AOL Says Goodbye to Instant Messenger

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Many of us older people began our internet memories with the sounds of screeching and humming, and after glorious connection finally appeared, the famous “You’ve got mail!” announcement.

AOL Instant Messenger was integrated in the AOL program. Remember when you could get free hours of internet with a simple CD sent in the mail? The little yellow running man greeting us on the screen? Ah, fond memories of the late 90s.

There were competitors to the chat app, though. ICQ, and Yahoo! IM were some big rivals. When Facebook came along, there wasn’t much use for the app anymore, but there have still been users on a platform with some bare bones support.

From their blog on Tumblr, Michael Albers, VP of Communications Product at Oath announced,“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed. As a result we’ve made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017. We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

Thanks for the memories, AOL!

SmartHalo Turns Regular Bicycles into Smart Ones

Technology is improving life all the time, and this product will improve your life if you like to bike. The SmartHalo will turn any ordinary bike into a smart one.

This project was funded on Kick-Starter and Indiegogo, and started shipping in late June. Customers all over the world have enjoyed great features like navigation, a fitness tracker, an alarm, and even a personal assistant- all in one little gadget that fits on any standard bike.

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Navigation

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the convenience of finding your way without looking at your phone, or trying to hear directions over the din of traffic? The lights on this device will smartly point you in the direction you want to go. Simply plug the address in to the special app for SmartHalo, and follow the smart lights that point you in the direction you want to go.

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This invisible cyclist will be turning left.

When you reach your destination, the entire circle lights up. Also, the navigation system will try to keep you on bike routes, and will inform you when you should use caution and walk your bike.

Light

If you are riding at night, you want to be seen. The SmartHalo is super smart, and turns on as it gets dark. When you’re done with your ride, it turns off automatically. Set the brightness, or adjust it to flash through the app.

Alarm

Cars have alarms to annoy people if they get set off. You now have the option of a similar annoyance with your bike. The alarm is quite loud, not as loud as a car alarm, maybe, but it could probably deter a thief if they are messing with your bike.

Fitness

Track your speed, elevation and mileage. Set some goals. You don’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket.

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Personal Assistant

Want to know if a call is coming in? A blue light will flash to notify you.

 

All in all, we’re pretty impressed with this little device. The price is right at $150 US dollars, and you can buy it on the SmartHalo website, and even in Apple stores!

disclaimer- TheGeekChurch was sent this product to review in exchange for our unbiased opinion.

Moscow, Idaho Joins the Movement to Change the Name of Columbus Day

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The first city in the state of Idaho to do so, Moscow City Council members voted on Monday to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The vote was in favor of changing it 5 to 1.  This just in time- as Columbus Day happens on October 9th.

The Moscow Human Rights Commission Chair, Ken Faunce, was in attendance at the city council meeting to explain why the name change needed to happen.

“Columbus is a symbol to Native American groups of slavery, massacres, genocides, violence,” Faunce stated. “All of these kinds of things, so we want to change it for that symbolic reason, that it honors Native Americans.”

Moscow sits on Nez Perce land, and other tribes lived in the area as well.

“We wanted to show that this was Native land first, and we came here second, so we wanted to honor them for that.”

 

“The other reason we’re pushing it is Columbus himself,” explained Faunce. “He shouldn’t have a holiday. He shouldn’t be a hero because he was a mass murderer, he was an abuser, he was a slaver, a sexual slaver, selling people as young as age 10 into the sex trade.”

Not all area residents are thrilled with this decision. Comments on the article on the local radio news page has comments such as ” Very poor move it changes nothing just a bunch of liberal left wing Democrats wanting to revise history,” and “That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of, what’s wrong with You people! 

The Oatmeal has a great cartoon lesson on Columbus Day for those who want a challenge to the lessons they learned about in elementary school.

I wish I had clips from the ABC show Blackish. Tonight’s episode fit right in with the subject matter at hand, as the characters were upset about the way the kids’ Columbus Day was inaccurately portrayed. They came up with a new holiday “Juneteenth” to fill in the void in the lack of “black holidays.”

