Monday, February 28, 2005

Public Debt to the Penny

Can you believe that the government publishes the public debt right down to the penny every day on the internet?!? That's right, you can find it here. There's also a history of the debt going back to 1987. Yes, in four years George Bush has increased the public debt nearly as much as Clinton did in eight years. But hey, it'll be my kids that'll have to pay for it!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Jef Raskin Dead at 61

While this name doesn't mean much for most people, everyone has benefited from his work. Raskin was "the original visionary" for Apple's Macintosh computer. In fact, he came up with the name for the computer (naming it after his favorite apple, of course). He died of cancer yesterday.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The iFad

The Register has a reaction to Kevin Rollins claim that the iPod is a fad. Rollins is the CEO of Dell Computers (betcha thought that Michael Dell had that role, dincha?). A great line from that article? "And if the iPod is indeed a fad then the Dell DJ is what? A desperate, failed fad hopeful? Who wants an iDud?"

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Finally, a Good Posting Night

Well, I finally got around to doing some posting tonight, so read the half dozen or so posts below, follow the links and check out some great reads. It's officially late, and I've gotta get up in a little less than 6 hours for my small group. Good Night!

Sex (and now you want to read this, eh?)

I know you're wondering why I'm posting on the topic of sex, but Anna Aven has an outstanding post on the difference between eros love, as it was originally defined and the modern view of the erotic. She discusses authentic passion versus the modern idea of sexual passion. As a sample, she quotes Donald McCollough saying, "Sex is the act of procreation, the way we make life. But it cdan (sic) never completely satisfy the needs of eros. Eros longs for a more complete and lasting union, a far wider and higher expansion of life, than the joining of two bodies can offer. Sex, though it has the power to distract us, to deceive us into thinking we’re satisfying our hunger for eros. This is why May says that sex can actually fight against eros. We can flee to sex in order to avoid the larger, riskier engagement if our whole being; w can use sex to escape authentic passion.”

I highly recommend this post as a very thoughtful discussion of sex and its role in marriage and in the Kingdom of God (believe it or not!). She writes it from the perspective of a single woman surrounded by a society that seems to live and breathe sex as a goal; not an easy place to be in life.

New Book Coming!

Joel Vestal (aka Zayd's Dad) is self-publishing a book, probably early April it'll be ready for orders. Joel is working as a missionary in Thailand and seems to travel extensively in southeast Asia. He has been working firsthand on the recovery work tied with the tsunami, as his home island was overswept. This looks to be a good book.

God and Creation

Check out Bryan Sherwood's post on the subject here. There's some good stuff. I constantly lament that I'm not green enough.

A Generous Orthodoxy

I've exchanged a couple of emails with a friend who is very concerned with McLaren's writings/teachings. I still haven't gotten very far into the book, school caught up with me big time, so that's where most of my offline reading is concentrated. McLaren's blog, however, has a very interesting email from a reader who he refers to as a "respected theologian." Obviously that can mean many things, but the reader seems to offer up a couple of the same objections as my friend, though my friend is much harsher than this reader. McLaren responds to the points that the reader makes, and his usual response is an admission of guilt. Its obvious that McLaren would re-write a few things if given the chance, if nothing else than for clarity purpose.

One of my friend's objections is over the definitions that McLaren uses. This friend feels like he redefines terms so that his position is right and everyone else is wrong. Again, I haven't gotten much into it, but in the first chapter, which deals with the definition of orthodoxy (one of the terms my friend mentions), he sticks pretty closely to the traditional definition (being "orthodox" traditionally means being in agreement with the creeds of the early church), though he allows for Scripture to inform the creeds that are traditionally used as the definers of orthodoxy. There are more specific orthodoxies as well. Reformationonline agrees with the definition I've laid out above and then adds that "reformed orthodoxy is expressed preeminently in the great Reformed confessions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Chalcedon supports both early ecumenical orthodoxy and Reformed orthodoxy." The basic core orthodoxy, however, lies in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed, and possibly others. Without these basics underlying the more specific orthodoxies, those "orthodoxies" would be grounded in sand rather than the solid foundation that is Biblical teaching. In this sense, I need to find out if my friend is using a more specific definition of orthodoxy. It would be very easy to view McLaren's definition as suspect if that's the case.

As far as other terms, I haven't read enough to have a clue. Should make for some interesting reading!

Gospel of the Plenty

Joseph Oloya Hakim has a very challenging post in the ServLife Africa blogs. As he was sharing his faith in the refugee camps, a young man challenged him by saying that churches teach people to be satisfied in their poverty and their reward will be in heaven. He finishes his post with these comments:

"This is what I believe counts: we as Christians have two choice in our lives- the path of love and the path of selfishness. Everyone is called to choose the type of relationship they want to have with others, we must decide to either love them or to be selfish. But a life of love is neither easy nor comfortable; it demands self-denial, self-donation and control of one’s passion. That is why so many others prefer the other way."

I am far too willing to be guilty of the life of comfort. I am guilty far too often. God, please forgive me for my wrong priorities. Help me move away from comfort and into obedience!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Growing Mac Kingdom

We are totally loving our Mac mini. It is silent and awesome. It seems that the folks at Yale University are figuring out the allure of Macs too. pointed to an article that appeared in the Yale newspaper stating that 20% of students and 33% of professors are using Macs now, according to IT Services registration information. Not bad inroads at a brain school!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Truth on Darwin

Whatever you may think of Darwin's theory of evolution, you have to wonder why people stick Darwin/fish emblems on their cars? Shane raises some interesting points on that one. Darwin's master race theory, his assumption that men are vastly superior to women intellectually, you know, all the things that would "naturally" flow from a theory based on some groups becoming more superior than others over time. So the question is, if you slap a Darwin symbol on your car, does that mean that you're a racist who hates women too?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Learning to Be Church

Keith over at Under the Acacias has an outstanding post on figuring out how do be the Church in a difficult cultural context. He links it to the emerging church of the West, but I think it ought to be applicable to every church everywhere. I was in awe of the wisdom learned and shared here. I've really struggled with the "Sunday morning" version of Christianity that is prevalent in the West. The idea of time commitments to a location (the church building) makes it tough to be relational, whether that's with other believers or with neighbors who need to know Christ. I like what Keith has done in this situation. Makes me think of my good friend Gary and Bridge Ministries here in Rockford.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Loving Apple, Google, and Linux

Jennifer Rice at did Google searches for "I hate (brand name)" and "I love (brand name)." The results? Google, Linux, Microsoft and Apple had the highest levels of passion. Of course, the passion for Microsoft was one of hatred, but the other three scored high in the loved category. There were a number of other brands such as McDonalds that she tested as well, but none of them had the passion of these top four. That makes sense, of course, as the people most likely to express passion on the internet are also most likely to care about technology, not fast food.

