Keeping up with the Joneses! Lee & Cathy Jones, the world's cutest service dog, and three cuddly cats.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
For your own "disaster", just go to http://www.netdisaster.com/, type in another web address, and pick your disaster. Nothing happens to the real web site... you'll looking at a temporary copy with the "disaster" inserted.
How often should I post, anyway?
Upon some introspection, I have decided that I personally prefer a single, longer post than multiple, shorter posts, even if that long, single post covers all the same topics. It is thus that I intend to post "drafts" throughout the day until I feel the post is long enough and intersting enough to warrnat publishing.
Nicole was probably the first to touch on this. If you read my blog, there's a good chance you know I'm reading yours, since I tend to comment. However, one of the big things about blogs is the "no pressure" element. If you, my friend, have a blog that I follow, I won't quite checking just because you don't post every day. In fact, it's probably unusual for someone to post every day. That said, I would like to see you post something regularly, maybe minimally semi-monthly. But I'm not going to stop checking on you just because you don't post for a period of time.
Personally, I'll likely update Monday through Friday, usually once a day, sometimes more if the material warrants it. There will be days when I won't blog at all. That said, I'm online constatnstly due to the nature of my work. The last thing I want is to pressure my friends to "blog better" or "blog more"... I just want to keep up with you, but without having to check my junk email filters.
So, I'll post weekly "Joneses" posts, and the subject will indicate that, like "Keeping Up: Blah Blah-dee Bladee Blah". If you have another idea, I'd be glad to hear it.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Florida Trip Postponed
When my father-in-law and my good friend in Haiti both asked how my Florida trip was, I realized that I had not said enough about our travel plans. In a nutshell, we haven't left yet, and we probably won't until the end of May.
Basically, we want to help the Van Zwienens settle in at their new home in Florida. They just took off on Tuesday. The original plan was to follow them in a caravan, but they are trying to remain flexible in their travel plans. The VZs will visit Arizona, then Texas, and then perhaps the Midwest before they go through Pennsylvania to New York. When they arrive there, the VZs will give us a call and we'll arrange to meet them in Florida.
With the free and cool Audio Blogging and the ability to email my posts, I intend to keep all y'all up to speed.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Malachi on my shoulder
Posted by: leeandcathy.
Here's a cute photo of Malachi giving Cathy a hug...
Say it with me... "aaaawwww!"
AOL Upates Terms of Service
After initially scaring AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) users with the a poorly-worded change in the Terms of Service statement, AOL has announced it will change the wording again. AOL's statement currently reads:
"'Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content.Yow! It didn't make people feel better that
'You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the content or to be compensated for any such uses.'"
"America Online spokesman Andrew Weinstein, however, maintained that AOL does not monitor, read or review any user-to-user communication through the AIM network, except in response to a valid legal process."The revamped terms of service applies only to users who downloaded the free AIM software on or after Feb. 5, 2004. AOL spokesperson Andrew Weinstein said a blunt and inelegant line that reads "You waive any right to privacy" will be deleted altogether.
In the final analysis, AOL is trying to say that they are updating the language of the Terms of Service to reflect what AOL actually does presently; AOL is not changing how they deal with private information.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Oops; ChoicePoint tricked into giving out 140,000 profiles
It is my understanding that they were tricked instead of hacked, but I imagine those responsible must feel about like this:
Some more on the Grand Pacific Palisades, Timeshares, and buying tips
As for the Grand Pacific Palisades (GPP), there was a catch (in hindsight, I'd have to say "duh"). We were invited to a tour of a timeshare after all.
Now, as timeshares go, I would have to say that this was very low-pressure. It was also an attractive purchase, but we already have that timeshare in Las Vegas we'd like to sell (we hardly go there), and we already have ownership stakes at WorldMark (thus allowing us to go everywhere we've wanted to go).
