Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Train Guys

The Train Guys
Originally uploaded by A Bob's Life in Pictures.
Today we took the boys into the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. That place has always been my favorite museum. There is nothing that I've ever seen that even comes close to it. Here we're checking out the model railroad display. The museum has a model railroad that captures what the trip from Chicago to Seattle is like by train. Throw in the scale size versions of the Sears Tower and the Space Needle (which is on the very right edge of this picture), and it is an amazing layout. I have to confess that I was very disappointed with my photos. I probably should have taken the camera off of Automatic so that I could focus it myself, but I didn't think about it at the time. There was too much distance and too little light for the camera to get good shots.

Nonetheless, we had an outstanding day. The boys were awesome all day, not even getting grumpy when their usual nap times came around! We didn't see nearly as much of the museum as I would have liked, but that was ok. A lot of it is way beyond our boys' ages anyway. Seeing the massive train layout, the old steam engine (which held the world speed record in 1893), the Boeing 727 hanging from the ceiling, checking out the robot display, the farm equipment, the baby chicks hatching, the play area for young children, the circus display, the aircraft carrier display, and the Pioneer Zephyr (a full size, full length actual train) was enough for a 3 year old and a 2 year old. When they get older we'll go down in the mine shaft, tour the German U-boat from WWII, and do all the stuff that I loved doing when I was a kid!

Goodbye Word!

I promised a friend that I would produce a brochure for our Folding@Home team. It gives me an excuse to load and try the iWork software from Apple. I received a trial version with my operating system upgrade, but hadn't even installed it yet, much less tried it. I started on the brochure tonight, and I have to say that Pages is SIMPLE to use. I am really impressed. Now, please understand, I am not a professional printer. I'm sure it would not hold up under the scrutiny of a professional, but for a simple and cheap piece of software, this is impressive. It functions a lot like Pagemaker (though I'm sure it doesn't have all the features) from what I remember way back when I used to use Pagemaker many, many years and versions ago.

I have found myself opening Word a whole lot less often of late. For the vast majority of my word processing, I now use a simple text editing software. I find that I'm usually just putting words down, without any formating beyond a few bolds or underlines. Word is just way too much software for so little need. By the time it loads, I could have a couple sentences typed out in Text Editor. That just leaves Word for doing more specific formating. Pages seems to have the capability of replacing that...easily. It is much easier to do a brochure in Pages than in Word because that is its purpose. I think I'll be finding some money to buy iWork. Then I can leave Word behind. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with Word, I'm just finding that it doesn't suit my needs anymore. I can accomplish the same things with other software that is easier to use and much more nimble. If I were writing the Great American Novel, you'd better believe that I'd use Word. For doing the stuff that 99% of the people on computers need to do, though, Word is just way too much software. I'm just not needing it anymore.

Does Mexico's Government Think?

Ginkworld sent me to this article that really makes me think that Mexico does not seriously deal with racial issues as a nation. There does not appear to be any thought about how words and images might be perceived by people outside of the government. This is truly pathetic. It is certainly not good leadership.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Jeremy's Appeal for Graham

Jeremy has posted the offering appeal he gave at the Billy Graham Crusade on Saturday night. The dude spoke at the Billy Graham Crusade, how cool is that?!?

Impress Me, AOL

I've never been a big fan of AOL. Actually, I have a passionate dislike of AOL. They keep sending disks to my house, even though they don't know who I am (today's disk was addressed to "Joe Boop"--is that Betty's father or husband?). But I've decided that there is one way that AOL could win at least an ounce of respect from me. All they have to do is use cd-rw's instead of regular cd's. That's all it would take. Then I could reuse their disks instead of filling landfill space with them. Have any landfill operators sued AOL for the space that they take up? Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


We had a great evening with some friends who are missionaries in Ecuador. He is a doctor and she teaches at a local school. They brought their kids. Their youngest is the same age as Nathan. His name is Nate. The boys had a great time romping around the house. We also got to catch up with the family as a whole. Their daughter did a good job of acting interested in our conversation, and occasionally took some time to play the piano or play with the boys (who are much younger). I always respect kids who do well in those situations. There really isn't much for them to do, yet they do a good job of staying engaged.

