Thursday, March 31, 2005

Nice Calvinists?

Messy Christian has a post that has stirred up a lot of discussion. She asks if there is such a thing as a nice Calvinist. Interesting question. Personally, I'd have to say that there are nice Calvinists, just don't bring up the subject. It seems like any time there is a discussion that can begin to look like it might discuss Calvinism, it inevitably does. Its not that there are civil debates about the subject, its that the discussions ALWAYS seem to be debates. Our Sunday school class has lost more members over the years because of the Calvinists in the class than any other single reason...probably than EVERY other reason combined. Its not that they are mean people or bad people, its that the subject comes up over and over and over and over and over and...well, you get the idea. Most people aren't that tied down ideologically. They don't want to discuss the same topic all the time. It's kind of like being around a charismatic who only wants to talk about speaking in tongues...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What Did I Learn?

My workshops were outstanding this week. They are the first in a series on single family affordable housing development. This week we were just doing an overview of the development process, so I already knew a lot of it, but there were still some very good things that I came out with. It was also sobering to read some of the stories of failed community development organizations. So many of these groups have learned tough lessons and either come through them or failed that it's tough to understand why people just getting into the field don't pay close attention to those mistakes. One of our local CDC's (community development corporations) failed a few years ago. I see a current CDC (not the one I work with) following in those same steps. It's not that they are doing bad development, but they are taking on the role of antagonist and making too many enemies. Should they ever reach a point where they need help, there won't be anyone around to give them a hand. That is one thing that my organization does very well. We don't run around telling people all the things they are doing badly or what it is that we disagree on. We work very hard at keeping lines of communication open and keeping a steady head on our shoulders. Sure, I've seen us fail at it once or twice, but certainly not to the point where we've made significant enemies.

At the same time, I did see some of the mistakes that we've made reflected in the CDC's that have failed. It was a good reminder that small mistakes can have a terrible effect on an organization that does a lot of good. I've really been thinking through the importance of starting out correctly. In the community development field, that is vital. Too many groups start out by going into debt and then spend the rest of their existence trying to dig out of it. CDCs need to be better at getting the money up front, moving into development slowly (don't run out and buy a bunch of property just so you've got something), and leveraging as much money as possible to make development happen. They also need to approach development as a business, not as a social investment. Too often there is an emotional drive to accomplish and the business side is put aside. Lose the emotion (it is property, after all!) and focus on being successful from the very beginning. Also, read up on the CDCs that have failed and those that have succeeded. Pay close attention to the details and learn from others' mistakes. A community center from Rockford was at the workshop, thinking about getting into community development. They need to do some VERY serious thinking and planning before diving in. There is no excuse for making the mistakes that others have made. They are too public and too easy to see if you want to know what to avoid.

A Few Days Away

I had a workshop in Springfield, IL the first couple of days this week, so I took the family with me. We left straight from my parent's house on Easter. Hit the pool as soon as we got into the room. That was great.

While I spent time in my workshops on Monday and Tuesday, Jill took the boys out. They visited a museum on Monday that had a great "discovery" room. On Tuesday she took them to the zoo. She doesn't recommend the Springfield zoo. When Nathan told me, "We saw slimy green water," I knew it hadn't been very good! They're young enough, though, that it won't have much of an effect on them.

All in all, it was very good to have a few days away. Actually, it would have been better to have had the entire week away, but that time is coming!!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fellowship Church, Again

As a follow up on my post the other day about Fellowship Church in Dallas, I've been following some of the many links on Brian Bailey's blog. I had noticed at the time of my original post that Bailey had been visited by Robert Scoble, the MS evangelist (and one of the most popular bloggers around). Tonight I found the comments that each had made about the visit. Scoble's take on things is worth a read from an IT standpoint.

There is a tendency within churches to focus on a very limited number of things, and most of them are program related, benefitting primarily the members of the church itself. Scoble points out how Fellowship Church utilizes technology in powerful ways to promote the mission of the church. It not only is very visible when a person walks in the door, but it is also very powerful in allowing the church to function smoothly and efficiently while still retaining the all-important people contact.

Blog for Church Leaders

If you are a leader in a church, here is an outstanding blog to bookmark!

