Christianity is becoming less forgiving and persecuting

Well I am going to do something I almost never do, talk about religion! Now before you leave this post thinking “great this is going to be another rant about God and how the world is going to hell”, Just wait its not that kind of post.

My whole life I have been raised to believe that God was the creator of all things and that we as his servants are supposed to be kind and help our fellow man (or woman). What I see in the news lately, however is proving disappointing and at times has made me question whether I am right to still call myself a Christian! Let me explain this a bit more so its not taken out of context, I am still a believer in God and Jesus, I just feel the word Christian has come to mean persecuting bigot instead of loving and helpful.

Now what I am about to say may offend some people (if I have not already done so), however that is not my intention, I mean only to explain why I feel things have changed and why I feel dirty when I call myself a Christian now. Lets start with the good things that have happened and go from there shall we?

New Pope elected

On March 13th 2013 Pope Francis began his Papacy, during his first few years things changed drastically in the church! Laws that were dated and sexist began to disappear and you saw the church as being more forgiving and kind then it had in years.

He was quickly known as the merciful Pope encouraging people to seek Mercy as much as possible just like Jesus did. Well without getting to preachy here it ended up making waves some good some bad he had views on Gay and Lesbian couples that most Catholic people would cringe at and accepted them as part of the church (in the sense that they are Christian not a part of the clergy) not caring how they chose to live their personal life.

War against anything not “Christian silently begins”

Which brings me to the bad, people began to set their sights on Gay and Lesbian couples throwing biblical passage after biblical passage at them to prove what they were doing was wrong.

While there is no passage in the bible that specifically states anything against gay or lesbians or trans or whatever other group people fall into. Sure you can interpret the passage about marriage being between a man and a woman as meaning that anything else would be a sin, the point however is that it is not specifically mentioned as a sin or a evil deed.

Now I am not saying you have to accept that what Gay or lesbians do as being acceptable, what I am saying is that they are people just like you or I and persecuting them for a part of their lifestyle is the same as saying you’re going to Hell because you wore plaid on a Sunday!

If you do not agree with their lifestyle choice, deal with it, it is their choice after all not yours! You would think this would be the only point of contention here but you would be mistaken.

Fast forward a few years and you get the current drama as it unfolds; USA Politicians in two states are trying to force religion on people blaming the entirety of our nations faults on the lack of spiritual education! Now I am neither a pastor nor a Politician, but look at less religious countries like England (yes they have religion but it is not as strong as it once was) that get along just fine without forcing religion on their people!

They also come to defense of Child molesters trying to say that the reason people have an issue with what Josh Duggar did (for example) is because he is anti-gay! I mean really I would like to think that most people have more common sense then this. I am not going to go on a political rant ethier as that is not the point of this blog post, the point is to show that religion specifically Christianity has become more about persecuting those who do not share your views then welcoming them with open arms and trying to enjoy life. There will be times when you do not agree with someone in life but does this mean you point a stick at them and tell them they are going to die in the pits of hell due to a life choice they made?

Lets take a quick stroll into US history shall we, During the 50’s Blacks and Whites were segregated and even the church tried saying that God hates Blacks and that is why they must be treated as such. Of course this was a small few but it gained enough momentum that businesses could deny service based on skin color! We have evolved past that and made laws preventing this kind of thing, however religion is not starting to put those walls up again! Maybe not in the same fashion as blacks and whites still are equal but now religion becomes the variable in which we choose to hide behind.

Several US businesses run by Christians refuse to serve Gay and Lesbian couples, or even Islamic or other religions just because they do not agree with either their life choice or religion! Now correct me if I am wrong but is this not the same thing we did in the 50’s to Blacks? You do not need to agree with the choices people make weather it is religion or a life choice to provide goods and services to them, at least this is how things used to be. As people become more and more focused on this way of thinking Christian becomes a word that means violent bigot who refuses to see reason and I do not want to be one of those people.

Full disclosure I am not gay but I do support gay rights as well as freedom of religion, I believe our country is supposed to honor freedom and not persecution. So you tell me am I wrong in thinking that the word Christian is slowly become more known with cruel segregationist (religion and life style) that will persecute you so much as look at you if your not thinking exactly what they are, or am I way off base?

I welcome comments I just ask you to first stop and think long and hard at how Religion has influenced the changes lately and while trying to keep a objectionable frame of mind respond letting me know what you think.

Remember Christianity is supposed to be about forgiveness and helping others not tearing them down because they are different then you!

Assassin’s Creed IV – Black Flag

It’s no secret to anyone who may know me personally that I have never been a fan of the Assassin’s Creed game line, however on a whim I decided to add Black Flag to my Gamefly Game Q to try out. What I found out is this game to me is incredibly enjoyable and found myself spending way too much time playing the game, the sign of a well-crafted game.

I still am not too fond of the first or second games in the series but I do have a greater understanding for them now that I have played and beaten the 4th Game in the series. I did at the time it came out buy Assassin’s Creed 1 just never finished, I am considering going back and re-playing these games and see if I can find renewed enjoyment in the series I once found droll and boring.