CNET Switcher

Charles Cooper, an editor over at CNET (a technology news site), has switched to the Mac. He made it official last week, but I wasn't able to get much posting done. You can find his announcement here.

Right vs. Wrong or Smart vs. Stupid?

The Proverbial Wife links to an article by Marvin Olasky, but she also pulls out a GREAT quote:

"Secular liberals who don't believe in right vs. wrong believe instead in smart vs. stupid, so rather than discuss values they prate about brains and look for opportunities to debase rather than debate."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

RIP Microsoft?

There's been a lot of web talk about this article by Michael Malone, especially by Microsoft bloggers. Malone analyzes Microsoft from the perspective of a business reporter, and decides that he smells rot. That's the sign of a slowly dying company, to him. When you think about something like this, and then read even a few of the Microsoft focused websites, including some of the employee blogs, you can't help but wonder if Malone is on to something. Microsoft has really coasted on its sales of Windows and Office. Those two products basically keep tens of thousands of "Microsofties" working, not to mention the tens of thousands of "IT pros" and independent IT consultants working. Sven, for example, loves Apple, but he thanks God every day for Microsoft, because they pay his bills. I've heard the same thing about Microsoft from Zion's consultant.

Of course, looking at miniMicrosoft, I really wonder what Microsoft is thinking (especially if you look at all the anonymous comments that are obviously also from inside MS). If you've got just a couple of product lines that are making money (and tons of it, no less), why not nix all the other waste (pun intended)? Even Scoble has his share of beefs with Microsoft, and he's their evangelist.

The fact is, Microsoft has tons of cash. They'll be around for a long time, but I can't help but wonder if it will be painful to watch.

Neighborhood Politicians

So, you're a City alderman, up for reelection. You also run a neighborhood restaurant, so how do you spend your Saturdays? Apparently going door to door leaving a note on people's doors saying, "Sorry I missed you." I got home from the office (where I went to study for a while in peace) and found a note in the door saying just that, with the name of our incumbent alderman and that note. Jill had been home all morning, so I asked her if she had heard the doorbell ring. She said that she hadn't, and the dog hadn't gone crazy at all, so its pretty safe to assume that the alderman came to our door and left a note without even trying to see if someone was home. Hmmm...must want to be reelected pretty badly, either that or he knows who lives in our house already (just moved in August). He already walks away from the counter of his restaurant when I walk in. Pretty friendly, eh? Either that or he knows he did the wrong thing by blocking the major project we're working on at ZDC. Still, he ought to have the guts to say, "Hi," I've never been unfriendly with him.

Peggy Noonan on Bloggers

Finally, someone in the mainstream media (MSM) is seeing the value of bloggers. Peggy Noonan points out the many values that bloggers add to the investigation of stories. Yes, she's been burned by bloggers, but she still praises the world's newest form of journalism.

I'm Not a Car Guy, But...

the local media is going crazy over the retooling of the nearby Chrysler plant. The Neon has been produced here from the beginning. I remember seeing lines of six Neons zipping around the rural areas outside of town when I was siding houses some ten years ago, before the Neon was actually released. They were putting them through the paces, hundreds of miles a day on country roads, not so many miles a day in the city. There were a couple of groups of the cars, and they were all over the place before the release. In September the plant shuts down for a retooling, and everyone is wondering what will be coming out next.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Supporting Your Pastor is Good Marketing has a post on the need for supporting your pastor. As a pastor's kid who married a pastor's kid, let me just say, "AMEN!!" I know that our pastors are as human as anyone else and that they have fallen before God in order to receive His grace and mercy, just like all other Christians. There will be problems and issues, but that doesn't mean that we should run or backstab, it means that we put II Corinthians 5 into action and exercise reconciliation. Not the easiest way to go about it, but definitely the Biblical way to do it.

Adoptive Racism

I was posting on our adoptions over at The Dad's Group and decided to take on a subject here that is VERY touchy and difficult. Both of our boys are African-American (AA). You can read about the adoption process over at The Dad's Group and see that both of the adoptions happened VERY quickly. There weren't very many perspective parents willing to adopt AA boys. Both of our boys were born in good health, though Isaac was a bit small and slightly premature. There was really nothing to make them unattractive as adoptive children except for one thing, their skin color. Here are some of the things we have learned about adopting AA children.

In the adoption pecking order, AA boys rank last. Agencies generally have a harder time placing AA boys, regardless of health, than any other child, including disabled. Healthy AA girls are placed a little bit more easily than a disabled child, but they are still far down on the pecking order. Most people would rather travel the world and spend two to four times the money in order to adopt a child that is not African-American. The fact is that most adoptive parents are white, and most white people have such a negative stereotype about AA children, that they can't imagine raising them.

We have found that the support network for parents who adopt AA children is awesome. The resources are plentiful, and every African-American we know has been supportive of us, strongly supportive, in fact. Sure, there are people who see us in a store and look at us a bit odd, wondering what we're doing raising these boys, but the only negative comment we've overheard has been from white folks.

We have found several ADVANTAGES in adopting our AA boys. First, they know they are adopted. There is no doubt in anyone's mind, especially theirs, that they are adopted. We have never had to decide whether or not we'd tell them, it's pretty obvious. Second, because AA children are hard to place, it costs much less to adopt them. In fact, many agencies charge extra for placing children of other races in order to make up the losses that they incur when they place AA children. Related to this, we will get all of the money we spent returned to us through tax credits. We have not paid taxes in a couple of years, and we probably won't pay taxes for another two years, even if we don't adopt another child (which we're planning to do later this year). And third, there is no wait time. When you hear about people waiting two or three years for an adoption, you know that they are not willing to adopt an AA child. Nathan's adoption happened within a week of our completed application, and Isaac's adoption kicked in before we'd even begun the paperwork. There was virtually no wait time for either adoption.

