Eddie Hinkle

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Workplace Monitoring and the Christian

Employee monitoring in the workplace is a challenging issue. There are arguments on both sides for and against it. Most employees assume they can just use the internet as they would at home. However, whereas the employee owns everything at their home, everything at their office is the property of the company (Dale & Lewis, 2016, p. 279).

In America, where freedom is a right, it is often assumed that freedom is allowed anywhere and everywhere. This freedom does not, in fact, extend to private property such as the property owned by a business. Because of this conflict, in a 2005 survey, 26% of employers “had fired workers for misuse of the Internet” (Dale & Lewis, 2016, p. 279).

It makes sense that a company should be able to avoid misuse of their equipment and property, however it is also important for employees to be able to rest and recuperate throughout the day (Dale & Lewis, 2016, p. 279).

When it comes to the Christian’s use of technology, two questions must be asked. The first is how should a Christian employer handle the technology used in their business. Ephesians 6:9 says “And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven” (CSB). This same principle can be used for employers and employees. The statement “treat your slaves the same way” refers to the verses before where the slave is told to serve their master with sincerity, and a good attitude, because what the slave does they will receive back from the Lord. This means that employers should show consider the same things when thinking about their employees. This means, if and when an employer does monitor employee use of technology, it should be done with sincerity and grace.

Finally, the question is how a Christian employee should behave. In Luke 16:10, it says “Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much” (CSB). This means, that as much as is possible, an employee should use the time and equipment provided by their employer for company work. The great thing about that is when a Christian employee adopts this principle, it doesn’t really matter if the employer tracks their technology usage because they will be living “above reproach” (Colossians 1:22).

References

Dale, N. & Lewis, J. (2016). Computer Science Illuminated, 6th Edition. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Gaming as an Addiction

Playing video games can have both positive and negative influences on the people that play video games. Some benefits of playing video games include increased hand-eye coordination as the player has to link finger and hand movements with what they are seeing on the screen, and increased mental dexterity.

Some negative aspects of playing video games are that time spent on video games can quickly get out of hand, potentially interfering with more productive activities such as work, school and other social or learning activities.

Addiction can take form in many different ways, alcohol, gambling, sex, and of course, gaming. “Gaming addiction exhibits the same symptoms as other impulse-control disorders” (Dale & Lewis, 2017, p. 494). Some indications that you are addicted to gaming is usual addictive behaviors: lying, lack of attention, sleep issues, etc. Video games are seen to be highly addictive among men, based on the satisfaction hormones that are active during game play (Dale & Lewis, 2017, p. 495).

When considering how a Christian should deal with technology, there are two principles that can be considered. The first focuses on the Christian as an individual. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explains to the church in Corinth that for a Christian, while “Everything is permissible”, “not everything is beneficial” (1 Cor 6:12 CSB). In essence, just because a Christian can do something, doesn’t mean they should do something. Paul encourages the Christian to “not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor 6:12 CSB). This means if a Christian is at the risk of becoming addicted to video games, while video games are permissible a Christian that is susceptible to addiction should be careful and exercise caution when considering playing video games.

The other concept is when considering other Christians. In the book of Romans, Paul explains that when considering their actions a Christian should always consider how their actions affect their fellow Christians. “Therefore, let us no longer judge one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in the way of your brother or sister” (Rom 14:13 CSB). This means if playing video games might cause issues for a fellow Christian then they should reconsider playing video games.

This means if the Christian does not have addictive tendencies toward video games and no other fellow Christians in their lives would be negatively affected by their playing of video games, then it is a fun activity that can be engaged with caution.

References

Dale, N. & Lewis, J. (2016). Computer Science Illuminated, 6th Edition. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Hi Cory, You talked about some of the disadvantages in using social media. You specifically listed the fact that “some people post way too much information about themselves.” This is very true and can have unintended consequences in addition to the examples you listed. For example, in an article on the guardian, several millennials describe reasons they have quit using social media. Celan Beausoleil, a social worker from California, explained that “A lot of my job is I willingly listen to people’s lives all day every day, and it started to feel so overwhelming to go on social media and see every single detail of everybody’s life” (Brait, 2016). Other reasons that millennials used for stopping use of social media was that they felt like they spent too much time on social media and that they wondered what they could enjoy if they spent that time doing something else. Another issue being that when people’s romantic relationships end, the emotional hardship is added to because they have to decide if they should change profile photos or change their relationship status. It can add a lot of baggage to a time that is already hard enough as it is (Brait, 2016). Besides that, another downfall of sharing so much information on social media is that the companies never delete your information. Which means, for better or worse, your life choices and decisions of photos, activities and notes that you choose to post are stored in their archives forever.

