Thursday, December 03, 2009

OpenDNS and Google Public DNS

I suggested OpenDNS some time back, and I still use it widely. If you haven't started using OpenDNS yet, you get Web Content Filtering (by category), Anti-Phishing and Malware site blocking, and you can use whitelists and blacklists for web access. There's a free version, which serves my needs (and my church's needs) rather well. You can read more about OpenDNS here.

I was surprised (and a little worried) when I read that Google was also offering a DNS service, named Google Public DNS. After reading the FAQ it seems that (initially) all Google is offering is faster DNS, nothing more. You can also read
OpenDNS's response to the Google offering.

Well, if you are using your ISP's DNS server and primarily use Google services, there's no good reason not to use Google's DNS servers; you'll get a bump in speed. However, OpenDNS gives you a bump in speed AND it offer anti-phishing and malware protection. There's no good reason to use Google's DNS instead of OpenDNS.

In short, if you're going to use a DNS service instead of your ISP's offering, I'd go with OpenDNS.

I don't expect that Google will stop at 'just offering faster DNS' but will probably start competing with OpenDNS more directly. Heck, they even have support numbers on the FAQ page that you can call?! If Google offers integration with DNS and Google Apps, and allow group or per user filtering options, that would strengthen their position against OpenDNS... but time will tell. The only advantages Google's DNS has right now is 1) name recognition and 2) easier to remember numbers.

Currently, though, OpenDNS wins hands down. Until Google offers more, OpenDNS is still going to be the huckleberry for other DNS services.

If you're not using an alternate DNS service, I'd totally recommend OpenDNS. Maybe you could use Google's DNS servers as your third and fourth in case OpenDNS is ever down, but I can't remember that happening.

EDIT: Looks like PCMag agrees with me, go with OpenDNS.

EDIT: I did plug in Google's DNS settings on a laptop -- it does work.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A tribute to Oliver

Oliver Jones
07/09/2000 - 07/25/2009

Oliver came into our lives in the Fall 2001. We were living in Fontana at the time among the new housing developments. It was during the rapidly growing housing market, and there were developments all around us.

One day, Rhonda decided to have a garage sale. Oliver and a few other dogs wandered out of a field and came down the street. Rhonda took pity on the dogs and set out some food and water, and Oliver hung around. At the end of the day, she went back in but left some water out. He was gone when I got home.

We learned that people dumped dogs around the developments. The next day, Oliver wandered back and Rhonda gave him some food and water. There were no other dogs around; it turns out the city was picking up the strays. Cathy thought of him as an orphan and named him Oliver. Cathy and Rhonda talked me into giving the dog a chance, and we did.

Oliver had burrs in his pads and a load of ticks; it cost us quite a bit to get them removed. The vet told us he's half Basset Hound and half Terrier, and he gave us an estimate of his age, so we picked a date for his birthday. I did not want a dog. I didn't want an inside dog, even if I did have a dog. So Oliver started out living in the yard, sleeping in the garage and whining all night. Cathy convinced me to let him live indoors, and eventually he had the run of the house.

Oliver was territorial and had picked up bad habits before he came to live with us. He snarled at strangers, so we had to put him in the back yard for visitors. He dug out of the back yard a couple of times, too! But he was always very sweet with our cats.

There were several things that made Cathy think that Oliver was trained to attack, and maybe abused. Oliver would yelp like a stuck pig if you picked him up off the ground. He used to cringe when we approached him (for the first few months) and he was real aggressive at first. We know much better now, but I have to admit that I was not gentle with him when he first arrived, and it took me many years to truly come to love him and learn to motivate him with positive attention and affection.

Oliver was a good dog with a lot of baggage. I used to let him run around the front yard off leash, and he would always come when called. He was great with cats, but always aggressive towards strangers and dogs. It took our good friends, Steve and Yvonne, years to become 'part of the family' so that Oliver would let them come in to the house unescorted.

We got Amos and Zechariah when we had Oliver. Oliver loved kittens, and through the years and dozens of kittens that we fostered, Oliver watched over each of them gently. At some point, Zechariah got sweet on Oliver, and they became an item. Oliver liked all the rest of our cats, but he was especially fond of Zacky-Pooh.

