The Horrors of Moving

Horror movies had a character to give a warning to the would-be victims. Here are some moving stories to serve as warning for your own moving stories!

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Horror stories of old, and some of the new, come with a warning.

The most common interpretation of these warnings is to have the would-be victims stop at a gas station to fill up their vehicle with gas. As they wait for the tank to fill, an eerie-looking person will step out and approach them. He’ll give an ominous warning that the direction they plan to go will lead to chaos, and most likely death.

Moving can feel like a horror movie, which is why you should listen to horror stories of others and heed the Message from the Harbinger.

Here’s the familiar “Harbinger” scene from a recent classic, The Cabin in The Woods.


(If you haven’t seen The Cabin in The Woods yet, go watch it! Also, if you have seen it, go watch it again. I’m even reading the novelization!)

The Harbinger is meant to give the would-be victims an opportunity to try a different path or change course completely. In The Cabin in The Woods, and other horror classics like it, The Harbinger scene is the ominous foreboding of what’s to come if the would-be victims don’t heed his warning.

…They don’t.

If the would-be victims listened and changed, then there would be no story, no horror movie, and no victims.

Your moving story doesn’t have to end like theirs.

Take heed and listen to the following stories so you can save yourself from the same peril that befell these victims! (insert ghostly wailing)

Never Trust a Neighborhood

James (not his real name), had been in his new house for barely a full week. It was Sunday, and he opened the garage to pull out his wife’s car as they made ready to go to church. Sitting in the driveway was his work truck.

Something was missing!

The work truck was a Toyota Pre-Runner, with an open bed.

As a pest control technician, James would use an expensive leaf-blower with an attachment to spray treatment chemicals on lawns. It was brand new. Cost nearly $1000.

Moreover, it was gone!

The previous neighborhood James had lived in was rundown. Cars were parked on lawns, a few homes had windows boarded up, and some of the residents had questionable jobs. However, the truck sat out in the open with the leaf-blower in plain sight…no one touched it.

This new neighborhood, although nicer, was still being built. No one parked his or her car on the front lawn, all the windows were intact, and everyone had a job.

Yet, someone had stolen equipment that James didn’t even own.

However, he still had to help pay to replace, to the tune of $450.

The Warning

New neighborhoods, though they may look nice, can still hide secrets.

If you’re not familiar with the area, you can get information from those who do live there. Check out City-Data Forums to see what locals have to say. You can post a question about your neighborhood there and get answers.

Make a Checklist

Bob (not his real name) had moved into a lovely two-story home with his wife and kids. He’d set up a bundle package through a local home services provider, getting his internet, cable TV, and phone from one source. Bob liked the convenience of the single check, and he was finding that it saved him some money.

Six months after the move-in, however, he got a bill with late-charges, overdue fees, and about seven months of monthly charge.

For services on his previous home!

Bob had forgotten to cancel the internet service at his last house.

With those built-up charges, Bob had to do a payment plan, as well as work with his credit company to keep his credit score from taking a hit.

It would take years before Bob could pay down the bill.

The Warning

Make a checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything before you move out of your home. It may seem tedious, but when the moving process revs up, you’ll most likely be too busy to remember everything yourself. A simple piece of paper with the items listed can save you time, and in Bob’s case, money. You can even use the notes app on your smartphone to write out a list.

If you’re worried that you missed a crucial step, check out The Art of Happy Moving. The Art of Happy Moving has a checklist you can download. The checklist breaks down the timeline needed to get things ready for a smoother transition.

If you want to make a list yourself, that’s fine, but make sure you make a list.

However, most of all- don’t forget to cancel services at your old home!

Missing Pieces

On a Friday morning, Jack finally found time to start opening boxes that had piled up in his living room from the recent move. The process of moving had been bumpy, but so far, everything had smoothed out.

He’d hired movers to help, and they’d managed to get everything out of his apartment and storage unit, and into his new home in the time allotted.

However, the very next morning he had to go back to work and the stacks of boxes in his living room sat there for several days.

Now he finally had time to get the unpacking done.

As items came out, he noticed a couple of his Bluetooth speakers were missing. He was sure he’d packed them in the right box, but they weren’t there. All the boxes had been taped up, so the movers couldn’t have opened them and helped themselves to some of Jack’s stuff before they left.

Where were they?!

After opening every box, and stacking the contents everywhere else, he was still sure the speakers were missing.

