This morning at 8:58 AM PST, Mozilla Firefox got its 50 millionth download. Only three months ago, it was at 25 million, and three months before that, Firefox 1.0 hit the internets. Elsewhere, it’s being reported that Firefox market share has gone up to 10%, with IE falling down to under 84%. Slowly but surely, Firefox is still punching IE right in the gut.
Anyone who’s been gaming knows of these creatures. They don’t care about anything related to a game except for the graphics. These are the people who go ‘Holy crap! Doom III is an awesome game because it has uber realistic graphics that scare the crap out of you!’ and shun anything that’s not the latest and greatest graphics ever.
Like many gamers, they congregate in forums and let their opinions be heard, because this is North America, where everyone is right. So which Final Fantasy is the best? Obviously, it’s FFVII! It’s 3D and 90% of people everywhere agree: it’s an awesome game. But wait, there are those old-school hippies that say FFVI is the best! That can’t be, it’s 2D so it must be inferior! Never mind that it had an awesome cast of around twenty characters, and had a half hour ending! It uses sprites! Let it die!
Then we stroll along to the newest and hippest innovative game, Katamari Damacy. I don’t get why everyone loves it! It has crappy graphics! It’s all blocky crap! Never mind the fact that I don’t understand that it’s completely intentional and adds to the atmosphere of the game! It looks like it’s being rendered on an N64! Screw art direction, this is 2005, where everything should be ultra-realistic, like in Half-Life 2, where the realism has a purpose!
People who judge games by graphics piss me off. The strange thing is that this phenomenon is found only in American gamers. The Japanese? They only care if the game is fun. The sad truth is that no one should care about graphics anymore. Look at World of Warcraft. It does not have the most amazing graphics, but it is visually stunning because of the art direction and atmosphere.
A few years ago, graphics were advancing in great leaps from blocky looking sprites to more detailed sprites to blocky models to realistic models. How are we going to improve our graphics, dedicate entire GPUs to rendering each strand of hair on a character’s head? Sure, it’ll be amazingly pretty but when it comes down to it, it doesn’t add much to the gameplay.
We were able to be amazed by the realism of the characters. Now, we need to describe the new technology responsible for these amazing graphics by pointing to how real the water looks and how realistic the lighting is in a particular room. An amazing new feature of the Half Life 2 expansion is how your eyes will need to adjust to varying light conditions. Wow. We’ve become way too entranced in this competition for the prettiest raindrops.
Please, please, please, game developers and publishers, find a new goal. At least you’ll look like you’re innovating.
For a few months now, I’ve come to the startling conclusion that Grade 11 Chemistry is a pile of crap. Come, let’s examine this statement.
First of all, the teacher is a lying, anal-retentive, mood-swinging guy. It doesn’t help when ‘the test so big it should be an exam’ takes everybody half an hour to finish. Or how about the ‘informal lab’ that needs to have a purpose, headings and other stuff the man forgot to mention? And of course, the exam outline which didn’t work. And oh, the mood swings. BLAEAARHGH!! just like that. Not looking forward to Grade 12 chem with him.
Next, are the labs. It may just be me, but do we really need to be proving that copper sulfate isn’t blue once you remove the water, iron displaces copper, or that sodium hydroxide turns pink when phenolphthalein is added again? An insane amount of lab work could have been taken straight from last year’s lab results if anyone kept their notes.
Which brings me to handouts. About 90% of the chem handouts are extremely ugly and have no holes for me to put into my binder. By ugly I mean looks like it was printed at 4 dpi. They have those sort of lines across the text that make it kind of hard to read, not to mention about 3921753298 times less attractive. Handouts typed on a Mac from the 90′s are ugly. And chem seems to produce the most sheets of paper with no holes. Math and physics has holes. Music is understandable since it’s non-standard paper. There are no handouts in CS, classics, or English and when there are, there are holes. Chem does not. And chem has these wonderful huge stacks of paper that are unwieldly. Please make our lives easier and put holes on handouts.
