Tuesday, April 28, 2009

iPhone Apps: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Colin's Major AppsThe other day I asked my tweeps on twitter, through a tweet (say that five times fast) that if they had an iPhone/iPod touch to tweet back their favorite applications. I got a great response, and great suggestions; many of which I gave a shot.

After testing these, and other apps, I've put together a nowhere-near-comprehensive list of apps: both useful and not so much.

Below you will find a list of app names (clickable links go to iTunes app store) followed either by a '+' (give it a go), '/' (eh) or an 'X' (Ewwe...) Also, a brief description of said app is included. Finally, you will notice that all apps listed are FREE. Simply beautiful :)

* Facebook (+) Love making music and giving it away ilegally? Then this is definitely not the app for you. Use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family :D

* Evernotes (X) If you have a super-crappy memory then you may find this app useful. Personally, it was more trouble to me than it was worth and ended up being a giant waist of time.

* TwitterFon (+) Amazing app for those who experience symptoms of twitter withdrawl. Very easy to use and comprehensive!

* TwitterTrends (/) Although semi-useful, this 'hashtag-or-twitter-search-esque' app was not all I expected. I still use it because of it's colorful and pretty UI, but honestly, TwitterFon's trend tracker works fine.

* MobileLinked (+) This chat program works great with my gTalk account. It's super easy to use; no complaints overall. If you're into the whole Social Networking gig, I'd give ya the Nike slogan.

* LifeCast (+) if you're a blogger and your provider doesn't have their own app (like say, Blogspot) Lifecast is your solution! As a matter of fact, I'm posting from it right now. ;)
Posts may not be beautifully pretty, but they do get the message across.

* Pandora (+) Internet radio! What does that mean? Free streaming music in an iTunes 'genius-like' way. Go for it, open the box.

* Fandango (+) As far as movie/movie time apps go, this definitely takes the cake. Just plug in your zip to find theaters and showtimes near you. Also, beautiful iPhone UI.

* Bible (+) How could I give the Bible a low score? Seriously, though, this app is incredible. While online look up verses, or just read, in any of the major translations. Also, if you find yourself grounded with no connection, dowloadable translations are available for free!

* Wikipanion (/) I give this app a partial for one reason, and one reason only: the icon sucks. It's brown, and looks like a Junior Higher made it in MS Paint. Other then that, very useful for finding Wikipedia articles.

* Myspace (X) In my mind, and in my experience, Myspace=slow. I was hoping this app would prove me wrong and give me a reason to check my prehistoric account. Let's just say it didn't. The app is every bit as chunky as the site, and it makes me wanna puke. Problem is, I have no alternative. So, for the time being, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. My suggestion: don't bother with Myspace in the first place. Go with Facebook.

* Shazam (/) The idea for this app is great: run it while putting your iDevice next to a music source. Through ancient shaman magic, in about 30 seconds the app tells you the song name. Problem: it only works about 50% of the time. I'd say get it, but don't make music bets with your friends that depend on it.

* Remote (++) Awesome app! Use your iPhone/touch as a remote for iTunes via wifi! Very useful, also great party trick!

* Remote Desktop Lite (++) This app is amazing! Connect to your home PC via WiFi, EDGE, or 3G! Enables complete control of your PC in the palm of your hand! Takes some computer knowledge and lingo, but I found I was able to set it up in a matter of minutes. Great for reading my chemistry CD when I don't want to get on my desktop.

What are your favorite apps?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Jury Is In, The Votes Counted, And The Bill Signed

After a couple of days of being with my new iPhone (I call him Reginald) I've decided to write a little review on my experiences thus far.

First and foremost, I was VERY excited about even the prospect of getting an iPhone. When I opened the gift, I simply couldn't help but grin widely.
My experiences since that point of opening have barely changed. Here are some bullets of my thoughts:

*OS is unbeatable. Just looking at the menu proves that this phone is 100% Apple. Awesome UI overall.