He headed back to his old apartment and asked the management if someone had turned them into the lost and found. The answer was “no.”

The next week Jack searched the boxes again, called friends who’d helped him move, and still couldn’t find them.

It wasn’t until he’d just about given up hope that he found his missing speakers- right next to his bed. He’d pulled the speakers out of the box before taping them up so that he could show a friend. The friend had put them on top of the boxes when they’d loaded up the moving truck. The movers had placed them next to his bed.

The Warning

You can inventory your entire house to avoid something like this. But then again, that would take a lot of time.

Apps, like Sortly, allow you to take pictures of your stuff and the app will create QR codes that you can print out to put on boxes. You can then scan the closed box to see what’s inside, or what should be inside. While this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of lost items, it can help you track your stuff and provide peace of mind.

Bad Movers

To get his stuff across the country, Vince hired movers who would pack his stuff, as well as his car, into containers. They’d agreed to deliver it to his new address and help him unpack.

Vince, being busy, flew to his new home and continued working until the movers showed up.

When they did show up, however, they demanded “extra fees” because of some trouble getting it across the country. While Vince hadn’t agreed on this stipulation, the movers had the keys to the truck.

Vince also noticed that his car wasn’t with the truck.

Since his stuff was held hostage, and his car was nowhere in sight, Vince had to walk to a nearby gas station to use their ATM. Then he had to walk back, hand over the money, and wait for them to unload all his belongings.

With that finally done, Vince had to then negotiate for his car.

Another trip the nearby ATM and he was given the keys and an address.

He didn’t know how to get there, so he had to plug in the address to his map and use public transportation to get there.

At last, Vince had found his car- it was in a paid parking space, and he had to pay the parking fee to get it out.

The Warning

Make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you’ve made with the moving company that you’ve hired.

Before doing this, check them out on the Better Business Bureau and Yelp. Moving companies who do lousy work will get reported. A simple search of the moving company name, plus the word “complaints,” will help you find out who’s been complaining about them.

More reputable moving companies, though they might be more pricey, will save you a headache and you won’t have to worry about your stuff being held for ransom. They may provide a written contract for you, but you should still make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you made with them.

Save the Jump Scares for the Movies

Horror movies, with their copious deaths and arterial blood spray, are the best place for scary things to happen.

Not your moving experience.

Although every problem can’t is avoidable, you can take some steps to eliminate problems or at least mitigate them. Things like a checklist, writing up a “mover agreement,” or taking inventory of your stuff can save you from a jump scare along the way.

There is one last thing you need to set up for your new home- setting up your new home services.

Home services, like energy utility, home security system, and internet service provider, can be set up before you move in. It’s highly likely you’ll be moving to a new neighborhood, one you’re not familiar with. You may not know who provides energy, or what ISPs are in the area.

Check out the best internet packages and deals from KonectEaze. Here you’ll find internet, cable TV, phone, home security, and in certain places, energy utilities. You can research providers here and find out what deals are available by merely searching your new zip code.

You can save yourself some time, headache, and cash all in one place.

Do you have a moving horror story? Share it in the comments below.

For news and updates on moving, home service providers, and horror stories, keep the browser open to On The Download.


Venom: Creepy Enough?

While I have yet to see Venom, I’m hoping what I’m hearing from critics is wrong. Then again, I’ve been disappointed by superhero films before. I’ve also been surprised. We’ll have to wait and see.

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While I have yet to see Venom, I’m hoping what I’m hearing from critics is wrong. Then again, I’ve been disappointed by superhero films before. I’ve also been surprised.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Best of the Bad

I’ve always liked the character of Venom. He was one of those unique villains, the ones you loved to hate and root against. However, you didn’t want them to die away completely.

You know, villains like Dr. Doom, Magneto, and Apocalypse.

Victor Von Doom, who would later become Dr. Doom, was a megalomaniac bent on world domination. He wanted to be 'The One Ruler of the Whole World.'

Then we have Magneto. As a Holocaust survivor, he’s seen the worst side of humanity. Being on the receiving end of that hatred led him to believe that humans are not fit to rule the planet, nor are they capable of even taking care of themselves. What’s a metal-bending mutant to do? Take over the world, of course.

We also have Apocalypse. (Not to the movie version. He was weak)

The comic book version was much more terrifying; He was born in ancient Egypt…let that sink in for a second.