Ok now that that gushing is out of the way let’s get into the nitty gritty and talk about what I liked and did not like about this game, I think you will find the list of Likes will outweigh the list of dislikes however you be the judge.

Things I enjoyed

  • Unique Gameplay for navigating the massive world – If you’re not familiar with this game you are playing the part of a pirate who oddly has a knack for killing people using stealth that has become the pinnacle of the series. You move from one Island to another using a pirate ship which you can upgrade to make it more deadly and engage in combat with computer NPC ships to loot resources of sink them out of spite and try to recover whatever little bit of the resources they carried that did not sink with them.
  • Ship Battles – As mentioned above these were new to this version and are extremely enjoyable, the game starts out making them very easy but they get progressively harder as the game moves on forcing you to upgrade your ship or play the reload game.
  • Legendary Ships – These are ships (sometimes 2 or more in a group) that have higher than normal armor and the damage output is higher as well, however to balance out the increased difficulty they also offer larger rewards if you manage to fel one of them. Watch out though it seems their favorite tactic is to ram you which do a surprising amount of damage even with the maximum amount of armor you can upgrade to.
  • Chase sequences – They have these in both the ship mode as well as on foot, and while these may have existed in other versions of the game I found that they were particularly enjoyable in this game. The game seemed to know when you’re chasing someone across roof tops and through crowds, as the AI would tend to clutter the NPCs more in your way or have more enemy’s looking to the roof tops to try and target you.
  • Shanties – Yes you can hear your ship’s crew sing authentic Pirate songs as them tend to the ship while sailing around the sea, you can increase the variety of songs they sing by chasing down music pages on Islands that will start blowing away when you come across them, catch them and your crew learns a new Shanti allowing for a wider variety of songs.
  • Private Island – Toward the beginning of the game you get an Island you took from the Spanish that you can upgrade allowing for your own private place to repair your ship or purchase upgrades that allow you to hire Drunk pirates in random cities as body guards, you can use these pirates to distract guards by using them as cannon fodder while you track the main target. You could also just have them follow you and take part in any battle you come across during your time on the Island. Normally these are able to be hired but with the upgrade on the Island they become free.

 

Now comes the ugly part, the things I found wrong with this game

Things I did not like at all

  • Story – While the idea for the story is nice, it’s bifurcated between the “simulation” and the real world. What I found most jarring is that they setup this huge plot line for the few scenes your actually in the real world and not engaged in the “simulation” then  play it down toward the end like it was all the ramblings of some crazy IT guy. Now this would have been fine if they did not go to lengths to make your playable character believe what he was actually telling you by showing you things you could not have seen if he was in fact crazy.
  • Touchy Controls – Sometimes when you need to be discreet and sneak up on an enemy the controller on the PS4 would mysteriously hit a button causing you to lunge or jump out of your hiding place which would set the alarm off blowing the whole stealth aspect. Now I know for a fact some of these were me being overzealous with the controls but there were a few times the control seemed to hit the buttons itself. I have not had this issue with other PS4 games so it would appear specific to this game.
  • Precision – Yes this related to the last point above, however it felt it needed a different point. When trying to climb up a wall or jump down and assassinate your target sometimes getting the target lined up right can be a tricky prospect. Again not sure if this is present on all versions of this game or just the PS4 version (which is what I used).
  • Poor story Development in DLC missions – There was a DLC released called Freedom where you play as the character that is your Quartermaster in the main game, Your told you will find out more about the man but are quickly brought to the reality that about 10 % of the DLC focuses on him while the rest seems to revolve around freeing the slaves and sighting a revolt among them. This is a good plot line but all in all it felt rushed and while they also had a ship segment like the main game, they seem to discourage pillaging ships and instead want you to get resources by liberating plantations which would be fine if they were as readily available.
  • Main Characters with names to similar to each other – I found it hard to follow the plot when you have to go from killing someone named Rogers, to Roberts and so on. It just makes it very confusing. You begin thinking to yourself “Roberts did I not kill him already?”

 

Bottom line here is that this game is worth getting second hand or renting through Gamefly or the like, however I find it hard to suggest buying it new as it just has way too many issues and for me anyway this game just is not worth the $50 (49.99) it costs to get it for next gen systems. I enjoyed the game so much I bought it from Gamefly after they sent it to me for $22 which was more of a reasonable price I think.

Due to how much I enjoyed this game I would seriously consider investing my time in future games in the series and maybe even going back to past titles in the series with renewed excitement. Yes this game is that good that it can turn someone who hated the series in to a possible fan of the series.

 

Upcoming Fedora 20 Thoughts and impressions

In an upcoming blog I plan to write about my first impressions and experiences with Fedora 20.

I have been out of the Linux environment for some time now due to personal situations and events which have kept me away. And I’m still finishing up the grammar and spelling corrections for this upcoming blog post , once I finished that I should be able to post the blog entry fairly quickly.

