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.

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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!