References

Brait, E. (2016, March 17). ’Everyone could know what I was doing’: the millennials not using social media. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/01/millennials-not-on-social-media-twitter-facebook-instagram.

Article Review: The Five Most In-Demand Coding Languages

Article Reviewed: Kauflin, J. (2017, May 12). The Five Most In-Demand Coding Languages. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffkauflin/2017/05/12/the-five-most-in-demand-coding-languages/

Article Objectives:

· To analyze current hiring trends of programming languages and determine the easiest programming languages to get hired in.

· To suggest the top five programming languages that a programmer should learn.

· To list a couple honorable mention programming languages that just barely didn’t make the list.

· To provide a basic overview and explanation about the top five programming languages

· To show top programming trends in different cities across the United States.

Article Summary:

A programming school called Coding Dojo, researched and analyzed job postings on a variety of websites and search engines. They even did internal research with instructional staff that knows the programming market well. Using a combination of all of these data sources, they produced a list of the five most in-demand programming languages.

The top language (Python) is a common programming language useful for writing small utility-based programs and especially for use among data scientists and other analysts. It was the top programming language in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Jose, Washington D.C., Boston, Atlanta, and Seattle.

The second language, is Java. Java is also a widely used programming language that can be used for a variety of tasks. It was actually the most in-demand language in Philadelphia, and was the second strongest in the remaining 10 metropolitan areas giving it a very strong job demand.

The third in-demand language is JavaScript. JavaScript is primarily used to alter how websites look and function. JavaScript, is in fact, used by 90% of web pages according to the Coding Dojo report. JavaScript is the top programming language in New York and Houston, second in Philadelphia, ranking in third place in the other 8 metropolitan cities.

The fourth and fifth languages are C (a language created and used heavily by Microsoft) and PHP. C was in fourth or fifth place in each of the 11 cities except San Jose, where Swift (Apple’s programming language) has a stronger hold. Swift and Ruby on Rails were honorable mentions, showing up in fourth or fifth place in a couple of cities each but not enough cities to make it on the top five languages in demand across the nation.

Article Results:

· Python, Java and JavaScript are by far the top-used languages, each one sharing 1st, 2nd and 3rd position among different cities.

· Comparing C adoption versus Swift/iOS adoption, it is apparent that Microsoft technologies are still heavily relied upon across the nation (except in Apple’s hometown of San Jose).

· PHP and Ruby on Rails can be considered “second tier” programming languages as they don’t appear in every city and when they do appear they are in fifth place. However, they seem to be useful alternatives.

· JavaScript is used on the majority of web pages, so while Python and Java might be used in general offline programs, if you want to work on web pages, JavaScript is a safe bet.

· Ultimately, knowing top programming languages will help you get a job, but if you want a job with a specific company, it is important to know what they need. Capital One, Lockheed Martin, and Bloomberg are all looking for different programming languages.

Article Critique:

I feel that the analysis of the top-five programming languages nation-wide and then including the top languages per city is very useful approach. I know as a software engineer wondering recently what languages I should invest some more time in to, this article was very useful. I had no idea how popular Python was in the job market.

I think more context would have been useful around each programming languages’ uses. For example, they did a good job mentioning Python being used by a lot of data scientists. However, for Java they just said that it was “a versatile language”, whereas I think it would be useful to mention that Java tends to be heavily used in government and educational areas. They do mention that JavaScript is used on a lot of webpages, but there was no reference to Node.js which allows JavaScript to run as a web server.

Listing some of the companies hiring different programming languages was useful. Being able to see the difference between location, companies and programming languages helps to understand what is being used, and where. I do think they could have included more companies.

PHP was barely mentioned, I think there could have been more context. For example, PHP is the language that powers most of the content management systems across the internet as it is the language that builds both Wordpress and Drupal CMS software. This is also important because many government and educational insitutations are slowly shifting from Java-based backends to PHP-based Drupal. I experienced this first-hand listening to several talks at Drupal conferences as well as helping that transition while working with USAID.

I think it would have be useful to add some numbers for scale. JavaScript is only the third most popular programming language but how many jobs are available in JavaScript? Swift doesn’t make the national list but does make the list in New York, Philadelphia, San Jose, and Seattle. How many jobs are available can take Swift from a language to ignore to a language to learn.