It’s not that I hate chem. I like it. I love understanding how chem works and with the theory and calculating stuff. I just hate the class. Just like computer science. Except we can’t play Counterstrike in chem.
So there’s this lovely book reading program that’s not quite working out in Hosanna. One of the problems is that no one is really reading so the people that do read have read the few books that are still going around which is not many. But, I did manage to snag The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado.
I think that both books are about the same thing, which is why we’re here. The difference is that PDL goes about explaining our purpose through in-depth and practical ways we can live out our purpose. It’s Not About Me just goes through why we’re here. Both books however emphasised one thing: it’s not about us. Life is not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not about getting a crapload of stuff and living comfortably. It’s not about getting your kids a good education. It’s not about helping the poor or stopping war, racism, and other injustices.
It’s about God.
I guess this brings me to something that’s been bugging me for a while now. It’s Christians that don’t really understand what they’re doing sometimes. I realize that that is super extreme hypocrisy but so is a lot of life. Anymoo, one or two years back there was this conversation going on about something but a particular part stuck with me. It went something like:
X – Maybe I’ll (something that has to do with Christianity) to _______________.
Y – No, you shouldn’t do that, he already has something to believe in.
I had an uneasy feeling about that statement about having something to believe in already. I think that it had to do with the fact that they were worried about respecting the person’s culture and whatnot. I wonder whether we really understand the Great Commission. It’s to go and baptize and make disciples of all nations. Then how come we’re worried about offending other people by talking to them about our Best Friend? I’m not saying we should be combative and start a campaign, but we’re not even supposed to have a friendly chat if they already have something to believe?
More recently, there was this debate in some class which had something to do with Christianity. Now then I have friends that go to church and stuff but I don’t really know much about their spiritual life. I assume that’s it’s okay, just like you assume that most people are normal, otherwise you’d be overly paranoid. Anyway, this conversation gets lead to the topic of the validity of Christianity. So this guy is talking about why he thinks Christianity has flaws in it, and goes through the whole ‘anyone can write the Bible’ and the ‘evolution wins’ type arguments.
Now then, two of my friends who went to church started challenging his points. They went on to attempt to prove that the Bible is valid. They tried to convince him that Christianity is completely true. They also start challenging him to read the Bible and go to church for a month.
I have a problem with that. Relative to the average West Hill-ian I know a lot about Christianity, like abstract things and stuff that fits logically together. I think I could beat someone over the head and make a pretty good case for Christianity. Of course, I realize that it wouldn’t work, just like how having heated debates and challenging people to read the bible or go to church just doesn’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried it.
Why? I mean, we do have a lot of proof on our side and the theology works out logically. But for one thing, you really don’t know it all. You’re just as lost as the person you’re trying to convince. How are you completely sure that the Bible is completely true? Chances are, unless you’re at seminary, you don’t. You can’t just say that the Bible was written over 400 years and there are no contradictions and offer that as proof. You haven’t read the entire Bible! I know I haven’t.
Also, what do you gain if you can convince them? A victory? No. Not a victory. You’ve made the person you’re arguing with feel like crap. You’ve turned a chance to get someone to know the King of Kings into a pissing contest of knowledge. No one wants to become a Christian if you feel bad after talking to one.
So what do we do? Listen, listen, listen. So many times, we think we know what we’re doing and what we’re saying. News flash: we don’t. So stop and think for a second. Think. In It’s Not About Me, Max Lucado writes that we’re like the moon and God is the Sun; all we do is reflect the light that the Sun shines on us. We don’t complain. We like it. We like it a lot.
Google, long time hero of the web and king of search, may now be seduced by the dark side now that it’s a publicly traded company. Word is that Google is now serving ads that aren’t related to the content of the page you’re looking at and even serving graphical ads. Now then, as we all remember, one of Google’s ideals was not to be evil. Unfortunately, it looks like that Sith lightning is looking far too pretty for Google to keep away from.
Speaking of Palpatine…