Ubuntu is So Sweet!

I just installed Sun’s VirtualBox for Linux. As I write this I am using Ubuntu with a window open on another cube running Windows XP. What’s a cube, pray tell? Here’s a screenshot:

I am from the Future

I am from the Future


1. Because I can…and I don’t want to write the story I’m working on.

2. Because it’s a pain to reboot and reload Windows every so often when I need to use some software that only runs there. Like TurboTax. Now I can run it inside Ubuntu and never have to reboot or worry about.

3. Because it’s cool to mess with The Man. 🙂

Must Read for LCMS Folks

If you are a member of an LCMS congregation, I urge you to go here and read what Scott Diekmann is writing about the Mission Revitalization program that is being developed our denomination.The link is to the first part of a series he is working on.

Frankly, I find it chilling in its complete betrayal of what it means to be a Lutheran church.

When our hope (and plans) for change are anything other than the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as given in the Sacraments, we are going the way of King Saul.

Living in a Transparent World | Michael Hyatt

Living in a Transparent World | Michael Hyatt.

He concludes the post this way, writing about the publishing industry, but applicable to all of us:

  1. Commit to total transparency. Because of technology, you don’t really have a choice. You might as well embrace it now; it’s a much easier way to live. You will never have to worry that someone is going to discover something about you that you don’t first reveal.
  2. Be the first to “air dirty laundry.” If you break the news, you control the story. For example, one of my authors was recently arrested. He made an honest mistake, and it could have happened to anyone. But he immediately blogged about it, and took the wind out of the media’s sails. No one could accuse him of covering it up, and the story quickly died.
  3. Understate the facts. Get in the habit of “rounding down.” Don’t inflate the numbers. If you say that you have 10,000 unique visitors a month, and the person double-checking your claim discovers that you actually have 10,970, your credibility goes up. The opposite is also true.
  4. Manage others’ expectations. The bigger the gap between what people expect and what they get, the bigger the WOW they experience. By the way, this is the dirty little secret of big royalty advances. I have seen many, many best-selling books be perceived by publishers as a failure simply because they paid the author more than the book recouped.

Ubuntu 9.04 Review

(I’m a complete noob when it comes to Linux and Ubuntu. I’m not a developer, programmer or anything. I’m a user. If you know more than I do–and that is likely–feel free to leave a comment and correct me where I’m wrong. Also note this is written for those using Windows or Mac boxes. Thanks)

I began using Ubuntu last fall when I became increasingly frustrated at the bloated anti-virus and Internet security programs Windows required. When users are required to upgrade their equipment every few years simply to keep performance the same, something is wrong. I wanted out…and not to spend a fortune buying a Mac.

I downloaded 8.04 to a partition on the hard drive and was immediately impressed. It worked well and fast and had absolutely no problems getting started. I played with it for a few evenings and evangelized my wife on its benefits before I had to leave town for a few days, asking her to seriously consider whether she could make the switch.

She made it before I was ready to, as it turns out. She found KmyMoney to be an excellent replacement for Quicken. However I was unimpressed with the photo software choices, and had a hard time finding one to work the way I wanted it to.

Then we upgraded to 8.10. That didn’t go so well. I had problems with the graphic system, and had to switch back and forth to Xp to research why nothing was showing up on the screen. I also had some problems with setting the screen resolution and was getting increasingly frustrated, even while M was enjoying it more and more.

Then Ubuntu 9.04 was released. I hesitated upgrading, scanning the message boards to see if there were problems, reading some online reviews. I hesitated longer until I read this. It hooked me. I started the upgrade process and held my breath.

The upgrade was (nearly) seamless. Of course, I’d learned a lot about Ubuntu and Linux since the last upgrade, so I wasn’t overwhelmed to have use the synaptic package manager to remove a faulty package and finish the last updates.

Everything works better. It’s faster. The slightly-loopy apps that caused mild annoyances are polished and simply run. Fast. There are more appearance tweaks and eye-candy options than I can fathom, all of them customizable. Here’s a screenshot of my current choices:

Screenshot "Dust" Theme

OpenOffice 3.0 is wonderful. The photo software I’ve grown used to and whatever was wrong before has been fixed. Marjorie has even found an music scoring application that is far better than the (very expensive) version of Encore she used to use–ok, her version was old, but it was still expensive. The new app (MuseScore) is free. As is all software for Ubuntu.