Article Questions:

· How many jobs do each of these programming languages offer on average?

· I would have enjoyed seeing some more popular companies listed under what programming languages they were recently hiring.

· I’m curious how this has changed over time. For example: if Java has changed from the 1st to the 2nd position in the last couple years would be helpful to know. Or if JavaScript has joined the top 5 list recently or has been stuck around 3rd for awhile.

· Related to the above question, I’m curious how volitial this lsit is. By comparing data over time, it would be interesting to know if the job market changes a lot or if they are pretty stable long term.

Article Review: How Computing will Change amid Challenges to Moore's Law

Article Reviewed:

Papermaster, M. (2017, April 13). How computing will change amid challenges to moore’s law. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/13/how-computing-will-change-amid-challenges-to-moores-law/

Article Objectives:

  • To explain the current pace of speed improvements in developing CPUs.

  • Discussing current increased demands in computing power.

  • The difference between processing power in the cloud versus processing power in the local machine.

  • Addressing how to increase productivity in programming for local machine processing.

  • Addressing how to increase physical processing within the local machine

Article Summary:

In Papermaster’s How Computing will Change amid Challenges to Moore’s Law (2017)he discusses the challenges between the slowing of Moore’s Law and the increasing demand for local processing power in machines. Moore’s Law is the hypothesis that every two years technological advancements will enable CPUs to double in speed. Papermaster’s assertion is that this speed has begun to slow down leading to the need to find other ways to continue the same pace of technological innovation.

The first idea is that processing needs could be moved to the cloud rather than on local machines. But much of the innovation happening is in areas like self-driving cars, drones, robotics, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Papermaster includes an example of The Royal College of Medicine using VR and AR to create disruptive applications in the surgical area. Ultimately, cloud processing can’t be relied upon with those innovative areas because of the need for real-time data processing.

Papermaster argues that with the integration of software and hardware engineering, we can overcome the loses from the slowing of Moore’s Law. He argues that if we build specialized accelerators using both CPU and GPU processors, using innovative techniques such as 3D die stacking and stacked memory, and integrate these devices because of the smaller size of the processing units these focused hardware devices can be used through open-source frameworks in order to take advantage of many distinct functions.

He calls this new technique the Moore’s Law Plus, and he argues that by combining the on-going CPU speed increases with the innovative integration of hardware and software that we can maintain the same acceleration of technological progression.

Article Results:

  • Moore’s Law is no longer valid as a two year cycle, it takes longer to move processor size and speed forward.

  • Cloud computing is not responsive enough or fail-safe enough to provide the computational power needed in certain settings.

  • Key innovative areas that are demanding more processing power are AR and VR interfaces, as well as self-driving cars, drones, and robotics.

  • In order to continue at the same technological pace, businesses will need to use both software and hardware integration by pushing both areas into new directions.

  • There is a danger of this making software development more difficult, it is important to keep software programming effort as a key factor when making these integration decisions.

Article Critique:

I think that Papermaster’s article, How Computing will Change amid Challenges to Moore’s Law was well written and takes an interesting look into what life after Moore’s Law looks like. He doesn’t make much of an argument for the slowing of Moore’s Law and just states it as a fact. I do think that could have been better analyzed. However, the assertion is correct.

Intel’s famous “tick-tock” development process was originally designed around Moore’s Law where the first year was the tick (process) and the second year was the tock (architecture). By the third year, technology would have improved and they would be on to a new process. However, due to the slowing of Moore’s Law, Intel has had to develop a new development process that allows them to release new processors even when they haven’t been able to make physical changes every two years like the used to (Bright, 2016).

The recognition of cloud computing but the rationale on why it is not enough for certain areas of technology such as self-driving cars, AR or VR was helpful. I found it interesting that the solution was not in one discipline but was actually cross-displine by melding both software and hardware innovation.

Some proof of Papermaster’s assertions can be found in Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. In order to power the AR of the new iPhones as well as capitalize on battery life Apple built 6 cores into it’s System on Chip (SoC) A11 Bionic. It has two power efficient cores for general use that allows the iPhone to have great battery life as it is used normally. It also has four high performance cores that allow for heavy duty multithreading when dealing with intensive tasks such as AR. The A11 Bionic SoC also contains a motion co-processor that off-loads all the motion tracking data away from the generic processors into a processor designed for dealing with motion data (Altavilla, 2017).