If you are seriously considering an adoption then you should seriously consider adopting an African-American child. If you want more info, check out the PACT website or contact Sunnyridge.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Quick mini Note

I don't have time for blogging today, but just a quick note on something I found today. I opened up the install disk package that came with the Mac mini and found that it contained two disks. Most importantly, one of the disks was a Mac OS 9 installer! That's right, the mini does come with Classic mode, it just has to be installed. This means that the boys' games will work on the new computer without having to chase down an old OS 9 disk!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

And Now, Back to the mini

I took a quick break, so now I can go on about the Mac mini guilt free. It was a breeze to set up. For some reason I could not set up the Airport connection through the initial start up process. I was being told that the password was wrong. I finally quit trying and decided to set it up after everything else was going. That worked without a hitch, so now I'm surfing the web wirelessly from two computers. I've turned on iTunes sharing feature, as well as iPhoto's sharing feature on the old computer. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, as the boys are in bed and the computer is in the next room. I'll get my chance, though. I immediately downloaded Folding software to get this puppy working for Stanford University. I then downloaded Firefox for my browser. Apple's browser is light years ahead of Internet Exploder, but I much prefer Firefox. The drop down menu in the URL bar is really the difference for me. It works like I think it should work. I've never figured out how to use Safari's URL bar other than for typing a URL. The RSS feeds is another awesome feature of Firefox. I'd be putting another piece of software on my computer just for that if Firefox didn't have it. As it is, I can simply hit a button and add the RSS for a site to my Bookmarks, and usually to my Bookmark Bar. Very sweet.

One thing lacking with the mini is Classic. Our old (as in three years old) eMac allows older Mac software to run in Classic mode. This essentially means that we can run two operating systems at once. I never used it much until the boys started getting computer games. Most educational games are designed for Mac OS 9 and earlier, so Classic is essential for running them. It really doesn't bother me too much, though. It means that I have an excuse for keeping a computer free for adult use only. :) Anyway, set up was a breeze, as it should be.

The Truck

Tonight we left my truck at the repair shop. This was scheduled, but it was also encouraged along by a small gasoline leak. I'm thinking I should have been better about using Heet this winter. :( At the same time, it was definitely time for a tune-up and an oil change is probably overdue as well. It gets kind of difficult to say for some of these things, because the truck is really not driven very much due to our proximity to work. On the coldest days of winter, I can walk to work in less time than it takes the truck to warm up, and the old beast (the truck, not me!) warms up pretty good after a night in below zero temps. Ah well, at some point I should probably deal with the rust, that will help it last much longer as well.

My Hand with mini

This gives a good idea as to how small the mini is. Yes, I can palm a basketball, just barely, but I can palm a mini VERY easily. The bottom is rubber with the Apple symbol "engraved" into the rubber. It is definitely not heavy, but it is very solid. This does not feel like a wimpy computer. It does not feel like it is primarily made of air, as most computer towers do. It is small, compact, and solid (did I mention that it is solid?).

The Untouched mini

Ah, yes, the untouched mini. It is still incredibly small.

Designed by...

Designed by...
Originally uploaded by A Bob's Life in Pictures.
This is the first thing you see when you open the box. Note that the gray box holds the cd's, and it is just wide enough to hold the paper cd packets. It also contains the Mac mini book, you know, for people who actually need directions on how to use a Mac. In other words, it was a waste of a tree.

Designed by...

Designed by...
Originally uploaded by A Bob's Life in Pictures.
This is the first thing you see when you open the box. Note that the gray box holds the cd's, and it is just wide enough to hold the paper cd packets. It also contains the Mac mini book, you know, for people who actually need directions on how to use a Mac. In other words, it was a waste of a tree.

The mini Box

The mini Box
Originally uploaded by A Bob's Life in Pictures.
My Mac mini arrived today. Here it sits on my desk in all its smallness.

Houston, The mini Has Landed!

That's right, look for pictures of our new Mac mini to show up later today (or tonight, whenever I get to blogging after having fun with the new computer!).

Faith Based Initiatives

When President Bush instituted the faith based initiatives and set up a special office in the White House specifically for that purpose, there was a lot of hope about what it could accomplish. ABC News had an interview with one of the first people working in that office. His last line in the aired interview really summed things up. He was describing why the initiative hasn't accomplished what was hoped and he said this:
"The Democrats are tone deaf to issues of faith and the Republicans are indifferent to the needs of the poor." Obviously he was speaking in broad terms, but let's face it, it's a very accurate statement. That is why gov't funding for helping the poor has been given to non-religious organizations for so long. Even the faith-based groups that have gotten gov't funding have done it by setting up a separate organization that accomplishes "non-religious" work. Bush has done more to spur the discussion than anyone in the last 30 years, IMHO. Let's pray that it goes far beyond discussion into an actual implementation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Budget Cuts at HUD

President Bush has put out his FY 2006 budget proposal. There will be a lot of give and take between now and a final budget, but I received this email the other day on the proposed cuts at HUD:

"The National Low Income Housing Coalition prepared this overview of the
President's FY06 Request for the Department of Housing and
Urban Development and other housing programs. A printer-friendly version
of this memo and a side by side analysis of budget for FY04 enacted, FY05
enacted, and FY06 requested is available at

Obviously, we all have much reason to mobilize against the budget proposal. In it's press release on the budget proposal, the National Low Income Housing Coalition summed up the impact of the proposed budget succinctly: While the effects of the HUD cuts will be deeply felt in every low income community in the country, they will make little difference to the deficit.

SHAC and other organizations will be actively engaging members of Congress, the press, and others in the coming months to express our opposition to the budget. We will be sending out information on opportunities for you to take part in this work soon. In the meantime, please contact us with comments and questions. Thank you. Bob

Analysis of President Bush's FY06 Housing Budget Proposal
Prepared by the National Low Income Housing Coalition
February 9, 2005

President Bush submitted his fiscal year 2006 HUD budget request to Congress on February 7. In the President's request, HUD budget is reduced by 11.5%, from $32.3 billion in FY05 to $28.5 billion in FY06.

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
The President requests a total of $15.85 billion for the section 8 housing choice voucher program in FY06. Of that amount, $14.1 billion is for voucher renewals, $1.3 billion is for administrative fees, $55 million is for the Family Self Sufficiency Program, and $45 million is allocated for a central reserve fund to be used by the Secretary for unforeseen exigencies. The distribution of the funds for renewals will be based on a pro-rata share of each agency's FY05 budget and a 2006 annual adjustment factor plus the costs of any tenant protection vouchers.