Given that I have not used Linux for some time now, some of my views might be considered common knowledge by now given that Fedora 20 has been out for quite a while. However, I’m going to do my best to try to give a unique perspective  on what I found. :-)

I am almost 6 months employed!

I am going to give you guys an quick update on what has been happening lately. Hopefully my next entry will be a bit longer then this one

 

Work

Its hard to believe but I have not had a job for around six months (January 22 2014 will be 6 months exactly), Its been good to be employed again though I wish I was full time and making a little more then I am now but I will take what I can get.

I work for a company Called Meijer in their photo department, for those of you who may not have heard of Meijer they are similar to a Walmart in the way they are setup however, unlike Walmart they are not nationwide.

General stuff

In an effort to try and simplify things I re-arranged my living room so that we do not have as much stuff taken up by my huge desk. It will take some time getting used to the added space after having my desk consume most of the living room. All in all its just nice to have a change of things from time to time down here.

Well I know this Blog is short but I do not have a whole lot to say this time around. However stay tuned my next blog is going to be my review on Fedora 20  and some other thoughts on where gaming in Linux is going and what I feel the inevitable outcome will be.

Update: July 6, 2013

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, a lot has changed since last time I updated it. Hopefully, this post will serve as an abridged update for the past several months.

School

As many of you reading this are aware I was enrolled in a college for several years pursuing a bachelors degree and network administration, however with some of you may not be aware of is that I was unable to finish my education. I was however extremely close to finishing my degree, that is until I ran out of financial aid and was forced to withdraw with only three classes remaining.

One of the three classes I had left was a summary class basically re-encapsulating everything I learned up to that point, the other two were actually new classes. I had a measly $3500 left my tuition before my financial aid ran out, unable to raise these funds in the given amount of time I had, there was no other alternative but to withdraw.

Concerned with all the money that I had spent thus far, and my education being for nothing, I inquired about whether or not, I would be able to pick up why I left off should I raise the necessary funds. The response I got was not very reassuring, whether or not I’ll be able to pick up and only take the three classes I was lacking would be dependent on when I would be able to return and how much the program would have changed since I was last enrolled.

Should the degree program have changed drastically since the last time I enrolled, then I will be forced to start the program all over again as if I had just started. This would mean that basically all the money I had spent from student loans on my education would have been wasted, not to mention the new student loans I would have to take to start the program over again. So for me the faster I can raise the necessary funds to take those last three classes, the better chance they have of continuing the program I started.

Employment

Sadly, my employment situation has not fared much better than my education situation.

I have filled out several applications every week from places that are known like Lowes to places less known like mom and pop locations, where the issue comes in for me I think is the gaps of unemployment I have. Now, I am sure a lot of you out there have had times when you were not able to work for long periods of time weather for reasons could or could not control, in this case it is largely out of my control.

Originally I took time off from work to help with my Father in law during his fight with cancer, while I have held jobs here and there during this time, I largely went unemployed. When my daughter was born things changed, I was needed more at home to help raise our daughter and at the time this was doable. We were living in my In-laws house so that we could be there 24/7 should my Father in law need the assistance, it was not until he passed that it became clear one if not both of us needed work badly.

There was some financial things that come with the death of a loved one that hit my Mother in law hard both emotionally and finically, these I will not bother to go in depth on as they are rather personal, but I will say it hammered the point home just how much we needed our own place and work.

At this time I was still in school and rounding the half way mark to what I thought was my ultimate destination of a degree, I managed to work out a deal with family and friends to help us stay afloat while I finished out my degree and could get a career, all the while still looking for work on my own.

This brings us to last summer (2012) when I received the notification that my financial aid was exhausted and that if I wanted to finish my degree it would cost me $3500! Having borrowed money and relied on friends and family to a degree that I felt uncomfortable with I declined to pursue help from them at first. I tried to find other ways to get the funds to make up this small amount of cash, in the end I swallowed my pride and asked for assistance, but much to my expectation was denied both from friends and family.

I felt like we had exhausted that avenue with the money we borrowed already (mostly from family very little if any from friends), so I re-focused my efforts to looking for work full time. I am still not employed but I refuse to give up, I have a desire to work and provide for my family, if only given the chance to do so I would be the best I could be to my employer.

I will continue to look for work and hopefully soon will find some.

Books

I can name only a few things I can do that let me escape the stresses I have in life currently, one of the things I do when I get a chance is read. I have been slowly reading the Steve Jobs Biography lately and while I am only half way through it (I like to read but I can not read an entire book in one sitting), I really enjoy seeing this side of a man so many looked up to for inspiration.

I admit I do not read nearly as much as I would like, but when I do I usually sit for hours reading digitized books on my Android Kindle app. Terry Brooks is one of my favorite sci-fi authors by far and recently I find myself going back and re-reading the first series of books I ever read from him. I still to this day enjoy every page I read, the ironic thing is that this man used to be a Lawyer someone notorious for writing documents in such jargon that only another Lawyer could understand.

