• Category Archives Spiritual
  • Things related to Christianity and my experiences therein

  • The search for a new washing machine – LG WM2016CW

    Recently our old washer and dryer have been exhibiting the behaviour of old age + wear and tear. After approximately 13 years of fairly good service (the washer was a Top Loading Whirlpool and the Dryer a GE / Camco) and easy self repairs I decided it was time to get something at a good price which will last our family of 8 into the next 13 + years. After doing extensive research all over the web (including consumer reports) I decided the best for us was made by LG Model: WM2016CW. Apart from being a recommended washer by Consumer Reports, the actual Customer ratings was decent and the various stores I visited and repair shops all mentioned the unit was a good quality build.

    One BIG caveat! I was ready to buy the washer / dryer pair (the dryer was LG’s DLE2516W) but the first few places I went to do not typically stock appliances! The days of going to the store and getting your replacement the same day are mostly over. In my case I got the pair from Trail Appliances (which had excellent selection, the prices were the same as competitors but they also have stock on hand).

    Once I got the new washer / dryer home I was VERY happy with the quality, ease of use and design of this pair. Time will tell the long term quality story, but thus far an excellent purchase for our family of 8 (saves much time and energy bills compared with our older pair).


  • The Pinnacles – Pinnacle Lake in Cherryville

    This 2 hour (each way) hike is well worth it if you are looking for a good workout and a beautiful sight at the top. Briefly the pro’s and cons of this hike are:

    Pros:

    – Stunning beauty all along the way

    – Mostly shaded by large trees and brush

    – Lots of fresh glacier water along the trail to cool off your body

    – Reasonably short hike for such a gorgeous destination. You can camp at the Lake and hike / mountain climb further to the peaks if you are experienced.

    – Not too far from major roads and towns and great for a day hike.

    Cons:

    – Logging roads are not marked as clearly as you might like it to be. The key way to get to the Trail head is to ignore everything you read about how to find the trail head and follow the Brown signs from the Vernon Outdoors Club (VOC). At some forks in the road all you will see is a small little arrow… follow it! At other forks the sings tell you which trail the fork leads to. This is the most sure way to get to where you want to go.

    – Road gets rough and rocky at the last fork to the trail head… if you’re driving in a car you might not want to go forward… backing up is scary on some of the very narrow/rocky spots.

    – Almost a gurantee you WILL get wet and muddy. Unless your balance (and everyone else who you may be helping) is perfect you will fall into water.

    – LOTS of bugs and horse flies, ESPECIALLY at the top. We sae lots of hikers with shorts and t-shirts, and some taking toddlers up wearing the same! DON’T DO IT! Clothe yourself responsibly for bugs and cooler temps at the top.

    – Trail often branches off to different paths which will lead you astray (happened to us a few times). MAKE SURE you use the flowing river as your guide.. it leads to the Lake. Most of the trail follows the right hand side of the river/water falls once you cross over the river at the large dip where the trail forks to the left of the river and down and across the river. Go down and across the river into a mess of broken tress from a past avalanche. You’ll see many avalanche areas skewing the trail.

    – Prepare for dangerous wildlife, grizzlies etc.. are known to be in the area, carry some kind of protection in case of emergency (make moderate noise to let them know you are around). It won’t be easy to get down quickly if something happens.

    The story of our hike:

    We left Vernon at 8:15 am and arrived at the trailhead at around 10:am. Once you pass the Gold Pan Cafe, it is the first logging road and your left (called South Fork) but DON’T take the llogging road ALSO named south fork before the gold pan cafe, and DON’T ask people in the cafe for directions, they didn’t seem to know what we were looking for but gave us confident advice to continue doen the main highway for 30 minutes before turning! Follow those Brown VOC (Vernon Outdoors Club) signs as they are the key to success. This trip I took Jacob (15), Isaac (9) and Timothy(8) along and we had a great time. Thye Lake is VERY cold being a glacier lake but you can take quick / shallow dips to cool off. Be careful as the water is VERY cold and it is possibleto go into shock should you go in deep and long enough or dunk your head in the water at a place colkd enough. Overall the trail was an excellent adventure that we will never forget. I would recommend people use google earth to scope out the area to get a general idea of the landscape and always OVER prepare or you’ll be sorry.


  • We want quality, not quantity!

    I’ll try my best to keep this post clear, concise and useful. I say that because I have VERY strong opinions about this subject at the moment due to similar experiences.

    Story #1: The plane that was destined to crash –

    Air Force One 2-Ch Radio Remote Controlled RC Airplane Ready to Fly
    
    My son purchased this RC airplane from nitroplanes.com and the plane's flight path started with a 
    with a throw while ending with a crash. We followed all instructions completely, but unfortunately 
    this plane from its very design was destined for the garbage bin. Here are my observations:
    
    - The plane has no wheels so the only way to land is on the fuselage.
    - The plane is quite heavy (for Styrofoam) and the engines (even with fully charged batteries) 
      don't have enough power to lift the heavy plane.
    - Let us fantasize for a moment! Lets assume the plane could actually lift off into the blue sky
      (as advertised). We all know what goes up must come down. Nearly EVERY SINGLE landing
      we had when trying to get this thing to take off ended with the wings breaking off!
      We had to crazy glue the wings back in place for subsequent attempts.
    - My poor 9 year old son lost $66.00 (shipping included) and is sceptical of all
      flying toys.
    
