Monday, December 19, 2011


I love T-Mobile.  There is simply no other way to define the feelings I have for this company. To build the proper context, I need to go back a bit. In college, I was a Verizon client. At the time Verizon was the best and had amazing phones.  The most amazing feature on this phone:

You could see the caller on the outside without flipping it open! w00t! This was a big deal, and was a specific reason I went with verizon.

I made the switch to T-Mobile because Verizon had a significant price increase about 7 years ago.  We needed phones for our new life in CT, and I did a full comparison and landed on T-Mobile. In the time since I have had multiple cell phones and T-Mobile's home phone service. Phones have included flips, sliders, Blackberrys, Windows Mobile and Androids. I am one of those clients that work the system.  Emboldened by a friend with connections at a T-Mobile store I learned tricks about how to get into the right section of customer care, and have over time found that there are multiple ways to tweak your account for the best cost savings. I also abhor contracts, so for many of my phones I have gone without a contract further complicating our account history with phone swaps and the like. All of this to say I am an atypical customer. When you look at my account, it is painful to figure out what is going on with it. However, I have never had a situation where the first or second person I talked to at customer care was not intelligent, English speaking and capable of fulfilling my request to my satisfaction.

In contrast, I had to work with the AT&T customer service for my former employer.  It was always trouble. I had to tell them where to look in their own system to find my information. Noone knew what they were doing.

So imagine my delight when the news broke that the AT&T deal to buy T-Mobile was officially canceled, and that T-Mo's mother company would get $4M out of the botched deal!  More importantly, they will get their joint roaming agreement.

T-Mobile has been ranked for 4 years as the highest in customer satisfaction.  They have the least expensive plans (less now with "value" plans). Call quality and coverage matters if you live in a major city.  Otherwise, most carriers have similar experiences in smaller cities. There is simply no good reason to go with a more expensive plan when T-Mobile has such a strong phone offering and quality service.  It simply is a great company, and I love it.

Please.  If you are considering cell phones this Christmas, think T-Mobile. I have no stake (I own no T-Mobile stock) except that as a customer I would really like to see this company succeed. With the AT&T deal off, T-Mobile will need to produce more sales. Fortunately, switching will save you significant money, so take the plunge.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Watch "Jesus Culture - Rooftops" on YouTube

Forget if this song has made it to Sunday Morning Worship yet...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It is official

I officially gave my notice this week that I am resigning my post at my current company. I have accepted a new position with a small software firm here in CT, and I am thrilled to be coming on board.  This will represent a whole new set of challenges and opportunities.

Thank you to all my friends at Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corp.  It has truly been a joy to work with the team there.  I wish you all the best in the coming season.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy wall street

I was happily ignoring the recent political banter until I realized the OWS movement had tea-party like resilience.  I went hunting for what these folks actually want, and unfortunately, all I could find was a ridiculous list that I have to imagine do not represent the actual movement's desires.

From what I could find, this nebulous movement essentially claims that the 99% poorest people are frustrated at the 1% richest people, and wants those people to somehow alleviate those frustrations, though no one has said how.  Sub-issues include large CEO salaries for failing companies, "Corporate greed" (whatever that is) and re-unionizing america, etc.

What I do not understand is there is no better avenue for wealth building then a corporation.  I do not mean wealth building for the 1%, which happens to be true, but corporations are the best option for wealth building for the 99%.  A corporation exists to make money for its shareholders.  There is no greater accountability model than a publicly owned company making money for shareholders.  In OWS terms, the 99% work for the company which is run by a 1% person whose entire goal in life is to make the 99% more money.

The problem is, as always, one of education.  Our school system does not teach investing.  It does not teach the masses how to use the system to build wealth.  It says, go to work, pay into a 401k and don't worry about it.  Then, after years of realizing others are getting rich, and they are not, they revolt saying, "You should give up your money to me."  Because no one understands how the system works, corporations are left to run amok.  Everyone wants to blame the housing crisis on greedy bankers, because hundreds of thousands of people believed the bank had their best interest at heart.  You should never expect a corporation to make a decision that benefits you, unless you are a stockholder.  Knowing that is empowering.