Gaming

Its not to hard to imagine that with my given situation that gaming, or playing new games would be hard to do. While I have not personally bought any game recently (aside from Shadowrun Returns), I was given a slew of games for free from AMD recently just for being on their newsletter!

Ultimately if I can not play a game I tend to enjoy watching others play a game I can not afford so I can get a sort of feel for the game without having to shell out that much money on it. I find it just as enjoyable at times and its a lot cheaper then shelling out $60 for the game Smile

I did re-install a game I bought some time ago, Fable 3, in an effort to try and get my mind off a lot of what has been going on lately. I forgot how much I enjoyed this game, its very easy to loose track of time when playing something like this so I usually will only play it late at night when our daughter has gone to bed so I can get a few hours to myself.

Additionally I had in the past pre-ordered several games which I forgot about until they were released and I got emails telling me as such. Some of these are Mass Effect 3, Starcraft 3 Heart of the Swarm and even further back Diablo 3. I am a huge RPG fan have been since the days of Dragon Warrior on the Nintendo, I remember Joe (older brother) and myself playing that game for hours and admiring the graphics and game play! Now when I go back and play it on an emulator (I own the actual game cartridge so its not stealing as it was bought when released), I must say slipping back into that game was a real joy, it reminded me of my childhood.

Well that is about it for this update I know it all sounds like rambling and may not make the workings of a good article, but then again it’s a blog entry so I am sure those interested enough in my life to read it will not mind Winking smile

The touch screen phase! Is it to early?

Some may call this post ironic as I am going to talk about why I feel this move to touch interfaces on Deskops is before its time while I write this on an touch enabled device.

Desktop touch solutions are not as common as mobile solutions aside from all in one devices. Currently you can expect to pay close to $600-$1000 for a good 20″ Touch enabled All-in-one, this cost is hard to justify as you could easily buy a higher resolution monitor for a fraction of the cost and upgrade an existing computer.

Yet this seems to not matter as Popular Linux distributions, Apple and even Microsoft are starting to move in this direction. Apple had ben toying with the idea of replacing OS X with IOS as a desktop OS.

Now I am not against change, in fact I welcome it. However, when an company decides to force the use of a specific type of device to get the intended user experience, one begins to question the purpose of this. Cannonical has improved Unity a great deal, but the experience with a keyboard and mouse is not as rohbust as with a touchscreen.

Only time will tell what the consumer thinks, I will try my best to stay open about it.

Updates, goals and struggles

Wow, so it is been a while since I’ve written a post on my blog, I hope to rectify that with a brief update into what’s going on with me.

Linux

Not much different as happened in the world of Linux with regard to me, I have recently picked up an android tablet (recent as in August) which I had to give for school but now that that class is over I have a $500 toy! Okay so it’s not really a toy but now it’s just a gadget I can use to fool around on as the class that needed it is over.

It is the Asus Transformer tablet, the first one that came out not their newer version they just released. I do rather enjoy the tablet even though I have no practical use for currently, however I downloaded a handful of children friendly applications (a drawing application as well as in teaching games) and my daughter absolutely loves playing on it. While I needed one for school it was never said exactly what I had to get I was just told I needed a mobile device, cell phone was out of the question as I’m not going to pay for a cell phone plan, so I did some research to look into what options were available and this is the one I had decided on.

What sold me on this particular tablet over say the iPad 2 is mainly a few factors, price, flexibility, and liberation from iTunes the worst piece of software ever created. Okay so maybe that’s a little harsh iTunes is not the worst software ever created but it certainly ranks up there. Now before I get several common saying you get what you pay for and the quality of the iPad 2 is worth the additional cost, let me just explain my justification behind the price point;

Looking at the tablet from strictly a practical standpoint, what purpose was a going to serve after my class is over. The answer is simply it will serve no practicality other than entertainment value when the class was over , I’m not currently employed so they can help my work life be more productive, I could read electronic versions of my textbooks on it but that’s not really something that would greatly increase productivity in terms of school work.

Based on that information I had to say that I want to spend $600 and get the iPad 2 or spend $400 and get the Transformer, the latter was a much better option because since the practicality of this device is not really going to be there was my class was over I went to spend the least amount of money possible.

This brings me to my next point which was flexibility, while the iPad has thousands if not millions of apps available to it, it is very restrictive with what you can and can’t do with it. I have never been one to be a fan of a company that tries to dictate which can and can’t use their device for. I’m not talking about using it for illegal purposes, I’m mainly talking about choice of content as well as the technologies the browser for example chooses to utilize. While I see great value in the iPad and would recommend it to somebody who is looking for a tablet that was easy to use, and something they could just pick up and go, that was not what I was looking for.

