April 2007 – Stay N Alive

I Rode a Segway!

From 2007-04-28 Tu…

I just got back from the Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point, where they are Demoing Segways for people to try out. No hesitation, I was of course one of the first to try it out! I gave it for a whirl, then my wife – while it was pretty easy to move around once you got going, I have to admit it was not what I thought it would be like. It turns out, instead of leaning forward from your upper body as one would naturally do, you actually lean forward and backward with your feet at the ankles. You then use your hands and arms to turn the handle bars right and left to turn. It ends up feeling pretty natural, but afterwards my ankles were a bit sore. I will definitely have to add this to my Amazon Wish-list! For those that would like to try it themselves, starting next week (I believe 5/7), the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Draper, UT will start renting them out for $15 an hour. Get there early, as I imagine word will spread! Here’s some more pics from my wife’s and my date:


5 Reasons Why the iPhone is a Mistake for Apple

Apple is slated to release their new iPhone, an all-in-one cell phone, mp3 player, web browser, contact manager, and organizer this Summer. The hype surrounding it has been strong, and Apple is touting to re-define the cell phone with it. Apple’s name brand recognition alone could well do this, but I think it’s a mistake for Apple, and here’s 5 reasons why:

The Cell Phone/MP3 market already exists

Apple already makes the best mp3 player on the market. They beat many to the punch in the hard-drive based mp3 player, and because of it, have continued leading the way since. They have a strong niche in that market. However, I think they will lose their mp3 player niche if they move into the cell phone market. The cell phone market has been around for a long time, and there are already many very nice cell phone makers and very big companies backing those cell phones, some with many of the same features as the iPhone. If Apple enters this market, it’s not going to be about introducing the coolest and greatest features – the cell phone manufacturers already know how to do this. It’s going to mostly be a Marketing game for Apple, and if Apple loses, by abandoning their mp3 player line they will lose this market, along with the iPods they used to sell.

Apple is Selling Through Only One Carrier

I don’t get this only selling through Cingular thing. True, it gives them an automatic audience, with strong focus from Cingular, but what carrier wouldn’t want to focus on promoting an Apple product in their product line? Looking at the Blackberry, the Treo, the Slivr (however you spell it), and others – you can look around and get all of them through several different carriers, no contract needed, even on different networks! I’d rather buy from one of those manufacturers that make an equivally good phone, perhaps with even more features.

Microsoft is Ahead of the Game in the Media Market

While Apple is gaining ground, and holds the stronghold in the MP3 player market, Microsoft already owns the Media Center market, with Windows XP Media Center Edition, and Media Center capabilities built into Vista Ultimate. Then take into account the number of Xbox 360 owners that can use these features (I’m one of them), stream (not just recorded, but live) TV, music, videos, and pictures over their network, all on one of the best gaming systems out there (in full HD!), Apple TV isn’t anywhere near that league yet. Don’t forget that the Zune, while it has its issues, it already has bluetooth and wifi capability. All Zune needs to do (which they are rumored to do), is produce a phone version of their player and they are mostly caught up to Apple in that market, with additional benefits of hooking into the system I mention above.

No Business Focus

Apple doesn’t seem to care about the business market with this release. True, they have integrated PDA-type functionality into the phone, but their target market seems to be the teenagers and younger generation. I don’t think this will hold much of a dent in the already existing Blackberry market which the business world uses. They will need more of this focus for world domination – perhaps it’s mainly a marketing move, I’m not sure.

No Outside Developer Involvement

This one irks me. A developer myself, I want a tie into the Operating System! I’ll produce all kinds of cool little programs for it to enhance the functionality, and build a larger community. Involve software developers in your phone, and you instantaneously will have new uses for the phone that Apple could never imagine, nor have time to write. By removing this functionality, Apple loses the geek and software developer focus they have maintained in their Operating System. Steve Jobs – just as music, we will hack it. It’s just a matter of whether you want to provide the means for that and maintain some form of control, or whether you want us to find our own workarounds. We like the easier solutions.