This guy’s mutant power allowed him to live for millennia. He was born with grey skin and random blue lines. This terrified his tribe. As a result, they sought to kill him. Thanks to this lack of understanding, Apocalypse, known as En Sabbah Nur at the time, decided humans must be subjugated. Moreover, who better to do that than himself?

A theme among all these bad guys is the wounds, both physical and emotional, received from small-minded people. Instead of understanding that it was small-mindedness that caused this, they’ve decided ALL of humanity must pay. That anger becomes hatred, and that hatred is what drives them to do great and terrible things.

This drive also makes them scary.

Venom gets put in the same category as these guys.

Not because he wants to rule the world. In truth, Venom could care less who’s in charge of the world.

He wants only one thing- to eat.

Moreover, humans are the tastiest of foods available on the planet.

Venom


In his original debut, Venom was an alien symbiote. He’s not a mutant or something created in a lab. Well, in the Ultimate Universe he was, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, he didn’t come from earth. He just showed up.

Now, the symbiotes are different in that they need a host to survive. They bond with a nearby host, or they’ll most likely die. The Venom Symbiote bonded with the nearest candidate, and that was Spider-Man. However, thanks to Spidey’s strength of will and cunning, he separated himself from the thing.

Eddie Brock--arrogant, angry, forever scarred by an abusive father--was nearby and ended up bonding with the symbiote.

While I’m not sure how the movie handles it, and I’ve heard they could have done a better job, that’s the basic gist of how Brock bonded with Venom.

The two have been a pair for much of the character’s history. There were times when Venom was a good guy. There were times when he was tearing through cities and was nigh unstoppable.

Also, there was a time when an Anti-Venom existed. He was the opposite, even in color, to Venom.

Throughout it all, however, Venom wasn’t to be trusted. He could do good things from time to time, yet there was this feeling that he was just *this* close to losing it and tearing things up again.

While Tom Hardy was a great choice to play Eddie Brock/Venom, it remains to be seen if this incarnation will live on in the movies. If that happens then, by all means, keep Hardy. If not, then I suggest Scott Eastwood.

There is plenty of comic book fodder here to keep Venom going, even if it’s just the symbiotes themselves.

You see, Venom wasn’t alone.

A rare trait of this alien species was that they could reproduce asexually- meaning they merely “hatched” another symbiote.

Carnage

When Venom did hatch another symbiote, that one did the same thing and looked for a host to bond to.

The problem was that it bonded with Cletus Kasaday.

Cletus was a cellmate of Brock’s. When the Venom symbiote came to bust him out, it left something behind. That something bonded with Cletus.

Cletus, unlike Brock, was an unstable serial killer.

The pairing of the two led to a real problem for the Marvel Universe.

Instead of a symbiote that could be persuaded to be good, from time to time, Carnage was never interested in doing anything for the good of others. Cletus loved to kill people. Carnage wanted to eat. Carnage could eat while also equipping Cletus with a unique way of murdering others.

He continues to be a problem, mostly for Spider-Man. A few other heroes have had run-ins with the deranged hunter-killer as well. Now and then it looks as though they’ve captured him and put him away, but he always finds a way to escape.

When they do debut Carnage on the big screen, and they need to do it soon, I suggest Toby Kebbell for the role.

Interestingly enough, when it came time for Carnage to hatch another symbiote, he ended up picking someone who was almost his complete opposite.

Toxin

Patrick Mulligan was a New York City Police Officer and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carnage, looking to offload his new symbiote, placed it in Mulligan, and left, thinking the problem was solved. If that were true, then there’d be no story and no reason to keep reading the comic. Luckily for the readers, and not Cletus, there was a problem.

When the symbiote hatched, Patrick did all that he could to keep the thing from going on a rampage. Unlike Brock, who was scared by an abusive father and Cletus, who enjoyed killing people, Patrick had a sense of justice and didn’t want to hurt anyone.

That sense of justice caused problems with the symbiote who came to be named Toxin.

Of the three symbiotes out there, Toxin is, by far, the most interesting.

When they do finally get around to casting a Patrick Mulligan, Liam Hemsworth would be great in that part.

After all, his brother Chris has done a stellar job as Thor, so why not let the younger brother have a shot at being a Marvel superhero?

Well, maybe not a superhero, but a highly conflicted anti-superhero.

Which One is Best?

While Eddie does have some sense of right and wrong, he’s ultimately a thug with a unique weapon. Whatever conflict there is minimal. This doesn’t degrade Venom as a character. Instead, he’s someone trying to wrestle with morality. The problem is that the “bad” side is constantly tapping at Eddie’s brain and making him feel hungry. Thus, Eddie usually gives in to Venom’s demands.

