Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Best Geek Email Ever!

My wife just sent me the following email. This comes after the announcement of the new Google Nexus One Phone:

Here's what a non-nerd thinks of the Nexus. I'll use quotes from the link you sent me to help explain my feelings:
1. "The phone has a 3.7-inch AMOLED display" It's nice to know that the phone is protected from Moles. No inside friend or family member could hack in to the display.
2. "the phone has both a light sensor and a proximity sensor, along with a compass, GPS, and accelerometer." Now I never have to worry about getting a speeding ticket, the built in accelerometer will warn me when I go too fast.
3. "It also has a first for Android: noise cancellation features. Google calls it "active noise suppression." What a handy feature to be able to turn off noise. No more whining from the kids.
4. "The home screen can currently be personalized with widgets," They finally invented a phone that is politically correct and can be customized for midgets, oh I mean, little people.
5. "Google developed a News and Weather widget for the phone, with interesting additions such as temperature predictions for upcoming hours of the day." I'm excited to get a daily weather report from a midget. How fun to watch them predict weather all day long. Sweet!
6. "The Nexus One has something called Live Wallpapers" I'm thrilled to have my Nexus put up my new wallpaper and though I'm not sure how it works, I'd like to get live paper with tweety birds in it.
Ok seriously I think I understand it a bit better than that. Looks sweet. I can see why you want one. Set up an action plan and I'll do what I can to help you out.
Love you,

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Recently I watched part of what looks like a day long event on Religion at Harvard University. The link is here (http://hillel.harvard.edu/media/videos/550). I, of course, watched the part where the Mormon was interviewed. First I will say that she did a good job of defending her faith. I appreciate greatly those who are willing to sit in front of teachers, leaders, peers, and critics and take any verbal abuse on religion or any other subject. The interview was pretty well conducted and gave most participants a fair share of time. The Mormon did seem to get a little bit more time, the Mormons are very difficult to understand. Which leads my to my very strong opinion.
The moderator at one point mentions that she had been reading "anti-mormon" literature. Now, I should verify this fact, but I assume she is an administrator of some kind from Harvard University. That's right. One of the top schools, in my opinion, in the entire world! How does the top school in the world get their information on the Mormons? They read the "anti-mormon" literature! Again, I did not watch all of the other religions' commentary, so maybe that is how they get all of their information is through "anti-buddhist" literature and "anti-catholic" literature etc. However, I find this a common theme throughout the world. When you want to find out about something, you go find a good book written by the founder. Unless you want to find out about the Mormons. Then, you pick up a book written by a hot-headed, unfaithful, antagonist, apostate! Well, I would like to share with you what the anti-mormons will not share. Buckle-up because this is worse than any anti-mormon will ever give you.
I would like to share the most crazy, outlandish, ridiculous thing, that the mormons believe. They believe that a 14-year-old boy, was so confused about religion that he decided to take a passage of scripture from the Bible to heart. (Read James 1:5) He went into a grove, (that is woodsy area) behind his home, and actually prayed out loud. This was the first time that he had done this. Now, listen to what happened, Joseph Smith, a boy of 14 years old, claims that he then saw God! GOD! Not a salamander, not a shadow, not some figure in his toast or cereal. He claims to have seen God! Then just to make this story even more unbelievable he says that God the Father was with his Son, Jesus Christ! And, why not take this one step further? He said that he actually talked with God the Father and Jesus Christ!
Now, after saying that you have talked with God, what else is there? Really, you tell me one other belief that the Mormons have that even come close to a belief like this one.
Before you start reading even more anti-mormon literature to find out if this really happened, let me give you the source, that's right, you can click on this link and you can find out for yourself that Joseph Smith actually claims to have seen God! Mormons don't deny this.
What is more than this story? I, Kevin Pyles, believe this story to be true. That's right, I believe with all my heart, soul, and daily activities, that this story is true. Joseph Smith actually saw God, the Father and Jesus Christ. How do I know that an awesome story such as this one is true? A story that puts many fairy-tales to sleep? I know because I have prayed to the same God to know if he really did come down and visit a boy of 14. I have felt a calm and a peace that assures me that this story truly did occur. I was not there on that special occasion when a boy was able to converse with diety in person. I was also not a part of World War II or the Great Depression. But there are witnesses who were there and tell us about these historical events. I have not been to the moon. But there are some who have. They give us witnesses of what they have seen. There are some who don't believe these wars have happened, or that a visit to the moon is a conspiracy. However, just as these events have occured, so too, Joseph Smith saw God the Father, and Jesus Christ.
After this fact, arguing over Polygamy, the Book of Mormon, blacks and the Priesthood etc. are all trivial. Joseph Smith was called to be a Prophet. A spokesman for God. He was called to tell us what God had been silent on for over 1500 years. The heavens have been opened again. We are all privy to this special unveiling. It is up to us to take advantage of it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Good from the BCS

