates.  If your clan doesn’t have requirements (like level 25 to start and good land for your level) you will end up in a war and your clan falling apart around you.  There are main clans in KL that you can join that have strong players.  Mine is Gods of War or GOW with the flame.  There is also Legion lead by Meataxe, there is TheDachosen1s led by the Alien symbol, There are the Immortals, Armageddon, Justice Dealers, FOMA led by Warlord, the Guard is still out there, There is TTB, and more insidiously there is Chaos, Sin City, LOC among others.  Surf the clan before you join up.  You don’t want to have to spend time if the clan isn’t worth the join.

(4) Watch where you put your skill points.  In this game you really don’t need much more than 150 health to do well.  I have 160 and just use gold to heal whenever I wish to attack more.  Also, don’t put much into Mana.  I wouldn’t put more than 40 into mana because in the long run there is only one useful Quest in the “Forest” quests called Kill Spiders in the Woods.  That gives you 28 experience for 19 mana, which is the best deal. At early levels you can really level up fast with that.  In the beginning you will want more defense points, but later in the game you will need more attack points to break through armor.  Though many players put even points to attack and defend-it might be fun to make a canon (all attack) or fortress (all defense) account.  Or if you have two accounts build one of each.  I have a high level of defense, but an even higher level of attack.  My mana is low and so is my health and I have a good amount of spirit to lay into an enemy.  Feel out what you need, but don’t get too unbalanced.  Some players put tons of money into health and end up getting trashed at the end and just reset.  Don’t let that player be you.

(5) Make friends that are like you.  There are lots of terds out there, so make sure that you have a few people you like to hang with.  Almost all players use the chat App on their phones called Palringo. Google search it or download it because most clans have public rooms to talk out of game.  Just ask for the room to talk in, add it in Palringo, and you can private message or talk in the public rooms.  GoWs is KL_GOW.  Come and say hey if you like.  We are often chatting.

Overall – never forget to have fun.  You are immortal in the game.  One way to lose is to lose your head.  It isn’t worth it and if you get trashed it is okay.  Your enemy will get bored if you don’t get mad and move on.  Then you can build stronger and come back.  Good luck!  I hope this helps someone.

Here are my other KL posts from the past:

Summary of My Kingdoms Live Helps:

Battle Strategies for Kingdoms Live

Leadership in Kingdoms Live

Kingdoms Live Basics (Gold and other things)

Gold, Politics, and Power (A Personal Plan for Dominant Playing)

An early plan for Growing a Profile

My First Ever Blog on KL (Simple Gloating ;)

If there is anything I missed feel free to add it in comments below.

Mirror’s Edge Iphone Game/App (Review)

A new app came out on the Iphone recently based on the console game “Mirror’s Edge”.  The former being a first person cell shaded game, or so I’ve heard.  People raved about it being unique and fun to play.

I just downloaded the Iphone version, because it was (1) featured and (2) had good reviews as far as an app goes.  I’ll confirm the reviews the game is amazing.

Why?  A few reasons:

(1) its epic like star wars.  From the anti-institutional storyline about “runners” passing info that isn’t governent approved to the actual scrolling into the distance text that moves while the levels load, this game feels like its bigger than it is.

(2) It does something most games dont (k.i.s.s.) Keep it Simple Stupid.  The game controls are a series of dashes.  Nothing too complicated.  You dash forward with a finger, and she slides, you dash up with your finger and she jumps, all the while if you are touching the ground, she runs faster until hitting an object.

(3) For an Iphone app, the Graphics are great.  The feel of cell shaded graphics do well on the iphone, and since this is a side scroller, it doesn’t ever get too complicated.  It reminds me of the new 3d sidescrollers harking back to Mario and Sonic Days of Glory on SNES and Genesis.  Hits me in a real retro spot.

Overall, this is a great download.  The challenge does get harder as the levels progress and will remind you of the mega man days of trying to memorize a level and doing it over and over til you get it right.  Highly worth the download my friends.  Out.

Civilization Revolution Iphone App (Thoughts on the Game)

Recently played through an entire game of Civilization Revolution, which is an incredibly addicting game, and just wanted to mention a few strange things about the game that show up regularly:

(1) It’s 1940, and I’m still using a Catapult.

