Category: Thoughts

Response/Bible Study: Digital Tattoo

I ran across this article describing a digital tattoo:

Engadget: You can now unlock your Motorola phone with a ‘digital tattoo’

For those of you who know your Bible, does this scare you?  Does it sound like something from Revelation?

Revelation 13:16  — And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

So, we should just make sure that we don’t put the “digital tattoo” on our right hand or forehead, right?  Could this really be the mark of the beast?  Well, first of all, the mark is not a swirly mark.  It is the name of the antichrist or his number:

Revelation 13:17-18 — And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

I think that the most important part about the mark is that it is an act of worship of the beast or the antichrist.  It seems that every time the mark is mentioned, it is mentioned in conjunction with worshiping the beast.

Revelation 13:15-16 — And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

Revelation 14:9 — And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

Revelation 14:11 — And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Revelation 16:2 — And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

Revelation 19:20 — And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation 20:4 — And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

So, is the digital tattoo wrong?  I would argue no.  It has nothing to do with worship.  Instead it is a convenience and security feature.  It makes it easier to unlock your phone.  In fact, it helps you make it so that you are the only one who can unlock your phone and access your sensitive information.

I’ve met some people to refuse to get credit cards and fear this technology that has any hint of the “mark”.  I think this is the point they are missing: the mark of the beast is an act of worship.  It’s not just a technology of convenience.

The “mark” probably will be given in the guise of convenience though.  The Bible does say that the people will receive a delusion and will get tricked into taking the antichrist’s side.  If you don’t choose God now, don’t think that you will choose him when the end comes.

II Thessalonians 2:11 — And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Revelation 13:14 — And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

Still, I think that God will make it clear that those taking the mark are making a choice.  It will be a choice between God and the antichrist.

With the progression of technology, we can see how these marks might work though.  It makes sense that the “mark” will include some sort of RFID technology.  The Bible says that you will need the mark to buy and sell.  The NFC chip in the Google phone is a perfect example.  You can simply swipe your phone across the credit card scanner to make a purchase tied to your credit card.  So, it makes sense that the mark might have similar technology.

Revelation 13:17 — And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The chips embedded in pets are an example of how such technology might be embedded into a living thing for tracking purposes.  So, all of the technology is available.  What remains is the component of worship.  Thankfully, there is no cause to use this technology as an act of defiance against God yet.

So, use your technology, and enjoy it.  Let’s just make sure we use it for God and to further His kingdom.

Thoughts: Are Cool and Useful Mutually Exclusive?

The other day, I saw a great article on Sten Vesterli’s Blog:

Sten Vesterli’s Blog: Cool or useful?

Sten makes an excellent point.  You have to see the pictures on his blog to fully understand, but the crux of the matter is this:

If you are going to be handling controls while driving (whether at 55 MPH or 200 MPH), you need tactile feedback from the control you are operating. Tesla opted for cool, Formula One opted for useful.

I can definitely agree.  How many times have I reached for the radio volume button by touch while I am driving rather than take my eyes off the road to find it?  Or, the cruise control button on the steering wheel?  At times, less bling bling can be important.

On the other hand, can you imagine what would happen if you put that Formula One steering wheel in front of your average driver?  So, let’s pick an elderly person who is struggling with the possibility of surrendering their independence and giving up their driver’s license.  Which interface is more useful for that person?  I would venture to guess that the F1 interface would send them cutting their license to shreds and vowing never to drive again, while there might be a glimmer of hope at getting by with the Telsa interface!  Okay, let’s choose a new driver just mastering the different signs, lines, and rules of the road.  Which interface is more useful?  My guess would be that the F1 would send the person packing to city to live with buses and subways the rest of his life, while the Tesla would feel at home striking a similarity with the cell phone they have been carrying around for a few years now.

We live in an age when even the least technologically savvy of our society are walking around with advanced smart phones.  In my opinion, the Tesla interface probably appeals to that audience and the sense of familiarity to that “coolness” makes it more usable.

 

Useful is definitely important, but I don’t think they are always mutually exclusive.  A cool interface can guide a user’s eyes to where they need to go to get the job done.  This can cut down on mistakes and training if done correctly.

As the Internet gets more useful and slick at the same time, I think users are going to demand the same experience from everyday life.  Cars, TVs, phones, houses, thermostats, and kitchens are all going to demand both cool and useful interfaces.

That’s my opinion at least.

Thoughts: Gun Control or Family Encouragement

The shooting in the Navy Yard seems to have brought up the Gun Control issues again, at least according to this article:

The Washington Post: After Navy Yard shooting, relatives of victims of other mass shootings again lobby Congress

Can I add my thoughts?

First, I think we all need to be careful about using these painful events as political leverage.  We should check our motives.  Are we truly wanting to keep this from happening again, or are we capitalizing on the emotion of the people to get a law passed?

Second, we can’t depend on Government to fix everything.  It’s easy to think that the more society advances, the more government can bring us to Utopia.  We forget about sin.  While laws can prevent bad things, they can also give criminals loopholes.