Oliver was well-traveled and lived an interesting life. We took Oliver with us on as many trips as we could. Oliver went to the beach, the mountains, the lake... He even traveled out-of-state; we took him to Prescott, Arizona and back. He lived in a single-story house, a two-story house, with other dogs, with multiple cats, in apartments, in a tent, and in an RV. His was not a boring life. :-)

During this last year, Oliver seemed to have been losing his hearing. He had more trouble climbing the stairs, and he limped on occasion during his walks. He was getting old, and he was getting grumpy. But, I came to love him most during the last year.

I know people tend to eulogize the deceased. I know Oliver had his faults. But I remember him as my dog, a good dog that wanted his family to be safe, to be loved by his mom and dad and cats, and who was happy so long as his family was paying attention to him. We'll miss him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Google Voice App for BlackBerry and Android

Yesterday, the Official Google Blog announced the release of Google Voice mobile app for Blackberry and Android. I've been waiting for this... Check out the post and get the app at m.google.com/voice.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Fix for 'Rules in Error' - 'Cannot Reply to Message' for Outlook 2007 Out-Of-Office rule

I was trying to set up an out-of-office rule in Outlook 2007. If you have Exchange, this is very easy, but if you are using POP (and maybe IMAP?) account, you'd need to duplicate the effect with an email rule and leave Outlook running. You can follow the directions on Microsoft KB# 311107 to set up such an out-of-office rule without Exchange.

For Outlook 2007, I got a pop-up message with a title 'Rules in Error' indicating simply 'Cannot Reply to Message'... which was not helpful. My Outlook 2007 is up-to-date, and a Google search (example) of the error led me to believe this is actually a bug in Outlook 2007.

The rule I set up is very basic and always replies with the same template (screenshot), yet I received the error message (screenshot). Contrary to (seemingly) popular opinion, there are ways to resolve this. I have found two things to make Outlook 2007 POP3 out-of-office work.
  1. Update to Office 2007 SP2 and use a plain-text Outlook template.
  2. Process the rule once manually and leave Outlook running.
Option 1: Update to SP2 and use a plain-text template
If you read Microsoft's directions carefully, it tells you to use a Plain Text template in Outlook 2007, but it does not specify plain text template for previous versions. I made a plain text template and my out-of-office rule worked just fine.

I am running Outlook 2007 SP2, but on a computer with Outlook 2007 SP1 the out-of-office rule did not work (plain-text or not). I used option #2 (see below), but later updated to Office SP2 (available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b444bf18-79ea-46c6-8a81-9db49b4ab6e5&displaylang=en) and used the plain text template.

So, that's one way... what's the other?

Option 2: Process the rule manually once
Thanks to this post at Lockergnome, there is another workaround. After you set up an email rule and it generates the error, the rule is disabled. The rule itself seems valid, and you can run it manually. So, restart Outlook and re-enable the rule, and run the rule once manually and apply it to your existing messages before another email is received. Voila, it works!
  1. Set up the out-of-office rule
  2. Close Outlook 2007
  3. Start Outlook 2007 and click on Tools > Rules and Alerts and turn on your rule
  4. Still in Rules and Alerts, click on 'Run Rules Now...' and select your out-of-office rule and click on Run Now
  5. Close the Rules and Alerts and leave Outlook 2007 running
Interestingly, at least one email needs to be in your Inbox when you run the rule, or it doesn't seem to work. If you have trouble finishing these steps before the rule is applied, try disconnecting your network cable or setting Outlook to work offline.

Pros and Cons
Option 2 has the advantage of working with graphical templates and does not require updating to SP2. However, it stops working if Outlook 2007 is restarted - you'll have to run the rule manually again.

Option 1 has the advantage of being more 'reliable' -- you start Outlook 2007 and it keeps working. However, it is plain text and it may require a sizable update.

Summary
If you don't mind updating to Office 2007 SP2, you can create a plain-text Outlook template and use it with your out-of-office rule. If you object to either plain-text replies or to installing SP2, you can run the rule manually once and it should keep running.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vista and Windows 2008 Service Pack 2 available now

You can now download the Vista and Windows 2008 Service Pack 2 installation files. The main page is here at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd262148.aspx.
  • ISO for Windows Server 2008 x86/x64/ia64 and Windows Vista x86/x64
  • x86 for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista x86
  • x64 for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista x64
  • ia64 for Windows Server 2008 ia64
Most people will want either the x86 or x64 version. I grabbed the ISO as well since I install it stand-alone so often.

Oliver is OK

Oliver is going to be O.K.

