Categories
Lifestyle

The Fall Of The Family

There was a time when the rearing of our children was an act to be envied. It took the whole community, neighbourhood and the world at large.

If I misbehaved in school and had the misfortune of being flogged or given a dirty slap by a teacher; the incident had better not get back to my parents, especially dad! Dad viewed the punishment meted out as a slight to his parenting and oh, boy did I pray for heaven at such times!
Where I lived was demarcated by trees; we had no walls. This art of living fostered good neighbourliness. That wasn’t all; I was surrounded by at least four other mothers! Woe betide me if I was rude, lazy, disobedient or stubborn; the report didn’t have to get to my mother; either one of the four “mothers” would deal summarily with me!

Those were days of the smell of fresh bread baking, vanilla infused cakes or chocolate cookies permeating the air and our lunch boxes waiting to have them lovingly laid. During lunchtime, depending on the setting, we would (siblings and neighbours kids) sit down together to laugh, eat and even fight.

In as much as our parents were career oriented they had time to discipline. They did it so well most especially my mother. I would whisper to a relative or two my plans of escaping from this woman who obviously was not my mother. She would wake us up at 5.30am to sweep the expansive compound we lived on. Note, it had been swept neat by the gardener the previous day. I made my first “meal” eight. I was however, reprimanded for the match stick that ended up in my father’s mouth! Hey, it was my first attempt.

Birthday parties were a treat! We got to wear our Sunday best; those ballerina like dresses with lovely sashes as belts, complete with lace ruffled socks. The party songs were mainly nursery rhymes or just children sing-along songs.

Now fast forward to what we have these days. If your neighbour (in this sense, it just means someone who lives next door strictly), makes the mistake of trying to correct or reprimand your child; all hell will break loose; the teacher will get a beating from Daddy the Bull in front of the students, party times are mini clubs for kids-trashy inappropriate dressing; especially the girls at that young age, hairstyles that encourage early balding and was a torturous period for the girl, adult music danced to in such sexually suggestive ways it will shame your attempts! These parties have become self serving as it is all about the parents and their cronies. The financial lengths parents go to throw a “one in a kind” party, is embarrassing. The househelp/nanny/housemistress/housegirl/maid that during my time, took instructions from mummy and served mummy, now not only has Madam, but her brood as well to work for and take instructions from. Kai!

Portrait of Happy Family In ParkThe moral fibre of any society is foisted on the woman. Don’t argue. That is how nature determined it – the man is expected and required to fend for his family, he will spend long hours away from the home trying to create a comfortable life for his family. On the other hand, the woman being the vessel and the nurturer is expected and now more than ever to stay at home and nurture the children up till when they have wings to leave the coop. While some will argue that it sounds idealistic, others will fume stating equal rights and the emancipation of the woman, others will demand that a woman has dreams, desires and aspirations to fulfil; last but not least, this last group will question which part of the world I live in!! because as sure as hell, if I lived in Africa, no one has to tell me the issues the average woman faces.

Mummy is working equal hours as dad, so the kids are left with the nannies that need schooling and coaching too; the nannies are furnished with a tv, watching nothing except Africa Magic and Channel O. The kids are given everything they ask for and are not supervised: they can’t be-mum at work! When she does, she’s so tired she doesn’t have the mental presence to deal effectively with her kids. Anti-social behaviour is developed; their friends are their teachers and source of inspiration. TV and social network platforms are their mantra. Once the monster is formed and unleashed we blame everything and everyone (God included) except ourselves. Sexual promiscuity, permissiveness and perversion, abuse of drugs (remember the Codeine phase), smoking,(as if it is cool to have the stale smell of tobacco on your breath, hands and body), binge drinking(alcoholism), laziness, total bankrupt moral code(just look to the schools-cheating, bribing teachers, colleagues to pass exams), stealing, drug addiction(visit rehab centre Yaba, they have a waiting list), terrorism has recently been added. You will be shocked to know how early our kids are engaged in these acts.

We are wondering what happened to our families. This is what happened. We copied the West and got an aberration. Ok partly. We abdicated our responsibilities because we have to make ends meet. Then employed a retinue of servants do to everything-cook, clean, and rear the kids! Wondering, why that sounds familiar.

Don’t get me wrong-it is okay to get help to carry out the cooking and cleaning but not when it becomes the primary responsibility of the hired hand. It is the reality of our society. I hate it when I see an 8 or 9 year old (a baby) brought to take care of another baby!

When I see a woman driving on the sidewalk with three kids inside, I wonder what else she is planning to teach them; since she has just taught them impatience, shunting, indiscipline and breaking the law!!!

Rearing a human being to become a valuable contributing member of society that can function as an individual is one of the toughest jobs in the world with no magic formula. It is also one of the most rewarding. However, with everything in life there are basic steps adhered to that puts you are on the path to achieving a positive result. There are some individuals, for lack of a better word to use; I would say are destined to fall by the way side no matter your best efforts.

When a stay at home mother states that she is; she is viewed with pity; when you take your next leave please be a full time stay at home mom-don’t cheat. Let’s know if they are to be pitied or given a thumbs-up.

Career and businesswomen or a woman working to help support the husband have to know when to start, stop, and continue. Find a balance; simply put. Below I have written a few simple pointers: im no expert but they came to mind.

Cultivate a healthy respectable relationship with your child. I’m not talking about the Oyibo (white man) kind of parent-child relationship where the child ends up calling parent by name and putting themselves on the same pedestal as you. Know their friends and their parents. Interact with them, teach them to honour, respect themselves, their bodies and other people and their bodies. It is very important. Know where to draw the line with material acquisitions for them. Look, X’s father can buy the whole of the world for him but does that mean you should?? Must they have cell phones at 9? An Ipad at 11, designer clothes from babyhood to the point the kids even know?? Tvs in their room complete with cable tv, must have summers. Did you have all these things at the incubation of your life? They have everything and don’t know the value of anything. When they grow up they expect that life will hand them everything on the same gold platter!! Alas, they are in for a rude awakening! There is a time for everything.

