Archive for June, 2012

No More RockMelt At Work

Posted: June 29, 2012 in Technology

I gave RockMelt (basically a social web browser) another shot.  I enjoyed the ability to keep up-to-date on what my social network “friends” are up to.  I enjoyed even more the ability to post simultaneously to my twitter and facebook accounts right from my browser (not needing yet another app open on my machine). Unfortunately every time I tried to print from the browser the blasted thing would crash.  I searched online for a cause/solution to no avail.  Completely removing and reinstalling the application did not resolve the issue.  Since we (First Baptist Church of Holdrege) are using web applications, cloud computing and service as software more and more, it’s imperative that I be able to print from my browser.

Sorry RockMelt, but I have to give you the boot.  At least on my work machine (iMac running Lion).

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My Take on Catan HD (iPad App)

Posted: June 28, 2012 in Technology

Recently I read a series of posts panning the Catan HD (the iPad app of the famous board game).  I enjoy it.  It has the ability to play single player again AI opponents or play against friends using what they call “Hot-Seat-Multiplayer” mode (more on that later).  In my first few games I was totally clobbered by the AI. Though I own it, I haven’t had the opportunity to play the board game much, and then against the same set of competitors.  One tends to get into a rut.  It took me a few games to start thinking differently and trying out different strategies.

As I mentioned, you can play with friends.  The “Hot-Seat-Multiplayer” mode mentioned above basically entails passing the iPad around to whomever’s turn it is.  This tends to slow play down significantly for a couple of reasons.  First, you can’t look at the board during another player’s turn, nor do you see what your opponents are doing as they do it.  You must wait till you get the tablet back on your turn, then refamiliarize yourself with the lay of the land and take note of all the changes.  All of this inhibits strategizing and causes game delay.  The second way it slows game play down is in trading.  You can’t just call out, “Hey anyone wanna trade a wood for ore?”  You plug your trade in, and then it is passed to each player who is able to make such a trade for them to either accept, reject or counter.  Then you have to confirm, or re-counter…. it can become a long, drawn out process.  So, if you have the board game, and are in a place where you can set it up and play it, I recommend using the physical version.

Where the game shines, I think, is during travel and other occasions when setting up a board just isn’t practical.  In the fall my family is planning on traveling to the West Coast to see family.  Having several of our favorite games available on my iPad will help make that 36 hour trip a bit more pleasant.  I also found Catan HD easier to use when teaching one of my children to play than the physical version was.  There are several reasons for that which could make their own post.

One feature I wish was included, and I hope will be added to a future update is online multi-player.  I have friends and family all over the world who play Catan, but I’ve never been able to play with them.  It would be nice to connect with them through a shared past-time.

Well, there’s my take.  I hope in the future to add Carcassonne and  Ticket to Ride to my iPad-Boardgame list.

A Post About Nothing

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Faith

I just had an unsettling experience.  I read through 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, you know the famous description of love, and replaced the word love (or its relevant pronoun) with my name.  “Jason is patient and kind; Jason does not envy or boast…”  As I read, I kept hearing the voice of Valerie, the wife of Miracle Max from The Princess Bride, screaming “Liar!”  By the time I was finished my eyes were filled with tears (it became difficult to read after only a few lines).  What a fraud I am.

“What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus was asked.  “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.  And the second is like it; love your neighbor as yourself.”  Earlier in chapter thirteen of 1 Corinthians, Paul declares that even if he had the faith to blow away mountains, or gave away all that he owned, or even sacrificed his own body but did not love, then he was nothing.  Worthless.  I hear Metalica’s refrain, “And nothing else matters”.

I am nothing.

Thank you, Oh God, for searching me and revealing to me what displeases you.  Please accept this broken heart and do with it what you will. 

When I was younger, just entering my master’s work, I didn’t much care for Matthew Henry’s Commentary.  It wasn’t the archaic language; my first real Bible, when I was merely ten or eleven, was a King James at my own request (though I now use the ESV predominantly).  My objections weren’t primarily theological.  To be sure my theology was pretty messed up then, resembling a bad tasting casserole made from all the left over bits and pieces thrown in by professors, pastors and cultural icons (many well meaning, some even knowledgable). My issue with MH was that I simply didn’t get him. I understood the words, but not what he was getting at.

Now, after almost fourteen years of ministry I confess that Matthew Henry is one of my favorite commentators.  Again, not for the language (though it is beautiful, I am by no means a KJV only guy) nor for the theology (I don’t always agree with his insights, but as Dr. Robert Stein has observed, if your criteria for a good theologian is someone you always agree with, then the only good theologian you’ll ever know is yourself).

I love Matthew Henry’s work because it comes from a pastor’s heart.  I study his works not so much to discover something to teach or preach to my flock, but to receive edification and discipline from a trusted mentor.

As something of a side note, while I do have MH’s unabridged work available in my Bible software, I also own the collection pictured above and prefer to read from and make notes on the printed page.

Thoughts on OutcastsEn

Posted: June 10, 2012 in Film/TV

I just finished watching he eight episodes of Outcasts, a British sci-fi show from 2010/11. The show deals with the nature of humanity, asking questions like, “are basically good or evil” and “can we change who and what we are”. It also touches on the subject of he supernatural; is what we call supernatural just a form of nature beyond our ability to perceive?

Even though the pacing was sometimes off, I quite enjoyed the show. There were several standout actors I plan to look up and try to watch in other projects. I’m disappointed it was given only one season, doubly so as episode eight ends in something of a cliff-hanger.