After getting a different officer, Oliver was examined on Friday by the O.C. Animal Services. Like I said, the process was triggered automatically by the doctor's visit. We have to quarantine Oliver for 10 days, and then OCAS examines him again to make sure he does not have rabies. After that, he's free again.

The dad of the girl is moving today (Tuesday) and we moved Friday. The mom made no issue of it and the dad dropped it. The little girl (her name means Princess in Hebrew) even asked to pet Oliver again and is still very attracted to doggies, so that's good.

Oliver is adjusting from the move. I have since decided that I need to be a better dog owner, so I've begun reading up on dog ownership. It's not that we've been bad to him, but I think we can, and especially I can do a better job building his confidence so he'll be less likely to respond in fear when he is surprised.

:-D

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oliver is probably moving to a shelter

So... lots of stuff happened today. First of all, Oliver bit a child yesterday. It turns out that he didn't draw blood or break skin, but he did bruise her shoulder. Yes, the child ran up to Oliver and surprised him. No, the mom didn't make an issue of it, but the dad was very upset. There were some threats of calling the police. We offered to pay for the doctor's visit, but their insurance is somehow through the Department of Health Services (DHS) so it didn't cost anything.

Because their coverage is through DHS, they automatically get a visit from Orange County Child Protective Services -- which didn't make the dad happy at all. They're a very nice family, but OCSSA doesn't know that.

While I can't find the ordinance, a couple of antedotal reports, one shelter and a OC Register story (here and here) all indicated that parents can press for Oliver to be euthanized. Unfortunately, the dad was certainly leaning towards it.

Last night, we went back and forth on keeping Oliver, giving him away, putting him down... Cathy was pretty adamant that we need to have him put down because a dog that bit will bite again. That's how we went to sleep.

Well, Cathy instant messaged me today, and we decided that we'd keep him and just move a week sooner. Now, we decided to move earlier to avoid the awkward feeling of living next to someone that... well, let's just say it is uncomfortable. We figured we'd keep Oliver and move, end of problem, and we'd just be really careful.

As it turns out, the involvement of DHS / OCSSA supposedly means the involvement of OC Animal Care Services and Olver possibly being destroyed. The idea of Oliver being hauled away by strangers and dying scared and alone in a cage in a county facility was terrible. I'd rather put him down myself when he's happy and calm than have strangers scare him and kill him.

The only no-kill shelter I found in SoCal wouldn't take a 'biter' - and I have no relatives that do not have children around. I even checked with Rhonda but she has no resources, either.

So, I came home to spend some time with Oliver before we took him to the vet ourselves. The neighbors seemed appeased at the news -- the mom was even sad for us. I said my goodbyes and then we drove Oliver to the vet.

Now, when the vet learned that Oliver bit someone, they told us that the law forbids them from euthanizing Oliver for 15 days. I thanked the receptionist and we left quickly, first in confusion and then in relief. But, the threat of Oliver being taken from us remains...

There are two pieces of good news, though. First, the doctor who examined the child indicated that some soap and water will take care of the scratches and the bruising will go away on its own. The child got a tetanus shot as well... so she is not badly injured and she does not even display fear for dogs (which isn't exactly good at this point). Second, a shelter out-of-state has offered to take Oliver, and Cathy jumped at the idea of driving or flying Oliver to the shelter.

So, if the dad doesn't press the issue, and if OCSSA doesn't call Animal Care Services, and if nothing happesn for the next two weeks, we should be OK. Cathy still wants to send Oliver to a no-kill shelter, though, as she is convinced that we'll eventually screw up and Oliver will bite someone and draw blood -- then he'll be taken away and put down and who knows what trouble we'd be in. So... we may be saying 'see you later' to our dog.

But, first, we have to get past the next two weeks...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oliver needs a new home

OK, my dog bit a neighbor's kid. We don't want to be forced to destroy him, but we can't keep him, either. Living in an RV, there's just too many children and dogs coming and going all the time.

Do you know someone in Southern California that could help me place him? We're looking for a new home for him. Comment below, or call me, or facebook me.

The vet thinks Oliver is part Basset Hound and part Wire Hair Terrier.

He's 42 pounds, 8 or 9 years old (we're not sure as he is a rescue). He's great with our cats but he doesn't do well with kids. He ignores some dogs but can't stand others - I am not sure what the difference is.

Here's some photos:
Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Worried about Conficker?

Are you worried about Conficker? It's set to go off on April 1st.