(2) Ghandi is the most warlike leader everytime I play.  His armies are purple, and I’m scared of him.

(3) I am Russian, and I win culturally, first by building Hollywood, and then by buiding the United Nations.

(4) The Chinese and Japanese send out space missions before I do.

(5) Rifleman can beat tanks.

I love it.  I always start slow because I build lots of cities and focus on growth.  The other nations think that I’m weak and so they start war talk.  I keep them at bay as I build units from my cities.  Half military, and half building temples and cathedrals for culture.  As I begin to beat them to a pulp I’m winning a cultural victory, and this time I almost won economically as well by getting to 20000 gold, and was about to build the bank (if you didn’t know you can win militarily – controlling the world and taking every city; technologically – by building and launching a ship to another world; economically – by collecting 20k gold and building the world bank; or culturally – by having 20 cultural acheivements and great people and then building the United Nations).

In the past I have held out the cultural victory to win militarily, but the Japanese and Chinese were about to launch their spaceship!

I love the sureality of it all! ;) Great App – check it out.

Technological Lifestyle: All the Internet Tech I Actually Use (Life and Ministry) And Why

THE TECHNOLOGICAL LIFE OF DANIEL GRISWOLD

(everything i actually use on the internets)

 

(1) Apple Computers (2008 Intel Imac, 2004 G5 Imac, 2004 G4 Powerbook) – My first computer was a 486 Digital Equipment Corp, and then later bought a Pentium IBM Aptiva.  When viruses and reinstalls, and craziness got me in a fever pitch, I invested some college money in my first Apple.  The G4 Powerbook is still used, and the G5 and Intel Imacs I use at home and office are the sleekest, easiest to use tech enablers I have today.  In a year or so I’ll have to update my G4 Laptop to a MacBook Pro.  Can’t wait.

(2) Iphone (3g, OS 4.2) – My first cell phone was a Nokia free phone I got with my first AT&T plan in Florida.  I’ve carried the same number to different carriers and different states, but with the Iphone came out, I tossed my current flip-phone, and handed my ipod touch to my wife, and have been wowed by the amazing smoothness (though not without bugs) of the Iphone.  I love the no-feedback keyboard for my fat thumbs, and the amount of games I download and play – well, its ridiculous.  Best thing my wife likes – Being able to course correct using Maps app in Atlanta traffic.  That’s the win guys.

(3) Firefox (3.6.13) – I used to use Netscape back in the day, but when that went under, I moved to Safari.  I kept having kids in my youth group install Firefox on my pc’s at church, so I checked out Firefox – and it is really robust.  It saves your tabs if you want, and I’ve had twenty tabs going with minimal slowdown and multi-tasking like crazy.  I like the skins, but don’t pay too much attention to the design of it – it just works, unlike explorer  :/ IMO

(4) Facebook (online, app) – I switched from Myspace because I got sick of the raunchy ads on News Corps ad machine.  Also, html edits kept crashing my browser, and Facebook was cleaner, and so much more simple.  It was like a business card for life.  Now, alot of our church is on there, I have almost 900 friends (which I know em all – wow), and do alot of communication that I would otherwise do on the phone or through email by this app.  I don’t play games on it though, because I don’t like third parties using my information.  http://www.facebook.com/dannonhill (but I’ll only add you if I know you in real life somehow or respect your research in your field).

(5) Twitter (online, app) – I was an early adopter of Twitter, but it didn’t catch me for about a year.  I had a dormant account.  Then I started finding other youth ministers on there, and found out that they linked their blogs.  I also found all the news sources I like on Twitter, and some experts on adolescent and religious development, so I basically had a stream of what others thought was the most important content in my field.  Basically predigested research.  I’m now an avid twitter reader by surfing articles and blogs, and the Favorite tab allows me to Star important articles so I can share my favorite feed with others, or save it for later.  My twitter is @dannonhill if you want to say hey ;)  On a side note – the Twitter App is well worth it (used to be Tweetie until bought by Twitter) and I manage 8 twitter accounts there now.  It works well.

