Monday’s musings 17: Is there any other blogger like me?


Hey guys,
Steve here.
Please vote on this pole–remember, I’m excepting votes through the 16th of this month.

Often, when talking about blogging, there are many topics that come up. Religion, politics, traveling, photos, cooking… you name it. Being a blogger myself, I find myself looking through the wordpress.com reader for things I like blogging about… and usually, I find rellavent results. However, none of these bloggers are like me–some of them are college students, moms, preachers, travelers, photologgers, doing completely different things than me. If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you’ve discovered this about me: I’m a teenage boy, who loves computers and cats, and has a passion for blogging. I also like recording things, talking to my friends on skype, and for the life of me can’t keep any kind of schedule to save my life. I don’t use social networking, I don’t much care to have my picture taken thus elimonating the likelyhood of me being a photologger, and traveling isn’t my thing. And cooking… well if I try to cook, the house might go up in flames (jk, I’m sure I could be a good cook if I wanted to); but that’s beside the point.
So as I sit here, writing this post, I wonder: is there any other blogger like me? Is mine the only site like it? Is my blogging style unique to the rest of the entire bloggosphere? And better yet, under what category would my blog go?
Even browsing the wordpress.com’s recommended blogs section, I found some of the following: cooking, family, arts, books, humor, traveling… well you get the picture. But even reading one of the 753 posts written on this blog, you can tell I don’t belong in any such category. This makes me question my placement in the bloggosphere. Not whether or not I should blog, but where I fit in as far as categories go.
Yet some how, I find myself at one conclusion every time this thought comes up. Maybe, what makes this site so unique, is that I might be the first of my kind. The first teenage blogger, who loves cats, recording things, has a passion for writing, enjoys programming, and blogs whatever comes to his mind.
There are plenty of good bloggers out there; quite of which I’ll probably end up following, liking, or commenting on their content before my blogging days are done. One thing is for sure, if I found one out of the 12 million bloggers on wordpress like me, I would most certainly follow him/her. And better yet, I would be happy to have the question of all time answered–where do I fit in on the bloggosphere?

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

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Monday’s musings 16: Birthdays, the greatest milestones of life


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Aren’t birthday’s just so nice? It’s the day you feel the most special. It’s the day people celebrate you. It’s the day you take one more step forward in life, by turning one year older. It’s another year of your life gone, and it’s one step closer to Jesus.
I post this, as my birthday is no more than 1 day, and 3 hours away. I’m not looking forward to it because of the presents (I didn’t even ask for anything really this year), I just, for some reason, feel more special on my birthday. I feel as though the world is recognizing and celebrating me for who I am. I know that, if only for that day, a lot of people think of me, and are truly wishing me a happy year.
Another great things about birthdays, is that you’re always in a good mood. If something bad happens, at least for me, I can be reminded that it’s my birthday, and that little bit of joy can boost my mood. Also, it doesn’t take coffee to wake me up on my birthday. I wake up, realize what day it is, and joy and anticipation of the day to come fill me.
And on a final note, my birthday is a day for me to look on all that I’ve accomplished over my past years of existence. It’s a time for me to be proud of how much I’ve grown, and recognize all my successes and failures.
And when the day is over, I can go to bed, thankful for the years I got to spend on this Earth, and look forward to whatever adventures may come in the future; a future of computers, god, blogging, my cat, my family, and last but not least, my best friend.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s Musings 15: How has our world come to this?


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Wasn’t it some thousands of years ago that we were nothing but clueless cavemen? Wasn’t it just a few thousand years ago, that us humans didn’t even know a way to communicate with each other? And I’m sure, that thousands of years ago, we didn’t have any of the technology we do today… so how did our world become how it is?
I understand there were lots of years, and lots of time for us to adapt to this world. But how did we figure it out? It seems like we went from the baby stage, all the way to the grown up stage as time went on, but with no parent to guide us.
I wonder how it all got started. Could it be that the first man alive began eating anything and everything he could, deciding what tasted right and what didn’t? Could it be that he died from eating something poisonous?
And what about other people. Clearly a whole world couldn’t be created by just one lonely man walking around the earth, there had to be someone else. And how did they take care of themselves? How did they know how to keep themselves and their children alive?
I ask questions like that… yet I’m typing on this laptop, who was created by those same humans, just several thousand years ago. Isnn’t it amazing how we figured out all this? How we came from cavemen to this?

I guess the answers to my questions remain a mystery. All I know, however, is that if I had to be that unfortunate first man on earth, I would probably still be walking around, trying all the different plants to see what tasted good, and wondering how in the heck I got here.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s Musings 14: What blogging is to me


Hey guys,
Steve here.