Here is an example.  McDonald's goal is not to sell you a healthy meal.  Its goal is to build wealth for its shareholders.  It has determined through market forces what products will sell the most, and it sells it.  There are people who are well paid to determine which fries the people will buy, and how to do so profitably.    If you are invested in McDonald's, you want McDonald's leadership to make the very best decision that will build wealth since that is its goal. As consumers, our goal is (should be) to be healthy. If everyone decided McDonald's hamburgers were terrible for you, and stopped buying them, McDonald's would stop selling them.

So to the OWS folks, I would say stop trying to force others to make good decisions for you.  It is not the corporation's job to keep you healthy, or wealthy. They have done nothing wrong by building wealth. Learn the system so you can benefit from it. Focus on educating the consumer instead of simply placing blame on executives who are doing exactly what they have been asked to do, make money.


Now that that is said, there should be a question as to whether wealth building should be the primary focus of a company. In a corporation who answers to its investors, this is the goal by definition. In a small business, without the accountability to the shareholders, the owner/operator have the freedom to pursue whatever goal they want. That could be wealth, status, human equality, feeding the poor, whatever. I believe that companies should be driven by a higher purpose then just wealth building, but that is not what the corporation model is for.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Perhaps its time to forget...

I know it is unpopular to think this way, but I cannot help but wonder what real value there is in “never forgetting” a tragic incident. 9/11 is my generation's Pearl Harbor. We were attacked for sure. Our government has the responsibility to pursue justice and combat terrorist forces in the world, but what value do I personally gain by reliving the evil memories of what took place? If you have been personally effected by this event, the loss of a loved one is a terrible memory no matter the circumstances. For those people these events are significantly more potent, and they will truly never forget. For me, however, removed from any personal loss, I look at the events of 9/11 and see a different picture.

If you remove yourself from the emotional responses and look at the facts only, there were 2,800 innocent lives lost and a major economic cost. To put that into perspective, an estimated 6,000+ people die every day in America normally. Even worse, over 3,000 more innocent lives are terminated every day in America's abortion clinics. If you are like me, you are fighting inside yourself right now. “Every life is precious,” you say, “and every life taken by evil is something to grieve over.” But in perspective, we put up with as much evil every single day in this country as we did on 9/11 without the emotional response that you see on a day like today.

So what truly drives the “Never Forget” ideology? What is the emotional response to a tragedy that sends people to facebook and twitter with moments of silence, and proclamations of unending response?

Is it Patriotism?
There is certainly a lot of patriotism surrounding 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror. I have to assume that this emotion is definitely a part of the “Never Forget” response. There is a healthy amount of patriotism to have. Remembering our citizen's generosity to charities is an example.

Is it fear?
In the early response, fear ruled. This, of course, was the terrorist's goal. People are paralyzed by fear. The entire countries air industry was destroyed by the fear that was caused. I remember watching Dick Clarks' Rockin New Years Eve 2002 worried the whole night that an explosions was imminent. Fear is powerful. And it is healthy to a degree. Fear motivates us to be safe. If our goal in never forgetting is to stay vigilant against evil through awareness, then perhaps that can be of value.

Is it Hate?
My greatest concern is that hate drives our desire to “Never Forget.” Make no mistake: Muslims did this. It was a religious act in their “holy” war. Acknowledging that fact is not hateful it is fact. Harboring resentment and bitterness toward those responsible is. Being inflammatory in your conversations is hate-mongering. Unfortunately many comments made today were made in this manner. It takes “Never Forget” from a position of positive reflection on the response to evil to negative reflection toward evil.

Is it prejudice?
Does the hate we have drive us to be suspicious of ever Muslim we come in contact with? When we see women in the stores wearing a hijab do we second guess them as potential terrorists?  Are we going to be treating Muslims like two generations ago treated the Japanese?  Are we going to think about Muslims the way Vietnam vets think of the Vietnamese?  In those cases, there was a specific race.  In this case it is a religious group, but the response is the same.  Prejudice.  

For most people, I'm sure there is a mixture of the above. For me it was. I have found over the last ten years that my responses are changing.  Please read this in all humility, but I would rather be filled with love and care for others then for justice. I would rather see the good in a situation, then the bad. I am not always this way, but I am coming around, and I believe it to be the 'better' response. I understand the “Never Forget” sentiment as a whole, but there are aspects in my own response to this tragedy that I would rather forget.   

