Extreme Home Makeover and the Meaning of Grace

October 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm (Introspective, Review) (, )

It gets me every time.  I tell myself I’m not going to cry when I see such deserving families be surprised by Ty and crew.  I remember the first season of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and how massive and fabulous every home was tailor for each of the families.

As the seasons progressed I found myself disappointed.  This was not from the show’s formula breaking down, nor due to the design team’s expertise diminishing.  No, my attenuating attentions were due to the bar being lowered for deserving families.  Many early families were seemingly on the brink of despair.  Where Ty and crew joined them there and rescued them.  Some newer families seem with some old fashioned American work ethic, they could dig themselves out.

But as you, clever reader, are reading this you can tell I’ve missed the point.  Sure there are families in need in Extreme Home Makeover, buth they are not the point.  Grace is the point.  People gathering around helping those in need.  Encouraging people to look around them and help their perhaps previously unknown neighbor.

Grace is the point.

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Finding Home: The Saga

October 15, 2009 at 7:05 pm (Introspective) (, , , , )

I’ve start a new adventure, finding and buying my first home.  It is interesting and we’ll see how it goes.  I’m planning on keeping this posted on my progress.

Week 1:

Contacted a real-estate agent and am starting figuring out the mortgage.  I’m trying to fight but appease the piece of me that is screaming that anything over $1000 is a lot of money.  (Let alone orders of magnitude over.)  We’ll see how it goes.

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Babel

May 8, 2009 at 6:59 pm (Imagination) (, , , )

I’ve had a story idea swirling in my head, let me know what you think.

History

It of course started with Babel, God’s lingual confusion divided the people.  Though through time communication improved.  There were great strides to improving flow of ideas without reference to language or location.  Even in 20th century there were dialects and ultimately even more divisive, technical speak.  As people became more educated they grew further apart as the language of their field became the language of their lives.  Being a technical age, it was just another problem to be solved by good old fashioned engineering.

UTR’s Birth and Integration

At its inception, Thoughspeak Technologies knew the basics of translation had remained unchanged for centuries, this would change.  One of the start ups in the early 21st century, they leveraged the open source community to develop and maintain “Thoughtspeak” and the releated protocols.  Translation became the hottest job overnight.  Anyone who could speak a language were called on to refine “Thoughtspeak” to be the best translator possible.  Thoughtspeak was a universal language data format that contained sounds for all of the concepts of the world’s languages with the ability for it to grow and add new ones.

Enter the Universal Thoughtspeak Recipricator, pronounced “utter”, the incarnation of Thoughtspeak.  During UTR’s development, it was already hailed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Post-Modern World.  At the heart of UTR was the highly efficient Thoughspeak.

UTR1

UTR1

The first UTR was simple.  It would learn a speaker’s language and translate it into the hearer’s language. Massive memory and processing requirements made it large.  Missionaries were one of the first to purchase this new device.  The ability to avoid miscommunication during first introductions to a foreign society as well as expediting translation of the Good Book into the tongue, proved worth the large price tag.   Ambassadors were also adopted UTR to help facilitate learning their assigned language.  One of the first largest orders, were with ERs worldwide.  Knowing what the situation that caused the injury saved lives.

Despite its huge benefits, there were some serious flaws to UTR1.  Yes, the size was definitely a problem.  Long translation time were another.  Even with UTR1s simple usage, this soon was found to be inadequate, since both languages were long there was unnecessary lag time between talking.

UTR2

UTR2

Instead, you could use two UTR2s where one was translating from the speaker’s language into Thoughtspeak and the listening UTR2 would translate it from Thoughspeak to the listener’s language.  This was the big breakthrough.  Size was instantly reduced.  Not only did it drastically improve translation times, now the UTR2 didn’t need to learn every language in the world, it just needed to learn its speaker very well.  Cameras were added soon after.  Non-verbal communication, was more important than originally surmised for translation. The UTR2 could detect sarcasm, anger, fear, and anything that would need to go into the tone of the translation. Everyone reacts to these emotions differently and the UTR2 would discover that and make the proper adjustments. Tourists grasped on to the new smaller device.  Having the smaller version allowed travelers to visit and save a ton of time not having to learn their destination’s language(s).  Business men also started using the device.  Talking to clients in such an easy way facilitated easier personal communication.

Later came the UTR4 with reading/writing capabilities.  This also meant networking.  Due to privacy concerned, the UTR2s were

UTR3

UTR4

simply peer-to-peer allowing only contact with other UTRs in the area for the sole purpose of exchanging language files, “Thoughtfiles”,to speed translation.  With the added reading/writing capabilities, there was also the option to download any language file for any foreign language from the Internet. Anything written now could either be read out loud in the listener’s chosen voice or could be read on the UTR4’s screen.  This was instantly picked up by academics world over.  Reading texts in their original language, translated not only into the reader’s chosen language, but also customized to how the reader communicates.

