Archive for December, 2009

how Fast is Technology Advancing?

As we reach the end of another decade, and I look around my room, I began to ask myself how advanced technology has become.

It’s safe to say, our grandparents wouldn’t ever have believed they would see the day where a television was flat and had the crystal clear pictures that we receive with the advancements of High definition Television nowadays. It’s probably safer to say that they didn’t even believe everyone would own a television when they were children, or even realize they could exist let alone many of us having a working television set in each room of the house.

Talking on the telephone was a task you undertook for emergencies and long distance calls during the era most of our grandparents grew up, so the fact most of us walk around with cordless house phones and sit on the bus or train chatting with our friends on our mobile phones would come as an amazement to most people over the age of sixty.

Gadgets like the microwave would blow most people’s minds before they were introduced. DVD and CD players would spin people’s thoughts out of control. And Satellite navigation would direct people into disbelief had they been told during the 1930s or 1940s that those things could exists. Yet, most of us have these items and much more in our households.

It is true to say, technology has advanced in the 20TH century but even since the late 80s technology has come along at such speed, it almost is scary.

I remember the first games’ console my dad had during the 80s, it was a keyboard and disc drive and a joie stick connected to the television. Just in those twenty years since we had our faithful amstrad I have seen the video games market advance in leaps an bounds. Now, a games’ console not only delivers high quality graphics and sound quality, coupled with a huge choice of gaming but now you can save your game on a huge built in harddrive and if you’re bored, play with other gamers from all around the world.

I can remember during the late 80s/early 90s when the internet was first being discussed on the news. The information highway as it was being called sounded so futuristic and now most of us have daily access to the world wide web either through broadband connection or our mobile phones.

During the late 90s, most teenagers were grappling for the newest release and biggest craze hitting society, the mobile phone. And now, you didn’t need a contract to possess one of these highly desired commodities, the invention of prepay mobile phones meant that most teenagers could own one and “top up” their account as and when they needed. Would any of us have believed then that within ten short years, we’d be not only calling and texting from our phones, but sending pictures/sounds and surfing the internet on our increasingly smaller, more stylish and function filled devices. Now a phone won’t only just do those things but with the invention of the “app store” we are able to do more and more on our phones, such as find the nearest bank or ATM, look for restaurants and find recent reviews, get a taxi number or compare prices of products in the store all on a device you can fit into your pocket or bag.

And even computers have revolutionized since the room sized device of the 1970s. Now, we can carry a small computer around with us and with the recent invention of the dongles, can now use the mobile networks to surf the internet wherever we want. Write our school reports, chat online and watch a movie if we so desire is all now so achievable as the advancement of technology has improved for the computers.

If someone had told me while I was playing my tapes on my old stereo as a small child that one day I would be able to carry photos, music, movies, games and audio books around with me on a small device, that would compete with the size of most lighters, then I would have been astonished. And those musical devices with each release becomes more technical and stylish and not only bigger in capacity but smaller in size.

My room, like most people of my generation is forever changing and the devices are getting smaller and more advance each year. And yes, technology has advanced considerably within the 20TH century but the speed at which technology is advancing all of the time is phenomenal. Touch screen phones seemed impossible but before we know it, all we’ll have to do in order to turn a channel on our tv set is say so and it will. Nothing surprises me anymore and I do believe, I’m from a generation that will always expect bigger and better things. as I said earlier in the article, our grandparents will continue to be amazed by our technical advances but my generation will expect those advances and keep demanding bigger and better things.

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Twas The Night Before Christmas

This is one of my favourite Xmas poems of all time. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do each and every year!

Twas the night Before Christmas

by Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Christmas

C is for Candles, burning bright,
H is for holly, hanging in the night,
R is for reindeer well on their way,
I is for icicles, that hang in the day,
S is for snow, fluffy and white,
T is for the tree, pretty and bright,
M is for mince-pies, yummy and sweet,
A for the Angels, pretty and neat,
S is for Santa, in his big red suit,
Bringing presents for me and you,
So Merry Christmas on this very special day,
Hope you get happiness in every single way.