Sunday Morning Worship

A beautiful simple prayer!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gloating - A test of character

"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles." 
Proverbs 24:17

This week's loss of Military life from the same group of soldiers that caught and killed Usama Bin Laden has seen some interesting responses around facebook and twitter. There seems to be a deeper appreciation for these folks than other military who have passed on before.  My theory is that the same vitriol and celebratory nature we saw when Usama Bin Laden was killed has now extended into the recent deaths and because they came from the same group that killed UBL, there is intrinsic value to their lives not otherwise given by the masses.  I do not blame folks for this.  We connected with that group of soldiers in May, and we still feel a sense of connection with them.

Thinking back, it was so easy to look at the loss of life and denounce the celebration.  I remember saying how each life is valuable, and that while justice is required, and God has given authority to the governments of men,  we should never celebrate a loss of life.  It seemed so easy to follow Proverbs 24:17 in that moment, and I felt rather good of myself.

Such feelings are rarely safe.  God has, in recent days, directed a series of events that have lead to a small measure of my justification and my "enemy's" fall.  It is a fairly minor thing, yet I find myself fighting the man inside of me who would love to celebrate and rejoice.

No matter what stage the situation is set, or how large or small its relevance to the world, God cares what happens in your heart's response (significantly more than your outward actions).  It shows the real position of your heart toward Him.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Books I've read so far

2011 has seen a specific uptick in my reading regiment.  I try to spend my free time reading as opposed to watching since reading helps me fall asleep better.  Here is the list of completed books:

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire
4 hour work week
Net Force
Hidden Agenda
PHP and MySQL Web development for dummies (yes I read a reference book - I'm a nerd at heart)
Alas, Babylon (my favorite book of all time)
The Bourne Identity
In fifty Years we will all be chicks (didn't actually finish this, but went far enough to say i read it)
Decision Points
The Zombie Survival guide

While I mostly read for entertainment and to "wind down" at night and these books have been enjoyable and interesting, the actual value of most of these books boarders right around superfluous.  For the last 1/3 of this year, I think I need to find some books that will challenge my "inner man" a little more.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monopoly is so wrong

My wife beat my niece and me at Monopoly last night.  Look at her gloat!  This morning I woke up thinking about how poorly Monopoly fails at helping society.  Now I am a good old pro-capitalism republican, but winning should not mean driving everyone else into bankruptcy.   An entire generation grew up playing the game, and now they are running corporations where the values of Monopoly seem all too prevalent.

I think I will design a new game, one that presents society well, and honors hard work, entrepreneurship and giving.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Galaxy tab

This is my first post using my new Galaxy Tab! So far I am thrilled.  There are a few things that the tech in me would like to see done better, which I assume are done in Honeycomb, but for the price, this guy is great.

Anyone wanting a hold-over tablet should seriously consider getting the Galaxy.  Newegg has the wifi-only for $349. 

I am also fully convinced that 7" is the right size for a tablet.  It is similar to a paperback, can fit in most pockets, and is lighter than the 10"ers. 

This device has become my main email device unless I really need to do a lot of typing.  It serves the purpose well.

Apps so far:
Angry birds (of course)
Scanner Radio

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I found this wonderful tool to share your mouse and keyboard over multiple machines.  I use this when I have two computer (like my two laptops) so I never have to take my hands off the one keyboard/mouse.  When I am in the main room, this tool allows me to control the house computer without VNC since I can see the monitor fine, but am too far to use the mouse and keyboard.  It is very easy to setup (though some settings do not make themselves obvious).

I have not played with the cross platform options, but it sounds great if you have a serious setup at home.

This is a great open source app.  Simple, clean, and just works.  Well done Synergy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Future is almost here....

This, in my opinion, is the single largest innovative game changer for our generation.  The ability to generate small but consistent electricity using motion takes us to the point where our bodies can generate through our normal livelihood the energy required to do the things we want to do.

Obesity opponents should be all over this as more activity means more energy for our disposal.  Reminds me of the game station in the 90's that made you ride a stationary bike to power it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soda Market share

I prefer Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi, but after hearing this news, I want the world to know, I am not a follower!

In the soda world, market share is everything, and it is really surprising to see this.  We have a lot of Pepsi employees at our church, so to them I say, "my sympathies."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Transmission Fluid

I changed the transmission fluid on Saturday with the help of the Haynes Manual.  Like a dummy, I took zero pictures, so you will just have to believe me.