I must admit that the GPP was quite attractive, and I would have gladly traded our Las Vegas timeshare for it. GPP is very family-friendly and kid-friendly. It is literally between Legoland California and The Flower Fields. If we lived in Carlsbad or the surrounding area, it would be even more inticing as you get a free country-club-like environment to swim and excercise at, and they have weekly barbeques. The trading power in the RCI network is quite high, as well, and you can purchase 8-night cruises for about $800.
One tip, though... if you do intend to buy a timeshare, be sure to let them know you are interested, but in the end be sure to tell them "no." The follow-up person will offer you the same deal with incentives like a free cruise and no maintenance fees for the first year. You can always purchase then, for the same price, but get some extras. Cathy & I have been to a half-dozen of these, and there is always a follow-up person.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Two years since the last her last one!
Blogger does support Trackback... through HaloScan
Frankly, it looks scary enough I'm not planning on doing it any time soon. But, I figured I would set the record straight since I preveiously alleged that Blogger is unable to do trackbacks.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Agent to the Stars -- An Online Novel
I was checking up on my own list of sites that I read regularly, and I came across yet another free online novel. This one is Sci-Fi, reminds me a little of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I like the style. "Agent to the Stars -- An Online Novel" by John Scalzi is available at this page: http://www.scalzi.com/agent/
Caveat Lector: the man does swear.
Grand Pacific Palisades and The Flower Fields
Somehow, my lovely Wifey-Pooh got on a list somewhere, and the promoters of the Grand Pacific Palisades wants to give her (and her spouse, that'd be me) a guided tour of GPP and tickets to TFF (I love TLAs), plus a weekend vacation somewhere and some gift certificates to retailers of her choice.
Naturally, I asked what the catch was... "Nothing," she said, "except they want us to tell our friends about the experience." I told her I would blog about it, and I'm hoping to finally suck Cathy into posting something herself. We'll probably go this weekend, so I'll post some photos and whatnot. At least I know I'll get some good shots of flowers and of the Joneses in 50 acres of Persian Buttercups.
If this account is true about Terri Shiavo....
Caveat Lector: If you are attempting to avoid the emotional or ethical struggles regarding the Terri Shiavo case, then don't read this post.
If this account is true regarding Terri Shiavo, then I would have to decide now that it is wrong to let Terri Shiavo die from starvation. This account is told by Barbara Weller, an attorney who represents Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.
Basically, Barbara Weller states that she had meaningful interaction with Terri Shiavo. This would, at the minimum, place a "shadow of a doubt" on whether Terri is not conscious of her surroundings.
If that is true, the Terri is being killed; she is not dying "naturally" but being starved to death against her will.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
I'll be double-posting for a while...
For those of you with bookmarks or RSS feeds pointing to our MSN Spaces page, I will be posting on both blogs for a week or two. Still, you may want to change your bookmark to our Blogspot instead.
I'll also be posting past entries into our new blog, which I figure will take some time to do.
Thinking about Terri Shaivo
I've been thinking about Terri Shaivo a lot today. In case you are not familiar with the issue, Terri suffered from oxygen depravation due to cardiac arrest. She was at home at the time, and she was 26 years old. She has been in medical care for approximately 15 years now. There is a lot of debate concerning her medical condition, the extend of damage to her brain, and wether she is conscious or in a persistive vegatative state (PVS).
Her husband, Michael, argues that Terri had told him to withdraw treatment under such conditions. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, argue that she is conscious, has expressed a desire to live, and only needs treatment and rehabilitation, which has been withheld by her husband.
I intend to research some of the facts behind the issue, then attempt to answer the questions "Should Terri Shaivo's feeding tubes be withdrawn?" and "When is it OK to let someone die?"
Update on Ted
Ted and I chatted yesterday via . They are safely back home from the trip to Port-au-Prince. We'll be starting an online Bible study, which I am envisioning as a team blog for future expansion.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
So far, I've gotten 6 votes for http://LeeAndCathy.blogspot.com, two suggestions for "MeAndMrsJones" and one suggestion for "ZachysParents"... Even Cathy voted for LeeAndCathy, so I'm leaning that way (unless someone convinces me otherwise with a great suggestion).