The family is supported by a number of churches, and they range from liberal to conservative. That wasn't a big surprise to me, given that we used to live in the same building and attend the same church in Chicago. The church was a mix of the things that liberals want and conservatives want, so people who come from that setting usually do well in either. They talked about their efforts to justify doing "social ministry" to the conservative churches and doing "evangelistic ministry" to the liberal churches. Of course, neither type of church realizes their weakness by being focused on one without the other. Conservative churches are viewed as heartless and uncaring, so people won't go. Liberal churches don't invite anyone to show up, so their dying even faster.

Anyway, it was also interesting to talk about how missionary communication has changed over the years. All of their churches have asked them to have a powerpoint presentation when they visit this summer, so instead of the typical video or slide show, all they had to bring was a cd with a file on it. Pretty cool! We also talked about the role of email versus the written letter. Jill's business of sending out letters for missionaries hasn't seen much of a drop at all, even though email has become pervasive. This couple had been told when they first started that they should use overseas stationary and a foreign stamp. It gave a feeling of authenticity. It also eats into the account pretty quickly. Most of their supporters prefer to get email now, based on a survey that they did. As a result, people like us do not receive a letter in the mail. We get an email update. We requested it simply because it saves them money, and I would guess that lots of other people do the same thing. If I was still on missionary support, I'd sure be doing the email thing. The time and energy savings would help a ton, and the money can then be used for ministry instead of letters that end up in the trash. Ah, how life changes.

Prayer Request

Pray for some friends at church. Their daughter, who is in the same nursery as our oldest son, has been hospitalized for several days and, the last report we received, was being removed from life support. I don't know for sure if the reports we have gotten are accurate, and we aren't extremely close to the family, though we always greet one another by name and do the "parents talking about their kids" conversation, but prayer is definitely needed for this family, for their many close friends, and for all of us who care.

Jeremy's Article Is Now In Dutch

I obviously haven't spent nearly enough time hanging out at Jeremy's ministry site, but I did know that he had a number of articles there that he had written. Today he learned that one of them had one of them had been translated into Dutch! I pulled up the article and I have to confess, it is outstanding!! Check it out, it is an important look at "culture wars."

The NBA Gets a Brain

This is way overdue, but at least it is finally happening. Kudos to David Stern for wanting to get NBA scouts out of high school gyms. It is about time that the NBA starts acting responsibly.

Doctor, Doctor

After my late night phone call with Sven (late for me, not for him!), I stayed in bed a little later this morning. Jill got up with the boys and took them downstairs. Nathan will often inform us, when he wakes up, that his trains are calling him. He has quite a set of Thomas the Tank Engine stuff. We keep most of it put away, but he has enough to keep him occupied. This morning Nathan headed straight to his trains as he always does. Jill was in the kitchen when she heard him start to sing, "Doctor, Doctor, give me the news, I've got a great case of loving you!" Yes, I know its supposed to be "bad case" not "great case," but that's what the boy was singing!

Originally posted at The Dad's Group.

Loving the Pastor

Michael Spencer has written a post that I wish every single church member everywhere would read. My wife and I are both pastor's kids (and yes, we turned out fine, thank you very much), so we've seen far more of this from the perspective of a family than any single family should ever see. My pastor's son saw so much of this that he won't come back to the church. Spencer's point is important. It's happening to thousands of pastors across the US right now. RIGHT NOW!! The only reason a few people are allowed to run a church is because the rest of the church won't stop them. It's not that the don't want to see them stopped. It's not that they don't love their pastor. They just don't know what to do. And neither do most pastors.

I remember when my father ran up against a man who'd been church chairman for over 15 years. He didn't like my dad. At one point he even asked him to step outside and settle things like a man. Fortunately for him, he didn't follow my dad outside! My dad is a big man, and although he was a pastor, he also put in 25 years as a Teamster. He's not a fighter, but he's also not one to mess with. It reached a point where he turned in his resignation from the membership at the church. It seemed that whenever he didn't get his way, he'd do that and people would cave in in order to keep him there. My dad immediately called everyone in the church and asked them to accept his resignation. They did. There were a lot of other problems at that church, but my father dealt with a huge one in a way that most churches are afraid to. Scripture gives us plenty of room to get rid of people who cause trouble. That is NOT unBiblical.

Thanks, Michael, for one of the most important posts I've read in a long time.

