Friday, November 29, 2019

When a tool becomes social

The divide between techie and non-techie has blurred, but it didn’t happen by converting the entire population into techies.

The buzzword in the tech skill surveys of the early 2000s was ICT: information and communications technologies. But the information and the communication parts need to be analyzed separately.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

An activity for all occasions

My favorite line from the Word of God about thankfulness is from Paul's letter to the Church at Ephasus:

“…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).

What I love about this is its specificity about when and how we are to give thanks.

When: Always. For anything and everything under every circumstance, good or bad. Paul also wrote, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

How: In Jesus' name. Often we think of praying in Jesus' name when we are asking for things, so I found it striking that our prayers of thanks are also to be in Jesus' name.

This really speaks to what God wants. What do you get or do for the Man, the God-Man, or God, who already has everything? His end goal isn't our stuff.

He wants our love. He wants to be loved. He has done much to love us—first—and all He really wants in return is gratitude for His blessings on us.

This is seen throughout the Scriptures. I most recently came across this in 2 Chronicles 20:21, “Give thanks to the Eternal because His loyal love is forever!”

These things only make sense for those who have a reconciled relationship with God. That is the first matter to address, and that gives us the first thing for which to be grateful.

This is also what makes the rejection of God so strange. He is a good God Who wants to do good things for people. How hard is it to be thankful for that?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The thing for which to be most grateful

I listened to a message from Bill Wiese tonight. He talks about hell.

It's not a comfortable message for anyone—including him—but it is very necessary. Any discomfort we feel pales in comparison to the eternal discomfort faced by those in hell.

I was particularly impressed with how saturated his message is with Scripture.

His first reason for sharing this message is to be grateful for our salvation.

His final reason is to have a passion for the lost. I agree. Judgment Day motivates missions.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Rescued from the law

The greatness of this country rests on two anecdotes. The first one is that of Washington and his hatchet, representing the foundation of true speaking, which is the characteristic of our people. The second one is an old one, and I've been waiting to hear it to-night; but as nobody has told it yet, I will tell it.

You've heard it before, and you'll hear it many, many times more. It is an anecdote of our guest, of the time when he was engaged as a young man with a gentle Hebrew, in the process of skinning the client. The main part in that business is the collection of the bill for services in skinning the man. “Services” is the term used in that craft for the operation of that kind-diplomatic in its nature.

Choate's co-respondent made out a bill for $500 for his services, so called. But Choate told him he had better leave the matter to him, and the next day he collected the bill for the services and handed the Hebrew $5000, saying, “That's your half of the loot,” and inducing that memorable response: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”

Monday, November 25, 2019

The best time to quit

New runners went to practice, took a card detailing their routine, and then ran alone. There was no Coach Armstrong to bring out your best. There were no teammates to laugh and joke with, and no one for whom you’d ever run until you vomited.

I figured the best I could do was win an Ivy League sprint title. To do that, though, I’d have to train for a lackluster coach and a team that didn’t seem to care about me.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Man of Desires

“Oh, man of desires” (Dan. x. 11).

This was the divine character given to Daniel of old. It is translated in our version, “O man, greatly beloved.” But it literally means “O man of desires!”

Friday, November 22, 2019

The last to be baffled by their own children

It is perhaps ironic that this Full Internet generation, the first to use the internet to baffle their parents collectively, is also the last to be baffled by their own children.

While Fulls can draw on their own teen years to understand chat apps in the frame of instant messaging, or Tumblr in the frame of GeoCities, they didn’t have a digital childhood.

They’re the first to reckon with unfamiliar questions like how much iPad time is too much for a toddler, what to do when a child stumbles across a disturbing parody version of a children’s cartoon, and whether to post photos and anecdotes of a child on social media when faraway relatives may enjoy them but the child may grow up to find them embarrassing.
Source: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Considering the afterlife

Julie had told me that she'd begun thinking about the afterlife, a concept she insisted that she didn't completely believe in but nonetheless contemplated, “just in case.”

Would she be alone? Afraid? Everyone she loved was still alive—her husband, her parents, her grandparents, her sister, her nephew and niece. Who would keep her company there?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The disappearance of literature

From an address by Mark Twain 119 years ago tonight:
We have heard a discussion to-night on the disappearance of literature. That's no new thing. That's what certain kinds of literature have been doing for several years.

The fact is, my friends, that the fashion in literature changes, and the literary tailors have to change their cuts or go out of business.

Professor Winchester here, if I remember fairly correctly what he said, remarked that few, if any, of the novels produced to-day would live as long as the novels of Walter Scott. That may be his notion. Maybe he is right; but so far as I am concerned, I don't care if they don't.

