The Naked Green

2004.12.29 Wednesday

Deathly Afraid

Filed under: Personal — Mr. Green @ 12.02 pm

I have been fighting a bug of some sort and yesterday afternoon I was feeling horrible. I went home and crashed, but was in pain all over and having dreams about web design, Christmas lights and our apartment. I finally got up, took some pills and sat with Jamie.

For some reason, when I went back to bed all drugged up, I couldn’t sleep. I just laid there reflecting on my past. It’s hard to imagine that it was really me in all those memories. I was thinking of all the people that I know that died (not too many, thankfully). Death always hits me in a strange way. It seems surreal and I can’t seem to get a grasp on it. It’s sad, but I can’t quite mourn right, it seems.

I’m scared of dying. I’m most scared of the idea of spending eternity without God. I’m scared of the idea of having no eternity, though I don’t believe it. I’m even scared of the idea of spending eternity with Jesus Christ, my God. I’m scared of the unknown and it’s really a lack of trust. I can’t imagine something different (even if similar) to this world that I know. I don’t like the suffering that I experience and that which goes on around me, but it’s what I know. I remember a time when I wasn’t afraid of dying, but I was probably too numbed by other things or hadn’t really thought about it.

Jesus, I feel like I shouldn’t be afraid of being with you. I believe in you and that you are a good God. Please help me in my unbelief! May it not be that I disappear with nothing to show. May I be the part of your body I was designed to be that your will may be done.

2004.12.28 Tuesday

Komarnitsky Scam

Filed under: News — Mr. Green @ 12.22 pm

Thanks to Jamie, my wife, for pointing me to the story of Alek Komarnitsky’s scam on CNN.com:

DENVER, Colorado (AP) — A man who boasted to reporters around the world that his Web site allowed strangers to turn his outdoor Christmas lights off and on admitted Monday it was an elaborate hoax designed, he said, to spread holiday cheer.

Alek Komarnitsky, a computer specialist, said he started the site two years ago to see if he could use computer tricks to make it look as if the thousands of lights adorning his house in Lafayette were blinking on command.

This year, he went even further: At one point, with a TV station helicopter hovering overhead, his wife was inside, turning the lights off and on herself.

The Web site was featured in numerous holiday stories, including one by The Associated Press, and Komarnitsky said he decided to announce his scam to The Wall Street Journal because it had gotten “a little out of hand.”

On his site, Komarnitsky explained how he used a series of still photographs of his house from three angles — with the lights either on or off, and with varying amounts of snow on the ground.

To make it seem even more real, he would sometimes add an image of a person or a car driving by in the Web cam “shot” looking at the lights. He would even add computer-generated low-flying planes because an airport was near his home.

When one television reporter came to view how the display worked, Komarnitsky said he responded that the Web cam was broken and he was waiting for a part to be delivered.

The AP picked up the story from a local newspaper and checked out the Web site but never visited the house.

Komarnitsky said some of his neighbors, who were quoted in news stories, were in on the scam. One allowed him to put a camera in a tree across the street.

“He put an extension cord that didn’t go anywhere,” said Marjie Hargrave, whose tree supported the camera.

Komarnitsky made money from advertisements posted on the site. He said it amounted to only “pennies” for each hit on the ads. He said he couldn’t disclose the amount because of a deal with Google.

Paul McLellan, general manager of Minneapolis-based ServiceLighting.com, which had an ad on the site, said Komarnitsky’s actions were unethical.

“Finding out he’s making a buck off of something that costs us a buck, it’s not very cool,” McLellan said.

A spokesman for Google declined comment until officials could look into the matter further.
–more–

Alek has updated his website to reflect that it is indeed Alek’s Christmas Lights Webcam HOAX. He tipped off The Wall Street Journal which then published High-Tech Holiday Light Display Draws Everyone But the Skeptics yesterday afternoon. Alek also includes his own version of “the truth” on his website.

Well I feel foolish and duped for doing my original report on the Komarnitsky’s house. I’ll admit, though, it was a good scam. Alek and company pulled it off well enough to fool the reporters. It seems like an innocent prank, but it will be interesting to see where this elaborate joke goes and whether it will cause more harm than “Christmas cheer”. People don’t like to be made fools of. I personally had a good laugh and am glad I now know the truth…or do I?