Thanks to Messy Christian for the link!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Question of the Day

What is the difference, in the Bible, between the "Word of God" (John 1) and the "word of God" (Heb. 4:12)? I'm wondering what the difference is in the original writings (Greek), not our modern day translations. If they are the same, what are the differences between these and other renditions of the "word of God" that are found in the Bible.

It's Unanimous!

The Supreme Court handed down its finding in the File Swapping case, ruling unanimously that file swapping services can be held liable for copyright violations. This is a huge win for the movie and record industry, and will likely bolster the iTunes Music Store. It may also help cut down on the virus and spyware problem that plagues Windows, but most commentators aren't talking about that positive aspect. This is not the end of the legal situation, the ruling simply returns the case to a lower court that had thrown out a prior case due to their view that file swapping was legal. Now that it is severely limited, the case goes to trial in a lower court.

Of course, there are plenty of people who will be angered by this ruling because they feel they should have the right to free stuff. Nothing like an internet based welfare mentality to keep America strong!

What We're Doing!

This is what the Service Team (which I'm currently leading) is trying to get started at my church.

Billy Graham

If you haven't been following Graham's last US crusade (or so they say), Jeremy has been heavily and intimately involved for months. Check out his blog's June archive for a whole bunch of posts on the Crusade, including a picture or two of him onstage (if you get something asking for a password, just hit cancel until it goes away :-) ). Jeremy's insights into the behind the scenes stuff is great. When someone is intimately involved in planning something like this, and then walks away with a higher level of respect for the person they are working for, it speaks volumes about that person. Rev. Graham is obviously that type of person. Thanks, Jeremy, for sharing the crusade through your eyes!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Make Poverty History

If you've wondered what that little white band is at the top of my page, check it out. The recent news from the G8 leaders was outstanding. (This link will probably go to the wrong story in a few days, sorry) There's still some distance to go, but at least the message is getting out there!

Mega Church Pastor Changes

This post at The Dying Church really hit hard. I've never been a pastor, but I can totally relate. I don't know how many times I've seriously thought about throwing up my hands and walking away. The fact that change can occur in a congregation is very inspiring!

Hating the Internet

Some people do. Perhaps this is why.

Hating Politics

Most people do. Perhaps this is why.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Problem Solved!

Friday was my last day of work at Zion. It was also the day we solved a long standing problem. A social worker who works with the formerly homeless population in one of our buildings was supposed to be entering data in an online database. The first time he logged on, all was good, but he could never log in again. When we got him a new computer, the same thing happened. Friday I took my Mac to his office because we had learned that the registry in Windows was getting changed after that first log in. Since the Mac doesn't have a registry, logic told us that he should be able to log in without a problem. After getting all set up, we found out that the Mac had the same problem, it could only log in once, and then it was denied access.

Obviously the registry wasn't getting changed since there isn't one, so now we had a better handle on the problem. I should note, however, that our outside computer consultant had hooked his Windows laptop up to the same cable as the social worker's computer, and had no problem at all logging in multiple times. We also did not have any trouble logging in multiple times from our main office where the computers are exactly the same and the set up was the same.

It turned out that we had a double router set up, and by switching the router in the office to a switch, our problem went away. So, why didn't the consultant's computer have any trouble? Why didn't the main office (where there is also a double router setup) have any trouble? It was all very weird, but now the problem is solved. It was a good way to leave!

Guess Who!

I read this post that looks back on who the Pharisees really were, and it reminded me of a large group of Christians in the US. Can you guess who?

Contrary to popular opinion, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you take the time to read the first post in the series, you may understand why that is. Too often we have a stereotyped image of Pharisees, yet Jesus Himself referred to their acts as holy. Jesus was opposed to those who made life difficult for everyone else, or those who felt they had a right to judge everyone else. There were an awful lot of Pharisees in the early Church, as well as those who actually followed Christ while He was on earth. Sometimes we forget that.

No Way!

Yup. It's 3 am, I've been up for 2-3 hours, and I've managed to update my blogroll! I don't think I'd looked at that in AGES! Anyway, all of the links should be good and there's a ton of great stuff to read. Thank God for RSS! Scoble is letting the world know that Microsoft is finally going to get RSS implemented, and if the world is lucky, it'll happen next year. It's one more thing where Microsoft lags way behind Apple, who was lagging way behind most everyone else.