*App store is amazing! Free apps help me stay connected with my twitter, facebook, myspace, google talk, and skype.

*3G is great, but a battery waster. I'm sure Mac is working on that issue though. I love being online when I want, however, so yin does meet yang.

*Copy and paste, or rather lack thereof, kills me. I hear this is being fixed in the OS update, 3.0

*Although cute and theoretically useful, I find the built in iPod to be somewhat worthless. Maybe it's just because I have an 8 gig, but regardless it seems like filling that space with apps and movies is far better than music. After all, you can simply download pandora for the music side of life. Realize this is coming from a guy with a brand new nano to fit his music needs lol.

*Google maps is beautiful. 'Nuff said.

Perhaps some of my opinions will change with time, but for now that's what I think.

I love my iPhone :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Fire Truck From Last Night

Geolocate this post.

Posted with LifeCast


Didn't have any time to say this yesterday, but if you follow my twitter you already know: I got an iPhone yesterday for my birthday! As a matter of fact, I'm blogging from it right now!

Also, a story I simply must tell:
Yesterday night after the dinner was over, presents had been opened, and cake was consumed, my dear sister and brother in law thought it would be fun to have a bon fire in their back yard. In the city.
Well, because my whole family is a little crazy ( ok more than a little) we all decided the fire sounded like fun. And it was! Until the fire dept showed up.
As it turns out one of the neighbors was a little frightened and called the men in red to tell us what for.

Definitely a birthday memory I'll never forget! Take a look at the fire truck (above post)

Also, I'm having my birthday party tonight! Follow my tweets through the night to see how it goes.


Geolocate this post.

Posted with LifeCast

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's my birthday! Check out my updates (below). Also, head over to my dad's blog for his thoughts www.dennismansfield.com

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birthday, update, etc.

I know I've gone too long between posts when Google asks for my login credentials...

Thought I'd do a quick update!
First and foremost: tomorrow is my 17th birthday!!! WOOHOO!!!

Basically, this last week has felt like a month. I participated in a Boy Scout Competition called Willow Creek last weekend (biggest in the Northwest) and my troop took 1st place! Since then I've been doing school, lacrosse, repeat pretty much everyday. Gets a little tired after awhile =/

The good thing is I've had this weekend to look forward to! Tomorrow, it finally begins!
I was asking for a crappy laptop for my birthday, but because of my Europe trip this summer, my mom suggested I ask for an iPhone instead! Let's just say she didn't have to ask me twice :)

Tonight has been spent working on my Sprint contract (I got my bill down to $10 a month so I don't have to pay the $200 early cancellation fee!) and getting the iPhone logistics worked out (only $50 a month when paired with my dad's plan!). So, if all goes well, I should be living in iPhone world tomorrow, baby!

That being said, I'm mostly looking forward to spending time with my family and girlfriend tomorrow :) Dinner at my sister's house is gonna be way rad!

If you want to see what I'm up to, check out my twitter!

Thanks, and hopefully I'll get to my next post sooner rather then later!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God is -- Part 2

This post is continued from Part 1: God is.

Today at school we had a follow up discussion of what was talked about last time regarding our views of God. We watched the same video to refresh our thought process. I made sure to make a mental note of the video's name this time around. Check it out.

Interesting, huh?

After re-watching the video, my devotions class had a discussion. Rather then specific people sharing their viewpoints and opinions on God (as was the case last time) the floor was kept open for anyone and everyone that wanted to share. Although few shared, both sides of the spectrum seemed to be represented with viewpoints.
The owners of these beliefs will be kept anonymous. The viewpoints are the point here, not the people.

On one hand, the belief was shared that God does what he does because it's best for us. If he needs to punish us, he will. If he needs to be there for us, he will. If he needs to love us, he will.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the belief was put forth that to this particular person, the Trinity plays different roles in his life. This person sees Jesus like a buddy figure, or possibly a father. The Holy Spirit, he said, was more in the motherly role- caring for him, surrounding him with love. God, as he put it, was the encourager and the role-model. "The type of guy I would see in the stands at my baseball game cheering for me."

