Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Art Imitates Life (Plus Some Religion)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 15:12 EDT Leave a comment

Being cheap—and, at the moment, broke—I don’t have television service. That’s no cable, no satellite. The only things I really miss watching are the local sports teams, but I can get those on the radio. Still, it’s nice to watch a movie or program occasionally, and for that reason I compromised and sprung for an $8/month subscription to Hulu.

The nice thing about Hulu is that it isn’t just a site where you can stream, at your convenience, programs other people watch on television. It has its own original programming as well, some of which is quite good. I’m currently watching a Hulu original series called Casual, about a woman in the process of getting a divorce who temporarily moves, with her teenaged daughter, into her brother’s house. The story follows the three of them as they navigate the various relationships (I use the term loosely) arising from each character’s pursuit of casual sex. What’s interesting is that for three people who are getting the no-strings-attached sex they actively seek, they are remarkably miserable

All of which has me thinking about Catholic teaching on sexuality, something about which I’m preparing to lead discussion as part of an adult faith formation program I coordinate at my church. Even people with absolutely no connection to the Catholic church know that its teachings prohibit pre-marital, extra-marital, or same-sex sex. (Yeah, I spent five minutes trying to figure out how to say that last one in a less redundant way but came up empty. Sorry.)

The teaching goes basically like this: the purpose of sexuality is that it be shared between two people who are joined in marriage, for the purposes of uniting them to one another and producing children. As someone who has had sex and given birth without being married, I often questioned why the marriage part was a requirement.

More recently, I have come to some understanding of that teaching, from two perspectives: practical and emotional. My pregnancy was the result of a relationship that wasn’t in any way serious or committed. I ended up raising my child alone, a difficult task materially speaking. On the other hand, when I had sex for love (with someone different), it was indeed unifying. But that relationship ended, and in three decades I still haven’t gotten over it. I wonder if it would have been easier to move on if we had never shared those sexual experiences that seemed to cement the emotional connection between us. For the record, I also had a wild phase when I sought sex for fun, but it wasn’t remotely fulfilling and didn’t make me feel very good about myself. I don’t do that any more.

Maybe that’s the wisdom of Catholic teaching. As much as we may want to believe otherwise, sex is profoundly different from other human interactions. For people who don’t take it seriously, like the characters in Casual, it can be unsatisfying at best and hurtful at worst.


Happy Birthday. Mind Blown.

Monday, July 15, 2013, 15:28 EDT Leave a comment

Last Friday was your humble blogger’s birthday. I’ll pause for a minute while you sing a belated “Happy Birthday” to me.

. . .

Why, thank you very much, that was lovely.

I got an unexpected birthday gift that day. I thought it would be a good idea to get my driver’s license renewed before the end of the day, since it expired at midnight. So I went to Google to look up the web site for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles because, apparently, URL is too complicated for my aging brain to retain. When I got to Google’s main page, I saw this:

Google search page, July 12, 2013

And I thought, facetiously, “Well isn’t it nice of Google to put up a special doodle just for my birthday!” Then I scrolled over the doodle to see whom it was really for, since several famous people were born on the same date as I was (among them Bill Cosby, Richard Simmons, Henry David Thoreau, and possibly even Julius Caesar).

When I hovered the mouse pointer over the doodle, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a most unexpected result:

Google search page, July 12, 2013, mouse over

My vision isn’t what it used to be (and it was already crappy by the time I was in elementary school) so I grabbed my reading glasses:

Google doodle, July 12, 2013, detail

It took a couple of seconds to realize that I was logged in to Google and they obviously have some clever macro that changes the “Google” graphic on the date listed on your profile as your birthday. Apparently, they’ve been doing this for at least a couple of years, but I hadn’t noticed it before.

Categories: technology, this and that

Late-Night Munchies? There’s an App for That

Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 14:57 EDT Leave a comment

What's Open? now available at the iTunes App StoreI never thought I’d see the day when I would promote anything remotely related to the iEmpire. But I am compromising my principles just once for the sake of the Den Son.