Speaking of which, Safari's RSS implementation is actually growing on me. I'm not totally sold on it yet, but I'm comfortable with it. Firefox just did a very cool implementation of it, so it's hard to recover from that. I'm still glad that I've switched to Safari, overall, but I still miss that RSS in Firefox!

Only the Faithful Get to Go Forward

You've gotta love MSM (mainstream media). The New York Times headline on the Billy Graham Crusade says, "A Simple Message With an Invitation to the Faithful to Be Born Again." So, only the "faithful" are allowed to go forward at BG Crusades these days? I think that the Times is just upset because they can't get Graham to discuss politics. Let's face it, they have to put in a special picture with a definition for 'altar call.' They just don't know how to deal with the topic of religion. They seem to think that all Evangelicals are about is politics, and meeting someone like Graham blows their stereotype out of the water.

Friday, June 24, 2005

What Are These People Thinking?!?

A Tennessee pastor is following the lead of a group within the Southern Baptist denomination in calling for his denomination (PCA) to encourage people to leave the public schools.

Brian Bailey pointed to a blog I hadn't seen before, amy loves books. This is one of the most powerful blogs I've seen in a long time. It seriously resonates with me. The honesty and willingness to speak to some of the most important issues that I think the Church in the US faces is exciting to see. Definitely block out some time to check it out!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Subject is That

What happens when a Christian woman, whose blog is read by tons of women, blogs about That? Looks like the comments will be interesting. Uh, yeah...

Free Wi-Fi Precedes the Mouse

Disney has been having more than its share of trouble over the last few years, and few folks will be sad to see Eisner leave. But, he won't be the first to leave. Mickey's hometown of Orlando has concluded that their experiment with Wi-Fi (wireless internet access) isn't being used enough to justify the $1,800/month cost.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't Wi-Fi be a whole lot more popular in residential areas of the city? I'd certainly use it if it was available! I'm sure there are a different set of issues to deal with, but people would love having free access at HOME. That's where they're paying for it. I go into the office and it just doesn't matter if Wi-Fi is available, because I'm (are you ready for this?) AT MY DESK!!! $1,800/month for 27 people to log on each day. They really should have ended it eleven months earlier like they were planning. What a waste!

Thanks to Jordon Cooper for the link.

Sun is Good?

Keith has an excellent post on how we view the weather. Our local area is about to officially enter a drought. The number of straight days with temps in the 90's will be the longest streak since 1934 (or something close, but it really doesn't matter cuz its a loooonnnngggg time). Not cool, literally. We've hardly had any rain this year, leaving us about 6.5" short of the average.

Keith comments that he hates it when his fellow Brits gripe about the rain because that is what makes Britain such a beautiful and lush place to live. It's the truth. If you want to live someplace that is beautiful, you've got to put up with rain. If you don't want rain, move to the desert. There's plenty of sun and it's a dry heat. :-)

Tomorrow's the Last Day

Tomorrow I end the longest employment stint I've ever had. It'll be my last day at Zion. It has really been a great ride, and I have no regrets for having worked for an organization that I consider the best non-profit in the region. I'll continue to do some computer consulting work for them to help keep their costs down on that end.

My move to the Rockford Area Affordable Housing Coalition is very good for me at this point, and I hope that it will be good for the Coalition as well. There are an awful lot of people who have been very encouraging, including my co-workers at Zion and the Board at the Coalition. I got a lot of great advice from my current boss during my exit interview today, much of which I knew and much of which I didn't.

A big thanks to my many friends associated with Zion! It's been a great time and I won't be very far away (hey, most of you drive by my house every day on your way home!).

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Starting a New Service

Our church is in the process of starting a new service. It'll begin this fall, but preparations are already in full swing. Jill and I are a part of the team establishing it, a team of over 100 people. discussed this very type of thing yesterday. They were commenting on the need for establishing a dedicated team before ever starting a new church (in our case, a new service). We're doing exactly what they talk about. By starting with a good sized team, it will make it much easier to grow right out of the gate. As their site says, this does not impact the working of the Holy Spirit. It exposes as many people as possible to how the Holy Spirit is working within a group of people. If the Holy Spirit isn't there, it will become pretty obvious pretty quickly.

