Tuesday, November 25, 2008

AppleTV software update

We're on our third AppleTV remote. Apparently having a 2-year old chewing on it isn't within the expected "normal" wear and tear for it.

Software update to the rescue!

The latest update for the ATV seems to let you program almost any remote for it. There's a new option that lets you step through each of the common functions (left, right, select, play, fast-forward, etc.) -- for each one, it tells you to press the button on your remote that you want to perform that action. It couldn't have really been any easier, and now we get to use our TV remote to control our ATV.

Way to go, Apple!


Marriage defined?

A few questions on this whole thing:
  • Many claim that homosexuality is genetic, which would imply that it's hereditary. Really?*

  • So marrying any other person should be okay? How about one's brother? or daughter or son? Move the line, but only exactly this far...

  • Suppose a church said, "We will not perform nor honor marriages between hispanic people." What kinds of legal challenges might come to such a church?

  • The LDS church supports almost everything that same-sex couples are wanting. (Search for "hospital" on this page from lds.org.) What do these couples want that they don't already have? Marriage certificates?

  • Protesters are vandalizing church property (writing on walls, damaging fences, etc.), harassing members, and in some cases attacking them. Do these protesters know how those church members voted on Prop. 8? That kind of behavior doesn't sound like something those kinds of people would tolerate in other circumstances.

* I wonder what the strict-evolutionists think of this idea.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Head-lights: 2 years

I just realized that as of last Friday this blog has been going for 2 whole years! I've impressed myself, I didn't figure I'd submit more than a few posts when I wrote that first one. But I've had a great time and hopefully you have too.

Happy 2-year anniversary, readers. The future is looking brighter every day.

- Bryan

2-line Twilight review

  1. Pretty good depiction of a rather weak-story taken from a very cool premise.
  2. 75% of the movie-goers were teenage girls, only 3 other adult males in the room.

"You need only believe the truth."

Henry Eyring Sr.:
The significant thing about a scientist is this: he simply expects the truth to prevail because it is the truth. ...

A young man [once] asked [me], "In high school we are taught such things as pre-Adamic men, but we hear another thing in Church. What should I do about it?" I think I gave the right answer. I said, "In this Church you only have to believe the truth. Find out what the truth is!" ... This Church is not worried about that question or other similar questions, because the Church is committed only to the truth. ...
Fortunately there is a way to find the *real* truth, John 16:13, though often it takes more time than I'd like.
Some have asked me, "Is there any conflict between science and religion?" There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men. Through the eternities, we are going to get closer and closer to understanding the mind of God; then the conflicts will disappear.

I also noticed this quote, which sounds a lot like my "justified skepticism" entry from earlier.*

Finally, perhaps a believer never does more disservice to religion than to support the truth with bad arguments. The listener spots the obvious errors, becomes impatient, often "throws out the baby with the bath," and turns away, even from true religion.
The world is so full of "legacy" bad arguments I'm surprised there are still people who convert to the gospel these days.
* I find it fascinating how often I think I have original creative ideas, but really they're just me recalling something I read a long time ago and thinking it was my own. Hence I don't get to be very critical of Bill Swanson, whose book ended up doing the same thing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

College student tries to hug a panda

Aren't panda bears just so cute and huggable? Some college student in China thought so too, so he jumped in and tried it.

The guy's lucky he survived.

Now doesn't Obama strike you as the kind of guy who thinks the terrorists are simply misunderstood people who just need a hug?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Extension cord and a bag of chips

How to properly coil long cords so they don't tangle:

... and how to close a bag of chips without a tie/clip:

Friday, November 14, 2008

"'I cannot go to school today,' said little Peggy Ann McKay."

My attempt at Photoshop art

Regan's got an abscessed tooth that's going to get a crown Monday. Ouch.

I remember how bad it hurt when I had 4 dry-sockets after getting my wisdom teeth out. It's like each tooth individually pulling out a giant Taser and firing it through your eyeballs and into the inside of your skull -- and holding down the trigger.

So she's been on Tylenol (with Codeine?!) (whenever she'll take it), and anti-biotics.

(Any grade school kids actually like school?)

As a sidenote, Regan's not terribly fond of school at the moment. I don't remember *ever* being fond of school, but something about you hopes that your kids will like it. It's that same "something" that hopes maybe they'll get a college scholarship from the 1st grade.

(Most of our behaviors are a result of positive feedback, maybe we just need to give her more positive feedback on her work.)

(Generous, or "buying" friends?)

As another sidenote, last week I traded her all of her remaining Halloween candy for a $10 toy at Target. She then took it to school (without us knowing) and came home that night wanting us to take her to Target so she could buy herself another one, since she "left it" in her desk. After some prodding, though, she finally admitted that she'd given it away to one of her classmates.

Yeah, she took a credibility hit on that one.

School? My tooth hurts!

Whenever the topic of school is not being discussed, she seems in pretty good spirits.

So with all that in perspective, this morning she comes with a long face:
"Regan, get your shoes on, you've got school."

"Ohhh, my tooth hurts!"
Do I believe that?? Is that enough to stay home from school?

"Okay, if you're going to stay home, you have to stay in bed. As soon as you get out of bed, you have to go to school."
I figure if the tooth really does hurt, staying in bed is better than school. If it doesn't, going to school should be beter than staying in bed... Hope it works.

What do you think?

How do you decide when your kids get to stay home from school?

And when they do have to go, what do you do when they collapse on the floor and refuse to move?
I'm convinced one of the greatest skills a parent can have is the ability to motivate their kids to do stuff. I suppose "fear of punishment" is one way, but I've seen better ways...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

PAF on OS X instructions, improved

Although it looks like lots of folks have gotten PAF to run on OS X (intel Macs), the fonts are driving people crazy.