The natural upgrade from there was cell phone integration.  From there on it was assumed that everyone who had access to a cellphone, could communicate with or in any language.  Features were added for the blind, mute, and deaf.  This effectively made the job of translation, thoroughly obsolete.

The Response

Due to the demand for schools to teach more, in less time, with less money, schools started making cuts.   Foreign language classes were the first casualty.

The United States and European schools employed UTRs for students who hadn’t learned the native tongue, allowing them to get the lectures in their own language.  The students were allow to keep the devices, which was far cheaper than having alternative language classes.  Traditional language barriers were being broken down for Hispanics in America and Romas in Europe among countless others.  Generations of lost opportunity for families was being broken.  Schools found that expenses related to students with learning disabilities could be lessened as well.  Why would a dyslexic need to learn to write properly if they are just going to use an UTR and no one will know?  Any social stigma would also be made non-existent.

Writers were skeptical.  On one hand, this device was redefining what language was, thus killing their high view of language mechanics.  On the other, all of their works could be now read by anyone who had an UTR.  The savvy among them saw another opportunity, books could be written in a visual version of Thoughtspeak, instantly dubbed Thoughtwrite, that would allow writing not only their intended words, but also their intended matching emotions.  This was pivotal.  Much as a book on tape brings a book alive through the personality of the reader, this did that even more so communicating the emotion as the reader experiences it.

Browser support for Thoughwrite was added for E-books.  This was found so effective that the Internet itself soon followed.  Now the entire Web was available in any language for everyone.  Small business who hadn’t the resources to offer their site in more than their native tongue now could reach the entire world through no effort of their own.  Large corporations could now make their intent more colloquial to reach a wider base.

The poets and songwriters were the loudest and most legitimate in their complaints.  What does “rhyme” mean with this new paradigm?  Although, anyone could read their and their predecessor’s poetry/songs, the sounds were lost in the translation.  The UTR could read the poetry so a reader could hear how it sounded, but this was a pale reflection of the original intent.

Countries like India (who has more than 64 different spoken languages) were getting as many UTRs as could be produced.  Before farmers had to hirer translators in order to do trade.  This was no longer a barrier.  The entire world was their new market, with no communication barriers in their way.

Waring nations had new ways of expressing not only their general dissatisfaction in their “enemy” but discover what they had in common.  Waring nations peoples’ blogs, now readily accessible, were making inroads to negotiation that years of political maneuvering had never begun to accomplish.

Society was reeling from the new technology.  The possibilities were endless.  This allowed for personal pubic languages.  They were personal, in that only one person spoke it and it was known only to them, but public in that it could be understood by anyone with an UTR to listen.

Two men on opposite sides of the globe had trained their UTRs to translate their non-verbal minute motions for them.  Their highly broadcasted “conversation” was publicized as the beginnings of telepathy.

As more people adopted the UTR The most controversial step that was taken was removing even native language classes, stopped teaching mechanics and focused more on ideas and organization.  Thoughtspeak dictionaries/encyclopedias were readily available to look up foreign concepts, but the words used to describe them became inconsequential.  As “spell-check” made it possible for the worst spellers to spell correctly, the UTR did this for communication.  Although organization was important, intent was instantly easy to communicate.

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My Story: Barn Concert

April 20, 2009 at 8:04 pm (Introspective) (, , , , , )

When I try to describe my home town to people I usually include this story.

In High School, I was invited to go to a concert in a barn.  The local heart-throbs were performing and it sounded like a hoot, so I was in.  Let me set the stage for you: ten or so local teenage bands, mutiple stacked amps and guitars, 1 upright piano, 1 drum set, and a garrison flag drapped in the background.  All of this in a four foot loft with only a six foot ceiling.  The concert was rocking and packed.  Each band was trying to set themselves a part.  One of the last ones came up and started their set.  Head vocalist/guitarist eyes were closed fully focused on the music.  One of the backup guitarists was really getting into the song and I mean REALLY getting into it!  He started swaying then he got an idea “I’m going to jump!”  (Which, with a six foot ceiling and a six foot guitarist, is just mathematically unsound!)  Jumping up  he knocked himself unconscious and fell behind the loft to the ground taking out a stack of amps and the flag on his way down.  The head guitarist doesn’t even notice.  The other backup guitarist notices and is frantically glancing to and fro from his knocked out friend and to the head vocalist who hadn’t moved a muscle.  After an awkward minute, the backup guitarist stopped and helped the downed guitarist.  Previous band members started storming the stage to rescue their amp that had been knocked over.  After they rescued the downed guitarist, they re-hung the flag and the next band continued the concert.  Gotta love small town America!