Terri Schiavo

I haven't posted anything on this because I really haven't been following it. There are a couple of interesting posts on the subject from two popular Christian bloggers. Marla's post is more of a pondering, Anna's post juxtaposes two "life" issues and questions how we've gotten to this point. Makes me want to buy a rabbit as a fund raiser (now you've gotta follow the links!).

I will confess that I haven't followed the Schiavo situation because it does exactly what Anna says, it confronts me with realities that I really don't feel like dealing with right now. I think that is true for most people. I also question how many of the "facts" that people quote are actually true. Gossip has a way of turning questions (Do you think he's having an affair?) into "truth" (He's having an affair!). Personally, I don't have a clue as to what things are being stated truthfully and what are being stated to promote an agenda; I don't have the time to find out, either.

BTW, I found the comments at Marla's blog to be excellent and worth reading. The comments at Anna's blog were pretty much worthless, though I tend to agree with the European commentor that a pro-life position needs to deal with issues of war and gun control.

Paying for What You Get

David Coursey wrote a second column in as many weeks on the issue of computer security. The premise is this: if companies like Symantec charged people for security based on the number of threats and viruses, Mac users are paying WAY too much money for computer security. Under Coursey's premise, if Mac users are paying $70 a computer for security, then the cost of security software for Windows should be at least $1,000 a computer. Actually, if you're basing it on viruses alone, that $70 for a Mac would come out to $5.6 million/computer for Windows (no viruses vs. 80,000), never mind all of the other threats that aren't virus related. I wonder how that would affect the total cost of owning a computer?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Big Ten in the Tourney

The Big Ten is tearing it up in the NCAA Tourney. There will be three Big 10 teams in the Elite Eight. Not only that, but if North Carolina doesn't shape up, then both UNC and Duke will go down in the same night. That hasn't happened since the 1970's!! NC State also went down tonight, so that means that North Carolina could be a very depressed state to be in tonight!!

Oh yeah, Duke and NC State both fell to Big 10 teams. It's a good night!!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Fellowship Church Leaves MS Behind

Robert Scoble, the Microsoft evangelist of all people, points to a blog entry on Fellowship Church's move from Microsoft based internet solutions to open source. Brian Bailey listed the reasons for such a move on his blog. Just a note, Fellowship Church is the fifth largest church in the US according to Scoble's post.

It's interesting to me that Scoble would link to it. I can see him sending out an internal email about it, but by putting it out there for everyone to see, he's giving a lot of people good reasons to leave MS behind when it comes to web based solutions. Bailey has some outstanding reasons for the move. Microsoft has a lot of work to do to overcome the 10 reasons that Bailey lays out, and Scoble's pointing to those reasons publicly will give a lot of other businesses and organizations the reasons they need to switch before MS can catch up. Nerd Vittles has an entire series on how to do all the same stuff on any Macintosh without paying for any software.

One thing that I found interesting as I was poking around was that Scoble had sent the Channel 9 Guy to Bailey for a visit. This is one of those little foam mascots that gets sent around the world for pictures to be taken in various places. Bailey had commented somewhere that he was a big fan of Microsoft's, yet the first picture he took of Channel 9 Guy was of Guy sitting on his Apple Powerbook! With fans like that...

Night with the Boys

Josh Groban was in town last night, and since Jill's sister swoons over him, their mom had gotten them tickets for the concert. That left me and the boys to fend for ourselves. We fended at the mall. We went to the play area for a while, then we went for a nice long walk through the entire place (I had taken the two-seated stroller), then we went back to play some more, rode a couple kiddie rides and put a couple pennies in the funnel (where the coins go 'round and 'round and 'round). As we were finishing that up, Nathan started to run off. Hmmm...not good, especially since he's done that before. He had only gotten about 40 feet when I yelled to him. He stopped and looked at me and then turned to start walking again. I yelled again and he stopped. I went over and got him and we had yet another little talk about running off at the mall. I think we need a leash. It wouldn't be so bad if he had the speed of a typical three year old, but the kid is amazingly fast for his age, so he has the potential of disappearing in a moment's time. Small, young and fast, not a good combination.