So I played with it for a few minutes. I thought it'd be tolerable, but after a few minutes with it, I have to agree it's a sanity bender.

It looks like a few folks smarter than me have figured out how to make it work, so here's the updated process that seems to get the fonts right. I also try to help out those whose first install didn't work so well:

  1. darwine.pngDownload Darwine (direct link). Darwine (homepage) is a project that tries to mimic the Windows OS for a Windows .exe program. It doesn't work terribly well for most stuff, but it does seem to work for PAF.

    (Different from my last instructions: this is a newer version of Darwine than the one you installed last time; if you installed it before, just quit Darwine if it's running and drag the Darwine folder out of your applications folder to the trash before continuing.)

  2. Install Darwine. Just like every other Mac app out there, double-click the .dmg file, open up the disk image that mounts, and drag the Darwine folder into your Applications folder

  3. Download PAF installer. This is a Windows application that installs the PAF5 application.

    (Different from my last instructions: this is the "all languages" version, which contains a unicode font that you need.)

  4. Install PAF. Open up the Darwine folder (/Applications/Darwine), and drag the PAF5 Setup .exe file you just downloaded onto the WineHelper.app.

    If you previously installed PAF using my earlier instructions, run this program once and click "Remove" when it asks you what you want to do. This will remove the app from the first time around. Then, you should run the PAF installer again, and continue from here.

    Select "English" for the language, then when it asks which "components" to install, select "English" and the "International Unicode Font".

    When the IntallShield asks you where to put PAF, press the "Browse" button, and browse to "Z:\Applications", then change it to read "Z:\Applications\PAF5.2". Don't worry if the PAF5.2 folder doesn't exist, the installer will create it.

    Continue with installation. Also, don't worry if it complains about not being able to find WordPad or NotePad.
  5. Run. To run PAF, go to /Applications/PAF5.2, and drag PAF5.exe to /Applications/Darwine/WineHelper.app.

Much better.
See how much nicer that looks?

I should mention that PAF's future isn't entirely certain. They may be building a web-based PAF, but that's not clear from the vague statements posted to wikipedia and here. If you have money $99 lying around, you might do better to go with Reunion 9 which does more, and which gets tremendous reviews.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Election maps

I love these maps of the election. This just proves that crowded people are liberal.

Spread out, everybody! =)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama wins.

obama.pngIn my mind Bush's greatest failure has been the creation of a climate that resulted in a far-left near-socialist candidate getting elected as the 44th president of this country.

So that said, I'll make a few reckless predictions:
  • Great speeches ahead. Obama has a shiny silver tongue, which will make for some stirring speeches. I like those, at least.
  • Real leadership? Far as I can tell, Obama's never really led anything, and I imagine that track record will lead to a lot of flutter in the press and in Washington, but very little real movement in this country's sails.
  • Mulligan stew. A few poor decisions early on and his credibility will start to slide. He'll revert to "safer" activities and fill a term with busy but rather lame doings.
  • Weak captain, strong sailors. When good sailors realize their captain isn't always up to the job, they then start to realize that if they're going to survive, they've got to be cautious and on the ball.

    Similarly I tend to think that under strong leadership, business leaders subconsciously think, "Oh, the president has got it under control, he'll take care of things -- we can relax." Under weak leadership, they think, "Uh, oh, we better be super careful and work really hard or we'll never make it!"
  • Who's tanking this thing? Did you notice the economy isn't doing so hot? Anybody want to bet how long it will take the short-minded US population to start assigning the blame to Obama? If that sticks, maybe in 4 years we can get back to business.
Don't forget, the president can get us into some real messes militarily, but I don't think Obama will do much of that. More likely he'll do too little.

His real focus is on social programs* -- the only problem he has is that he doesn't get to make laws, nor does he fund them. He only gets to make the budget for them and hope the Congress will pass it and send it back to him to sign.

Fingers crossed that process moves *very* slowly.
* I really hope he doesn't follow GW Bush's lead and try to fulfill all his campaign promises -- that was Bush's second-greatest failure.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My economic recovery platform

Today I had an epiphany on how either of the presidential candidates could pull the US out of this economic freeze we're in. Ready?

Gather and store

It starts by recommending that American individuals and families begin gathering and storing food and other household items.*

Why do I think that would that work?
  • Gets people buying. Economies are made simply of people producing things that other people want, getting paid, and then buying things that others have made. Initiating a nationwide program like this gets lots of people buying food and other goods, much of which is produced here in the US, therefore encouraging movement of money around in the US again.
  • It's stuff they need anyway. Encourage people to only buy things that they need, things they're going to need eventually anyway. It's insurance against future shortages, especially in times of plenty.
  • Leverage the fear. Economies spiral downward because people who are scared stop buying stuff and start holding onto their money. However, if fear can prompt people to buy goods, especially ones they will soon need anyway, we should use it to improve the economy, instead of letting their fear drag it down.
  • Real value. If the economy were to really go sour (which I doubt it will), people will be very glad for the things they had bought.
  • Real bargain. As people start to hold on to their money more, inventories will go up in the short-term, which will cause prices to drop. That's the time we should encourage people to buy, when prices are somewhat lowered. If not, the factories will begin to lower production rates and we'll end up with fewer (and pricier) goods, and fewer jobs.**
Note I said "begin" up there, if we induce panic there'll be a run on the stores and it'll just make a mess. It has to have a gentle kickoff, then persistent, steady pressure to continue.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow. We'd hate to find out that the goose that lays golden eggs just tastes like chicken.

* Just like a years supply.

** I'm not an economist, but I play one in my office sometimes.

Does anyone read this thing?

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