Carnage, on the other hand, is a straight-up sociopath.

While Lecter may use medical instruments to kill his victims, and Leatherface a chainsaw, Cletus has a suit that warps into blades and other sharp things. What more could a serial killer want?

For Cletus, the argument of right versus wrong is moot. He knows what’s right and what’s wrong, but he does not care.

Toxin is where it gets interesting.

Patrick feels beholden to justice; there is right, and there is wrong. For Patrick, it’s up to him to bring offenders to justice.

However, there’s this thing that keeps tapping at his brain, causing hunger in his throat, and that crawling sensation under his skin.

It will not go away.

So what’s a good guy to do?

And therein lies an intriguing conflict.

Until we get that movie, Venom will have to do. When it does hit streaming, make sure you’re hooked up with the best internet deals in your area. Just saying...

Between now and then, catch up on all your reading by heading over to Marvel Unlimited. This way you can stream the comics to your favorite device. You’ll be able to catch up on your reading whenever you have a free moment. You’ll also learn more about the characters as well.

The best part about this is you can form your own opinion about Venom, Carnage, and Toxin.

Who do you think is the best symbiote? When someone finally makes a movie about them, which actors would you cast?

For more news on upcoming films, provider reviews, and streaming technology, keep your browser open to On The Download.


6 Reasons to Laugh this Halloween

There are scary movies and then there are movies that spoof scary movies. This Halloween, let's laugh more than we scream.

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This Halloween I’d much rather be laughing than screaming when I watch a movie. Instead of having to decide between a comedy or a horror film, why not enjoy both? Watch a horror-comedy! Now don’t worry, there are plenty of movies out there to scare you. You’ve got your Chucky films, gore-fest stuff, the found footage flicks and your straight up freaky killer films. Just get onto your streaming service and I’m sure they’re not far off. Before you do, just make sure you check out the best internet deals and packages in your area. Because nothing is scarier than paying more for your internet than you absolutely need to. Right? For those out there who don’t enjoy the jump scares, blood spraying profusely from an artery, or that creepy guy who just likes killing people- you’re in luck. There are plenty of horror spoof movies out there. Like the Wayan Brothers’ with their Scary Movie series and A Haunted House films. Then there are the movies with horror creatures in them that are put into odd situations, like Warm Bodies. These are humorous twists on standard comedy setups. What I’m talking about are the movies that mock the clichés of the classic horror films. There are spoofs, which are over-the-top in their humor. And then there are these types of films which aim to tell an actual story with a humorous take on the “scary movie format.” Trust me, they are well worth your time.

Zombieland


Who doesn’t like Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin? This move teamed up with all four actors in a comedic look at the zombie genre. Instead of putting people into the usual “zombie outbreak set in X location,” it was a story about people. Jesse Eisenberg’s character, Columbus, is quite lonely. Although he’s survived the zombie apocalypse and is continuing to survive, it’s not the way to live. This is more of a metaphor for modern life, but we can save that analysis for the critics. The point is, Columbus must overcome his own “rules for survival” to make a human connection. And in doing so he’ll not only survive, but he’ll also find happiness. It’s also chockful of great one-liners from Harrelson; “You got taken hostage by a twelve-year-old?” “You ever seen a lion limber up before it takes down a gazelle?” “My mama always told me someday I’d be good at something. Who’s a guessed that something’d be zombie-killing?” And his catchphrase… which shall be saved for later.

Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Young Frankenstein

Thanks to a lot of Dracula movies being made, Mel Brooks decided it was time to spoof them all. Hence, Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Instead of finding an actor who would just parody Christopher Lee, Brooks went and signed on one of the best comedic actors ever- Leslie Nielsen. Best known for his role as Lt. Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun series, Neilsen was perfect for this role. He did the whole Transylvania accent and creepy act so well. We also can’t forget Stephen Weber, Amy Yasbeck, Lysette Anthony, and Peter MacNicol. And we can’t forget Young Frankenstein either. This was Brooks’ first spoof of a classic Hollywood monster, and the movie is full of references to other Frankenstein films. Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, and Peter Boyle comprise a stellar cast that put the horror classic in its place. And instead of doing it in color, Brooks went with the black-and-white to give that antique feel. It still has that old classic horror film feel but filled with antics that will have you crying from laughter. These two spoofs were done just right. Not too much over-the-top antics, but the just the right amount of absurdity to really bring home the laughs. “Oh, I was having a day-mare.”