This isn’t a post on why I prefer a blog over social media, and this isn’t a post on why I think it would be a waste of time to promote a blog. No, this post is here to answer a few of your questions: Why do I blog? What does it mean to me? How much longer do I plan to have this blog? How have I managed to blog for so long?

Blogging, to me, is more than writing a post and hitting the publish button. It goes deeper than that–I put thought and work into these posts. Whether it’s my current life events, how I feel about something, or even if something just comes to mind, I can be assured that this blog and the people reading it are there to listen.
I didn’t set up this blog to see how much popularity it could gain, as you know by reading my first ever Monday’s Musings post. This blog wasn’t intended to appease the people. If everyone decided to shun my blog for whatever reason, unlike your average news blog, I wouldn’t shut down–I don’t care how appealing my posts are. I don’t care how much people like them. I don’t care about how many likes, tweets, shares, reblogs, and comments my posts get, (although when I get those I know that there are people who appreciate what I write). Because for me, blogging is more than a hobby, more than something fun to do. It’s an outlet, a passion, and the virtual book of my life.
To put it this way , each post on this blog is a chapter of my life, every Monday’s musings post a foot note in the margin letting you know more about my thoughts. And besides, I feel like I can express myself more through my writing than when talking. It seems even to me, that my deeper thoughts, passions, and feelings come out in what I write, and having this blog gives me a place for my writing.
So if you’re wondering how I’ve managed to blog for so long, the answer is that it’s sort of grown on me. It has turned into a part of my every day life, imbedding itself among all the other things I have to do. As for when this blog will be taken down, I don’t know. But let me assure you, it won’t be for a long, long time. So at least for now, sit back and look forward to all the chapters to come, as I travel day by day through the book that is my life.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s Musings 13: does there have to be a solid answer to every question?


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Yesterday evening, me, my dad, and my papa were having a conversation, and the subject of global warming was brought up, and ever since then I’ve felt the need to muse about this topic.
Is it just me, or is it a fact that we, as humans, have to have reasons for everything? Isn’t it a well known fact, that we always have to have a solid answer to all of our questions? There are countless examples of this.
As a first, religion. Although I do believe in god, wouldn’t you say religion is our answer to how the universe formed, and what happens after you die? I don’t think we know any of these things, so we have to make up an answer, and stick with it. Science theories such as the “big bang theory” are also examples of this. I believe that scientists don’t necessarily know how the universe was formed, but that they look at evidence from our universe’s past, and associate it with a theory, thus giving them an answer as to how the universe was formed.
Another example would be the global warming thing I mentioned earlier. Our climate is changing, as I’m sure you all know. But doesn’t everything change? Why does it have to be us causing it?
And besides, this winter has been the coldest we’ve had in quite some time. If our climate was changing due to global warming, wouldn’t this winter be the warmest in quite some time?
And if records didn’t break, they wouldn’t exist. So just because we’re breaking weather records more frequently, and the climate is going through changes, it doesn’t mean we need to quit doing what we’re doing.

So do you get what I’m saying? Wouldn’t you agree that we always seem to come up with reasons and answers for everything? I don’t disagree with this subject; my take on it is that humans have great imaginations, and can come up with some pretty darn good answers.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s Musings 12: Is the world of accessible technology going backward, for computers anyway?


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Warning: If you aren’t in any way intrested in technology, don’t read this post. But I have some thoughts on it that I need to get out… so… I thought I might as well post this.
This particular subject has been bugging me since I was first introduced to Google, and it intensified once I got into using Windows 8. What I am here to muse about, as the title says, is the world of accessible technology.
You’ve seen a similar post from me before, however that one was me wondering why it has to cost so much. While on the subject of that, I recently found out about an accessible Twitter client, that someone is celling for $15. Crazy, huh?
Anyway, getting back on topic, let me elaborate a little bit. A while back, in 2009, google’s gMail was accessible right out of the box. However, through the recent years, it has come to a point blind users who wish to use it must first search for the “basic html” link, activate it, so they can get a basic accessible view. That is only one example. In fact, google in general has been slowly getting less screen reader friendly. Google sights, youtube, and google docs are just three things from google that have accessibility issues. Although youtube is fairly usable, some buttons and graphics are not clearly labeled, so it’s definitely not a site I would recommend to a blind person just starting out with computers. As for google sites and docs, the two products, as of the last time I tried to use them, are practically unusable if you are using a screen reader.
Google is not the only problem here. Let’s take Microsoft Windows, another product I use daily, for example. Windows XP, a version of the Windows operating system that is so old it will no longer be supported as of April 8, was the most basic, accessible verson I’ve used. Windows 7, released in 2009 or 2010, was pretty much just as accessible. However, Windows 8 introduced a whole new layout, one that I am so unhappy with, I will probably install classic shell, an application that will give windows 8 the feel of windows XP or 7. Why you ask? Well let’s just say this. The menues, and even task manager application, are laid out in a grid. The task manager, I’ll admit, is quite useful, and I like the way they did it. But the start menu… well not so much.
The reason, I think, has to do with the increasing popularity of GUI (graphical user interface). I think, that with new technology available, Microsoft, like most other software companies, google included, is trying to make their software more appealing to sighted users. And although Microsoft has worked hard on a narrator application that is better than it has been before, the overall look and feel of windows 8 is still hard to get used to. And to top it off, what is google doing? Even edmodo, a social media platform used by schools, what is that doing to make it more accessible?
Just to let you know, I’m not ticked off or anything. I believe that these companies lay out their software this way for a reason. And if I really want something accessible like that, maybe one day someware far down the road I’ll program it. And besides, to end this post on a good note, I can feel better knowing that there are people out there developing software for us. As long as there are people like that out there, I can believe that we are heading toward a future with more accessware, a future in which I will be included.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s musings 11: My thoughts on social networking