The budget calls for an increase of $192 million for tenant protection vouchers for a total of $354 million. According to HUD, the more than doubling of tenant protection voucher funding is necessary due to anticipated increases in HOPE VI demolition, mandatory and voluntary conversion of public housing into tenant-based assistance, vouchers needed to complete the consent decree of the recent Walker vs. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development decision, and more opt-outs of section 8
project based properties.

HUD continues to use a budget-based approach in its renewal formula. Agencies will not be funded on actual leasing levels and costs. While the budget request does not propose major changes in the program, such as a Flexible Voucher Program, HUD states that it will move forward with reforms and submit a similar proposal to Congress in 2005.

Project-Based Rental Assistance
There is a dramatic dip in the funding request for FY06 for project-based housing, about $228 million. HUD officials state that the dip reflects not including a 3% add-on as in years' past as a safety feature (equaling about $220 million of the $228 million) and anticipated savings from HUD's rental housing income integrity program (income matching).

Public Housing Capital Fund
Notwithstanding the $21 billion backlog of public housing modernization needs, the President's budget requests $2.327 billion for the public housing
capital fund, $273 million less than was appropriated in FY05. HUD officials stated that this amount will be sufficient because of the fast pace of public housing demolitions, noting that 123,000 units have been demolished over the last eight years and another 45,000 units are currently scheduled for demolition. Meanwhile, funds to support the costs of public housing receiverships are almost tripled and funding for emergency capital repairs is cut from $30 million to $17 million.

The budget also calls for cutting the Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) program by more than half, from $53.5 million to $24 million. Technical assistance funding for public housing employees and residents is also cut from $38.7 million to $11 million. Neighborhood Networks, funded at $15 million in FY05, receives no funding in FY06.

Public Housing Operating Fund
The FY06 budget request calls for $3.4 billion for public housing
funds. The level for FY06 is not an increase from the funds appropriated
FY05 because the FY05 funds were based on a calendar shift, which allowed for one-time budget savings. The actual annualized level for FY05 is $3.4 billion. Even at the level of funding provided for in the budget request, operating funds would meet only 89% of housing authorities' actual operating costs.

The budget request notes that the new operating formula based on the Harvard
Graduate School of Design cost study is still pending implementation.

For the third year in a row, the HOPE VI program is slated for elimination, even though Congress continues to provide funding for the program. The FY06 request actually seeks a negative amount for HOPE VI (-$143 million). HUD officials stated that HUD will pursue Congressional rescission of FY05's $143 million for HOPE VI until HUD must issue the FY05 notice of funding availability.

Native American Housing Block Grants
The request cuts the Native American Housing Block Grant program from $621 million to $582.6 million and moves the $58 million Indian Community Development Block Grant to a set-aside within NAHBG, effectively cutting this program another $58 million. The ICDBG had been a CDBG set-side.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
The President's request for HOPWA would cut the program from $281 million in FY05 to $268 million in FY06.

Community Development Block Grants
The most drastic cut in the HUD budget request is the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program. This 30-year-old program, which has been vital in improving communities across the country, will be moved to the Commerce Department where it will be incorporated into a $3.7l billion program, Strengthening America's Communities grant program. It is not clear how the funds would be distributed in the new program, if housing activities would be a part of the new program, what part of the $3.71 billion in the Commerce Department's budget request represents CDBG activity vs. activities of any of the other 17 federal programs rolled into this new program. HUD was unable to describe in a briefing for public interest groups exactly how they propose to undertake this reform, and implied that drafting of the legislation will be up to the Department of Commerce.

Some CDBG set-aside programs would move to other departments except for:
the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), the Indian Community Development Block Grant program, the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program and University Programs. Included in the programs moving from HUD are empowerment zones/enterprise communities (to Commerce), Brownfields redevelopment to Commerce) and Youthbuild (to Labor). Set-asides that have supported the Housing Assistance Council, the Enterprise Foundation, LISC, Habitat for Humanity, the National Council of La Raza, and the Native American Indian Housing Council are gone.

Transferring the CDBG program to Commerce will require legislative action by the committees that currently have jurisdiction over the program, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. This is expected to be difficult to achieve.

The HOME program was increased about $41 million but the requested set-aside for down payment assistance was increased by $150 million to $200 million, leaving the HOME block grant cut from FY05's level.

Homeless Assistance Grants
The FY06 budget request increases funding for the homeless by $200 million dollars for a total of $1,440 billion. The increased amount includes $25 million specifically for prisoner re-entry housing, which has not been authorized by Congress. HUD has also stated that up to $200 million of the FY06 request is for Samaritan initiative programs, which also have not been authorized by Congress. HUD is planning to submit legislation to consolidate the three competitive HUD McKinney programs and may include the Samaritan Initiative in the legislation.

Rural Housing and Economic Development
The President's request would eliminate HUD's office of rural housing and economic development.

Housing for the Elderly
This program is cut from $746 million to $741 million. No funds are requested for predevelopment grants. Service coordinator funding is increased from $50 million to $53 million. Project rental assistance contracts are cut from five to three years.

Housing for Persons with Disabilities
In one of the most extraordinary cuts within the FY06 request, housing for persons with disabilities is cut in half, from $238 million to $120 million. None of these funds are for the construction of new units; up to $35 million is for new tenant-based assistance and the remaining funds are for tenant-based renewals.

Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
The HUD request would cut the Fair Housing Assistance Program from $26 million to $16 million and cut the Fair Housing Initiatives Program from $20 million to $16 million.

Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction
The FY06 request cuts the lead hazard reduction program from $154 million to $119 million.

USDA's Rural Housing Service
The President seeks a steep cut in the Section 515 program, going from $99 million in FY05 to $27 million in FY06. There was one bright light in the rural housing programs where the Rural Rental Assistance Program was increased in the FY06 request from $587 million to $650 million."