So what do you think? Join in the discussion with your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Massacre in Las Vegas Kills at Least 58, More Than 500 Wounded

Flags are at half-mast today in the wake of this tragedy

Flags are at half-mast today in the wake of this tragedy/PublicDomainPhotos

People are mourning, speculating this morning, as late night news broke over a mass shooting at a Country music concert last night in Las Vegas, Nevada. The current count is 58 dead, 515 injured. This latest terrorist attack adds to the heartbreak our nation faces as more and more people die every day.

The facts are that the shooter was a sixty-four year old, Caucasian male. Although ISIS has made claims that this shooting was attributed to them, there has not been any indication that is the truth. The gunman shot at the concert-goers with an automatic rifle from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort. He was found dead in his hotel room with 10 other guns. The brother of the shooter said that he wasn’t aware of any mental illness.

So now we come to the questioning of what can we do. Has our nation become numb to this kind of event anymore? Wringing our hands and offering our prayers and condolences. Prayer seems to work only as much as giving us something to do when we don’t know what else to do, but it hasn’t stopped the other 272 mass shootings in 2017. 

Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney General, said in a statement, “The investigation into the horrific shooting last night in Las Vegas is ongoing.” He added,“To the many families whose lives have been changed forever by this heinous act, we offer you our prayers and our promise that we will do everything in our power to get justice for your loved ones.”

I can’t begin to fathom what kind of justice their families are going to get. The man who committed the act has killed himself. Will Congress step up and put limits on guns? I can’t imagine that is likely. Note, I do not believe all guns should be banned.  I believe we need to see limits.  I allow my kids to shoot rifles and shot guns at Scout camp. Guns are not inherently evil, but I believe that our culture has lifted them as idols, and I would hope to see something done. Other countries have seen their gun violence go down as a result of their gun bans. For sure, there are always people who say that criminals will find a way. Maybe so, but perhaps we can decrease the rates. No one needs a gun that can mow down 50 plus people in 10 minutes or less.

How can we resolve this problem we face in America? Leave your comments below.

 

#NationalCoffeeDay

#NationalCoffeeDay

#NationalCoffeeDay- My drink of choice tonight was Mocha Frappe from McDonalds

Today is a day that people who are connoisseurs of a certain kind of bean can get in on. It is National Coffee Day! Now, I know, every day is a celebration of coffee, right? Well, maybe not to the members of the faith that I was raised in, but I can drink the beverage guilt-free now! So how did you celebrate the day?

Stores across the nation had special deals on some coffee drinks. Ironically, the store one would think would offer their customers some kind of bargain on their specialty item did not really have a sale, but Starbucks celebrated today, and will continue to celebrate through Sunday by having no menu boards. Instead, Starbucks is sharing information with customers about how their coffee purchases have made a difference, and will educate on the company’s commitment to coffee from ethical and sustainable sources.

Several other offers were available. A local coffee shop in our area used 20% of the proceeds made today on purchases to go toward Puerto Rico’s hurricane disaster relief.

Fun facts about coffee:

 80% of adults consume caffeine every day in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration says the average intake is 200 milligrams,which is about two five-ounce cups of coffee.

The original definition of coffee means “wine.”

Coffee was originally named qahwah, came from the Yemen term for wine. The Turks called it kahveh, then the Dutch referred to it as koffie. Donald Trump prefers covfefe. Just kidding, I had to get the joke in somehow.

Decaf is not really caffeine-free.

An eight ounce brewed cup of decaf coffee actually has two-to-12 milligrams of caffeine, while a regular cup of coffee has anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams. Not a whole lot of caffeine, but you are not escaping it altogether by pouring the decaf in your cup.

 Brazil produces most of the world’s coffee.

40% of the world’s coffee comes out of Brazil- twice as much as Colombia and Vietnam(who come in 2nd and 3rd in production).

Coffee is the second most traded commodity on our planet.