I was watching him run earlier in the evening. He would run around the play area over and over and over. When he'd decide it was time to stop, he'd come running up to me and pull up. He's such a natural runner that his form was almost identical to an olympic sprinter. Jill is worried that he'll like football. I'm not. ;)

Bad Dog, Bad Attitude

This evening a loose pitbull was under my truck while the owner was trying to coax the dog out. I'm generally not too keen on dealing with strange dogs, and, though this was a puppy, I was less than excited about going outside with a loose pitbull running around. The mother pitbull (which seems to be a mean one) had been loose yesterday, so I'm getting pretty sick of seeing these dogs running around.

Isaac was watching the lady try to get the dog out, and our dog was going nuts in the house. Suddenly the back doorbell rang. When I answered it the lady was there demanding that I go out and help her with her dog. I don't get excited about people demanding that I help them, especially something like this. I told her that I don't deal with dogs I don't know, but I offered her some dog treats, which she took. They didn't do much good, though. She finally left and sent someone else to get the dog (who also gave up). I don't know when the dog left, but it was gone when we looked later.

Jill told me I should stop and see if their dog was back when I had to go to the office to get something. She felt bad that we didn't help her. My response is that I didn't feel bad helping someone with a dog I don't know and an attitude I didn't like. I also wasn't planning on walking to the office since I didn't know if the dog was still out running around.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Postmodern Culture and Church

Check out Phil's post over at Every Thought Captive on the relationship between Church and postmodern culture. Excellent questions for churches to think through in a very serious way.

Irrelevant to Revolutionary

I finally got around to reading an article by Jeremy, the link to which he had posted in my comments a while back. Great stuff here. We talk about reaching the next generation, but then fail to do it. He's got some serious issues that he's raising and addressing.

John MacArthur on the Purpose Driven Life, Almost

MacArthur was interviewed on CNN, and in customary MSM (mainstream media) fashion, they blew it. John's own website blasts the televised version as cutting the essential points and as attempting to see the differences of opinion as petty and based in jealousy. It seems as though the MSM chooses to understand what they want, and they want to understand as little as possible. Maybe that's why so many people watch less and less of it? I'm still left wondering why MacArthur would have assumed that CNN would have acted above contempt on this issue to begin with. I'm more surprised that he did the interview than at the results of it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Impact of Divorce

Melodee has an incredibly powerful post on the impact of divorce. This is a must-read!!

Abner on Politics

Abner Ramos posted here on the importance of thinking through politics from more than one perspective, especially as Christians. I have never been one to think that the Democrats or the Republicans have a lock on Christian teaching. I become more convinced of that every time there is an election. I don't honestly think that most politicians give a rip about issues of faith.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Bible Incites Violence and Grand Theft Auto Does Not

Sven points to an article on CNET that claims that Grand Theft Auto does not incite violence, but that the Bible does. I was thinking earlier today about how hypocritical it is for the world to blame its problems on God, especially when it is usually done in order to justify a continued dependence on ourselves. Doesn't anyone notice that our continued insistence on depending on ourselves instead of God is exactly why our problems continue to exist?!?

Check out Sven's post, then check out the article, oh, and read through the posts, I was surprised (mostly for the good) by what I saw.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Take This Newspaper Seriously?!?

A sidebar on the local paper's website says, "You jump on East State Street at the tollway and drive east. Over the next 25 minutes and 11 miles to Meridian Road, you’ll pass through Rockford’s core". Ummm...actually, if you get on E. State Street at the tollway and drive east you will drive past a movie theater, lots of cornfields with scattered subdivisions, you will cross the county line and end up on the outskirts of a small town where the Chrysler/Dodge Neon is built. You won't see much of Rockford at all.

Looking for one editor that knows their directions. Apply here.

Living By A Horoscope

I've been following a local reporter's series called, "Scoped Out." about living by his horoscope. Each day for a month he tries to figure out what his horoscope is telling him to do and he does it. It has some very funny moments, but also some interesting stuff as well. Of course, I enjoyed the reading early on as he was paying the "Stupid Tax" (my term, its a special tax you pay for being stupid). In the end, his horoscope was terribly wrong, but the state greatly appreciated his donation.