Evil Dead 2


In 1981, Sam Raimi created an independent horror flick called Evil Dead. It was scary enough, with some inventive camera techniques and gore. But the film tried too hard to be scary and came off as funny instead. Riding that success, Raimi did a sequel/reboot of the first film with Evil Dead 2. It was the same basic story but turned into a comedy-horror film. So now it could be over the top and everyone was okay with that. And this is where Bruce Campbell got his start, as Ash Williams. When Evil Dead 2 took off, Raimi made a third movie to create a trilogy- Army of Darkness. And now Ash is known as a cult hero on par with John McClane and Indiana Jones. In 2013 Raimi remade Evil Dead as a true horror film. And now it looks like that’ll be getting a sequel too. Enough about that, what’s important to know is that Evil Dead 2 is meant to be a cheap-looking horror film. Thanks to Campbell, it more than delivers on laughs.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

With all these horror movies about “evil,” has anyone stopped to look at it from “their” perspective? This is how we get Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, playing the titular Tucker and Dale respectively, are perfect for these roles. They’re just two hapless country boys who are trying to fix up their summer cabin, which also looks surprisingly like the cabin from Evil Dead. Anyway, a bunch of college students show up and start killing themselves. Or do they? As the two witless friends try to figure out what’s going on, hilarity ensues with several bodies involved. Be sure to look for how the normal horror movie tropes are NOT followed.

A Cabin in the Woods


While the previous five were out and out comedies, A Cabin in the Woods is something different. It satirizes the horror classics by making a dark comedy of what’s going on at this creepy-looking cabin. And yes, this cabin is similar to the one from Evil Dead as well. Apparently, there’s a certain type of cabin that’s scarier than others. I won’t ruin the end, but you’ll understand once you see it. Anyway, this film was made pre-Thor. Don’t be surprised when you see a thinner, more lean Chris Hemsworth. Along with Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams, these are the five college teens who go to “a cousin’s” cabin in some non-descript woods. Little do they know that they’re being watched by a shadowy no-name organization. The guys running this little operation are played by Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Amy Acker, and Brian White. To explain this organization would give away the entire plot of the movie. But know that Joss Whedon wrote the script with Drew Goddard, so it’s worth the time to watch it.

Laughter is Always Better

While a thriller is good for entertainment occasionally, laughter is by far a better choice. And with Halloween so close, there are plenty of chances to get scared, if you’re into that sort of thing. As for the rest who’d rather not create undue stress on their hearts, there are these comedy horror films. They’ll make you laugh and it’s been proven that laughter has more health benefits than screaming does. Underneath it all, you’re really doing something healthy for yourself when you watch a comedy. And not just any comedy, but a good comedy film.


Compliment a Techie Today

Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. Today we give them their due celebration!

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Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. And technology is great unti It stpp wrk… Let’s try that again. Technology is great… until it stops working. That’s when we stop to notice it. And not in a good way. We’re usually looking for why it went wrong. We’re not gawking over the design, the sophistication of the engineering that went into the thing that is now part of our everyday lives. Nope. We just want it to do what it’s supposed to do. And that’s when we go looking for a techie.

Techies

It’d be easy to talk about techies as if this were a nature special. Fade into a Steve Irwin impersonator talking about the “majestic and reclusive techie…” And other biologist-related puns and in-jokes. We forget that these are real people doing real work. And we only care to notice them when something goes wrong. Most of the time, we forget, the technology is working the way that it’s supposed to. It’s designed to perform some task in a shorter amount of time than we can. Or, if we can’t do said task, then we get this technology to do it for us. The technology usually makes it easier and more cost-efficient than paying a person to do it. I like to think of my crockpot at moments like this. I cut and season the required ingredients, add them to the pot, and set the timer. You see!? Technology has made it easier for me to prepare a meal for my family without having to risk burning down my house. Well, the risk of fire is still there. That’s why I read the manual and move the crockpot away from any flammable items. I realize the crockpot isn’t going to strike awe into the mind of the reader here. It’s a simple kitchen appliance. The design and functionality of it are basic and there’s really not much to improve upon there. It’s antiquated technology. Now, when it comes to my home computer, well, that’s a different story. That thing is slow. Absurdly slow and I want nothing more than to put my fist through it as I have to wait for a file to open. Now, when I was younger, it could have been considered a “lightning fast” computer. “4 Gigabytes of random-access-memory” was not available in Macintosh’s Apple II. And despite my frustrations with it, the machine was designed well and is doing the job it’s supposed to do. With the technology available to it. The problem with this equation is the person who bought it- me. Sigh. I have only myself to blame here.