It only affects Windows computers, so if you're running Macs or Linux machines, don't worry about it. (Mac users, don't feel too smug, as the recent PWN to OWN demonstrated an exploit of a fully updated Mac in mere seconds).

There's a fairly detailed analysis at Windows Secrets. If you think you might have Conficker, try visiting http://www.symantec.com/ or http://www.mcafee.com/; if you cannot, you may have it.

To remove Conficker, visit http://www.bdtools.net/ and download BitDefender's single-PC conficker removal tool. If that doesn't work on the infected PC, download it from another and run it on the infected PC.

If you are a network admin, go get Nmap (see also this) and run the following command:
nmap -PN -T4 -p139,445 -n -v --script=smb-check-vulns --script-args safe=1 [subnet]
where subnet is something like 192.168.1.0/24 -- you can thank Doxpara for that.

I would also suggest that you use OpenDNS. They have been blocking conficker since February, and there's more detail here. Seriously, sign up for OpenDNS if you are not using it yet; it's free and does more than just provide DNS. I've talked about them before, but not enough.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sphincter Moments

I had a very tense morning on Friday, what my coworker refers to as a Sphincter Moment.

The Background
On Thursday, I was doing a server migration from UNIX to Windows. The UNIX server is getting really old and the hardware is no longer reliable.

The data transfers over without conversion, so I could simply send the files via FTP. For convenience, I usually collect the files into a TAR or GZIP file before sending the files. I got people out of the system at 5 PM, made sure last night's backup had ran OK, then created my TAR files for the transfer.

The Reboot
The FTP download wouldn't complete, so I investigated. The UNIX time was off by 80 minutes (no one applied the new timezone patch), and restarting TCP didn't seem to help. System uptime was 287 days, so I figured, "Well, I have two backups, I'll correct the time, reboot and see if that helps."

I flushed the disk controller's cache to disk via the sync command, then issued a shutdown and restart command. Twenty minutes later, I still can't log in and I can't ping it locally... and my contact person on site answered the phone but just left (argh).

The next morning, the client discovered that the server room was locked and nobody had the key. After getting the vice president who had the key to unlock the server room, he turned the machine back on, followed some onscreen instructions, and we were back in business.

"Oh Crap"
I went to my backup folder to try a transfer before they got busy... and my files were gone. The timezone was still wrong, and some other files and changes I made last night were missing, too. I checked the MAC address to make sure I was on the right system, but it was like someone erased all my work. "Weird," I thought, "someone deleted my changes? Oh well, I'll re-do the backup."

Then came the call, "Hey, Lee, we have nothing in our dispatch board. No appointments, period." Then the call from accounting that the fiscal year was wrong. And as I looked at the system logs, I noted that there was a huge gap between 09/25/2008 and 03/27/2009, as if the server had been off for six months. Even our databases were the same way... no data was entered after the morning of 09/25/2008.

I restored the backup from tape (as my TAR backups disappeared with everything else), and the client lost a day of work. Fortunately, it was a light day and they could re-input their data quickly. Out of the IT director, the CIO, CTO, my manager, and myself, I was the one most bent out-of-shape over the whole thing.

What Happened
We pieced it together after the fact. The IT director is new as the previous one left without warning and without leaving any passwords or configuration information. He knew the UNIX server was having problems, but not what problems.

Nobody was monitoring the RAID array, and it is a RAID-1 with a LSIL on-board controller. The LSIL had a neat feature, in that if the array is broken, both the online drive and the offline drive retain data, and the array can be rebuilt with either drive. This allows you to build an array from existing drives without losing data on the drive you copy from.

Well, DISK 0 probably went offline in 09/2008, while DISK 1 kept working. When the server restarted, it either 1) asked which drive to set as primary and defaulted to the old data on DISK 0, or 2) defaulted to DISK 0 without asking. In either case, the drive from 09/2008 became the primary, thus causing a six-month black hole.

The Moral
The moral of the story? Make sure you have backups, make sure you have OFFLINE backups, and make sure those backups can be accessed and restored -- test your backups! Thank God Almighty that the backup restored OK, or that client would be out of business within months. *whew*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NTFS event ID 55 backing up with Volume Shadow Copy (VSS)

OK, I have this client that had failed backups and event viewer showed NTFS errors with event ID 55. The event log entry suggested that I "please run the chkdsk utility on the volume \Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy1".

I performed the obligatory searches of Microsoft's KB database and asked Google, and the closest I got to an exact match was an unanswered call for help on Symantec's forums.