The Global Exchange tells us that there are approximately 25 million farmers in over 50 countries involved in producing coffee. It comes in 2nd to oil.

Mormons aren’t the only ones who have banned coffee.

The first ban seems to originate in Mecca in 1511. Why?  Leaders believed it stimulated radical thinking.  Italian clergymen in the 16th century tried to ban coffee because they believed it to be “satanic.” That ban was lifted by Pope Clement VII, a coffee lover in 1600. Ottoman leader Murad IV created punishments for coffee drinkers in 1623  which included beatings and being thrown into the sea. In 1746, Swedes weren’t even allowed to have cups or plates for coffee. In 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia declared that beer was superior to coffee, so he proclaimed a manifesto to prevent coffee from being chosen over beer.

There may be some health benefits to drinking coffee

According to WebMD, research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are less likely to have type 2 diabetesParkinson’s disease, and dementia. They also have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes.

 

Now I leave you with Ralph’s World “The Coffee Song.” Let me know what your favorite drink is by leaving a comment below!

NFL and Patriotism Myths and Rumors Debunked

As posted not long ago, an immense pet peeve of mine is when people spread rumors on the internet. Once they begin to go around, they spread like wildfire, and many begin to use it as cold, hard fact. The #TakeaKnee and #IStand debacle is tearing a deeper hole in our country, and the rumors being spread do not help. I’ve even been guilty of not researching something I posted on Facebook about this, so I’m going to clear up some of these rumors today.

A letter from NFL Owners Saying Their Players Must Stand

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This letter has been attributed both to Clark Hunt, and also to Jerry Jones- owner of the Dallas Cowboys. This meme has been going around about Jerry Jones for nearly a year, and the Cowboys tried to show how wrong people were about it by kneeling before the National Anthem with Mr. Jones, and then standing- arms linked during.

Jerry Jones with his players before the National Anthem Photo credit:AP

Jerry Jones with his players before the National Anthem Photo credit:AP

According to Yahoo Sports, Jerry Jones has never forbidden his players to protest by taking a knee, but he HAS shared that the anthem is close to his heart.

Members of Congress Refuse to Stand for the Pledge

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This picture was posted on one of my Facebook posts by a friend. It was stated that it was Congress, with some members protesting. This is actually the New York senate in a leadership crisis during 2009. More details can be found on TruthorFiction.com. Yes, it is true that these are Democrats who are refusing to stand while the room is being led in the Pledge of Allegiance. It is false that this is currently going on, or that this is happening in Congress.

There have been House lawmakers “taking a knee” on the floor.

NFL Players Required to Stand According to League Rules?

A copy/paste statement has spread through Facebook land saying,“The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the NFL League Rulebook. It states: ‘The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. ‘During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition… …It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.’”

News sources such as this one from KREM news have verified that there is no such rule in the NFL books.

 

NFL Players Have Not Been on the Field for the National Anthem Before 2009

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This is one that I failed to check before posting. According to Snopes, this is a mixture of truth and fiction. The truth is that players were not required to be on the field until 2009 during primetime games. This was due to network timing issues. The anthem wasn’t televised during that time. On other games like Sunday, players lined the field during the anthem.

The NFL was given monies by the Department of Defense, but the time period doesn’t quite align with the years given, so it can’t be said that it had a direct relation to what was happening with the players lining up on the field, so I will retract using this meme as evidence of bad patriotism, although I do have an issue with taxpayer dollars going toward recruitment advertising at NFL football games.

I assume there are more memes floating around that contain falsehoods, so if you see more floating around, let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

ABC’s “The Good Doctor” Starts Out With Not so Good Reviews

Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor(Photo: ABC/Liane Hentscher)

Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor(Photo: ABC/Liane Hentscher)

TechnoMark thought this would be a good show for me to write about since I’m knowledgeable about Autism, and I like hospital dramas like Grey’s Anatomy.

Having only seen the pilot episode, I can’t say if I like the show or not. It received a lukewarm reception from many reviewers such as this one from The Vulture and Rotten Tomatoes has the show at only 31 percent, although the audience generally seems to like it at 92 percent.

