Jason's Blog

Archive for January, 2007

In memory of Anna

by on Jan.30, 2007, under General

Not many people know that a long while back, 3 or 4 years ago, I had a friend named Anna (Anna was her nickname, her full name was MUCH longer).  Anna was an amazing woman, a single mother at a very young age with a faith that still amazes me when I think about it today.  She prayed the rosary nearly daily – and apparently it's a different rosary, with 40 parts or something along those lines.  She was the youngest of 9 kids (from what I remember).  She played piano, and worked with kids doing music education.  She was beautiful and intelligent, spoke multiple languages, and truly cared for people in a way I've never seen since.  She even loved those who hated her – a true Christian in a world where people often only give voice to their beliefs.  Anna was overall a rare woman who truly followed in her heart Christ's ideals.

Anna, aside from being an amazing woman of faith, also had cancer – she discovered this after we'd been talking for several months.  I still remember the first time she told me, how she just babbled on for hours.  I remember her telling me how the doctors told her it was terminal, that they could only slow its progression (it was someplace in the spinal column I guess).  I encouraged her to try, to fight the cancer any way she could.  I remember her struggling with whether it was God's will to take her from this Earth, and numerous other discussions as she despaired.  I also remember how worried she was about how other people would be hurt by her leaving. 

Eventually, around this time a few years back, after talking for a year or two – I've lost track now – Anna disappeared.  Her email account was disabled, her phone no longer responded, and I was never able to find much information, other than she moved to France.  That's where she'd grown up and gone to school (my understanding was it was a Catholic school of some sort).  I don't know what happened to her, but I can only suspect the worst, as I know she was already in the hospital a few times from what her brothers had told me.  I've not heard from her for over 2 years now, and as such, I have a good guess as to what happened.  Anna was a friend to talk to, a friend who listened when I had few friends that I could talk to, a woman who encouraged me in my faith when I often struggled, a woman who followed Christ with her whole heart.  Though it's been a number of years, I miss her and still think of our conversations, and I remember her faith.  SO, this post is for her, in memory of her. 

Anna, thank you for being a true sign of Christ's love to others.  Thank you for being a friend, thank you for all that you gave unasked and unrewarded.  Thank you for being who you were.  Anna, you are in my prayers, and I hope that God is there with you, carrying you through every step of the way.  In loving memory, my prayers are with you. 

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Ethanol, energy consumption, etc.

by on Jan.29, 2007, under General

Ok, this has GOT to be one of the more interesting , if highly technical reads I've read through in a long while.  It's definitely worth reading through, if nothing else to get a better understanding of the energy costs of ethanol and other alternative fuels.  The author points out rather well the issue of efficiency and energy loss in these systems.  For farmers/environmentalists, it's also a very good read to consider and REALLY understand issues, instead of merely spouting "Green is good" – I've known too many environmentalists who shout messages they don't really understand rather than paying attention to facts.

I guess that's one reason the article above really got my attention – it does the math, and runs the numbers in a way I've found VERY few on any side of related issues to have ever discussed.  It's a good read, pretty informative, and definitely brings up some things to think about, long term.  Honestly, I think the car I heard about at the Detroit show, the Chevy Volt  is definitely one vehicle in which EVERYONE should show an interest.  

SO, read the article above, take a look at the volt, and hopefully get a good view of the future! 

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My precioussssss

by on Jan.17, 2007, under General

Ok, I'm not quite that bad, but I AM bonkers over my early Christmas gift.  Wait, did he just say early Christmas gift?  Isn't it January?  Yes, he did, and yes folks – I'm slow sometimes on posting things wink  Anyways, on to my new toy!

I've had numerous machines over the years, and in an effort to simplify things, I've been selling off various bits and pieces of computers I've had laying around.  I sold off my desktop, old laptop, and am trying to sell a couple of other computers right now.  As part of that, the end goal is to get to a simple desktop for home use, and a laptop for on the go stuff.  And, a new change, both of these systems need to be OS X/Apple systems.  I use OS X almost exclusively now for personal things like photo management, games, web browsing, etc.  I've COMPLETELY dropped windows at this point, except on really really really really really rare days where I have to load up an old windows program (or occasionally an old windows only game).  Anyways, back to my new toy, a relatively new 20" iMac smile

Computer Spectrum or Tigertech or whatever it's called now on campus occasionally has REALLY good closeout deals on previous models of Apple computers.  I managed to snag one of the earlier model iMac Core Duo machines for a VERY hefty discount (not going to say how much, but let's just say I saved a ton of money).  It's brand new, just was a previous model that they were trying to clear out of their inventory. 

 OK, I hadn't meant to post this right away, but all good wink  I'll toss up a picture later, but I'll finish with this is one heck of a machine!  

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Apple’s “big” little announcements

by on Jan.09, 2007, under General

Ok, so had to repost a comments on apple 's new product announcements.  Let's just say I'm underwhelmed.

On the iPhone – that's an impressive devise, but the price (particularly since it requires the 2 year contract), with data plan also required, makes it unfeasable.  Particularly without an expansion port such as an SD slot.  However, if development for it is doable, then it becomes FAR more interesting.  If you could program your own content, games, etc. then this is the Nokia 800 on crack.  Either way though, there's not enough information to tell whether this has enough features, clean enough interface, ease of development, to outweigh the tremendous costs.

The iTV thing is useless.   TOTALLY useless.  There's a few cases where it becomes a consideration – if it does a pull vs. a push system.  If the only media it displays has to be pushed to it, save the time & money and buy a Mac MINI or some other device that can handle external storage.  I don't intend to buy a device and then have to get up, walk to my bedroom to turn on my computer to stream stuff to my living room.  If it had more harddrive space or could use an external harddrive, then perhaps syncing my library would be worthwhile.  However, I've already got over 40gb of music, pictures, and video, which makes the thing pretty useless for the price for what I do.

The only other way the iTV could become useful is as an integrated media library – and that gets into the extra storage mentioned above.  This would require supporting external harddrives.  Even then though, it's limited in functionality, without having DVR abilities or a lot more functionality than listed.  If the thing supported external harddrives, then syncing the media from my desktop, ripping my dvd library to it, etc. etc., then that would be worthwhile, because I dont' have to dig through piles of CD's or go to half a dozen places to find my information – it's all in one place, easily browsable.

SO, the iTV is kinda worthless without some serious modifications and external harddrive support.  Maybe only half worthless if it does pulls instead of pushes.  The iPhone could rock, could suck, depending on interface, pricing, and how well development works for it (I still say it needs an expansion slot!).

Here's the thing to keep in mind too – I love apple products, having replaced my old windows desktop with an iMac and a Powerbook, but these products were just a total disappointment from what they could have produced.  PARTICULARLY for the price/feature comparison and particularly for the big hype that Apple produced over these products.  The jury is still out on the iPhone, but the iTV is a waste in my opinion.

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