Professor Winchester also said something about there being no modern epics like Paradise Lost. I guess he's right. He talked as if he was pretty familiar with that piece of literary work, and nobody would suppose that he never had read it.

I don't believe any of you have ever read Paradise Lost, and you don't want to. That's something that you just want to take on trust. It's a classic, just as Professor Winchester says, and it meets his definition of a classic—something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The reason government pricing is toxic

There is much political rhetoric these days calling for government to “negotiate prescription drug prices.”

These words lead people to think two things: • the government is another customer, and • the government can negotiate just like another customer. Both of these assumptions are incorrect.

The free market customer negotiates for the most of amount of value for the least amount of cost. This negotiation necessarily includes inherent uncertainty over whether or not a transaction will occur.

The government is not just another customer in the economy which means those factors do not have the same affect on the government as they do on the free market customer.

Monday, November 18, 2019

A combination of spirit and strength

In 1963, we were the Pennsylvania state champions in the mile relay and invited to compete in a special event in New York City at the 168th Street Armory.

On the bus ride there, I sat, as usual, next to my best friend, Bobby Bryant, a six-foot African American superstar. Bobby was so warm and kind that it would take him forever to get through the school cafeteria because he had to stop and joke with every table. School was a struggle for him academically, but on the track, he was magic.

His family never had much money, so I bought him a pair of Adidas spikes with the money I made working. It was a gesture of friendship, but also more than that: Bobby running in a great pair of spikes made all of us look good.

Six teams lined up in the final. I always ran the first leg, and I never passed the baton in second place.

When the gun went off, I broke out in front. But coming around the first curve, I felt my right hamstring rip. The pain was sudden and excruciating.

I had a choice: I could pull over and stop, the sensible choice for my body. Or I could continue and find a way to keep us as close as I could and give us a chance to win.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Who will dare to prove?

He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men that will dare to prove the greatness of their God.
SourceSimpson, A. B. (Albert B.). Days of Heaven Upon Earth (November 10). Kindle Edition.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Jargon File

The very next year, between March and April 1977, we see the beginning of the social acronyms.

This version describes them as “a special set of jargon words, used to save typing” in Talk mode, an early kind of chat. These acronyms include the now unremarkable R U THERE? but also the now obscure BCNU (be seeing you), T and NIL for “yes” and “no,” and CUL, “see you later.”

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tasks of mourning

Many people don't know that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's familiar stages of grieving—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance—were conceived in the context of terminally ill patients learning to accept their own deaths. It wasn't until decades later that the model came to be used for the grieving process more generally.

It's one thing to “accept” the end of your own life… But for those who keep on living, the idea that they should be getting to acceptance might make them feel worse (“I should be past this by now”; “I don't know why I still cry at random times all these years later”).

Besides, how can there be an endpoint to love and loss? Do we even want there to be?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The reason prices work in a free market

A price is an agreed-upon amount of money for a buy to pay a seller in exchange for goods and/or services.

The definition is not as exciting as reality.

• Sometimes they don't agree.
• Sometimes the price fails, and there's no transaction.
• Sometimes prices exclude some people and not others.
• Sometimes the seller reinvests from what was paid at a high price to enable more product delivery at a lower price.

A potential transaction starts an interaction. Mutual exchange of value is sought. For the seller, the price must be high enough; for the buyer, the value must be high enough and the price low enough. If buyer and seller can agree, then begins the great mystery and intrigue of negotiating over how much overlap there is in the price range for agreement: How much can the buyer pay? Will the seller go lower? If they agree to meet on a price, the transaction can proceed. If not, the transaction fails. In a free market, there is no guarantee, and that uncertainty is exactly why it works so well.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

500 Days

I'm half way toward my goal of 1,000 days of writing.

Since I last posted a 100-day update, I realized I do have a single way to see stats on my last 100 days of posting. My two most popular posts in that time were:

• What makes students thrive or flounder

When I first undertook this commitment, I had a lot of writing ideas I wanted to force myself to develop. Once I started, I found many of them I had saved were not as useful as originally thought, mostly due to their now-stale nature. They would have been more useful the time.

Another thing I've noticed in this first half is a daily commitment is a commitment to a very specific length of writing. Some of my posts are more drawn out, and with the nature of blogging it's acceptable to have some be quite short, too. If a point can be made very succinctly, why draw it out further?

What is not as conducive to a daily commitment is longer-form writing. I've had some ideas for longer writing projects, and they've had to take a back seat to the daily writing. I can think of two ways to free myself up for the longer writing.