I think that Papermaster’s article was a through analysis of the challenges that businesses are facing as Moore’s Law is slowly become less and less true. There are some areas that could have been expounded upon by providing proof of Moore’s Law slowing or some concrete examples of how the software and hardware integration can lead innovation at the same pace. However, the premise and conclusion were still true.

Supporting References

Altavilla, D. (2017, September 13). Apple A11 Bionic Processor Silicon Prowess may be the new iPhones’ Most Impressive Feature. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/davealtavilla/2017/09/13/apple-a11-bionic-processor-silicon-prowess-may-be-the-new-iphones-most-impressive-feature/ - 2cf7358c5f82

Bright, P. (2016, March 23). Intel retires “tick-tock” development model, extending the life of each process.. Retrieved from https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/03/intel-retires-tick-tock-development-model-extending-the-life-of-each-process/

Please note, the post below is a school assignment that required that I write a post with a contrary view of the thread which meant I had to defend software piracy, which is something that I DO NOT support or condone. This is purely an academic exercise.

Hi Bobby, Thank you for your thoughts on software piracy. You had some interesting points both on legal and moral grounds, but there were a couple things I thought I might respond to. First, you mentioned that a Christian shouldn’t use unauthorized software because it is considered stealing and that the Ten Commandments forbid theft. This however, is under the assumption that a Christian is living under The Law rather than by grace. I would argue that a Christian is free from the law, and thus the idea of stealing software, an already abstract concept is not a sin. Second, you argue that software piracy is limiting jobs as you mention that “lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and put $140 billion into ailing economies” (Dale & Lewis, 2016, p. 191). I would argue that plenty of businesses don’t hire more employees when they get more money and the lack of software piracy doesn’t necessarily mean there would be more jobs but just that the owners of these software companies would make more money. Considering the fact that the majority of software piracy is for over-priced software by large companies like Microsoft and Adobe, the likelihood of jobs actually being affected is fairly low. Finally, I think it is important to reflect on the fact that software is abstract. Most people that pirate software either don’t have the means to purchase it or wouldn’t purchase it, even if they didn’t pirate it. In this case, software piracy isn’t affecting anyone except it allows the person who pirates the software to be able to use something to better their life that they wouldn’t have had access to before that. Thanks for your time, Eddie

References Dale, N. & Lewis, J. (2016). Computer Science Illuminated, 6th Edition. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Software Piracy and the Christian

Before we can understand what software piracy is, it helps to think about what software is and what piracy is. According to Dale & Lewis (2016) computer software is a program "that provide the instructions that a computer executes" (pg. 3). Piracy, according to Merriam-Webster (n.d.) is "the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright". This means that software piracy is the unauthorized use of a set of computer instructions. This can apply to anything along the layers of a computing system, whether the programming layer, the operating system or individual applications. Of course, the piracy of individual applications that users don't want to pay for is the most common use case.

When it comes to those who benefit there are several layers to software piracy. Sometimes piracy comes in the form of black markets where hackers crack software and sell the unlocked applications for much cheaper than the standard cost. This benefits the hacker who makes money as well as the user who gets to use the software either for much cheaper or for free.

As far as the drawbacks to piracy, first and foremost the creator of the software is hurt by not receiving the appropriate payments for their software which can affect their job and ultimately their family if they don't get paid as expected. Also, the user of the software can be hurt by software piracy because often times cracked versions of software can contain viruses or other malware that is detrimental to the user's computer and information.

Finally, the question is how we as Christians should deal with the problem? When we think about software piracy as a Christian it is common among my generation to not think it is that big of a deal. We grew up in a generation that thought of download music, movies and software as not that big of deal. But when we look at the definition of piracy, Merriam-Webster uses the term "robbery" in defining piracy. This makes it very clear, if software piracy is robbery then a Christian should have nothing to do with it. I think two important biblical principles that apply to this is the 8th of the Ten Commandments, "You shall not steal" (Ex. 20:15 ESV). Software piracy obviously breaks the 8th commandment. The other biblical principle is the golden rule, "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them" (Matt. 7:12 ESV). Since Christians are supposed to model their lives after the words of Jesus and He tells us to live in a way that we act towards others in a way that we would want to be treated, it becomes very clear that software piracy is wrong as no one would want the software they worked on to be stolen.

References

Dale, N. & Lewis, J. (2016). Computer Science Illuminated, 6th Edition. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Piracy. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piracy

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