African Proverbs

Michelle has collected a couple of African Proverbs, the one I like most is:

"One’s name remains above the grave."

My interpretation is that all that is "us" we take out of this world (our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, even our looks - all that occupies us most in the day-to-day), but our good name (or otherwise) lives on.

Languages

I was OK at languages at school (I failed Year 12 Indonesian by 1 point!) but after High School I really started to enjoy languages. Pity I haven't put that enjoyment to better use!

Since leaving school I have had limited experience with Indonesian, German, Arabic, Korean and Japanese.

Out of my limited experience I found the most difficult langauge to be Japanese, because the characters are sooo different (Korean came a close second, but it is really well organised and only has 40 or so characters in it's alphabet). For me personally it's worth it to learn Korean as we have Korean blood in our family.

The most fun language is definitely pidgin English (spoken in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, etc.) as it is easy to figure out and has some cool words and phrases - "thankyou tomas" is "thankyou so much" (my name being Thomas, I thought I was being thanked all the time), "longway" is "far away" (repeat to increase distance, like "longway longway longway") and "pikinini" is "baby" which sounds pretty cute.

Computer Bugs

I've had the pleasurable experience of doing beta testing for different software, and also of having my software beta tested (I'm using the term "beta" here to mean the version before the final product, the mostly stable/least experimentational version). I reckon it's great to try something out on the beta software, find it doesn't work, write some sort of bug report and be told "you're the first to find that bug". Joy!

Here's two quick entries I read from other IT-type folks, one on what happens to a bug reported in a beta program and the other on bug bashing day (we've done these inside our organisation here).

GetReligion

GetReligion is a blog that has had some great articles lately on The Passion, from an informed point of view of a Christian journalist. In fact, I have really enjoyed most of the articles I've read here - they're well written, interesting, topical and present (in my mind) a balanced viewpoint (and attempt to expose other's viewpoints). Well done guys!

Amiga

I loved my Amiga personal computer, and now I can re-live all the gory details at a collection of past computer operating systems at GUIdebook: Graphical User Interface gallery. Great!

Hidden Data in Word (2002/2003 Only)

For the security conscious: I was put on to a little utility called iDiscover™ that shows the "hidden" data that Word keeps against each document - in the later versions of Word, who's opened it, who's saved it, the original file location, and more (lots more, if you're tracking changes or keeping versions of the file). Microsoft have released a Remove Hidden Data Tool to remove all of this gunk, which can be downloaded at Office 2003/XP Add-in: Remove Hidden Data.

Note that the hidden data doesn't affect Word performance. I didn't go through and remove all the data in all my Word files. It's just if you're putting stuff on the Internet or in other people's hands, where the above-mentioned information might be better off removed (this BBC article details a few of the more prominent abuses of Word hidden document stuff).

Our Family

Our Family, March 2004Here's a fairly recent photo of our little family - Olivia holding a sleeping Maya at left, and me and TJ at right - taken by Olivia's Mum at our place.

We don't have that many family shots as it's me or Olivia who do the happy snapping, mainly of our children, but I like this photo as we're all looking pretty relaxed. TJ's since had a haircut, and Maya has got waaaay bigger, but that's us alright.

Does it seem like our children got Olivia's lily-white skin? I had thought at one stage that Maya was a bit more olive, but as time has gone on she's proving to be fair and almost red-haired.

Meetups

There's a site called Meetup.com that is in the business of "organizing local interest groups". If you want to get together and meet new people and talk on a subject, you nominate a place and time and others can sign up to come along. The Meetup website just organises the events, but users don't have to pay.

The Melbourne, Australia page lists a whole stack of meetups - French Language, Expat Americans, Webloggers, etc. I'm going to try and get along to the weblogger's meet-up in May.

Unbelievably funny Seinfeld ad

"The Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman" web ad is a classic! I can't wait for others.

Brian Goldfarb points to a blog entry by Lenn that Brian refers to as "Rules of Evangelism". I'll summarise Lenn's "rules" below (the original post is entitled "Evangelism, dogma, rhetoric, and believing"):

Lenn’s 6 Evangelism Rules:

1.) Show and share, don’t preach and sell.

2.) Arm yourself with the facts, not hype or rhetoric

3.) Know thy competition intensely. How can you convince someone of something that you have no knowledge of?

4.) Don’t be afraid to admit it when you can do better. Nobody is perfect, have the confidence that you can do better and move on.

5.) Leave dogma and zealotry at the door, bring conversation, engagement, and follow through to the table.

6.) Share your enthusiasm. Share a vision. Paint a picture. Nothing is more convincing than genuine passion for a realistic and well understood idea (ie demos make the world go round, rhertoric slows it down).