Apple, I hope you’re listening – perhaps it can be done. I love your products. I just hope you can overcome some of the flaws I list and make this just as successful as the iPod and your computers. I’m really starting to lean towards Microsoft due to the reasons I state.

I’ve Been Twitterpated!

Thanks to Phil Windley and Phil Burns, I have officially been “Twitterpated”. You can find me on twitter.com via my username, “jstayii” or under “Jesse Stay”. You might find the Twitter Search useful in finding me and other friends.

To summarize, Twitter is a way for you to “mini-blog”, or basically share what you are doing any time of the day, anywhere via the web, IM, or even your cell phone via text message. It’s surprisingly simple, and you can get updates of all your friends as they tell you what they are doing. I know, it sounds like a waste of time, but I am finding it actually useful in journalling what I do in a day. Now I can blog my inner-most thoughts, and tell my day-to-day activities via services like Twitter! I still need a more private solution for my own private, sacred, and personal thoughts though – any suggestions?

Searching around today, I found out Facebook also provides a Twitter-like service for listing what you are currently doing on your profile page. Learning this, I tend to wonder how much longer Twitter will be around. What happens when Myspace also adds this service, or blogging software like WordPress or Movable Type add it as a feature to their software? I haven’t searched, but I’m willing to bet there are already plugins out there for this. There is even a mod for Twitter that lets you take your “what are you doing now?” section and publish it to Twitter. Twitter may be fun and addicting now, but I have a feeling it’s just a fad.

When Was the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Earth?

First of all, I apologize for the neglect in writing the last week. I was on vacation with my family to Disneyland – you can see the pictures on my picasaweb page.

I have been told again and again by various Seminary and Institute teachers that the Gift of the Holy Ghost was not on the earth during the period of Jesus Christ’s ministry. I am searching, but cannot find the source of that idea. In fact, I find evidence to the contrary. In “The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith”, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith (a later prophet of the LDS church and I believe grandson of Hyrum Smith), Joseph Smith says (p. 336), “John’s (meaning John the Baptist) mission was limited to preaching and baptizing; but what he did was legal; and when Jesus Christ came to any of John’s disciples, He baptized them with fire and the Holy Ghost.” Is this inferring that the Holy Ghost was given and existed during the time of Christ? I cannot find evidence of so in the Bible however.

Here are some other evidences of the Holy Ghost being on the earth:

Moses 6:52 (God talking to Adam) – “And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.”

Moses 6:65 (Adam being baptized) – “And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.”

So it appears Adam had the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Here’s an example of Noah having it:

Moses 8:24 (Noah preaching to the people) – “Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.”

I would almost wonder if John the Baptist, while we don’t have record of him practicing it, had the Melchizidek Priesthood, and therefore the possibility of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. In Matthew 3:4 it almost appears that John the Baptist (and by the reference, possibly Elijah as well) was endowed – in order to do so, I believe one must have the Gift of the Holy Ghost:

“And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair (Greek means “Garment”), and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey”

Are there any other references you are aware of? I guess the question should be, what times was the Gift of the Holy Ghost not on the Earth?

Collaborate With Smaller Groups of Digg Users Using Pligg

Yesterday, I announced the release of a new feature of Came2Pass.com, allowing users to specify a Digg User ID in their profile, and have all their Digg-submitted and voted-for articles automatically appear under 2 new categories with other Digg users on their Pligg-based website. Today, I’m happy to announce the release of the code for that feature of Pligg.

