Life\’s Direction

Activities on Firefox

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on March 12, 2008

A way cool feature I found in IE8 beta 1 is available for Firefox. Very usefull:

http://lifehacker.com/366659/add-activities-feature-of-ie8-to-firefox

I’m just waiting now for a “Share on wordpress” activity 🙂

JDarkRoom update!

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on January 20, 2008

JDarkRoom

I have mentioned a few times about this word proccessor that I use for blogging called JDarkRoom. We’ll I wanted to post quickly and let you know that there is a new version available. This new version is especially freidnly if you are a OS X user.

There is a new OS X download that will allow you to use JDarkRoom like a normal .app icon, instead of having to horse around with a .jar file. Also in the new version as per popular request is the ability to widen the margin of the editor, this makes the utility especially usefull if you have a widescreen display (macbook, macbook pro, powerbook or external).

I usually write my blogs using JDarkRoom, you can see it in the image above in the banner I am using for my blog. I have also mentioned it in this post.

Check it out! Really, its small, lightweight and very usefull!

R.

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Why I want a ‘Want Book’

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on January 12, 2008

Personal Reflections

I’ve been reflecting and struggling with the consumerism that is rampant in my life, this has come as a result of partially being a technophile but as well always tinkering and trying to restore things.

Recently I was reading on “Zen Habits” which is a blog I frequent (not that I subscribe to the ‘spiritually’ related content) about the entropy of clutter.

Radical Stewardship and my ‘Want Book’dsc00074.jpg

One of the ways that was suggested to combat materialism was a ‘want book’. Basically you want to buy something you write it down in your ‘Want Book’, if you still feel that it is a legitimate need after 30 days then you have the ammunition to pursue it. This idea should help me with my impulse buying. It should also help me to save money and be a good steward of the rescources I have been entrusted with.

Intentional Community

One of the conditions I would like to put on my ‘want book’ is Small Group involvement for items that are over 100 dollars. To some of you this concept of ‘approval’ is uncomfortable, to make oneself in a sense subject to a group of people with regards to the way I spend my money.

I am asking the members of my Small Group to hold me accountable to this system for the next year. I am sure that my gracious wife whom has started me on this journey will also help as well.

Why such a big issue?

And that is just the problem isnt it, If I believe in Jesus, and I believe that He has purchased me at a price (1 Cor 7:23), then who am I to make only parts of my life that are conveniently comfortable subject to this scripture? What is it about us that causes us get offended when people question the way we spend our money? Why be slaves to the empire, slaves of money, slaves of men.

In some sense I get offended because I am a spiritually depraved consumer. I subscribe to the world owes me something when in reality, if Christ bought me at a price then is it not I that is indebted to Him? Surely I can never re-pay him but I can respond to His acts.

If I believe he paid a price for me then act contrary to this Grace, I am making Him out to be a liar. Then I am a hypocrite! Please help me not to be a hypocrite, the less amount of us hypocrites in the church the better 🙂

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Living the “narrative” in “narrative preaching”

Posted in -LIFE-, -MTN- by lifesdirection on January 3, 2008

Reflections on Reading

Upon reflecting on some of the reading I have been doing for my MTN courses, I read a chapter in the ‘Great Giveaway’ on preaching the word, and was struck by the paradigms of thought with regards to expository preaching and narrative preaching as outlined in the chapter.

The Middle Ground

While there seem to be both positive and negatives in both styles of preaching, Fitch lays down some guidlines for allowing the community of believers to work out the interpretations of scripture as a congregation. This idea combined with either narrative or expository preaching allows for the congregations to work out the interpretation of the scripture in their context as a whole. I would love for the oppurtunity to practice these disciplines. Currently in our church we do look at the interpretations of the scripture during our ‘small group’ times.

