Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's Gonna Be a While

It's gonna be a while before I post again, I think. Work, family life, and my wife's return to school has constricted my free time a whole lot.

So, if you ever wonder where I am-- I'm either at work, proof reading papers for my wife, on a soccer field watching my kids practice, or dead to the world asleep.

But, I'll leave you with a bit of irony: my wife chose to enroll in one of the local Christian colleges in my area. Imagine that! It was the only school that had classes that fit her schedule.

So, now I fend off nightmares of kids running around in soccer uniforms and term papers about critical thinking that require a Christian theme.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Read Each of the Following

I was performing the grueling task of making my son finish his homework today.

He had a language assignment that was designed to train him in discerning an author's purpose. Before reading the directions, the worksheet had a short paragraph explaining the possible purposes of the author.

For instance, if an author gives facts, then his or her purpose is most likely to inform. If the author is writing about how wonderful something is, he or she is probably trying to persuade. And, if the author is writing a story about fictional characters, then the author is probably making an attempt to entertain.

After reviewing that paragraph with my son, we read the directions which were as follows:


  • persuade
  • inform
  • entertain

After wrestling with my son over matters of neatness, sloppiness, and coherency, something started to dawn on me.

If the Bible isn't trying to sell you something, then it's not trying to persuade. But, if it's not totally accurate historically, then it's not making a good attempt at informing others.

Ah! So then, it's for entertainment!

Ha! Now I get it!

OK, OK . . . honestly-- it's not that simple in my opinion. But, that notion sure has given me something to think about.

What was the purpose of any given author of any given scripture text?

That's an important question for everyone to explore each and every time we read.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How Mystical Thinking interferes with Troubleshooting IT Issues

I work in the IT field. I won't go into too much detail about what I do because I want to preserve my anonymity as much as I can.

I've noticed that in Jesusland, many people have mystical thinking about computers. I did, too, before I became comfortable with troubleshooting computer problems.

People make comments that their computers have minds of their own. They only work when they want to. Problems only happen when tech support isn't around, but vanish when we finally show up to assess the problem.

E-mail just "disappears". Gremlins eat important files.

Computers just get tired and give out.

The computer just doesn't like that Ethernet cable you're using.

I know that most of these types of comments are just mild personifications that we give to all objects around us. Overall this is harmless and reduces the stress that comes from the frustration of a cantankerous, uncooperative PC.

But when the troubleshooters themselves actually buy into this sort of thinking, problems do not get resolved. They are just chalked up as mysteries as unnecessary work around's are often devised while the real problem fails to be properly addressed and corrected.

I've seen people wonder if a NIC card had it's own mind. Or wonder why a docking station for a laptop works with a store bought Ethernet cable, but not a hand made Ethernet cable.

Rather than admitting the hand made cable is bad, they rationalize that something mystical is happening with the docking station or NIC.

I've also seen people wonder if interference from a cell phone could keep a dial up modem from working.

I'm not talking about customers. I mean technicians that are helping customers.

And that's the problem we run into when we let mysticism guide us through troubleshooting technology. You explore a false premise and ignore the clues that lead you to the facts.

Nothing is wrong with pretending your PC has a personality. I felt sort of nostalgic recently when I had to decommission a few servers that got me through thick and thin. I sorta missed 'em for a few days. It was like saying bye-bye to a neighborhood friend that was moving away for good.

But, I know that I couldn't gently pat the server on the side of the chassis and magically make it work correctly again after it malfunctioned. I can't hold a CD or DVD in one hand while laying my other hand on the server to form some sort of mind meld that mystically uploads the software.

That just doesn't work in IT.

I wish I could lay hands on a server and manage it.


From home.

In bed while asleep.

Now, that would be the shiznits!

Man, if that sort of thing could really happen, I might reconsider the existence of God!

Or maybe the Force.

Friday, September 3, 2010

How All Business Phones Should be Answered?!

I ran across this e-mail recently. I'll post it first, then at the end make my comments about it:

How ALL business phones SHOULD be answered!


'Press '1' for English ....

....Press '2' to disconnect until you learn to speak English .'

And remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you ...

Jesus Christ

... And the American Soldier.

One died for your soul,

The other for your freedom.

If you agree......
Keep it going

Now, to force me to answer my phone with the greeting above is quite unfair. You don't think so? What if someone told the supporters of the above e-mail to answer the phone with, "Allah Akbar". I bet their faces and necks would turn red hot!

This is not a Christian nation. Congress Shall Make NO Law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

If this were a Christian nation, why do we have a President rather than a Pastor. Why do we have a Congress rather than a Congregation? Why a Constitution rather than just using the King James Bible?

That's what a real Christian nation would do. And a real Christian nation would do away with our freedoms in the process, too.

Forcing everyone to learn English is a convenience. But the world is getting smaller and the United States is a melting pot. Trace your heritage back. White people have black uncles. Black people can trace back to Ireland, West Africa and Choctaw. People of Asian decent call themselves Americans first when you might be tempted to call them Chinese-- yet they are of Japanese decent!

I bet those who want everyone to speak English or get out of the country couldn't find a bathroom if they were dropped in Germany, France, Sweden, or Mexico even!

Learn a little bit of a foreign language. You and you're children will need it 20 years from now.

Lastly, soldiers have indeed died for our freedom. So, you sure as hell have no right to impose your religious views upon me. And don't suggest I don't care about our soldiers. I don't have to voice adoration for Jesus to love this country and honor our military.