I've also found it interesting to see how vague the horoscope is, and how easily they can be interpreted differently. It doesn't appear to be that difficult to live by your horoscope if you're a pretty decent person (I know, there's a whole theological bent to that that I'm not even going to discuss here, this is supposed to be a relatively lightweight post). He sums it up very well in an earlier article in the series by saying:

"This past week following my sun signs was difficult. Not because it gave me anything challenging to do, like, 'wrestle a lion,' or 'find the Lost Ark of the Covenant,' but because it did the opposite. Each morning I wake up wondering what my horoscope will have me do that day, but even after I read my forecast I was still wondering, 'What am I supposed to do today?'

My forecast included cliche advice such as 'rejection is God’s protection,' and 'friendships are not without occasional strife.'

I could get better directions from a gas station."

Yup, ya probably could.

A New Quiz to Take

I took the quiz to decide when I'll die (yeah, right, like that's predictable). Anyway, here's my result:

You Will Die at Age 85


Congratulations! You take good care of yourself.

You're poised to live a long, healthy life.

I was sure I put "overweight" and "don't exercise," oh well...

False Advertising

I was at checking out my Folding stats and I decided to poke around a little bit and see how much home built computers would run. The first page I saw had a deal on a Dell 2700 with hyperthreading technology. I decided to check it out just for fun, thinking that $499 was a very good price on that computer. I was linked to Dell for the special deal and there it was, the Dell 2700 listed at $499. I couldn't hit purchase right there (not that I'd spend that much money that inpulsively, I just noticed it wasn't an option), so I hit the customize button. I went down through the list to see what I'd have to get rid of to get that $499 price. There wasn't anything. I could not subtract a dime in any spec. When I got to the bottom of the page, the price was $599. Now, I'm not the most simple person on earth, neither am I the most sophisticated, but something about that doesn't seem right. What is the price of the computer?!? Personally, I call that "Lying."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Little Time

The boys are in bed, the Illinois game is on. Glad I've got a little free time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

New Poster Features My Family

I've been serving on a county coalition that is trying to lower the lead poisoning levels in children. A couple weeks ago one of the coalition members (who is a hobbyist photographer) took some pictures of our family for use in a poster campaign. Today they were "unveiled" at our coalition meeting. They were AWESOME! One of the posters features the two boys and the other features Jill and Isaac. They'll most likely go up in medical offices, the health department, and the college of medicine. There may be a few other types of places as well. There will still need to be some Photoshop work to be done on the train that the boys are playing with in the pic, but it will be easy and minor. When I get the digital versions of the pics, I'll put them up here.

Go to Church, Live Longer has the story here.

Top 5000

I just noticed that I've moved into the top 5000 of all Folders. Since there are nearly 440,000, I'm pretty happy with that!

How Much Do I Use? has a tool to measure your "ecological footprint." This means that it measures how many acres of land it would take to support your lifestyle. The measurement uses a number of questions to reach that number. I took it twice (I'm sure that's cheating) and I came in at 19 acres (that was my high number). The US average is 24.

Obviously, this is a rough instrument, but I do believe that it's important to think about how our lifestyles impact on God's creation. I am far from a hard-core environmentalist, but I'm also not one to advocate for wasting what God has given us. The areas I can improve on include the foods I eat (less dairy and meat would be good...I would have scored better before the boys came along), a more fuel efficient vehicle (10 mpg isn't good), more recycling, and buying food from a local food mart or farmer (then I'd get the fruits and veggies I should be eating). Of course, I terrible about using public transportation (unless I'm going to Chicago for a workshop), but since I live a block from work, that's not really a serious issue.

Let me know how you score on it. I'm curious as to whether it is considered good or bad to live in a city. Since I'm in a mid-sized city (150,000), it was hard for me to tell.

Monday, March 14, 2005

What Theologian Am I?

I followed Joe Missionary's lead and took the test. Now I'm wondering if only one theologian pops up.

"Sin is incurable by the strength of man, nor does free will have any validity here,
so that even the saints say: 'The evil which I do not wish, this I do.' 'You are not doing the
things which you wish.' 'Since my loins are filled with illusions,' etc."

You are Martin Luther!

Yeah, you have a way of letting everyone know how you
feel, usually with Bible quotes attached, and will think your way through the issues, although
sometimes you make no sense! You aren't always sure of yourself, and you can change your mind about
things, something you actually consider a strength. You can take solitude, especially with some music.

What theologian are you?

A creation of Henderson

Yes, you too can take the quiz. Joe's comments show that there is a Calvin and an Erasmus, let me know if you turn out to be another theologian.

