The Naked Green

2004.12.29 Wednesday

Deathly Afraid

Colored in: — 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

Colored in: — 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

Colored in: — 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!

Colored in: — 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

Colored in: — 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

Colored in: — 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?

Colored in: — 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

Colored in: — 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

Colored in: — 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

Colored in: — 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.

2004.12.14 Tuesday

Learning (Math*Reform)

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 2.46 pm

I have spent part of the day today learning math. Contrary to what you might think, this has involved finding some elementary level math sites and learning how to divide. That’s right, I forgot how to divide! For years now I haven’t been able to do long division and yet I have survived somehow. It’s taken for granted so no one offered to teach me and I had no need to go looking…until today. I went to the community college to start the math portion of the placement test (I have to work on it during my lunch break). I figured I should at least learn how to divide again.

I have actually taken math tests without knowing this and done alright, which shows that I have learned a few mathematical concepts. Unfortunately, the concepts are so vague that I take forever dancing around the problem, filling up scratch sheets with possible solutions and allegorical problems that may relate.

Much of math has done this to me (hidden somewhere) and I blame the style in which it was taught (and a lot of a weed known as marijuana). I got so tired of hearing, “It’s like a staircase, you have to start at the bottom and hit all the steps on the way up” (whiny tone added). Why couldn’t they just show me the top of the stairs, or perhaps the next landing and as I climbed, I could see the goal better. Maybe I could even skip steps as my legs grew. Instead they kept yelling, “look at the step!” making me trip over the next one not knowing where I was going.

The problem with math is (more…)

2004.12.13 Monday

Cot and Gold

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 2.52 pm

This weekend was an interesting one as Christmas is approaching. Jamie and I spent most of Saturday at the mall shopping for clothes. :| Yeah, you can just say I was tired and had a nice headache working on my sanity by the time we headed out for dinner. Eating at a small Mexican restaurant was a nice change to the busy schedule, but didn’t quite alleviate my headache. Reaching home just meant more work waiting: wrapping presents. I’m still looking forward to Christmas a bit, but I’ll be happy when the preparations are over.

Thankfully Sunday, after church, we had a nice three hour nap and then I lazily helped Jamie with her crafts. I did get a little work on the church website in before we bedded down again to watch a movie: Benny and Joon.

The weekend went by fast and was hot and cold…or cot and gold (full of spending and napping).

2004.12.12 Sunday

Drive with God

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 8.07 pm

God helps those who turn to Him with a broken heart as I found out yet again on Friday night. A lot of my failures all came together and woke me up with a clear picture of my need for Jesus Christ in my life and the lack of love in my heart.

I went for a drive to nowhere in particular and poured out my pain to the Almighty Father. He heard and gave me a wonderful peace. I ended up in an old chapel on the campus of a local college, where the meeting had just ended. I was left in peace as I sat in one of the back rows and prayed earnestly. When I was alone, I went up to the front and kneeled down to humble myself before God in worship as I continued to pray. Just before the security guard locked the last door, I believe God showed me something. He wants me to trust in His Son, Jesus for discipleship as well as seeking someone out to disciple me. That’s what I care about: Being a disciple of Jesus and making disciples.

I have a long road ahead, but I praise God that He cares for me! I hope to be the godly man Jesus has called me to be, to be subject to Him and those He has placed over me and
to be a servant-leader to Jamie as well as those God places in my life as disciples.

Update 2004.12.13: Chris at Our Greenroom wrote a good article today: Christian or Disciple? It’s good to know that others are pondering this as I think it is essential that we focus on this more in our churches and in missions. I’ll be pondering this some more even as I strive to be a disciple of Christ.

2004.12.10 Friday

Comedy and Food

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 11.19 am

I’ll tell you, comedy and food is a winning combination that cure mild and even severe sourness of attitude. Last night, we went to Jamie’s company (my former company where I met my current wife) Christmas Banquet. I was not feeling well and was in a brooding mood, but surprisingly enough, some zealous small-talkers broke me out of it some. The food, when we got to it helped a lot as usual (food and its social implications deserves an article of its own) and prepared me for the festivity.