My Thoughts

It sure seems like the Bush administration is getting ready to kill some programs. Watching YouthBuild get moved to Labor and the CDBG dollars get moved to Commerce means that housing advocates will have a more difficult time keeping track of how the dollars will be spent in the future. These are the people most likely to lobby for these dollars. By moving items into other budget areas, it suddenly becomes easy to kill programs without very many people noticing. It is also sad that Lead Paint Hazard Reduction dollars will be decreased after HUD implemented the toughest federal standards in the fight against lead poisoning. A decrease of approximately 20% does not bode well when there is already a significant shortage of money for dealing with the problem. There is much more I could say here, but this is long enough as it is.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Getting Scobleized

Gary Peterson learned the effects of being Scobleized. In the blog world, Robert Scoble is one of the most widely read bloggers. He's one of the many Microsoft bloggers, and he does a good job of representing the Evil Empire. Seriously. He actually makes a Tablet PC sound tempting, until I remember that its running Windows. Early this morning he linked to Gary's blog, and that meant that tons of his readers did too (like me). Turns out that Gary is a Christian who took exception to the ad during the Super Bowl, as did the NFL, who yanked their second commercial spot after seeing the first ad. Gary's point was simply that Bob Parsons, the CEO of GoDaddy, is not the person to be determining what is OK for Gary's kids to watch, as Parsons seemed to be doing in defense of his ad. Scoble isn't exactly friendly to Christians (he's not rude either, but its obvious that he thinks we're all a bunch of hypocrits, though he'd also probably never live in any of the neighborhoods I've lived in, or Rudy, or Abner, or Jeremy, or...), but many of his readers are simply angry people when the issue of religion is brought up. Gary has had the "joy" of deleting posts by people who can't seem to express an opinion without using obscenities.

As I read through the comments on Gary's site, I couldn't help but think of how far humans are from God. To flat out curse God is something I can't imagine. To claim to be speaking for God is something else that's difficult to do, that's why Christians quote the Bible. It's easier to let God speak than to try to do it ourselves. Don't get me wrong, I don't even begin to understand some of the things that occur on this planet, the tsunami being just one of many. I've prayed with people who have been healed from horrible diseases and issues that I don't think are that important, but they are to that person. I've also prayed with people who have died from horrible diseases. The man I replaced as elder chairman died of cancer before his daughter graduated from high school. I can't begin to understand the why's of that. Still, we, as Christians, are able to go back to read about Job and his interaction with God. When we face the unthinkable, do we listen to "Job's friends" who tell us to curse God or do we listen to the voice of God and realize that there are simply things we aren't going to understand. I choose to listen to the voice of God.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Following the Missionary Links

Joe's blog led me to Keith's blog, which led me to Joseph's blog. Connecting with missionaries is awesome because of several reasons. First, they have a very different view of the world than most Americans, conservative or liberal. They don't have idealistic views of how other nations/cultures do things or view the world. They are, simply put, grounded. A second reason is that missionaries have an incredible bond with one another. Whenever my good friend, Dan (who grew up as an missionary kid (MK) in Venezuela), meets other missionaries or MK's, he is a joy to watch, because he thrives on talking with them, and they thrive on that same conversation. The third reason that connecting with missionaries is awesome is that they have personal contacts and friends who you could never hope to meet otherwise. My example above bears that out.

Joe Missionary contacted me about The Dad's Group, so I started following his blog. That led me to Keith's blog, among others, which led me to Joseph's blog. Now, I would guess that the number of Africans in the blogosphere is pretty small. Here is where Joseph's blog is so important. As a Christian who is serving the Lord in his home country of Sudan, his view of Christianity is going to be shaped by the world in which he lives, thus he blogs about AIDS and war. I would just like to say, "Thank you, Joseph, for informing me of God's work in Sudan! I am a better Christian and a better pray-er as a result."

Please hook up with Joseph's blog, and follow it. RSS and Atom feeds are available, so take advantage of them.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Preparing for the Mac mini Arrival

Yesterday, I spent some time at lunch getting our wireless network hooked up. We've had all the equipment, but had not moved things around to make it happen. I moved the dsl modem and hooked it up to our Airport Express, which we have been using to play music through our stereo. I had to wire up the phone jack behind the TV, but that was a piece of cake. I then had to rework some of the settings. I couldn't find my Airport Express manual, so I pulled one up when I got back to the office and printed the two pages I needed for getting it reset. When I got home, it took all of a few minutes to have it all set up and working. I'm now surfing and blogging wirelessly. Oh, and yes, it does have password protection going, and not the default. I was very glad I did that since we learned this morning that the mini has shipped!

This afternoon I headed out to CompUSA. We decided to get an Apple keyboard instead of using the old keyboard on the even older pc. They're pretty cheap, so it wasn't too much of an issue. I had a $50 gift card burning a hole in my wallet for quite a while now, so I was able to get the keyboard and a new trackball. My out of pocket cost was $3.60, and all of that went to Uncle Sam. I've been seriously thinking about waiting on the trackball to get the bluetooth trackball that MacMice will be putting out in April. Who knows, I may still get it, as our older trackball is just too much hassle. It seems like we're cleaning it every two weeks to keep it working. The new one is a Logitech Marble Mouse, which is optical. Very nice. I use the same thing at work, too. It's a four button trackball, but only costs $20. I've been very impressed thus far with my trackball at work. People are surprised that I don't use a classic one button Apple mouse. The fact is, I hate to use any mouse of any kind. I find the trackball so much easier to use and so much easier on my wrist. The whole thing just flows much better for me. The boys do much better with the trackballs too, so that justifies it even more for me. Now I'm all ready for the arrival of the mini. Plan on pictures showing up on my website very quickly!

The Mini has Shipped

After many weeks of waiting, we awoke this morning to an email letting us know that our Mac mini has shipped!

CNN Exec Resigns in Disgrace

Rudy pointed to the whole story that is racing through the blogosphere. Eason Jordan, CNN's Chief News Executive, has resigned following statements he made at Davos. A blogger challenged him on a statement about US military forces in Iraq targeting journalists. What's amazing is the lack of coverage that the mainstream media (MSM) is giving the story. Follow Rudy's link for an incredible story about one man's fall from power. It was quick, even though he has many, many allies in powerful places.

Oh, and I love the comment to Rudy's post, "CNN: The most busted source in news." Too good.