With an android powered device such as the tablet that I have feel much less restricted, it feels much more like a desktop environment with a touchscreen. The more I think about I guess it could kind of the rooted in the fact that I’m a huge supporter of Linux and open source, that’s not to say that I do not like Apple, in fact it’s the opposite I would love to get my hands on a bran new Apple Macintosh with Mac OS X, but until I can get a job that pays me enough to be able to spend extra money that’s just not an option. If somebody were to offer me a free iPad or iPad 2 I wouldn’t even have to think about it I would gladly take it because I am a technology junkie :-). I love getting my hands on new gadgets in various forms technology and just fiddling with them until I know them inside and out.

The last point, the liberation from iTunes, this is huge as I have mentioned I’m no fan of iTunes having been for quite some time, I will admit that iTunes is making strides towards a much better user experience to meet it’s still way too restrictive, has too much overhead, and acts as a freaking lockbox where any items that I purchase are locked tightly away in iTunes and not allowed to be put on any device but an Apple device. Now I’ve heard that iTunes is change their policies recently to where music videos and things that you purchase through iTunes are no longer restricted to only iTunes or only Apple devices, but heard such rumors in the past and I’m not likely to test it out now.

If you’re interested in learning more about the tablet, I did a review on it on my tech site located here

Computers

I have been called by family members and friends a computer geek or nerd or sometimes both, while generally speaking these terms are looked at by some as derogatory I wear them like a badge of honor.

It’s no secret I’m a huge technology buff, I love anything and everything having to do with technology. Last time I had to upgrade my computer I was faced with the dilemma, that I go back to Dell computers (a fantastic company by the way) and have been billed me a computer that would work flawlessly and then turn around and have to replace it five years, or do I save money by all the parts and build it myself. After thinking about it long and hard the choice was obvious, build it myself. Now this is nothing new you can go back and read a post from several years ago where I talk about the new system that I built. However, I have since upgraded the system to the point where I may as well have built an entirely new system.

Basically the upgrade consisted of a new power supply, a new case, new motherboard, a new RAM everything else is the same. I reviewed the case on Tech Jam if you’re interested in reading it and click the link a few words back. Because so many of the elements that I upgraded allow me to essentially have enough spare parts to build a second computer, using my old case and components I rebuilt my old computer and gave it to my wife which was a significant upgrade from the computer she had. The purpose of this upgrade was basically due to a few factors the biggest of which was the fact that being in a Network Administration degree I often times need to run virtual machines with various different types of operating systems, the old components were struggling to keep up with what I needed such with the opportunity to upgrade them, I am now on a system that’s more than capable of running several virtual machines.

I was supposed to do a review of the new motherboard but I just never had time to get this review done, I might try to go back in attempted sometime in the future.

Games

Generally speaking I don’t have a lot of money to spend on video games, nor a lot of time. However, a friend bought me a Christmas present that I just couldn’t pass up, they purchased Star Wars: the Old Republic for me complete with playtime all the way until May! In a way I kind of wish they hadn’t because this game isn’t credibly addicting! I’m loving every minute of it, though I have been trying to balance everything and only really play that game when I get time.

Micah go to into depth about the videogame here, but I will say this if you have the time and the money in your fan of Star Wars this game is for you. One thing I do like about this game is the ability to buy game time cards, this allows you to budget for gameplay or if one month you can afford gameplay you just don’t buy a card and your card is and billed. This is a method that World of Warcraft has been doing for a while, and when I used to play the game all the time (when I had a job on my days off) it was something that I used exclusively.

School

As I mentioned above I’m still in school for network administration and if everything goes well I should be graduating from that of the summer! I’m kind of nervous about this because I feel like I’m going to forget everything I’ve learned, I just don’t want to be thrown into a situation where now all the sudden I’m responsible for this huge corporate network and I have a brain fart and do not remember anything.

I’ve been told by my teachers that school was more or less the foundation, or I will really pick up knowledge and experience is on-the-job. While this was slightly comforting I’m still skeptical but I will do my best. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets nervous about entering a potentially new field especially one that has the potential to change my current financial situation from one of destitute to actually being able to breathe and have the money I need for living expenses and maybe a little extra.

I’ll find out in about six months just what the schooling has prepared me for, there’s only two possibilities I either sink or swim, I am aiming for swimming!

The Job search

Yeah this is the one area that I’m struggling the most at right now, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. I can’t seem to get a job because of the large amount of time I’ve been unemployed, and also seems that Michigan is not exactly the best place for jobs. Sadly moving even across town is just out of the question way too expensive.

My game plan going forward is this, I plan to go to the advanced temporary services here Michigan and try to get placed in a temporary position if nothing more than to eliminate that large gap of unemployment, ideally though I would like to see one of those temporary positions turn into a permanent position. As well as that I’m going to also be resubmitting applications to all the fast food chains in the area, and hitting up the department stores such as Walmart, Meijer, Kmart and so on.

I’ve also considered opening up my own business, but I’ll save that for another post.