I wasn’t quite prepared to laugh as much as I did, though. I was looking forward to “the comedian", but usually stand-up comedians have a “stale taste” or a “twisted smile” sort of effect on me. This guy, Bob Stromberg, had quite a different effect. He was stand-up alright, but was remarkably refreshing in his presentation. I never knew group whistling could be so fun and hilarious (you try to laugh and whistle). His whole demeanor reminded me of a personal favorite, George Gobel and his stories were hilarious as well. It was more about the way he did things which I guess is usual in comedy. To try to explain now how hard I laughed over his shadow-puppet show would probably be pointless as you sit there and ask yourself, “Shadow-puppets, how corny is that?” It was too short of a show but excellent and he brought Jesus into the picture in a clear way without even needing to transition from comedy. That reverential, and serious comedy is certainly impressive in my book (which I don’t have yet, but I did buy two of his). He is a funny guy, I mean…just look at him.

Needless to say, we had a great evening.

2004.12.9 Thursday

Bought a PayDay

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 1.34 pm

I bought a PayDay instead of a Twix bar today. It was a good choice. I can feel the newness of today…or maybe I’m just going off the deep end from my last post.

Rant on Ranting

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 1.28 pm

This blog has taken on a rather serious note lately. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but what happened to ranting just to express myself? I think I’ve been reading too many news blogs or something. Everything has to be well written and documented. What I have been writing lately is certainly my style, but I don’t want to perfect myself out of writing. What kind of personal log would this be if I didn’t allow myself to rant from time to time. Rants about subjects no one may find interesting or even (heaven forbid), with no point or underlying theme whatever.

This is where I could restate this blog’s purpose or write a mission statement if this post was actually a serious one. I want to maintain the freedom I began with to talk about what I want with no fear of the ambiguous crowd because then, they didn’t exist. Now, I’m still almost completely lost in the swell of bloggers and the wider web world. I have gained a bigger perspective of the blogosphere as it were by reading other people’s blogs regularly. I don’t regret this “bigger picture” just as I certainly don’t regret traveling, but it has caused me, in perhaps a small way to go into my shell.

You see, I’m the kid in school that was never popular. I was mildly nerdy (still am) in a day where it was bad. Yet, I didn’t get picked on that much. I hung out with those who got picked on, but I somehow stayed out of the radar. Now that I think about it, that may be a lie I made up for myself. (more…)

2004.12.8 Wednesday

Design of SimpleBits

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 11.39 am

This is newsworthy seeing as I just posted a thanks to Dan Cederholm and his website, SimpleBits. He just implemented some great new design elements. He changed one thing I was so impressed with and made it better: The style switching icons on the right of the navigation bar:

Gone are the (rather pointless) color theme switcher buttons, replaced by a new default frosty blue. Instead of changing header colors, you can now toggle between a centered, fixed-width layout and a widescreen, fluid-width version. This was a bit tricky, in order to keep design elements in the header and sidebar consistent. I’ve used the “Sliding Faux Columns” approach (1, 2, 3) in achieving a flexible, yet full-length sidebar.

This is a very interesting update as it accomplishes exactly what I spent most of yesterday trying to do for the church website design. If you click on the “Liquid” button, you will see what I accomplished (I will be leaving that page static for viewing). I look forward to learning more from Dan’s design and the articles he referenced (in the quote above). In fact, his article on Faux Columns (which I forget to mention in my earlier post) was what got this whole design started and got me to his site in the first place.

Thanks for your timely update, Dan! [I just hope he doesn’t think I stole his idea.]

OS Mobile Home

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 10.06 am

What makes up a good “Operating System Mobile Home"? In my opinion, it’s cross-platform software (preferably open source). There are excellent alternatives to the most popular OS such as the many flavors of Linux, but the problem (for me at least) right now is software. There is software that brings Windows programs to Linux (like Transgaming Technologies’ Cedega and CodeWeavers’ CrossOver OfficeTM), which will be a huge development. Already the functionality is there, but if you don’t pay high dollar for customized builds, the options are quite buggy (I don’t pay attention to gaming software much, so I’m not sure how products like Cedega work). I think it’s much better, if possible, to have cross-platform programs that allow you to move freely from one OS to the other. Especially if it is open source and you don’t have to worry about single user license silliness.

I’m looking forward to trying PC World’s Linux Experiment, but I need programs that will work where I go. For browsing, I have Firefox and now with a Global Inbox, Thunderbird takes care of email. There is one bit of software that still holds me back, though: A good WYSIWYG HTML editor for Linux. In several bouts of searching, I have found only one good candidate and it is still in it’s youth. Nvu is a cross-platform WYSIWYG editor that has lots of promise and with backing from Linspire, I am confident it will soon rival the big names.

