Wednesday, August 31, 2011

5 to the 3

Progress report on my 500 miles in 300 days.  Yesterday was day 21.  To hit 500 miles, I would have needed to have completed 33.33 miles (1.67 per day - the blue line).  Yesterday I reached 44.02 (2.1 per day - the green line).   

The gray line is something new I'm experimenting with.  I'm finding that I'm just not always interested in running... I'm really tired or I have other stuff I need to get to or it's raining.. stuff like that.  So when I run more than 1.67 miles in a day, there's a net gain on the gray line.  When I run less, there's a loss.  If something comes up (illness, travel) that prevents running, it shows me how long I stay in positive territory.
Right now, I'm positive 9.02 miles so I'd be behind the average on 9/5 if I didn't run at all between now and then. Though I can't imagine going that long without even the simplest of 1-2/3 mile runs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Standing Still

Last night the idea of standing still came to mind while I was running.  Or more specifically the idea that there's really no such thing.  It's not an original idea, but the idea that you're either growing or you're dying - there is no stasis.  No holding patterns, no comfortable ruts, no grooves.  No standing still as life swirls around us.  If we're not weeding the yard, the weeds are overtaking.  If we're not maintaining our cars, important things are shaking loose and falling off.  If we're not cleaning off our desks, soon we can't find it.  (For that matter... if you're not actively acquiring new email addresses, your list size is declining as people opt-out or change email addresses.  Hi, colleagues!)

It made me think about how that applies to the people in our lives... our spouse, children, friends, co-workers.  Are our relationships with the people in our lives growing or dying?  What are we doing to nurture them and help them to grow?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Sift 226-230

The Sift 226: Education, Brain, People and Thought Leadership
  • Redefine Problems By Changing the Words You Use to Describe Them
  • Has the speed shortage been averted?
  • 2011! - if you have to ask, you shouldn't click. (If you don't have to ask, you saw this a week ago.)
  • Why the Next Big Thing Will Come From Small Innovations
  • Steve Keil: A manifesto for play, for Bulgaria and beyond

The Sift 227: Transit, Travel and Development
  • Japan Unveils Levitating High-Speed Electric Aero Train
  • Japan speeding ahead with 500km/h Maglev train
  • Nonstop High-Speed Trains Enabled by Docking Trams
  • Terreform ONE Announces Winners of the ‘Water as the 6th Borough’ Design Competition for NYC
  • Paul Romer's radical idea: Charter cities (TED.COM; 18:27)

The Sift 228: Energy, Environment and Science
  • Italians Vote to End the Use of Nuclear Power in Landmark Referendum
  • Did You Know That Plant-Based Bottles by PepsiCo and Coke are Actually Not Biodegradable?
  • New Printable Cling-Film Solar Cells are Cheap and Easy to Produce
  • Floating Islands Will Restore Life to Minnesota’s Spring Lake
  • Paul Nicklen: Tales of ice-bound wonderlands (TED.COM; 17:56)

The Sift 229: Entertainment and Technology
  • FCC hails spectrum alliances with Canada and Mexico, seeks to reduce border conflicts
  • Nokia N8 used to shoot world's largest stop-motion film, 'Gulps' up the competition (video)
  • 10 Fascinating Facts About Mobile Phones
  • Bloomberg Taps TechStars for TV Show About Startups
  • Mikko Hypponen: Fighting viruses, defending the net (TED.COM; 17:35)

The Sift 230: Social Media
  • UK teen arrested for illegal BBM, social media crackdown gains steam
  • Amnesty International’s Website Blocked in Saudi Arabia
  • U.S. Senators Urge Saudi King To Overturn Ban on Female Drivers
  • Facebook introduces separate Messenger app for iPhone and Android
  • Facebook Use May Lead to Psychological Disorders in Teens

Whose Grandma?

Seriously,  Have you even read that book?

I wouldn't suggest it for my wife let alone my grandma.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Radical Mentoring

Click here to go to the YouVersion version for the bible verses.

Radical Mentoring
Philippians 3
Pastor Joe Donaldson, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash. ( Notes from 10:45 am service on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. (Notes are my own, I pray that they are helpful to you.)

--- Attributes of Paul ---

Paul was confrontational.

Paul was confident.
Not just in who he was or where he came from, but in his relationship with Christ.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reader's Digest -- October 2010

I know, I'm way behind. I have a stack of unread magazines I'm trying to get through. There was a couple of interesting articles in the October 2010 Reader's Digest. Of course, RD is inconsistent about what it places online, so in some cases, I've found other copies placed online by people.

And finally...
A new survey found that 12 percent of parents punish their kids by banning social-networking sites. The other 88 percent punish their kids by joining social-networking sites. -- Jimmy Fallon

Friday, August 26, 2011

Social Media Echo

I've found that in the last week or two I've just plain forgotten to check in on social media on a regular basis.  I'm still using Google Reader and Blogger regular, but I've been forgetting to check Twitter and even Facebook.  (My email is still a lost cause.)

Someone else was saying tonight at small group that they feel like social media is getting old and someone else agreed with them.  And we're a crowd who usually lives on social media, all but cutting off contact with friends who don't use social media.

But, is it just us, or does it feel like there's a real lull here?  Is it possibly just summer stretching on a little too long without anything interesting going on?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Silent Running

Devotions this morning was led by the guy who started Team World Vision.  I don't know if it was him or my boss' boss' boss (also a runner) who said that when they started running, God told them "no headphones."

I never got any kind of indication from God when I started running one way or the other about headphones.  But I kinda figured they were vital - without music, would I be able to make it more than a few steps?

So tonight I knew I needed to get a run in and so I figured, ok, maybe a mile or so I'll go without headphones.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it more than two miles anyhow, I just wasn't feeling it.

