Monday, August 31, 2009

Beavers Should Be Damming!

Yesterday, I gave "a talk" (we aren't calling them sermons) to a group of family members that have been getting together on Sundays for a Bible study.

I was chosen to give this past Sunday's message.

I used the YouVersion Bible iPhone App for research.

Beavers Should Be Damming!


Exodus 20 : v. 7

"Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."


Notice that this is the only commandment where God says he won't hold you guiltless.

(Show/Discuss 10 Commandments briefly)

A commandment is a command from God. They aren't called the 10 suggestions. There are dozens upon dozens of suggestions and what are called "God's laws" in Deuteronomy and Leviticus such as not eating shrimp.

Not eating bottom feeding shellfish could be considered a suggestion. Shrimp contain a lot of allergens because they are bottom feeders. But, now that we have sanitary methods for preparing them ... they are safe to eat.

Nothing has changed about cheating on your wife/adultery ... stealing something ... killing someone ... or taking the Lord's name in vain. What has changed is the safety of food preservation and food storage.

A law in the Bible could be considered like a speed limit. It's a suggestion within reason - excessive speed and you will most likely be caught. A command should be considered like a stop light. You must stop when the light is red.

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A favorite movie of mine is The Matrix. The first in the series is an amazing film. However the second two installments could be considered flops and were completely panned by even the biggest fans of the first movie.

The TV Guide one sentence plot description of The Matrix:

A computer hacker named Neo joins forces with rebel warriors to battle a malevolent computerized intelligence.


There's a lot of religious analogy / allegory in this movie.

Here's a few lines from the script that I found online.

""It's Maggie, sir. She's dead. Murdered. I think it was Bane.

"fix it"

"I knew it. I knew he was out of his "fix it" mind"

""Fix it" I should have beaten it out of him"

"We've searched the whole ship, Captain, he aint here."

"Well, "fix it" you better find him "fix it" I want you to find him right "fix it" now.
"


This scene is one minute ten seconds on the screen.

This movie has the words "GD" 244 times and runs 2 hrs 31 min. That equals the Lord's name in vain every 61 seconds of this movie. The funny thing saying just the word, "Damn" seems more effective to me.

* Mention that it's really about intelligence, you're saying,

"I say things without thinking, I speak hastily, I don't have the intelligence to substitute another word."


________________________________________


On Wednesday night, my wife and I were discussing this and my teenage daughter mentioned that saying,

"God, this cake is good!" isn't taking the Lord's name in vain.

A small family debate ensued ... My wife made a good point.

The Lord's name should only be invoked in praise and in prayer and I'll add "in discussion".

My wife also added the definition of "VAIN" from Webster's dictionary:

vain  [veyn]

–adjective, -er, -est.

1. excessively proud of or concerned about one's own appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.; conceited: a vain dandy.
2. proceeding from or showing personal vanity: vain remarks.
3. ineffectual or unsuccessful; futile: a vain effort.
4. without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless
5. Archaic. senseless or foolish.

6. in vain,
a. without effect or avail; to no purpose: to apologize in vain.
b. in an improper or irreverent manner: to take God's name in vain.

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Should we ever think of the Lord senselessly, foolishly, or without significance, without value or as worthless?

The Lord's name shouldn't be exclaimed in anger or pain either.

If anyone had a reason to curse the Lord, it would have been Job. But in Job 1 verses 21-22; we see he, after so much suffering, chose not to.

Job 1: v. 21-22:

" ... the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."


________________________________________


Taking the Lord's name in vain isn't a habit, it's a choice.

Opening your mouth to breathe is a necessity.

Opening your mouth to saw "OUCH!" is a reaction.

Opening your mouth to deliver an opinion or take the Lord's name in vain is a decision.

Writing it in a script is a concrete decision.

I don't want to get obsessive over this, but this is one thing we should pray for. We should pray for the sensibility and wisdom to choose our words wisely and to condemn wisely the commonality of using the Lord's name in vain.

I say "Geez Louise" a lot.

My wife says that "Geez" is a way of saying "Jesus"

Gee
Geez
Golly
Gomer Pyle's "Well Gawwwwleee"
Gee Wilikers
Jesus H. Christ
Christ Almighty (in excitement or anger)
Jiminy Christmas
Cheese & Rice
Holy Shit
Good Lord
Gall Darn
Holy Cow
OMG (Oh My God in textese)
Dag Nabbit
Holy Moley
Gosh Dang
Lawd A Mercy
Goodness Gracious

My mom used to say, "God Bless A Pussy Cat!"

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Leviticus 24 : v. 16

"And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death ..."