The worst things about Ubuntu, or any other Linux distribution, is the lack of ported software. Almost no software company ports their Windows or Mac software to Linux. If you have to have a certain Windows app, then you still have to use Windows for the most part. I’ve gotten BibleWorks to work under Ubuntu. And Neverwinter Nights actually posted a Linux engine on their official website, but these are large exceptions.

All in all, if you’re curious, this is the version to try.

I’ll rate it 9.0 out of 10.

Feeds Working…Except for Google

It seems that Google Reader is trying to find an old version of the feed when you add it directly from there. Works fine if you use the subscribe button on the right side.

I did have a problem with one post, but I think that’s corrected. Again, if you are having problems updating your feed, please try adding it through this site, not from your feed reader directly. That is working perfectly for all major readers.

Car Talk

I posted on Facebook a blurb about minican problems and got the most comments ever–for me, anyway. I never realized it would resonate so much with folks.

We are a two-minivan family. The first is a 2000 Ford Windstar, which has been a pretty good car, all things considered. Two years ago my car was getting pretty sad, so we looked for a replacement for me. Finally settled on a Town & Country. It was used, but maxed out, and is a pretty sweet ride. Seriously.

Somehow Marjorie ended up as the primary driver for that one, and I inherited the Windstar. To my shame, I’ve been neglecting it. I change the oil, but ignore other small problems. Part of it is the inconvenience of sending it into the shop. Much of it is my intrinsic aversion to spending money.

The small problems became big problems and it is in the shop to the tune of five C’s. It may approach a full grand by the time the mechanic is through with it. We flirted yesterday with buying a replacement vehicle, but were depressed with the prices. Car dealers are not as desperate as they make themselves appear. Who knew? 🙂

So I am turning over a new leaf, determined not to ignore the maintenance items like I have been. My van will rise again!

Having Feed Issues?

One of my readers notified me of some feed issues with the blog. I did a lot of back-end maintenance and reconfiguring a few nights ago, and some of the feed readers are not picking up the correct feed. Until I get this sorted out, the best way to subscribe to the blog via its feed is to click the icon on the upper right sidebar. It will then let you choose your preferred reader.

Sorry for the inconvenience! I’ll try to get it sorted out today.

Credo–The Game of Dueling Dogmas



When the St. Lounatics were taking NT and OT Summer Isagogics I and II (if that means something to you, then you know how bad it was) we took breaks from translating and studying playing a board game called Credo. The game pits players against one another attempting to write the Creed at the Council of Nicea. You start with a random sampling of Article Cards–some of them Orthodox articles, some Arian, Solar, popularist, Nestorian (yes, historically too early, but it is a game). You also begin with “Church Cards” cards representing followers, bishops (who have various vote counts) and so forth. Event cards give you extra votes, more followers, or allow you to do various nefarious deeds to the other players, such as giving them a plauge card, exiling one of their bishops, or prostelytizing them to vote for your preferred article.

Ok. It’s hard to describe a game as weird as this. But it’s not too hard to play and was great fun. One of the dudes found it somewhere, but could never find another copy. It is no long out of print.

Then I found this site. If you scroll down, some enterprising guy scanned all the cards, playing board and so forth. I downloaded them, printed them on cardstock and then spent one morning on my day off cutting them out and putting it all together.

It was a pain, but sure beat the $80-some that it sells for on ebay…when it is available.

incarnatus est: Half of U.S. adults have switched religions

incarnatus est: Half of U.S. adults have switched religions.

I think those of us who are active in church have seen this very thing.

I was looking at Redeemer’s 50th Anniversary Booklet yesterday. It listed all those who had been baptized by year. I was alarmed at how many names I didn’t know, though every once in a while I spotted a familiar family name.

I wonder how many of those who change denominations or loose their faith altogether do so after moving or other major life changes. Experience tells me that it is many.