I got to invest in a couple essentials; a new jack and floor stands, a new set of socket wrenches and some gasket scrappers.  I think I have most of the tools required to work on the jeep, for a little more than the amount of having the shop do the work.  There are a few more changes to be made, so stay tuned.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Four Hour Work Week - Review

I finished reading the Four Hour Work Week. As it's title suggests, this book details how to stop working the normal 40+ hour work week, and make the money you need on far less time.  It is all there, and I would assume that if you wanted to, you could generate the same or similar results for yourself by following the steps in the book.

If you have absolutely no desire to change jobs, or try to work remotely, etc. this book is still extremely helpful.  The theories used to organize, and streamline your work environment are invaluable.  You will be able to get more done in less time.  If you chose to get even more done in the time you save, ignore the last half of this book, but don't miss the first.  I have already begun to implement some of the suggestions, and my effectiveness at work is increasing.

Tim Ferriss is a fascinating author, and his success at all things under the sun has a fantastic appeal.  I find that his reaction to his freedom is to fill it with other self-fulfilling activities.  He does challenge you to leave the world better than you found it, but even that lacked the pathos I would expect.  I attribute that to my assumption of his lack of spiritual awakening that comes through a real personal relationship with Christ.  I do not want to presume to know Mr. Ferriss, or his spiritual life, but if you are looking for fulfilling suggestions on how to use your newly found free time, its just not there.  On the off chance Tim happens on this post, I mean no disrespect.

I find myself in the happy middle ground.   I have been working 50+ hour weeks and have been reasonably happy with my job.  I have no desire to work remotely at this point, so I am using the tools in the book to increase my effectiveness at work while lowering my working hours.  I have started to consider options for a muse which will supplement income and allow for future flexibility.

Go get this book from the link above. Its worth it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Friday. Friday. Got to get down on Friday.

Rebecca Black is this weeks viral video... Its awesome in its terribleness.

We we we so excited. We so excited... need I say more.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A case study in the Internet

Our fridge broke.  This is the first real appliance problem we have had in our married life.  I did what my parents would have done, and what generations of folks have done... I called the Kenmore repair man on the phone.   I got all the way through the menus to the point where they were ready to schedule a visit.  The cost, $109.  Understanding cost of business, I thought this was reasonable, but I was still too cheap to actually agree to it.  I hung up, frustrated. 

I decided to go shopping at sears for refrigerators.  Veronica was out of town, and not answering her cell phone, so I convinced myself to buy a new refrigerator without her.  Not the best idea I have ever had, but I was frustrated, and annoyed.  I got dressed, coat on, ready to walk out the door when I had a moment of clarity...

The Internet.  

The answer to everything is on the Internet.  Coat on, keys ready, I sat down long enough to google "Refrigerator not cooling".  The first link was to this site.  Genius!

I followed the instructions for the various things that could be wrong.  None of the first few made sense, until I got to the Start Relay section.  I was hearing a clicking every now and then, just like the guy describes.  I had found my answer.  

I pulled out the fridge

 Opened the back,
 and found the relay that looked exactly like his picture.
I pulled it out in all of 10 minutes, shook it like he said to, and knew I had found the problem!

"What in the world did people do before the Internet," I thought to myself.  Now I knew the problem, and I needed a part.  So I did what all intelligent people who had just been saved by the internet from making a large financial mistake would do...   I drove to sears, part in hand.

I walked up to the 4 old men in the appliance section of Sears and proudly proclaimed, "I need one of these."

"what is that?"  was the reply.

"A Condenser start relay for a Kenmore elite refrigerator," I replied with the confidence of a 40 year veteran repair man.

"How old is your fridge?" the man asked, and I though to myself, now we are getting somewhere.

"7, 8 years old."

"We have 23 models of refrigerators on the floor, and they change each year.  Each one has hundreds of parts in them.   Do you really think we stock parts for all those fridges?"

Ouch.  He handed me a sears card with the service number on it.  Ironically, it was the same number I had called originally to schedule the repair man.  I pushed the issue though.  I said, the guys who drive around in the trucks, they must get parts from somewhere, where can I go to get those?  He told me they used the number as well.

I left defeated. I walked out into the main mall to drown my sorrow in a large Sbarro soda when it hit me.

The Internet.