What's so interesting about this? Lenn is a technology evangelist (an official job title)! I wonder if his points are valid for the more traditional, religious sense of the word "evangelise"?

It's weird to see words & phrases I traditionally associated with Christianity popping up in different places and contexts, like "The Dog-Lover's Bible", the top hits for a Google search for "Rock of Ages" (hint: they're not about the Rock of Ages), and Angel (a Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV spin-off). I think Christians still have gospel and grace...

Beaten in Chess

For my wife: Olivia beat me in chess last night. She invited me to play after we'd finished watching a movie, for "one game", and she beat me fair and square.

She told me I'd have to mention it on my blog. So here it is, recorded for posterity.

Bloggers Survey

I mentioned a while back that Michelle did a survey of Christian bloggers. The results are up at Dialog: Breaking the Bubble.

Michelle writes some interesting stuff and states in her conclusion that Christian bloggers are in a kind of "bubble" (hence the title?) and that they link to other Christians but not other non-Christians, even if non-Christians link to them (and I'm summarising here). She makes the point that this does not promote "relationship" in the blogosphere, and Michelle is right: from my own experience, I know it's hard to find the time to link and read regularly those who don't share my interests and beliefs, even if they're interested in reading me. You'll see from my list of "Blogs I Read" that I read computer-related stuff (that's how I got into blogging), and other Christian blogs. There's not much middle ground there.

And this is OK because I've got to be selective, right? I read what I'm interested in, and other people read me if they're interested. But the downside is that I only hear what I already agree with if I can't find time to enter into discussions with others outside of that little circle. I think it was Scoble who mentioned that blogging is "1.5 way discussion" in that anyone can leave comments on a topic I've initiated, but can't initiate a discussion on a topic themselves.

Something to keep thinking about. As much as I dislike the word "non-Christian" (there's other words like "unchurched" that seem to be more accurate), I know in my mind there's a clear line for me outside of non-work blogs between Christian and non-Christian.

Maya Update

Our beautiful data Maya is 16 weeks old, and here's the stats as reported by her glowing mother (my wife) Olivia: weight - 17 pounds (7.71 kg), length - 66.9 cm.

Olivia also mentioned that TJ was the same length at 10 weeks, although at that 10 week mark he only weighed 16lb 4oz. Interestingly, at 16 weeks (the age Maya is now), TJ was 70cm long and weighed 19lb 1oz (8.65 kg). I told you I was going to give statistics!

I just caught myself using the words "length" for Maya and "height" for TJ, or rather "length" for a baby (you have to lay 'em down to get measured) and "height" for my little boy (who stands up against the wall to be measured). Strange.

Books I'm Reading, April 2004

I'm really happy I've finished Robinson Crusoe, and enjoyed it. Got some more "classics" (in my mind) to collect, it's fun looking at 2nd-hand book stores with $2.50 in your pocket!

Nearly finished Purpose-DrivenTM Life. I'm currently reading a couple of books from the library, How to Reassess Your Chess: The Complete Chess-Mastery Course and Classical Thought (a history of western philosophy from Homer to Augustine). The chess one is good, but heavy going - lots of words and not enough pictures! The philosophy book is really, really interesting (that's a high form of compliment from someone like me who doesn't know many superlatives) and is something I hope to keep learning about.

There's an interesting service called AllConsuming.net that scans weblogs looking for books linked back to Amazon, and includes that weblog entry with stuff about the book on their site. That way you can see what books other bloggers are reading & writing about (via KC Lemson).

Footy Tipping for Round 4

Wow, a disastrous week with me opening myself up for hostile criticism from my wife and friendly, constructive comments from my web friends. Thanks guys! Here's how the story went (actual winner in bold):

  • Carlton v Essendon (I tipped Essendon...so far so good...)
  • Melbourne v Port Adelaide
  • West Coast v Brisbane Lions
  • Adelaide v St. Kilda
  • Geelong v Richmond
  • Kangaroos v Sydney
  • Collingwood v Fremantle (what's up with my team? p.s. this is a rhetorical question)
  • Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs
At least I can take solace from the fact no-one got more than 3!

Bikes

Have you ever seen a bike like this?

Cool footpath art

I'm always amazed when I'm in the City to find chalk drawings on the footpath/pavement/sidewalk. Sometimes the art is of an incredible standard, and obviously a lot of time has gone into the work, yet they are so "here today, gone tomorrow". The artists that do footpath chalk drawings must be so creative that they know they can do a picture as good as yesterday's again, today (or better).

What spurred me on to that thought: here's a link to some cool pavement chalk drawings, courtesy of Justin King.