Everything else

In other news our daughter is turning four at the end of this month, February 28 to be exact! It’s hard to believe she’s already four. We’ve been trying to find a place that’s fairly inexpensive that we could hold her birthday party so she can invite all of her friends from preschool, so far we’ve narrowed it down to one of the fast food chains or possibly a skating rink. I welcome suggestions however, our budget doesn’t really allow for extravagant things like the zoo or places like that.

We do not have enough room at home to have the party here so any suggestions please leave them in the comments.

I can see the finish line! Schools almost over!

Was looking at my remaining portion garments for my degree recently and realized that if I continue on track at the pace that I’m currently going I will be graduating in May 2012! This is huge as it will provide me with the opportunity to get a career and be able to better provide for my family.

As I’m sure you’re all aware by now I’ve been struggling for quite a while with trying to find a job, this degree may be just what the doctor ordered. I’ll be lying if I I wasn’t a little bit nervous and a little scared going into the last part of my degree, not so much because of what I’ll find out, or even what I’ll do (which mind you. Isn’t that bad can be a network administrator after all). No it’s more to do with the fact that I just have this gut feeling. My first job out of the gate will be so overwhelming and I will feel like I don’t know anything with regards to my duties and requirements of the position.

While people say all the time that going into a new career is a bit scary you never really appreciate that fact until you’re close to entering yourself. Upon receiving my degree I will be the first person in my immediate family other than my father to have a college degree! My grandfather had a college degree but unfortunately he’s gone now and out of the living family members in my immediate family (excluding family by marriage members) only my father has a college education. Don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not like our families are stupid, actually it’s quite the opposite.

My younger brother chose to pursue his music career instead of going to college and my older brother has several certifications in different areas he just lacks an official college degree.

A lot of people reading this might think that people graduate from college all of the time. So why would this be that big of deal? The answer is that ever since I graduated from high school. I have attended some form of college. However, due to my dyslexia I struggled a great deal in many of those schools so often I would finish my education in an effort to save money. However, in doing so I burned through a little bit of money was set aside when I was younger to assist with paying for college. It wasn’t until many years later that I decided to go back to college. This time I decided to try an online college so that I will be able to work my classes around my family and a job provided that I actually was able to get one. While having to rely on myself for getting assignments in on time without the constant nagging that one may receive the traditional college I realized that I can do this and so, through a combination of student loans and other financial aid. I enrolled at Kaplan University or am currently going to school for network administration.

What makes this so interesting to me is that even despite my ADD and my dyslexia I am actually closer to achieving a goal I set for myself in high school. Without somebody constantly being there to draw my attention back to school work. I can only hope that when I finally graduate in May that I’m able to land a job in my career field fairly quickly and begin at 32 what I set out to accomplish at 17.

Currently however, my hurdles are a lot closer to academia then to my attention span, microeconomics is the bane of my existence, and yet it is necessary in order for me to graduate is much as I try to understand this class and I’m confusing myself more than clearing things up for myself. I guess my mind is just not able to wrap around the deeper concepts that come with economics whether the macro or micro economics.

It’s funny I look back at the very first major I held at the very first college I went to " Business Administration". What’s so funny about this to me is the fact that I know absolutely nothing about business nor did I have a desire to learn anything about business. I wasn’t planning on becoming a businessman nor did I plan to choose any field required Detailed knowledge about business. No, what I originally wanted to do but was advised against was psychology and so when I snapped out of my daze and realized that business administration was not the right major for me. I switched to psychology, only to find that equally as disturbing and at times increasingly difficult. To this day however I still would love to be a psychologist or psychiatrist I enjoy talking things through with people and have been told that I’m a fairly good judge of character, both of which are qualities needed in a psychologist or psychiatrist. Computers however, at the time was not even a thought in my mind, but the more I use them, the more I found I wanted to learn and so begin my obsession with technology and computers.

And now I’m on the verge of having a bachelors degree in network administration, and it feels good, but also scary. I thirst for knowledge. When it comes to computers, it seems to be unquenchable however, and so I’m constantly trying new things. This was the reason for me toying around with Linux and the primary reason I stumbled across Fedora and many other distributions. I still can’t hold a candle to half the people I met the use Linux is much as I love Linux. I still know almost nothing about it. In my free time to be able to learn more about it has been very limited as of late. I’m hoping that once I graduate from college. I can devote more time to exploring the interest and who knows maybe one day I might even be able to contribute some of what I’ve learned back to the Linux community.

Well that’s good, do it for this blog post. Thank you for listening to my rant or reading it, rather. Comments are welcome. Feel free to leave them below. Tell me what you think. Have your experiences mirrored mine at all?

Out of the ashes, comes great television

With the large amount of TV shows that were canceled last season, is incredibly surprising to me how many decent shows have cropped up this season.

The issue I find now is more trying to figure out which of these TV shows actually want to watch. There’s just so many and I don’t watch TV all the time.

So far out of the new shows the ones I found to be the most entertaining our: the voice, falling skies. While there are certainly more than two shows that have recently begun, these two to me at least stick out as the most memorable of the new shows.