    Story #2: The GP2x Wiz
    
    My eldest son purchased this multi-purpose open source based mp3 player. While enjoying its
    wonderful features for a few weeks we noticed a newer shinier firmware release on the
    company website sporting performance improvements and bug fixes. After following
    instructions (to the exact detail) we ended up with a bricked device. I have sent
    an email to the retailer in hopes for an exchange (which I am told by supporters on IRC that
    it should be no problem). The Wiz is definitely an excellent device but the quality of the firmware
    upgrade process (for a homebrew based device) should certainly not end in a bricking!
    
    Story #3: Work Hard not Smarter
    
    In a fictitious environment where software engineers and managers and quality assurance
    all work together to make the finest products, comes doubt. In this "historical fiction"
    bob has been nearly brain washed into believing in agile development methodologies and
    TDD (Test Driven Development). While working in his little bubble world, bob and his close 
    associates experience tremendous results under a highly motivating manager that supports
    this bubble team 85% of the way (hey 85% isn't bad). Years pass by and the team is doing
    quite well, but the team also switches to a new and more darkened "traditional" environment
    where everything "has been done that way for the past x years".
    
    The team is basically starting over from scratch learning new languages, products, processes
    and culture. During this new adventure many difficulties arise but more importantly the
    team begins to believe less and less in the doctrine since no-one seems to be following it
    (like they are trying to do, of course not perfect). Finally things culminate to a meeting
    where managers (and high managers) decide to dismantle what fragile safety guards were in place
    and the message comes loud and clear... "work harder, not smarter".
    
    You see the idea of productivity and performance can mean a whole world of difference
    between different people and environments (and i'm not talking about code I'm talking
    project metrics here). Its very easy for a software engineer to "close more bugs" but
    the question is how many more has he created, and did he actually fix the real problem?
    
    I don't want to get philosophical here because I don't feel it is required. Sometimes
    the simplicity of the truth suffices. In this historical fiction bob is not disturbed
    by the fact that the message is "word harder not smarter" but rather that the official
    message is "work smarter not harder" but the truthful message is the opposite. Bob
    thinks we should be honest with ourselves and at least admit to the truth. If people
    want more with less quality then say so. Of course they don't want more with less 
    quality they want more with higher quality, but unfortunately it all takes time
    to invest, which also costs more at some point.
    
    Bob understands at the end of the day things must be done "on time". What bob doesn't
    understand is how people who never actually do the work can set the definition of
    "on time" without asking those who will do the work. But then again for bob its just 
    a job and thats all. There are limits to how much effort you can afford to help improve
    things, especially when bob feels that maybe they don't want it improved?
    
    ======================
    Mark my words, the issue of quality will define those who are successful from those who
    are not in the next two decades.


  • Wrapping up our one week vacation

    Well its been a week and a couple days with some time off and it almost felt like an eternity. This vacation was spent doing a lot of things at home (of which some will be expanded further in the future). One thing I will mention is how well the boys are learning how to use Blender to create 3D models and how to modify software. Jacob and Noah worked together to make a “farmer” faction for the open source game Glest (to view some sample models go here).

    Having time off is both relaxing and dangerous. Relaxing because you need not worry about all the silly politics going on at work and abroad (not that we should worry anytime anyways). The dangerous part is due to the fact that you have time to think when you have time off. Time to think about what is important, and time to think about what God is saying to you. I don’t think most businesses like employees to have much time off, not only because it costs money but more importantly because it gives people time to consider what they ‘should’ be doing as opposed to what they are doing. The more busy we are kept the less we think and dream about what God wants for us.

    I enjoy writing software, but more importantly I enjoy my family, yeah even more importantly I love being… just being in God’s perfect Will for my life. Thank you Jesus for helping me and my family to see…. beyond the normal machinary of life, and into your eyes and into your Will.


  • Technology, Theology and Biology

    I had various thoughts today that all seemed to combine somehow, even though the categories are vastly disparate. If you’re looking for a quick fluffy post then skip this one, it won’t make sense to you.

    1. Technology:

    Some deeper concentrations whirled through my mind today as I considered the reality of older hardware. Face it folks, we all have “out-dated” computers or parts kicking around fairly steadily these days. Like me you “need” to find some practical role for your old PC because sending it to techno-trash is too… final. As I ponder what my options are, I begin to realize just how badly Microsoft has set themselves up this time. For the first real time in my life (that I can remember) I do believe Microsoft has actually snuffed themselves out of a market. Old PC’s won’t be getting Windows XP installed on them will they! Not with all that licensing nonsense they introduced in XP!