(6) Pandora (app) – Basically, I listen to music (like the Moody Blues) in feed style on this app.  It basically just takes whatever style I want to hear and keeps playing songs in that genre.  Kind of nice, and you can thumbs down any song you don’t like. I have the unpaid version, so ads happen sometimes, but that’s no bid deal.  I hardly use my ipod app anymore because of this.

(7) Kingdoms Live (app) – I have been a huge player in Kingdoms Live, and even lead up a clan of 150 people (my code: 2ps1r).  My name is Muad’Dib there, so drop in and say hey if you have a profile.  For gamers, this is a stats based Multiplayer Online Game like an RPG, based around building a strong profile and fighting others by buying gear.   Use this app in conjunction with Palringo Chat Application where the players go for talking off the record.  Great game, lots of fun – though watch out – some of the trash talkers are more than pg-13 (but you can report them to Storm 8).

(8) Playstation 3 (Sony) – I watch DVDs on this mostly, with my wife, but  I have a few FPS RPG games (Fallout Series) that I enjoy exploring in.  My brother bought it for me for my Seminary Graduation gift, and its been in non-stop use since then because it really is a one stop media machine.  Thanks Aaron.

(9) Xbox 360 (Microsoft) – We bought this with the Kinect for our youth group, and it was a big hit.  It gets em jumping around, and people laugh at the silly pictures of you playing after your done.  If you have a group of Middle or High School students this is great leisure, and for personal use, its similar to the PS3 in gaming and has a broader user base as well.

(10) Wii (Nintendo) – I had the Wii when it arrived by being a Nintendo fanatic and waiting in a cold New England line.  I love Zelda, Mario, and Metroid, so it was an easy decision.  Lately, however, its main use has been to play Guitar Hero III at youth group.  The wireless guitars are great, and always get a room talking.  Love it.  One side excursion, the mini-game Lit is freighteningly good even with its PS2 like graphics.  Download it now.

(11) Real Books (For Real) – I’m part of a Sci-Fi Book club, and read fantasy and other epics from time to time.  Lately, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins have my attention, but the Dune Series by Frank Hebert and his son have enthralled me.  I’m also a CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien fan, but who isn’t.  Just bought the whole Chronicles of Narnia collection in one book at the library for $3.  Nothing like having a solid book to read, and I still don’t feel good about the digital book revolution.  I’ll wait til the kinks are worked out.

(12) Dropbox (on computers, iphone) – All my important files that I need everywhere are now wherever I go.  Dropbox gives me 2 GB free of storage space, and then pay for more if you need it, to have your files in a cloud.  I can access them on all my macs, and amazingly, my iphone as well.  I’ve used this so much – try it out.

(13) Evernote (app, online) – Just got tipped off on this by Adam McClane (Twitter @mclanea, Blog: http://adammclane.com/) who uses this to collect his thoughts for blogging, pics, and notes etc on the run.  I’ve used it several times and am getting more and more into it.  Especially the ability to take a picture, sync it, and be able to access the picture on my computer later for blogging without having to sync my phone.  Excellent app, thanks Adam.

(14) Camera, Contacts, Calendar, Clock, Safari, Photos, Notes (app) – SO basic – So Necessary.  I use these constantly.

(15) Flickster (Movies App) – My wife and I love the movies, and this has been a great app to easily grab movie times, ticket prices, phone numbers of theaters, etc.  They have lots of other integration that I don’t use with their internet website.

(16) Word, Powerpoint (Microsoft) – I’ve always been a Word guy, and when I went over to Apple, I didn’t think that Apple’s solutions were as good, so I bought a school copy of Microsoft Office, and I’m glad I did.  The Mac version of office is very robust, and it means you can communicate easily with .docs with the rest of the world. I like the ease of use, and that’s why I stick with this suite.

(17) Photoshop/Illustrator CS1 (Adobe) – If you want to do any Graphic Design, you need Photoshop!  And for logo design, I am a big fan of Illustrator.  If you’re a youth minister, these Creative Suite applications are good to save you lots of money in sending out graphic design work if you have time and creativity to pursue it.  I’ve been using these tools since High School, and continued in Graphic Design classes in college, and continue to aid the visual culture of my and other youth groups with these programs.  It’s well worth it, but initially pricey.  May have to budget it in.