There are still plenty of returning shows they continue to watch such as: swap loggers, dual survival, American chopper, deadliest catch, how it’s made, Conan, and sons of guns to name just a few.

I know which might be thinking how I find time to watch all this television, the answer is I don’t really. I set my DVR up to record each one of the series and then I watched them when I get time. The only shows him he could point to watch live are the voice, falling skies, dual survival and American chopper. Those are by far my favorite of the ones listed above; even so I still miss some of these occasionally. Thank God for the invention of the DVR!

In addition, I found a series that started over in the UK and was recently ported United States; however, the series is fairly old. I am of course talking about Merlin; this show to me is absolutely fantastic. It incorporates all the elements that I enjoy science fiction, fantasy and good acting. Of course, I’m catching up using my Netflix subscription to watch the first two seasons, honestly, I am not even sure if it made it past two seasons.

There is of course when show that neglected to mention, this is because am not sure if the show is going to be returning or not. The show I am referring to of course is called Being Human; this is another show that originated in the UK. However, instead of porting the original UK version over they decide to recast with American actors. I never watched the original so I can’t say which one is better or worse.

What shows do you watch the season? Have you seen any of the shows that I mentioned? If so, which one of these shows do you like?

Let me know in the comments below.

Final thoughts on Ubuntu 11.04 and Fedora 15

For some time now I’ve been wrestling with the idea of writing my final thoughts on Ubuntu 11.04 and Fedora 15, the reason for me taking so long to figure out if I wanted to write this post in the first place will become clearer after you read this post.

It’s no secret by reading my previous first look review, that I was not a fan of GNOME-Shell, or Unity. While was hoping that the experience would become much more fluid in the final releases, I was still left disappointed.

However, I gave both a fair shot using both for roughly 2 to 3 weeks to try and determine if after using it for a prolonged period of time, my views would change. In addition to my own experience I also turned to the Linux community and looked at both positive and negative reviews centering on both interfaces. Surprisingly, what I found was a mixed set of opinions; however most of them had only a handful of nice things to say about the interface and a bucket full of negative. The main reason for me viewing these reviews was to ensure that I was using them correctly, I did not want to base my opinion solely on the fact that I was struggling to figure certain aspects of it.

While all of the reviews I looked at nitpicked about small things some of which had no relevance to stability or even usability, others touched on small problems that could easily have been fixed prior to release. While I haven’t touched either one of these distributions and about a weeks’ time, last time I did some of these mistakes were still present. To give you an example of how silly some things are in terms of mistakes, I will point out one in Fedora 15 specifically.

Fedora decided to take a different approach and separate the software repository lists tool from the actual updates tool, this in itself is fine in my opinion. Were the silly mistake part comes in is that loading GNOME-Shell, and looking for the update tool to get the current updates for your system. You are presented with two tools with exactly the same icon in virtually identical names; one is called update and the other updates. Through trial and error I discovered that the one with the S at the end of it actually pulls up a repository configuration dialog you can select which repositories are used for installing packages and receiving updates. I know this sounds like nitpicking however it is very confusing and something that is easily corrected, and something that should’ve never ended up in the final version.

Update: as of right now the icons have changed. But they’re both still named exactly the same with the exception of an S

If your computer is not powerful enough to run GNOME-Shell or you just don’t have the proprietary graphics drivers installed, you will go into a fallback session of GNOME 3. This is not to be confused with GNOME 2, I have read a lot of misconceptions that the fallback mode is in fact a stripped down version of GNOME 2. This is in fact false; GNOME-Shell is merely a GUI interface on top of the GNOME 3 libraries. You can tell this by looking at the version of GTK that the fallback session uses, its version 3. Below is a screenshot that might explain why a lot of people confuse the two.

Fallback session

GNOME 3 Fallback Session Warning Dialog

I’m not sure why exactly, but the icon on the dialogue reminds me of the old sad Macintosh, icon that you use to get when your Mac would have a fatal error.

Next to that screenshot you can see one of the desktop that’s loaded in a fallback session.

Fallback Session Desktop

GNOME 3 Fallback Session Desktop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates Dialog Panel 1

Updates Dialog Panel 1

Updates Dialog Panel 2

Updates Dialog Panel 2

 

Virtual Box can run GNOME-Shell or unity just fine after you install the guest additions, below is a screenshot of the update, updates, issue I was talking about.

Most other distributions used their repository configuration dialogue with a different name that distinguishes it from the update program, such as sources.

 

Update, Updates issue

Screenshot showing how both tools are named Similarly

I put a circle around the two specific programs to draw attention so that it would be easier to pinpoint them.

To further illustrate how this could be confusing, below are two screenshots that show the two tabs on the updates dialogue, below that is a screenshot from the update dialog.