Teach them the value of hard, honest work.

Build their self confidence and esteem. Let them know it is okay to be different. Try and spend at least one hour of quality time with them (one on one) everyday. This calls for major adjustment and sacrifice but the reward is eternal.

Spare the rod and spoil the child still rings true. I have told you; no listen to Oyibo o. See what has become of their youth!! And it is gradually happening to ours. The key is moderation, timing and creativity in discipline. I hated mum’s wooden spoon on my knuckles which was reserved for the gravest of offences.

Mums, sorry but we will need to make that sacrifice. Society and even religion blames the mother for a wayward child but praises the father for a good child!!! Not fair in my opinion, but it goes back to the roles nature has apportioned to us. You must learn to love both the good of the child and the bad! That’s the only way you will gain the confidence of your child. After all don’t you make mistakes? Affirm, encourage, support, listen, seek to understand, be firm and consistent in discipline. Also have a common front with your spouse/partner during discipline and decision taking.

Pray for and with your children.

Categories
Lifestyle

When A Man Loves A Woman

You know it is not lost on women what their role in a man’s life, the life of her in-laws, children,etc is. It is shouted at us and often used as a blackmail to keep us in line as they lay the burden that is; Woman.

slave-wifeI’ve grown tired of reading ‘tips’ given to women on how to get the best out of their husbands. Like really?? Why is it always the woman at the receiving end?!

‘Be clean’, don’t nag, be coy, boost his ego, be his good luck charm, train the kids, spend his money, don’t spend his money, respect him, respect him, respect him’! You leave the training ground of mumville only to get to another training field with the same mantra.
Why aren’t there tips for men regularly churned out on how to get the woman to respond?? How about a ‘how a man should treat his wife’-a whole write-up not just a one-liner!

I think men need to get over themselves. Do you want to be a man or not?(at this point if you are one you don’t have a choice! So suck it up!). This marriage relationship is reciprocal; give and take. We accept that the man is the head and as the head, you have a tremendous responsibility but at each point must we be given rules? What about what the other partner wants? Needs? I mean I too want a clean man!

So I will write some tips on what we too would like:

1. A woman needs to be loved. She is a born nurturer therefore has a great capacity to give in return. Love begets respect. Note the man is called to love. That is a huge, huge, huge assignment. The woman is called to respect. If men loved like they are expected to this whole grammar of ‘she doesn’t respect me’ will be gone! Being a man is not a walk in the park, just as being a woman is not. Men take proper charge; love and not flex those annoying muscles! As I said, we get ‘you are the man’

I thought of writing a whole list of Do’s for the man but no other song put it in better context than the lyrics of Percy Sledge’s “WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN”! I leave you with the lyrics to ponder upon. I didn’t write them; they were written and sung by a man. That in itself shows how profound it can be. When a man truly loves and conveys that to a woman; there won’t be need for all these annoying tips for women-they’ll naturally respond.

NOTE: It is of note that it is not only love that will put food on the table though!

when a man loves a womanWhen a man loves a woman, he can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world for the good thing he’s found
If she is bad, he can’t see it, she can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend if he put her down

When a man love
a woman, spend his very last dime
Tryin’ to hold on to what he needs
He’d give up all his comforts, sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way it ought to be

Well, this man loves a woman
I gave you everything I had
Tryin’ to hold on to high glass love
Baby, please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a woman, down deep in his soul
She can bring him such misery
If she played him for a fool, he’s the last one to know
Lovin’ eyes can’t ever see

When a man loves a woman, he can do her no wrong
He can never own some other girl
Yes, when a man loves a woman I know exactly how he feels
‘Cause baby, baby, baby, you’re my world

When a man loves a woman I know exactly how he feels

Categories
Lifestyle Technology

Tracking The Cheating Spouse

sb10064861z-001Vehicle GPS trackers made a foray into the Nigerian market over a decade ago, and was made popular by the insurance companies who bundled these devices with their comprehensive insurance packages. The primary purpose of these devices is to help in reducing the risks the insurance companies face in the event of theft of these cars.

However, some people have found a different use for this device which may not have been the intention of the manufacturers of this technology – Spouse Tracking.

Ever so often, spouses tend to have reasons to suspect their partners of infidelity; the perpetual late nights at work, work trips, cutting off calls when you come into the room, and perhaps, lack of interest in “you know what”. Stories abound everywhere of marital infidelity, and it is becoming increasing common place and many even see it as a norm.

A temptation to have an affair can come from all over. Lures from a co-worker whom they spend lots of time with or go on business trips with, the house help that watches your children, your so called good friend or even a neighbor.

The thing is, you may have not gone all out to get and fix the device on your partner’s car, as it may have been installed by the insurance company but the fact is, the vehicle GPS tracker does a very good job keeping track of the movement of the car occupant, even keeping a log of locations visited for future reference. It is just a matter of you taking charge of the SMS or internet services required to monitor this movement of the vehicle. You may even go a step further and install a discreet video camera as an add-on to the GPS device to get a video and audio feedback from your spouse’s car.

Alternatively, if what you have is a “tokunboh” (fairly used) car that you did not bother to fix a tracker in, most smartphones now come with GPS feature. Apps like SMS & Call Mobile Monitor,  available on the android and the iOS platforms, even allows you to check on the content of your partner’s phone in addition to tracking her movement.

Well, this sort of raise ethical issues (as if jealous spouses care about this 🙂 ) but i am very sure some spouses have taken even more extreme measures to catch a cheating partner especially in Nigeria where voodoo is very common place. The mythical magun charm easily comes to mind.

Categories
Gadgets

Toddlers And iPad Addiction

I understand that one of the main joys of parenting a toddler involves keeping the little one amused.

Amused, as in quiet.

Ever since the iPad came along, with its bright colors and infinite range of games and pictures, it has seemed like an ideal tool to keep baby happy. This happiness, however, is one that baby does not want to ever, ever stop. So much so that some toddlers are now said to be iPad addicts.