Using the link below, you can install a module into your Pligg installation which will take the Digg User IDs of members of your Pligg-run site that also use Digg.com. Once they have entered their Digg User ID in their profile, feeds will begin to import into 2 pre-specified categories (be sure to edit your digg_users_settings.php beforehand to specify these categories!), of which will show all the Digg submitted stories, and Digg voted stories of your Pligg site’s members.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, the big deal is you can now bring smaller groups of Digg users into one location, encouraging them to use your site, while being able to congregate, collaborate, and continue in the great community that Digg.com provides. Consider it a grouping tool! This is only the beginning, too – in the future, I hope to add search features to look for particular digg user ids on your Pligg website. You’ll also soon, when adding users of your Pligg website as friends, also add them as friends in Digg if they have specified a Digg ID. The possibilities are endless! Also expect future similar grouping tools for other social bookmarking websites as well (delicous? flickr?).

So, to install, just download the link below into your modules subdirectory in Pligg. Untar and un-gzip it in that directory. Now, under your God/Admin user in Pligg, go to Admin, Module Management, and click on install next to the Digg.com User Feeds module. You’ll also need the “Profile Extra Fields” module by AshDigg for it to work. Good luck, and let me know if you have any comments or suggestions!


Perl Outperforms C in OpenGL Benchmark

When programming OpenGL apps (a task I still want to try some time), few people think of Perl as an option. In a recent perl.com lightning article, a benchmark was performed to test Perl against C in OpenGL programs. Because in graphics applications most of the work is done in the GPU, an interpreted language can actually have a leg to stand on in writing code for such applications. In this benchmark, Perl performed almost equal to C in most cases. In fact, in FBO (Frame Buffer Override, I believe) operations, Perl actually

  • outperformed
  • C! So, when considering a language to write GPGPUcode in, don’t always turn to the compiled languages such as C for systems development. Perl can often be better for reasons such as the article states:

    • Perl OpenGL code is more portable than C; therefore there are fewer lines of code
    • Numerous imaging modules for loading GPGPU data arrays (textures)
    • Portable, open source modules for system and auxiliary functions
    • Perl (under mod-perl/ISAPI) is generally faster than Java
    • It is easier to port Perl to/from C than Python or Ruby
    • As of this writing, there is no FBO support in Java, Python, or Ruby

    The article is here:


    Are You a Mormon? Are You a Digg User?

    Are you a Mormon or hold Mormon values, and a Digg.com User? We’ve added a few more features to Came2Pass.com that you will like then. The first is a new field in your profile called “Digg User ID”. At the moment this is only visible to you – we will be updating this in the future to be visible to everyone so they can not just find you on Came2Pass.com, but on Digg.com as well!

    Now, here’s the second, and best part. Go into your Profile, click “modify”, and add your digg user id. Within the next hour you will notice under “Digg Submitted Stories by Members” and “Digg Voted Stories by Members” it now imports all the stories you have submitted and voted on! Now you have a one-stop shop to come in and view all your Mormon (and similar-valued) friends’ articles on Digg. Click on the link, and it takes you back to Digg to vote on the story your friends on Came2Pass.com voted on or submitted.

    This is just the start. Expect in the future to automatically add friends in Digg when you add friends on Came2Pass.com. Expect to be able to see the number of Digg votes directly on here! The possibilities are endless! So get on Came2Pass.com, set up an account, and add your Digg username to participate in the Digg.com and Came2Pass.com community!

    See More at:


    “The Mormons” Trailer on PBS

    I was just made aware that PBS has released the trailer to their upcoming documentary on the Mormon faith, to be released April 30th. The url is here: http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view/2514.html?&c=3wm. I just hope it lives up to the trailer – I was very impressed! It seems to stay true to the facts, while sharing all controversies that have arisen through the faith. I believe all commentators save one are non-LDS, but the one, Terryl Givens, was my Bishop in Richmond, VA. He is an English Professor at University of Richmond, and also teaches various religion classes there – he’s perfectly appropriate for this series. He’s a very smart guy on many fronts. The other guys seem to also share an objective view of the faith and will I hope give a good contribution to the documentary. I felt the Spirit during the trailer – I hope the actual series projects the same feeling.