I opened my phone and searched for "refrigerator parts waterbury ct."  Once again, the first link led me to the site of a local appliance parts store.  I called him and he was kind enough to stay open an extra 10 minutes so I could get there and buy the part for $60.  I got home, installed the part, and watched as our fridge came back to life.

Twice I almost ignored the Internet.  Twice the Internet had exactly the right solution.  Here is the Fridge, in all its glory back to good working order.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Open Letter to Joint Committee on Judiciary

Honorable Judiciary Committee members,

I want to thank you for your time today going over multiple gun related bills.  It was a real privilege for me to see our state's government in action.  In today's day and age, too many assume government officials are not approachable or able to be influenced.  The humility many of the members present showed was commendable, and I thank you.

I did not submit testimony today, opting for watching and listening to the proceedings until about 4:30 when I had to leave.  I would like to recap my takeaways from today's comments and request that you take appropriate action in the coming days.

Ref SB 1094 - I believe the public made it clear that this bill will do significant economic damage and open the state to serious litigation if this bill were to pass.  Furthermore, arguments were made that there is no detailed proof that reducing the size of allowable magazines would reduce crime in anyway, but would add hardship to 65-70% of handgun owners, and 99% of rifle owners.  This committee must vote this "knee-jerk reaction" bill down.

Ref SB 1096 - Sen. Kissel repeatedly asked those opposed to 1094 about their stance on 1096. I was less than thrilled with the responses.  Mostly people were against it because they are against all gun legislation.  There was one testimony detailing the reloading issue where feasibly a person who is disallowed to own a firearm for legal reasons would still have ammunition.  This felt like reaching.  I happen to support the intent of 1096.  Make no mistake.  Gun owners are strickly for tougher enforcement of gun laws, and tougher punishments for gun crimes.  If the addition of ammunition in the statutes referenced in this bill gives the police a bigger set of teeth when dealing with criminals, then I am for it.  If this is yet an additional tool that will be barely used, then it will not help.  As one verbal testimony from today pointed out, we have a punishment problem.  We want stronger and more harsh punishments for those who commit crimes with firearms.  This is the fastest, most cost effective means of reducing gun crimes.

Ref SB 1148 - I cannot recall any testimonies about this bill.  I am ambivalent.  

Ref SB 1206 - This bill had a few testimonies, and all told, I believe that the group was summarily for the bill so long as a better definition of "interfere" was done.  Personally, I agree.  You should be free to videotape an officers actions so long as you are not an interference. I recognize the sensitive nature of that footage, but in this case, I believe that personal freedom should rule the legislation.  In the case of a misuse of that information, let a civil case be brought.

Ref SB 1210 - This bill was not nearly as clear in the testimony.  I feel like it got lost in the 1094 discussion which is unfortunate since this bill has real opportunity to become law. There were a few attempts to clarify 'castle doctrine' status in CT.  I believe that Sec. 53a-20 as is constitutes a fairly decent castle doctrine stance.  The question at the heart of these pieces of legislation is who should be given the "benefit of the doubt" in situations where there is a victim and an assailant.  By adding the "Presumption" clause, the legislature will be helping the victim by placing the requirement on the assailant to prove that the belief was unreasonable.  I believe this is a good addition to the statutes and should be passed.

Ref HB 6473 - I do not remember any verbal testimonies on this before I left, but this "three strikes" bill coincides with my earlier comments about wanting violent crimes punished harshly.  I support this bill's intent.  I would feel uncomfortable speaking to its specifics without further review.

Ref HB 6490 - The testimonies about this were correct in saying that CT can and should push to complete this federal mandate, and take the financial benefits of doing so early.

Ref HB 6615 - I believe the representative from the ACLU who gave testimony to this bill is right that Tasers should be considered potentially lethal.  Good practice dictates training requirements, etc. so i am unsure why it needs to be legislated.  Furthermore, care should be taken to know the real financial impact of Section 3.  If it can be done inexpensively, then so be it.  Tasers are tools for peace officers.  They should not be misused. However, if an unfortunate incident with a Taser leads to a death or other permanent harm, the peace officer should not be responsible.  We should not legislate to the point where Taser use is discouraged.  They are a good tool.

Ref HB 6616 - There was one verbal testimony that I remembered referencing this bill.  I felt bad for that presenter as his issue was surrounded by all the gun talk.  Again, I am ambivalent.