    Take for example my experience installing Ubuntu as a Dual Boot accessory to my Windows XP Installation. Here I have a LEGAL installation of Windows XP, I image the hard drive then move it onto a larger hard drive so that I can install more software (Ubuntu dual boot being part of that). Just by upgrading my hard-drive and NOTHING ELSE, Microsoft forces me to connect via Internet to validate my LEGAL copy of Windows XP or make a 1-800 call and talk to bots for 15 minutes to verify my LEGAL copy of Windows XP. Of course I run into numerous problems during this “renewal”because this is like the 10th time going through this with the same PC in the last 5 years since I am a techno-nerd I have changed the hardware in this PC numerous times over that timeframe. If that’s what I get just by upgrading a hard drive, you can be sure that old hardware won’t be seeing ANY LEGAL copies of Windows XP, they’ll be getting LEGAL copies of FREE UBUNTU LINIX! That’s right, I think many others will be doing the same over the coming years and this time Microsoft has really snuffed out the after market. There will be little to no after market. This will only prove to help the cause of free software and show everyone the fruits of closed source / fort knox / pricey operating systems.

    Used computers will likely take more advantage of Linux than ever before and get people used to Linux, leaving them no reason to use Microsoft Windows (unless required to do so at their job) moving forward in their future endeavours.

    Whether that happens or not is to some degree speculation, but you cannot deny that XP’s phone home system will actually prove to hurt Microsoft more than it helped them in the long run. (Let me be clear I am not an advocate for piracy, I have legal copies of all software that I use on my own PC’s)

    2. Theology:

    I find it very interesting that until this past 100 years, in general most of the world believed in the existence of God. That means for thousands (evolutionists will say millions or billions) of years most people didn’t disagree on whether or not God existed but rather which god was “The God”. Were these people smart? Are we smarter than all of them today with our Technology, Biology and Humanitology (just created a new word)? Today most people say that they don’t even believe that God exists. So either they were stupid and today we are smart or we are stupid and they were smart. Which one is it? Well, I do suppose that history can help us with that. Why were so many people “believers” in some aspect of a God in the past? In most cases you will find it was directly linked to experiences they had with God. Have we lost these experiences today? Has God left us? Have we left Him? If God really does exist, would he act the way you would expect Him to act? I believe the problem today in our theology is that we “have no need” for God and therefore He steps out of our way like a gentleman (for now).

    As we push along through life focussing on being the good little consumers “they” want us to be plugging into that supply chain, we rarely lift a finger of effort to consider what it is that we really need! The truth is that this generation is the most miserable, selfish and needy generation the world has ever seen, WE need the bailout package not GM, Chrysler or Ford, we are already bankrupt and spending that which we don’t have… we need a saviour.

    John 3:17-21 (Amplified version) For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation {and} be made safe {and} sound through Him. He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation–he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in {and} trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.] The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than {and} more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil. For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light {but} shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed {and} reproved. But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are–wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].

    3. Biology:

    I left Biology for last just in hopes to keep all of the scientist’s reading this far. The Biology part illustrates our generation’s condition best (in my opinion). Take your health condition in consideration. You eat food every day, visit a doctor from time to time, perhaps exercise and maybe you eat organicĀ  or locally grown foods. Here is a fact of life:

    They don’t really care about you!

    The food producers would have killed you long ago if it were legally permitted (via toxic ingredients… China as an extreme is just holding up the mirror… people JUST READ the ingredients of everything you eat for the next seven days and you’ll see what I mean, if you don’t know what the word means in the ingredient list use Google or Wikipedia) Doctors and Prescription Drugs were the third leading cause of death in America in the year 2000. Nothing wrong with exercise, but as a substitute for good old fashion “hard work” it just acts as another life distraction that takes your eyes off of the reality you’re living. Organic vs non organic… there’s a debate. On one side the organic industry often makes unsubstantiated claims about their “organic” product. People lets call it normal and lose the Organic label already! For the past x thousand years it was considered normal. So now a days I have to pay MORE to get normal food that my ancestors had to pay for their normal food. They weren’t stupid enough swap the terms / meanings of Normal and Commercialized Product, but our generation sure was. Great, now we have Captain Crunch! Go look and see how most cereal in the world is made today (and this link is a friendly one).

    I think people put more effort into their once a year tax returns than they do in their daily health. Come on scientists, prove the true-ness of each thing that “they” try to sell you, vegetable, animal and mineral! Don’t put value in the pack of lies and assumptions that constantly fill our age or you become a participator in the madness. This is no argument specifically for or against organic / non-organic / doctor / drug etc.. its an appeal to the truth and the pursuit thereof.. you know what the scientific process is supposed to ultimately result in.

    With everything that is, so truth is, they exist. Whether it be technology, theology or biology you need to ask yourself a very important question: “how do I come about finding the truth”.

    1 John 2:21 I write to you not because you are ignorant {and} do not perceive {and} know the Truth, but because you do perceive {and} know it, and [know positively] that nothing false (no deception, no lie) is of the Truth.

    Till next time…