ACLU Panic Video

I tend to agree with Joshua Allen. This video is designed to instill panic in the hearts of people. Besides, we already have a national ID number, its called Social Security. At the same time, though, I think Joshua is talking about something completely different than the ACLU. The ACLU is saying that a national database of information on all people could very easily lead to abuse, and they demonstrate how that abuse could take form. It's one thing to talk about gossip, it's another thing to consider what could happen when you are calling to order pizza, as the guy in the video is doing. Of course, with him being a Microsoft blogger, its easy for an outsider like me to think that there's too much of a tendency to defend the greatness of software. Let's face it, there are places we don't want our software to take us, as a civilization.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Importance of Church Web Sites links to an article on the importance of a church's web site, especially if a church wants to bring in young people and young families. This is very important stuff for churches to keep in mind. The web site certainly doesn't define a church as good, but it can show itself to be out of touch with the people the church is trying to reach. In looking at a few of the area's Free Churches, two didn't have a site at all. It's tough to get out your message via the internet if you have no presence.

Busy Week for Police

We've had four murders in Rockford this week, two are drug related, one from a botched car break-in, and one from an argument. Three people have been arrested including a 14 year old boy. One person has a warrant out for their arrest. The argument shooting is the one with a warrant, but the warrant is for aggravated use of a firearm, as is the person arrested for the two drug related killings. Why do I mention that? Because we learned from a murder in our neighborhood that it isn't considered a murder if they find a weapon on the person who was killed. I think they are afraid that the person will use the self-defense plea and get off, so they charge them with aggravated use of a firearm, which is often a misdemeanor. That's right, found guilty in connection with killing someone and the penalty is six months in the county jail. The murder in our old neighborhood several years ago was exactly that same situation. In fact, the person who was killed had just finished serving his six month sentence for killing someone else who had had a gun. The person who killed him got the same six month sentence. It is time for the state legislature to come up with a more serious category of crime for these situations. If you fire a gun and someone dies, the penalty should be measured in years, not months. And no, I don't care what the circumstances are. Guns are not toys and they are rarely used in self defense. These aren't the days of the old west and we shouldn't sit around pretending that they are. The man who killed two people was not using his gun in self defense. If he had been, he would have been hit before he got off his second shot. If you can't tell, I have no problem with gun control. In fact, there needs to be a LOT more of it. I've lived in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Illinois (including Chicago's west side), I have friends who I visit in many of those neighborhoods, and I have never nor will ever own a gun. People are shocked when I say that our current neighborhood is the best neighborhood we've ever lived in, because most people think our current neighborhood is much too dangerous a place to raise kids.

A quick extra note for those who think that this is a big city problem, the man arrested for killing two people in the drug related shooting is from a small town in central Illinois, he's not a local.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Apple's Mistake

WOOHOO!! Apple just sent me an email saying that it won't really take another month for my mini to ship, just another week or two, which was what I expected two or three weeks ago, so I guess we'll see.

Permanent Housing for the Homeless

I rarely blog about work, as that can lead to dangerous territory, especially when the work you do gets linked to politics. This post, however, is about work. Zion Development Corporation, who I work for, opened Rockford's first permanent supportive housing for people who'd otherwise be homeless. This is a relatively new model of housing for the homeless, but it is the centerpiece of President Bush's goal of ending chronic homelessness within 10 years (a goal he set a couple years ago, so time is running out. In December 2001, we opened the Grand Apartments, which is still Rockford's only working model of permanent supportive housing. Of course, that means that Rockford (pop. 150,000) has more of this type of housing than most STATES, but that's another discussion. The Grand Apartments is a 45 unit building of studio apartments. We have a full-time and a part-time social worker on the premises. We allow the residents to live in the building as long as they pay their rent and abide by their lease. One of our original tenants is still in the building. This is a place where services are provided to help keep people from ending up back on the streets.

Why do I post all of this now? Because The Homeless Guy has an excellent post on the what's and why's of homelessness. The homeless state of living is one of the most misunderstood and stereotyped states of living that we have in the U.S. Have you thought about how it must feel to run a shelter? Try telling a pregnant woman to leave your building at 5:30 AM on Christmas morning when you both know that she has NO PLACE to go. The mall? It's closed. The churches? They're closed. The government buildings? They're closed. Shelters serve a purpose, but ultimately the goal is to get people off of the streets. The Grand Apartments offer that. It gives people a permanent place to live.

BTW, if you're interested in support Zion Development Corporation, I'll be adding a PayPal button to the website later this week. You won't have to open a PayPal account, but you will need a credit card. Any donations are GREATLY appreciated.


Last night the Rockford School District voted to oursource the custodial work throughout the school district. It seems to me that the District is walking head long into a nasty teachers' strike. I have been asked if I would return to teaching next year since there will be over 300 vacancies. Why would I quit my job just to take a job that would put me on strike? The new superintendent is so focused on balancing the budget that he's forgotten that there are people who work for him. Perhaps he should take a pay cut first in order to demonstrate how seriously he takes the budget problem. That would go a long way toward winning trust among the District's employees, something of which there was very little even before last night. If your employees believe that you're out to get them, can you expect them to perform well on the job? So much for Rockford Schools improving.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Tough Place to Be

I've been reading a few more missionary blogs since Joe Missionary started blogging with me over at The Dad's Group. I ended up at the award winning blog Under the Acacias. A recent post tells of the conversion of a well-respected muslim man and the dilemma that that poses for him. Please pray for this man.

Re-Engineering Downtown

There was a big article in yesterday's paper about taking out a walking mall in downtown Rockford and getting rid of the one-way streets into and out of downtown. The whole thing just seems like a joke. "Downtown is messed up period, with (too many) one-ways and construction." It is obvious that the people who are discussing this have NEVER paid attention to any other city they have visited. Too many one-ways?!? There's one going north, one going south, one going east, and one going west. That is the most effective way to move large volumes of traffic into and out of a downtown area without putting in a highway! Simply put, you get two, three, or even four lanes of traffic all going in the same direction and it vastly improves the ability to move the traffic. How fast do people think traffic will move after On the Waterfront, when tens of thousands of people are leaving the downtown area at the same time on a one or two lane street? I can promise you that traffic won't move very quickly. Hey, maybe if they built a hotel downtown, people snarled in the traffic will have someplace to stay!

They put a map in the paper that showed a plan to convert all of the one-ways into two-way streets, including the section of Main Street that is currently the pedestrian mall. As soon as my wife saw it she asked, "If they're going to do that (meaning get rid of the pedestrian mall), why don't they make that one-way so traffic can move better?" The obvious is just screaming at people, but there are apparently so many provential folks in this city who can't seem to figure out how to drive on one-way streets, that the obvious will be trashed in favor of the laborious. They have a hard enough time selling people on the benefits of downtown as it is, now they just want to snarl traffic and make it a pain to get around. Yeah, that's a good idea.