Last night Florida beat Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game. What does this mean? It means that Florida has been crowned the BCS National Champions. I have struggled greatly with the idea that a 13-1 team can be crowned the National Champions when there is another team that is 13-0. How does a team with 1 loss get the “National Title” when there is a team that is “perfect”?
For this article I will not go into the details of why I believe Utah should be ranked #1 in the Nation. (BTW before you go ballistic and quit reading I said “ranked #1” I did not say they should be the best team in the nation!) In fact, I am going to spend a couple of minutes and tell you why I believe the BCS is a great system.
I have struggled with this system for a while, and to make my point, I must describe a little of the BCS system and how it works.
1. There are pre-season rankings. This is where some guys get together and decide on who is going to be the best this year and where we should start each team in the rankings.
2. Starting on about week 6 the actual BCS Standings are released based on the first 6 weeks of action.
3. The rankings are based on a computer determination of strength of schedule (which is based on these pre-season rankings), voting by coaches and the press and of course some emphasis is given to actually winning or losing games.
4. The BCS holds the keys to a few of the biggest bowl games of the year: The Rose, Orange, Fiesta, Sugar and of course the BCS National Championship Game.
5. Only BCS conferences should play in the BCS Bowls, however, they have allowed a couple of clauses in case a lawsuit were to come up which allow a “non-BCS” conference team to play in a BCS Bowl. The BCS has allowed Utah, Boise St. and Hawaii to play in BCS bowl games. This clause for some reason also allows Notre Dame to play in a bowl game provided they have a winning season and one of the bowls would like Notre Dame to play instead of someone else. (Fortunately Notre Dame has played so horribly over the past couple of years this has not affected the “non-BCS” conference teams as much or this might have been a bigger issue.)
6. The two teams that play for the BCS National Championship are the schools that are ranked #1 and #2 in the BCS Standings after all regular season and conference championships have been played.
7. The winner of the BCS National Championship is crowned the BCS National Champion. Period.

It is hard to speak of the BCS without giving some of my criticism in there. But, I would now like to go on to a little essay of why I believe the BCS is such a great system for college athletes.
I have watched WAY too much college football this year. I have spent every Saturday during the entire College Football season watching just about every game I could watch. I have watched on Thursday nights and Friday nights as well if there was a game that I could get my hands on. I have watched many #1 teams bite the dust and many schools that should have been #1, get shafted and only prove the BCS right the next week when they lost. I have also watched quite a few bowl games. Trust me, I should have spent more time with my family and friends or maybe even at work, than I have watching college football. And so, I, along with millions of other college football fans have spent countless hours analyzing the BCS and determining which system would be better than the current system we have.
Here is what I have decided…College football is only a side note to the real reason kids are in school. These college athletes should first and foremost be acquiring a college education. And although I have wasted way too much time, energy, my voice, and analytical thinking to college football, these kids are not professional athletes and should be hitting the books more than they hit an opposing team. Therefore the BCS is the best system that could be in place because the BCS will teach our college athletes more about life than any other system we could put in place. Here is what our athletes should be learning from the BCS:

Life is not fair.
No matter how hard you work, others will think someone else is working harder.
No matter how many times you prove you are better than someone else, there will be a vote, and you will lose.
Computer programmers run the world.
Everyone around you will support you, but “they” whoever “they” are will tell you that you just aren’t good enough.
There are no absolutes.
You will be told that it isn’t about money. But it is.
He who owns the field, chooses who plays on it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Secret Millionaire

In the spirit of my last post, I would like to add a show that I feel is very much worth watching. There is a new "Reality TV" show called "The Secret Millionaire". It goes right in line with "Home Makeover: Extreme Edition." The premise is that a millionaire will put himself in someone else's shoes for 1 week. He/she is not allowed to disclose their identity, but must find someone to whom he/she can give away at least $100,000 of their own money. The first episode was quite touching and taught the millionaires some great lessons and helped 3 different groups of people get back on their feet. Of course, it would be awesome if we could go back and see how these groups have done in a year or so, but for now it is a great mental and temporal boost to them. If you would like to see this show you can watch it online at: http://www.hulu.com/secret-millionaire.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

From Commandments to TV

What would the world be like if we were to just follow the 10 commandments? Could you imagine a world in which we didn’t covet our neighbor’s wife? That would eliminate about 90% of TV. And another 9% would be removed if we lived the part about “Thou shalt not kill.” But what would we do with our time if there wasn’t TV? What if we put our TV shows to the test. There are suppose to be bad guys, so we will let them sin. They can break all of the commandments, since that is what Satan does, we can allow Satan to do the same thing on our TV shows. However, the catch is that the good guys have to follow the commandments. Are there any TV shows out there where the only “bad” material is from the “bad” guys? I won’t mention my two favorite shows, but I am no longer able to watch them, because the “good” guys break most of the commandments, not to mention what the “bad” guys do.

Is this complicated? Of course not? But we sure try to justify ourselves in our sins. We want to watch the TV show, so instead of saying, “this isn’t a good show, I am not going to watch it.” We say, “Well, it isn’t that bad, and the plot is really good, and the graphics are amazing, and I really like the actor and the director.” And worse is, “What else am I going to do? This is the best thing on right now.” How about instead of polluting our minds with the trash, we actually follow the command of loving our neighbor as ourselves and we get out there and serve? We don’t even have to get outside to find someone to serve, we can start with our own families. Aren’t they our neighbors too?

Monday, May 19, 2008

In the beginning...1st Commandment?

So this is going to end up being a collage of various thoughts, but at least I am writing something down instead of skipping so many days as I have in the past:
What matters most? What has God commanded us to do? I think we need to return to the Garden of Eden when God first created man:
26 ¶ And God said, Let aus bmake cman in our dimage, after our elikeness: and let them have fdominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own aimage, in the image of God created he him; male and bfemale created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be afruitful, and bmultiply, and creplenish the dearth, and subdue it: and have edominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 ¶ And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for ameat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for ameat: and it was so. (Genesis 1)
In verse 28 God said unto Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Really we should break these up a little:
“Be fruitful”: Check out the footnote on this topic: “TG Children”. So, let’s look up the dictionary definition:
producing good results; beneficial; profitable: fruitful investigations.

abounding in fruit, as trees or other plants; bearing fruit abundantly.

producing an abundant growth, as of fruit: fruitful soil; fruitful rain.