Bug: New milk cartons are hard to open.

From a Microsoft blog, a report on a non-software Bug: New milk cartons are hard to open. It's scary when I start referring to real-life problems as "errors". I get too close to my job sometimes.

Footy Tipping

This week I got 7 out of 8, I backed my team who were playing at the opponents' ground and hadn't won there in 9 years. I could've got 8 if I had backed the bad guys, but could I have lived with myself?

QuickFlix

Frank Arrigo points out an Australian service QuickFlix, a DVD rental service for $8.50 a week where you can rent up to three DVD's at a time and they're posted out to you. When you're done, you return one, two, or all the DVDs in a reply-paid envelope and can get 3 more. No late fees, no leaving your home.

I reckon I'd do it if the price was a little lower. But I'd miss the dodging, ducking and weaving of the video shop, the hanging on to a good movie just in case you might want to watch it and the fishing for small change just to get a video to watch on a quiet Friday night. They have got a handy search facility and look to have a big library, though...

My 2 cents: in the future, video stores will be like libraries where you might pay a fee and then borrow as many as you like.

Digital Cameras

I've been hankering to get a new camera for two reasons: Olivia's old SLR broke down and we were quoted $200 to fix it, and our little $30 click-click is getting too limited. A digital camera seems the way to go, and while I'm in "just looking" mode a good website that allows you to compare models is www.dpreview.com.

I found a good-looking camera (the Canon Powershot S45) with all the features that I'd like for US$400, however in Australia it was priced at over $1000...definitely out of the price range. I wonder if Leigh my man in Japan could get a better price?

Easter

Had a great Easter with Olivia's family (Mum & Dad, two sisters and families) at her parents "retirement" home in Glen Valley (6.5 hours drive up bush). Olivia's Dad built this house - it's fantastic!

What did we do? Well, we left early Friday (4:30 AM) and returned Tuesday afternoon. In that time, TJ rode a motorbike, we went to a bushdance, read books and played toys with the cousins, went for a couple of walks and generally enjoyed the mild weather (about 25 degrees every day). We went up to Falls Creek (which in winter is a ski resort) for Sunday morning breakfast, a church service and an Easter Egg Hunt.

All in all a most relaxing and enjoyable long weekend. Thanks Ted and Marijke!

TJ Sitting on the arm of a chair, Black and WhiteI really like this photo of TJ sitting on the arm of a chair in our sunny family room. TJ's imagination is growing and he uses our armchairs and couches to jump & climb all over. An arm of one is his motorbike; the cushions form his walls on another; and others are his trampolines!

What's really encouraging to me is the fact that he wants to be near the rest of his family. On my month of holidays I couldn't work out why he kept going to the chair in the photo. Later it dawned on me that this chair is where Olivia sits to feed Maya.

As I look at this photo I can't help but think what a big, handsome boy he is! Thanks TJ (and dear readers) for allowing me to indulge myself as a super-doting Dad.

The Look

I've just read and enjoyed a poem entitled "The Look" at Bruderhof Communities - Verses for Holy Week.

Happy Easter!

How Many Books Do You Read

Steve Eichert asks How many books do you read at one time?

I read two or three (although if I counted all the books that I've got on the go, it's about 5 or 6 - I just don't plan on getting back to some of the others for a long time). I'm not much of a fiction reader, except for recently where I've bulked up on some "classics" like the Narnia series, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson etc.

I used to read magazines (technical computer-geek sort of ones), but now I find the web is the best source of up-to-date info, and with the 24 or so tech blogs I read daily I think I have enough stuff to digest!

Happy Easter

Just wishing everyone who reads this, a Happy Easter! If you're going away, I hope you enjoy your time off; if you're staying, then I hope you enjoy that too.

History and the man on the street

Jason Clark reports that some Britons believe that Conan the Barbarian was an actual historical figure (along with some believing that factual events never happened or real people never lived). The whole article is worth a quick read.

This is not a knock at people from the UK; I'm the first to admit a lack of knowledge of history - practically speaking, I try never to play Trivial Pursuit with someone older than me! But the truth is I could tell you more about Aragorn than I could about William Wallace or William the Conquerer. After you've left school, how are you meant to learn these things???

TJ and Maya in her rocker

TJ look serious as he rocks Maya in her rocker, Black and WhiteTJ is a great help with Maya, and he tries to do whatever he sees Olivai and I doing to her, like rocking her in her rocker (as he is here) and putting her dummy back in or covering her up with a blanket.

I took this photo on a warm day at home, unfortunately it took me so long to get everything in focus that TJ just kept looking strangely at me wondering when I was going to stop saying "Smile!"