Why WYSIWYG and what do I want? Well, I’m working on other people’s websites (for free) and they need a way to update the website if I’m too busy or something. So, number one reason why is for other users who aren’t going to learn HTML. The second reason is, it’s just easier for a lot of things. I mean it’s nice and nerdy to say, “I coded that by hand", but it’s impractical for me who has other things to do. I often work on the code directly, but for many things it’s nice to just type in what you want to get. This is where templates come in too…that’s what I want and the big thing I’m waiting for from Nvu. A template allows site-wide design and content change with very little hassle and allows people who aren’t web savvy to update pages without messing with essential elements of the page. [On a side note: If anyone knows of a non-WYSIWYG editor that supports templates, please let me know.]

If you are interested in products that will free you up to travel, check out The table of equivalents / replacements / analogs of Windows software in Linux. Of course Macintosh is a good alternative, but I’ll leave that subject to those who know what they’re talking about.

Update 10.46am: Apparently, I can’t see very well. I did check out the html editors on the link above, but it has been a while and I don’t know what I checked out. I noticed that w3C has a free one called Amaya (cross-platform) and IBM has WebShere Studio to buy for Linux. I’ll be checking out Amaya when I get the chance.

Disclaimer: Yet again I boldly go into a subject I don’t know all about, so check out the links yourself for your own opinions. I will gladly accept correction on this article as well.

2004.12.7 Tuesday

Hacking on the Church

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 4.33 pm

I’ve been spending most of my free time working on the re-design of our church website. It has been an interesting adventure and I have learned a lot about CSS and cross-browser hacking. I have finally fished a prototype of the website design (the page was mainly used to show the church leadership).

I would like to thank all these websites and the people involved in them for all their great resources and help without which, I would still be playing in boxes:

I will be polishing up the design and making the site conform to it hopefully by the end of this week. There is still a lot of content to get up and things to work out. I said re-design and that all the old site had…a design (a bad one at that) that I made some time back. Now we’re actually going to put up a website!

Thunderbird 1.0!

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 9.56 am

The Mozilla Foundation has just released Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 to keep up with it’s big brother, Firefox. Thunderbird is Mozilla’s stand alone email, newsgroup and RSS client.

I tried Thunderbird a while ago as an alternative to Outlook, but was disappointed with one important thing: All the email accounts have separate inboxes and I couldn’t figure out how to send all mail to one. I have something like 11 email accounts I have to keep track of, so having to browse through that many inboxes was not what I would call progress. Needless to say, I have stuck with Outlook. Now that Thunderbird 1.0 has been released, they offer a “Global Inbox", RSS integration and more. The Global Inbox is reason enough to download it and try a complete switch and the RSS integration is an added bonus! It seems to have all the necessary features Outlook does with the usual added abilities that extensions provide. It’s handy import feature should make setup easy, so I’ll definitely be giving it a try with the idea of switching completely.

Windows builds: Official Windows, Official Windows installer

Linux builds: Official Linux

Mac builds: Official Mac

-Quoted from The Rumbling Edge.

Press release:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - December 7, 2004 - The Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving choice and promoting innovation on the Internet, today announced the worldwide availability of the Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 email client. Thunderbird focuses on new features and settings to help stop spam and prevent viruses, the two biggest problems facing email users today. Mozilla Thunderbird follows last month’s highly successful release of Mozilla Firefox 1.0 that has been downloaded by over nine million users. –more–

News Noticed at: Mozilla.org, The Rumbling Edge and Mac’s Place

2004.12.4 Saturday

Pineapple Salsa Table

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 9.28 pm

I went to Phil’s house earlier to build Jamie a customized folding table for our small living/kitchen/dining room. We used birch plywood, rounded the edges and put on a clear finish. The “borrowed” folding legs off an old table at church, which were silver, ended up working quite well with the industrial sort of look we have going on.

Jamie cooked up a great dinner of buffalo burgers, pineapple salsa for the chips and a chocolate raspberry cake! We invited Phil, his wife Melissa and son Josiah over to try out the food and table. We enjoyed great conversation while Josiah ran around terrorizing our cat, Caviar. We can finally entertain people at our house without having to resort to pizza on the couch (not that that’s always a bad thing).