Well, I didn't put the headphones in for the first two and a half miles.  I ultimately did 5-1/2 miles.  I might finally be getting the feel of my new shoes.   And maybe I'm feeling guilty for how little running I've done lately, or I'm worried about how far behind I'm getting on my goal.  It scares me that every day I don't run I get nearly 2 more miles behind.

Anyhow, it was interesting.  First there was just the sound of my shoes.

And my breath.

And my stupid keys.  Jingling jangling.  Nothing I did made them any quieter.  Usually I take only a housekey but tonight I accidentally stuffed the whole lot of them in my pocket and man they were annoying.

Ok, so besides that...

Distant murmur of traffic.

The tick-tick-tick of a sprinker.

The pad pad pad of my shoes with the occasional skritch as I ran over rocks.

The clinking of silverware inside someone's house.

Near silence.  (Save for the keys.)

It was dark out, and without cloud, so there was also the massive expanse of black overhead dotted with a few bright stars.

And then a major road, lots of car noises, someone cheering me on, more cars, speeding cars, kids laughing ecstatically as some event was getting out at a church.

And then I put on my headphones.  And the next eight minutes (two songs) seemed to take forever.  Not last forever, but take forever.  And then I got in the groove as the songs flew by as I flew down the road.  I just kept going and going.  And by the time I got home I felt like I was only home because I'd been gone an hour, not because I was tired or needed a break.

But... I went to Menchie's today and loaded up.  A reward my wife suggested since I had a few cavities filled.  (She was suggesting it because it would be easy to eat, not because it's good to fill your mouth with sweet, sweet sugar right after having cavities filled.)  I do not know if all that running was enough calories to counteract Menchie's.

But it was a good run.  And I'll definitely try running without headphones again.  Maybe eventually I'll stop thinking about myself and my immediate surroundings and be opening to hearing God speak to me.  Because that was their original point, that it would an opportunity to pray and be open to hearing from God.  But yeah, I was too self-aware/self-absorbed/self-attuned tonight.

But what a good run.

(Yes, the pictured shoe is a women's shoe.  But it's a black Nike running shoe and that's good enough for illustrative purposes.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rediscovery (A Work-Related Post)

I came to a realization recently that I was wrong.

Ok, maybe that's not a surprise to anyone knows me.  Sure, I suppose that happens often.

But, it was about a specific thing that's bugged me for years.

I work for an organization that has some large and complex computer systems.  Over time, we've enhanced, modified and extended the purchased software for the purposes of meeting our business objectives.  And I don't just mean a single product - we have many different products that we use.  Some of which even have to talk to one another.

And they're owned by different groups who use different methodologies for updating them (waterfall, agile, whatever) and documenting them (golden docs, wiki, inline code) and maintaining them (don't, pay a vendor, update on a regular schedule, etc.).

But it always frustrated me how often we had to go back to the beginning, like an archaeologist and rediscover what the software did it, why it did it, and how it interoperated with other pieces of software.  And often, it was a really exhaustive and exhausting experience, and there was still opportunity to miss things and make mistakes.

But on my recent vacation, out running, I looked at all the paint markings on the street as I ran and I realized, that's exactly what this is.  Before any renovation can be done to an area that involves excavation, someone must come out and re-learn where all the of the utilities are.  On another recent run, I saw a survey crew measuring an intersection, distances, sight lines.  It was a city intersection and the surveyors worked for the city.  Didn't they just have some set of blueprints in the basement of a building somewhere that laid out that intersection?  For all the planning and work that goes into laying a new fiber optic line or widening an intersection, it all starts with rediscovering what's already there.

And so it occurred to me, perhaps software isn't all that different, except stuff is even more invisible.  You could try to keep meticulous records of every little change and every little dependency, but sometime, somewhere along the line, something changes and suddenly the documentation isn't completely accurate.

Trying to find all of the documentation and update it all every single time would be cost prohibitive.  And the guys writing the code don't want to write documentation.  And if you employ people just to do that, they're gonna be the first ones to go in a budget crunch anyhow.

So I came to the realization that my pursuit of perfect documentation - the ability to skip that entire part of the process - that's just untennable.  

And so that's why whenever a show like Leverage taps into a city planning office to get the blueprints of a building or the route of a steam tunnel, I just groan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hello? Hello, Seattle!

Starbucks' latest marketing effort pits cities against one another with the prize being early release of their popular seasonal drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  It's a good marketing ploy, I'm even writing about it.  You get points for checking in regularly, you get points for watching a video and answering some questions.  I guessed without watching and got half of them right.  And you get points for creating little designs.  I don't know what you'd call them.. placemats?  Anyhow, Seattle's in the lead, naturally, but it might as well recruit you, my dear readers, to also place your votes for Seattle.  (Except you, Kevin.  L.A. doesn't need any votes.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Benefit of Scripture and Prayer

The Benefit of Scripture and Prayer
Mohammed Mussa (Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011; notes are mine, I pray they are helpful to you)

The Bible is a letter from God to us. 

Our strength comes from the Word of God. And prayer makes it that much stronger.

Psalm 25 - David:
In you, LORD my God,
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, LORD,
teach me your paths.

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
The Lord has heard my prayer and accepted my supplication. Prayer is not delegating to God, but rather committing yourself, so you are ready and prepared to do God's work.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reader's Digest -- August 2011

Selected articles from the August 2011 Reader's Digest that I though were worth passing on.  In a few cases, Reader's Digest didn't put the articles on their website (or Google couldn't find it) but I found other places that had the articles.  Not sure the links are legal and will probably be shut down before too long, but here they are anyhow.

