Archive for January, 2010


Normally I wouldn’t, but…

Okay, so I had never originally intended to use this blog as a place to put out my thoughts on tech-related things, but here we go. Most of you who know me know that I’m a nut for computer’s, gadgets, and just about anything I can take apart and put back together, but I had intentionally left that part of my life out of here because, frankly, there are lots of people out there who can do a much better job of tech reviews (and have, you know, connections to put their hands on such things the moment they’re available). At this point, however, I felt that I should put in my two cents on Apple’s newly announced iPad.

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see that there is a fairly large portion of the tech community who have already weighed in, and to say the reviews are mixed would be way more than an understatement. In fact, I think I’ve read more negative reviews than positive ones so far, and that may not be a good sign.

Here’s the rub, though. Most of these negative reviews are focusing on expectations they had for a device of which they had absolutely no prior knowledge. Apple fandom being what it is, I’m not convinced there weren’t people out there who thought the iPad would solve world hunger while it made you coffee and teleported you to work in the morning (and – oh yeah – played music, to boot!).

I, for one, see the iPad to be pretty much exactly what I expected it to be (and just a little bit more), but maybe that’s because I didn’t expect it to be made of unicorn tails and angel tears.

I didn’t expect a camera. It would have been a cool feature to do video chat, but I didn’t think that was the goal of the machine.

I didn’t expect Flash support. Frankly, Flash is annoying at best on a full-featured Mac, so why put that aggravation into something that’s less capable?

I didn’t expect multitasking. This, I think, is most people’s biggest beef with the iPad. I don’t honestly see it as that big of a deal. People gripe about this on the iPhone, too, and yet it’s still punching the smart phone market right in the face. The power that Apple has built into this thing means that, if you actually need to switch from writing an email to surfing the web for a picture to put in said email, you can be over and back in a pretty short period of time, such that I doubt the average person would notice the difference in time over switching between two running applications. (Please let me clarify on one point. I have not actually touched the device. I have only seen the demos. This last point is, therefore, a little speculatory, but again, the system works surprisingly well on the iPhone OS already, so why introduce unknown variables to an already solid platform?)

There are many other gripes that I’ve seen out there, but I just wanted to touch on the few that people seem most upset about. But, on to what I did expect.

I expected it be a big iPod touch. The iPhone OS has proven itself to be a capable platform, so why mess around with something that already works? There was a lot of hope out there that Apple was going to do something that was as revolutionary for tablet computing as the iPhone was for smart phone computing. I wasn’t nearly that hopeful.

I expected an e-book reader that could rival the Kindle DX. E-books are quickly becoming the best way to consume large amounts of words on the go without resulting in a lifetime of chiropractor appointments from carrying pulverized trees around in your bag. The iPad takes the e-book market and brings it to a whole new level. The iBookstore is open to any publisher who wants to join the party, and gives the user a great resource for finding printed words. That, in itself, is fantastic, but what really takes the iPad forward is the fact that it already supports other e-book marketplaces, including the Kindle store, since Amazon was so kind as to put it on the iPhone. All of a sudden, you’ve got any number of ways to get books of any kind onto your machine. This, in my mind, makes the iPad worth the difference in price between it and the Kindle DX.

(As a side note, E-ink is a fantastic invention, and I appreciate the Kindle for what it is, but the comic book geek in me still holds a deep-seated resentment for being limited to my laptop or my iPod Touch for reading digital comics in full color.)

(As a second side note, I am a little disappointed that the iBookstore won’t be available outside the US at release, but I trust it will come along in due time.)

Apple did also manage to surprise me in a couple of ways that made me quite excited by the iPad as a potential way to replace my netbook as my portable machine (and for only a slightly higher price point).

First, I didn’t expect to see a hardware keyboard option, let alone Bluetooth keyboard compatibility. I’m excited by this in the way that little kids get excited about snow days in winter.

Second, I didn’t expect to see iWork show up and be fully functional (and for a crazy low price, at that). Combine Keynote with the VGA output option, and the possibilities grow even further.

Third, I wasn’t expecting the level of support for the current app store apps that they opened with. I was kind of expecting to see, at best, iPhone resolution for some current apps, but I wasn’t expecting to see almost every app available (and in full-screen) without the developers releasing iPad specific versions.