P.S. If you decide to post your own results on your website, there is an error in the code that you need to fix. The code Steve gives you is, but it should be: (capitalize the "q" of quiz).

Wanna Know Why People Love Their Macs?

The answer is simple, we don't get this.

Church Outsourcing

I was reading Sunday's bulletin from church this morning (I had stayed home with a sick boy) and noticed that they are hiring someone to do publication work. Tonight I was going back and reading a bunch of blogs that I've fallen behind on when I came across this. Interestingly, the writer is making the point that if a church continues to do everything in-house, they lose out on the smarts of people who are outside of the church. The comment that struck me was, "Churches that 'reach in' to staff on hand or well meaning volunteers understand 'in reach,' which is basically going to take you as far as you've gotten until now." Even large churches, such as mine, only have so much knowledge in-house, especially when you consider that even many Christians don't donate their expertise to their church, and many churches are reluctant to ask for that expertise.

Interestingly, I think para-church organizations/ministries are much better at asking for help. They are much better at realizing that they aren't as smart as the experts in the field. This is a huge benefit for ministries, and something that churches need to learn. Churches might just find that ministries are using expertise that they haven't tapped, even though it sits in the pews every Sunday.

Mac mini Potential

I've been following the Nerd Vittles series on using the Mac mini as an ISP. I'm seriously thinking about giving it a go if I ever get the free time necessary to do that. What could I do with it? I could move my website, email, and blog all to my mini and host them right there. I don't spend a whole lot of money on this stuff, and I'd still have to have internet access, so it wouldn't be free. At the same time though, I could switch to cable internet and then switch our phone service to Vonage, cutting our costs even further. Guess I'd have to see what kind of contract terms we've got with our current phone service, but eventually, I'd end up saving quite a bit. Hmmm...

Besides the cost, what are the advantages. Well, locally there's only one hometown ISP, that I know about, and they don't support PHP, which is really a very basic thing anymore. The Mac mini series at Nerd Vittles includes directions for installing MySQL and PHP, and its all free. Hey, I could even host my employer's site and make it worthwhile financially. Hmmm... again.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Fiscal Brinkmanship

Yep, that's what they call it. This is the conservative policy of cutting taxes when times are good and cutting programs when times are bad. Notice that programs are never increased, nor are taxes. I'm not sure why that's considered good. It seems to me that at some point there'd be no government left. Some might think that's a good thing, but anarchy doesn't really have much appeal to me. The other problem, though, is what has happened in Wisconsin. Fiscal Brinkmanship has put the state on the brink of financial collapse. The recession of the early 90's barely affected Wisconsin, but after about ten years of Fiscal Brinkmanship under the watchful eye of Gov. Tommy Thompson (now of the Bush cabinet), the state has suffered more during the recession of the last few years than almost any other state. The problem? Certain programs will always be considered sacred cows. Their funding doesn't get cut. That means that other programs must be cut in order to justify not raising taxes. Wisconsin has found itself with more debt than ever, and no way to get out of it due to their continued focus on Fiscal Brinkmanship.

It's not like the feds have faired much better, though. Bush's untimely tax cut (even followers of Fiscal Brinkmanship wouldn't cut taxes when the economy is suffering!) has led to the creation of more debt under four years of Bush than Clinton created in eight full years. I know Republicans are considered the better party for the economy, but it doesn't seem that the reality lives up to the reputation. There are lots of other issues, but on this one, I'm disappointed with the conservative ideology.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Burning Out

I gotta admit, I'm burning out on this restaurant thing very fast. My employer purchased a local restaurant a couple weeks ago and "let" me manage it. It's a simple lunchtime soup and sandwich place, but it's simply wiping me out. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine why anyone would choose to go into the restaurant business.

Southern Drivers in Northern Winters

We got a bit of snow yesterday, less than an inch, but in the heaviest part of it, I pulled up to a traffic light. The car in front of me was a little convertible from Florida (and yes, he had the top up). I hadn't seen a convertible, even with the top up, in a few months. I can't imagine the guy was enjoying the day, though. Driving a car from warm climates in the northern cold is always a bit humorous to many of us cold-weather folks. The stories we can tell...