The Unsung Heroes

In the case of my god-awful home computer, it was still designed by a team of trained professionals. The details of it, even the slight bevel around the edges of the screen, was designed by a person who knew the exact angle that bevel should be set at. And thus, the pieces came together, and the computer was born. I don’t know the names of anyone who designed the thing, but I’m thankful they know what they’re doing. And as for my crockpot, it’s still a work of art. Despite the “outdated” technology, someone still had to design the look of it and to incorporate all the parts. The wiring within needs to be calibrated. A regulator of some type is installed to make sure the heating coils inside don’t burn too hot and too fast. Each turn of the knob needs to correspond with the right amount of temperature delivered over a set amount of time. And the fact that it does this so reliably makes my life easier. Not to mention adding a few inches to my waistline. But that’s another issue for another post. And while I named off “coils, regulator, and wiring,” I’m not entirely sure those are the accurate terms for such a thing. I’m just a writer and not much of a techie myself. To all the techies reading this, I apologize for my ignorance.

A little bit of Techie in all of Us

When it comes to video games, all of us are gamers to some degree. This is true when it comes to technology. Someone may call themselves “technologically challenged.” But in truth, they lack confidence in their technology skills. Most of the population are techies of the lowest order- they have a smartphone, cell phone, or just a crockpot at home. Knowing how to operate the basic functions of these gadgets makes them a techie. And then there are the techies who know a lot about a specific type of technology and not others. For example; my father-in-law is quite familiar with how to operate his home theater system. He set it up. He knows all the remotes and how to navigate to the proper input to watch his blu-rays. I’m familiar with my own home theater system. Therefore, when my father-in-law comes over, one of the first things he does is ask for me to turn on the Cowboys game. The differences in our two home theater systems aren’t terribly extreme. But the nuances between them is enough that one wrong button push will cause disaster. And by disaster, I mean missing the Cowboys game. Part of the reason I’m able to do this is I’ve been able to find the best internet deals and packages available in my area. Make sure you do the same so you can at least save a few bucks while you watch your favorite team play this Sunday. It’s up to me to turn on the tv and navigate to the right input so he can watch his precious Cowboys. After all, we all know how to run. But those who train and practice it become track stars. Does this mean we’re all inept at running? Absolutely not. Some are just more avid about their running than others. This is what separates basic tech skills from techies. It’s the techies who can pick up a broken smartphone and know how to fix it.

To Each Their Own Skill

techieThanks to techies, we get to watch our Sunday football, catch up on emails, and watch YouTube Clips on our phones. And while we have awards for athletes, authors, and soldiers, we don’t spend time celebrating the techies. It’s these techies who facilitate the connecting of information that allows us to watch football, read and listen to books by authors and keep vigil over our dedicated civil servants and armed forces personnel. Thank you, Techies. Today we stop to recognize you not because something is broken. We recognize you for all your hard work despite the technology not always working right!

Bigger Screens Are Not the Answer!

Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Or, advertisers want you to believe nearly everyone does- "smarter phones with bigger screens!" Is it true?

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Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Or, advertisers want you to believe nearly everyone does- "smarter phones with bigger screens!" And when you do finally cave to peer pressure, they want you to buy a smartphone with the biggest screen available. There’s an obvious joke to play here; something about being bigger is better, and some sort of innuendo. But that’s not going to happen. What will happen, however, is that screens on smartphones will get bigger and bigger.Bigger But why?

The Space Race

Back in the 40s and 50s, computers were a new thing. They were bulky and crude compared to the technology we command today. Beyond that, they could compute equations only if the input was just right. The tubes involved in computers had to be moved just right, or they wouldn’t function properly. And then came the computers with the punch cards. To make the computer do exactly what you wanted, you had to have the right punch cards to make that happen. Those cards had to put in the right order as well. If you had a stack of punch cards for a computer, you had to make sure they stayed in the right order. If someone dropped them or moved just one card out of order, then the whole process was messed up. Computers, though helpful, were not as useful as they were meant to be. Organizations still relied on the time-tested and trusted source of computing numbers- the human mind. To do this, having a math degree came in handy. Once someone attained the appropriate degree and proved they could execute the right calculations with reasonable accuracy, they were handed stacks of equations to double-check. BiggerThis is detailed in “Hidden Figures,” by Margot Lee Shetterly. The movie touches, briefly, on this skill. Therefore, you must read the book because it’ll show you so much more about what went into computing. In fact, that’s where the term “computer” came from; a person who computes equations.