In other news, Reader's Digest will be offering an iPad version of the magazine soon for only $14 a year.  Far cheaper than the $25-30 they want for renewals.  (Hint: Ignore renewal notices until they get desperate and send the $10/year renewal -- then cross out "1 year" and write in "5 years" and send them a check for $50.  They'll honor it and you'll get it at a great rate for a long time.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vacation, Day 5

Technically the final day of our vacation, the Washington State History Museum.  When I was in Jr. High, we took the mandated semester of Washington State History.  The textbook was tiny and we studied the state's history 2-3 days each week and then watched Three Stooges movies the rest of each week.  So, needless to say, I wasn't expecting much from the museum we'd gone by a lot but never made it into.  I was quite surprised and impressed.  The WSHM is housed in an amazing building near the waterfront in Tacoma.  It has five stories (two stories of exhibits plus auditoriums and big spaces for field trip groups).  It seems like this is a well-funded institution.  

Ben showed signs of having had enough today.  It took a lot to keep him happy.

Watching Rachel explore these museums has been interesting, a mixture of impatience, genuine interest and a strong desire to share with us what she'd learned.   I wonder how I would visit museums differently without children.  I know that I skipped a lot of stuff, I wonder if I would move more slowly and read more.  Or take more photos.  This particular picture does not show the line of boys waiting to get on the stagecoach - it was incredibly crowded

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vacation, Day 4

Day 4 started with a medical appointment that couldn't be rescheduled.  After that, it was back on the 5 to the 599 and heading towards Seattle.  After going months without heading north, we've been in or nearly in Seattle all week and it's been awesome.

Our destination this time: The Museum of Flight.  One guide said that you should plan to spend 3 hours here.  I don't know how much we spent, but it was far more than planned and we still missed entire FLOORS of stuff.  There is just so much to see, so much to read, some much to just linger and regard. I'll post some photos on Flickr, but I'm sure there are already lots of good ones there as well.

This is sad.  This was part of a small boosters exhibit trying to get NASA to send one of the Space Shuttles to the museum.  The museum will not receive one, but instead a "trainer" - a wingless shuttle that never flew but was used for training in Houston.  If memory serves, no one will be permitted on board the shuttles, but the trainer will be open for walk-throughs, similar to the Air Force One and Concorde on display on the museum.  Boeing is putting the finishing touches on a new building for the space exhibit that was to feature a shuttle.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vacation, Day 3

Today we went to the Burke Museum of Natural History on the University of Washington campus.  Parking was confusing.  It could be clearer on their website.  But then, so could signage within the museum itself.  Anyhow, it was full of lots of cool stuff.  Dinosaur bones, the bones of a whale that were found here in the state that led to the discovery of a new genus of whale, lots of interesting stuff.

This is the thigh-bone of a large dinosaur.

A really large dinosaur.

The Sift 221-225

The Sift 221: Apple
  • Free Beats Paid in Generating Revenue on Apple’s App Store
  • Apple Patent Aims to Shut Down iPhone Camera Recording in Venues
  • Apple OS X Lion (10.7) review
  • The OS X Lion Survival Guide
  • Apple's Money

The Sift 222: Advertising, Marketing, News and Media
  • Katie Couric Moves to ABC to Host New Talk Show
  • Vanity Fair’s Justin Bieber Cover One of Its Worst-Selling in Recent History
  • News Corp Shuts Down News of the World Amid Scandal
  • How to Bypass the New York Times Paywall In Three Seconds, Zero Hacking Required
  • Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold (Video)

The Sift 223: Food, Health, Exercise and Medicine
  • Vary Your Calorie Intake to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau
  • New Law Makes Insurance Coverage for Contraceptives Mandatory
  • Researcher sees security issue with wireless insulin pumps, hackers could cause lethal doses
  • What should I eat before I run?
  • Daniel Kraft: Medicine's future? There's an app for that (Video)

The Sift 224: Microsoft
  • Kinect app promises you'll wear flowery skirts, and you'll like it
  • Kinect for Windows SDK beta launches, wants PC users to get a move on
  • Kinect Graffiti creates neon tags with the wave of a hand
  • KinectNUI enables Minority Report style interaction in Windows sans gloves
  • Microsoft Research's .NET Gadgeteer steps out into the light, shoots daggers at Arduino (video)

The Sift 225: Web Development
  • How ICANN’s Approval of New Domains Will Change the Web
  • Collusion: Revealing Who is Tracking You when Browsing Online
  • Pandora Trades Flash for HTML5 in Social Redesign
  • Arianna Huffington: How HuffPo Got to 100 Million Comments
  • With New Domain Names on Market, .ORG Guns for .NGO

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vacation, Day 2

Today started with homemade poptarts, courtesy of Lori.  Pie crust, strawberry jelly, powdered sugar+milk,  sprinkles.  Fresh from the oven.

Then, coffee with Ben while Rachel got ready.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bon appétit à moi-même (bon appetit to myself)

So, went to a new restaurant today. Thought it was awesome and want to go back.

This seems to happen nearly every time I go to a restaurant. Rarely is there one that I think "Wow, that was just awful." Usually, I'm impressed.

I thought about that this afternoon during the drive home and I came to a couple of conclusions... Often, I'm hesitant to do so because of I think I have low expectations -- I guess if I am worried that it's going to be a hepatitis factory run by a hairy, sweaty, hairnet-disdaining guy and his pet rats, when it turns out not to be, well, color me surprised. So I rarely try a new experience and it's a vicious circle.

And then there's the paralysis of choice. Take me some place new and I'm overwhelmed by the choices. What if I choose incorrectly? What if I like it, but I never get back there again? What if it's a good place but I discount it because I make a bad choice? Pretty much everyone who's ever met me has at one point or another, accused me of over-analyzing something. Ah, the irony of a blog post analyzing analysis.

