When it rains…

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Yesterday was crazy!

Tuesday (4/26), my morning started with a phone call from my Mom. She was calling to tell me that my Grandma Hall had died. After battling alzheimer’s for over six years, her vacant body finally decided to give up. I have a mixture of emotion over her death. On one part I am happy that she is no longer suffering; the other part of me misses her. I hate how my memories of her are tainted by the the disease that took away her mind. My Grandma Hall was such an amazing woman. So smart, well read, and up on the current events of our time. She was also a lover of history, just like me. I’ll miss you Grandma.

Tuesday evening, we had severe weather roll through East Texas. A fantastic way to end an already cruddy day. My wife and I spent the majority of our evening watching the local news. Probably not the best decision but it kept us informed on what was heading our way. At one point, we had a tornado heading for our house! Somehow, at the last minute, the tornado dissipated. Whew! Talk about a little excitement for the night.

PSN Failure: A Senator Calls for Answers

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United States Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote a nice letter to Sony:

April 26, 2011

Mr. Jack Tretton
President and CEO
Sony Computer Entertainment America
919 East Hillsdale Boulevard
Foster City, CA USA 94404

Dear Mr. Tretton:

I am writing regarding a recent data breach of Sony’s PlayStation Network service.  I am troubled by the failure of Sony to immediately notify affected customers of the breach and to extend adequate financial data security protections.

It has been reported that on April 20, 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network suffered an “external intrusion” and was subsequently disabled. News reports estimate that 50 million to 75 million consumers – many of them children – access the PlayStation Network for video and entertainment. I understand that the PlayStation Network allows users to store credit card information online to facilitate the purchasing of content such as games and movies through the PlayStation Network. A breach of such a widely used service immediately raises concerns of data privacy, identity theft, and other misuse of sensitive personal and financial data, such as names, email addresses, and credit and debit card information.

When a data breach occurs, it is essential that customers be immediately notified about whether and to what extent their personal and financial information has been compromised. Additionally, PlayStation Network users should be provided with financial data security services, including free access to credit reporting services, for two years, the costs of which should be borne by Sony. Affected individuals should also be provided with sufficient insurance to protect them from the possible financial consequences of identity theft.

I am concerned that PlayStation Network users’ personal and financial information may have been inappropriately accessed by a third party. Compounding this concern is the troubling lack of notification from Sony about the nature of the data breach. Although the breach occurred nearly a week ago, Sony has not notified customers of the intrusion, or provided information that is vital to allowing individuals to protect themselves from identity theft, such as informing users whether their personal or financial information may have been compromised.  Nor has Sony specified how it intends to protect these consumers.

PlayStation Network users deserve more complete information on the data breach, as well as the assurance that their personal and financial information will be securely maintained. I appreciate your prompt response on this important issue.

Sincerely,

/s/

Richard Blumenthal
United States Senate

Source: Richard Blumenthal

PSN Failure

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Dear Sony,

Where do I begin? Ever since purchasing a PS3 last year, I have loved your product. The box says that “it does everything” and the PS3 truly delivers. So here I was, enjoying the blu-ray and AAA games on your console, when suddenly the PlayStation Network goes out. Okay, I can deal with that. What I can’t deal with is finding out, almost a week later, that my personal information “may” have been compromised. By may, I mean my:

  • Name
  • Address (city, state, and zip)
  • Country
  • E-mail address
  • Birthday
  • PSN password and login name

All of the above have been “possibly” stolen from your system? What? You don’t know if whoever it was got my credit card information too? This is not acceptable. One of the first laws of business is to admit your mistakes upfront. This is especially true when it affects your clients and their personal banking information.

As of this morning, I have cancelled my credit card and have another one being reissued. I wish that I could somehow charge you, Sony, for my time and energy spent going about this task that never should have happened. Can you imagine if this had happened with Apple and iTunes?

My PS3 still sits faithfully by my television, waiting to connect to the Internet. While I appreciate the steps you have taken as a company to rectify this error (ie: shutting down the network), I do not appreciate the lack of communication on your part. My faith in Sony as a company has been shaken. Who is to say that this won’t happen again? I love my PS3, but I don’t love it enough to have my identity stolen and sold in some dark virtual alleyway. So what are you going to do, Sony, to regain my trust? I need something. A token that you are working to make sure that something like this never happens again. Ever. You can start by sending me an email telling me what I have read on different news sites. That is the least you can do.

Sincerely,

Bryan

Signs of Life: Day 1

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As of Easter Sunday, my church has started going through David Jeremiah’s Signs of Life book. The goal with the book is to have everyone read an entry during the week and then on Sunday’s hear a message that ties everything we have read together.