At the same time, Jordon Cooper was commenting on how terrible churches are at using technology. I was reading a report on just that topic this afternoon. While it was no surprise that larger churches are more likely to see the need for technology, I found it highly ironic how different denominations viewed technology. Working in a Lutheran organization, I wasn't surprised to see that Lutheran pastors do not view email as a necessary means of communicating with missionaries, nor do they see much need for putting their sermons online for people to download, nor do they see much use in using Bible study software, whether online or offline. What I found surprising was that NO denomination seemed to place much importance on communicating with their missionaries via technology. And here I am reading blogs by missionaries that I don't support financially because its a great means of communication. In fact, I cannot imagine being a missionary and NOT communicating via email and a blog. Its really too bad. We're not just missing out on an opportunity to reach people we know, we're missing an opportunity to reach people we don't know!

What's the World Coming To?

It's really too bad that such a web site would need to exist, but I guess I'm not too surprised.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Thanks to Rudy for the link. This is the hand of God!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ginkworld Sums It Up

What does a Teacher think of his/her students? Ginkworld has the answer.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Trying New Stuff in Tiger

I'm becoming more and more impressed with Tiger (Apple's latest operating system) every day! Tonight I finally logged in to an online tutorial on Tiger. First off, I was just happy to be able to do that because my free access was supposed to have ended more than a week ago. Apple is very good about that type of stuff. I kind of figured that I'd still be able to access it, and I'm VERY glad I could. I picked up a few very cool tips.

Second, there is SO much cool stuff for me to learn. I used Automator to set up a function where I can convert any document into a pdf and email it all in one step, all from the Print dialog box. ANY DOCUMENT!! IN ANY APPLICATION!! How cool is that?!? Windows won't even let you convert something to pdf without spending money on third party software. I can convert it and email it in ONE step, and its part of the OS! Automator was something I figured I'd never use, now I think I'll be using it a LOT! That was simply too awesome.

I can pull up a definition for any word on my screen by double clicking on it and hitting Control-Command-D. The definition appears right there under the word. Of course, I can also select a thesaurus in place of a definition. Maybe now I'll be able to learn some of those big theological words (can you say, "propitiation?"). Yup, it worked on that big theological word...very cool!

Spotlight is better than I imagined. I might start using it now! I've never been one to use search tools, so it really hasn't been touched much. It might get used quite a bit more now, though.

I was griping on Apple's RSS feed the other day. Tonight I learned there are some features that I hadn't paid any attention to. Sorry Apple, I'm happier now (still like Firefox a LOT, but I'm happier now). Safari also let's me right-click on any photo on the web and store it directly to iPhoto. Aren't there legal issues with that?!? I like it. I pulled a few pics out and put them in a paper today. Very cool!

My only gripe at this point? Why won't Blogger get a hyperlink field in the Post Creator?!? It's not Apple's issue, but its a pain!

True Christian=Law

This story at ginkworld just cracked me up. I laughed so loud that I had to read it to my wife because she wanted to know what was so funny. Guess you gotta be careful where you shop. So, why was a guy with his credentials working in Sears anyway?!?


Seems like every religion has them. Seems like most everyone on the planet is guilty at some point in time. Still, it is always a shock when people do this type of stuff in the name of religion, any religion. In fact, its a shock even if religion isn't a part of the motivation, religion just adds even more to it.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Rural Smart Growth?

I thought that the idea of Smart Growth was that people wouldn't be so dispersed that they use up valuable resources just getting to work. Homes are built near jobs on smaller lots in subdivisions (used to be called neighborhoods) that provided basic businesses and parks in the building up of community.

Apparently I was wrong. The small towns 10 miles from Rockford are supposed to be promoting Smart Growth, according to their residents. Um...if you really went for Smart Growth, you most likely wouldn't live there in the first place. Ahh...but now its convenient to ask for it...

I just don't get it.

Tougher Laws=Fewer Fatherless Children

The Washington Post reported today that states with tough laws and tough follow-through regarding child support have a significantly lower number of children born without a father around. Its really too bad that we have to depend on the law to do that for us. What ever happened to a man taking responsibility for his actions? The book I read for my ethics class touches on this very subject. The more we depend on the law to tell us how to behave, the less freedom we have. A society that understands moral obligations stands a much better chance of surviving intact into the future. As we give up our ties to moral obligations, the law moves in to tell us how to behave. This is why freedom requires responsibility. If all we want is freedom without any responsibility, freedom is unable to survive. The two must go hand-in-hand.