DS and one of his friends have just come out with What’s Open?, a new iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app that finds nearby restaurants and bars that are open at whatever time you’re searching. No more driving around at 3:00am looking for ice cream or onion rings. I can imagine college students using it to find an all night pizzeria or a pub that hasn’t yet had last call.

The app currently works in the United States. I’m told that they’re working on expanding coverage to Canada in a future version. You’ll hear it here when that happens.

What’s Open? is available for $0.99 at the iTunes App Store. Go buy it. If I had an iAnything, I’d buy it. Hell, I’ve paid more for BlackBerry crossword puzzle apps, and when I’m done I’m still hungry.

Categories: food/drink, technology

Countdown to My New Phone

Friday, June 1, 2012, 07:00 EDT Leave a comment

Order day!

This is it. Ordering day. At some point this morning, I will go online and purchase my new phone. Barring a last-minute change of heart, it will indeed be the BlackBerry Bold 9930. Allowing for shipping time, I expect to have it by the middle of next week.

Categories: technology

Countdown to My New Phone

Thursday, May 31, 2012, 07:00 EDT Leave a comment

1 day to my new phone

I think I’ve decided to stick with the BlackBerry Bold 9930 after all. I know the product is good, and I know that even if the company is bought, the new owner will be motivated to provide good service in order to keep the customers. So moving on from yesterday’s glitch…

Cell phone accessories aren’t really my thing. Besides what will come with the new phone (AC charger, data cable, and holster), my needs are simple and few. I use a silicone skin case, a car charger, and a bluetooth headset so I can talk and drive without killing myself. And I already have those, although I’ll probably get a new skin to better fit the thinner phone. The only other gadget I want—and it’s as practical as the others—is a dashboard mount, but that isn’t a high priority. If I were to buy one right now, it would probably be either this and this.

Categories: technology

Countdown to My New Phone

Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 07:00 EDT Leave a comment

2 days to my new phone

My growing enthusiasm about the impending new phone purchase was dampened somewhat by today’s news of further trouble at Research In Motion, the company that makes BlackBerry devices.

Research In Motion has hired investment bankers J.P. Morgan Securities and RBC Capital Markets to assist the company in reviewing business and financial performance, and it warned of a first quarter operating loss.

The Blackberry maker revealed in March that it was looking around for opportunities, amid changes to its board and CEO that saw its co-founder pushed out. Today’s release takes the news a step further.

The good news for RIM (and for BlackBerry users who want to stay BlackBerry users) is that the company apparently remains focused on completion of its next new device and operating system, due out later this year. The uncertainty of whether that focus will be enough to keep them afloat has me thinking that I should spend some time today and tomorrow evaluating other phones, just in case I decide to abandon the BlackBerry ship. Stay tuned.

Categories: technology

Countdown to My New Phone

Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 07:00 EDT Leave a comment

3 days to my new phone

I don’t consider my smartphone to be a toy. Sure, I have a few games loaded onto it, but most of the apps I go for are useful, like TeleNav’s Spring Navigation (a full-function GPS), Navita Translator (useful when tutoring my ESL student), GasBuddy (for finding cheap gasoline), and the Weather Channel app (so I know when to carry an umbrella). Even the fun apps I have, like ScoreMobile and Poynt, give me information. But I’m always curious about what else is available. This thread at CrackBerry gives me a couple of new ideas to check out.

Categories: technology

Countdown to My New Phone

Monday, May 28, 2012, 07:00 EDT Leave a comment
Categories: technology

Countdown to My New Phone

Sunday, May 27, 2012, 07:00 EDT Leave a comment
Categories: technology

Countdown to My New Phone

Saturday, May 26, 2012, 07:00 EDT Leave a comment

6 days to my new phone

One of the reasons why I’m looking forward to upgrading my phone is that it also comes with an upgrade of the BlackBerry operating system. BB7 OS, which includes a neat feature called Wi-Fi Calling that lets you make calls through mobile hotspot connectivity rather than tapping into your plan’s minutes. Note to self: find out if this works for international calls.

Categories: technology