Lose the Loose

Filed under: Obsessions — Mr. Green @ 11.58 am

I’m not going to complain about it, but has anyone noticed the apparently rampant use of the word loose in place of lose? I been noticing it for months on blogs, forums and websites many of which seem to lack the usual plague of spelling and grammatical errors. Have people forgotten that there are two words that have a similar spelling, or is some sort of fad like l33t and nub? I’m just wondering what’s going on and if anyone else has noticed.

Just in case you were wondering:

Main Entry: loose
Pronunciation: ‘lüs
Function: adjective
Inflected Forms: loos·er; loos·est
1 a : not rigidly fastened or securely attached b (1) : having worked partly free from attachments <a loose tooth> (2) : having relative freedom of movement c : produced freely and accompanied by raising of mucus <a loose cough>
2 : not dense, close, or compact in structure or arrangement <loose connective tissue>
3 : lacking in restraint or power of restraint <loose bowels>
4 : not tightly drawn or stretched —loose·ly adverbloose·ness noun

–more–

Main Entry: lose
Pronunciation: ‘lüz
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form: lost /’lost/; los·ing
1 : to suffer deprivation of : part with especially in an unforeseen or accidental manner <lose a leg in an auto crash>
2 a : to suffer deprivation through the death or removal of or final separation from (a person) <lost a son in the war> b : to fail to keep (a patient) from dying <have lost many fewer pneumonia cases since penicillin came into use>

–more–

Definitions quoted from Dictionary.com: Source: Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

2004.12.27 Monday

Yushchenko wins!

Filed under: News — Mr. Green @ 11.38 am

Well it looks like Viktor Yushchenko has won the election for president of Ukraine (third time is a charm). It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the days and weeks to come. I’m not an expert in this area, so I’ll refer you to the blogs I’ve been following:

From the Kyiv Post’s Yushchenko claims victory in Ukraine’s presidential election:

“Now, today, the Ukrainian people have won. I congratulate you,” he [Yushchenko] told a jubilant crowd in Kyiv’s Independence Square, the center of massive protests following the Nov. 21 presidential runoff that was annulled after fraud allegations.

“We have been independent for 14 years but we were not free,” Yushchenko said. “Now we can say this is a thing of the past. Now we are facing an independent and free Ukraine.”

Both campaigns complained of violations during the Dec. 26 voting, and Yanukovych’s headquarters filed numerous complaints. Nestor Shufrych, a lawmaker and Yanukovych ally, told reporters the Yanukovych campaign would appeal.

But Mykola Melnyk, a member of the Central Election Commission, insisted: “This repeat vote was fair and honest, especially in comparison with the second round.”

Yushchenko was not taking chances. He called his supporters back out onto the square on Dec. 27 to defend the election victory, if necessary, and asked for their help in what he called the main task facing the nation: forming a trustworthy government.

Even before the exit poll results were announced, a glum-looking Yanukovych told reporters that “if there is a defeat, there will be a strong opposition.” But he did not concede and hinted he would challenge the results in the courts.

It looks like there may be a long road ahead. Let’s pray for Ukraine as they stand for their right to choose democratically which direction their nation will go.

2004.12.23 Thursday

The Love Box

Filed under: General — Mr. Green @ 4.20 pm

Why is that so many people seem intent on putting God in our Love Box: God is Love, therefore He behaves in a certain predictable manner based on my definition of love. Now don’t think I’m going esoteric and relativistic on you, because that is what many are doing who are using this model. The Love Box seems to constantly be used to justify some sin: “God just wants me to be happy (because He loves me), so I can cheat on my wife”, “God is Love so He wouldn’t judge me for [enter sin here].” What makes us think that a loving God cannot have moral absolutes? Like the highway engineer who tells his three year old, “I love you, so I’m going to let you follow your curious nature and walk out onto the highway because hey, you were made that way.” No, God designed us and the world we live in with certain rules (albeit, rules twisted by sin) and in love he says, “No, that’s not the way it works and I’m going to discipline you to bring you into line with my will for you.”

My wife made a brilliant point last night. I had said that “I don’t know how to love her” and she was hurt by that and confronted me. She said, “What makes you think you have to understand love to give it?”. She told me that I do indeed love her and she can feel it. [I love her for her insight and passionate love.] I thought I had a good understanding of love before I was married, but I have learned that that is so much more. Now it’s not as easy to “do” love or to quantify and specify it, but that doesn’t negate the fact that love exists. I don’t understand love completely and I’ll go out on a limb by revealing my opinion that most do not. What makes us think then, that we can put God in a box we can’t even define? God IS Love…the definition of it. We don’t get to tell Him how he should behave.