A Computer is a Person

Back before NASA existed, there was the NACA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. NACA was concerned with creating superior airplanes and missiles after World War I. Naturally, when the Second World War erupted, NACA was expanded to research and test new airplanes and aerodynamics. To do this, they needed help to compute the mountains of data that came with the researching, testing, and experimenting. So they hired people with math degrees to do the analysis. Entire buildings of “computers” were hired out. And with the draft invoked, NACA had to look beyond the typical male candidates they were so used to finding. This was part of the catalyst for women, both African-American and white, to find their way into the NACA, and soon, NASA.

The Moon

After World War II, there came another conflict the United States was intent on winning- The Cold War. Hence, NACA was still needed. But now they had to go beyond the skies- they needed to go to space. Then John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, gave his iconic speech on September 12, 1962. In it, he spoke these lines that would forever define space exploration; “We choose to go to the moon! We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and others, too.” With that, the race to the moon was on. As exciting as it was to claim that we would make it to the moon first, there was a problem- they had to figure out a way to get up there. To do that, they needed to train pilots to be astronauts. And therein lay another problem- astronauts can only do so much. To pilot a craft out of our atmosphere, there needed to be a support staff capable of doing it. Constant communication was required. Data needed to be taken and analyzed rapidly. That’s why they started making computers smaller, faster, and lighter. You can read up on the speech through NASA’s site, or watch it on YouTube. Just make sure you’ve checked the best internet deals and packages first so you can save some cash before you do.

Then and Now

BiggerThink about this- the smartphones we now use have more computing power than all of NASA did when they put a man on the moon. And yet, we’re using them to play games and watch fail videos. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Fail videos are fun to watch. And setting a high score is great. What NASA inadvertently started in the late 60s—the miniaturization of the computer—has become an obsession. Now the latest trend is to pack more and more computing power into a smaller device. But there seems to be one drawback to all this- the screens are getting bigger.

The Screen Race

I currently use an iPhone SE. The screen is 4 inches. And it works for me. I don’t need a huge screen on my phone. The size of this thing is just right because I have to carry it with me and I don’t want to carry it in my hand all the time either. I also refuse to use a cradle or hustle of this thing. Call me vain, but I wouldn’t be caught dead with a smartphone holster on me. But fashion these days is taking a disturbing trend. Pants are coming with fewer pockets. They’re also becoming tighter and tighter.

Why This Trend?

This fascination with tight pants is beyond me. Then again, I was never on the cutting edge of fashion.Bigger I grew up in the age when baggy pants were “in.” And better yet, add in a couple extra pockets to make them cargo pants. At first, I didn’t want to buy into the trend. I was so thankful when I did. They were incredibly comfortable! It wasn’t the material that made them comfortable, but the room inside them. I was sealed into some denim torture device. No, I had room to breathe. My pants didn’t judge me, instead, they embraced me and said, “You’ll fit right in!” What could make these pants even better? Pockets! Who’d have thought? By adding an extra pair of pockets you could carry extra stuff on you, like a phone! Yet, as these phones get bigger and bigger, cargo pants are shunned from the fashion world. They’re ostracized and cast out. They’re not “fashionable.” And yet, I’m doomed to carry a massive phone on me without a pocket to carry it in. I ask you, why must we be condemned to this existence? Do we really need screens this big on our phones? And if so, why can’t we have pants that can carry them?

The Next Trend

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the one who refuses to switch trends. But that’s okay. I’m an outsider anyway, and always have been. Therefore, I’ll stick with my outdated sense of style. I do this because it’s comfortable. Beyond comfort, I know what looks good on me and what I like to be seen in. Therefore, it will be relaxed bootcut jeans, flannel, and a pair of tennis shoes. Even if they come out with a new phone to fit in every pocket, it won’t affect my sense of style. But I have heard of Samsung creating a foldable phone. That might be the new trend. I hope so because a phone that folds will make it easier to fit into a pocket. And when that happens, we’ll have the best of both worlds; big screens, and a pocket that can fit them.