Here's the symptoms:
Backup failed and the indicated the following errors:
Could not access portions of directory System State\COM+ Class Registration Database.
Could not access portions of directory System State\Registry.
Event Viewer showed NTFS errors with event ID 55.
I could make a copy of unopened files.
"VSSADMIN LIST WRITERS" showed no errors.
CHKDSK /F showed no errors.

EventID.NET had a suggestion but it didn't seem to apply. Microsoft has a whole bunch of articles about VSS. The most drastic suggestion was 'do a backup, format and restore' -- except, of course, I couldn't do an online backup.

Anyway, in the end, here's what worked: I emptied the recycle bin, ran disk cleanup, and everything was fine with NTBackup again. Go figure.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Boaz is a key thief

Boaz, our Russian Blue, is a key thief.

A couple of weeks ago I left my laptop on overnight to compress some video. In the morning, I found I was missing a function key and several other keys were loose. I figured the cats were roughhousing and ran on my laptop, dislodging keys. "Oh well," I thought to myself, "I'll just cover the keyboard from now on." I found it later on the carpet and reattached it, no problem.

The same thing happened to Cathy's keyboard a few days later. Then, it happened again to me, except this time someone actually moved the cover from the keys first.

Then I witnessed it; I actually saw Boaz walk up to Cathy's laptop, angle his head and pry up a key with his teeth, then run away. As weird as it sounds, my cat steals keys off of my laptop keyboard.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Solar-powered lighting at IKEA

We've been thinking of getting some outdoor lighting for the RV. IKEA is beginning to offer solar-powered lighting. Hm... I think we'll hit IKEA this Saturday...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Adobe Reader vulnable through March 2009

Adobe Acrobat Reader has a critical vulnerability that can cause the applications to crash and allow an attacker to control your system. All versions from 7 forward on all operating systems are suspected to be at risk. That means you.

This is happening right now, 'in the wild,' with reports of this vulnerability being used in attacks on computers. A fix for Adobe 9 will be ready March 11, 2009, and older versions of Adobe Reader will be patched later.

In other words, use an alternative PDF reader, at least for the intervening time. Both Sumatra PDF and FoxIt Reader are good alternatives for Windows users. I don't have suggestions for Mac or *NIX users (FoxIt does do Linux), sorry.

via Download Squad

Monday, February 16, 2009

So, what's up with us?

I do not blog as much as I used to; some would say that blogging is dead, replaced by Twitter and Facebook, while others say blogging is alive and thriving. Hey, if you are interested in my daily (and I do mean daily) updates, follow me on Twitter or join Facebook. I don't intend to drop the blog, I just don't have as many large things to say.

All the same, I don't blog as much now that I spend my time on Facebook... but there are some things that just feel like it should be a blog post rather than note on a social network.

At long last, here's a real update on us.

As of the last update, we're living in the RV now down by the beach. Cathy's mom continues to live on her own (yeah!) and Cathy and I are adjusting to living on a single income.

I cannot sugarcoat it; Cathy remains unemployed and money is very tight. We're barely squeaking by financially, but we're thankful for everything we have, like a roof over our heads and my job, which is good.

The Census Bureau is hiring in the next few months - I am applying for a job as I am bilingual. We'll see how that works out... It's barely 2009, so I doubt it'll mean extra money any time soon.

I continue to send any extra money to my mother - I remain her sole source of income, and I am not able to send her enough to live decently. I am thankful that I am able to help my mom out; it is my opportunity to honor my parents, but it isn't enough for her to pay all her bills. *sigh* I keep hoping and praying that the VA will finally give aide to my mom.

I am not a big TV watcher, but we used to watch some shows on Hulu. We have a crappy Internet connection at the RV park, with a pathetic download speed and practially non-existent upload speed. Given that we are by the beach, there's no open wifi portals nearby, either, except for the Starbucks that is too far for us to reach from home. So, I deal with crappy Internet now. If I had a Blackberry Bold or Blackberry Storm I would tether off the 3G - as it is, the EDGE network almost outperforms the wifi. But hey, it's free.

We've dropped our mail-order DVD service to save money and use Redbox instead. I spend $4 a month and can get at least 8 movies ($1 per movie plus a free movie on Monday). That helps us control our cost but still gives us some entertainment. Some of you may remember that entertainment center we first put up in our old house in the Inland Empire. There's no room in the RV for a 96" projector screen, and I have yet to try to hook up the surround sound system. So, we're watching movies on my 15" Dell laptop. It's pathetic by comparison, but it works for us.