Psalm 135 : v. 1 & 3

"Praise ye the Lord, Praise ye the name of the Lord; praise him O ye servants of the Lord"

"Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good; sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant"


Psalm 29 : v. 2

"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness"


Psalm 8 v. 9

"O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth."

David wrote Psalms. There was quite a bit of excellence and servitude around King David ... if anyone knew excellence, it was David. He reserves the word "excellent " for the name of God. Of all the people that David spoke to in the Bible he never said they did something excellent. David told Jonathan he loved him like a brother, not like he loved God. He didn't tell Jonathan he was an excellent friend. Bathsheba had a beautiful name, but David reserved the words, "lovely" for describing the name of God.

Proverbs 10: v. 11

"The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life; but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked."


Matthew 15 : v. 11

"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this, defileth a man."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Robocalls (Automated Calls) banned starting Sept 1 2009

Automated Telephone Calls, Also Called "Robo-Calls" Banned Staring Sept 1, 2009 By The Federal Trade Commission

Violators will face penalties up to $16,000 per call.

Political groups, charities, and debt collectors are exempt.

Use the recording phone call reference to record any violators and help turn them in.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Apple Removes The Blood From Snow Leopard; But It's Just For The Box?

An interesting (although obsessive) Gizmodo report:

Original Snow Leopard Was Too Blood Thirsty For Mac OS X Box


The original version of the snow leopard was a tad too bloodthirsty for Apple, so the version found on the actual box cover of Mac OS X Snow Leopard (coming out Friday August 28th 2009) has been slightly photoshopped, with all the traces of blood removed. See the two images compared below.

Apple's "Get A Mac" Ads Stream Genius ... Why Lauren Would Have Chosen A Mac If She Were A Cool Web 2.0 Person


Apple's "Get A Mac" ads have no doubt been successful ... Apple has increased it's market share a few percentage points over the last 2 years since running them. Yes, a lot of the success has come from an iPhone/iPod halo effect and some has come from Vista dissatisfaction.

Microsoft, on the other hand, just announced decreased sales and had it's most disappointing quarter in the company's history. Microsoft has been running its ad campaign called "You Find It, You Keep It".

Posted on FixYourThinking on July 24th, 2009:

"We slightly adjusted the ads to reflect the updated pricing of the Mac laptop shown in the TV advertisement," a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. "This does not change the focus of the campaign, which is to showcase the value and choice of the PC."

* Just a quick mention: Microsoft revenue fell 1 billion (with a "B") short of estimates the last quarter. Apple's recent earnings were ahead of estimates and was their best non holiday quarter ever.


Well ... I've noticed something else genius about the Apple ad campaign.

First, one can go to HTTP://APPLE.COM/GETAMAC/ADS and see one of the "Get A Mac Ads" in about 20 seconds with the average broadband modem.

If you go to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/watchtheads (Microsoft's Laptop Hunters Ad Page) ... which is a lot to type by the way ... you'll instantly notice that you must install a program called Microsoft SilverLight to watch the ads.

Now, I'm not sure if I'm saying this with complete certainty, but Quicktime comes as a standard installatiion on most all PCs and Macs. (I know it comes on all Macs.) This means that one could start watching the Apple ads right away, while the Microsoft ads require a few extra clicks to install SilverLight and at least an extra minute to even begin watching.

Yeah, yeah ... you could go to YouTube (which uses Quicktime compatible codecs) to see both ... but that's not where searches lead you. Apple pays for the top spot in searches for the keyword "Get A Mac". Microsoft pays for the top spot for "Microsoft Laptop Hunters".

Another genius decison by Apple, whether conscious or not, lies in the simplicity of the ads. The "Laptop Hunter" ads have situations on streets and in stores with complex backgrounds. The Apple "Get A Mac" ads have white backgrounds and usually have simple movements, two people, not a lot of color or clutter ... this contributes greatly to the Apple ads streaming (or downloading) quicker and contributes to Microsoft's ads actually being occasionally choppy. More data bits must stream for the Microsoft ads.

Just thought that was interesting ...

Compatibility Of The FixYourThinking Apple Compatible USB To 10/100 LAN Ethernet Network Adapter


Thursday, August 20, 2009

iPhone Snaps



This is a picture of a frog that my wife took ... it jumped onto her window at work.



This is a picture of a very weird spider that my mother-in-law found in her back yard. Do any of you know what it's called?

Apple Creates Fix For Problematic Hard Drives In MacBook Pros & Posts Bluetooth Firmware Update

Apple MacBook Pro Hard Drive Firmware Update


Apple describes the problem as:

MacBook Pro Hard Drive Firmware Update 2.0 reduces certain infrequent noises made by 7200-rpm drives.

