An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Tag: technology

Good News Day

This is actually from my journal of May 31, so it’s a bit old.

It was a pretty good day. First, I went to my doctor to renew my high blood pressure meds, and he told me that they had a new test that checks for the presence of blood clots, so I took it. They took a blood sample, ran the test and reported that the results were good-no clots. Hurray! That’s something I worry about because I have a bad case of varicose veins, but he said they shouldn’t be a problem because of the anti-coagulant I’m taking for the blood pressure protects against blood clots.

As a side note on visiting the doctor’s office, the attendant always weighs me. I’m down to about 163 pounds (74 kg), down 5 pounds from a couple of months ago. Awesome!

I’ve had it in mind to look at buying a smartphone, my very first one. I took a survey from Vientiane College (where I work) that wanted some information about conducting online classes if we get shutdown in the future because of a lockdown due to covid concerns. We’re closed right now until June 21st (hopefully, it doesn’t get extended). Some of the questions concerned phone apps, like What’s App. I don’t really have a good phone; I’ve got my old Lenovo tablet, which is basically good only for reading on the Kindle app. It’s pretty lousy for anything else, so after seeing the doc, I thought I’d go to one of the big Samsung stores and look at the phone I had in mind, a mid-priced Galaxy A52, which seemed to check all the boxes as far as what I was looking for in a phone. So, I was just going to look, right? Well, I don’t have to look anymore-I bought it. $412. I’ve never had a REAL smartphone before, so I’ll be having fun with this for a while.

This, from today’s events, June 8th. The number of cases of covid in Vientiane has been dropping steadily, down to just a few or only one for the last couple of days. Today there were only two found in the city and none found throughout the rest of Laos. That’s great news, of course, and hopefully we’ll be able to open school on the 21st, as planned. More later.

Korea’s Online Gaming Woes

First, let me state that “gaming” in the post title does not refer to online gambling, like poker or other card games or virtual slot machines. Here it refers to online computer or video game playing.

Let me also state that I enjoy playing computer games, even in my somewhat advanced state of decrepitude . . . err, I mean in my wise, mature years. I mostly still play quite a few of the old classic simulation games, like the Civilization and Railroad Tycoon series, both debuting in the early ’90s. Also on my computer are strategy games, such as Panzer General and role-playing games (RPGs), my favorite being Baldur’s Gate. Most of the games on my computer, and I have many, originated in the early or mid 1990s, and you can still buy them very cheaply at various Internet sites. I get many of these classics from GOG (Good Old Games).

About the only new (modern) title that I regularly indulge in is my favorite baseball simulation (not a video game), Out of the Park Baseball (OOTPB). OOTPB 13 is due to be released in early April, just in time for the start of the new baseball season. I mainly play within a fictional major league against the computer. I am, of course, the General Manager and Manager of the New York Yankees. Unfortunately, I’ve finished under .500 the past three seasons–I’m sure I wouldn’t last 3 months under “The Boss,” legendary Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

I’ve also been known to play some of the classic games ’round the clock. I distinctly remember playing Civilization I, when I first got my copy of it, from about 4 in the afternoon until 10 the next morning (it was a weekend, luckily). Mind you, now, these were (and are) games on my computer that I played against the computer, not head-to-head online.

That brings us to Korea’s present perceived problem of too many people getting addicted to online computer games, like World of Warcraft, Starcraft and others. These games are big business over here, with, even, professional gaming leagues and gaming stars pulling in big bucks.

It’s become such an addiction for some people, that incidences of domestic violence, bullying, murder, deaths due to exhaustion and deep vein thrombosis, and other consequences have been reported. In one very tragic case, a young couple let their 3-month child starve while they took care of a “virtual” child in an online game, spending most of their time in an Internet Cafe, rather than taking care of their real child. The Korean government estimates that their are 2 million Internet addicts in the country. So, they are trying to do something about it.

The government is proposing a new law that will allow people to play online games for only two hours, then the game will shut down. There will be a 10-minute cooling off period before users can login again, and then they can only login once more in a 24-hour period. This goes with a law passed last year that makes it illegal for young gamers to play certain games between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.

Whew! It seems that on line gaming can be quite a problem. I know that some of my university students own up to staying awake into the wee hours of the morning and then coming to class barely able to keep their eyes open. Let’s hope something can be done about the problem. Of course, that raises the issue of WHO should do something. Should the government step in or should parents, relatives and friends, and/or the game companies take care of such matters? In the U.S., alcohol is regulated by the government, but if an adult wants to drink him or herself to death, the government can’t stop them. There are AA meetings, so how about IAA (Internet Addicts Anon.)? A complex, difficult issue for sure.

As for me, I only play a couple hours a day for at most a few days a week, if I even have that much time. Of course, I’m no longer a spring chicken. I have other things that wake me in the wee hours. I’ll write about THAT soon.

Other Sources: South Korea Introduces Yet Another Law to Curb Gamings Ills South Korea May Limit Young Online Gamers to 2 Hours a Day…to Prevent Bullying South Korea Targets Internet Addicts Video game addicts in South Korea could be limited to playing online for just four hours per day

Cyber Attacks

After the round of attacks on websites around the ‘Net, including the White House, the Pentagon, and various other sites, the latest report is that personal computers will get hit next. So far, I’m up and running, and haven’t experienced any problems anywhere on the Internet at all. Moral: keep your computers up to date with the latest OS patches, run a good anti-virus and anti-spyware program and use a good firewall. At least, that works for me.

Speaking of viruses, the Red Sox strain has fallen to the latest Yankee immunization, to use a pretty bad metaphor. The Yanks have been relentless, going 33-17 over their last 50 games and have caught the Sox for first place in the AL East. Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve got a good feeling about this team–they’re loose, good in the clutch, have a decent rotation and are showing sparks of greatness in the bullpen. In addition, they seem to have an undefinable “togetherness,” a la the great team of ’98. There’s still half the season to go and anything can happen, but, right now, everything looks very positive.

I bought some great Thai curry paste while I was in Nong Khai, and I made a big batch of Chicken Curry With Rice today. Yummmmm, tastes great. Wish you were here to enjoy a bowl with me. Wanna join me for some? I’ve made enough to have even more later.

Security Alert

From time to time, I’ll send on the information I have about any new security problems with windows, viruses, etc., to those of you who read this blog and don’t have access to the information. You SHOULD be aware of these issues without my help, but that is not always possible. At any rate, check here for what it’s worth.

Two new ones today: One is about fake Microsoft Security. Don’t click on any links in email that purport to send you to the MS Update website.

The other is that Microsoft will provide a variety of patches, some of them critical, this coming Tuesday.

Again, in my humble opinion, if you are using the Internet Explorer browser, you might be better served by switching to Mozilla’s Firefox, which you can download here. It’s much safer, for now, than IE and it’s fun to use.

It’s another beautiful spring day in Andong, with temperatures forecast to be in the mid 70s. I want to try to get off a few more job apps, but I also want to take another long bicycle ride–after I watch the Yanks-Orioles game on the computer. More later.

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