What drives me…

April 21, 2008

I was remembering an old quote that had impressed me in my younger years. I searched for it on Google and found it. What a nice tool to have available. Here it is:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”.

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

This thought frightened me when I was a college student, and it has been my motivation for all of my adult life. I refuse to go to the grave with my song still in me. While it’s taking a lifetime to realize the potential inside, I try as hard as I can to be open to it and honest about it. Whenever I can, I follow my passion. That has brought me to the study of media and society and the relationship between the two. It’s really just a new outgrowth of my long-time interest in Cognitive Psychology.

So I embrace the new, and explore with my mind and my heart. We can’t forget to have passion in our lives.

I had a very interesting experience yesterday. One of the groups I am a part of in Second Life sent out a group notice with an Amber alert. It described the vehicle, the license plate number, and where it was suspected to be heading to. I was somewhat taken aback by this and didn’t know what to think. It almost seemed inappropriate at first. Then I realized it was a wonderful social use of a virtual world. While many of us in-world don’t want intrusions from the outside, “real world”, how could we not want to be a part of the community and help out with a suspected kidnapping? We then got a report that it was resolved and the children are safe and the perpetrator has been arrested.  So, what if I hadn’t been in-world; would it still have been of any value? Well, I wasn’t in, I was checking my regular email – I have my notices from in-world forwarded to my real life email. So this makes SL a potential vehicle for real world community awareness.

Design Coding Rapped Up

April 4, 2008

Design Coding

Wow! All you need to know about designing a web site! Hey, maybe this guy should be doing online education.
You could teach anything this way.

NO TV

April 2, 2008

I could no longer tolerate the exorbitant high prices my local cable company, Cablevision was charging me. It was about $140 per month for a bundle of phone, internet and television. I don’t really watch TV. Occasionally you will find me watching a home show on HGTV, but really, I don’t watch TV. I spend what would normally be my TV time on the internet, and most of that time creating and socializing in Second Life. When my kids are here on the weekend they turn it on. But then they go off into their computer worlds and just use TV as background noise. They will also watch a show or two in the morning before school. Since they are only here once a week for school, that doesn’t amount to much TV viewing time. My son showed me how I could get just about any TV show I want right on the internet. I had looked at some devices that transmit the information from your computer to the TV, thinking I’d save money in the long run if I got rid of cable. They ran from about $60 to $80 on average, with a nice wireless unit for $130. Well, after a little research, I found that a simple s-video cable from my computer to the TV was all I needed; a $13 solution. The quality was quite normal, and switching to full screen was like watching regular TV but with controls like DVR. Next, I did some research and found an affordable deal with ATT. I took the plunge and ordered the higher-grade DSL, and the telephone service from ATT.

I now have it all installed and running. To my surprise DSL was quite adequate. I had it in the past and it was better than dial-up, but not so good, with a lot of dropped service. This is almost as good as cable. Images and video take a little more time to load. I hadn’t realized really, how fast the cable was. But considering the price, I can learn to live with it. Internet is about $20 less per month. Now the real test was to see if it would run Second Life ok, since it is a “bandwidth hungry” program. It did fine. I actually couldn’t tell the difference in how it ran on DSL vs Cable. My wireless for my laptop turned out to be close to its usual as well. Like the desktop, images and video take a little longer to load, but its all quite tolerable.

As for the phone, well, cable was better; which is disappointing since I was back to the source so to speak, with telephone service. After ordering on the internet, I received no less than five calls, to take my order, then verify my installation date. I originally started with an inexpensive plan and no long-distance. ATT had decided I am not credit-worthy for long distance service; I had to “prove” myself first. Well, when I couldn’t call my girlfriend in Maine, I immediately called to improve my plan. After much argument about having been a good former customer and talking to the supervisor, I was granted permission to have long-distance. I feel like a grown-up now! I then asked about a better plan. Suddenly we were talking $45 to $50 a month, up from the $16 plan I had signed up for. After I pointed out it was quite a leap in price, and I should perhaps just use my cell phone, a plan suddenly became available for $33 that matched the one I had with the cable company. To their credit, the ATT rep and supervisor, really did go to bat for me and took good care of me.

As for the TV, well, I haven’t watched TV yet since I lost the cable service two days ago. I really don’t feel “cut-off” or miss it in any way. I did sign up for a free trial of Netflix. I figure watching DVD’s is probably the best use of my TV anyway. All in all, even if I get TV service from ATT, I will end up paying approximately half of what the cable company was charging. So, I’m a satisfied customer for now.