Update Dialog

Update Dialog

This is not an incredibly huge error; it’s not even one that will affect stability of your system. No this is more a cosmetic and user experience related issue. Some might argue that they’ve been labeled this way for several releases now, however when using GNOME-Shell they show up right next to each other under the applications section, which is the cause for the confusion. In a fallback session, or on previous versions of GNOME, these two tools showed up in completely separate menus, which made it less confusing because you are less likely to see both of them side-by-side.

Again, I know this is a long that of a rant to go on about such a small problem, but I just wanted to make it clear what the confusion was and say that if I’m confused, having used previous versions of Fedora that the average user coming from another distribution might be even more confused.

 

That aside, once you get past GNOME-Shell Fedora 15 is a fairly solid release despite the multiple reviews; I’ve read that point to the contrary. On my last review Fedora 15 was in the alpha stages, and I talked about a lot of the new features that the average user would recognize most of these have not changed (other than getting more stable).

I did notice one quirk they kind of bugged me, while this is not a bug, and it is in fact an intentional change, I don’t understand the methodology behind the change. I’m talking about the fact that if you ever create your own RPMs and Fedora things have become slightly more confusing. It used to be that all you needed to do in order to sign and build RPM packages was to install the development tools group from Yum. It seems for whatever reason they’ve taken the GPG signing integration out of RPM by default. This functionality can of course be added back, but it requires installing a separate package. There’s absolutely no documentation that I’ve been able to find that explains the reasoning behind this change, or even that the change took place. I literally spent three hours trying to sign a package through RPM only to find that some person on a forum somewhere discovered that this RPM signing functionality was moved into a separate package called rpm-sign.

I’m not a developer and certainly not in a position to question Fedora’s policies on what to include and what not to include in a default installation. However, if they insist on breaking this functionality of RPM out into a separate package, then the least they could do is added to the development tools group, this way and somebody does a group install of the development tools this packages pulled down alongside other packages necessary to build and sign rpm’s. As I said, this is not a bug; it’s an intentional step, though the reasoning behind it at least to me is not known.

I did have one other bad experience out of my entire Fedora 15 experience. I’m not sure if this was specific to my machine, or if this happens with everybody. What happened was this, I installed Fedora 15 with the default package set, then once Fedora 15 was loaded I updated it decided I didn’t like GNOME-Shell and didn’t want to use the fallback session. I then began looking at other desktop environments that I could install; naturally, my first replacement was KDE which installed perfectly with no issues. However, upon having installed KDE and booting into it at least once GNOME stopped working altogether, in fact when you try to log into GNOME you we get an error message similar to the one in the screenshot above. The differences this error message would tell you that GNOME had a fatal error, and was not able to start. No amount of logging out and logging back in would make this message go away. Ironically, however, installing Fedora 15 with KDE and GNOME from the installer seems to bypass this issue, at least for me.

I know you guys are pricing report it, file a bug report! The problem is I’m not exactly sure what caused the error so submitting a bug report with the small amount of information I have would not be useful to anybody, especially the person that would help me try to solve the problem. Again, this issue may not be present for everybody; it may have just been some quirk on my specific machine.

Ubuntu – Alternatives

Party did a review of Ubuntu 11.04 stable, some not to repeat the same information. I will however link to that blog entry below. What I will do however is tell you a few alternatives to Ubuntu that I found that are based off of Ubuntu, but don’t have that pesky unity.

This is going to be a very quick section. Basically I’m getting give you a list of two or three distributions that have tried that are derivatives of Ubuntu and give you a brief synopsis of my experience followed by a link to the website to get more information.

Zorin – this distribution is extremely cool looking, and I’m not just saying that because I love the color blue (which this distribution has a lot of). There are a lot of custom tools included that let you change the look of this distribution to match other operating systems, including Mac OS X. This distribution is every bit as user-friendly as Ubuntu is and as I mentioned even includes several tools that are unique to this distribution to make the experience that much easier.

Linux Mint – most of you reading this who have had any experience with Ubuntu it all have probably heard of mint, some like to go into too much detail here. I will however say that the newer version of mint is the best version I have seen to date. I’m not exactly sure which version of Ubuntu. This was based off of, what I do know is that it uses GNOME 2. This is good news for everybody out there who hates unity is much as I did.

Ubuntu with XFCE – yes I understand there is a officials then of Ubuntu that includes this as the default desktop, but in order to get an experience that you’re used to as Ubuntu user, I recommend installing Ubuntu and then going to synaptic and installing XFCE. This will allow you to use XFCE while main containing a lot of the GNOME libraries and utilities that you’re used to.

Well, that wraps up this blog post. Sorry for being so long-winded, but I had a lot to say. As always, comments are welcome, one thing I prefer not to see in the comments are remarks like “unity rocks you’re insane for not liking it”, or “GNOME-Shell makes Fedora faster, it’s the future” those kinds of comments to me serve no constructive purpose as they are opinions usually ones that a majority of the people may not agree with or could agree with. Bottom line if you want to tell me why you think unity or GNOME-Shell is worth keeping around try to do in a constructive way. Don’t just say it rocks.

Ubuntu Unity Review