Granted, the way I just wrote those two different viewpoints was probably slanted. I am more inclined to the latter, and in fact I see the former as almost a jail or prison cell- lacking freedom of any kind. But to this person, the thought that God is an almighty "authority" was truth.
As my teacher put it today, view points on God have changed from generation to generation. My question in response to that, however, would be "but does that mean God has ever changed?"

What do you think?


Monday, April 13, 2009

Killin' time with my top 5

While I wait for one of my friends to send me the Chemistry Test I'm supposed to do today, I thought I'd do a brief posting. Nothing deep this time around, simply some links I enjoy.

These are the top 5 blogs and other pages around the web I frequent. Check them out if you'd like, and feel free to comment with your own top 5.
(Note: numbers are in reverse order b/c I watch too much Letterman)

5. Facebook - Great networking tool, old-friend finder, and place to make fun of your friends dumb pictures.

4. Twitter - Microblogging at its finest. All about the question "What are you doing?"

3. Jesus or Squirrel? - A humorously intriguing blog about...well, you'll just have to go see!

2. Captain's Blog - A journey from fear to love, from rules to relationship, and from religion to freedom, from the heart of Chad Estes.

1. DennisMansfield.com - A witty conservatively liberal blog with humor mixed in. (My dad!)

What are your top 5?


P.S. Turns out my teacher gave us a hard copy of the test! Hurrah!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Easter Bunny Hates You

You know what the Easter Bunny is doing the other 364 days of the year?

Easter through my eyes

Easter has always been a special day for me. For as long as I can remember my family has dyed eggs, done Easter Egg Hunts, Easter Baskets, eaten deviled eggs. Also, for as long as I can remember, my family has participated in Church Easter functions. These have included, but aren't limited to: Sunrise Service at the Tomb, pancake breakfasts, and playing parts in Church Easter productions.

Something I've come to realize is that I appreciate both aspects of Easter: the "church" aspect, and the "bunny" aspect. Mind you, I'm not placing a giant rodent over the Savior of the World by any means, I'm simply saying that both hold a near and dear place in my heart. I've found Easter to be one of the easiest times for me to connect with Papa, and I've found it one of the most enjoyable ways to connect with family (and my sweet tooth.)
Point being: I love Easter. Recently, God's been showing me how these two "aspects" of Easter actually are one-in-the same. As I mentioned in my last post, Jesus is all about relationship.

Below are pictures from past Easters that I have enjoyed. Also, feel free to follow my day on twitter; I'll be recording my thoughts about Easter Sunday on there all day.

Have an awesome day full of laughter, friends, family, and relationship!

He is Risen!
P.S. Check out my dad's blog for his thoughts on Easter.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter, Lacrosse, and why I give a tweet.

Today, I'm writing like Costco sells. In bulk.
Imagine three completely different topics, written as if they're their own posts, but then strung together using one word that not only defines the blog entries, but also projects what's in the author's heart.
Now, read on.


To many people, that one word brings forth an instant cringe; an automatic mental shut down. Often, when I bring up twitter around friends or other people I know, I get one of two things: the "geek stare" or the "god stare." Notice how either way I'm getting stared at. Unnerving to say the least.
In any case, I have a confession to make: I am a twitter-aholic. Or, to be less pessimistic, I enjoy twitter a whole lot. No, it's not because I want to grow up to be one of those snazzy "hip" dads. You know the stereotype: sun-glass wearing, iPhone holding, white-earphones-wearing, constant grin, and a computer at home that took a house mortgage to pay for. Ugh.
Rather, I enjoy twitter because I really do like seeing what people are up to. No, I'm not some nosy stalker type, I just enjoy communicating, conversing, and being in contact with people. And twitter provides me a fast, simple, fun, and easy way to do that- all while stuff is actually happening, and even from the comfort of my very own cell phone. :) O, wat joy!