(18) Garage Band (Apple) – Every once in a while I like to record something.  I was in a band in college called Dj Why and the Image, and I miss those days – so I tinker.  Google my name with For Sheriff and maybe you’ll find some of my stuff done in Garage Band.

(19) Holy Bible (app, by Paul Avery) – Of all the Bibles out there in the App store, this is the one I’ve latched to.  I know there are some internet dependent ones that are better, but this one is completely offline, and has lots of versions including some Hebrew and Greek versions.  Even Russian.  I like that, and have used it since I got my Iphone.

(20) Tumblr (online, app) – I’ve just gotten into Tumblr, because I like the quick microblogging that is possible.  I’ve wanted to make a Youth Ministry specific blog, and I now do that through Tumblr.  Still learning how it works, but so far, I’ve found some youth ministry sites on there that are great.  Only issue right now is that unlike wordpress (which is my personal regular blog), you don’t seem to get alot of random google traffic.  I don’t know if that even matters, but my ego likes to see numbers.  One nice thing about Tumblr is that it has easy Twitter integration, so it can autopost to a corresponding Twitter account.  Check out my integrated sphere here (http://twitter.com/multempire, and http://multempire.tumblr.com).

(21) Gmail and Google (online) – Quite simply, I use Gmail as my personal, and work email.  Its easy to organize everything, easy to search, and I have it integrated on my iphone to pick up all my accounts.  I use Google to search everything I need, and I love my tailored Google News feed.  I know I’m feeding a big machine, but if that machine is good, I’ll go along with it.  Thanks Google.  “Don’t be evil” :)

(22) WordPress (online, app) – This is by far the best blogging service all around that I have experienced.  It is highly mod able, though I’m not proficient enough to dig like others I’ve seen blogging.  I like the ease of use, and the ability to make regulars like me look better than I really am thanks to skins, and automation of many tasks.  This very blog is going out to you on WordPress, and so are 115+ other blogs I’ve done in the last year and a half.  The stat tools are good for OCD folks like me, and in combination with StatCounter, the site is well thought out, and fun to surf blogs on.  Look down below, and you can start your own blog.  Take the time – its fun.

 

So there you have it.  Everything I actually use, that I can remember…right now.  Let me know what you use and post a link to your blog on the same topic.  I’d love to learn of some new things.  And if I forgot something, remind me ;)

Reality is Closing in on the Virtual World

Reality is Closing in on the Virtual World

by Daniel Griswold

Originally Run in “The Island Packet” Newspaper on Aug 10, 2010

I knew the world had officially changed when I clicked to add my grandma as a friend on the social-networking site Facebook.

I’m proud to say my mom joined as well, but I distinctly remember how hard it was to teach my sweet mother how to use a mouse without the expression of fear.

Perhaps the world is changing too fast.

More people now create their own image in the electronic mirror. On this mirror, we play out all our hopes and dreams, and the brokenness of our humanity with the friends we have found online.

How easily we forget that behind each profile is a real person.

A war game for the iPhone, with several hundreds of thousands of players, recently had an event that went largely unnoticed: One player committed suicide. It was quietly announced among the player’s army mates, and the account profile that once had been a bastion of warlike activity, suddenly went silent.

Pictures of virtual tears flowed, but no one really knew how to grieve the loss online. Because the people in the player’s army were from all over the world, no one would be able to attend a funeral. And without a connection to anyone who actually knew the player, there would be no one to talk to who actually had met this friend.

As if trapped in the portion of Scripture stating, “I have forgotten happiness” (Lamentations 3:17), the fun stopped for a little while, as the players had to grapple with a real life that existed on the other end of the WiFi. A human soul is missing from among us. He hadn’t just disconnected for the night; no, he was never going to reconnect again. The players had to feel some very human emotions, and eventually we all had to talk.

“I called on your name, O Lord, out of the lowest pit. You have heard my voice, ‘Do not hide your ear from my prayer for relief, from my cry for help.’ You drew near when I called on: you said, ‘Do not fear!'” (Lamentations 3:55-57).