This curiously adult affliction seems to involve baby undergoing seven aspects of demented ranting, should her iPad be taken away.

As the Telegraph reports, a novel strain of therapy involves easing the strain that little children feel when their gadget is not at hand.

There are examples of toddlers being engrossed in their tablets for up to 4 hours a day. This might not seem like much, until one realizes that many of the very youngest are only awake 10 hours a day.

The Sunday Mirror reported on a case of a 4-year-old who, it claimed, is Britain’s youngest iPad addict. It quoted psychiatrist Dr. Richard ­Graham who runs the Capio Nightingale Clinic in London. The clinic specializes in digital detox, weaning the dependent off their gadgets.

ipad addictionGraham, to whom the 4-year-old was referred by her mother, said that he believes such an addiction is common and not unlike alcoholism or drug dependency.

“Although at this stage her use isn’t a sufficient concern to warrant in-patient care, it would be if her addiction continues to the age of 11, when she has access to other platforms like ­smartphones and the Internet,” said Graham.

Graham thinks it might be a good idea for Internet use advice to be a core element of ante-natal classes.

Perhaps this all begins with mimicry. The children see their parents’ deep involvement in their machines and want to do the same.

The machines themselves are vastly enjoyable. Indeed, visit any bar or restaurant and see supposedly adult humans seemingly unable to focus on anything but screens.

Psychologists worry that when toddlers grow up they won’t be able to have normal, human interactions with their contemporaries.

But when normal, human interactions already consist of Facebook friending and Snapchat sending, some might think an iPad addiction is merely an early introduction into a certain future.

iPad, therefore I am.

 

Source

Categories
Gadgets

Why You Should Always Pay for Apps

So you just bought a smartphone or tablet, or received one as a gift. Congratulations! Now go buy some apps. No, not free apps. You, or a special someone, just spent, what, $200-plus on your new gadget? Plunk down $10 for some apps.

Mobile app development is one of the last businesses in America where one or two guys with a good idea can make it big, and where consumers can get a top-quality, original product for little money. Big-box stores have crushed the mom-and-pops. Most culture seems to be created by giant conglomerates. Kickstarter is out there, but it tilts the playing field in the other direction; it isn’t a store, it’s a gambling emporium.

Most transactions in our world are so dispersed along an endless supply chain that it’s impossible to figure out whom you’re actually paying for what. When you buy a toy at Walmart, how much of your $20 goes to the checkout girl? How much to the truck driver who delivered it, how much to the person who assembled it, how much to the person who invented it? There’s no way to know.

Digital media distribution has some of the same problems. I recently bought Brave on Amazon for $20. I assume about 30 percent of that went to Amazon, but of the other 70 percent, how much did anyone involved in creating the movie see? How much went to some incomprehensible financial derivative rewarding large Disney shareholders? Once again, no way to know.

I think one of the reasons media piracy is so rampant is that these media products have become so disassociated from any particular creator. Obviously, it takes a team of hundreds, if not thousands, to make a Brave. But that makes too many consumers feel that pirating Brave is a victimless crime, as the “creator” has become this inchoate blob listed on a stock exchange.

When you buy a toy at Walmart, how much of your $20 goes to the checkout girl?

REWARDING THE LITTLE GUYS

AppsPeer into the mobile app stores, on the other hand, and you see a lot of excellent stuff made by small businesses. Take the “top paid” list at Google Play. Along with the big names, you see apps from little studios like Mojang, LevelUp, and ZeptoLab. My wife loves World of Goo, by two-man game house 2D Boy. When you buy from one of those, you know your money is going to the creators. Even better: If they make money, they’ll probably make more apps.

I’m currently working my way through the Windows Phone 8 game Dragon’s Blade, and I paid 99 cents for the “DX” version so Nate, the creator, knows he has one more interested player. When you buy a bag of gold in the iPad game Silversword, 70 percent of the money goes to pay the rent of a guy named Mario. He lives in Germany. He writes code. He’s working hard to bring you an expansion pack right now. Why wouldn’t you want to participate in a transaction like that?

There’s even a perpetual collection of small-developer games going around, called the Humble Bundle. I don’t like the Humble Bundle for stupid reasons, mostly because I associate it with people who live in Brooklyn, have artisanal facial hair, and listen to electronic dance music. I should probably get over that.

If there’s a paid version and a free version of something, get the paid version. Remember: if you aren’t paying for a product, you are the product. Free versions are worse for you and worse for the creators. You agree to sell your personal data to advertisers. The creator gets some attenuated dribble of cash from the bottom of a complicated pyramid of interests. But when you buy the paid version, the creator gets direct cash and knows you’re interested.

If there’s a paid version and a free version of something, get the paid version.

This logic also holds when you’re buying an app from a company like Disney or EA that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies. By purchasing a paid app, you’re endorsing a clear, simple economics where you know how and what you’re paying. Free apps encourage companies to find invisible ways to “monetize” their users, from selling personal information to demanding perpetual, periodic in-app purchases. You’re still paying, you’re just rarely told how up front.

MOBILE PIRACY IS WORSE THAN DESKTOP PIRACY

If you pirate Android apps, on the other hand, you are scum. Yes, there are some outlier justifications: If you’re a subsistence farmer in India living on $2 a day and “Where’s My Water?” is not only an ironic statement of first-world problems, but the slim joy in your sun-blasted day, go for it. But I suspect you’re First World middle class, and you spent more than $1 today on something relatively worthless, like a bag of chips (or crisps, if you live outside the United States).

Mobile apps are so stunningly affordable right now, and the money usually goes so directly to programmers that you are taking food out of their children’s mouths for spite. Really, you can’t economize $2 in this week’s budget to reward someone for their labor? We’re not talking $600 Adobe software suites here. The only reasons to pirate a $2 app are if you’re below the United Nation’s global poverty line, or if you’re a complete jerk.