Now I’m sitting at the table keeping Jamie company as I work some more on the church website (not ready to be linked to yet). She is working on her crafts excited to have a table to work on. Ah, the simple joys of life!

2004.12.3 Friday

Not one order

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 12.02 pm

I haven’t had one order come in today and I think it’s about time for my lunch break. As much as I enjoy free time to browse the internet, I need some work to feel like I’m accomplishing something. All my web design work must be done at home, so I really can’t be that productive here at work.

I know what I can do! I’ll start reading this book I’ve been lugging to work every day and not looking at. Mmm…lunch and a book sounds quite appetizing right now.

2004.12.2 Thursday

Ukraine pulls my head out…

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 4.30 pm

I am very interested in this Ukrainian election and protest. It is probably due to wife and I recently returning from doing our DTS, which spent one month in Russia. I loved it there even though it was a difficult and oppressive environment. The Russian people have big hearts and I now have a heart for them.

I have been following reports primarily from Jennifer’s Blog who is and American living and teaching in Western Ukraine. Just today, I followed a link from The Politburo Diktat to The Orange Revolution, an article by Time Magazine.

I have never had much use for news, but this news has brought my usually entrenched head out of the sand as far as political affairs. I have not read enough to even make a semi-intelligent comment, but wanted to state my interest in the matter.

To follow this interest, I have looked up a few blogs from Ukraine in English:

I’m sure there are many more good blogs and websites, but my poor little head is hurting from all this news. After quite a while of searching, I can’t find a blog in support of Yanukovych. So much for being balanced. If you know of any other good links (preferably blogs from Ukrainians), put them in a comment.

First SPAM

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 10.55 am

I got my first SPAM comment (in triplicate) the other day! Isn’t that important? Isn’t that some sort of milestone for a blog? Thanks to WordPress, they didn’t get posted but are awaiting my approval. I guess that could get annoying too, but it’s not too hard to delete the lot of SPAM comments in one fell swoop and I don’t have to worry about doing it quickly because they don’t appear on my site. I may just let this one slide though (only one copy), because hey, it IS a milestone of some sort.

Now, thanks to Electric Kate, I know how to fight back with Lycos’ SPAM attacking screensaver.

2004.12.1 Wednesday

It’s a journal, right?

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 4.12 pm

Today, I was trying to find a site that shows real-time blog traffic. Noticing that many of the blogs I follow were all writing today (many with several posts) and that I felt in a particularly fanciful writing mood, I thought maybe the muses were out in “Blogdom". (more…)

1 December, 2004!

Colored in: — Mr. Green @ 10.10 am

I don’t know why, but I was excited this morning as I put down today’s date on an order and realized it’s the beginning of December. I knew yesterday was the end of November and it still hit me with a sort of excitement when I wrote it down. This, of course, is the month of Christmas, New Year’s Eve and birthdays (both my brother and sister-in-law were born on the 31st)! It’s a festive time of year that I guess I’m kind of happy to see roll around this time. My “Grinch heart” must be starting to grow bigger. I’m sure it’s due to my wife who carries on her family traditions with heart and military execution if needed.

The past month seems to have flown by and I feel as if life is passing me by. All those things I want to, or should, or need to do are not being done and I’m losing track of it all. It’s actually more that I still don’t have any kind of clear direction from God and the choices are staggering and hit me like a deer in the headlights (who thought he was already dead before the truck even hit him…poor deer). I’m sure it’s also due to the amount of work I’ve been doing (including snow plowing) and the time it takes to just live the “American life” (church, house cleaning, cooking, eating, car repairs, driving, shopping, more shopping and even some time for friends). How going to school will ever work out, I’m not sure.

It’s not so much that I don’t want to be busy or active, that can be a great thing. I just want to be doing what I’m supposed to be doing, to accomplish something and shake this feeling of floating along. Will anyone have anything to say about me when I die? Most importantly, what will God have to say about my life? I’m striving to improve my relationship to Him and often feel I’m losing ground.

I guess that’s why I’m excited about it being December. A month to focus on the important things in life: Jesus Christ, family and shopping (just kidding). It’s a new month to make a difference and incidentally my church has a great idea about that. Instead of doing the typical Christmas program, we’re going to focus on reaching out to the community: families, the homeless, etc. It should be a great month and I’m hopeful and excited!

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