I did notice that Google's Blogger does not (currently) support TrackBacks. And the photo posting isn't quite as slick as Microsoft's ActiveX controls... still, a lack of TrackBacks and the minor idiosyncrasies of the photo posting is barely noticable.
So, this week I'll begin my migration to www.Blogger.com. My friends Micah & Nicole and Derrick & Jenn are also over there already, so while I'll miss my friends the Van Zwienens (whom I attracted to MSN Spaces in the first place) I am still diving in.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Why I'm Switching from MSN Spaces to Google's Blogger
This is mostly for the benefit of the MSN Spaces team...
Here's what I like about MSN Spaces:
- Easy to post, friendly for novices
- Cool photo albums
Here's what I don't like about MSN Spaces:
- Must use Internet Explorer to enjoy cool photo album
- Must use Internet Explorer to get WYSIWIG editing
- Lack of information on when Spaces comes out of Beta
(it was already in Asia, for crying out loud)
(what new features are coming?)
- Inability to edit HTML directly
- MUST use MSN Passport to sign in to post
- Really long URL names like http://spaces.msn.com/membmers/blahblahblah
Here's what is attractive about Blogger:
- Shorter URL name
- I can use Firefox to post things
- I can edit the HTML directly
- Picasa 2
- Audio Blogging
- Email posting
- Ability to back-date posts (so I can port my posts from here to there)
- A community where I can find out the future of Blogger
- Team blogging (looking forward to that)
Which Blog to use?
OK, it's decided.... I'm switching to www.blogger.com; the question remains only what to call my blog. I've staked a claim on several names at www.blogspot.com
Wifey-Pooh has decided to allow me to call her "Cathy" in my posts, so that will save some typing. She still doesn't want her photo displayed as she remains her camera-shy self. Besides, I have yet to find my camera cable... I'll probably break down and buy a SD card reader this week.
Comments, please... which blog spot to take?
Friday, March 18, 2005
Digital Music, iPods and the DMCA
Do you own an Apple iPod or iPod Shuffle? I personally think that subscription music services like Napster make more sense long-term than 99¢ downloads for each song if you are a rabid listener. If you are enamored with the fashion statement that is the iPod, then digital audio fidelity may not be your chief concern.
None the less, while I still believe that Windows Media Audio (WMA) is superior to Apple Audio Codec (AAC), I'm fairly certain I am not read much by Apple Acolyotes as I have not yet received much hate mail for my opinion.
Anyway, I started this post to tell you that you can move your purchased music around on your devices if you happen to use multiple players. My own player is an iRiver, and it plays Ogg Vorbis, WMA or MP3 (more on MP3 format). If I owned an iPod, I would probably go through the steps described by Bill Machrone of PC Magazine. In short, you sacrifice audio quality by burning your purchased music to CD, then ripping them back to your computer and putting them on your other music player.
If you are using iTunes, check out the Hymn Project which allows you to digitially convert your iTunes library to other digital formats, skipping the "rip to CD and back again" steps. This preserves your purchased audio quality.
Note that in order to do this and not violate any ethical standards imposed upon you via your religious or philosophical leanings, not to mention not violating the DCMA, you will need to purchase the music. And, you still cannot "share" these with your friends. That would be stealing for your friends and your would be distributing copyrighted material.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
I believe it is important to make distinctions between one thing and another thing, between "this" and "that".
I believe in absolutes. I believe that there is a color black and a color white, and they are different for all living things with sight, providing they have the ability to perceive color.
I believe what is black is black regardless of my perception of it; if my faculties fail me, or the situation in which I find myself skews my perception of a black object, it remains black regardless of my perception of it. My perceptions do not change the object, regardless of how convinced I am that my perceptions are right.
I believe in a verifiable reality which remains universally true for all persons at all times. Often times it is the difference of a distinction, or an inadequate distinction, that fails to separate a person from faleshood or from harm. That which is praiseworthy is different than that which is blameworthy.