Ok, here's one. My roommate from Dallas brought his new car to school for the second semester at Wheaton (in the Chicago suburbs). The first time I went with him the temperature outside was about 15 below zero, literally. We had been driving for a few minutes and I wondered out loud why his car seemed to be getting colder rather than warmer. I looked down and noticed that he had the air conditioning on full blast. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?" I turned on the heat and turned off the air. He said, "Hey, don't do that, I've got to get the window cleared, and the temperature inside has to be the same as the temperature outside!" Uh, yeah...Don't know about the ice in Dallas, but in Illinois ice doesn't melt at 15 degrees below zero.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Creation (Microsoft Style)

TeamMacOSX has a section for computer jokes. The first one posted was by Macaholic, and it is a good one. You can find it here originally, but I've copied it for your enjoyment, so here it is:

1. In the beginning GOD created the Bit and the Byte. And from those he created the Word.

2. And there were two Bytes in the Word; and nothing else existed. And God separated the One from the Zero; and he saw it was good.

3. And God said - Let the Data be; And so it happened. And God said - Let the Data go to their proper places. And he created floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks.

4. And God said - Let the computers be, so there would be a place to put floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks. Thus God created computers and called them hardware.

5. And there was no Software yet. But God created programs; small and big. And told them - Go and multiply yourselves and fill all the Memory.

6. And God said - I will create the Programmer; And the Programmer will make new programs and govern over the computers and programs and Data.

7. And God created the Programmer; and put him at Data Center; And God showed the Programmer the Catalog Tree and said You can use all the volumes and subvolumes but DO NOT USE Windows.

8. And God said - It is not Good for the programmer to be alone. He took a bone from the Programmer's body and created a creature that would look up at the Programmer; and admire the Programmer; and love the things the Programmer does; And God called the creature: the User.

9. And the Programmer and the User were left under the naked DOS and it was Good.

10. But Bill was smarter than all the other creatures of God. And Bill said to the User - Did God really tell you not to run any programs ?

11. And the User answered - God told us that we can use every program and every piece of Data but told us not to run Windows or we will die.

12. And Bill said to the User - How can you talk about something you did not even try. The moment you run Windows you will become equal to God. You will be able to create anything you like by a simple click of your mouse.

13. And the User saw that the fruits of the Windows were nicer and easier to use. And the User saw that any knowledge was useless - since Windows could replace it.

14. So the User installed the Windows on his computer; and said to the Programmers that it was good.

15. And the Programmer immediately started to look for new drivers. And God asked him - What are you looking for? And the Programmer answered - I am looking for new drivers because I can not find them in the DOS. And God said - Who said you need drivers? Did you run Windows? And the Programmer said - It was Bill who told us to !

16. And God said to Bill - Because of what you did you will be hated by all the creatures. And the User will always be unhappy with you. And you will always sell Windows.

17. And God said to the User - Because of what you did, the Windows will disappoint you and eat up all your Resources; and you will have to use lousy programs; and you will always rely on the Programmer's help.

18. And God said to the Programmer - Because you listened to the User you will never be happy. All your programs will have errors and you will have to fix them and fix them to the end of time.

19. And God threw them out of the Data Center and locked the door and secured it with a password.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Evangelical Choice is...Howard Dean?!?

SmartChristian Blog has a quick post on Howard Dean's recent statement that the Democrats have more to offer evangelicals than the Republicans do. I think that would be true if Democrats didn't also try to have so much to offer to everyone else at the same time. Until the Dems can get some kind of focus, there will be a lot of Republican evangelicals.

And as for me? I'll stick to being independent. Neither party seems too good at offering a consistently Christian philosophy.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

OSU beats Illini!

While you might think it strange that in Illinois resident would be happy about Ohio State ending the U of I's undefeated season, the fact is that I am VERY happy. It's nothing against the Illini, it is simply that I am an OSU fan and I'm sick of my boss talking about the Illini. There's nothing worse than someone who never follows sports going off every day about a basketball team simply because they're an alumni. Wheaton College has had a top ranked football team for several years in a row now, but he would have never known it because I don't go on and on about it. NIU has had better football teams than U of I for the last couple years, but I don't go on and on about that either.