Monday, November 11, 2019

'We knew we were in the hands of a genius'

Jack Armstrong, my track coach at Abington, was medium height, medium build, with gray hair swept back behind his ears. Every day, he wore the same maroon sweatshirt and windbreaker, the same stopwatch on a lanyard around his neck. And every day, he brought the same positive, cheerful demeanor to work. He never shouted or got angry, just raised or lowered his voice within a narrow range, the slightest change in cadence to get his point across.

“Look at what those guys have just done. And you’re making pretend you’re working out!”

There wasn’t a day I didn’t throw up after practice, sick from the effort.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

An alternative to being judgmental

It's easy to hear something about someone and think nothing but condemnation for them. This helps no one.

Instead, pray for them. Do you believe God can change a person, can deal with whatever is messed up in a person's life?

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Friday, November 8, 2019

Old early adopters

Some Old Internet People eventually became early adopters of blogs or Twitter, and their facility with internet-mediated social interaction often made them highly visible, influential users.

Some became the first generation of internet researchers, writing up the practices of their own communities.

Others just kept puttering along in their familiar internet byways, and now find themselves having to explain to young whippersnappers that just because they’re older doesn’t mean they don’t know technology—they were programming computers and dialing in via phone lines before said whippersnappers were even born.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

8 life stages

In the mid-1900s, Erikson came up with eight stages of psychosocial development that still guide therapists in their thinking today. … Erikson's psychosocial stages focus on personality development in a social context (such as how infants develop a sense of trust in others).

Most important, Erikson's stages continue throughout the entire lifespan, and each interrelated stage involves a crisis that we need to get through to move on to the next.

They look like this:

Infant (hope)—trust versus mistrust
Toddler (will)—autonomy versus shame
Preschooler (purpose)—initiative versus guilt
School-age child (competence)—industry versus inferiority

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The filthiest language of all

Some people reject the idea of dirty language in the first place. “Who has a right to declare some words dirtier than others,” they ask?

Just like we know we have rights because there are commands against violating those rights, so we know there is unclean language because we are instructed not to use it.

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

Corrupt words are either words that become corrupted or represent corruption. There are things that are clean and holy, and there are things that are—or become—unclean and profane. Words associated with the latter can become profanity.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Why wireless carriers need to allow independent eSIM activation

The Apple Watch is like a mini iPod touch strapped to your wrist.

That was the analogy used by an Apple Store employee in a conversation I had with her last week.

Except an iPod touch doesn't require an iPhone to operate. In fact, an iPod touch has long been known as being like an iPhone without the phone part. It includes everything else such as the ability to use most apps an iPhone can use.

The Apple Watch with just standard GPS has required a phone to operate. It can also then provide a remote control interface to the phone part of the iPhone, along with its own variety of apps, watch faces, etc.

There's also an Apple Watch with LTE. Sprint has a very nice plan that allows for use of the Apple Watch with LTE that includes unlimited talk, text, and data, for $10/month (after $5 autopay discount). Pair that up with some AirPods, and my phone bill would drop yet again.

Last week I was seriously considering porting my number to an Apple Watch. Then I found out that's not allowed.

Monday, November 4, 2019

A cost of ambition

If you want something badly enough, you can find a way. You can create it out of nothing. And before you know it, there it is.

But wanting something isn’t enough.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Unforgivable Sin

A few years back I had the privilege to be part of the teaching rotation for a high school Sunday School class. One week a topic came up that reminded me of a conversation I had in college with a professor. He made the point that not believing in Jesus is the unforgivable sin.

I mentioned that same point in class, and a young man promptly raised his hand, and then said, “Excuse me, isn't blaspheming the Holy Spirit the unforgivable sin?” According to Matthew 3:29 and Luke 12:10, he is correct. It wasn't a primary point I had prepared to address in detail, so I acknowledged he was correct and moved on in the lesson.

My professor had argued that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is when one rejects the Holy Spirit as He is drawing someone to salvation (John 16:8-11). If you reject salvation in Jesus, then one is “subject to eternal condemnation” (Matthew 3:29).

Friday, November 1, 2019

Old Internet People

As a group, Old Internet People have the highest level of average technological skill, generally knowing a decent inventory of keyboard shortcuts, the basics in a programming language or two, and how to look at the inner workings of a computer behind its graphical user interface.

They’re often skilled in some other specific area, such as computer hardware assembly, browser encryption, Wikipedia editing, or forum moderating.

They’ve got a lot of browser extensions or other custom configuration tools on their computer and can’t imagine living without them.

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You don't launch a popular blog,
you build one.
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