I find it interesting that God used the word fruitful when he has just planted a garden and it about to give a commandment regarding taking care of the garden. He commands Adam and Eve first to “Be fruitful.” Could he have said, “Be like this garden, and multiply yourselves in abundance, then protect and take care of your children as you are commanded to do with this garden and the fruit thereof?”
I also like this “usage” piece at the end of the definition of “fruitful” at dictionary.com:
“Usage: Fertile implies the inherent power of production; fruitful, the act. The prairies of the West are fertile by nature, and are turned by cultivation into fruitful fields. The same distinction prevails when these words are used figuratively. A man of fertile genius has by nature great readiness of invention; one whose mind is fruitful has resources of thought and a readiness of application which enable him to think and act effectively.”
What excites me? “A man of fertile genius” are we men of “fertile genius”? Hopefully we look for opportunities to improve our minds to have fertile genius.
“Multiply”: Much of what will be discussed here is be in English because, well, that is the language that I speak most fluently, and in the English King James Version of the Bible, we see “Be fruitful, (comma) and multiply, (comma). “ So, let’s take a look quickly at multiply:
to make many or manifold; increase the number, quantity, etc., of.

Arithmetic. to find the product of by multiplication.

to breed (animals).

to propagate (plants).

to increase by procreation.
–verb (used without object)
to grow in number, quantity, etc.; increase.

Arithmetic. to perform the process of multiplication.

to increase in number by procreation or natural generation.

Based on the definition above, God is definitely giving a command of procreation. Let’s add a side note that if we are “fruitful” in our minds than we should “make many” our “fertile genius” which means that we should actually think!
BTW the footnote for multiply is: “TG Birth Control. TG Marriage, Fatherhood. TG Marriage, Motherhood.”
“Replenish the earth”: My immediate thought goes along with the footnote which reads: “HEB fill; see same word in v. 22. 1 Ne. 17:36 “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.”
Ok, I have two conflicting thoughts on this:
1. Ha! All you environmentalists listen up, the Lord has said that we should “possess” the earth and it should be “inhabited”. Shakespeare said, “The world must be peopled.” Also, D&C 104:17 “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.”
2. The Lord has asked us to “replenish” which means
a. to make full or complete again, as by supplying what is lacking, used up, etc.: to replenish one's stock of food.
b. to supply (a fire, stove, etc.) with fresh fuel.
c. to fill again or anew.
So, this means that we need to supply the earth with “fresh fuel” or replace that which we have taken. So, we can “use” what we need, but we also need to “make full or complete again” that which we have taken. If we “supply what is lacking” then we must provide water where there is no water, and plants where there are no plants, and animals where we have killed the animals etc. Therefore, I believe that we can build our high rises, and highways, and temples etc. but at the same time, we must plant additional trees, and provide homes for the homeless animals, and water and food for the environments which we have caused damage. I really can’t believe that I just said that, but that is what I am getting out of these passages of scripture.

“and subdue it”: The “it” refers to the “earth”. We must “subdue” the “earth”. Definitely need some help with “subdue”:
to conquer and bring into subjection: Rome subdued Gaul.

to overpower by superior force; overcome.

to bring under mental or emotional control, as by persuasion or intimidation; render submissive.

to repress (feelings, impulses, etc.).

to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.

to reduce the intensity, force, or vividness of (sound, light, color, etc.); tone down; soften.

to allay (inflammation, infection, etc.).

Ok, this is going to bring out some interesting thoughts:
We are to subdue the earth. Can you even accomplish planting a garden? How about a 6 foot by 6 foot garden? What about a fruit tree? Can you even get a flower to make it through the season? Hmm..Well, it looks like this commandment may be harder than procreation, and definitely doesn’t come with the perks.
“To overpower by superior force.” Wow! We are to “subdue” the earth which brings with it, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms, fires, etc? Hmm… Maybe what was meant by this is “to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.” I don’t know the answer yet to this question, but it definitely brings into question if you are a purest (translation wise) or if you believe that the word can be used in various ways. That leaves some food for thought. (Speaking of fruit.)