These drives shipped with the June 2009 MacBook Pro.

To complete the firmware update process, please follow the instructions in the updater application (/Applications/Utilities/Hard Drive Update.app).

The updater will launch automatically when the installation is complete.

New Hard Drive firmware will be: 0007APM2


This supposedly only affected 500GB 7200RPM 2.5" SATA Hard Drives manufactured for Apple by Seagate.

My personal experience with Seagate hard drives is very poor. I have had nearly every hard drive I've ever owned (Seagate or Seagate OEM) fail.

Apple also posted a Bluetooth firmware update:

Apple Bluetooth Firmware Update

Your Mac must have Bluetooth 2.0 or 2.1 - which is most Macs from 2006 -2009

This update helped my connection to be more stable with a lot of things (IE my mouse and printer) ... but oddly broke support for bluetooth tethering.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can I Get Around "Recording Notification" If I Use A Call Bluffing Service Or A Service and Software Like Skype Or Vonage?



The following was added last night to the FIXYOURTHINKING reference:

Recording Phone Call Laws By State

One way to avoid phone call recording laws entirely is to chat and record through instant message - most IM programs automatically keep a file on your computer. VOIP phone conversations and audio chat ARE NOT governed by these laws!

BUT ... IF YOU HAVE A PHONE NUMBER associated with your VOIP phone (IE Skype-In/Vonage #) then you must follow the same laws as a normal phone conversation.

Also know that this is a disadvantage of phone call recording websites or "circumvention numbers" - you are ONLY allowed to record calls that you initiate or are a part of or for a number that it has been pre-established that you are being recorded. Just because these "mechanisms for recording" exist doesn't mean they are legal.

A good way to look at this:

• Apple doesn't allow applications in the App Store and AT&T/Verizon/T-Mobile/Sprint do not promote such "circumvention" because it is illegal.

• There ARE applications for the iPhone though if you jailbreak your iPhone.

Synonomous:

• Because you own a gun doesn't mean you can shoot and kill a person.

• You can shoot and kill a person. It is against the law.

• You can shoot and kill a person in self defense.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

While On The Subject Of Ethernet Adapters ...

I received a question about the ethernet adapter I sell on eBay today ... here's the question and my response:

Dear fixyourthinking,

Thanks very much. I live in Australia, I just want to make sure that this will work my PowerPC Mac os 10.4.11. Can you confirm this? And total price with shipping to Australia too? Thanks Anthony

p.s Unrelated, looks like Obama is getting heavily attacked for the proposed healthcare reforms.

~ eBay ID: xxxxxxx


It absolutely positively will work for any Mac PPC or Intel 9.2.2 & higher - I'll make sure of it.

Cost is $30.00 total for shipping anywhere outside the USA.

Expect delivery (at that rate) within 6 business days.

The problem with the healthcare issue is people like myself who choose to be uninsured while young healthy (and medically verified with regular checkups) will be forced to contribute to this program. Why should I, being healthy and working hard to remain so; support a smoker, a drinker, an obscenely obese person, or a person who is a prostitute. I have none of those vices. Is their behavior my responsibility to pay for? Don't get me wrong ... We need reform and it has to start somewhere ... Both democrats and republicans are unwilling to even try ... They just want re-election ... They think the way to get re-elected is to show their party that they were the polar opposite of the other party.

Review: GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra


I went to see G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra yesterday with my son.

It was pretty good ... on par with Transformers II: Revenge Of The Fallen.

It had a good story that was significantly tweaked for political correctness and continuity.

One thing continues to bother me about these movies that are being pitched on Cartoon Network, as toys, and as kid's fast food premiums - the amount of cursing! Four letter words and swearing have not only become common ... they are ridiculously overused.

In a scene where the character could have easily said something like "Pow pow pow pow, take that!" ... instead he says, "Shit, shit, shit, shit, take that!"

It was interesting to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the boy from the TV series 3rd Rock From The Sun) play a very interesting role ... He plays a key role in the twist of the movie which was a big surprise and very well executed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

USAA Savings Bank Releases App For iPhone To Deposit Checks Electronically



Wired reports:

USAA bank will soon let you deposit a check with your iPhone. Many banks have iPhone apps that allow online banking, but USAA, from its single branch in San Antonio, will be the first to dispatch with the decidedly old-school check.

Using the application, customers photograph the front and back of the check with the iPhone’s camera. Hit send and the check is whisked off into the clearing system. The paper check itself never needs to go to the bank, and you can just tear it up and toss it away (or, file it in a safe place)



This is great for many reasons ... one ... surely other banks are to follow ... two ... I am about to get a USAA bank account ... three ... the current system is to send deposit checks in by mailing them. This would allow essentially 24 hour clearance and a stamp savings.