So I decide to go the same place over and over again. And get pretty much the same thing. It's easy... I know I'll like it, and I know I'll be able to find the calorie counts to enter into Lose-It. Well, plus in Federal Way, there really is no small independent restaurants, unless you like Asian faire that's a little further away from mainstream.

I had a goal once of trying a new restaurant every month. I've failed that miserably lately, until today. And that wasn't my doing, but Lori's. So if I am going to be adventurous, try something new (both venue and menu), if I am going to broaden my horizons, I must be strategic about it... make sure that when Lori and are looking over the next month's calendar, that we're specifically identifying a new restaurant and picking a date to go and visit. (And if it helps any, also checking out the menu ahead of time and picking out three choices that sound good so that on the day of the visit, things are much simpler for me.)

Actually, come to think of it, we went to another new restaurant yesterday at some friends' invitation.  The food was good, it was buffet, so I could pick and choose and not worry about ordering the wrong thing.  But we failed to miss the sign on the front door listing the price for Sunday and, well, will never go back there again.  Not because the food wasn't good, but because I'll never be hungry enough to pay those kinds of prices.

Vacation, Day 1

We started the day with a tasty breakfast: a breakfast-sandwich with egg, sausage, cheese and pancakes.  Tasty.  Although not sure if that was overkill, considering lunch.  :)

The next was actually to be the Museum of Flight, but we got a late start and then the GPS led us to the closed South Park Bridge

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Reader's Tour of the Book of Romans

Message #6 from "NT70 - 70 Days through the New Testament" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.;; Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011 (My notes from the 9 and 10:45 am services - I pray my notes will be useful to you.)


First book he ever memorized, as part of an 8-week bus trip back and forth between Europe and the Middle East after his first year of Bible college. this is a thinking book - Paul lays it out and then goes from here to here to here.

Becoming RIGHTEOUS and living RIGHTEOUSLY in light of a RIGHTEOUS God.

Good news isn't getting to go to heaven someday, it's about being able to be right in front of God now.


Intro: Paul's Greetings and Gospel - 1:1-17

He was paving the way for his future visit, but also lays out incredible explanations of Christianity.  The good news of Christ took about 24 years to make it from Jerusalem to Rome. Paul gives them some more insight into their newfound faith.

Conclusion: Plans and Greetings - 15:14-16:27

Even though he hasn't yet gotten to Rome, he knows many people there and he knows he will go there. He names at least 27 people in Rome who are part of the new church. He knows them well.

Righteousness Lost and Gained - 1:18-5:21

How all people have become unrighteous and deserves God's wrath.

God's wrath on the unrighteous - 1:17-3:20

... on the DOWN AND OUTERS (the pagan among pagans, the worst of the worst) - the person who ignores the reality of God. Worshippers of idols, worshippers of the earth, turns to perversions (sexual and other).  Happens in every society. The people who would hear this and say "Yeah, let them have it!" These are the kinds of people no one would dispute deserve God's wrath (by our judgement) - the Hitlers and Bin Ladens - no one's saying "that's not fair" - but Paul is just sneaking up on them - 1:18-22

... on the UPPITY AND OUTERS - the religious frauds (they just know how to cover it up better, but they too are idolaters and sexually immoral). They're nom better, they're just better at covering it up - 2:1-16

.... on the IN, BUT OUTERS - the Jews - the special chosen people who live according to laws instead of God's love - people who teach something they themselves aren't doing - Paul is saying being a Jew never saved anyone, that it's not a birthright but a heart-thing - 2:17-3:8

... on the ALL AND OUTERS - um... Yeah... We're all sinners. We deserve an eternity away from God based on our hearts and minds. - 3:9-20

There are people in this room who are looking at the sins in their own lives and thinking they don't deserve to be in this room learning about God's love.  And they are looking around at all the other people in the room who look so put together and spotless. And not noticing those people looking around just as much. The ground is equal as far as sin and the cross is concerned.

There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3).  And there is no one here today thinking "I've got it all together.". We, who are so wrong with God, how can we be right?

Since we can't be good enough to earn it, God needs to be good enough to give it.


* How God gives righteousness - 3:21-31 - he paid for it, you get the benefits. Such a deal.

* Abraham's faith illustrates it - 4:1-25 - how can you say everyone was equal? We were given the law by Moses and we were told we were special, chosen.  Look at Abraham - he wasn't declared right by being good, but by his faith.

* The results of righteousness - you have access to God, you have hope and joy in God, you are no longer at war with God - 5:1-11

* The history of righteousness - 5:12-21 - Paul wants to make sure you understand how you got here. You are a descendent of Adam, who chose to sin.  He passed that down the line. So you were born into sin and also choose sin.  But Jesus changes all that. Adam got you into this mess, Jesus gets you out.


* Becoming free from personal sin - 6:1-23 - believe what Jesus did and consider it true. Make the decision to say no to sin.

* Being realistic in the struggle with sin - 7:1-25 - everybody knows we all struggle with sin. How is it that a person who's been declared "free from sin" still struggles with sin? Who will set us free? God will. (Future-tense.  It will happen.  Repeatedly.)

* Being empowered in Spirit-ual living - 8:1-39 - God works for the good of those who love Him.  If God is for us, who can be against us? Many other passages that speak to God's love for us. Another syrupy Christian song about God's love. Yes, pour on that syrupy goodness.


Even if you didn't have the special benefit of birth, of being a Jew, you still get the benefit of God.

But... What if you're a Jew? What about God's promises? About the land, about being God's chosen people?

Whatever God chooses to do is right. Salvation has always been by faith, it has never been by birthright. Moses said this, Abraham said this, King David said this, the prophets said it.

So... Is there any advantage to being born into the people of Israel?

God chose Israel as His chosen people. He wanted them to bring the message of salvation to the world.

But wait... Did God give up on us?