Could we say that the “1st commandment” is really 4 separate and very real commandments?
1. Be fruitful. (Think)
2. Multiply. (Have kids)
3. Replenish the earth. (Garden)
4. Subdue it (the earth). (Overcome the elements and challenges of the earth.)
Well, it is an interesting place to start on a long journey…

Friday, February 22, 2008

Customer Service (Target vs. Wal-Mart)

I fully realize that my opinion of customer service is based on my own experiences and therefore only reflect my paradigm which may be completely false for the rest of the world, but it is my experience and therefore I can share my own opinion right?
I have a biased against Target. My wife and I had a bad experience with them with our Wedding Registry and since then we have avoided them when possible. However, we purchased a water softener that uses Potassium and the only place we have been able to find this Potassium is at Target and therefore I bought a year's supply one year ago and have not been back for Potassium since. About 2 weeks ago I returned to Target to make a purchase of an additional year's supply but was informed they were out of stock. This was ok since it is only a few minutes away from the in-laws and I was on my way there anyway. I was NOT informed that they did not carry Potassium anymore and so I decided I would just come back in 2 weeks or so and pick it up then.
Yesterday I decided I would call and make sure they had some in stock before I drove there even though once again I was on my way to the in-laws and found it an opportune time to stop. I called when I was 12 minutes away from the store so I would have time to head directly to the in-laws if their stock was depleted. First annoyance, as my wife later pointed out, was the automated system I had to navigate in order to speak to a human being. I did make it through this system, (by the way, if you want to speed things up, just hit 0 before anyone starts talking and you will be transferred to a real human being without listening to the 4 options they have) and was told to hold by the operator. And I did hold my cell phone while I was driving with a tighter and tighter grip as I became more and more frustrated at the time it was taking for someone to answer the phone. I was then greeted again, by the same operator, and she told me to hold and she would get someone. This was repeated about 4 times. I was approaching my exit and the fork in the road where I would have to decide if I was going to Target or to the in-laws. I decided this would be a great opportunity to make a point and I decided to drive to Target and check for myself if they had Potassium. I would stay on the phone while I checked myself, then I would check out all while on hold with the operator. My evil plan of revenge (not sure how this would actually be revenge, but you know how you don't think rationally when you are angry) was working as I pulled up to Target and parked my car. I was making it inside the store when I heard, "Service call would someone please help on line..." I laughed as I thought that was for me! Yes, I just heard over the PA system someone asking for help on the phone. I walked up to the area in the front of the store where the 40lb. bags of Potassium should be deposited and noticed right away they were not in stock, however, at this same moment, I noticed someone speaking in my ear, "How may I help you?" I asked if they had Potassium in stock and I noticed the man on the phone start to walk towards the section where the Potassium should have been located. I looked right at him and continued the conversation and he looked back at me noticing that I was the same person that was on the phone. We did hang up and spoke in person at the front of the store.
It took 12 minutes and 11 seconds on the phone to get a response. No, they do not carry Potassium anymore and neither did their Fort Union store. I thanked whoever it was that I was speaking to for his help since he was very friendly and left with a little smirk on my face thinking that this man had no idea what I had just been through. Should I have shared this with him? Maybe, but it wouldn't have helped me with the lack of Potassium and they wouldn't change anything to help me or anyone else next time so I decided that 12 minutes and 11 seconds was enough time wasted at Target that day.
But, I also thought it would be interesting to call Wal-Mart immediately and see what I would find there. So, I called before I even had left Target. As I was walking out the door of Target I called Wal-Mart. I was greeted warmly by a human being. When I asked her about Potassium she said she had no idea and wondered how she would even find out. I thought to myself, "Well, there goes that, Wal-Mart and Target suck!" But she pulled out the surprise with, "Let me get a manager." Well, that is fine, but I really didn't want to spend another 12 minutes on hold. Again, I was pleasantly surprised when a manager within a few seconds had picked up and asked how he could help me. I asked him about the Potassium and he quickly explained that they did not carry it but did carry salt. I thanked him and was off the phone in 1 minute and 24 seconds total and before I was even able to get in to my car and leave the Target parking lot.
I understand completely that this comes from my own bias. I understand that this was a one time proof of the customer service provided between one store and another, but you can be assured that I will be choosing Wal-Mart over Target as often as I can.