Thursday, August 18, 2016

3D Models of home on 4913 Boyd Drive

Moved my model page from my Google Drive account to my Blogger account.

This is because Google is deprecating web hosting in Google Drive for users and developers.

3D Warehouse - House Interior

3D Warehouse - House Exterior

Sketchfab Interior

Sketchfab Exterior

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lego Phone Stand

Here is a 180 degree panorama of my Lego Galaxy Nexus Phone stand at work.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Purchasing Second-Hand is a Moral Grey Area

Posted in response to Xbox One: Do we have a moral right to sell used games?

I agree that purchasing used media (books, DVDs, CDs, Video Games, etc.) bypasses paying the people who helped produce the content.

Despite all the hype, there aren't any "evil corporations" making millions on the backs of innocent consumers. Making media is a cooperative effort usually involving hundreds if not thousands of hard working individuals. I believe that the people who worked to make the content possible should be compensated for their efforts.

When purchasing media content, the physical hardware is not being purchased. Using books as an example, users don't care about the ink, paper, or binding materials as these only make up one-tenth the cost of the book; what they care about is the content. The right to consume (view, read, etc.) the content is what is being purchased.

Consumers are the ones who set prices depending on the rate of "sharing" that takes place. The more people in society are comfortable sharing media (instead of purchasing it), the higher the price for the media needs to be. The cost to create the media is set by industry (wages, etc.), the cost per media unit is set by the total number of media units expected to be purchased by first users. If only a small group of first users are expected, then the cost per media unit will go up. If a large group of first users are expected, then the cost per media unit will go down. While this is usually not seen in micro-scale economics, it can be seen at the macro-scale with overall trends in media costs. I must admit this principle works in both directions, higher initial costs usually result in more sharing of content.

There was so much music sharing at one time, some experts predicted several music labels would collapse.

While I do purchase used content frequently, I do wish there was a donation button where I could contribute something to the original content producers - to help encourage the long term trend of lower first costs.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Talks, Papers, and Other Documents

Here is a listing of all the documents I have written. Clicking a title will open up the document in webview mode. Will be using this in many cases instead of blog posts.

Living a Life of Peace, Joy, and Purpose - Talk given in Sacrament meeting on 3/9/2014
Atheism in Public Schools - Personal belief about what is taught in public schools on 9/16/2012
Faith - Talk on the importance and reason for faith on 5/19/2005
Holy Ghosts Role in Scripture Study - Talk written in 2013
Home Teaching and Actions - Talk written on 1/26/2012

Friday, February 14, 2014

Explained: Google Personalized Ads

A Google advertising bot displays advertisement based on your search history and email content. (Similar to search bots which identify words and links in webpages). This works in the same way as a MS Word document and any other program that can find text. For a Word document, when you hit Ctrl+V a script runs which matches a string of characters in the document to the characters you type in the search box. This is how how a Google advertising bot finds text in your email and Google searches. Although the Google bot may seem to be understanding what you are saying, it can't read or understand what you are writing any more than a MS Word document can, it's just a word search tool in this regard.

Once the advertising keywords are found in your search text or email, the corresponding advertisement is then linked to your account.

Why did Google do this?
This generates advertisements which are more relevant to users - benefiting the user (who sees more things they like) and advertiser (who get more clicks). ISPs, websites, and advertising networks all have ways of tracking your online behavior. Cookies are the most direct way of tracking user behavior, although there are many more. What Google also did was allow its users to control the type of information that is shared with advertisers, which you can do right here:

This tool also allows you to block adds you do not want to see. Keep in mind, none of this is new or coming from Google, Google is simply using existing tools which everyone else uses. Google simply gave this personalization, control, and transparency over to users due to their philosophy - don't be evil.

Does Google show you adds based on your location?
Yes, Google, like all other ISPs, websites, and advertising networks, track your location via your IP address. If you own a cell phone, your provider also tracks your location information (as well as any other applications you allow access, such as Facebook).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hotel - Breakfast Comedy (not being serious)

My family is really enjoying the hotel stay, but there are some things we are getting used to. The most annoying of which is you have to get dressed up for breakfast, who wants to go through all that hassle. I prefer my morning meal in the nude. Now I know what you are thinking, "But what about your children?" No need to worry, I have spoken to my children's therapist who tells me they are doing fine. They are so alright with it, that nude breakfast is a family affair. As an added bonus it also makes cleaning up the kids afterward a breeze. Just squeegee all the spilled food off of them.
When we checked into our hotel the staff said to treat our hotel stay as our home away from home. Needless to say our first time to the buffet breakfast was a rude awakening.
Hotel staff, "What are you all doing?!?"
Me, "I thought you said this hotel was accommodating?"