No, but insomuch as you've rejected Jesus, you put yourselves up against God.  God still has great plans and will fulfill His promises. Establishment of the country of Israel in 1948 was a miracle - that was an event like no other, for a country to come into existence after not existing for nearly 1900 years.  God still has a plan.

The Seahawks have a lot of faith in a ground game, but it's not been working.  God switches it up and throws the long bomb to Jesus who runs it into the end zone. They still favor the ground game, but they need to recognize God called a new play. (In this case, there was a Plan B - it was very disruptive and painful.)


* 12 Special Relationships - 70 commands for living. (Only 6 in Romans previously.)

* 13 With respect to authorities - respect them.

* 14 Other Christians - lighten up. (And stay tuned, we'll revisit this in a month.)


So what?

1. Receive God's gift of righteousness.

Believe - believe that God wants to give righteousness to you.  If you're already a Christian, double-back and believe more.

Receive - it's a gift.  It's not something you work hard to accomplish.  It's not something you became by trying harder.

2. Lean on the Holy Spirit to change you.

You keep trying to do it yourself with no luck. But give over your life (your mind, body, plans, desires) daily to the Holy Spirit and ask him to work in you.

3. Live in God's hope.

You are loved, your are cared for. He wishes for your best. We can never follow enough rules, never be good enough. We cannot earn salvation. But with God's help, we can be a light in the world, helping others to come to know God.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Sift 216-220

The Sift 216: Social Media, Social Good and Charity
  • Things I've Learned from !deation
  • The Google+ Cheat Sheet
  • Facebook for Every Phone App Launches for 2,500 Mobile Devices
  • Kraft Jell-O Pudding Seeks To Eradicate Twitter Frowns
  • Saudi Women Petition Subaru To Leave Country Over Driving Ban

The Sift 217: Airplanes
  • Airbus Unveils Incredible Design for a Transparent Plane
  • Solar Impulse Sun-Powered Plane Successfully Completes First International Flight
  • You’re Now Owed Serious Money if You Get Bumped by an Airline
  • EADS Rethinks the Way Planes Fly With New All-Electric Aircraft Design
  • FRY POWER: Thomson Airways Launches the UK’s First Airplane Powered By Cooking Oil

The Sift 218: Cars
  • Gordon Murray reveals new Batmobile, Dark Knight gets serious about reducing carbon footprint
  • Hybrid X High School Team Wins Green Grand Prix MPG Road Rally
  • World’s First Student Built Hydrogen Racing Car Unveiled
  • Tesla Model S is almost production-ready, does photo shoot to prove it
  • MAININKI Concept Car Features Transforming Chassis for Changing Road Conditions

The Sift 219: Google
  • Google Removes Flawed Traffic Travel Times from Maps
  • Google Tests an Interface Optimized for Infinite Scrolling
  • Is Microsoft Creating a New Social Search Engine?
  • Shareable Google News badges for your favorite topics
  • Google working on video chat for Chrome, Skype cowers in fear

The Sift 220: Entertainment and Technology
  • The Future of Hulu and U.S. TV
  • 5 Current Trends Shaping the Television Industry
  • The 101 Reasons We Love 'Parks and Recreation'
  • All My Children a killer app?
  • Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world (Video)

Friday, August 12, 2011


I'm officially on vacation.

Someone said "Boy, you sure seem to be on vacation alot."

I guess I get quite a bit of vacation.  I think in past years I may have even lost some due to the cap.  I was usually just in the habit of taking a day or two here, a day or two there.  I had attempted to use vacation strategically placed near holidays to try to avoid working more 5-day weeks than I had to.

This year I've had more full-week vacations.  One last month while I helped out at day camp and now another one now.  That still leaves me two weeks left.  I'll take my usual week in early December and I'll take a few days here and there or carry some over.  They've delayed reviews a quarter, which means they'll delay annual increases a quarter.  (See how they did that?  We were all cheering not having to have SMART Goals and Annual Reviews done during Busy Season, but I knew there was a catch.  I wonder if that will also delay the yearly award of vacation days or not.)

I haven't quite figured out what to make of vacation.  For me, I am running non-stop during the regular year, so to me vacation means slowing down.  I didn't take too many while I was single because I had no reason to - life was simpler than.  I mostly worked from home, and even after we had an office, I'd still sit on my patio many nights and work from there.  (My neighbors thought I must be a writer.)

But Lori, being at home with the kids is the job, so there's no such thing as slowing down or taking it easy.  So, for Lori, vacation means getting out and doing stuff.  Somewhere that isn't home.  That typically means, though, pushing hard - being on the go, eating out, lots of walking and probably lots of driving as well, unless we go somewhere where we're within walking distance of the attractions, like Victoria.

So this week, Lori's got it all planned out.  I believe there's even a fair weather schedule and a rainy day schedule for backup.  It should mean lots of exercise, trying out some new restaurants, lots of photos and some good recommendations to come back on here and post about.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review -- The Overton Window

The Overton Window
Glenn Beck

I had to go and look up who Glenn Beck was. I figured he was a conservative media personality because I've heard the term "blowhard" which is what my liberal friends call conservative media personalities and I knew he was on TV or radio or something. (I've never heard my conservative friends speak negatively of a liberal media personality, other than to identify a bias.)

Anyhow, if you know me, I hate politics. Can't stand it. Not a topic I care to know or learn about.

But I had heard that this book was good. I'm not sure who from. It's got 4 stars on Amazon with 560 reviews.

I wouldn't be one giving it that good a rating.

At first, I was intrigued. Beck's writing style is a pleasure to read. The words danced around in my head. But the more I read, the more disappointed I became. As good as the descriptions were, the characters were boring and the story simultaneously confusing and predictable. And worst of all, just when it seemed like it was getting to the heart of it, it kind of fizzled it out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Would Run 500 Miles

So I completed my last challenge, so now on to a bigger challenge.  If I can run 100 miles, why not run 500 miles?   What I realized tonight, though, is that I've only got a few months before the dark season - shorter days and rain.  

