Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why the Wii U marks the beginning of the last generation

Every once in a while I like to do a post on technology, and I have been thinking recently about Nintendo's new system, the Wii U and what it will mean for the technology industry. I don't actually really play video games anymore even though I was once very involved in them, they have just decreased significantly in importance for me. But I do like technology and I feel this new nintendo system marks a very important point for video games, the beginning of the end of console gaming.

Let me explain why, first of all we have seen the handled gaming market, once considered a nintendo stronghold, dismantled in a mater of a few years, primarily by the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Nobody else (Sega, Sony, and Nokia had tried) had been able to touch nintendo's gameboy blockade on the market, the most interesting thing is that nintendo was the first company to really introduce touch screen gaming into the market with their DS and many of the technologies they developed there were what would later make the tablet market successful in gaming. They were also the first to introduce gyroscope motion sensing technology into handhelds which has also become a major part of phone and tablet gaming.

Now Nintendo has introduced a game system with a tablet controller, a touch screen motion sensing device in the living room. This will pave the way for people's actual tablets and cell phones to become the controllers they use for video games on their TVs, this will help with the breakdown of the console system.

The second major factor will be the recession, the economic troubles have already stalled this generation of consoles, elongating the time the the Wii, 360, and PS3 have sat on the top of the heap. I fully expect both Microsoft and and Sony to release another set of systems next year, but I think it will be their last. People will no longer want to pay for a separate set of hardware for gaming during times of economic trouble when they already of devices capable of playing games.

The final blow will come from Apple as it generally does. Apple will release a TV that either runs iOS or some similar operating system which will be capable of running apps as well as a million other things. This will integrate the iPhone and iPad into the livingroom in such a way that will make video game consoles obsolete and cumbersome. What points to this? The current Apple TV already allows for you to mirror your tablet onto your TV, and hackers have found code inside it that points to gaming being in development. Apple is also widely rumored to be in production of an actual TV monitor instead of just a set box top. Once this happens Google and Windows will be forced to follow suit in some way. Microsoft is already well set up to make this change with the Kinect.

All of this seems to point to the death of console gaming as we know it. I think the Wii U will provide the bridge into this manner of gaming, my only question is why nintendo is doing this, it doesn't make sense for them to bridge their way into their own demise. Whatever happens doesn't really make much difference to me, but its something to think about.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thoughts of a Sixteenth Grade Something: Music and the State of the Soul

So I had some pause for reflection recently, as many people know I like music, I come from a musical family and enjoy most music and I sing a lot. I'm also a huge fan of having theme music, in one of my classes  we always have a question of the day and a couple weeks ago one of the questions was if you had a theme song what would it be. I was very surprised by the number of people who didn't know  how to answer this question, my problem was which of my theme songs to choose here are just a few of the theme songs I've had:
White and Nerdy by Weird Al
Eye of the Tiger from Rocky
Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional
Defying Gravity from Wicked
Out of My League by Steven Speaks

I also had a theme song with every companion on my mission that I had a car with (you listen to more music when you have a car) a couple of those were:
For some must push and some must pull -- Elder Phillips
The Rising -- Elder Bowman

But theme songs are not what really go me thinking about music and the state of the soul, they are just part of the tangental connections. I began thinking about  this because I do not listen to a lot of music currently, even though I like music I don't usually listen to it because if I am listening to something it is normally a podcast. But I opened up my iTunes recently and looked at the playlist called most played. And this is what got me thinking, because it is very telling about the times in your life when you listen to music the most, what I found was that I listen to music when I am depressed. I hadn't thought about it before but I now see that I listened to music a lot before I met Meagan, and now I don't. Its clear what I feel when I listen to music from what my most played songs are:
the number one played song in my iTunes is Defying Gravity from Wicked and number two was Galaxies by Owl City. For me this is highly indicative because I listen to these songs to try and boost my spirits during times when I am down.

Music is a powerful player upon our soul, and I feel it is worth some introspection on our part to see what we listen to and why. I find it very interesting when scripture makes reference to music. In the old testament I think we can place David as the master of music David and his son are attributed with writing the book of Hymns we find in the bible known as psalms. David used music to express his most poignant feelings, both joy and sorrow. My younger sister would say that he used music to uncage his spirit. I think this is something we all can do, and probably it would be healthy to do from time to time. But the lesson of music from David I find most important is that David was a player of the harp and he used his skill on the instrument to free King Saul from the influence of an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16). To me that says volumes about the power of music upon the substance we know as spirit, it can do it to our spirits it can do it to other spirits. I think this elevates our choice in music to one of the most important choices we make each day. The choice we make when we turn on iPod is what we will do to our own spirit, and what spirits we will attract to ourselves. Its something to think about before we push that button.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


So I have been thinking a lot about reading of late, probably because I am in a reading class this semester. I love reading, I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. I think reading may, combined with writing, be the single greatest accomplishment of the human race, and I have my serious doubts that they came up with it on their own, seems to me as though it must have been a gift from God.  Reading and writing a phenomenal in part because the acts themselves are amazing and showcase the incredible nature of the human brain, and in part because they are the means of progression for humans. Think about it, the fact that we can write and read is what allows us to preserve knowledge and made it so everybody doesn't have to go through the same discovery processes over and over. Its incredible. The fact that right now I am writing down a message using a finite alphabet of 26 characters and 10 numerical symbols and that I can transport to you any knowledge I might have is simply astounding. All the worlds knowledge is available to us through reading. My reading class has mostly been the facilitator of this line of thought as well as some things that Steven Covey says in his book, the 7 habits of highly effective people.

In other thoughts on reading I have thought to myself about what an influence it was on my life and intelligence to be taught at an early age to read and to love reading. My nephews have caused me to reflect upon this, Aaron who is four is learning how to read right now which is such an amazing time for a kid who without realizing it is learning to decode from a writing page meaning which will be the source of learning for the rest of their life. Maxwell is 2 and he loves to be read to, Amy says he would sit on your lap and listen to stories all day if he could, just think of all the things he will know and have learned about by the time he can read. Bradley is 1 and he has just figured out that he is suppose to sit on a lap and listen to stories, he likes to laugh when he is read too even though he is probably not understanding much of the story yet. Charlie is just a few months old, he's just barely beginning to take in the world around him, and every night his mom, Brooke, reads a book to him, isn't that the most wonderful? Just think how soon he will start learning cognitive processes and discover how much about the world he can learn from books, if he is anything like his cousins it won't take him very long. I love it, it makes me so excited for these little boys. And it makes me so grateful for parents who taught me to read at an early age and read to me, and encouraged me to read. It reminds me of Dr. Benjamin Carson who gave a forum here at BYU last year, he is one of the smartest most accomplished men in the world and he attributes it to his mom having him read so much.

What scares me now is the number of children who are taught how to read, but are not taught to read, the ability is ensured but the skill is not ingrained, and the passion is not ignited. In Covey's book there reads the line "The person who does not read is no better off that the person who can't read." And that is certainly something to ponder on.