Who Is Your Church

I haven't read much of it, but the blog series "Who is your church?" looks very very good. I know that the best faith conversations I've had in a while have been outside of the local congregation I attend. That isn't a slam, its just how its been. Jill commented the other day that all the talk about Emergent and the emerging church has her seriously missing the Rock of Our Salvation Free Church in Chicago. She didn't appreciate what she had when she had it, but now she does, more than ten years later. Hmm...guess now's a good time for a visit, eh?

Attention All Churches

This one is for all the people who create church bulletins.

The Scandal

I don't know why I was avoiding this post, I think the title wasn't interesting to me, or maybe I kept thinking that I had already read it, I don't know. But now I have, and I am soo glad. It is a great summary of the scandal of the Cross.

Former Mission Director Dies in Accident

Rev. Perry Pitney, one of the best known names in homeless work, passed away yesterday in a one car accident. Perry had run the Rockford Rescue Mission for many years before stepping down a few years ago. His wife continues to serve as the executive director and he continued to be employed by the Mission. You can see the article for details. This is a sad day.

Energy Efficient Railroading

One of my interests has always been railroads (an interest that my older son definitely is picking up). I've got a room that will be dedicated to a model railroad if we ever finish unpacking from our move last year, and I've got a ton of stuff to use in setting it up. Thus, when I ran across this article on I was quite interested. General Electric (one of the major locomotive manufacturers in the world) has developed a new locomotive for Peru that runs on compressed natural gas. This allows it to be cleaner and more energy efficient than the old diesel versions, and more useful than the experimental locomotives that have used liquified natural gas. So, is this something that can be put into automobiles?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Getting Even More College Debt

The Washington Post has this to report when it comes to student's debt? Any coffee addicts out there able to substantiate this report? As for me, I stay awake on Dew (warning, lotsa music when you visit this link). According to the Post, that's a cheaper habit anyway!

Hey, is it really 11:40 PM?!? Dude, I got up before 5 AM this morning, what am I doing?!?!?!

Oh yeah, I drank a lot of Dew this morning!

The Feds and Computer Security

The Department of Homeland Defense is getting poor grades when it comes to computer security. According to this article, the GAO (Gov't Accounting Office) has found the Dept. of Homeland Defense to be seriously hurting in some key areas. Maybe that's why the department can't keep anyone in the top job in computer security matters.

Thanks Rudy, Ruben's Right

Rudy links to an outstanding article about the liberal view of minorities. Can't say that I'm in either camp (liberal or minority), but observation seems to point at it being true.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ever Have One of These Days?

The Ooze has a powerful article on overreacting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Jobs Commencement Speech

Thanks to Brian Bailey for pointing to this article on Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford University. It gives a little bit of a glimpse into the life of someone who is constantly in the public eye. The powerful statements refer to his cancer diagnosis last year. I hadn't heard that he was initially given six months to live (can you imagine what would've happened to Apple's stock value if that had gotten out?!?), so it was interesting to see the impact it's had on him since that time.

Clinton Quotes

Brian Bailey has an outstanding post on Bill Clinton's book promo tour. The quotes from Clinton are right on the money. It's time for some intelligence to be put into the issues of the day!

As Long As I'm There...

The BolgBlog is giving Kudos to Emergent. I know there's plenty of strife over Emergent, but I think he does a good job of keeping some balance. Not everything is perfect (as though it is in mainstream evangelicalism...), but they are also exploring some new territory. There are some outstanding folks involved and I think its at least worth paying attention to as it goes forward.

A Confession...A Convert

The Bolg is now one of us...he's got a Mac!! Of course, I've invited him to check out the Folding can to, just go to!

Speaking of Freedom and Microsoft...

...don't bother using certain words if you are a Chinese blogger using Microsoft's MSN for your blog. It seems that Microsoft is working with the Chinese government to keep the MSN blogs clean. Of course, in China "clean" means "free from such words as 'democracy' and 'human rights.'" That's right, Microsoft is editing such horrible language from their users' blogs. With the outstanding track record that Microsoft has on promoting freedom, this should really come as no surprise.