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My Story: Introduction

April 9, 2009 at 10:27 pm (Introspective) (, , , )

Formulating life’s events into little stories is natural (especially for a blogger!).  I thought my inclination toward it was because when I called home from college, I wanted to be able to relate the event without any unnecessary information.  But it goes back further than that.  My family tends to relate life events in story format.  I fancy some of mine are particularly funny, so I’m going to start a series of them here on my blog.  Here is the first one:

Life Storytelling is Romantic

I have a Great Aunt and Uncle who have been married for a long time.  They are the cutest “old couple” you have ever met.  When we visit they end up telling us stories of the things happening in their own and adjacent lives.  It is a riot to hear them tell a story.  The first thing you notice is that they keep on interrupting eachother to set the facts straight.  The interruption is always starts with, “Well you know dear,” or “Dear, I think . . .”.  After visiting with them for awhile and over the years you realize, they really don’t have as many stories as you had once supposed, as they are repeating ones you’ve heard.  If you listen even closer, you see the romance.  They are actually correcting eachother at the same spots.  They each only know half of the story!  Their spouse fills in the parts they miss.  Their life stories are so intertwined that they can count on the other to fill in the parts they can’t remember.  Stories are powerful.

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Morning Hot Beverage

March 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm (Review) (, , , )

I was driving in one morning and decided to get a hot beverage on the way into work.  I don’t do it very often but was paying close attention to the coffee places by the side of the road.  I passed three of these stands all in a row that were advertising their “bikini baristas“.  What makes matters worse, is that this is on the way to Boeing and all the other engineering places that are in the area.  So many people pass this area every morning.  Needless to say, I was a bit scandalized.

To be honest, I had seen another of these stands before (during the summer) and naively assumed that they were trying to save money on air conditioning during the summer by wearing less clothing.  This practical reason was turned on its head as they continued this practice during the winter.   No money to be saved during the winter with a lack of accoutrement.

I know “sex sells” in our society, but since when has our society become so depraved where even our coffee must be served with a hint of sex?  As a female, I’m concerned what message this sends to not only the baristas but others driving by.  Bikinis have a tendency not to tell someone, “I’m learning the trade of a sales person and hope to grow myself in this job and in future jobs.”  The ideas of what recruiting looks for this makes my head spin.  Another thing I realized, many of these girls are high school students.

Well, there is my two cents (which turned out to be a nickle), so I’ll end with this, “Bikini Baristas, get some clothes on!”

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Non-/Tech. Terminology

February 26, 2009 at 11:41 pm (Technology) (, , , , )

As technology becomes more prevalent in our society, I look forward to seeing more technical jargon.  That is, technical jargon used correctly but in non-technical situations.  Admittedly, we do already have quite a bit and I don’t mean Hollywood‘s usuage.

Here are some words and my suggested usage!

While thrashing between watching a mystery movie and baking cookies I missed the main reveal and burnt my cookies.

Sorry I forgot your name, I suffered a stack overflow during Freshman orientation.

I page faulted the directions to the house and had to Google Map it on my mobile phone.

I pwned the jar today by opening it using the hot water trick.

Although chocolate chip cookies have a high latency; they also have a high throughput!

When hosting a party, I tend to wash my table cloth first since it has the highest lead time.

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Review: Taken

February 12, 2009 at 9:40 am (Review) (, , , , , )

On Sunday evening I saw Taken with Liam Neeson.  I really liked it.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking provides the back-drop for this movie.  It doesn’t make light of it.  Trafficking is a serious problem worldwide.  http://www.humantrafficking.org/ is an excellent resource for looking at the state of human trafficking worldwide.

To the people who don’t want it to be spoiled, warning: there be spoilers here!

Father’s Protection

I guess was surprised me the most about this movie was its singular focus.  This movie wasn’t about the evilness of human trafficking, but more about a father saving his daughter from a faceless evil.  There is no one nemesis for him to face.  I was even surprised by the number of nationalities that were brought into the film as Brian’s (Liam Neeson) obstacles.  We have Albanians, French, American, and Arabs that all involved but they are only there as supporting characters for Brian.  Even when he saves a girl and cleans her up from drugs, even she is a means to an end, to gain more information about his daughter.  He doesn’t even call an ambulance for the other girls he unintentionally rescued.

Another interesting note was how they went out of there way to prove that Brian was in no way responsible for her abduction.  Brian enemies were not to blame and even his ex-wife’s new husband’s business partners were not involved.  In the end, it was his absence (and the experience that he gained) that ended up saving her, where his presence would have fallen short.

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25 Random Things

February 10, 2009 at 8:53 pm (Introspective) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

25 (of Dubious Randomness) Things About Me

Many people posted this on Facebook and I enjoyed reading what other people put, so here is my list.