The show, from the makers of House, features the main character, Dr. Shawn Murphy, played by Freddie Highmore- who does a pretty commendable acting job on the show. Of course, he has been great since he was a young kid in movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, August Rush, and The Spiderwick Chronicles.

If you haven’t seen it yet, the premise of the show is Murphy’s mentor, Dr. Aaron Glassman(played by Richard Schiff), is trying to convince the hospital’s board of directors to accept him as part of the hospital’s team in spite of his Autism. Frankly, I find it surprising that a hospital board could have such a misunderstanding of Autism, but I suppose it could happen.

The pilot episode should have been longer, because trying to jam in multiple back stories did a disservice to the show. Also, do all hospitals have doctors getting it on in the on-call room? I guess this is a way to introduce characters in a medical show now, but it seems laughable to me.

Is this show a credit to Autism awareness? Some people are pointing out that only 10 percent of people with Autism are savants, like this character. I was asked this summer if my son had a special niche like being able to play music by ear, or being a math genius. Well, I guess at age 2 1/2, he did teach himself how to read, but you wouldn’t know that today as he struggles with comprehension(he’s good at spelling, though!). I wouldn’t say that he has any special savant talents, though. I guess he would be in the 90 percent category. I did appreciate that Shawn was able to show compassion and emotion, as many people tend to think that people on the spectrum have more Vulcan tendencies.

I thought the show could have some merits, though it might take another episode or two before people start to enjoy it. Do I see it lasting 8 seasons as House, or 14 seasons like Grey’s Anatomy? I don’t think that would happen, but I’ve been surprised before.

#TakeAKnee and #IStand: What is Patriotism?

Colin Kaepernick started a movement when he took a knee during the National Anthem last year to protest the unjust treatment of black people by police. He isn’t playing for a team this year, but his example continues.
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Friday night, Donald Trump caused a stir when he said that the NFL owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who took a knee of protest during the traditional National Anthem. He suggested that fans get up and walk out if players do that.

On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans made big news as they did not take part in the national anthem, remaining in their locker rooms during the time. Many other NFL teams showed their solidarity on Sunday and Monday- whether by linking arms or kneeling. A couple of singers of the National Anthem also took a knee while singing. Meghan Linsey, a former contestant of The Voice, knelt at the end of the song she was singing with the absence of the Seahawk and Titan players.

It’s not just the NFL players. Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, even X Files stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have joined in support.

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You may not stand (or in this case, kneel) with Kaepernick, but America needs to hear the message that is trying to be conveyed.  We have come far as a country, but there is still unjust things happening. There are still people of every race, creed, and sexual orientation who are denied the basic freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

Now, I hear the people who are offended that people would disrespect our flag- and in turn, disrespect those who have given their lives. I hear people say,”If you don’t like our Country, leave!” I think some people would like a law that makes it mandatory for people to stand and honor the flag or the anthem. That isn’t patriotism. That kind of attitude goes against everything that our veterans have fought for. Many veterans in the wake of this controversy have said that they took an oath to serve our country so that we all could have freedom.

In the video below, our former president graciously explains why we should consider the perspective of the protesters, and those who are offended. “Part of what makes this country special is that we respect people’s rights to have a different opinion and to make different decisions about how they want to express their concerns. The test of our fidelity to our Constitution, to freedom of speech, to our Bill of Rights is not when it’s easy, but when it’s hard. We fight sometimes so people can do things we disagree with, but that’s what freedom means in this country…”

He goes on to say that he hopes that those who kneel in protest will listen to those who may be offended by their choice of protest because they lost a loved one in the military, and he also hopes that the offended side will listen to why people are protesting because of the loss of a loved one who they feel was unjustly shot.

 

John Pavlovitz said,”America as an ideal, (the one from the Anthem) is about speaking boldly and demanding justice and giving voice to the voiceless, because that’s the way you respect the freedom. That is how you show gratitude for the gift. That is how you honor those who died to give you that freedom.”