On Friday he was asked by another co-worker about the last game or two and he responded that they only had to beat Ohio State to be undefeated in the regular season, but they had already beaten them, and he even knew the score. I called out that I was wearing my red and gray rugby shirt, which I happened to have on that day. I was then told by another co-worker to call in sick if OSU beat Illini. Well, it happened, and not only am I going in to work tomorrow, I'm going to wear that red and gray shirt AGAIN!!! WOOHOO!!!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Relevant Church (aka for those who are easily offended, both links work) found an interesting book by the name of this post, with a longer than usual post about it. The post includes this quote from Brian Kay's book The Local Church: Sometimes Annoying but Never Optional:
"Sermons got wittier, music lyrics got catchier, and meat-and-potatoes theology took a back seat to just about everything else. ... In a way, the church-growth movement worked, because a lot more people started coming on Sunday. But, as its music and preaching became more trivial, many other sensible people stopped taking the Church seriously. Who could blame them?"

That is so true. Churches are far more attractive if they are simply real. Real in what they believe (don't water it down), real in how they act (get out in the community because its important, not for advertising), real in how they teach (if you don't believe it, why do you teach it). I have yet to figure out why some churches even exist. They say that the Bible isn't true and/or accurate, yet they claim to teach what Jesus wants them to teach. Most of those churches are dying one funeral at a time because they are hypocrits and everyone knows it. If you don't accept the Bible, don't act like you do (and don't ask me to show up). You just give every legitimate church a bad name.

The Spiritual Value of Music...

is overrated, at least, according to CS Lewis. Check out Matt's post on the subject, including appropriate Lewis quote.

Crazy Week Ends, Finally

Wow, has it been crazy this week. My job has suddenly found me managing a restaurant in addition to all my regular activities. Ugh. Its really not something that can be done part-time. We're hoping to turn around and sell the restaurant quickly and we have a couple of possible scenarios, one of which I need to follow up on. Needless to say, I've been coming home wiped out. My schoolwork has fallen by the wayside and I've been going to bed a little earlier (10:30) simply due to the emotional toll its been taking. By Friday I had a couple people comment that I was looking rather glum, so I know that the exhaustion of the week was coming through. Fortunately its simply a lunchtime soup and sandwich place, so I don't have to work weekends. Actually, that's not totally true, I may be working next Saturday due to the St. Pats Day Parade. All of our local parades start right in front of the restaurant, so we'd be crazy not to be open those days. This one snuck up on me, so we're going to talk about it as a staff on Monday and go from there.

Anyone want to buy a local franchise?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Intel's mini

Intel has unveiled their newest attempt at a mini computer. The Windows world has had a few in the past, but none have compared to what Apple produced. Now that Intel has seen how to do it right, they've unveiled their newest (pardon my French). Guess they should have paid closer attention when the saw the Mac, eh?

Thanks to MacSlash for the link!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

eMac Repair

I was trying to install iLife '05 on our 800 mhz eMac and the superdrive wouldn't even recognize the install dvd for the software. I called in and went through all the procedures to test. At the end they told me to take it to our CompUSA store for service. I happened to buy the AppleCare for that computer, so it is still under warranty (until October). This is the second time I've had a disk drive problem in my ten years of Mac ownership. I'm still waiting for the first time that I have to pay to get a Mac serviced, though. The guy at CompUSA had never checked a Mac in for service before, and I know he's been there for a long time. I guess that stands as a testiment to their reliability.

Fight Alzheimers and Parkinsons Effortlessly on Your Computer!

I haven't commented on it in a while, but I'm still folding proteins for Stanford University on my computers, both at home and at work. I should be passing 60,000 points today, and I moved into our team's top 100 a couple days ago. The team I'm folding for, TeamMacOSX, is still sitting at number 11 in the world, but our production seems to have dropped off a little bit. There's one team catching up to us, but they aren't projected to pass us for a few years, so we've got time to kick it up a notch.

I had an opportunity to help out our team this past weekend by reading a transcript while listening to an interview with Prof. Vijay Pande, who heads up the Folding@Home project. If I had any doubts about the benefits of Folding, they were washed away. The Folding project has produced more scholarly publications than any other distributed computing project. It is focused on learning more about the biological processes involved in protein folding. I can't even begin to explain it, but look here for an explanation. In the interview, our team leader asked about the results that they've seen from Folding@Home. The first thing that struck me is the amount of sheer computing power going into this project. If you consider Moore's Law, then it will be another 15 years before there are computers powerful enough to produce what Stanford's got going now with the distributed computing. Second, this project is yielding results that are producing new medicines/treatments for Alzheimers and could soon produce similar results for Parkinsons and Huntingtons diseases.