I understand that some people are hesitant to buy apps because they’re worried about quality. That is why we have reviews. PC Magazine has reviews, Amazon has reviews, the app stores have reviews, 148Apps has reviews, platform fan sites have reviews. Really. Do a five-minute Google search and you’ll find out how good an app is.

So go. Take that fresh iPhone 5, that new Kindle Fire, or that shiny HTC 8X and pick up a game or an app. It’ll be the best buy you’ve made so far this year, and one you can feel really good about.

Really, you can’t economize $2 in this week’s budget to reward someone for their labor?
Source : PCMAG
Categories
Gadgets

The Child, the Tablet and the Developing Mind

I recently watched my sister perform an act of magic.

We were sitting in a restaurant, trying to have a conversation, but her children, 4-year-old Willow and 7-year-old Luca, would not stop fighting. The arguments — over a fork, or who had more water in a glass — were unrelenting.

Child-with-iPad-via-AFP-615x345Like a magician quieting a group of children by pulling a rabbit out of a hat, my sister reached into her purse and produced two shiny Apple iPads, handing one to each child. Suddenly, the two were quiet. Eerily so. They sat playing games and watching videos, and we continued with our conversation.

After our meal, as we stuffed the iPads back into their magic storage bag, my sister felt slightly guilty.

“I don’t want to give them the iPads at the dinner table, but if it keeps them occupied for an hour so we can eat in peace, and more importantly not disturb other people in the restaurant, I often just hand it over,” she told me. Then she asked: “Do you think it’s bad for them? I do worry that it is setting them up to think it’s O.K. to use electronics at the dinner table in the future.”

I did not have an answer, and although some people might have opinions, no one has a true scientific understanding of what the future might hold for a generation raised on portable screens.

“We really don’t know the full neurological effects of these technologies yet,” said Dr. Gary Small, director of the Longevity Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of “iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind.” “Children, like adults, vary quite a lot, and some are more sensitive than others to an abundance of screen time.”

But Dr. Small says we do know that the brain is highly sensitive to stimuli, like iPads and smartphone screens, and if people spend too much time with one technology, and less time interacting with people like parents at the dinner table, that could hinder the development of certain communications skills.

So will a child who plays with crayons at dinner rather than a coloring application on an iPad be a more socialized person?

Ozlem Ayduk, an associate professor in the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, said children sitting at the dinner table with a print book or crayons were not as engaged with the people around them, either. “There are value-based lessons for children to talk to the people during a meal,” she said. “It’s not so much about the iPad versus nonelectronics.”

Parents who have little choice but to hand over their iPad can at least control what a child does on those devices.

A report published last week by the Millennium Cohort Study, a long-term study group in Britain that has been following 19,000 children born in 2000 and 2001, found that those who watched more than three hours of television, videos or DVDs a day had a higher chance of conduct problems, emotional symptoms and relationship problems by the time they were 7 than children who did not. The study, of a sample of 11,000 children, found that children who played video games — often age-appropriate games — for the same amount of time did not show any signs of negative behavioral changes by the same age.

Which brings us back to the dinner table with my niece and nephew. While they sat happily staring into those shiny screens, they were not engaged in any type of conversation, or staring off into space thinking, as my sister and I did as children when our parents were talking. And that is where the risks are apparent.

“Conversations with each other are the way children learn to have conversations with themselves, and learn how to be alone,” said Sherry Turkle, a professor of science, technology and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of the book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.” “Learning about solitude and being alone is the bedrock of early development, and you don’t want your kids to miss out on that because you’re pacifying them with a device.”

Ms. Turkle has interviewed parents, teenagers and children about the use of gadgets during early development, and says she fears that children who do not learn real interactions, which often have flaws and imperfections, will come to know a world where perfect, shiny screens give them a false sense of intimacy without risk.

And they need to be able to think independently of a device. “They need to be able to explore their imagination. To be able to gather themselves and know who they are. So someday they can form a relationship with another person without a panic of being alone,” she said. “If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only know how to be lonely.”

Source

Categories
Lifestyle

The Antichrist and Technology

antichristWhat do we know about the Antichrist, the future world dictator whose coming is foretold in the Bible? Is he living now? Probably. And what about his new world order? Is the Antichrist already working behind the scenes to bring about his plan for world economic and political domination? It seems so.

From all indications, the Antichrist’s satanic, technology-based system is already being set in place–“satanic” in that the Antichrist will be Satan-possessed (Daniel 8:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:2-4; 12:9), and “technology based” in that he will use technology to achieve and enforce his near total control of the world and its people. A key Bible passage about this is Revelation 13:16-17:

He [the Antichrist’s right-hand man, the False Prophet] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on [or “in”] their right hand or on [in] their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Imagine what the apostle John must have thought when, in about 90 AD, he saw a vision of this taking place in a futuristic world. People ever since have been baffled as to how any such universal, totalitarian economic system could be established or policed. But now the age of technology has arrived. With electronic commerce rapidly replacing cash and virtually everything that is bought and sold being identified and tracked by bar codes and other means, it is no longer inconceivable that the financial transactions of everyone in the world could one day be monitored by a centralized agency.

Most of the technology already exists, but before the Antichrist’s plan can work, it needs to be more powerful and widespread. It stands to reason, then, that the Antichrist would get behind research and development in such fields as microchip technology, biotechnology, and the Internet.

Also, the technology is not enough in itself. The Antichrist also needs to sell the world on it. It appears that he is busy at that, too, and he is not alone. He works through others–mostly unwitting accomplices who are helping to further his agenda by developing and marketing the technology, including some of the world’s brightest minds and biggest financial powers. A scripture that goes along with that point is Daniel 11:21b KJV:

He shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

Some versions of the Bible translate this as “seize the kingdom by intrigue” – by secret scheming or plotting. Either way, it sounds as though the Antichrist is going to rise to power through cunning salesmanship rather than solely the strong-arm tactics that the leaders of most past empires depended on.