Winter Wonder Land

In the darkened sky,
And on the ground below,
a light glimmers!
Glimmers from the blanket
That lays there so still,
after the storm it caused,
brightening the land and
Yet changing everything about it.

sparkling like a jewel,
Hidden in a dark room,
The blanket drapes everything with such glamour.
Hanging on the bear branches,
Draping them with glitter,
Like from a Christmas card picture.

Upon the buildings,
Layered so precisely,
The white icing all it falls upon
Into a elegant cake,
Glinting in the starlight.

And below on the ground,
Where dismal once tred,
Now lies a fabric of purity,
Lay there so perfect and picturesque
You would believe it was a magical kingdom.

The sounds of silence,
Muffled by the white carpet,
The crunch now audible beneath your boots,
And yet so still
After the blizzard before it,
The winter wonderland exists to be,
And yet is so unreal,
Almost untrue,
But it is real,
as real as me and you!

God Forgot About Me!

God Forgot About Me
By
M.J Phoenix

When I was born,
There was something wrong,
I didn’t have one.
They thought I’d be fine for a little while,
But then my sixth birthday came and my lights went out,
The sunshine was switched off,
The grass felt spiky
The water wetter than before,
I started to walk into doors.
The doctors said, “we’ll fix this”
Why can’t they face it?
Nothing could do the trick,
They tried again and that didn’t work
And so I had to jerk
Into a world of darkness but full of colour
Everything I smell, hear taste or touch,
Has some kind of colour not too much,
To brighten up my darkened world,
I picture every boy and girl,
Judging by the tone of their voice,
By personality or help from a friend of my choice,
I wish I could rip this film from my eyes,
Just a little corner so I could spy,
To see how the world has changed,
Somehow I’d manage to see,
My favourite actors, singers,
But until someone gives me the reason why,
Or until someone will let me spy,
I’ll manage with the senses I still have,
I’ll be a normal person, the best I can be,
But I wish someone would tell me, why did God forget about me?

My apple Mac

With all the choices on the computer market nowadays, the general consumer has more choice than ever before. However, as a visually impaired user, the only option I want to have is mac and Apple products. Here’s why.

On Thursday, I turned my trusty macbook 13 inch, 2008 model white onto to check my email and such to discover it wouldn’t boot beyond the apple logo and timer thing. I was so upset. I love my macbook so much, it recently travelled to the US with me and if I don’t take the time to at least boot it once a day, I’m sick.

Anyway, I called Apple care and booked an appointment to see an Apple genius the next day. The problem I next had was that I had to pull out my old sony Vaio laptop that runs Windows XP and has a version of Jaws for windows running on it. It wasn’t a prospect I was looking forward too, let me tell you. Nevertheless, I loaded it up and encountered twitter issues with the program I have running on that laptop, then had issues setting up my gmail account in outlook express, followed by issues with not only importing music to itunes but getting the damn program to work correctly for me. I was still fighting with Itunes at lunchtime when I left to go to my apple appointment.

I never realized how counter-intuitive windows was, and I missed my specialized features that voice over on the mac offers, such as spelling as I type. I missed hearing, “misspelled” which happens frequently when I’m typing a lot. Itunes was a complete nightmare, how anyone uses that program on windows with a screen reader is beyond me. And the screen reader itself frustrated me beyond belief, freezing on several occasions, jumping on others, it was just a nightmare I do not want to repeat.

Hasten to add, my macbook was fixed and is happily being used again. I know some people prefer windows but for me, it is mac all the way. snow Leopard can keep purring happily inside my pretty white macbook with voice over being its Captain. ☺

The Magic of Christmas

When we think of Christmas, many of us will have different perceptions of what Christmas should be like. Different families have certain traditions, and as we grow older we adopt our own traditions. But on the whole, for older generations, is Christmas what it used to be like or has it changed so dramatically not many of us recognize it any more?

