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Education Can’t Be Business As Usual December 1, 2010

Posted by Matsu in Education, History, News and politics.
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The world has changed since publicly funded education was created to prepare children by developing skills needed to earn a living and be a contributing member of society. Those changes have been slow and subtle for a very long time. Then, the technology revolution occurred. That changed everything.

There are fundamental differences in how children learn and play today — it is actually different than children of only 20 years ago. Because of those differences, we must reevaluate the educational model — it needs to be radically overhauled in order to be relevant both now and in the future.

The above video does a great job of highlighting some of the differences in how children learn today and how the outdated educational process is no longer an effective model for reaching our educational goals. Education is more important now than it ever has been. So, let’s not just do it, let’s do it right.

Watch the video and seriously consider what it says. Agree or disagree, let me know what you think — leave me a comment.

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Random Act Of Christmas November 28, 2010

Posted by Matsu in Christmas, Friends, Fun, Music, Religion.
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A close friend told me about this amazing event and when I watched it I had to shared the video recording of it with all of you.

It’s a recording of the Philadelphia Opera Company and a LOT of volunteer choirs meeting up, flash mob style, at the Macy’s department store to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Watch it. It will start to put you in the mood for Christmas.

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving November 25, 2010

Posted by Matsu in Family, Friends.
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Give Thanks Table with RunnerThanksgiving is a day of remembrance. A day to remember the past year’s events. A day to remember the people in your life — family and friends. A day to thank God for what he has done and the many blessings he has given us.

Sure, Thanksgiving is often associated with food and eating, but the real reason for the food is to celebrate, with the people who gather with you around that Thanksgiving table, all of the blessings that we have received throughout the year. Granted, not all of your family or friends may be with you on Thanksgiving Day, but you certainly are aware of them and are no less thankful for them in their absence – possibly more thankful because they are absent. That is certainly true in my case — both for family members and for close friends who are not here.

On this Thanksgiving Day I have much to be thankful for — more than I deserve. Much more than I would have expected. A lot has happened this year, not all of it good nor pleasant, but the lion share has been very good. I have no reason to complain and have every reason to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Failure to Post November 21, 2010

Posted by Matsu in Family, Friends, Other, Random, Weblog.
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Hello, my name is Matsu and I am an inconsistent blogger. I haven’t posted anything in four months.

I feel like I should begin with that confession as it has been far too long since I have logged into my blog site, much less posted anything new. I almost feel guilty about it, not because I have something important to say that the world has missed out on reading or learning about, but instead because of the number of visits I get each day — far more than I would have ever expected. It’s embarrassing that I am not providing new content for the many readers who check in from time to time.

I have failed to keep up a reliable schedule of posting new content the past couple of years for several reasons, but mostly it’s because of a sharp increase in all that I must do at work (both reading and writing) and a significant change in my personal life. Ironically, it seems that while I have pulled away from this blog site (neglecting my responsibilities for its care and feeding), I have done the same thing with many of my other relationships. It is almost like I have had a caseĀ  of Rip Van Winkle — only I’ve been sleepwalking through life, instead of sleeping under a tree in the woods.

Right now I have 23 different blog posts in various stages of pre-post drafts. All of them are from this year. That’s 23 blog posts I’ve started but not finished and published. For some reason I just wasn’t ready or wasn’t willing to post them. It’s time I change that. It’s time for me to wake up and smell the coffee. It’s time for me to reengage life. I think I’m ready. At least I am ready to try.

Hello, world. Today is a good day to be alive. And, to my readers, I’ll be back very soon. Much sooner than four months from now.

iPhone OS 4 (aka iOS 4) June 21, 2010

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Information Technology, Software, Technology.
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Well, I did it. I drank the Apple Cool Aid. Today Apple released their new iPhone (and iPod Touch) software known as iOS 4. It took about 40 minutes to download and another 25 minutes to install. So, just about an hour for the entire process.

How did it turn out? Better than I expected. It installed without a problem and I’m writing this blog post from my iPhone using the updated WordPress app. So, it passed the most — a successful installation.

Now that I’m running iPhone 4 software do I see any difference? Well, I am using a 32Gb iPhone 3Gs, so it’s relatively new. And, it doesn’t seem any faster (or slower) than the version 3 iPhone operating system. So, no penalty or benefit, in terms of speed, as far as I can tell. Hopefully, it will not drain the battery any faster. In fact, it would be nice if the battery lasted a little longer.

As for the new features like the ability to create folders and the new multi-tasking (background) processing, they are okay. I’ve been able to significantly reduce the number of screens for my apps, which is nice since now it’s better organized (I’ve downloaded and installed way too many apps). And, the ability to quickly jump between apps (by double-tapping the home button) works well enough. It will make it easier to look up something when I’m in the middle of writing an e-mail, but I could do that before and it always returned to the same place where I left the half-written e-mail, so it’s not a huge difference to me.

What is of great value is the ability to run streaming radio apps or other audio apps and be able to continue hearing the audio (and not having it cut off) when switching to read e-mail (or post to WordPress). That’s actually a great feature, especially when it comes to using apps like Pandora or Skype. In fact, for me that is the main reason to upgrade to iOS 4.

Well, those are my first impressions. If you have an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3Gs or iPod Touch, you should definitely upgrade. You’ll be glad you did.

Now, I’m off to upgrade my iPod Touch then my iPad. Can’t wait to see if performance improves on the iPad. I’ll post a review if there here once I get some experience. (Hey, I just used the new spell-checker built into iOS 4).

Last Thoughts of the Year December 31, 2009

Posted by Matsu in Christmas, Random, Weblog, WordPress.
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This will be my last blog post of the year 2009. And, if it wasn’t for the WordPress App on my iPhone, I wouldn’t be able to submit and publish this last post because where I am I can’t use my laptop and there is no WiFi network or Internet access. This is all being done with my iPhone.

This has been an especially difficult year for many people, including myself. Much of my stress was work related, which is of course a blessing because I have a job (unlike many millions of people around the world). And, while it has been a difficult year, I have learned some valuable lessons and have seen people get back to the essentials of life.

One of the lessons is that you should be kind to everyone you come into contact with because you never know what they are going through. I know that when I’ve struggled this past year a kind word from a friend or coworker has really picked up my spirits and encouraged me. While I have not always done that myself (intentionally taking a minute to encourage someone with a kind word or action), I intend to make it a priority this coming year.

To state it in a more formal way, I resolve to be a kinder and more understanding person who takes time to help others and encourage everyone I come into contact with.

{Someone is knocking on the cabin door… I will be right back.}

Okay, it looks like I’ve just had my first test. Just as I finished writing my New Year’s resolution I had a neighbor stop by and ask me if he could “borrow” a roll of toilet paper. He and his friends are renting a cabin next door to my cabin and they ran out of toilet paper. So, as you might guess, I had a spare roll and gave him one. I even smiled and wished him and his friends a Happy New Year.

It’s nice to know that in this self-centered and self-absorbed age where everyone seems to be focused on their own happiness that we can still help each other.

I challenge you, dear reader, to look for opportunities to help someone, whether it be friend or stranger. It will make a difference for us all. And, you will be glad you did.

Good bye, 2009! Welcome to Earth, 2010!

Happy New Year, everyone! See you on the other side.