Through the various forms of mass media, the Antichrist is doing everything he can to convince the world that these new technologies are beneficial and necessary. What he is not saying, of course, is that he will eventually use them to suit his evil purposes. Consider these developments:

Surveillance technologies

Video cameras now monitor and record our faces and movements in many stores and public places. We have learned to accept this intrusion into our lives because of the benefits: It discourages crime and helps apprehend criminals. Likewise, the monitoring of Internet communications helps curtail child pornographers, terrorists, and other threats to our common good.

As electronic databases replace filing cabinets, more and more data about us is being collected, stored, cross-referenced, and shared. Now that nearly everything we do leaves behind a “data trail,” combining information from different sources can re-create a person’s activities with astonishing accuracy and detail. This reservoir of personal information is especially helpful to marketers, and it is big business. Financial privacy has become a thing of the past, as financial institutions and others now routinely put the details of their clients’ lives up for sale.

Other data-gathering technologies help complete the mosaic of information that can be collected on individuals. For example, computerized “black boxes” are being built into cars, and location-tracking chips into cell phones and other electronic devices–innovations that consumers are being told are for their own good. Similarly, microchips are being implanted under the skin of pets for ID and tracking purposes, and pilot programs are already being done for Alzheimer’s patients and children.

Biometrics

Biometrics is the technology of collecting, processing, and storing details of a person’s physical characteristics through such means as fingerprinting, thumb scans, retina scans, hand geometry, face recognition, voice recognition, and digital macrophotography. Biometric identification has caught the interest of both governments and the commercial sector because it is far more foolproof than more primitive forms of ID, such as photo ID cards or signatures.

Cashless Commerce

The shift from cash to electronic commerce helps curtail drug trafficking, counterfeiting, and theft, not to mention the greater convenience and security that electronic commerce affords. So-called smart cards now contain microchips that store not only the owner’s financial information, but also medical records and other personal information. The logical next step would be to eliminate the plastic card and embed the chip directly into the owner, say “on their right hand or on their foreheads.”

Global networking

As amazing as these new technologies are, the Antichrist will not be able to fully set up his new world order until it’s all pulled together into an integrated network with universal standards–an obstacle that might not be an obstacle much longer. Governments and industry are setting international standards and expanding their electronic networking by sharing information, services, and technology. As more countries turn to the latest technology to help solve their particular social and economic problems, they expand the network’s reach and capabilities. The level of technological development now varies greatly from nation to nation, but the whole system could be “online” in a relatively short time.

Proponents of these new technologies and cooperative efforts always point out the positive aspects, such as convenience, security, lower costs, and improved quality, speed, and efficiency in the delivery of goods and services. Little is said about the negative aspects of this public intrusion into what were once private personal affairs. Under the banner of science and technology, and more recently “the war against terrorism,” the governments of the world are rushing to complete the Antichrist’s economic and political system for him–the very system the Bible warns against.

Don’t be duped into following this false messiah or receiving his mark! Follow the true Messiah, Jesus Christ. Then you’ll be on the right side, the winning side, when Jesus returns to put a stop to the Antichrist’s wickedness and set things right (Revelation 14:9-11; 19:11-21).

 

Source

 

Categories
Articles

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

geekModern society is massively complex. We like to pretend that our mastery of tools and technology has made life easier or better, but in actuality it has never been harder to simply live life.

Above all else, tools and technology give us choices, and more choice means more complexity. Ten thousand years ago, life basically consisted of hunting, eating, and procreating, and stone arrowheads were the state-of-the-art, must-have devices. Over time we mastered new materials and devised new tools (iron, paper, plastics, computer chips), and society grew increasingly complex (trade, diplomacy, religion, global media).

Tools are force multipliers, and our tools and technologies are now so advanced that the tiniest of human machinations can have worldwide repercussions. Whereas once your actions very rarely affected anything or anyone beyond your immediate vicinity, today a single photo shot with a smartphone and uploaded to Facebook can change the world. Tools also used to have very specific purposes; but thanks to monstrously powerful general-purpose hardware and operating systems, our present-day computerized tools can perform an almost infinite number of diverse tasks, often simultaneously, in many cases without our even being aware that they’re being performed.

EACH WILL HAVE TO BEAR HIS OWN LOAD

To put it bluntly, most mere mortals simply have no idea how to handle the overwhelming power of modern devices. Do you know someone who has sent an embarrassing email or picture message to the wrong person, or misunderstood the privacy settings on their Facebook or Twitter feeds? How many of your friends know what really happens when you push the power button on your PC, or press play on Spotify?

Most mere mortals have no idea how to handle the overwhelming power of modern devices.

It wasn’t so long ago that most people completely understood every aspect of their tools, and this reflected in their proficiency with them. Today, there probably isn’t a single person alive who can tell you exactly how to make an LCD monitor, let alone a whole computer—and likewise, there are very few people who know how to properly use a computer. A modern PC outputs more data and has more functionality than a 1970s supercomputer that was operated by a dozen engineers. And yet in today’s always-connected, ubiquitously digital world, we expect a single, relatively uneducated person to somehow use these devices effectively.

Miraculously, the system actually works. Yes, people still screw up and crash their cars while texting, or get malware on their computer, but for the most part we make incredibly good use of the tools and technologies available to us.

Partly, this is due to the near-infinite adaptability of mankind—but it’s also due to geeks. Human civilization has always had elders who guide their spiritual children safely through life’s perils. In the olden days, these wise men and women would educate their communities in the ways of the world: how to nurture children, how to grow crops. In modern society, geeks are our sages, our shamans, our technocratic teachers.

THE GEEK IS MY SHEPHERD

Now more than ever before, the only way that we will successfully navigate technological pitfalls and make it out in one piece is if we listen carefully and follow in the footsteps of the geeks, the shepherds of society. This is quite a burden for geeks, who obviously have a better grasp of the underlying science and wizardry, but they’re still being buffeted by the same startling rate of advancement and myriad ethical and moral repercussions that technology is thrusting upon the rest of us.

Geeks must assimilate our technological advances, and then provide guidance for the rest of us.