Today’s article is somewhat a personal one, as I will talk about my own Christmas experiences and how it has changed for me. I was raised in a family that was avid about Christmas. We weren’t particularly religious, although I attended a Church of England Primary School which influenced my Christmas experience from the start. My parents were always lavish with our gifts and fed into the belief of Father Christmas for a long time.

I was eight or nine when I finally discovered he wasn’t real and I think it was from there my Christmases began to change.

From being small, Christmas began at my primary school, from what I can remember. The children would partake in a ceremony known as the Christingle. It was a Christmas celebration within the Church of England church where children paraded with oranges that held a lighted candle, with a lot of symbolism on the fruit. The Orange represented the world, the candle the light of Christ, the fruit the food we feed on and the red ribbon the blood of Christ. It was a lovely experience as we often sang my favourite Christmas songs and it really started the whole Christmas feel for me.

Also at school we would do Christmas shows. While I was very young it was the traditional nativity play where children reenact the birth of christ. Then as I grew older, we would do what would be considered traditional pantomimes. It was a lot of fun and always began the count down to Christmas.

The turning on the Christmas lights, going late night shopping with my mum and Grandmother were other memorable events that usually took place before Christmas. I would often see a pantomime with school and the whole “he’s behind you” season would truly get me into the magical spirit of Christmas.

Everyone always seemed so happy during those times. My parents would beam knowing my excitement was building all of the time. School fairs, singing Christmas carols with my friends, making Christmas foods with my mum and Grandma were the things I remember greatly from my early Christmas days.

And Christmas itself, once it arrived thrilled my child like brain. The pretty colours on the tree, my hand made decorations and Christmas card hanging with pride, and I would always deliver Christmas gifts with my dad on Christmas Eve. It never struck me that my dad was delivering them until I was around seven years old. I remember asking my great grandma as I sipped hot chocolate while we were delivering Christmas presents to her why Father Christmas wouldn’t be delivering them and she responded with that he was so busy delivering the children’s presents that he had asked my dad to help him out. I thought my dad was so special that night that the man in the big red suit had asked for my dad’s help. But my child’s mind was satisfied with the answer I got.

I would return home and have a mince pie and a glass of milk, ensure father Christmas’s wine, mince pie and Rudolf’s carrot were safely in place and go to bed with such an excitement, how I ever fell asleep I will never know.

One Christmas stands out to me though. I had woke up very early and it was still dark outside. I lay in bed, scared to get up. And as I lay there, my over imaginative mind would swear I heard the jingle jangle of reindeer bells. It was such a scary moment for me as a child but one I’ll never forget. I was happy and ready to start the festivities.

In a lot of ways, I don’t think it was Christmas day itself I loved but the lead up to it. The anticipation and the magic that seemed to fill the crisp, cold air that wowed me as a child. And of course, as we grow older, the magic diminishes and is replaced by nothingness. I often say having children around you at this time of the year helps to replenish that magic we once had ourselves but those early years, with all of the well known traditions of home and school life will be forever etched in my memory and heart.

Now, Christmas for me is about giving and being with loved ones and friends. Now my traditions have changed somewhat. Now I get to wrap the gifts, hand them out like my dad once did with me, sing Christmas songs to my heart’s content in my bedroom from the first of december, eat a lot of food and meet with friends for new traditions. Christmas isn’t what it once was for me as a child but my childhood Christmas was one I loved and will treasure forever. And as I grow older, maybe my own traditions will begin to filter in but magic is not the same for me as an adult now the traditions have changed.

For each generation it seems to be different. The Christmases my mum and her sister speak of are so different again from the ones I experienced as a child. And sad as it is, with each generation, a little more magic seems to get lost and Christmas loses what it meant to the generation before it. I’m not sure why but looking back over history, even their Christmases seem to be even more magical than mine were. I wish I knew how when we lose the traditions of the past that the magic and spirit of Christmas seem to be lost.

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