But yeah... 500 miles.   That's my new goal.  To do that in 300 days, that will require me to average 1-2/3 miles per day.  For my last challenge, I limited myself to full miles, even if I had extra necessary to get me back to where I started.  That is, even if I ran 3.2 miles, I'd only count 3.  Sometimes I'd stop and walk the last .2, but sometimes I'd run.  This time I'll count all the running that I do.

I will continue to limit pauses to the unavoidable.  No resting just because I'm tired.  Still need to buy new shoes.

I'm tracking this all using the RunKeeper App on my iPhone.   It's a great tool that uses GPS to track and map your runs.  And because it's keeping all that data, I can know things, like, for instance, that I've tracked 185 activities totalling 303 miles and as a result, have burned 39,497 calories in tracked activities.

Other interesting stats tell me that I've not completed any exercise on the 6th. of any month since I started keeping track, or that I've exercised the most on Saturdays and least on Friday.  And that the noon hour and 8 pm hour are my high marks.  Noon split between walking and running and 8 pm all running.

Eventually I'll get RunKeeper Elite - that adds more reporting and allows my wife to track me in realtime as I run.  Hopefully not something she'd really need, but it can help if she wants to figure out how long before I get home or something.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Sift 211-215

The Sift 211: Cars
  • Popa Lucian’s Deuce Is an Electric Concept Car for Surfers
  • Porsche ACC InnoDrive handles all the pedals, takes the lead out of your foot
  • Terrafugia Transition aircraft gets DOT roadworthiness sign-off, can now drive you to the airport
  • Toyota's new pre-crash technology directs steering
  • Marco Sweston’s Touch Effect Concept Is Made of Synthetic Muscle and Bone

The Sift 212: Google
  • Global SPAM filtering
  • Introducing the Google+ project: Real-life sharing, rethought for the web
  • Make multiple calls in Gmail
  • J.K. Rowling, Google to bring Pottermania to your e-reader
  • Using data to protect people from malware

The Sift 213: Art, Architecture, Design, Fashion and Style
  • Brilliant Floating Hotel Allows Guests to Explore the Adriatic Sea in Luxury
  • Reverse-Engineered Art via OCD-Style Deconstructions
  • Amazing Toaster Mural Created Out of 2,500 Pieces of Toast!
  • imitates ladies of all shapes and sizes, tries clothes on for you
  • Report Finds That Foster + Partners’ Harmon Hotel in Las Vegas Could Collapse in an Earthquake

The Sift 214: Employment and Work
  • LinkedIn To Launch Job Application Button
  • Want to Boost Your Team’s Intelligence? Recruit More Women (and More Diversely)
  • Choose an Irrelevant Skill When Asked "What Are Your Weaknesses?" in a Job Interview
  • LinkedIn Launches Button That Lets You Apply for Jobs
  • Nigel Marsh: How to Make Work-Life Balance Work (Video)

The Sift 215: Food, Health, Exercise and Medicine
  • Lose It! for Android
  • Informative Baby Blanket Educates Mothers and Helps Improve Infant Mortality Rates
  • Walking May Increase Brain Size and Boost Memory
  • Smartphone Attachment Diagnoses Cataracts
  • Monroe or Einstein: Check If You Need Glasses at Your Computer

Monday, August 08, 2011

I ♥ Seattle

I had a conference today in Seattle.  I've been excited for several days now at the chance to get back up to the city.  I don't make it up there nearly enough.  We were just up there recently at Gas Works Park - here's some photos.  It was kinda cool.  I had planned a different route into town and right after we got on the freeway, we passed my mom and dad who had left an hour earlier.  So they followed us and got the scenic route.  Of course, they lived there for a number of years, so they already knew where we were going... Viaduct, Southlake, Westlake.  It will be a shame when they tear that down, it's such a treat from the car crowd to see the city and the water from such a great vantage point.

But anyhow, it was my first chance in a really long time to go up on my own.  The last time I went up nearly on my own was one night when Ben wouldn't stop crying.  I put him in the car, turned on the GPS and drove all over West Seattle.  Of course, it was in the dark, so I couldn't appreciate as much, but he slept and I got some nice views.

But today, headed up with the commute traffic.  It wasn't bad.  Possibly even better than Saturday afternoon traffic.  Up the 5 to the 520 to the Montlake Cut, across the bridge, past the link station contruction, University Village Starbucks and then pop over to the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture.  Conference had nothing to do with Horticulture, but it's a place they hold conferences, I guess.

Afterwards, I headed across campus, across the University Bridge, under the 5, Eastlake, Southlake, past the Amazon construction, over to Seattle Center, duck into the Battery Street Tunnel and then soar out onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct.  And then stop.  5-10 miles an hour above Alaskan Way looking at the sights, the ferries, the water.  Down to Marginal, the 1st. Ave. Bridge, then the 99 to the 599 to the 5.  And then straight home at 60 miles an hour.  I definitely love driving in King County rush hour versus L.A. County rush hour.  (Not sure they can call that rush hour.  At least not ironically.)

I love the city.  Beautiful buildings of glass, lots of people running, walking, jogging, lots of cars, lots of motion.  Motion.  Interest.  Beauty.  Water.  Trees.  Activity.

I hope we can move there someday when public schooling is no longer a factor.  (My parents wistfully mentioned last week that they'd consider moving back if they could find a pocket of conservatives.)

One more day tomorrow and then back to the gray concrete one-story sprawl of Federal Way.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

No Plan B (Acts 1:1-14)

Click over to the YouVersion version.

