Random Thoughts 1

It’s Saturday and I have nothing good to write about but I told myself I’d write something, so, here we go. It’s the weekend and I have random thoughts (and links!) to share.

  • Sara Bareilles is both beautiful and a great musician. I discovered her through a TV commercial that played a 5-second clip of her music video for “Love Song,” and went on to find her other stuff. It’s quite good. It’s also not the typical lyrical content of that brand of music, which is refreshing. So, go Sara!
  • Via Prester Scott: It seems the Episcopalian church has gone off the deep end. Their new devotional pamphlet encourages you to tape the UN’s Millennium Development Goals to your mirror so that you can meditate on them for Lent. While eliminating world hunger and improving education are great things, that’s not exactly what Jesus said you should be meditating on. What was that again? Oh, right. His Word.
  • Via Andy: A couple of cases of yet more Islamic branded insanity. This time it’s honor killings, in the good ol’ US of A and Canada. It’s just more proof that it’s not just the culture in the Middle East; in fact it’s the Islamic culture at large that encourages it because it is condoned, even encouraged by Islamic teaching. It’s ridiculous to me that people can look at this religion and call it a “Religion of Peace” with a straight face.
  • Via Kim: More reasons not to vote Huckabee. Actions speak louder than words, and all that. It’s not like I’d ever considered him, but I still know people who do.
  • Via my email inbox: Gingrich in the race? I can’t see it happening but it’d be a conservative in the race, which is much more than what we have now. It’d be a different approach than any of the current candidates are taking, at the very least.
  • And finally for all the truly geeky out there, via Wil Wheaton comes this lovely link illustrating the dangers of retconning. It drives people like me insane when you mess with the story lines and lore that we have come to know and love, and that does a good job explaining why.

I’m off to spend the day with my family. Hope you all have a good weekend.

Why gadget hounds are sadists

I’m a bit of a gadget hound. I like to try out new things as long as I can justify them somehow in day to day life and use. I also shop a lot at Woot. This means I often find good deals on things like mice, headphones, keyboards, and other such computer accessories. Which I buy, on occasion.

A few months back I purchased the Logitech MX-5000 wireless laser desk set from Woot. I liked a lot of things about it, but the keyboard didn’t sit my hands right, and just “felt wierd.” On top of that, it had issues with Linux compatibility, and since I dual-boot Ubuntu, that was a big problem. So, I tried just the mouse for a bit, but the Bluetooth reception was spotty at best, and I went back to my old Microsoft Wireless Desk Set For Less, which despite its low cost has been extremely durable. I just have always wanted a nicer mouse, and the gaming keyboard features of the MX-5000 prompted me to buy it.

Anyway, that was a bust. Then not long ago, they had the Logitech MX Revolution mouse for sale, which I have heard people I trust swear by. The price was reasonable, so I bought that. I used it for a while but then it, too, had the same Bluetooth reception issues. I switched back to the Microsoft mouse but missed the ergonomic feel of the Revolution, as well as the extra buttons (handy for gaming, web surfing, and coding too!), and decided to figure out what was wrong with it in order to fix it.

Let me start by saying that Bluetooth is a horrible, evil technology. Its existence is proof of the existence Satan, much as the existence of Claim Jumper is proof of the existence of a kind and loving God. I did not want to work with it. For one, it operates on the same 2.4GHz band as, well, everything else that anyone has ever made to be wireless. This makes interference a real pain. Also, it has really screwed up functionality in Windows – more on that later. Third, it’s much more finicky than most wireless setups – note that my Microsoft keyboard and mouse were also wireless, and never had a problem at all.

I set out to eliminate as much possible interference as possible. Living in an apartment complex means I will have it no matter what, but I can reduce it at the very least. First I disabled the wireless broadcast on my router from firmware.  Next, I made sure that the mouse was only a few feet from the computer – this required me to move the computer from where it currently was. Last, I took care to move the power strip as far out of the way of the wireless as I could. I plugged everything back in, and while it said I was getting good reception, the mouse was “sticky” and unresponsive.