  1. I’ve taught a class how to march and the class was not marching band.
  2. I had two favorite teddy bears growing up, Creamie and Brownie.  You’ll never guess what color they were.
  3. While attending SPU, I visited the Fremont Sunday Market and almost purchased a pretty blown glass vase.  It had a funny spout off of the side (which I assumed was for holding incense).  Oops, turns out it wasn’t a vase.
  4. In High School I was a part of the debate, drama, and engineering clubs.
  5. I got a silver medal in state chess (for the JV chess team) in high school!  I also won womens’ intramural chess at SPU (which involved winning one game).  Why SPU splits up the chess divisions by gender, I do not know.
  6. The first “real” video game I played was Myst (which I played with my sister!)
  7. My first chapter book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  8. I attempted to read The Simerillian in fifth grade but gave up because I didn’t know what “sunder” and “asunder” meant (btw, they are used A TON at the beginning of that tome)
  9. My College Software Engineering project was a web based PVR called WebVo.  Since then, I’ve become incredibly critical of PVR software.
  10. My college Senior Design project was a remote controlled guitar amp.  Utilizing a PSoC, wireless Linx chips (which are evil), digital potentiometers (which are more evil), and teamwork we pulled it off.  We are still friends (which is the real accomplishment!)
  11. I’m positively terrible at gift-wrapping, skating (roller or ice), bowling, and anything requiring physical coordination or activity.  (I’m a bit better at Wii Sports!)
  12. My favorite books through time (and the ones I would recommend to any guy who wanted to understand women) are A Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables, and Pride and Prejudice.
  13. I was in AWANA Clubs for 11 years!
  14. The movies that engender my sense of humor are the original Pink Panther movies with Peter Sellers.
  15. I’ve been Swing, Salsa, and Square dancing.
  16. My favorite food is chocolate cheesecake.
  17. I’m compelled everytime I see a pop can to remove and save the pop tab.
  18. I used to have a rabbit named Christopher.  He had curly fur!
  19. Growing up, I had friends that have an apple orchard.  Pallet fort improving, irrigation run off damming, Snapple code inventing, and Barbie abduction were some of the many adventures that were had!
  20. The first vehicle I learned to drive was a Kubota tractor.
  21. I’ve seen only three theatrical performances; The Nutcracker (x2 by two different troupes), Carmen and Phantom of the Opera.  I hope to see more.
  22. For Star Wars III, I camped out in Downtown Seattle and spent the night.  I was with friend sand slept in the back of a friend’s pickup truck.  I felt guilty when homeless people walked by.
  23. I know a little bit of Czech from a two week mission trip to the Czech Republic in High School.  Ahoy!
  24. I *heart* Jeeps!
  25. I’m currently watching Heroes, Lost, The Office, and Battlestar Galactica.

All in all I have been thouroughly blessed.  These 25 random things, are really things which I should thank my family, firends, school and others for a fabulous life.  I can’t wait to see what 25 things God brings next!

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You Have Two Cows: OS Edition

January 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm (Technology) (, , , , , )

Everyone has heard the “You have two cows” economic breakdown.  I feel that this can also be applied to Operating systems.

Atari DOS: You have two cows, if you knew anything about chickens you could get some milk out of the cows.
Windows 2000: You have two cows, you have to hunt down for the associated gear for the cows so much that you don’t like doing anything but the basics.  Every once and awhile the cows fall asleep and play dead (some stay that way).
Windows XP: You have two cows, they are pretty reliable and produce decent milk.  Most gear, even the fun stuff, fits on them well.  There are hopes that the rancher you bought them from will improve their training for the next cows.
OS 9:  You have two cows.  Your cows are special in so many ways.  They are bright colored and don’t warn you when they suddenly decide to take a nap.  Their milk isn’t acceptable to so of your clientele.  You become embittered against the rancher that sold them to you.
Vista: You have two cows, you must sacrifice one to the “gods” to make the other one look pretty.  You get milk that no one likes.
OS 10.5/Leopard: You have two cows . . . but do you?  You’ve refused the cows outright due to being embittered from OS 9 but some respectable ranchers recommend them.  You are still skeptical.  (Or maybe it is just me.)  Oh, and the cows are pretty.
Ubuntu: You have two cows.  They are exceptionally trained to help pump as much as they can by farmers just like you, but if you aren’t familiar with them, they can be intimidating.  Some gear doesn’t fit on them.
Embedded Linux: You have one cow.  People shouldn’t expect two cows’ worth of milk from one cow.
Windows CE: See Windows 2000.
Palm OS: You have two cows.  They work great and can stay awake.  They are so cutting edge that the other farmers don’t understand you.  If you feed them, they’ll give you good milk.

That’s all I have.  All trademarks are owned by their respective owners.  All the pictures are linked to where I found them!

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