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Ethics

Posted by Michael Patterson on December 9, 2014 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

As a member of the church, the principles of “honesty”, “responsibility”, “duty” have been drilled in my head for years. Primary, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Young Men, Missionary Service…Marriage! the list goes on, all have taught with one resounding voice that we must seek to be good ethical people. The challenge becomes to somehow hold these standards wherever I am asked to stand; The business world included. Many think that in order to be successful, you must be willing to lower your standards or step on your colleagues. I disagree. I believe that there is great value in an honest employee who works hard, and lifts those around them. I’ve been positively influenced by many such co-workers throughout my short work experience. In the end, good always has value.

Position VLOG

Posted by Michael Patterson on December 1, 2014 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (1)

We live in a changing world. The two articles in question were written in 2001, over 13 years ago. One statement began with: “If you choose to connect to the internet…”. This statement shocked me. Internet access has made a steady transition from luxury to necessity over the last decade. Previous guidance to keep computers in public areas has also changed dramatically. What was once easy with a desktop has become near impossible with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and now even wearable computers. As the world continues to shift and change, so must our approach to protecting our children. Is adding Bishop to our Facebook friends enough?


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Digital Media

Posted by Michael Patterson on November 19, 2014 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (4)

As a computer scientist the digital world is part of my real world. At least thats what I tell myself. The articles in the reading were very relevant to me. As a computer person, they immediately put me on the defensive. After reading them with forced humility, I found very valid points in them. One being: “Do you find yourself checking the same sites repeatedly within a short period of time”. Admittedly, Yes, too often. I’ve always held the position that digital media is okay as long as it never impedes whats really important. I feel I’ve done pretty good on that, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve. I think its important to constantly reevaluate and set new goals. I think a digital sabbath once a while could be a good one.

Book Post: Reality is Broken

Posted by Michael Patterson on November 14, 2014 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (2)

The book I read was called Reality is Broken, I obtained permission to read this book from Professor Dougal although it was not on the book list given to us. 


Every day the world collectively plays millions of hours of video games. The virtual soldiers piloted by the gamers of the world outnumber any of the collective armies on planet Earth. Jane McGonigal in her book “Reality is Broken” studies the positive effects of video games on humans and how we can apply gaming principles to make the real world better. I found this book extremely interesting, as a video game designer myself, I was extremely invested in learning what makes a good game good. I was also very excited behind the ideas of gameifying things in real life to make them more exciting. I’d love to make a game that motivates people to read their scriptures daily, and keep up with the spiritual things we forget to make time for. Using what we have learned from the virtual world to improve our real world is a wonderful and commendable idea. Reality is Broken does a fantastic job at giving a peek at the potential for improvement in: work, school, home and family through the principles in successful video games.

Constructive Laziness

Posted by Michael Patterson on November 11, 2014 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (1)

While I don't claim to be a great programmer, I try to imitate one. An important trait of the great ones is constructive laziness.

-The Cathedral and the Bazaar

 

For those that don’t understand coding, it essentially breaks the rules. In coding, borrowing code, whether your own, or others is not only okay, its recommended. One of the first skills coders learn is how to import libraries of code that they didn’t write. Unlike mathematics classes where the routine calculations must be performed again and again with precision to get a result. In programming, one only needs to translate the desired equation or process into computer speak, and voila, a specialized calculator is born. Even calculus problems made from nightmares can be conquered with ease. Programming allows us to leverage and build upon the power of decades of genius’s to make more powerful tools. If only writing was so easy.

Where are the Women?

Posted by Michael Patterson on November 6, 2014 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

As usual there is a great woman behind every idiot.

-John Lennon

I always noticed that there are much less women in my computer science classes than in my other classes. Some basic statistics from my life include: 0 female CS Professors at BYU, 0 female developers at my current job, 1 female dev over the course of all my CS jobs, and less than 10 percent female students in any of my CS classes. I honestly don't know why there aren't more women in my field of study. I find computer programming absolutely amazing and I bet many women would too. Perhaps our society does not expose women to the wonders of programming very well. This is a shame--women tend to smell much better than the nerdy men in my office. 

 

Thank You Google

Posted by Michael Patterson on October 30, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (3)

"Yes, Bank of America took my home. Yes, Taco Bell gave me diarrhea. And sure, GM tried to kill me. But Time Warner [Cable] and Comcast are the worst. They are the worst." - John Oliver

 

Early this summer John Oliver spoke on evils of the cable company. This year however has brought wonderful changes in the internet. Google got bored and decided to offer internet that is 100 times faster than what Comcast is currently pumping into my house. To make things even more amazing they are giving free internet equivalent at speeds Comcast will charge you $20/month. Like every other citizen of Provo, I signed up for the free internet. Although I am still waiting in line for the installation of my magical free internet, Google has changed the world. According to the article I read, a nationwide increase of over 10% has occurred this year in internet speeds. More ISP's have emerged to provide competing service, and multi-billion dollar Comcast actually felt threatened enough to start researching faster internet. Thank you Google, now please install my fiber before Christmas.


http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/10/28/the-death-of-cable-google-fiber-is-already-changin.aspx

 

Going Cuckoo

Posted by Michael Patterson on October 20, 2014 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (1)

Clif Stoll did a fantastic job recounting his experience chasing a hacker. Through his book he presented the frustration of perpetually going nowhere. The reader is put through a similar experience as they anticipate for nearly 200 pages for an anticlimatic finish. At around the 50 page mark I remember thinking there would be no way the author could stay on the same routine for the rest of the book. I was wrong. Cliff somehow stretched his story out nearly as far as the hacker danced around him. I'll shutup on the issue of the book being redundnat and stop forcing the TA to read an equally redundant blog post. The insight on the dawn of the computer age where EMACS was still new and UNIX ruled the world was a unique expereince. I felt like a child in a digital world that is indeed much older than me. 

Windows wakes up

Posted by Michael Patterson on October 2, 2014 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (1)

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2690092/12-things-to-know-about-windows-10.html

The anticipated announcement of the next Windows OS has finally arrived, and with big news. Microsoft is skipping Windows 9 and releasing Windows 10 next fall. As the users have requested for nearly 2 years the "start menu" will return better than ever before. A surprising development is that the beta for the new operating system starts immediately. I am really impressed with this bold move. Distancing themselves from the problems of the past, and coming closer to users is a fantastic decision. As a user, being able to test their product and provide feedback to help improve is critical. By doing this, they will drastically reduce the chances of creating a product the users don't want. Part of good testing is verifying that not only a product works, but that the user-base will enjoy and understand the product. I'm excited to download the OS and test it out.

 

Genealogy Lines

Posted by Michael Patterson on September 29, 2014 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Geneaogy has always had a special place in my family. My great-grandfather passionately believed that in order to usher in the second coming, the saints needed to hasten the work for the dead. He lived with this conviction. The last 20 years of his life in retirement were spent immersed in the world of genealogy. In increments of 2 to 3 hours at a time, Glen Patterson would spend between 8-10 hours daily doing name extraction. Shortly prior to his death he received an award for his outstanding service in the church. He was the leading name extractor in the state of Arizona, and had over the course of his life contribueted more than 1 million names to the church's system. I have always been inspired by his example. Although to many he appeared just another old man who loved his golf, I am witness to his service and inspired by the difference he was able to make in the Lord's work. 


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