Thank you for your efforts and service to our state.  I look forward to reading the votes for the above bills in the coming days.

-Dwayne Boulden


Here is a listing of today's public hearing testimonies.

Haynes Manual

I bought this book last week.  These books are great if you want to do any work yourself on vehicles.  I am planning on tackling some simple fluid changes now that the weather is getting nicer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Movie Review - The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau

This movie is a pretty interesting take on spirituality.  While universalism is well at work, I do not think you need to shy away from it, just accept that it is there, and move on.  There is enough good in this movie to make it worth a watch.  Having grown up as a free-will Christian, and now hold to the doctrines of grace, the subject matter is pretty interesting.  I hate spoilers, so i will not give away much of the movie, but one line in particular stuck with me.

Thompson: You don't have free will, David. You have the appearance of free will.
David Norris: You expect me to believe that. I make decisions everyday.
Thompson: You have free will over which tooth past you use, or which beverage to order at lunch. But humanity just isn't mature enough to control the important things.

I happen to believe this is not so far from the truth.  While God's reason has nothing to do with our maturity, the heart of that statement is true.

Its a fun movie, and overall significantly more intelligent then any movie I can think of.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shampoo terrorism

Listing a post with terrorism is probably grounds for some NSA reveiwer... If so, I hope you are having a good day.

The good folks at the TSA, after taking their nude picture of me, decided that my dandruff shampoo was worth confiscating. It was an interesting thing to watch. The guy in the polyester pants took each item out of my quart size ziplock and placed it in some machine that "analyzes" it (shakes it around by the looks of it). It beeped on my shampoo, and they took it. I have flown multiple times with the same small bottle.

These kinds of random results are what kills all confidence in our actual ability to uphold good safety rules. Either my shampoo is somehow dangerous (chemical makeup, whatever) and they should take that shampoo every time or it is safe, and I should be allowed to fly with my flak-reducing shampoo.

In honor of flying, enjoy some Marvin Webster

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Morning Worship

(Sorry for the time off... a lot has happened personally for our family, and I got lazy. I'm back for a while.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Everything's amazing, and I am happy

I will be flying today.  When I do, I try to remember the truth of this guys comment.  I will try not to yell when the plane takes off.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Morning Worship

I've been listening to this song through Pandora for a while, and finally tracked it down.  If you have the time, listen to the story it is well worth it, otherwise, skip to the song.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A/B Testing

Have you heard of A/B testing?  The internet is amazing.  Since there is very little real cost to displaying websites (as opposed to billboards, or other forms of visual marketing) you can do A/B testing and statistically know if your change is going to be better.

In life I wish I could test things this way.  Imagine if I could A/B Test my recent car choice.  I could know through real data which car would fill my requirements better. Web designers have a real tool in their arsenal, and they should be using it a lot!  For me, I'll just have to rent the other vehicles and see if I still think I made the right choice.

Friday, March 4, 2011


My Blackberry Bold has been rebooting on me regularly, so today I got an upgrade.  The Blackberry Torch is a nice... Blackberry.  It is not an iPhone.  It is not an Android device.  But in the world of road-warriors and government officials, there is no business device better than a blackberry for real mobile productivity, and the Torch is the best Blackberry yet.

The good:
Touch - Welcome to the world of touch screens (lets pretend the Storm never happened, 'kay?).  The interesting thing about this User Interface is that you have options.  You have so many options that I can't figure out which way I am supposed to do a particular task.  Users of Blackberries have been used to the wheel/ball movement for years now, but with the use of a good touch interface, it is no longer required.  However, Blackberry left the mini-magic-scroll-thingy just to confuse us.  I find myself trying to navigate with the scroll feature while knowing full well I could just touch the screen.  Its weird, but the touch is good and responsive.  It was the first soft keyboard I did not hate.  My fat fingers only miss-typed about 10% of the time, which means if I made the effort, I could get good at it.  I do not have to.

Keypad - My favorite part of a Blackberry.  A like a real keyboard on the phone, not a soft keypad.  More than that, I like having it small enough to type with one hand.  Most hard keyboards make you flip the device landscape and use two hands.  Having the slide out for the portrait oriented keypad is a great mix. I am still uncomfortable with sliding the touchscreen up to reveal the keypad because I am concerned about pressing something I am not supposed to.  I'm sure this is just a familiarity issue that will go away over time.