Teaching Megan about the Godhead

One night I was teaching my daughter about the Godhead. I told her about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I gave her a 20 minute lesson on each member. At the end of the lesson I asked Megan who the three members of the Godhead are. At which time Megan said, "I don't know."
Me, "We just had a lesson on these people and repeated their names many times so how do you not know their names?"
Megan, "I forgot."
Sighing I say, " I will give you a few minutes to think about it."
About a minute later, Megan tentatively asked, "Jesus?"
"Yes, very good, one of the members of the Godhead is Jesus Christ. How about the other two?"
"I don't remember."
"You don't have to answer immediately, you can think about it."
After more time passes Megan says, "I don't remember."
"OK I will give you a hint, one of them is a spirit that dwells inside you."
"The Holy Ghost?"
"You are doing great, who is the last member of the Godhead? He is a person you pray to every night."
"Close, we pray through Jesus Christ, but who to we pray to?"
"I don't know."
"Well start saying a prayer and you will say his name almost immediately."
"I already said my prayers."
"Yes but you are having problems remembering this member of the Godhead, so start saying a prayer and you will say is name."
"I see his name in my mind."
"OK so tell me his name."
"I see it in my mind."
Exasperation starting to enter my voice, "Then tell me his name."
After a brief pause Megan defeatedly says, "I don't know his name."
Reassuringly, "OK then start saying a prayer and you will say his name."
"I already said my prayers"
"Just start saying a prayer!"
"OK, OK."
After a noticeable pause, Megan whispers in my ear, "How do I say a prayer?"
Sighing, "You just finished saying a prayer tonight and you say a prayer every day, how on earth could you forget to pray?"
"I don't know."
"OK," I take a deep breath, "we start prayer with 'Dear ...'"
Megan exclaims, "Heavenly Father!"
"You got it. I knew you knew his name."
We then both hug. Megan tells me how happy she is to get the answer.
Proudly I ask, "So who are the three members of the Godhead?"
Megan, "I forgot."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Holy Ghost and Scripture

The scriptures have been given to us because through reading and living them the holy ghost is invited into our life. However, there is a catch, in order for us to read the scriptures for understanding and spiritual growth we must have the Holy Ghost already with us. So how do we get the spirit to be with us in the first place? The answer is through personal prayer. This is the reason we pray always, even before reading scriptures. Prayer combined with obedience opens the spiritual gateway for the Holy Ghost.
Knowledge of scriptures is good just as knowledge of the Holy Ghost is good. However, knowledge is not enough. Knowledge of purity is good, but living a pure life is much better. In the same way, knowledge of the gospel is good but living the principles and doctrines found in the gospel is much better. It is my belief that when we are at the judgement bar we will not be quizzed on our scriptural knowledge. Instead we will be asked what we did with the knowledge we have been given.
What this means to me in my personal life is when I read the scriptures I must experience a call to action. I must feel a strong connection to the spirit every time I read the scriptures; if I do not, then I am doing something wrong and I need to change. The Holy Ghost testifies of truth and calls us to action when it is needed. Whenever I behave in an unchristian way the spirit withdraws. When I subsequently read the scriptures I do not feel the spirit strongly until I take action and repent. Sometimes I forget, and when I sit down to read the scriptures I don't feel the spirit strongly. I then pray and ask Heavenly Father what it was I did that causes the spirit to withdrawal. Once I ask with sincere desire, the Holy Ghost brings to my remembrance the action I took that needs to change. This then allows me to repent and feel a powerful witness of the spirit which I can only describe as the most amazing feeling of joy I have ever experienced.
The savior distilled all the commandments given to us down to two fundamentals: love God and love our fellow man. I believe this can be reduced even more: follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost in all things.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Interesting Hotel Stay

I have stayed at a number of hotels and have some pretty interesting experience but the most interesting one happened last night. My wife and children just finished setting up our living arrangements and were heading down stairs for a walk. My wife grabbed the door handle and pulled it open to go down stairs but it wouldn't budge. I then tried twisting and pulling both possible ways but no go. We called down and a host came up to help but couldn't open the door either. Maintenance came up quickly after but had just as much success as the rest of us. After some supplies were gathered maintenance came back up and was able to pry the door open with a crow bar. Once the door was opened it was fairly apparent that the maintenance worker came to our aid directly from his house. The hotel staff were so nice and apologetic afterward and offered us whatever we wanted to make up for the inconvenience. It was only a fifteen minute wait so my wife and I mostly thought it was funny.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Animoto Video

Video I made in less than a minute using Animoto Video.