I started thinking about this, in conjunction with Jamie’s thoughts after running across Ben’s blog, ScatteredWords.com He is “Turning away from homosexuality and toward God.” He has received plenty of flak which he discusses. Many of the arguments used rely on The Love Box, in my opinion.

Keep up the good fight, Ben!

2004.12.22 Wednesday

Jesus and Christmas

Filed under: Following Christ — Mr. Green @ 2.52 pm

I have long been of the opinion that Christmas originated as a pagan holiday [or maybe not] and have wondered whether I should celebrate it due to its origins and the fact that Christ was almost definitely not born on the 25th of December. I have decided to celebrate it because it has obviously changed in meaning over the years (in fact, today it’s largely secular again) and it’s a great time for family and showing love. I think it depends more on “how” we celebrate a holiday than “when”.

Adam Ellis wrote an article (Mars Hill Christianity) that really made a good point and touched my heart:

Christmas always makes me think of Paul on Mars Hill. You may find that odd, but it goes back to my Dad. Dad was (and is) a preacher for a fairly traditional Church of Christ. Many of these churches frown on celebrating the birth of Christ on Dec. 25 b/c it probably wasn’t the actual date (if you don’t understand this “logic”, just thank God and move on). Dad would always preach on the birth of Christ anyway, and when questioned about it would explain it by saying he was following the pattern of Paul on Mars Hill. Paul used a pagan idol and pagan poets and philosophers to teach the Greeks about the true God, or stated differently he used what they knew to tell them about what they didn’t know. Dad would always talk about how silly it would be at a time when almost everyone turned their attention to Jesus for us to talk about something else. I thought it was brilliant then and I still do today. –more–
[Emphasis mine]

That is brilliant and I will have to keep it in mind as all the “hustle” distracts me from my Lord. We should be focused on Jesus at all times, but why not be especially sensitive to and thankful for His incarnation upon this earth during this season that has been set aside just for that a long time ago. I plan to be a better witness of Christ’s love this season. Thanks for sharing, Adam!

Side Note: If you want to take Christ out of Christmas, an X is not the way to do it. The origins of the term “x-mas” is certainly Christian. In fact, even trying is kind of pointless as the word Christmas literally means Christ Mass (as I learned from Stephen Lawhead) and was instituted by the Roman Catholic Church. Taking the Christ out of “Christmas” is impossible semantically, just call it something else if that’s what you want the 25th of December to be.

Trust Firefox?

Filed under: Obsessions — Mr. Green @ 1.37 pm

I noticed this article on Firefox Security at MozillaZine:

A Microsoft Program Manager by the name of Peter Torr has posted a weblog entry about potential problems with security in Mozilla Firefox. Specifically, he singles out the fact that neither the Firefox installer nor most of the available extensions are digitally signed. By contrast, he notes, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 2 will not install unsigned ActiveX by default. While many will immediately cry, “FUD!”, he’s actually right. Though the infrastructure is there, the lack of code signing in the vast majority of Firefox extensions has led to an environment in which many users simply install extensions without really knowing if they can trust the people behind them.
–more–

Peter Torr’s article, How Can I Trust Firefox?, sparked plenty of comments on his blog and over at Slashdot. This uprising no doubt due to the way he chose to bring up the issue: with a very hostile manner toward the Mozilla Foundation and its enthusiasts and with lack of depth in testing Firefox. The comments covered much ground such as outright flame wars, comparisons between IE and Firefox (which the author does not fail to take part in in his article) and their levels of security, The ins and outs of code signing and certificates, and whether we should trust VeriSign at all.

My uneducated opinions:

I think that Peter has raised a valid point about the lack of signing in Mozilla Extensions and in the binaries themselves. I lack all but a very shallow understanding about security, so I can’t comment on the questions: Is it even necessary? Should they use VeriSign? Are there other better methods to achieve this? Will it be too difficult and time consuming to implement? All these questions were raised and possibly answered with the lack of depth usual in comments and I was unable to gain anything other than confusion from them. I do think, though that it’s a good idea to implement some sort of code signing for the binaries and extensions. The extensions already have this capability implemented, but is rarely used. It seems that the folks at MozillaZine agree that this is a positive step, yet many in the community, including Asa (a Mozilla employee) disagree.