Day 1 talked about how our words and actions, as Christians, should reflect evidence of Christ living inside of us. The life verse for today was:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

– Philippians 2:14-15

Game Dev Story

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Press Start:

In my youth, I lost many an hour submerged in Bullfrog’s Theme Park. By high school, I had graduated to the Roller Coaster Tycoon series. In college, I even further immersed myself in the sim management genre with Lionhead Studios The Movies. Weeks, days, and hours were lost to these all consuming business simulators. So, imagine my surprise when I found another addicting sim, this time on the iDevice.

Game Dev Story, developed by KairoSoft, puts you in the seat of running your very own video game development studio. You get to make the day-to-day decisions regarding:

.: Development :.

  • Platform (PC, Microx 480, PlayStatus, Game-Box, etc.)
  • Genre (shooter, trivia, action rpg, etc.)
  • Type (dating, ninja, fantasy, etc.)
  • Direction (Do you want to develop the game at a normal pace, in a hurry, or on a budget?)

“You’re bored? Get to work!”

.: Staffing :.

  • Hiring (Keeping in mind that salaries will eventually have to be paid.)
  • Increasing Skill-sets
  • Promoting
  • Firing (Disney always used the term “separated”.)

.: Advertising/ Marketing :.

  • Increase your fan base and overall product awareness.

Your direction of the studio will either lead to its success or supreme failure.

Ideology/ Worldview:

Capitalism.

Menu

Interaction/ Gameplay:

Via touch screen, there is a drop down menu to input your commands.

In the End:

The first night I dove into Game Dev Story, I ended up playing for about two hours straight. The mixture of management decisions, marketing (advertising/ going to trade shows), and having to decide which console to develop for had me hooked. This game is perfect for those on the go and priced out (for a limited time) at $1.99. I can’t recommend this game enough!

Songs in the Key of Solomon

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When my wife and I were first married, my in-laws let us borrow their copy of Night Light: A Devotional for Couples to do together. Quite quickly we concluded that the devotional was meant for older couples. This made us start searching for a devotional that was fun and even sexual! After some searching, we ended up purchasing Songs in the Key of Solomon: In the Word…and in the Mood by John and Anita Renfroe.

This is the cover of the book when we purchased it. Revisions since have removed the woman and the man from the cover. Poor lonely piano...

Songs in the Key of Solomon is playful, thoughtful, and most of all tries to connect couples at a deeper level. As the title suggests, Songs in the Key of Solomon: In the Word…and in the Mood weaves it’s way through the Biblical book of Song of Solomon (most of the time). At the beginning of each mini-chapter, the daily entry suggests a particular position, place, or action from which to read the entry from. For example, today it suggested that we sit outside our son’s room as we read about how children are a blessing from the Lord. Each chapter also closes with questions for discussion. This morning, one of the questions asked, “what did you enjoy about our lives prior to having children?” Overall, we have enjoyed slowly meandering through this devotional and highly recommend it to others. In fact, we usually give this as a wedding gift. So if your one of our friends who isn’t married, this book is on its way…after ya tie the knot!

2011 Pokémon Video Game Championship

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Kotaku reported earlier today that the 2011 Pokémon Video Game Championship is but a month away.

For those in the United States, prepare your Pokémon to battle on:

  • May 14th, Seattle, WA- Washington State Convention Center, Hall 4B
  • May 21st, San Jose, CA – San Jose Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 2
  • May 28th, Dallas, TX- Arlington Convention Center, Grand Hall
  • June 4th, Atlanta, GA- Gwinnett Center, Hall A and B
  • June 11th, Washington, D.C.- Dulles Expo Center, South Hall
  • June 18th, Newark, NJ- Meadowlands Exposition Center

For those over the pond:

  • June 4th, Birmingham, United Kingdom- National Exhibition Centre, Hall 8
  • June 11th, Rome, Italy- Fiera Roma, Hall 12, Ingresso Nord
  • June 18th, Madrid, Spain- IFEMA, Hall 1, Feria de Madrid
  • June 25th, Paris, France- Espace Grande Arche, Parvis de La Défense
  • July 2nd , Cologne, Germany- EXPO XXI Köln GmbH, Gladbacher Wall 5

Those that prove that they’ve got what it takes will continue on to the  2011 Pokémon World Championships (August 12-14th) hosted at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, California.

I may or may not be getting Pokémon Black for Easter. 🙂 Wonder if I have enough time to catch and train a group worthy of defeating the very best…

Sword & Sworcery

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Lately, I have been slowly playing through Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (link will open iTunes) on the iPad.

The game doesn’t seem so much a game but an experience. The visuals and music blend to create a pretty interesting fantasy world. So far though, I have enjoyed the soundtrack (link will open iTunes) much more than the game. The music is epic, haunting, and overall catchy. I like it. Not sure if this is a game that I will end up recommending but I will for sure recommend it’s soundtrack.