I believe there are terrorists in the world. I believe there are heros, and I believe there are criminals.
I believe in truth, and I believe it can be accurately perceived and grasped. Some people do not believe in absolute truth, but rather a reality which is realitve to a the language a community chooses to use. Based on this idea, some can claim that there are no terrorists in the world. That would mean there are no kidnappers in this world, for one man's kidnapper is another man's decent citizen.
I believe that is silly.
Monday, March 14, 2005
It's been FOREVER!
OK, it's been weeks. So what's new? It has been a long time since I've updated. I suppose it would be a little difficult for you to keep up if I don't say anything, huh?
Life has been hectic, that's for sure. Let me update you:
Ted went back to Haiti with his family on Tuesday, February 22nd and he just me today to say "hi." They've got wireless access in the home now, so we may do some long-distance Bible studies together. I'm looking forward to that!
I haven't done anything with the apartment in two weeks. Well, the bathroom sink is leaking, so that's new.
We discovered that our income and outflow did not overlap to a high enough degree. We concluded we would soon sink uner the collective pressure of our personal debt and commerical shortfall. Thus, we looked into refinancing our apartment and realized that we'd be spending over five years just breaking even from the pre-payment penalty.
Our apartment appraisal revealed that we did not have a significant increase in equity yet (all six months worth, that makes sense). We thought about selling, moving to Georgia, and starting over. Put the pre-payment penalty really kills that idea, too. If we refiance or sell, we're are just screwed. I take solice in the idea that God avenges, so I do not personally feel the need to strike out at the man who did this to us.
I contacted another mortgage company, and they came up with the notion of a HELOC and a re-fi after our prepayment period expires. We're going that route, which means I have two and a half years to finish school, because Wifey-Pooh is SOOOO ready to quit work.
I didn't want to make arrangements to get back into school and then announce that I was moving to Georgia. I'll be writing the registrar this week.
Well, my tooth probably needs a root canal. I got a cap on it, but that does not appear to be sufficient.
Michael & Sativa were married this past Saturday. I was an attendant, which was a honor for me. I'd post pictures, but my camera cable has mysteriously disappeared again (argh!).
Ian was baptised this past Saturday. Wifey-Pooh and I visited the VZs, and we had a great prayer and praise time. That, and my brothers in the Lord were involved in an emergency spiritual intervention while the rest of us prayed. The results are very encouraging.
I have successfully made my functions at church replacable by others. I created a CD-ROM with videos demonstrating the various functions I perform, along with explanations of where to get more help. If I were struck by a meteorite tomorrow, the computer systems would not come to a screeching halt.
Well, some things are being changed at church concerning Wifey-Pooh's involvement, and she is concerend that some mistakes are being made. It appears that Wifey-Pooh is being asked to train her replacement, and she would step down as Treasurer. If that were to happen, I believe we would no longer be able to attend for at least two reasons:
- no money for gas, and
- the mere social discomfort of attempting to have fellowship where you were essentially fired is too much to bear.
That should sum up a quick overview of what's been going on. I'm giving serious consideration to switching over to www.blogger.com. I'm just looking for a good name for Wifey-Pooh and me to use there.
Happy Pi Day
Happy Pi Day!
π, or pi (if you cannot type Greek), is the mathematical contant equal to approximately 3.141592653. Pi (originally pronounced like the letter "p") is a transcendental irrational number; that is, it cannot be written as a fraction. π is not constructible; that is, it is impossible to express π using only a finite number of integers, fractions and their square roots.
Archimedes "Mr. Eureka" of Syracuse has the distinction of having pi named "Archimedes' constant" since he was the first to reach a four-digit approximation of pi in the 3rd century BC. The Chinese mathematician Liu Hui was first to reach five digits in in 263 AD, and Zu Chongzhi reached seven digits in 480 AD. It took hundreds of years to improve the calculation of pi byt the man who invented the Claw of Archimedes used in the Second Punic War.
Who says there isn't a career for math majors?