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Often, people ask me “do you have a facebook?” or “do you have a twitter?”, and sometimes “do you have an instagram?”, and my answer is always the same. “No, I prefer blogging.”
The reason for this has to do with my thoughts of social networking. If you ask me, I don’t believe in posting a facebook status, or a tweet, or any other social media post, because:
1. length. A face book post, from what I understand, is max 5 sentences, and twitter has a limit on how many characters can be in a tweet. When I write, I pour my heart out, because as you already know writing is my outlet, and my way of expressing myself.
2. Social media posts, at least on twitter anyway, really don’t have much thought. As i said before, I put careful thought into what I write.
3. frequency. From what I heard, and correct me if I’m wrong, you don’t just go 3 to 7 days without posting on social media. People often post every day, and I already tried that on the blog… and we all know how that worked out :).
4. junk mail. I signed up for facebook a while back, and literally had to filter the facebook emails to my spam… because there were so many of them. What really set me off was the day I checked my email, and no lie, the first 9 emails were from facebook. By using this blog, I don’t get all that junk mail.
5. The elimination of annoyance. With a blog, I don’t have to put up with people who think it’s necessary to write a post on their social media once every minute. I can just write, and know that although you can read other people’s content, you for 1 get to search up what you want to read, and for 2 don’t get a notification of every time someone writes to their blog… unless you want to. I’ve had problems with facebook sending me notifications about people posting a status, even though I didn’t want it to send me those notifications.
6. true followers. With a blog, you know that anyone and everyone who hits that follow button really cares about what you have to say, and will devote some of their time reading your words. You don’t know that with facebook friends. I have some people on my facebook, only because they think that’s the way to stay in touch with me. I can’t be certain that if I were to post a status, my facebook friends would actually read it, and like what it says. So if people want to get in touch with me, that’s what my skype, phone, and email are for. And if they want to know what I’m doing, well stevenD.net is the place to go.
7. viruses. With a blog, you are less likely to get a virus. I’ve had spammers send me friend requests, but their names were of people I knew (an example would be Colbie Smith, who is my cousin. A person on facebook named Colbie Smith sent me a friend request, but I found out it was spam and/or viruses). Also, I’ve gotten false emails such as my friends uploading photos of me, emails that I new were false because I hadn’t seen those friends in a long time. So thank god I hadn’t opened the emails, because I would’ve probably got a nice ol’ virus.

Those are just some of the reasons I refuse to use social networks. So if you ask me whether or not I have a facebook or twitter, my answer will remain the same–“I prefer to use a blog.” Because after all, why use social media anyway, if there’s a better solution out there?

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Stranded release and Monday’s Musings 10: My thoughts on how people should learn to program


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Stranded part 3 has been released! It’s called “the end game,” and has lots of exciting things in it! I hope you enjoy playing this gamebook! If you haven’t played stranded part 1 or 2, they’re available on the game books page.

Monday’s musings post:

Ever since I got into programming and computers, I always thought certain things about being a programmer:
1. you must know multiple languages.
2. To learn a programming language, you have to read the whole manual until you get all the concepts.