Speed - feels faster than the Bold.  Faster is better!

The Bad
Resolution - Devices out there today have really small pixels.  I feel like I could measure these with a standard ruler.  You just can't get as sharp as you can with the iPhone, or other devices (Atrix, Galaxy S, etc.).

Opera - To be fair this is not Blackberry's fault, but the blackberry browser will have to do for now since Opera does not recognize the Torch's touchscreen.  Disappointing to say the least.

All told, its a good phone.  For Blackberry users, it is a HUGE leap forward, while still maintaining a business feel.  A few years ago, BB pushed hard to pitch themselves as a young/hip alternative.  It didn't fly then, and its not going to now with the phones that are available, but for business, when your phone is primarily a phone/email device, BB wins.

Perhaps when the Blackberry Playbook comes out, I can figure out a way to need one.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Worst Music Video Ever

Its just awful on so many levels. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

I finished this book last week.  I read this book when we were in Riverbend around 10 years ago.  It is far more relevant to me today than it was then.  I have a much higher appreciation for the power of prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit.  The powerful stories in this book will make any Christian wonder what we are not tapped into. Why aren't drug addicts, prostitutes, and homeless coming to Christ in our churches?  Why aren't we seeing real transformation in people?

In our own church, we are in the beginning of a year long focus on "Joining the echo" or how we can join in telling our story to those around us.  I have given up trying to convert people.  For too long I went around using canned methods and memorized speeches to try to convert total strangers.  No more.  I am just going to be me, and attempt to truly love the people around me with no hidden agenda.  May that love, and the power of my testimony be what draws people to Christ.

Privately, I am asking the Lord to revolutionize my prayer life.  Only in prayer is the power of the supernatural released to do good.  If you have not read this book, it is well worth it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cleaned out the old tech

My project for Saturday was to clean out the desk and get rid of some old tech items.  This was long overdue.  The computer the kids use was painfully slow. I had a machine that I was playing with ubuntu on, but since that project is over (i.e. I'm giving up trying to learn linux... again) I loaded windows back on it and got it all set up for home use.  Chrome browser with application shortcut to Webkins.  Pandora One for Veronica.  And I have our data share automatically copying to a mybook for backup purposes.

Our inkjet printer died a while back, so I installed a new one.  In the mix, I somehow fried the Dell Laser.  I will take it to work to see if it can be fixed.

I then took all our old tech items and threw out what was out of date.  Included was an old router, usb hub, and a joystick that had an actual game port connector.  I gave the girls some old cell phones, and we are officially cleaned out of any old technology.  This is hard for me, since I typically hold onto everything, but its a new day.

Monday, February 28, 2011


One goal I have set for myself is to change my driving habits. I am a fairly aggressive driver. The new car was getting 25 - 25.5 mpg consistently before the change. Last week, I reset the mileage calculator and started driving thoughtful about mileage. The results

5 MPG represents a 20% increase! With gas costs up over $3.50/gallon, 20% savings is major. This is one goal that will push my resolve. I do not like driving this way. I'll let you know if I can keep it up.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Worship

I plan on posting a favorite video each Sunday to kick off our worship.  Enjoy the Lord today.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Two week goals

This year, I am working on my personal discipline. I struggle to finish things, and to keep consistent on just about anything. Its a part of my character that I would like to refine. So I have started working on various goals, and set them for two weeks. At the beginning of the year, I was a vegetarian for two weeks. That launched a change in how the family has been eating. I am not continuing that goal because I feel no need to, but it was nice to complete my first two week goal.

Blogging is one as well that I hope to continue well past the two week mark. Look for posts labeled "Personal goals" for updates on how I am doing.

Project at work

On Monday we will be shipping the lion's share of the project I have been working on for the last few months. I am technically under an NDA, but I figure if they are giving this out, so can I. Visit EPRI's website and download this little article.  Its a pretty neat process, and will ultimately save you money on your power bill (at least that's the theory).