Instant Millionaire!

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Today I talked with a man who had recently purchased 1 million Iraqi dinar’s (basically $1,220.00 USD). He is hoping that the currency appreciates as Iraqi’s oil-backed economy grows. Makes perfect sense, right? Sure… Speculation aside, this entire deal has “get rich quick scheme” written all over it. Which leads me to ask:

What have you invested in that has/ has not panned out?

Stormy Night

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Supposedly a storm moved through the city last night but I don’t believe it. Beyond a few puddles of water leftover this morning, I never heard a thing.

Shortly after 3:30am, after the “storm” had moved through, my stomach woke me up. It was hot underneath the covers so I threw them off. I laid there for awhile feeling my stomach roll around like a dog. At one point, I thought I heard my son cry out. Time went by and I couldn’t go back to sleep. So I just laid there hoping that eventually dreams would find me once more. The rest of my night was a blur. I think I slept off and on. Rough night.

Writer’s Block

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Today is one of those writer’s block days. There are so many ideas vaguely swirling around in my mind, that I can’t quite grasp onto any of them. Currently swirling down the drain are thoughts on:

  • Government
  • Politics
  • Faith
  • Video games
  • Movies
  • and Life
I hate days like this. Don’t you? You know that you need to sit down and write something and yet nothing comes out. Even worse, you sit down to write something and all you end up writing about is how you can’t write something. Talk about a vicious cycle.

Dreams of Our Father

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My name is Jacob Ingalls, I write Confessions of a Tech Addict but this post doesn’t really fit into that form so Bryan was nice enough to let me post this on his site.

Over the last 2 days, I was at a Logistics and Engineering conference, which I generally dread going to every 6 months but this conference ended up being a bit different. This time around there were a couple other young professionals and doing what young people do in a sea of older people we found each other and had a few drinks after the first day of the conference ended. As we sat at dinner and swapped stories and proposed our ideas, one thing struck me, we were all seeking purpose but not in the way that our parents and grand parents had done. We all said we wanted to be successful but we weren’t sure we had it in us to do what it took to be wildly successful. We were all fairly certain that the 70-80 hour weeks that we have seen our bosses put in to get to where they were was really, honestly worth the effort. As the night went on, it became clear to me that we were seeking purpose and had no idea where to find it. Our generation and even the generation before it has no really overarching definition to it. Almost every generation since 1900 has had something that defined it, whether it be World War I & II, The Depression, The Cold War, Vietnam, The Space Race, but the current crop of 20-30 somethings don’t. We could be called the Internet generation but that has done very little to define us expect that we can text as the speed of light and change our relationship statues on Facebook. I look at my fellow 20 somethings and wonder if we could put a man on the moon before the end of decade, and I honestly don’t think we could, not because we’re not smart enough or don’t have the technology to do it, I just think we don’t have the wear with all to actually do it. From the hipsters to the junkies all the way up to the young corporate shot with her MBA, when I look at my generation all I see is a bunch of people who are already tired of this life at 26 and just waiting for the fulfillment that our 24 hour lives could hopefully bring.

@jacobingalls

The Mayflower Compact

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To those that say that this country wasn’t founded on Christian ideals and principals, look no further than The Mayflower Compact to be proven wrong.

The Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November [New Style, November 21], in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.

Ask, Seek, Knock

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This morning I read in Matthew 7. Something that really stuck out to me was in verses 7-8:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

Ask = Prayer

Seek = Actually Look/ Gather Information

Knock = Test/ Forward Motion

UP

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Sat down last night and watched a bit of Pixar’s UP with my son. Ever since I first saw the movie, I have been wary of watching it again due to its emotional impact–yeah, UP makes me cry, I admit it–. Watching UP with my son, I cried so hard when the couple found out that they couldn’t have children. However, I was reminded that my wife and I have been blessed with a little boy. In that moment, I hugged him tight and told him that I loved him. Thank you Pixar for reminding me of what I have and to treasure the boring moments in life.

Kindle Discount?

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How does a $25 discount on a Wi-Fi enabled Kindle sound? Not bad, huh. What if I told you that the $25 discount would lead to a lifetime of having to view “special offers and sponsored screensavers”? Doesn’t sound so generous of Amazon now does it.

Experience the joy of advertising.

Advertisements are everywhere, even in some video games. Books represent one of the last frontiers advertisers have yet to crack, until now. Dropping the base priced Kindle by $25, to $114 exactly, Amazon is hoping to entice readers who have held back from the e-book market. But is it enough?

Personally, I ‘d rather pay the $25 extra dollars to enjoy a product free of ads. If this move by Amazon is any indication of where the e-book market is heading, count me out. Physical paper books have never asked me to buy something that I don’t want or need. In an age saturated with advertising, enough is enough.