However I have figured out that is not true.
The main thing that got me into believing that was the manual for BGT (blastbay game toolkit), a scripting language for coding audiogames, or games for the blind. That manual basically told you to read a chapter until you completely got what it was talking about, then move on. But I have realised that’s not the case.
When I first started learning Pure Basic, even though it was just about 4 days ago and I still don’t know it completely, I figured out that language didn’t have a chapter book to read. No, it had basically a list of the commands, and how to code them in. So instead of reading all of those, I came up with a plan, that I believe people should always use when programming.
1. The reference manual is called a reference manual for a reason. It’s not there just for a good read or 2, it’s there in case you need help at any point while programming. So don’t try to read the whole book, Read what you need, and keep looking back on it as you go.
2. learn by experience. When trying to lose wait or get muscle, you don’t just watch the fitness tapes or just listen to what a fitness instructor says… do you? If so, you might know how to do all those exercises, but you wouldn’t have developed the strength needed to do them. It’s the same with programming. You can’t just look at the manual and expect to know the language, you need practice. My suggestion, program as you learn. take my word processor for example. I didn’t know a lick of pure basic before I began coding it, but look where it is now. I have gotten this far simpley because I thought of a feature I needed, and looked at the reference manual for assistance. Doing this has taught me file management, menu creation, using enumerations and procedures, and even a few other handy tools I’ll need to use when programming.
3. Experiment. Sometimes, you aren’t always going to find the answer to your questions in the reference manual. On the occasion that this should occur, use your knoledge and experiment with code you think would work. Move some lines around. Delete or add extra words or characters. Either way, you’re not gonna get far without experimenting.
4. resources. The reference manual is not the only thing you can go to for help. There’s always the good old world wide web. Think about a subject in school. Would you learn math only using the textbook? No. You need a teacher (in programming, you’re usually teaching yourself), yes you’ll need the book sometimes, and you might also need the web. But either way, remember that the reference manual is not your only answer.
5. And the final thing I’ve figured out about programming, is that you need to stay determined. Programming is not a skill you can pick up over night, it takes time. Get frustrated. Back away from your computer. It’s going to happen sometimes… but stay determined and motivated. Don’t let anything or anyone hinder you.

I hope this will help people is it did for me. And if you’re wondering how this qualifies as a Monday’s Musings post, I am sharing my thoughts on learning programming, and how I think it should be done.

So if you guys ever become a programmer, take in mind my advice–because it might just help you some time.

Thanks for reading,
Type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s Musings 9: Accessible technoligy: Why must it cost extra?


Hey guys,
Steve here.

When a sited person gets a computer, they automatically get to use it. There’s no extra software or hardware required for them, just a screen, and they are ready to go. It works the same for programs–every program can work well for sited users, but is that true for the blind?
For us blind people, we need extra software to operate our computers. Unfortunately, quite a bit of that software costs money. For example: did you know that for windows, NVDA is the only free screen reader? I believe that has changed in windows 8, with Microsoft’s narrator becoming a lot more usable. But that’s not my point–things such as Jaws, and window eyes, two screen readers on the market, cost anywhere from $800 to $1300. Sounds like a lot, huh?
I am thankful that I have NVDA, and I guess that settles the expensive screen readers issue, however I wouldn’t be writing this post if screen readers were the only expensive thing out there for blind users. Let’s take braille displays and braille notes (a type of computer meant for blind users) for example. A Braille display, or small device that prints whatever is written on screen into braille so a blind user can read it, costs upwards of $3000! And the screen of a computer comes built in? No one pays extra for that… now do they? And look at the braille note! That costs I think like $5000 or something! Why so much? Why must blind people pay to have technology life easier for them?
I’m not done. This Skype client that I use, the main thing that got me musing about this topic, proves my point exactly. So you know how Skype is free? Well this blind friendly Skype client is free to use, but gives you ads every 30 minutes, which I must say are very obtrusive and annoying. How can you stop the ads? by purchasing and using the screen reader, window eyes, which was made by that same company. How ridiculous is that?
With all that being said, I know how hard these people work to make things easier and more accessible for us blind folks… but why must it cost so much money for us users to purchase that software and hardware? my motto is “Blindness is not a disability, but a characteristic, and it should be treated that way.” So if a sited person gets a screen for their computer or other devices, and a program that is easy to use for them at no extra cost, Then for goodness sake, shouldn’t a blind person get the same thing, and at no extra cost?

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Monday’s Musings 8: What about the animals?


Hey guys,
Steve here.

I’ve been going to church for a couple months now. I am by no means saved or anything like that–it’s new to me and I’m not ready to go that far. But I’ve paid enough attention to the preature and youth bible study teachers to develop a question–What about the animals?
In church, you always hear about man, and what they can do to go to heaven or hell, but I’ve never heard about animals. Even going to church and having religious friends, I still don’t know what will happen to my cat when he passes away. For a human, although it is very sad and tragic, I can be comforted by the thought that they are up in heaven, whether it is true or not. But not with animals…
What about the dogs that attack people or other small creatures? Even if it was not intended to be that way in most cases, the animal still took another life. What happens to that animal when it dies? Or what about another dog who was faithful to their owner and never hurt another creature, what about that?
Like I said, my knowledge of religion is not the best in the world, and maybe someone out there could answer this question for me. But until that happens, I will be wondering, what about the animals?