Now, maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m more caught up in the hype than I thought. Or, maybe I just had really low expectations coming into this announcement. Either way, I see the iPad as delivering everything I want it to deliver, at a better price than I was expecting.

But that’s just me.

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This Weekend at Allison

This week was an interesting week at Allison. It marked the third week of the ‘Crazy’ series that we’ve been going through of late, with this week’s message focusing on the ‘fake it until you feel it’ philosophy that people sometimes subscribe to (but more on that later). This has certainly been a thought-provoking series, as it’s been dealing with some of the false ideas that we sometimes subscribe to in different ways.

One of the other key features of this series has been the use of secular songs that center around the word ‘crazy’ in their themes and lyrics as a lead-in for the message. This particular week, we were¬†treated to a performance of Hannah Montana’s ‘Let’s Get Crazy’.

The message itself focused on the idea that if we simply act as though we have our spiritual lives in order, eventually our actions will soak into our souls and we’ll be spiritually mature. The point, of course, is that it’s the opposite that’s actually true – we need to be changed on the inside first, and when our hearts change, so do our actions and attitudes.

As many of you are aware, I try to participate off and on (hopefully soon it will be more on than off) in the Sunday Setlist blog carnival, which has recently moved from Fred McKinnon’s blog to theworshipcommunity.com. ¬†As part of it, worshipers can post recaps of their services with a list of the songs that were sung. Anyone is welcome to participate, be they worship leaders, pastors, support people, or anyone who might be in the congregation. All you have to do is blog about the worship service you attended and post a link to your post on this page. Whether you blog or not, though, please feel free to check out the links to the other recaps that people post. It’s really cool to see what others are experiencing in their respective services as we all join for worship at different times and in different ways.

So, without further ado, This weekend’s setlist for Allison Church:

Opening:
Meet With Me
How He Loves
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Before the Message:
Let’s Get Crazy – Hannah Montana

Closing:
From the Inside Out

So, once again, Please feel free to check out Sunday Setlists over at theworshipcommunity.com.

What are we about?

Yeah, okay, so I know it’s late and I have to get up for work in the morning, but I felt compelled to write something down tonight.

In the wake of the disaster in Haiti, which I’m we’re all reeling over, there’s been another issue come up that seems to be stealing our attention away from the needs of the Haitian people, and provoking great anger among both Christians and non-Christians alike.

A certain televangelist (who I shall not name, as this post is not about him) made some rather unfortunate comments about the situation in Haiti, which has led to a rather large outpouring of unfortunate comments about this particular televangelist. Many of these responses and comments have left me with one question in my mind:

As Christians, what are we about?

My hunch is that, no matter who long or short your answer might be, there’s one word that rings common across the board:

love

We love because he first loved us (I John 4:19). It doesn’t matter from what denomination you hail, or what your theology is, you can’t argue that at the very core of the Christian faith is this one simple word.

love

I’ve seen the statement. What’s missing?

love

I’ve seen the responses. What’s still missing?

love

This issue is one of the very few things in this world that makes me truly angry. I know that we’re all in the process of regeneration and that we all have sin in our lives that we continue to deal with on a day-to-day basis, but there comes a point where we all have to agree to work on this one thing, and make that the thing that the world sees.

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13.35). If we want to be known as disciples of Christ, we need to start with one simple command:

love

There are a great many issues that the secular world has with the Church, and I guarantee you that nowhere on the list is, “those Christians are just too loving!” More often than not, the issue is exactly the opposite. We’re often seen as judgmental, as bigoted, as downright hateful, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is saddened by that fact.

So, let’s start to change that. Let’s start in our homes, in our churches, in our neighbourhoods. Let’s deal with others with love and respect, especially those with whom we disagree. Let me be clear on this: we don’t have to agree with or condone the actions of everyone to love them. God does not love anyone any more or less than anyone else. Neither should we.

Let’s show the world that we belong to Christ. Let’s love one another, the way that God loves us. Let that be what makes headlines. Let that be what people think of when they think of the Church, and not the unfortunate comments of one man.