March 23, 2010

The Lord's Will

All of the wonderful and innovative technologies we have today were brought about by the Lord's will. Every piece of technology can be used to help push the will of the Lord forward. From the Internet to Smartphones, they all carry God's word. The make researching and understanding his will so much easier. Sharing the gospel is done online and people have access to nearly unlimited resources to learn His way. Unfortunately, like any of God's gifts, these tools can be used for horrendous evils that plague our society. The trick is to use them for good and not evil. We have agency to do what is right or what is wrong, and if we choose to do what is wrong, whether through our actions or the perversion of good technology, we ultimately are the ones responsible for the consequences. Have integrity and choose to use these things for good; choose to use them to strengthen the Kingdom of God!

March 17, 2010

Communism in Computers

* When You're Downloading Mozilla Firefox... You're Downloading Communism! -Fake Quote, not from Bill Gates

Communism is the ideal that
allows every member of a society to participate in the decision making process. Anybody who wants to can voice their opinion on how something should be changed, and if that person's opinion is supported by enough other people in the society, it will be implemented. In government systems, this process has normally lead to sadness and poverty due to poor implementation and corrupt leaders. However, does this mean that this ideal can't be implemented successfully elsewhere? No. Open source software such as Firefox, Open Office, and Linux have proven to the world the potential benefits of this type of a system. Firefox now enjoys a 30% market share on web browser usage. The constant innovation that comes from these companies keeps larger companies on their toes, forcing them to innovate or play catch up. Whatever your thoughts on Communism might be, the idea behind it is improving our lives everyday in how we use computers.

March 15, 2010

Flat? Fast? So?

My world is a small place that moves fast. About 3 years ago I was in China with my fiance. We were planning on getting married the next year and thought we would take a trip to China to see her hometown. While there, my wife bought a book called 世界是平的,or "The World is Flat," by Thomas Friedman, but it was in Chinese and I wasn't (and still am not) fluent enough to read it. Flash forward one year: I am headed back to China again as I am going to go pick her up to bring her back to the USA for our marriage. While in the airport, I spotted this same book (small world, eh?) and thought, "Hey, why not?" I bought it and began to read it on my 15 hour trip (a relatively short flight ) to Wuhan, Hubei, China.

The book was about how technology is changing the world, making it smaller and essentially flat as far as communication goes. As I read the book, a few thoughts kept coming back to me. The first was, "This book is interesting, but tell me something I don't know." And my second thought was, "Hmm, I guess change didn't used to happen that fast." I realized I have grown up in an age that is completely different than any other in the history of man. I live in an age where change is common and communication is easy. From the beginning of time, communication and travel have always been difficult. Distance always kept humanity from reaching its goals and potential. Well, not anymore. My life is different from the past thousands of years that man has been on this planet.

To me, a fast pace is normal. I've never experienced anything else. With enough money, I can travel to anywhere in the world in less than a day. My world is a world where if I can't figure out how to align 100 different pairs of gene sequences in under 30 seconds, I'm not fast enough to get an A grade. The skills I learn in school will be obsolete before I get a job. My wife talks to her parents instantly for free from Utah to China through video chat, but if the sound lags just a little then everyone gets frustrated. I expect that next year a hundred things I've never dreamed of will be invented and become common place in my life. This isn't strange to me. My whole life has been this way. I'm used to it.

March 4, 2010

Copyright This!

Copyright laws and patents are destroying creativity and life as we know it. Youtube is home to some of the most unique creative content the world has ever known. It is a conglomerate of the the creative minds of everyone in the world. However, when a video of a dancing baby is pulled from Youtube because a copyrighted song is being played in the background, copyright laws have gone too far. Luckily cooler heads prevailed in this case and the courts decided the video was covered under fair use, but too often this is not the case. Similarly, biomedical research companies feel they have the right to patent certain Gene sequences. This implies that if you have a specific rare gene sequence previously thought to only have been made in a lab by humans, you can be sued. Where is the logic in that?

March 2, 2010

Program Your Way Out of a Paper Bag

It seems under qualified people can get jobs as programmers fairly easily. How people in this world can get jobs that they have no experience for is beyond me. People can get jobs as programmers when they don't even know how to write a simple program that prints 1 to 100 with every multiple of three printing 'foo' and every multiple of five printing 'bar.' That is a simple basic problem. If I were to interview someone to be a truck driver, I'd expect them to know how to drive a manual transmission. It is possible, however, to get a job that you may be under qualified for if you can display some aptitude to learn what needs to be learned. If a driver knows how to drive a manual transmission and has driven a pickup truck with a trailer attached, I might consider hiring him based upon similar experience. He would still need extra training first, but he already has the skill set needed. A programmer that doesn't know how to write a for-loop is not a programmer at all.