luke

Mac OS X apps I’m looking at

I’d like to find a decent outliner for the Mac. I’ve already found an outstanding outliner, but it’s not free. In fact, it’s a little pricey for a starving seminarian. But what I really don’t like is the way they want to squeeze every penny out of the transaction. You can run it on multiple machines, or multiple users, but not both. So I can’t have it on both my laptop and the eMac at home in such a way that my son and I can both use it, without buying multiple licenses. Nuts to that. (Probably. I may give in because so far I haven’t found anything better.)

I’ve also been looking for a Todo-list manager that’s better than the bolt-on feature of iCal, which is what you get by default. I don’t want my calendar cluttered up with a zillion minor items, but I’d like to keep track of them in case I ever have a chance to work on them. I forget how I found it, but VoodooPad looks pretty impressive. (So does their FlySketch, but that’s a separate issue.)

That, in turn, led me somehow to a Todo manager called ShadowPlan, which also looks pretty impressive.

One tool that didn’t cost me anything is the venerable enscript. There’s a darwinport for it so it installed in a jiffy, and it works just as good today as it did in 1995.

First Post

I think I’m going to be using WordPress for my blog.

Huh. So I saved it. How do I publish it?

Update: Okay. My user level needed to be higher for me to post. All I could do was save it as a draft. Now I can publish. I think. Let’s find out.

There was another problem, by the way. I installed WP using Fantastico and also by hand but both times I found out that you can’t administer it if you’ve configured Firefox to disable sending referers to the server. Why WP needs to look at referers to maintain its state is beyond me. Well, it’s not beyond me, it’s just unknown to me. If I knew more about HTTP and PHP and blogging generally, it might not be beyond me. I can imagine this is a feature to make sure that admin sessions aren’t hijacked. Or I could be totally wrong. Whatever. It took me awhile to find the answer.

Ord Exams (round two)

Today the results came back from the Ord Exams I wrote in August. (Sigh.)

There are four Ordination Exams. (Five, if you count the Bible Content Exam.) I passed Worship & Sacraments, flunked Biblical Language Exegesis. So I’m 50% happy. Or even 75% happy, since I had previously passed Polity and theology. (Indeed, 80%, counting the Bible Content Exam.)

In a week or two I will get the actual exams back so I can see what the readers didn’t like about them.

In the meantime, here are some preliminary lessons learned.

1. don’t forget the Calvin quote this time
2. translate Hebrew rather than Greek
3. use a lesson plan rather than a sermon outline
4. endorse the conventional wisdom
5. preach it

(While I’m linking to things, here’s the mongo PDF with all the old exams.)

buffy

What with all the hub-bub about the new Serenity movie, I decided to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I saw it in the DVD rack at the public library. I never watched it before, for two reasons. (1) We pulled the plug on our TV sometime in 1997, so since then we only watch DVDs and (increasingly rarely) videotapes. (2) I don’t like vampire programs, nor anything of that ilk, because I don’t like the creepy feeling you get watching people do stupid things (“don’t walk down that hallway!”) and I don’t like being startled.

But! when you factor that in, Buffy is much better than I expected when I first heard about it, five or ten years ago.

Still Busy

I’m still too busy to post. (Great blog, huh?)

I finished my prison gig and now I’m on vacation for the rest of the summer, studying for the Ords.

quality isn’t job one somewhere!

I have a GM mini-van that needs a fortune in repair work. I go online to see what’s up with this problem and find out it’s all over the place (note items 25 and 78). GM built a zillion cars with the 3.4L V-6 engine and they have a defective part. The amazing thing is that GM isn’t doing anything about it systematically. Two observations:

  1. Isn’t the internet the heat? When the dealership tells you you have a problem, five minutes’ work on Google will tell whether it’s a defect or reasonable wear and tear.
  2. I used to be work for a major computer firm in the data storage division. My full-time job was trying to get our warranty costs down and customer satisfaction up. At least half of our 7-figure/month warranty bill was due to customer satisfaction repairs (i.e., the unit is okay but we’re replacing it to keep the customer happy). I’m astonished the GM would consciously anger so many customers by not doing the right thing.

Apart from this repair the mini-van hasn’t been all that bad. Nobody is ever going to be passionate about a mini-van, but it hasn’t been a complete turkey. The computer had a problem that stumped the dealer for a while, and the door fell off once, and as you can see from the list of TSBs above, there’s a handful of piddly problems inside the passenger compartment, but it hasn’t been that bad.

The problem isn’t with the car, just its manufacturer.

VOIP ‘n’ stuff

This Kerry Garrison tells how to build a full-featured PBX for less than $20 using rubber bands and other things you already have laying around the house. There is also a nice list of free office software. I noticed this Ultra@VNC because I keep telling myself that I need to use VNC, since there is still a Windows box in the house. But it’s easier just to ignore it and wait for it to go away. (From the free office apps it was only a click and a jump to MacMP3Gain, which looks so useful that I think I’ll actually give it a try.)