On the Board

Today I was shocked when I was elected to the Board of Directors for the Rockford Area Affordable Housing Coalition. I've attended occasionally with a co-worker who was a board member. He had to resign since he joined the Board of the Statewide Housing Action Coalition and he only has so much time in a day. That left an open spot on the board and I was nominated. Two other nominations were also made, so I was very surprised when I was elected. It's a very good thing, though. I'm very much looking forward to getting more involved. I've never felt a need to be very involved due to my co-worker's involvement, but since he was stepping out of the coalition, I would be attending all of the member meetings anyway. This just gives me more involvement. This puts me in two area-wide organizations. I'm also involved with the Winnebago County Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalition (or something like that, once a name gets more than three or four words, it gets harder to remember). I've been a little more vocal/involved with that group as well, and I'm hoping to work on a website for them once my Mac mini arrives. Anyway, two good groups with a lot of potential.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Couple Amazing Prayers

Bryan has posted a couple of prayers that were repeated at the Emergent '05 Convention. Read them at Bryan's blog.

Napster Super Bowl Ad

The Mac web is mocking the Napster ad from the Super Bowl for finishing dead last in the USA Today poll. The irony, and I've seen far from all the Mac web articles about the subject, but I've only seen this obvious point once, is that Napster's ad tells people to do the math. 10,000 songs on an iPod equals $10,000. Unfortunately, it's Napster that ought to go back to school. 10,000 x $.99 per song = $9,900. Sorry Napster, even if I bought all of the music on that iPod, I still wouldn't pay the $10,000 you claim. Of course, having a bunch of cd's means that I will pay far less to fill up that iPod. But then again, I don't want to fill up that iPod with music, I may also want to use it as an external, portable hard drive and transport files with it. So, my options are much more varied than Napster's bad math leads people to believe.

Emergency Mac mini Mail Server

Over at MacDailyNews, theloniusMac posted a response to the article that told of a recent client call. Apple should use this story for a commercial. You can check it out for yourself at the link above, but here's the story:


"Friday night at 05:30pm got a call from a clothing manufacturer. E-mail server down and they needed it back up ASAP. They told me it was Windows. I said, "Huh? Where'd you get my name?" Some guy I used to work with back in the day at Bank America gave them my name.

"The guy on the phone described the server. Some big honking Dell. Dell had given them the name of some local Dell Certified consultants. The Dell guys estimated the cost to get the server back up and running to be $1500.

"I asked are there any Windows specific applications running on the server? They guy said it only handled e-mail, but it had to work for Windows e-mail clients. I said I can be there in 45 minutes.

"I just happened to have a Mac Mini with me. The low end one. I'd been carrying it around in my bag to show people. I'd had it for about 2 weeks and haven't even hooked it up yet. Everywhere I took it, people were astonished. People love the Mac Mini. Especially when they actually see it. Everyone knows it's small, but it doesn't really hit you how small it is until you lay eyes on it.

"Anyway, I show up at this guy's place in downtown Los Angeles. I take a look at the Dell server, and he asks, "Can you fix it?" I say, "Why bother, I have another server here somewhere." So I start digging around in my bag making a show of it. "Hmmm... I know it's in here somewhere." The guy says, "Are you saying you have a server in your bag?" Then I whip out the Mac Mini.

"You could have knocked him over with a feather. He was freaked out and resistant at first thinking that e-mail has to run on a big Windows machine.

"17 minutes.

"It took 17 minutes to take the keyboard and monitor from his Dell, configure the Mac Mini, add usernames and passwords, and have it serving e-mail for the 15 or so people who needed it.

"I charged him my cost for the Mac Mini, and $100 for my time, which came out way less than the $1500 the Dell consultants were going to charge.

"AND it turns out he uses a web based management system for his company. We tested it, it works fine on the Mac. I demonstrated OS X on my PowerBook, showed him the facts of life concerning the Virus and security situation. He's spent a small fortune already bringing in people to de-virus and de-spyware his machines. Next week he wants to talk about replacing the aging Compaqs in his company with Mac Minis.

"Just goes to show ya. My first inclination was to tell the guy, tough luck, it's Friday, I'm going home to watch Stargate and Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek because it's what geeks do on Friday night."

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Bowl Thoughts

I posted my thoughts on the day from a dad's perspective over at The Dad's Group. A few additional thoughts go here:
For some weird reason, I found myself cheering for the Eagles. I'm not sure why. I actually don't care at all about either team, so I can only come to two conclusions. First is that I have a natural bent for NFC teams outside of Cleveland; second, I hate when one team constantly dominates like the Pats have been doing.

The commercials are not worth watching the game for. The Cadillac commercials reminded me of a radio spot I heard while living in Minneapolis for a summer..."(Name of motorcycle)...0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds, (name of motorcycle)...0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds, name of motorcycle)...0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, Minnesota Red Oak...60 to 0 in 0.0 seconds." The best commercials were done by the end of the first quarter (with the exception of the soldiers returning home, but see my comment on that over at The Dad's Group). If you were watching the game for the commercials, you could have quit after the first quarter.

This was a game worth watching (commercial free). This was an outstanding game, almost as good as the Rams vs. Titans a few years ago when it came down to the final play.

Paul McCartney does a much better half-time show than Janet Jackson and whoever the rapist was on stage with her.

iTunes/Pepsi promo is officially underway, so I guess I'll be drinking lots of Pepsi products for the next few months. Please feel free to save winning bottle caps for me if you won't be using them.

Terrell Owens is one VERY tough man.

The Mac mini should have been advertised during the game. There is no way that Apple couldn't have produced the best commercial during this game.

The pre-game show was almost as good as the second half commercials, but not quite. They do a better job on a typical Sunday during the season than they did tonight.

Where was John Madden? Who is Joe Buck?

Tomorrow I get to go to work, just like I did last Monday morning.

Anheiser-Busch makes pretty good commercials, if only they weren't using them to sell overpriced poison.

I didn't mind the Patriots winning the game. It was a very good game, so I would have been happy with either team winning simply because they both played well.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Bible is Online

That's right, you can now download the Today's New International Version in pdf format, and yes, it's free.