I play lacrosse for Capital High School. Don't know what lacrosse is? Try this: think of soccer. Now, give each of the players big metal sticks, make the soccer ball a rubber baseball, and give each team member hockey pads. Finally, make the game full contact. That's lacrosse.
This is my 3rd year playing for Capital (makes sense as I'm a Junior) and I really, really enjoy the sport.
The problem with Capital lax (yep, that's the shortened version) is that it's always been semi-mediocre. Not to say we've ever been HORRIBLE, or AWFUL, just to say we've never been the best. Some years have been better than others, but as a whole we tend to fall above Borah, but below Boise.
Lacrosse seasons starts in about Feb. and goes all through the rest of the school year. Yep, that's right kids, it's in full swing now! We've had about five games, three of which I've been able to make. (The first two happened in the week of darkness.)

Today, my team played Eagle High. Ugh. Allow me to elaborate; though it will take digression:
Eagle High is made up of primarily rich kids. Generalized, but true for the most part. On the lacrosse field this snobbish mentality transfers into blatant and unnecessary sarcasm, direct insults, and many yellow foul-flags thrown on the field (most of them because of my team retaliating to the verbal dickishness.) On top of that, they play lacrosse well. Not as good as Timberline or Centennial, mind you, but good enough to beat most other teams. In a scrimmage earlier this year, they stomped us so hard I can't remember the score (purged from my brain.) Suffice it to say that my team wanted to win this. Bad.
We wanted to knock those silly rich kid grins off of their sarcastic and sneering faces. We wanted to take their $100 Benjamins and stuff them down their esophogus so as to suffocate every last one of them to death. We wanted to take metal poles and beat them until they bruised black and started to cry.
But, just as in Shakespear's tragedies, it wasn't to be. That's right, we lost.
Interestingly enough, though, my team was able to tie Eagle, and hold that tie all through the first half. The second half started less promising, and didn't get any better. We lost with by a 4 point spread, but were glad for our labor.


Jesus, eggs, bunnies, chocolate, candy, pastels, blue, yellow, peeps, church.
Those are the first words that jump in my head.
Most Easters with the Mansfield family are spent doing hunts around the yard, dying eggs, and eating amazing meals (deviled eggs!) This weekend should prove to be no different, except that our good family friends from Arizona, the Bushes, are in town! They are hear not only to laugh and have fun with my family, but also to support us through this darkness.

Matthew 28 (Message)

1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God's angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn't move.

5-6The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.

7"Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."

8-10The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. "Good morning!" he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, "You're holding on to me for dear life! Don't be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I'll meet them there."

But isn't this what Easter's all about? Without delving too much into the cliche and predictable questions and answers, I really do believe that this time is all about Jesus. Pray for me as I seek to grow closer to him.

So where am I going with all this seemingly useless babble?


When I twitter, I am seeking to build relationship with others, whether I've met them or not. In lacrosse, not only am I building relationship with team members on the field, I've gotten chances to talk with them off of the field (today, riding home with one, I was able to talk about life, faith, and his and my journey through life up to this point). Finally, Jesus dying on the cross and raising on the third day allows me to fully have relationship with him in a very real way: without the bonds of sin and pain.

That's all :) Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

God is

Two weeks after my brother's funeral, a few students, me included, were asked by my devotions teacher to "share who we think God is." Each took their turn saying how they've experienced God. Explanations ranged from The Great Healer to The Great Condemner.

While I was sitting there thinking, I realized that the way I view God is through the grid of the circumstances I've recently had hit me, the biggest of which is the death of my brother. I realized that who I see God as is very different now then it was two months ago.
Allow me to explain.