Just as an example, what about the mental health issues?  Should we make allowances to institutionalize anyone with a mental condition to keep society safe?  If so, what would prevent a husband from claiming his wife is mentally unstable and locking her up to get rid of her?

I ran across this article a while back that suggested that it wasn’t the guns used, but several other factors:

Human Events: BUCHANAN: THE DEAD SOUL OF ADAM LANZA

I wonder if true family support would make a difference.  How many of these situations were caused by people who come from broken families?  God’s way is that a mother and a father take an active role and responsibility in raising kids to live a healthy life style.  Is it possible that the decline in the traditional family is responsible for the rise in senseless acts of violence?

If we could have an affect on preventing the next senseless crime, I would guess encouraging families would help more than any law we could write.

 

Thoughts on Chavez and a Nuclear North Korea

In recent news, the world political scene has been changing.  Just recently, we learned of Venezuela’s Chavez’s death.  That brings uncertainty to the country and rest of the world hopes that new leadership will benefit the country.  On the other hand, North Korea just went through a similar loss of a leader when Kim Jong-Un succeeded Kim Jong-il after his death.  With the recent threats of nuclear attacks, I’m not sure that the change made much difference.

Here are just a few of the articles I found:

So, I thought that I would do a little brainstorming on the events and what the Bible might have to say about them.

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Technology: Are we scheming time away?

I just ran across this interesting link:

Google Operating System: Google Schemer: Social Goal Management

Basically, the article is introducing one of Google’s new tools: Schemer.  In a nutshell it sounds like a tool to track things to do and maybe inspire others to do things.

While I haven’t really delved into the tool, and I don’t have an invite, I wanted to capture a first impression: Don’t I already have enough to do!  The more I think about what they are trying to accomplish, I realize I am probably misjudging the tool.  Maybe this is just a cool way to establish some accountability and work toward accomplishing goals that I already have.

In any regard, I wonder how many of the “social” applications in general are geared toward using our time and giving us more to do.  They want us to spend time in their site.  The push is for more connections, more friends, more games.  I guess they want you to spend more time in their site, which equates to more money for them.  Facebook and Linked In offer tools to sync your email and contacts with your account to get more connections.  Ads show games that you can play and friends share things from the games to get you involved in those games.

More friends sounds cool, but that means more updates to read through.  That’s more data that you have to consume.  The more data you consume the more time you spend doing it.

I wonder if that is why young people are more apt to get into social applications.  They have the time to spare.  We young fathers are trying to squeak every hour out of the day.  We rock our infants to sleep at the counter with the laptop open and one hand adding a few tweaks here and there to the code on some hobby program.  Why do we want another friend feed or more goals to accomplish?

If you are writing another social application, please give me tools to consume more data faster with less effort.  Please don’t just give me more data to consume!

 

Does Solitaire Help Balance the Budget?

Someone emailed me this photograph of Connecticut leaders playing solitaire during discussions on Budgets.  The email prompted me to do some research.

Congress Playing Solitaire
copyright The Associated Press (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Is it true?

One of the first things you should do when you get one of those chain emails is validate whether the email is really true.  It is gossip if you forward it otherwise.  A quick Google Search and a search on Snopes.com usually provides quick verification.

Snopes.com: A House Diverted

According to Snopes, this picture is true and unaltered.  In fact, Snopes had a good deal of information about the photo, the photographer, and the situation.  But, keep in mind that this is a picture of the Connecticut House of Representatives not of the U.S. Congress.

Who Took the Picture?

According to Snopes, Jessica Hill took the picture.  She is a contract photographer and photo editor in Connecticut.  You can see some of her pictures and read about her on her website:

She has a gallery on her website, and I really like many of her other photographs as well:

Jack Hennessy

According to Snopes.com, Jack Hennessy was the first person in the picture playing.  According to Snopes.com and Courant.com, Jack issued an apology letter.  You can read the comments for yourself, but it sounds like it generated a mixture of feedback.  I guess the true test is whether or not he was reelected, and according to the CT Mirror, he was reelected in 2010.

You can read more about him here:

House Democrats of Connecticut: Jack Hennessy

Barbara Lambert

According to Snopes.com, Barbara Lambert is the other person in the picture.  According to Greenwich Time, she was not apologetic.  She said that she knew the information behind the issues, and she had already made up her mind on the decision.  According to Wikipedia, she did not attempt a reelection after this incident (not that her decision had anything to do with the incident).

More Information

Here are some other articles on the issue:

What Can We Learn?

First, be careful when you play solitaire!  Solitaire can wreck havoc on your PR.  Seriously, we have to watch our appearances.  Even if what you are doing is legitimate, you may have to ask what if someone were to walk up behind you and see your screen.  What would they think?

Second, take it easy!  Don’t assume that you have caught someone slacking off.  Are they on a break?  Just make sure that you understand the whole situation.  I am not saying that Jack and Barbara didn’t deserve all of the flack they got, but I don’t know enough to make a judgement call.  It would be a horrible thing if either one had been up all night studying to know all the issues and for a brief moment they took some time to relax.