No Plan B (Acts 1:1-14)

Pastor Tim Vincent, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash., (Sunday, July 31, 2011 - my notes from the 9 and 10:45 am service.  I pray that they will be useful to you.)

--- How do you measure the value of something? ---

Antique Roadshow - a blanket that's been draped over a chair in someone's house for a long time, only to discover it's a national treasure: a Navajo blanket in wonderful condition that could fetch $500,000.

1999 Ford Taurus with 100,000.  Before he owned it, he thought it was the ugliest designed car ever.  It squeaks, it creaks, it's missing a hubcap.  How valuable is it?  A dealer might give $700, KBB says $1,600.  But to Pastor Tim, it's really valuable.  If you had to go without your car (or any replacement) for two months, how valuable is it?  Our values come out in how we spend our time, talents and treasure.

Values - teenagers are used to being told things are wrong. They're in this process of establishing their values and convictions. Typically by age 25, someone has established the convictions that will guide most of their lives.

As  we get older, we stop listening, we stop changing.  We have a hard time facing the fact that we might have been wrong, especially if it's something we've held as a belief or custom or behavior for most of our lives.  Or we rationalize it away.

Acts - the story of change. Exciting to teenagers, not so much to adults.

--- What is Jesus worth to you? ---

- A couple of Sundays a year, up to an hour.
- Most Sundays, as long as I don't have other plans.
- Every Sunday, every morning, church and an adult Sunday school class.
- I'd even teach a children's Sunday school class.
- And tithe!
- or what about your entire life? Every single element, every single second?

Jesus says "Come and die."  It's tough, but it's what He asks.

He IS our life.  When we understand what He did for us, it is easy to stop living our lives and start living His.  And if (when) we don't, it's because we may not necessarily fully appreciate all He's done for us.

People who love and value his love actively and passionately obey his commission to go.

--- Acts ---

"...He gave many convincing proofs that He was alive..."

This is important.  They saw him *dead*.  it must have been mind-blowing for them.  None of us has had that happen to us.

"Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

Oh... you poor, silly, silly disciples.  Still no clue.  Pastor Tim hopes that helps us, says it helps him - they've been through all this first-hand and still, they're confused.  So we still get confused in our walk.  Thank God God's patient with us.

"...and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

A oft-used and -misused passage for missions.  Often used to suggest classes of missionaries.  A guilting message. That those who don't go to the "ends of the earth" (not here) are lesser Christians.  But no... we are to go. Just go.  You will be my witnesses.  Not my salesperson, not my defense attorney.  You don't need training to be a witness - a witness simply tells what they saw.

It might be the next room, the parking lot, next door, across town, etc.  We are called as His followers to go where people need Jesus.

Adverbial participle... "As you are going ______, make disciples."  (to the store, to school, to work, to the gas station, the Papua New Guinea).  Not when you get there, but as you are going.  And it wasn't presented as an option.  The action here is "make disciples" - as you are going. (Because you are going somewhere.)

But it's not easy.  Most will say "I'm not cut out for that."  Thank God for the Holy Spirit.

"...when they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying..."

They took Jesus' messages back to their friends and prayerfully waited for the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said "go" and they went. And it cost them their lives.  These men went. We owe them our lives. They heard Him and they obeyed.  If you are a Christ-follower, you have the same mission.

- Andrew - crucified
- Bathlomew - crucified
- James, son of Alphaeus - stoned
- James, son of Zebedee - beheaded
- John - natural causes, in excile
- Simon Peter - crucified, head down
- Philip - crucified, head down
- Simon the zealot - unknown
- Thomas - speared to death in India
- Mattias - stoned
- Paul - beheaded
- James, the brother of Jesus - martyred (can you imagine growing up and coming to the acceptance that your sibling is God??!?!?)

It happened and it happens today. While I sit here in this brand new building taking notes on this IPad, people today are putting their very life on the line to tell others about Christ.

People who love Christ recognize they were given the assignment - there was no plan B.

Josephus has no reason to document this:
- that Jesus was a real man
- he walked this earth
- he had followers
- they would not renounce Jesus even if it meant their deaths
- his own brother (James) did not become a follower of Jesus until after Jesus died. And James was killed for that belief.

Josephus had no reason to document this except that  he was an historian.  He was a Jew, not a Christ-follower.

--- God, Help Us To Be Like Stephen ---

Stephen - he understood that the church was God's only plan to fulfill His mission on earth.  He had no Plan B.  Stephen's mission field was his own town.  Stephen was chosen for his dedication.  Our problem is that we can get comfortable in our home.  Our comfort makes us lazy and apathetic and we stop caring about the mission.

Now... wherever you are is home.  Home is where Jesus is. What's Jerusalem to one person is Samaria to someone else and "the utter ends of the earth" to yet someone else. Sometimes it may feel harder to go across the street than it is to go to Papau New Guinea.  But these (non-Christians) are a people with a different culture, belief systems, values who need to learn about Jesus Christ and His love for them. (If we truly are called "here," are we *serving* here?)

Stephen spoke up.  He was meeting the needs of those in the mission field.  He served and God blessed.

We "go" when we serve.  We need to meet the needs of people, because the world isn't meeting those needs on its own.

" stiff-necked people..."
" already resist the Holy Spirit!"
"...was there ever a prophet you did not persecute?..."
" have received the law [...] but not obeyed it..."

And when they told Stephen to be quiet, he didn't.  We're told that the Gospel will offend people.  You know what?  IT WILL OFFEND them.  We should not intentionally offend - "turn or burn" is mean and not helpful.  You can be nice and still speak truth. And so we become fearful and say nothing.

"Religion is a private thing.". Fine... Whatever... This isn't religion, this is salvation, this is redemption, this is truth. Don't best people up, just be true. Let God do the work.