Microsoft and LAMP

Microsoft seems to love having competition. They are now saying that LAMP is their newest competitor. LAMP stands for the open source combination of Linux, Apache web server, MySQL database, and PHP (or Perl or Python--all scripting languages). It's interesting how Microsoft and Apple take different views of LAMP. Apple pretty much ignores Linux, it incorporates Apache into the operating system, and it makes MySQL and PHP easy to install on Macs (for free). Microsoft, however, views open source as something to be crushed. Open source, however, is here to stay, and that is the reality. Apple's ability to make Apache very easy to use gives Apache a bump because anyone can use it on any Mac. It also allows Apple the opportunity to give its customers the best product out there, rather than their own product. Microsoft would rather have you buy their product than the best product. The primary difference, of course, is the bottom line. If Apple were to invest money into the development of their own web server, they'd never break even. MS will break even on a mediocre product, so they can invest in a web server. The loser, of course, is the customer that gets locked in to MS. Not only are they locked in to MS's web server, they are also locked in to Windows Server and probably a few other MS products. Those who go with LAMP or Apple, are never locked in to an operating system (one can run Linux on a Mac, after all) and they can take their web server with them to any platform. The difference is freedom.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Getting Back into the Swing

Ever have one of those vacations where it takes forever to figure out what's going on when you get back? We had an AWESOME time camping last week, but its really tough getting back into the swing of things this week. It doesn't help that I'm in my last two weeks at my current employer and am starting to get a new staff person settled in. Nothing is normal right now. I could definitely stand to be back out in the tent again...

Moving Stuff Around

I'm slowly moving the blogs I read into Safari. I'm finding myself using the new Safari a whole lot more. I'm still not a big fan of how they render RSS feeds, but I'm using it all the time for school, so it's becoming my default browser for that reason. I'll probably keep doing a lot of my blogging and blog reading in Firefox as I can do it much faster and have better options available (any clue as to why Blogger doesn't give me a hyperlink button in the Dashboard with Safari?!?), but having the blogs available to read is just more likely to happen in Safari than in Firefox for the time being.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Great Time Away

We got back for Door County, WI where we were camping for a few days. Even though it's a touristy area, Verizon Wireless doesn't provide coverage, so, while I could receive calls, I couldn't access my voicemail. Needless to say, I really didn't care. We stayed at Peninsula State Park with two other families. The camping get-together is an annual thing, though this was our first year in Door County. The kids all had a blast. Nathan was able to keep up with the other kids, even though he and Isaac are the youngest. It's quite amazing to see Nathan outrun kids who are nearly twice his age.

We did quite a bit of biking. I pulled the boys in a trailer that we have for them. Nathan and I nearly ran over a huge snake. It had to be at least 6 feet long and 3 inches in diameter. It was laying on the side of the road soaking up the rays. When we went back to the others and brought some along to see it, it was gone, so I know it was alive.

My only regret? I didn't get a picture of me at Sven's Bluff. I'm bummed because there are too many jokes to be had with that one. :-)

I've heard that Wisconsin has the best state park system in the US, and I've never been given a reason to doubt that. There's only one park I've been to that I won't return, and that's because the area has too much iron in the water, so it looks like rust. Every other park we've been to, whether for camping or just for a day's picnic trip, has been awesome.

Oh yeah, and we stopped at Lambeau Field on the way up. One of the family's has a Packer's fan, so they wanted to see it.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Required Reading

I am reading a book for my summer class in ethics and leadership that should be read by everyone, no exceptions. How Good People Make Tough Choices:Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living, by Rushworth Kidder, is ten years old and more relevant now than ever. Some of the facts are reassuring, some are frightening. It's an exceptionally well thought out book on the issues of ethical living. A must-read for high school and college age students and youth workers as a new generation of young people start moving into positions of leadership.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Poor Man

We've spent almost our entire married life living in inner-city neighborhoods (by most suburbanite's standards, anyway). That means that we've also had our share of strangers knocking on our door at all hours of the day and night. We're firm believers in John 3:20, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." For that reason, we always leave our outside lights on. I know that's not exactly what that verse means, but the application really does work. People will stop at our house in the middle of the night because we have lights on. They assume that they will be safer there than at another house that is dark.

Anyway, the other day Jill was home with the boys and they were all outside. Our house used to be a business, so it has a fence that extends all the way out to the sidewalk and has three gates (one for each driveway and one for the sidewalk). A man stopped and asked if Jill could dial a number for him because he was having difficulty finding the place he was supposed to be. Jill and the boys went inside so she could get the cordless phone for him while he stood outside the gate. While inside, Nathan kept commenting about the poor man (with 'poor' obviously meaning 'not wealthy'). Jill told him that he shouldn't talk about the man like that because it wasn't nice.