Basically, distributed computing uses your processor to do work when you aren't using it. So, if I'm using 10% of my processing power, Folding uses the other 90% to run Folding@Home. This is usually the state my computer is in if I'm barely using it or not using it at all. I never put my computer to sleep, I simply let it fold away! There are several different versions of the software, one only runs in screen saver mode, one is a graphical client, and one is a command line client. The command line produces the best results, from what I've seen, while the screen saver only works when your screen saver is on. Folding runs 24/7, but I've never noticed a hit in performance because it is designed to scale back as my needs increase. This is what makes it so awesome. I can use my computer as usual, but I also know that its being used to help battle three of the worst diseases out there.

If you know anyone who suffers from Alzheimers, Parkinsons, or Huntingtons, you should be signing up to Fold. TeamMacOSX has a couple of GREAT install programs that put it on your computer and keep it out of your way once its going. They install the command line client, so there isn't a hint of it running unless you go look for it. Check out the software installs for Mac (InCrease) or Windows (Folding@Home Windows Service Installer) by going here. You don't have to join our team to use this (though I'd appreciate it if you do!). Contrary to our name, we are not a Mac-centric team, we're focused on providing the best Folding experience for anyone who wants to fold. Our team's forums have info for both Windows and Mac users. Install the software, walk through the installation and start folding. Oh, and if you want to Fold with/for me specifically :-), I Fold under the name treadlightly and our team number is 1971. If you want to Fold on your own, but be a part of our team, you put in your own name and enter 1971 to join our team. You can find out if the name you use is already taken by going here. This is the download page at Stanford, but my team's download software is much easier to use if you want it out of your way. FOLDING AWAY!!!

This is why ordinary people resent politicos

One more referral to Jeremy, he was thinking on the importance of honesty from politicians, and contrasts Hillary Clinton's recent statement with the usual type of comments from President Bush. Clinton does, seriously, come across as fake. That's one thing that Bush never does, regardless of whether you or I agree with him. On the points I disagree with him, at least he comes across as being real. Maybe that's why the liberals hate him so, he actually believes in what he says.

Pray for Jeremy and the upcoming onslaught of being a youth worker in NYC when Billy Graham comes to town!

Too Much, Too Soon?

Jeremy has a valuable post on the wisdom of putting new Christians, who happen to be famous, out in front of people too soon. This is spurred by the conversion of Brian Welch, the (now former) guitarist for Korn. MTV was one of several media concerns who were covering his talk to 10,000 people at a California church. Now don't get me wrong, the issue is not that of "is he really saved," it's a question on the wisdom of putting someone who is newly saved out in front of 10,000 people. One of the things that Welch is used to is his celebrity status. As a new convert, I'm asking if its wise to continue the celebrity status immediately. The Apostle Paul took three years away before returning to the public eye. The MTV article had one quote that really stood out to me as a concern. The pastor of the church that Welch is attending said, "I'm tripping out a little bit, but it's cool. This is the best thing that's ever happened to me." The focus, it seems to me is a little bit off. Perhaps its the best thing he's ever seen God do, but it shouldn't be about the pastor (or the rock star, for that matter) at all. We've got an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. Wisdom says that if you find a huge diamond, you don't parade it in front of the person most likely to steal it from you, you hide it away until it's secure. This is a story to watch, and pray that it doesn't go the way of BJ Thomas or Bob Dylan.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Sir Bill?

Tomorrow Bill Gates gets knighted by the Queen. I wondered if this story was running a month early (should have been April 1st?), but apparently its for real. You really can't be too surprised, though. Gates has single-handedly created more jobs than probably any other person. Let's face it, there are millions of people who make a living fixing his products. You've probably hired one or two yourself, if you aren't one. There are even entire corporations with hundreds (if not thousands) of employees dedicated to fixing his product (Symantec, for example). Creating all those jobs should give him some type of reward, though I tend to think that a hall of shame would be more fitting.