In the game, players began to offer prayers of support for their fallen friend. In a game where every player is artificially immortal, we all remembered how truly mortal we are. Somehow in the virtual world a very real world thing had happened. We mourned and supported one another.

I’ve heard of this happening more and more as we connect to one another in the electronic world. On Facebook, people leave comments on the pages of their lost friends; in the games, a player’s profile becomes a memorial for thoughts, prayers and grief. And clips of this activity are now included in the evening news.

Though none of this will ever replace the warmth of a real hand and a hug, experiencing a new form of community has opened my eyes. The virtual world is no longer a separated space, but rather, part of reality.

And the world continues to change.

Daniel Griswold is director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Twitter Name: dannonhill

Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2010/08/10/1334504/reality-is-closing-in-on-the-virtual.html#ixzz0zoWzRgxC

Kingdoms Live Basics (for beginners and warriors alike)

Kingdoms Live

My other Blogs on Kingdoms Live Strategies:

(1) (2) (3)

When you start out in Kingdoms live you are a small fry and you have no clue what you are doing.  I know I didnt.  I decided to be an elf mage.  Little did I know that gold would be the most important factor in determining strength later on, and I should have picked a gold producing identity.  Oh well, you probably have already picked yours as well.  So be it. Beyond that, here are some basics in the game that should help carry you though.

(1) Patience is Currency – You will need to build your lands.  Buy as much as you can, and DO NOT LEVEL fast.  You should be able to get to 1 million gold hr by lvl 20, 3 million hr by lvl 50, and have 7 mil hr by lvl 70, and you will need 1 million more an hour per 10 lvls after that.  (ex. lvl 80, u need 8 million hr).  If you want to be stronger, have more patience.  For example you want to have top def and attk weapons/armor/spells.  Okay, just aim at 15 mil hr by lvl 100 and you should be able to do so.

(2) Stats Mean Nothing: Some players go crazy over stats.  But did you know farmers are everywhere, and you will have to camp eventually?  Camping is basically dearming, and letting your lands produce top gold.  You can keep health low by attacking other stronger players (ask first ;), and you will make much more gold.  When farmers get you, they give you losses, sometimes deaths on bl.  WHO CARES.  Seriously, later on when you are the strongest player, it won’t matter.  You can get 1000 wins in a night on the BL riding.  Losing a few thousand battles will not matter in the long run.  This would be way too easy for enemies to push your buttons.  You’ll get ahead, just not now ;)

(3) Easy ROI – Return on Investment – Basically what I do in all Storm 8 games is I seek out the best return on investment.  You can do it in your head like this.  Say your land gives you 1 gold an hour and it costs 700 gold to buy.  You should keep buying that until it is at least 1000 to buy so the 100 to 1 deal works.  Then do that w the 5 gold land, get it to 5000 to buy, and 100 gold, get it to 100000 to buy, etc.  Go up the line, and then go back and double it when they are all flat like that.  Get 1 gold to cost 2000, and 5 gold to cost 10000.  That way you are always getting a good ROI and its soooo simple to do.  May sound complicated but once you get it you will be fine.

(4) Have fun - Some easy ways to have fun is to make some friends, because the farmers out there are really lame sometimes.  Its good to have some people to make fun of em with, and to strategize with vs the really bad people who tend to populate online games. Having a common enemy makes the game more exciting.  A good way to do this is to join a clan.  Mine is Gods of Wars (GOW) and you will probably see us around.  We have 170 players, and are pretty warrior like.  If you like a good fam find me (2ps1r), and say hey.  We take strong players, so you may have to employ some of the above principles and get to lvl 25 to join up but I love to have lots of friends so join up.

Those basics should get you to lvl 60, when you have all the lands, and are about to make a run to 100 when you reach 10 mil hr.  You will remain strong, and have fun if you grit your teeth up front and move forward like a military recruit.  Or spend lots of money and buy up as much land as you can.  Its your money (though I’ve spent only 10 bucks on the game), you can destroy your life like its vegas and go against the Gavko who is nearly lvl 300 btw and rides all the time.  Good luck.

Image Sourced from: http://www.storm8.com/wp-content/themes/storm8/images/games/kingdoms-live-graphic.png

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