That evening I asked Nathan how he knew the man was poor. He seemed to be pretty ashamed, but we really wanted to know because we have not taught him anything like that. His response was that the man was wearing funny clothes, they were gray and green. Jill told me that the man was wearing green khaki pants and a gray tee shirt. We assured Nathan that he wasn't in any trouble, we just wanted to know how he knew the man was poor.

We have been constantly amazed at the things that Nathan has learned outside of our home. It is always important to guard our children's minds and hearts and to teach them, not only how to function in the world, but also how to deal with bad situations that arise, how to deal with a wide variety of people, both similar and different than us, and how to know the proper things to say when interacting with someone that we don't know.

Originally published at The Dad's Group.

MSN-Korea Gets Hacked

So, if you think MSN is the greatest thing since sliced bread, be very grateful that you don't live in South Korea. MSN was hacked and malicious code was inserted into MSN in what was believed to be an effort at getting passwords. Don't worry, this company is working on anti-virus software too.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

"Let me get this straight"

Bob, yes, the other Bob who's visited this web locale a couple of times lately, has a great question on his site. If you've even heard just a little bit about the flack over the treatment of the Koran by US forces, you will definitely want to follow this link!!

iPod in the Local Paper

Our local paper is doing an article on the iPod this weekend and they were asking for comments on their website. I sent in my comments, of course. Late yesterday I got home to an email asking for some additional info and a picture that was just a head/shoulders shot. If I didn't have a pic, I could go in and have one taken. I don't have a picture like that electronically, and I have a job, so I wasn't going to go in this morning to have my picture taken. The result? None of my comments will be used. That's fine, but it left me wondering why they are asking for comments in an electronic forum if they can only use them if a specific type of picture is included? Why don't they state that up front? I honestly felt like I wasted my time sending in my email and then answering the followup email. If they're just looking for proof that I'm a real person, let me send in a picture of my choosing, not a specific type of picture. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but it was a bit of a time waster. Guess I won't do that again.


Not quite sure what I think of this.

Church Sign Trivia has a post about a church sign competition between two churches in Minnesota. Now THIS is funny! I gotta confess that I hate reading church signs. They're either hoaky or irrelevant (I consider a Bible verse that has absolutely no context to be irrelevant). However, if a couple churches were doing this, and were able to do it creatively as these two are, then I'd be going out of my way to pay attention. And you never know, if they're creative enough, people might even stop in to give a listen to the creative person doing the signs.

The Emergent Heresy Test, Part 2

Andrew Jones has a much needed post on the importance of letting people know what the emerging church stands for. His previous post has caused Theopedia to make some serious revisions to their definition of the emerging church. The biggest difficulty is that most people define the emerging church based on the writings of Brian McLaren. It is sooo much bigger than that, so using that as the definition really alienates most of the people who are taking part in the conversation. Combine that with the fact that many Biblically solid churches are adding to the mix without joining the "formal" (for lack of a better term) conversation and there is a lot of potential for confusion. My church has a great way of approaching it, "Using the Bible as our guide, we will engage existing and emerging cultures..." It keeps the main thing the main thing, but allows for different methods of presenting it.

Big Folding!

I had my biggest production day ever in the Folding@Home project, putting up over 2,100 points. There are quite a few people who put up a lot more than that, but I was very happy with that production for the day. Of course, if you follow the link, you'll see that the day before was a very low production day, but I had one computer that had its work unit end early, so that had a negative impact on my score that day.

If you want to learn more about Folding, hit the icon at the top of my blog or go to Stanford University's Folding site.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Emergent Heresy Test

Andrew Jones, the Tall Skinny Kiwi, went over to Theopedia and gave himself a test to see how much of an emerging church heretic he really is. Jones posted a comment on this blog a while back that mentioned his stint as an associate pastor in my denomination, so I've paid even a bit more attention to his blog since that time, though I've always appreciated his take on things. Interesting how he just doesn't match up with Theopedia's stereotype of what the emerging church is all about, though I certainly put him in the category of a leader in that "group." Ah well, can't all be heretics, eh? :-)