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's Not My Fault

Recently, we were involved in a project were a simple Lead/Lag controller was started up by the mechanical contractor.  During the install there were a few items where the commissioning agent requested some changes to the programming of our controller.  Since the job is local, I ended up going on site to install the new program and provide some courtesy training.  As I watched the system work, it did not “feel” right.  The outlet of the hot water boilers was around 190°F but the system loop was stuck well below setpoint.  The boilers were cut back on their high limits, but the water was never making it to the main supply sensor.  I found myself walking around the boiler room staring at the ceiling, tracing the piping in my mind.  It all looked right.  The offline boilers recirculate into the boiler loop.  The online boilers go to the secondary loop.  There is a way for it to cross over which I assumed was where the temperature was dropping, but I mentioned on both occasions to the mechanical contractor to check the flow, because there was definitely flow problems.  Like most contractors, he was simply happy to be getting off the job. 

After the building was handed over to the end user, their chief operator called asking for help.  He saw that there was a problem.  When an event happened that cause instability (boiler fault, large change in load, etc.) the system would lose control and never really recover.  He was prepared to rip the controls off the wall.  Of course this was a controls problem.

I asked our VP of Service to go to the job.  I knew there was something wrong, but I did not see it.  I explained the flow problems that I had noticed and asked him to keep an eye out.  Once on site, Darrel started examining the install like I did.  What my untrained eyes missed, his saw.  The isolation valves were wired correctly in our panel, but went through relays which were wired inverted.  The offline boilers were actually piped into the header, while the online boilers were recirculating.  Presumably, heated water was flowing back to the boiler loop, then out through the offline boilers. 

It was very satisfying personally to return to the site and see the temperatures working as they should.  Everyone involved, the installer, mechanical contractor, commissioning agent, the end user and I missed this.  Once fixed, the controller worked well. 

It is easy to assume the controls are at fault.  They are often the least understood, and therefore bear the brunt of the blame.  However in times like these, the controls are simply responding to some other mechanical error.  Not every problem is caused, nor can be fixed by controls.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Here is an interesting article about Borders, books, publishing, and doing business in today's economy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Storage Room

Our storage room is prone to disaster. The one thing you want is buried in the back, and once you have destroyed the room, putting it back is just too much trouble. We normally take an evening and rectify that room a couple times a year. Since I was off on Monday, I decided to tackle the room and add some shelving to help in the future.


(don't judge us ;-) )

I cleared out the area and built this shelf. For $100 at home depot, this shelf is nice. We have some particle board shelves. and the sagging always bothers me. These are rated for 600lbs each (3600lbs total for 6 shelves).

Shelf liners are a must with these wire shelves.

One think that always seems to get in the way is wrapping paper, so I built this little rig to hold it. Veronica made fun of it, but I figure she will be happy when the wrapping paper stays nice. Plus it is built Dad Evans style, so its not going anywhere.

Finished product.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Escher's Waterfall

This is great! I cannot stop watching.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nineteen Eighty-Four

I just finished rereading George Orwell's 1984. I am fascinated at this book's ability to go from excitement and hope to utter despair in an instant. Of course stories that do not end well frustrate me (like Message in a Bottle), but of course the main message of the book is a social and political one. It is ashame that today's government is often called Big Brother because it really minimizes the point of Big Brother in the story.

A few weeks ago we were discussing this book with a young professional (early 20's) who had never read it. He was only familiar with the term Big Brother in reference to our police-state mentality, but Big Brother is so much more than that.

There is a part of the book where Winston is reading the contra-band book written by Goldstein where Orwell lays out some interesting notions which I ended up pondering a lot. In simple terms, the statement is made that machines could eliminate scarcity, but scarcity is required for hierarchical society, so war is needed to consume additional resources to keep scarcity a reality.

What is interesting to me is that while we have advanced to the point of amazing machinery capable of performing many tasks, and reducing costs for complex problems, we have failed at eliminating scarcity. Instead we have grown our personal need for more and better things requiring more resources. Instead of Orwell's war solution, our own personal greed is keeping us in a scarce society. It is unfortunate that we live this way. I am guilty. I long for the latest TV, tablet, dishes, cars, food, etc. while my fellow man starves on the other side of a shrinking planet.

Morally, I wonder if Jesus would see eliminating scarcity as a positive for society? Is that what we as the Church of Jesus should be striving for?

Is it even an attainable goal, or is man's morality so broken that any advances made to lower scarcity will be swallowed back into making the wealthy more so?

These are the questions that have been plaguing me recently. If you have never read 1984, and you are of age, go read it. It is a fascinating book about human sociology, politics and freedom.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blogging restart

I am stepping up my blogging. Initial goal: two weeks straight, but hope for more.