Peter’s method, as I mentioned earlier, may not have been the best to convey this constructive criticism, but I wouldn’t even know about it otherwise. Can we blame Peter for a lack of journalistic and unbiased fervor on his blog? I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is sharing his personal opinion on a personal blog. Just because his opinion may be colored by who he works for is no crime and he makes no secret of it. Let’s discuss it, but give him a break.

I personally plan to use Firefox until I find something better. I love it for the reasons I mentioned in another post and I don’t really like IE. To answer my title question, yes I do trust Firefox and the Mozilla Foundation. I would like to see signed binaries and extensions added in a secure manner, though.

2004.12.21 Tuesday

Busy Mr. Grinch

Filed under: Personal — Mr. Green @ 10.15 am

Mr. Grinch (aka Mr. Green) has been playing Santa this year and he’s not sure he wants the job. It was fine to get excited about Christmas a bit and a bigger heart is a nice thing once you get used to the added noise, but carrying all those presents…and what they didn’t show you in the cartoon was all the shopping he did.

He had to drive all the way down to the town on the other side of the hill. There he dealt with the frustrated, biting, kicking, screaming inhabitants and had to jump in the fray with teeth bared. Of course, with all the presents Mr. Grinch bought, he ended up making the whole town angry with him. If all that wasn’t enough, he had to deal with the local WeOwnEverything-Mart where they had that special present Mr. Grinch had been eyeing for Cindy Lou Who. After checking all over town and getting some angry glares, he decided that the one at WeOwnEverything-Mart was for him, but they didn’t have it in stock. Nay, they didn’t even carry it any more, but left the sale sign up as a beacon for unsuspecting souls to be twisted into the agony and frustration. Yes, that same sort of feeling that made Mr. Grinch’s face as twisted as it is.

Fortunately, Mr. Grinch is a resilient and resourceful one. He was initially surprised at the amount of violence necessary to love a town of people, but once he caught on, he played the game well. He was probably even good at it due to his checkered past. He did not give up on his special little Cindy Lou Who, but pressed on with vigor, trying to maintain that cool demeanor that can ice over evil sales people and keep the poor overworked sleigh dog at an even pace. He drove all over that town and found what he sought at the Circus Center.

Mr. Grinch realized how much he loved Cindy Lou Who (aka Mrs. Green) as he drove all the way to Whoville and snuck in the front door to her house. He carefully laid her presents under the tree and knew that the work was well worth the love he showed with that specially wrapped gift.

2004.12.17 Friday

Holight Day Fun

Filed under: General — Mr. Green @ 9.35 am

Venomous Kate has struck again with this bit of news on lights:

No time to put up your own holiday lights this year? Never fear. You can borrow Alek Komarnitsky’s between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. (Mountain time). All you need is a computer and a browser, and then you’re in control of his lights. –more–

The Komarnitskys, called “the Griswolds of our neighborhood” are a family that loves lights. At least Alek does, and he has hooked up his 17,000 lights to a Linux box for the world to control (literally). ” This month alone, more than 1.3 million Internet browsers…have visited the site.” Yesterday, the site received 369,023 requests! - Gleaned from the Yahoo News story: Interactive Christmas Lights an online hit and Alek’s Christmas Lights Webcam page.

This is great and I will have to try it out. It reminds me of sitting in front of someone’s house with my parents and brothers a couple years ago. I’m not the type that likes Christmas lights much, but I can enjoy them when they are tastefully done. Unfortunately, most don’t have a sense of taste, or balance apparently. This house was different: There were tons of lights, but not all on at once. They all faded on and off, making a wonderful show. We ooed and ahhed as the lights around the roof faded from one color to another and gasped as a deer appeared on the front lawn. We must have spent an hour just watching and I don’t remember a repeat in the pattern. I think it must have been controlled by a computer, but not thousands of internet users (it would have been too chaotic). The Komarnitskys’ house is off the hook and I look forward to adding to the chaos!

The Komarnitskys’ site also has links to other wacky stuff with lights like the Texan DriveMeInsane.com where you can mess with a table full of lights, turning them on or off. There was also La Bastille, that turned Brown’s fourteen-story Sciences Library in a gigantic Tetris game or Project Blikenlights in Germany.

2004.12.16 Thursday

Cozy Spot

Filed under: General — Mr. Green @ 2.07 pm

It’s nice to have your own cozy spot on the WWWeb to sit and pontificate or curl up for a nice read. Too bad I can’t get in there.

I’m going to crawl under my desk now to try and sleep off all that Mag Chloride.

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