When it came my turn, I walked up to the front, and held the mic in front of me. As I stood there, I searched for some deep metaphor. None coming to mind, I grabbed the first thing that came into my mind. Having watched more than my fair share of action movies the week before (Spring break- I got my wisdom teeth out that monday) my thoughts automatically drifted to trench coats, slow motion bullets, angled sunglasses, and cookies.

How many of you have seen The Matrix?

Hands shot up

Remember the scene with The Oracle?

I see God as her. Neo walks in expecting some huge Staff-wielding All-knowing goddess and gets a black woman in a kitchen baking cookies.

I got some laughs, some blank stairs (turns out, some consider R ratings to actually be meant for 17 and older) I continued:

I think I see God differently because of where I'm at. Not that God has ever changed, he stays the same. I feel like I'm looking at a beautiful gem stone held stationary. As I move, I'm able to see different facets of that gem, how the light works through it differently, and how beautiful it truly is.

There the metaphor was

There's probably a better way to explain it, but that's all I got right now.

So there it was. God's a black cookie-baking woman.
Funny thing is, if you've read The Shack (a friend's review), this may not be far from how you now imagine God.

I've done loads and loads of sporadic processing these last weeks. I've experienced God in ways I never would have thought. Relationship means so much more to me now. I hug my friends and family harder, and say the word "love" more often. I hold my girlfriends hand with a sense of purpose, not because of some flimsy moment of emotion. When I hold conversations with people and they ask "So, how are you doing?" I answer honestly. Sometimes, I have to stop and asses, asking myself "how are you really doing, Colin?" I find myself being more real. Things like swearing, and wasting time have become less and less tempting. I find myself even thinking through friends I want to hang around more, and friends I should hang around less.
And I believe this is because of God.

1 John 4: 7-10 (message)
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.

God is love. Not just 'God loves us' or 'God is similar to love' or 'God really likes love'. GOD IS LOVE.

Back to my earlier story:
After we each told our various 'views of God' my devotions teacher came back to the front. After showing a youtube video (I may put it on here eventually if I can find it) she shared who she thought God was. The things she shared made me angry.
She said God makes us stop things we are doing because he wants the best for us. She seemed to compare him to the Almighty Parent. She implied a God that uses strong correction because it 'builds character' or 'leaves us better off'. The image of God slapping my hand telling me 'NO!' came into my head. I shuddered.

Devotions that day sent me reeling. Something I didn't realize until after I was done venting was that this teacher was operating out of her own circumstances in her life. Her own pain, if you will. The way she saw God was a direct representation of where her life was at.
That got me thinking, isn't that how all of us are? Isn't that how I am? I see things through the grid of my pain.
And yet, God is love.

I've recently decided to re-read The Shack. I found it incredibly thought provoking and intriguing the first read around. This time, however, it's hitting my core. I find tears running down my face as I read the words. My soulstrings get tugged, and my vision blurs.
I am in process.

God is love. Because of that, everything he does is out of love. His love is so profound that he lets me choose what I wish to do. No expectations, and no forcing a choice. If I choose to turn my back on him, he loves me. If I choose to run to him, arms open, he loves me. Fear of God? No! Respect? Yes! But what is respect? Respect is a direct cause of love. I love you, therefor I respect you. It all comes back to love. And not the squishy, man-made, wannabe love: love in it's purest form. The type of love I can't begin to fathom.

I'm sure you'll start to notice slight changes in my posts. What I'm seeing in myself is a shift. God is changing me moment by moment, day by day. I believe the pain I've been experiencing plays largely into this shift, and I'm ok with that. Just as a precaution: you may not be ok with that. Some things I may say in posts to follow you may not agree with. If not, feel free to speak up. I'm ok with being challanged, so long as you can acknowledge my position. Realize that I am in process, as are you. The great thing is that iron truly can sharpen iron.

I love you Papa

This day last year i was in a green robe, on stage, with a mic participating in the triumphal entry. Now, im sitting here in a beanie and chucks. Weird.