As our shepherds, geeks must assimilate our technological advances, and then quickly provide guidance for the rest of us. You can probably remember a time when you asked a geek for advice on your next PC, whereupon he gladly imparted upon you the latest hardware, software, and peripheral wisdom. Or maybe you’re the geek to whom people come seeking council.

Today, with the exponential effect of Moore’s law and the emergence of pervasive, ubiquitous computing, it’s a little more complicated. It’s no longer a matter of the fastest computer or largest hard drive; we’re now talking about ecology (power usage, recycling), privacy (social sharing, behavioral targeting), and other philosophical quandaries that most geeks really aren’t ready for. Five years ago, almost all geeks agreed on which CPU was the fastest (the Core 2 Duo). Ask three today which mobile OS is the best, or what your Facebook privacy settings should be, and you’ll get three very different answers.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As our interactions with hyper-advanced technology shifts from the hard sciences underpinning hardware (chemistry, physics) to the soft sciences that govern software (sociology, psychology, law), it’s understandable that absolute answers are becoming harder to come by. It isn’t vital that geeks always give the right answer, anyway: The main thing is that they know enough that they can give advice.

It isn’t vital that geeks always give the right answer, but that they know enough that they can give advice.

Ultimately, the real takeaway here is that we’re all beholden to the wishes and whimsies of our geeky compatriots. They have now taken over the mantle of the wise men the masses have always followed, and for better or worse there isn’t much we can do about it. At least geeks have been doing a pretty good job so far.

If you’re one of them, however, remember that you are not only a guide who must gently lead society through the uncertain, ever-shifting mists of bleeding-edge tech, but also a captain who must ride out any storms we suddenly find ourselves in. This is a lot of responsibility to bear, but like the priests, village elders, and witches that came before you, you will do the job, and you will hopefully do it to the best of your capability. Pay heed: Your actions will directly affect the adoption (or not) of technology, thus shaping the future of human civilization.

No pressure, geeks. No pressure.

Sebastian Anthony | PC Mag January 2013 Edition

Categories
Articles

Big Brother Is Watching

“If the Internet were your living room, there would be crowds of people peeking through the windows,” says Mark Ghuneim, CEO of New York digital marketing agency Wiredset, “and you would have unwittingly granted them permission to watch and record everything going on.” Among the Peeping Toms: George Orwell’s figurative Big Brother—the government—but also, potentially, your employer (and future employers) and marketers, as well as so-called data miners who’ve made a multibillion-dollar business out of buying and selling intimate details about you.

In an age of social networking and oversharing, our lives are open books. What we do in our homes with our technology doesn’t always give us what the law calls “a reasonable expectation of privacy.” How easily can others get their hands on all the information floating around cyberspace about you and your family?

Who Can Read Your E -Mail

You just sent a message to a friend about a trip to St. Petersburg you’re thinking of taking. Somewhere a computer is probably “reading” that e-mail with keen interest, using sophisticated software to discern your plan to travel as well as the specific destination—which is why you might suddenly start noticing your e-mail provider serving up ads for, say, St. Petersburg hotels and restaurants.

Google, whose Gmail service keys ads to e-mail content, announced in late March that it will be refining its system to serve up more “relevant” ads (“For example,” Google helpfully explains, “if you’ve recently received a lot of messages about photography or cameras, a deal from a local camera store might be interesting”). The company reassures users that the process is “fully automated” and that “no humans read your messages.”

Whether you use Gmail or another service—and no matter how much information about yourself you volunteered when setting up your account—any e-mail you send from your home is likely to be associated with a specific IP (Internet protocol) address. In other words, if you set up a Hotmail account under the name Jane Doe, it may be directly traceable to you by law enforcement. (Prosecutors across the United States have successfully sought to subpoena records from Internet service providers to demonstrate such links in criminal cases.) You may think you’ve sent an anonymous e-mail, but for all practical purposes, it’s as good as signed.

Of course, if you use an anonymous service like GuerrillaMail—which allows you to create a temporary e-mail address that lasts just one hour—and log in from a public location such as a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi Internet access, you should be able to cover your e-mail tracks. But such disposable e-mail addresses (which some people use to gain access to websites that require an e-mail address during the registration process, hoping to avoid spam) aren’t practical for the vast majority of us.

On some sites, the price of admission is your surrender of privacy.

And as for e-mail you send from work, beware: Dr. Darren Hayes, a Pace University professor and expert in data security, says, “The legal presumption is that no matter what you do on your employer’s network, there should be no expectation of privacy.” In other words, your employer doesn’t have to tell you that the computer on your desk and everything that passes through it is being automatically monitored.

The San Diego–based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, which maintains an informative rundown of employee privacy rights (and lack thereof) at privacyrights.org, is fairly blunt about it: “If an electronic mail system is used at a company, the employer owns it and is allowed to review its contents.” Whenever you visit a website, chances are the site will insert and/or update a small bit of code on your computer called a cookie, which allows that website to track your visits as well as monitor where else you might end up surfing. As Wiredset’s Ghuneim explains, “Marketers buy, collect, and process many data types, including location data, brand preferences, purchase activity, and behavioral data. The data collected by Web browsers adds to each of those areas, and marketers can grab that information as long as it’s disclosed in their posted privacy policy.”

Who Can Track Your Web-Surfing History

Michael Fertik, CEO of reputation.com, recommends that you “always browse in privacy mode.” (In Firefox, look for Start Private Browsing under the Tools menu; in Internet Explorer, click the Safety link, then select InPrivate Browsing; in Safari, look for Private Browsing under the main menu.) “That might mean,” he adds, “that you have to log in every time you go to your banking site, but guess what: That’s better anyway.” It’s important to note that some websites won’t function properly unless you allow them to place cookies on your computer. In other words, the price of admission is your surrender of privacy.

Every Web browser allows you to clear cookies after visiting sites. That’s a useful tactic if, for instance, you’re checking e-mail on a computer that other people can access.