Cathy stays busy keeping house and reading. You wouldn't think a RV would take a lot of work, but the smaller kitchen makes dinner preparation more difficult. We also have a tiny refridgerator, so she needs to go grocery shopping more often. We do a lot of the chores, anything we can, together. I grill a lot on the patio to keep the kitchen clean, and we do the weekend shopping together to spend time together. It's a good life; simple and nice.

The furkids are healthy and have adjusted to living in the RV. The closer proximity has forced Zechariah to get along with the other cats, and I find her grooming Fanny and Bubba on occasion, while Cathy and seen three or more cats share the bed where only two would share it before. Oliver gets a lot of walks, so he's the happiest of all!

I thought that I would be done with plumbing problems now that we live in a studio apartment on wheels - I had to deal with a couple of clogs, and that was unpleasant but not overly difficult. The recent storms, today being the latest, showed me that the RV's slideout is not sealed against weather very well. The last storm caused water to pool on our slideout roof and it found a way onto our carpet at the front driver-side corner of the slideout. I think I found the problem and attempted to address it, and Cathy reports a minor leak today. I have a couple more adjustments to make.

That's it for now...! :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

新年快樂!

It is the year of the Ox, which is my year. Per the Chinese way of calculating things, I'm 38 this year! :-o

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Barack Obama's two inauguration ministers

Desiring God put up a blog post entitled "How Barack Obama Will Make Christ a Minister of Condemnation" which states, in part:
At Barack Obama’s request, tomorrow in the Lincoln Memorial, Gene Robinson, the first openly non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church, will deliver the invocation for the inauguration kick-off...It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men...It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation...In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation...
I know that Barack Obama upset a lot of his gay and lesbian supporters when he invited Rick Warren to deliver the premier prayer at tomorrow's inauguration. But, the invocation will be delivered by Gene Robinson.

Tolerance is agreeing to disagree, a willingness to live and let live. Tolerance is not endorsement, nor does it mean the absense of meaningful dialog on the points of disagreement. Today, however, tolerance has become a means of enforicing the idea that anything goes, and to disagree is bigotry. This is unfortunate, as many Christians fall prey to this trap.

It is very, very important to always remember; people need the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a saving grace that forgives and redeems. However, a false gospel, one that blesses choices which lead to eternal separation from God, is not just a tragedy but a travesty.

In reading this article, please remeber - people need the Gospel. In our attempt to live in harmony, we must always remeber that people need the Gospel more than they need for us to not offend them. And it is important for us to love them enough to tell them the truth, especially truth that offends. The temporary approval taht we as Christians grant by endorcing sin lead to eternal consequences.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Free Donuts on January 20th

Just found out that Krispy Kreme is giving out donuts (your choice) on Inauguration Day. So, on January 20th, Cathy and I will be hitting one of the participating stores. Yipee!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Moonrise

 

Son of Hamas Leader Turns Back on Islam and Embraces Christianity

Mosab Hassan Yousef was born the son of one of the most influential leaders of the militant Hamas, but has now renounced his faith, left his family behind in Ramallah and is seeking asylum in the U.S.
In light of the conflict in Gaza, this was an interesting article to read. FTA:
"So definitely I started to figure out the problem is Islam, not the Muslims and those people — I can't hate them because God loved them from the beginning. And God doesn't create junk. God created good people that he loved, but they're sick, they have the wrong idea. I don't hate those people anymore but I feel very sorry for them and the only way for them to be changed (is) by knowing the word of God and the real way to him."
I read this article with interest, because a friend had posted a link to a New York Post article which essentially says that Hamas brought on Israel's invasion through their own actions. I feel truly ambivalent about the conflict in Gaza right now. This article, though, reminds me that there is still hope, at least for individuals and families, one at a time.

Midnight Sun - Partial Draft at StephenieMeyer.com

...I'd rather my fans not read this version of Midnight Sun. It was only an incomplete draft; the writing is messy and flawed and full of mistakes. But how do I comment on this violation without driving more people to look for the illegal posting? It has taken me a while to decide how and if I could...
I'm sure all the other fans of Twilight have already seen (and maybe read) the partial draft of Midnight Sun, assuming you did not heed Meyer's plea to wait for the finished product.

Anyway, the continually changing 'partial draft' of Midnight Sun is available at the author's website, thus saving you from snooping around the darker corners of the Internet. :-p