But the message itself WILL offend, because it will ask the listener to reject the belief system and values that they've held true their whole lives.

To call Christianity bigoted, mean, intolerant - that's a lie from the pit of hell.  The truth is the truth.

We are the voice of Christ.  As cool as it would be to see the rocks cry out, it's us that will tell others.  God doesn't have a bunch of neon signs He's ready to flick on

And if we say "I don't speak so good." we're in a really big club.  It's not about training or qualification or refining their message first - it's about going and doing.  But if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, it will shine through - in words, in service.  You will not  be able to keep quiet.

This is not my life to live.

--- Stephen Welcomed Death Because He had Already Died ---

"...I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God..."
" this, they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voice, they all rushed him..."
"...the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul..."

This must have played over in Saul's mind - why was this man so willing to die? Why didn't he just shut up? He couldn't.

At the end of his life, Stephen got his reward, he saw Jesus welcoming him into heaven.  Well done, good and faithful servant, come in to your rest.

Problem is, most of us aren't going to need to rest because we've been down here resting.  If we don't die, God has No Plan B.  Instead, we will be stuck in religion for the rest of our lives.

When the youth group went to Canada on a recent missions trip, they met a Fijian named Asa.  When he had departed from Fiji, he was presented with a mat.  The equivalent for us would be to be presented with a coffin.  They knew he would probably die in the foreign land, but they were already recognizing that he was giving up the life he had given.  This was a blessing for him.

Are we too complacent here?  Are we able to "go" here locally?  If not, maybe we need to "go" somewhere else.  If we've gotten too complacent.

"Jesus did not come to give you a better life. Sorry, if that's what you're looking for, you can go down the street a few blocks.". He came to become your life. You are His Plan A, His only plan.

It’s too late It’s my fate
I can’t turn around 
There’s no fear, in the mirror
To hold me down
I’m too far, from the start
Now I’m in too deep 

-- No Plan B, Manafest

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Big Finish

Remember that 100 miles in 100 days goal?  If you follow my blog, you should - I made that goal on June 11 - 56 days ago.  Somewhere along the way I realized that was too easy a goal and upped it to 1.5 miles a day, or finishing in 67 days.  I was looking at the chart tonight before my run and realized that I had six miles to go.

I kept thinking about it as I ran and I realized that looking forward to completing it tomorrow wasn't good enough.  I was going to push through and try to do it tonight.  I had done 5.8 one other time and regretted not being able to do 6 (and therefore only getting to count 5) so tonight, yeah, I was gonna try.  I hoped that I wouldn't need to use the bathroom but planned for a route that kept me close to businesses just in case.

I had to pause several times tonight due to crosswalks, as well as stops at two stores.   First Walgreens and then backtracked to QFC after Walgreens didn't have anything I wanted -- I desperately needed a drink but wanted something tasty without caffeine.

And in the end, I cranked hard, even got the radar speed sign to read 8 miles an hour late in my fourth mile.  That was pretty awesome.   I've been thinking lately that I need to get a t-shirt which reads "DEAF RUNNER" on it.  I get way too many cat calls and cheers from people passing by in cars.   It's been like 8-9 months since anyone's honked at me in a way that felt mean, but it's amazing how many people will hoot and whistle and cheer and lean out the window and wave with smiles on their faces.  Since I have my headphones on and can't hear them anyhow, maybe such a t-shirt would encourage them to tone it down.  (Or honk to see if it's true... hmm....)

Anyhow, what now?  Well, time to get some new shoes.  I bought these shoes after I caught my last pair on the underside of an airplane seat in 2009, so they're pretty old.  They've done well, but I ought to get a pair designed for running.   Also, a few days to recover (I'll be sore tomorrow and a conference in Seattle on Monday and Tuesday) and then a new goal.  I'm thinking maybe 500 miles in 300 days or something.

Friday, August 05, 2011

The Sift 206-210

The Sift 206: Sales/Commerce, Shopping and Customer Service
  • How Should You Treat Your Best Customers?
  • A cheap sample is better than a free sample
  • Mum's The Word
  • Do Not Call
  • Wheelmate Laptop Steering Wheel Desk reviews

The Sift 207: Transit, Traffic, Travel and Development
  • Drawing Conclusions: Documenting Every Building in New York
  • Where You Should Live if You Want to Avoid a Natural Disaster
  • EADS Seaweed-Powered Zero Emission ZEHST Plane Could Travel from London to New York in an Hour
  • Oyster Shows You Unstaged Hotel Photos Before Booking, Helps You Find the Perfect Hotel for Your Needs
  • 3-Way Street: Highlighting Dangerous Traffic Situations at an Intersection (Video)

The Sift 208: Security and Cybercrime
  • 5 Things You Need to Know About the Security of Google Apps
  • When Engineers Lie
  • These Are the Most Common Lockscreen PINs
  • Trulia Crime Maps Puts Crime Statistics on a Heat Map, Highlights Crime Trends in Your Neighborhood
  • US funds shadow networks, builds 'internet in a suitcase' for repressed protesters

The Sift 209: Email
  • People Widget and Other New Gmail Features
  • Spam Decreased 82.22% Over The Past Year
  • Gmail Now Lets You Choose Your Favorite Inbox Style
  • Hotmail Adds a "My Friend’s Been Hacked" Button
  • If you send mass email with no way to reply, you’re being a jerk to your best customers

The Sift 210: Odds and Ends
  • 'The veterans' cemetery that America forgot' - sad
  • Major US ISPs Agree to "Six Strikes" Copyright Enforcement Plan
  • Tennessee law bans 'distressing images,' opens your Facebook inbox
  • Marty, we need a nuclear reaction
  • Kartick Satyanarayan: How We Rescued the "Dancing" Bears (Video)