So I looked at the software. I uninstalled all Logitech and Microsoft wireless software and drivers and then made a fresh install of the latest version of SetPoint from Logitech’s web site. No improvement. This is where Google came to my aid. I discovered that the Microsoft implementation of Bluetooth pretty much sucks on a level roughly on par with Lawrence Tynes’ performance on Sunday, so my best bet was going to be finding a new Bluetooth manager. Logitech seemed the easy and obvious solution, so off I went. After installation, reboot, and configuration – the mouse works great. (Knock on wood.) So, while Logitech’s keyboard still sucks, their Revolution mouse is currently emanating awesome from my desk, and I’m back to being happy with my setup.

That is, until I start looking at widescreen monitors. Sigh…

Stranger than Fiction

Via Michelle Malkin comes the following “WTF”moment:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former presidential candidate, announced Wednesday he is endorsing Mike Huckabee’s White House bid.

“I got to know Governor Huckabee well on the campaign trail,” Hunter said in a statement. “Of the remaining candidates I feel that he is strongly committed to strengthening national defense, constructing the border fence and meeting the challenge of China’s emergence as a military superpower that is taking large portions of America’s industrial base.

This is beyond bizarre. Hunter was very conservative, tough on borders and terrorism, and all for small government. Huckabee is none of those things. I’m truly confused as to what he’s thinking with this endorsement.

And then I remember we’re talking about 21st century Republican politics. Nothing makes sense.

Rethinking conservatism

Kim has a great post on the lack of actual conservativism in “conservative” politics, and suggests a few basic ground rules:

Axiom #1: All capital (i.e. money) belongs to the indivudals who earn it, and not to the State.

This seems to me so self-evident that I hardly know how to explain it. Suffice it to say that in countries where capital has been considered the property of the State, those countries have generally collapsed, and been saved only by other countries where capital is not the property of the State.

It gets better. Go forth, and read.

Thoughts on fellowship and friendship

First off, a new addition to the blogroll, David Skorupa. Been reading him for quite some time at his old home, but he has elected to move off to a new spot. He’s a minister and excellent writer and I’ve found him a great source of encouragement and insight since I’ve known him.

I went out to lunch with my father yesterday. It’s been a while since we’ve done that. Rather than the usual Blimpie or Subway stop, we opted for Fuddrucker’s. I haven’t been there in years, probably, and I have no idea why. Good grief, those are some tasty burgers. Just sayin’.

Anyway, one of the subjects that came up as we talked was the subject of friends, specifically, the sort of company we keep. I think everyone can agree that the company you keep has a deep and profound effect on you, even if it is subconscious in nature. If you surround yourself with political conservatives, you might find yourself more conservative. Surround yourself with readers, and you might find yourself reading more books. Everything from the music you listen to, to the food you eat, to the language you use, to the way you think is affected by the company you keep. What my father was asking about was whether or not I kept much Christian company these days.

I got to thinking about it, and realized that it has become a much more scarce thing than it was just a few years ago. As I looked back at my history, something stood out to me: it was mostly my Christian friendships that didn’t last. Reviewing my circle of friends today, I see mostly those who do not identify themselves as Christians. I thought about why this could be. First was the idea that I had switched schedules and moved across town – certainly enough to put a damper on things. But yet my close friends who were not Christians are still in constant contact, and we still hang out – while I only very rarely see any of my Christian friends from then at all.

I don’t know why that is. Is it me? Is it them? Have I changed in ways they find distasteful, or am I not worth the effort? Have we all just gone our separate ways, and no one and nothing is to blame? The analytical part of my brain can’t accept that sort of coincidental answer, but I really don’t know what to think. Perhaps I have changed, in ways I don’t see, as a result of this pseudo-segregation. I certainly can say it doesn’t make me feel any more confident in the general church than I have been, and if it is me then I really wish someone could clue me in.

On an unrelated note, I think I’ve found my candidate. While unorthodox, I love the no-nonsense approach taken to policy.