In November 2008, I discussed the immense money savings one could get from using USAA Insurance if you have a family member that was (or is) in the military or law enforcement.

Do I Have To Have Permission To Record A Telephone or Cellphone Conversation? What is the difference between notification and permission?


The following was added last night to the FIXYOURTHINKING reference:

Recording Phone Call Laws By State

There is no such thing as phone call recording PERMISSION or AUTHORIZATION ...

Note that the law is specifically 1 or 2 party NOTIFICATION. No one can deny you the right to record a phone conversation IF you properly notify them and follow the law within your state.

Recently, I received a phone call from a debt collector. This debt collector refused to listen to me and kept interrupting me ... I started recording the phone call. I asked her "what state she was calling from" ... she refused to tell me (A creditor rules violation) ... I looked on my iPhone - it said Carrolton, Texas. Texas is a one party notification state. Although I did not have to inform her she was being recorded; I did. She stated, "I do not give you permission to record this conversation."

Understand a few facts about this conversation and a few very common myths:

1) If you are in a one party state and the other person online is in a one party state - you do not have to inform them they are being recorded. You knowing that you are recording, qualifies as the one party notification. This is not an interpretation of the law. IT IS THE LAW!

2) If you are being recorded, you have the right to record the conversation AS LONG AS you follow the laws of your state.

3) There is no such thing as "permission to record" - continuing a conversation IS permission by the other party. If the other party continues the conversation after your notifying them that you are recording - they are granting you the right to record. PERIOD. Again, this is not an interpretation of the law. IT IS THE LAW!

You may have OTHER rights if the other party "claims" you do not have permission to record a phone conversation (Particularly if they are a creditor, law enforcement officer, or attorney*). Many people, especially law enforcement and creditors, PRETEND to know the law regarding recording of phone calls. Often, they THINK phone call recording and face to face recording are the same. It is not. There are specific laws governing each. Phone call recording happens to be very concrete.

Please also know that it is your RIGHT to request (properly and politely) for any recording a company/attorney may have of you and they are required by law to make it available to you. Note that this doesn't mean they are required to make convenient for you to have the recording. The other party is also not required to give it to you any form that you request. As an example, you cannot request a CD, tape, or email. It is up to the other party to determine what "form" they will provide the recording. A general rule of thumb is 30 days from a WRITTEN request.

* You may want to request dismissal in court, dismissal of debt collection, and/ or sanctions if a person claims you do not have a right to record. Seek out a good attorney for further instruction.

* Feel free to refer anyone to the reference you are reading for clarification


A Reference For Harassing Phone Calls From Debt Collectors

Friday, August 07, 2009

Apple Considering a Paypal Competitor Using iTunes Store Accounts? No, But Here's What They Are Doing.


MacRumors summarizes a report from Silicon Alley Insider:

Apple may be considering creating a competitor to eBay's PayPal online payments system, allowing users to make purchases at third-party sites via their iTunes Store accounts.

Wall Street gossips tell us that Apple executives have dropped hints suggesting the company is considering creating a service that would allow iTunes Store account holders to use those accounts to make purchases on participating third-party sites across the Internet.

Remember, this is Wall Street gossip and not confirmed news. But you want to be in the loop, right?


The report also notes that it is not clear what Apple's motivation for pursuing an online payment service would be, given the company's history of focusing its ancillary services on driving hardware sales. For example, Apple has primarily viewed the delivery of third-party content through iTunes (music, video, and applications) as a "break-even" proposition to drive sales of its iPod and iPhone hardware.

While the source did not elaborate on what that reason might be, the report speculates that Apple could be eventually planning to use iTunes Store accounts (and thus iPods and iPhones) for offline purchases, or perhaps the company simply views the online payments industry as an easy one for it to penetrate to help diversify its business.


I know where all of this stems from ... Apple isn't looking to make a Paypal competitor ... which is a HUGE problem customer service-wise (being a Quasi Bank). Apple is actually negotiating with retailers to allow iPod/iPhone/Accessory purchases and allow in store kiosks for app & music downloads. Right now, one can only buy apps and music from one's home computer. Apple would like to make deals with distributors and retailers to sell physical objects ... in turn, Apple would like to be able to sell things like the Tom Tom GPS Adapter for the iPhone in it's store. Right now ... you can't do that. If all went as planned and from what I've heard ... I suppose you'd buy the adapter and Apple would allow immediate download of the app and ship you the adapter in the mail. I'm sure Apple would love to market cases and sync cables and chargers through the app store as well.