Both Internet Explorer (from Micro soft) and Firefox (from Mozilla) recently added so-called do-not-track features designed to limit the amount of information marketers can collect about you as you surf the Web. So far, though, marketer participation in do-not-track programs amounts to self-policing, as there is no force of law behind them. That’s why the U.S. Senate’s commerce committee has been considering legislation that would mandate the ability of consumers to opt out of being tracked.

Keep in mind that clearing your cookies or turning on a do-not-track feature does not erase your tracks. Your service provider may maintain detailed logs of every site you’ve visited, and other evidence of your surfing habits may persist on your computer. In 2007, a New Jersey woman was convicted of murdering her husband. Before the crime, she’d entered four words into Google’s search box: how to commit murder.

Comments left anonymously, or under assumed names, on website message boards are traceable too. The administrator of a site, for instance, can see the IP address of the computer of any posted comment—information that can be subpoenaed by law enforcement. (Some websites even make IP addresses of commenters visible to other commenters to not so subtly encourage civility.)

As for social networks, reputation.com’s Fertik maintains that even the most rigorous privacy settings are not good enough: “The social networks will still take your data and give other people access to it. That’s their business model. So just assume that no matter what you post, no matter how private you think it is, it’s going to find its way to someone else.”

While Facebook, for instance, allows you to limit what nonfriends can see, people in your social circle may not have the same scruples about your information. And once information is out there, it can be used against you. In 2010, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that four of five surveyed divorce attorneys reported seeing information from social networks being used in divorce cases. In 1988, Congress passed the Video Privacy Protection Act after a D.C. newspaper published Judge Robert Bork’s video-rental records during his unsuccessful confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court. Fast forward to 2011: Chances are no matter what you watch on television—through cable or via a service like Netflix—at some level, it’s being tracked digitally, seamlessly, and automatically.

Who Can Track What You’re Watching on TV

In fact, cable companies such as Cablevision have been experimenting with “addressable ads” that deliver commercials tailored to your household. Bob Fetter of Massachusetts- based Pluris Marketing, a company that helps cable providers and other firms conduct such so-called data mining, doesn’t think that’s always cause for concern: “Sometimes sharing your data leads to a better customer experience.” For instance, Disney and Toys“R”Us have participated in Cablevision’s tests, and while they don’t reveal whom they’re targeting, it’s obvious that they’re interested in reaching, for instance, middle-class households with children. Their spots might be more welcome than, say, commercials for erectile-dysfunction drugs. Those who balk at addressable advertising can, of course, opt out. The burden, in other words, is on you, the consumer. “In the past decade, the stakes for privacy have dramatically changed,” says Jules Polonetsky of the D.C.-based advocacy group Future of Privacy Forum. Today, though, even if you do all the right things on your computer—surf in private mode, enable the do-not-track feature, etc.—you are likely being followed more closely than ever, thanks to what you’re carrying around in your pocket or purse. “Your cell phone,” Polonetsky points out, “is a sophisticated computer that knows all your contacts, including all your friends, and knows your location because you always have it with you.”

What Your Cell Phone Can Reveal About You

As the New York Times reported this spring, a German politician recently sued his cell phone provider, Deutsche Telekom, to force it to reveal the data it was tracking about him. It turned out that over six months, the company had recorded his exact location, in the form of longitude and latitude coordinates, more than 35,000 times. As the law stands in the United States, cellular providers don’t have to reveal to their subscribers what sort of information they routinely collect and to what degree. Just the same, for most users, the benefits may outweigh privacy concerns.

For instance, even cell phones that lack sophisticated global positioning system (GPS) circuitry can determine your location by triangulating your distance to nearby cell phone towers. Good news if you’re lost in the Dismal Swamp, of course, and good news for law and order. Both GPS and tower data have successfully been used in court to demonstrate a suspect’s proximity to a crime scene.

Verizon, incidentally, has a service that’s specifically designed to invade privacy—of children. Verizon Chaperone uses GPS to allow parents to pinpoint the location of their kid’s phone at any time (on the theory that kids are entirely inseparable from their mobiles). But the biggest privacy threat to cell phone users, both children and adults, may be one they bring on themselves through services like Foursquare, which lets you publicly check in to locations (for example, announcing to your friends that you’re at the mall), and Facebook and Twitter, which let you add your locations to updates and tweets.

In fact, in the winter of 2010, a group of activists launched pleaserobme.com to raise awareness about the danger of broadcasting your location to the world. Indeed, last September, police in Nashua, New Hampshire, busted a burglary ring that targeted homes whose occupants had posted their whereabouts on Facebook, graciously letting thieves figure out exactly when they wouldn’t be home.

Categories
Gadgets

A Day in the Life of an iPastor

I have found that my iPhone is an invaluable aid in my work as a Baptist minister. This article describes a typical day in my personal and professional life.

6:45 a.m.—My iPhone wakes me up so I can take my son to school. On the way, we open the Mantis Bible Study (Free; mantis bible.com), a great little app that allows us to read a verse of scripture on the way to school. I really like the app’s daily Bible reading tracker, which reveals progress in your Bible reading. We are following the Daily Reading Plan 05, which divides the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs into 365 readings. Mantis Bible Study is free, and includes the full King James Version of the Bible.Mantis Bible Study is the best app I’ve found for tracking daily Bible reading.?There are a number of free Bible apps available for the ?iPhone or iPod touch. Check out BibleReader-Free (olivetree.com) and PocketBible Free (laridian.com). Both include the KJV Bible along with daily Bible reading and devotionals. However, Mantis does the best job of keeping track of your readings.

7:45 a.m.—After I drop off my son, I head to a local coffee shop for a bagel. The fifteen minute drive is just enough time to listen to iDevotional ($9.99; christianaudio.com/iPhoneApps), a great app with two of the world’s most popular devotionals: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers and Morning & Evening by C.H. Spurgeon. If streaming over the Internet is not practical, go to the iTunes store and get a devotional podcast or audiobook.iDevotional lets me listen to morning devotions streamed directly to my iPhone.