The Missionary Church

Jordon Cooper has an excerpt from Reggie McNeal's book, The Present Future. The excerpt is on what churches measure. Most North American churches measure attendance, giving, participation, and the like. McNeal challenges that by saying that a missionary church mentality would measure ministry initiatives, conversations with pre-Christians, short term and long term missions opportunities, etc.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Why Isn't Everyone On a Mac?

That is a portion of the title of an editorial article on It is a very straight forward look at the differences between Macs and Windows computers. If you are sensitive to foul language, don't read it (it's far from the worst I've seen but you've been warned). I could pretty much identify with the article, though, having spent my ENTIRE day dealing with two computer problems (one of them will carry over to next week, though that's not a big deal, it's been going on for months and no one seems to know what to think). The most time comsuming of the day, though, was dealing with a computer virus. Now, lest you think that the computer was improperly set up, it was scheduled to run virus updates nightly and Windows updates regularly. The problem? The various people who used it would shut it off when they left the office, thus the computer never got its updates. One thing led to another and pretty soon I was reinstalling Windows only to find that the virus was still there because Microsoft thinks that its a good idea to keep a "system restore" file hanging around. That means that if you got rid of a virus, you probably haven't gotten rid of it. Redmond, we have a problem...and you're it.

Weird, I don't run any antivirus on my Macs and I've never had to configure a firewall either. My Mac at work hasn't been shut off since early December, that's right, it's been running 24/7 for TWO months without a shut down or restart. Today it smoked an HP with a "much faster processor" in opening the same file. The difference was measurable, and that was in simply opening something up! Thank you Apple!

Oh, one other note, the article references a challenge that was offered several years ago. The hacker(s) who could break into a specific company's unprotected Mac server and alter the homepage of the challenge would get $13,000. After the two months were up, the company still had the $13,000 in their bank account. And people think hackers go after Microsoft because there are more users.

Uses for a Mac mini

The Mac mini is making the rounds in the tech news arena. Along with the news, though, are a number of articles about specialized uses for a Mac mini. Nerd Vittles has how-to pieces on using the Mac mini as your web server, email server, home automation server, and as a telephony server. Wow, that's not bad for a $500 dollar computer. The only additional software required to do all that is for the home automation and telephony systems. Everything else comes pre-installed as part of the operating system. Of course, all of this is true for any Mac running Mac OS X, but to be able to do all this in a $500 computer is pretty amazing. MacDailyNews even points to an article that states that a base model Mac mini is good enough for 80% of the world's websites. At some point, people may realize that all they need is the connection to the internet and everything else can be done from home or the office, whether it's email or web serving, or pretty much anything else.

Now I'm looking forward to our mini arriving, if only Apple wasn't weeks behind demand!!

Bad Button

I've learned that the "Send Me a Message" button on my homepage isn't working. The same button works from every other page on the site, but it doesn't work on the homepage. Very frustrating. Since it's built into the .mac homepage system, I don't know if there's a way for me to go in and change it, so I've got a message in to tech support for .mac.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Blog Reading

Since the boys didn't nap today, they were out cold very early tonight. I looked up from the Inspector Gadget movie that Nathan was watching to see that I was the only person awake at 6:30. The result, of course, is that I've had a ton of time to catch up on my blog reading. Here are some reads you should check out:

Paradoxology on Materialism: What will it take to change us?
Deep Soil on What Does It Mean To Be a Woman?
The Heresy on The Rotten Fruit of Evangelicalism
Zayd's Dad on Theological Reflection in the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated his island
Messy Christian on Worship this way!
El Acceso begins his personal story of Assimilation, Part 1
Jeremy on This is Deep
and finally, The Homeless Guy reminds us of the importance of Bad Weather.

Hope you enjoy all of these links (man, I've gotta update my blogroll!). Now, I've really got to finish my reading for school. You'd think I'd be able to keep up with only one class!

I'm Sharing the Appall!

This story is simply frightening. Talk about a moral slide. This one comes from Germany and describes how German law can now force a woman into the sex industry or cut her unemployment benefits. Talk about a horrible situation to find yourself in! The link is to the Opensourcetheology blog. They tell the story but also link to the original article at the end of the post.

The Davos Notes

Jay Nordlinger has been in Davos Switzerland for the World Economic Summit. He's writing for the National Review. This is a terrifically humorous look at the world political scene. Here's a look at Tony Blair's speech on global warming and Africa:

"His main topics are to be "climate change" and Africa, his two big agenda items for the G8, which he is heading. He says, "Forgive a smile" — I love that phrase, "forgive a smile" — "but it seems to me that every time I give a speech about global warming, I have to come through ice and snow to do it." That's a fine acknowledgment, a touch that Al Gore would be incapable of lending, I think."

Check out part one here. Follow the links to hit parts 2-5. It's a lot of reading, but very good.

Kudos to Rudy for the great read!

A New Group Blog--for Dads

I'm relatively new to the blogging thing, but I thought it might be fun to try a communal blog thing. I was reading a few "Daddy" blogs today and realized that the topic of fatherhood would make a very good group blog. I'd like to have some dad's from around the country (maybe even around the world) do this thing together. Of course, I'd definitely like to see dads of varying ages popping their wisdom and stories together too. Give me a comment here if you're interested, or you can send me an email via my homepage. I've got the blog set up, and even an introductory post similar to this one, but I need to add members so that the group idea can take root.

Is Your Computer Safe?

Nerd Vittles put out a great little piece on why the Mac mini is such a great computer for people who don't know much about computers. Here's just a little snippet:

"...he mentioned that one of their secretaries had recently been paid a visit by the FBI. The rest of the scenario was pretty much the same. The poor woman had no idea her PC had become one of the busiest porno sites in the state of Virginia."

Now, it really isn't that difficult to keep a Windows PC secure, but if you, or someone you know, doesn't know anything about computers (and let's face it, that's a lot of folks!), the Mac mini really is a great opportunity to reopen the world of computing to people. You can have all the benefits of a secure computing system without any of the work or knowledge, and that's a big deal these days. Personally, I don't have the time or money to keep a Windows PC secure on my free time. Even if I automated everything, I'd still have to pull out the credit card at least once a year and re-up to keep all of the security definitions up to date. With my Mac, I do nothing. The firewall is built in and comes turned on. There aren't any viruses than can affect my Mac, and none of the spyware out there can affect it either. Not only that, but if spyware were written for the Mac, I'd still have to approve it's installation by entering a password before it could be installed on my computer. Don't think that'll happen! The Mac makes computer security much easier on me.