Praying in Public and the Stink it Causes

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Tim Tebow <a href=

#15 of the Denver Broncos prays before their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)” width=”584″ height=”405″ /> OAKLAND, CA – NOVEMBER 06: Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos prays before their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 6, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


Praying in public has made news headlines recently.

A school in Alabama in the Lee County district received a complaint from a parent through the organization “Freedom From Religion” about a public prayer that was led by a student over the PA system before a football game. The letter detailed some U.S. Supreme Court rulings about public prayers in school.

One of the examples included was the 2000 ruling of Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Doe, which concluded that even student-led or initiated prayer over a public loud speaker at football games was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.

The area schools decided to stop the practice, but fans were not happy. Friday night at Smiths Station High School, attendees yelled out part of the Lord’s Prayer before the game- the same prayer that was read by a student over the loud speaker to bring this all into question.

A month ago, a high school football coach from Bremerton, Washington tried to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that he should have been allowed to lead his players in prayer immediately after games on the field. He failed to convince them to force the Bremerton schools to reinstate him and allow him to lead prayers again.

So why are Christians so upset when they are not allowed to use the schools for their public prayer? The right to pray and practice our religion is not being taken away. I remember my teacher in my high school Government class teaching us that “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” We certainly have the right to pray. We don’t have the right to expect that everyone else should take part in our prayers.

Matthew Chapter 5:5,6 says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Oh, and I used this picture of Tim Tebow, but I’m not inferring that he shouldn’t have been allowed to take a knee and do his thing, just as I support the athletes who take a knee during the National Anthem. The difference is that Tim Tebow isn’t using a government-run forum to lead an audience in prayer.

God doesn’t need a microphone or PA system to hear our prayers. When Christians throw tantrums and yell “persecution” for not being able to use public forums to lead audiences in prayer, they are not shining a good light on Christianity.

 

Will the Church Fill the Government Role of Healthcare?

Many have already heard of the Cassidy-Graham legislation that the GOP is trying to get passed through quickly to try to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. They are trying to sneak it through before the end of the month so that they can repeal it with a simple majority- which is 51 votes. This will kick 30 million people off the healthcare that they desperately need. It’s been said that Christians don’t think that the government should step in to fill the need that the church is supposed to be filling, but will that happen?

There are many medical missions that go out to other countries. There are even medical missions here in the United States, such as Operation Renewed Hope that provides one day clinics through a host church. Many Christians also volunteer at their local free clinics. These programs are wonderful and useful, but they can’t begin to cover every needy person in this country and their medical expenses. Our college town has a free clinic that I know is staffed by Christians, but even they can’t take on all the medical needs of every needy person in our area, and even these charitable places accept Medicaid funding. They can’t run it on volunteers alone. They also don’t provide therapies that disabled people in our area(including my son) need to improve their lives. These programs are going to get cut if this small majority get their way.

Can your church afford to take care of the medical costs of your own pastor- let alone every member or non-member in your community who can’t afford it? I have seen the charitableness of church people, and it is extremely admirable. I believe the people who give their money to help the poor and the sick will be rewarded, but I’ve heard far too many people say that it’s not their problem to be assured that Christians would be able to take over the responsibility that the government has been doing for years.

Jesus did call for us to take care of the sick and needy. Matthew 25 has some strong words about those who do not do so. Nowhere in the Bible does it speak about the government not being able to do so, as well. If the Church stepped up and provided healthcare for ALL- without judgement or strings attached, maybe people would be more apt to believe that we don’t need the government.

The American Medical Association, AARP, and the American Cancer Society are just a few groups who have come out against this bill. Jimmy Kimmel has a lot to say about it

So, you don’t like the ACA, or ObamaCare(as everyone who despises it likes to refer to it), a bi-partisan group of senators are working together to make a better plan- one that does not include ripping out all the benefits of the needy in our country. Please call your senators and tell them you don’t want healthcare to be ripped away from those who need it. Show the nation that Christianity is pro-life for all- not just the unborn fetus.