8:15 a.m.—At the coffee shop, with bagel in hand, I boot up my laptop and fire up Twitter. It’s a great way to keep up with friends, family, and other ministries and to follow news from Bible study application developers. Finally, I use it to follow some of my denomination’s leaders. The morning I wrote this, there was a tweet from Rick Warren (@RickWarren), the author of A Purpose Driven Life. He always has inspiring things to say to preachers.??I use Twittelator Pro ($4.99; stone.com/Twittelator) to find people who are tweeting nearby and invite them to talk face to face. I have discovered a handful of contacts who are now good friends. I love the way it allows me to follow conversation threads and its ability to upload pictures that I tweet to my WordPress based blog.Twittelator makes it easy to follow conversation threads and upload photos to my WordPress-based blog.

10:30 a.m.—I’ve been studying at the coffee shop and working on a sermon for nearly two hours and I need a break. I check my e-mail on my laptop and use the Kindle For iPhone (Free, amazon.com) app on my iPhone to read a chapter of a book that I’m going through. I find that if I stop and think about something else for 30 minutes, I can go back to my sermons and Bible study, refocused and more productive.

11:45 a.m.—After a morning of study, my iPhone reminds me that I have to go to a meeting of the officers for our local ministers’ group.

12:10 p.m.—I make it to the meeting a little late, so I reset my calendar reminders on the iPhone to 30 minutes before the meeting instead of fifteen. Thanks to Google and my iPhone’s syncing capabilities, all my appointments are sent to my Google calendar and appear in all my calendars.?At the meeting, I open Evernote (Free; evernote.com) on my iPhone and check last month’s meeting notes to see what we have to cover this month. Evernote not only lets me create text, photo, and audio notes, it makes it easy to sync them with my account on evernote.com and, through that, with the Evernote program on my laptop. It’s also a great way to record expenses; I simply take a photo of a receipt and sync it..

1:15 p.m.—I head for the home of one of our church’s shut-ins. She is not closely tied to the church and I haven’t visited her before, so I enter her address into MobileNavigator North America ($69.99; navigon.com/iphone). The app is accurate, easy to use, and much safer than Maps. The GPS signal drops out on occasion, but so far this hasn’t been a problem.MobileNavigator is an accurate and simple GPS navigation program that provides audible, turn-by-turn directions.?While visiting with this dear lady, I want to encourage her. I remember the verses I read with my son that morning and thought they were appropriate for her situation. I open Olive Tree’s BibleReader and read them to her. She asks what one of the words means, and I’m not entirely sure about it. Fortunately, I have Olive Tree’s Greek and Hebrew Bibles installed on my iPhone. This app, GNT and BHS for BibleReader ($46.99; olivetree.com), has a pop-up dictionary that gives you the root meanings of the Greek and Hebrew words used in the oldest versions of the Bible. I open the Greek text in a second reading window and tap the word to look it up and clarify the meaning for her. The verses encourage her and I want to remember them so I bookmark them in BibleReader for future reference and add a note in Evernote so I can easily come back to them later.

3:30 p.m.—I have an appointment to meet with a couple in need of some marriage counseling. I require some information about them, which I store in a database about each church member. I could not remember the names of their grown children so I access the database using a church management program called iChurch ($49.99; (slingandstaff.com).?iChurch lets me access my church management software database from the iPhone.?iChurch lets you connect to your church management system. The latter is software that runs on your server and tracks members, attendance, giving, and other activities. I open iChurch on my iPhone and find the names of their children. I also notice that the husband’s birthday is tomorrow, so I quickly scribble a note on a blank birthday card. (I keep a number of them in my desk just in case.) When they do arrive, I hand the card to the husband and wish him a happy birthday.Olive Tree’s Greek and Hebrew tools make studying the Bible easierI counsel the couple for about an hour, and during the meeting I share with them a helpful passage from a book on marriage entitled For Men Only (the companion book is titled For Women Only). Before the appointment, I downloaded the book onto my iPhone Kindle app and bookmarked the spot I wanted to read to them. I also want to share some scripture verses with them, so I open Laridian’s PocketBible to find them—it’s the quickest Bible app. Finally, I use Evernote to take notes during the meeting. I’ll review them before, and have them available during, the next meeting.

5:00 p.m.—It’s Friday, and I have a date with my wife. While we’re getting something to eat, we review possible movies using Flixster (Free; flixster.com). It’s a great app that provides movie reviews and the location and show times for theaters in our area. You can also watch trailers of the movies that interest you. It even lets me add movies to my Netflix account so I can get them in the mail later. Tip: If a movie hasn’t been released to DVD, add it to your Netflix list anyway. When it finally comes out on DVD, it becomes active and Netflix sends it out right away.

10:00 p.m.—It’s late and I’m tired. I check out Twitter one last time and post about the movie we just watched. I respond to an e-mail I got from a church member while in the theatre. I open My Prayer List to pray for the people on the list and read a portion of scripture using Mantis.

10:02 p.m.—My iPhone starts to chirp. I have set it to go off at 10:02 to remind me to pray Luke 10:2, a passage that asks God to “send out people into the harvest,” meaning to send out believers who will help meet the real needs of the world. It makes me think about doing a sermon on that subject, so I open up my fourth favorite Bible app, Logos Bible (Free; logos.com/iphone). This app is a powerful Bible study tool that lets you access and search 30 free Bibles over the Internet. You can access more books by signing up for a free account. I particularly appreciate Logos Bible’s search feature. It lets me enter the topic in which I’m interested and search my entire online library for references to it. You can read them on your iPhone and access them later using Logos 4, the desktop version of the program.?It has been a full day and along with my iPhone’s battery, I am spent. It’s time for some rest so I make sure my iPhone is set to go off in the morning so I can do it all over again with the help of the best electronic assistant a pastor could have.Logos Bible has a great search feature but requires Internet access.

Source : iPhone Life Vol. 2 No. 2