Alternative Names

What do you call a weblog that puts up items that are out of date? Weblag! I thought of that all by myself this morning. Oh, the, hilarity, ho ho ho.

Or an idiot who has a weblog? Oh, don't answer that.

I notice that in my couple of months of writing here, I almost never go back and review stuff I wrote earlier. That seems to be one of the downsides of writing a journal: only the most current entries are of interest. I don't go back and check comments on posts that dribble off the main page (into an archive), so if you do want to ask about something you can e-mail me directly.

A web site, with the ability for a bit more organisation than just "newest on top" might be better for collecting related bits of thought. Although I reckon some other blog software has got it right; for instance, Darren at LivingRoom has some nice features on his blog like ability to have longer posts continue on another page (e.g. "Read More..."), categorised postings and a "Hot Topics" index on his main page. Nice.

Art Exhibition at Real Life

Yesterday at Real Life's Sunday morning meeting we had an art exhibition to help think about Easter in a different way (than just talking or reading). We printed off a whole lot of pictures in A4 size in color from Olga's Gallery, blacked out the windows, played some instrumental music and used little desklamps for light. Thanks to Brad, Ian, Jan, and Beau, a fantastic Blu-Tac art gallery was created in no time!

All our guests were encouraged to walk around with a coffee and a friend and comment on the pictures. There was some good feedback as the pictures deal with scenes popularised by "The Passion" movie. Not quite so much blood or brutality, though. In Australia there's nothing that is as old as some of the works we displayed (some from 1300's, 1600's); meeting in a community centre as we do, sometimes I miss the "awe" that I imagine would accompany going to a great cathedral in Europe or other ancient site.

ChessGames.com

Another site in my new quest for some chess knowledge, is chessgames.com. Lots to do and see about chess.

Maya Smiles

Maya Smiling, Black and WhiteHere's a very early picture of Maya, smiling (as she does so often). We've nicknamed her "Bubbles" for the time being because she loves blowing bubbles with and she's always so bubbly and happy, as soon as she wakes up she will smile!
She definitely gets that from her mother. I am not a morning person.

Turn Off Your TV Week

Via Kevin Moore, the official TV Turn-Off Week (April 19-25).

Flash Games

More time-wasters, that is, browser-based Flash games at life2themax.net. I liked the Samurai one...

Footy Tipping Disgrace

Well 4 from 8 this week...making me (and Olivia, who is helping do the picks) edge closer towards the bottom of the competition. Right - get fired up for next week! Come on guys! Go, go, go!

After that pep talk I feel better.

Bubblewrap

Popping has never been so much fun. This is one for my Mum.

Via Justin King - he's from Sydney...good onya, mate!

GeoUrl

I found a service that plots where you are using latitude and longitude, so you can find out who's blogging near you. What a great idea! Here's a link so you can find who's near me (and add yourself):



Via Tommy Williams who works at Microsoft in the US...an alter-ego me, maybe? Or am I his evil doppelganger?

Footy Tipping

This week - Round Two - I have forecasted the following teams to win: Melbourne vs. Richmond, Collingwood vs. Western Bulldogs, Adelaide vs. Brisbane Lions, West Coast (Go Rodney!) vs. Port Adelaide, Essendon vs. St. Kilda (sorry Simey!), Sydney vs. Fremantle, Carlton vs. Geelong, Hawthorn vs. Kangaroos.

Olivia and I did the predicting - what do you do when you can't decide between the two of you? Olivia suggested we play rock-paper-scissors, over the phone!

An aside: when we were in Korea, I reckon people used rock-paper-scissors to decide everything! Crazy! Or is it...

Iron John

John Eldridge, writer of "Wild At Heart" which I've commented on before, references a book called "Iron John" by Robert Bly a fair bit. I chased down this book at my local (Frankston) library, and I have to say, it was not worth it. It was hard to read, had esoteric references (hang on, better look that word up, is that what I mean, yes, OK, keep going) and far-out interpretations of growing up, and picked and choosed from any number of fables and mythologies and cultures to try and come up with a vision of men & manhood.

Bly's book re-interprets a Grimm brothers fairy-tale called "Iron John" (there's versions here and here) and tries to set the "principles" in the modern-day. As I skimmed over all of the book, bits of it resonated with my experience, but as I've said the rest was a mess.

I find it hard to believe that this could be the source of a good book - it seems like there's so little worth talking about!

ChessPoster.com

ChessPoster.com seems to have a swag of info on chess. Worth checking out, especially it's database of openings. I was a little thrown by the all-singing, all-dancing graphics though.

 

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