Personal Convictions

On a more personal level I was convicted. It was made very obvious to me that I often treat scripture like a consumable. I feel lost without sermon outline, even some times offended and hopeless. A good friend pointed this out to me during a rather lively and terse conversation about preaching. While I think there is wonderful merit in the discipline of thought in combination with allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart as an individual, I have often discounted the times of community as less important to my needs (another symptom of my consumerism).

Conclusion

I am hopefully that indeed where there are scientific and contextual shortcomings of narrative preaching that the Spirit of God can narrate the text. He is capable of such wonderful things, making the scriptures applicable to our lives but not necessarily formative to our agendas. So many times in my life I have been made aware that God has re-interpreted for me in my mind the scriptures as they apply to his agenda and not mine!

What can we do to allow more of the Holy Spirit in the Church? How do these concepts manifest themselves in our times of ‘Bible Study’. How do we let the Spirit lead?

My [new, old] Powerbook G4 15″

Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on January 2, 2008
(below) Monitoring the installation proccess of ubuntu linux on my powerbook.

g4pbubuntuinst1.jpg

Powerbook Specifications:

1.25 Ghz G4 Proccessor
2GB RAM (2x1GB SODIMM)
15″ LCD (1280×854 native resolution)
80GB Hard Drive
OS X 10.4 & Ubuntu Linux 7.10 – Operatig Systems

    Well after much research on Powerbook G4 laptops I was able to restore a PB G4 15″ to working order. Now I can concentrate on more important things like blogging with my geeking time. The unit is a 1.25Ghz laptop with a 15″ LCD and currently 2GB of Ram. I am hoping that the machine will at least be able to stand up until or even through my (MIS) Program that I will bepossibly starting in about a year and a half.

    Putting away my PC’s

    I have been an PC advocate for a long long time and I am starting to realize that the reason Apple Computers are so expensive is because the hardware is better. I have comming into contact with more users that have had their Apple hardware last many years without giving them much grief. I have a few friends that have had their apple hardware last them 7+ years, the hardware has actually stood up until it was no longer supported by apple.

    Secondly, what is the fastest Windows Vista laptop when it came out? You guessed it, a MacBook Pro. This is a testament to the quality of hardware seeing as it was never Apple computers intention to build a windows PC but because the MacBook Pro will run windows it was included in many tests, this goes to show that their standard of hardware is alot higher than their competition.

    Because I can still Geek on a mac

    I had reasonable pleasurable experience setting up AMP platform as well as FreeRadius and OpenLDAP from source when I was activley developing on the OS X platform. Because OS X is fully UNIX certified and they seemed to have gotten rid of the horrid NeXT configuration database it looks like I’m totally sold.

    Why a mac?

    Macs seem to be just easy to use. What I mean by this is that they are very efficient and streamlined in design. Programs are very task-oriented as well.

    I just want it to work!

    I found myself tinkering a whole lot with my PCs trying to get them to do things and waiting as Windows crashed, failed flakey hardware issues etc… this mainly came as a result of always trying to get an optimal setup working, always seeing what combination of hardware worked well, getting PCs running for other people as well as the fact that I couldn’t say no. If a friend had a problem with their PC I would often replace the part with one of my own and then take the old one or replace the peice in my computer with a used old flakey part.

    This Powerbook is great because it will also allow me to run Linux (which in many ways is superior to OS X, because of its ‘openness’).

    I will be posting instructions shortly on getting Ubuntu Linux up and running on this computer.

    Alternatives for Online Email and Application Service Providers

    Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on December 29, 2007

    Recently I have been getting a number of questions from various friends as to the reliability of online services such as Google Documents, Google Mail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail Scribe etc.

    If you are like me, these services that are offered to store documents, emails and other such fun things online come in very handy as I am frequently (although less of late) accessing many machines, including the multiple types of machines that I run at home. While it is intriguing to me as a hobbyist to run all kinds of systems and always look for the “best OS” or the “best Window Manager”, latest Linux distribution etc. I have always had a problem.

    My documents are sprawled across many computers and this makes them inaccessible.

    The simple minded (who scoffs at this point) says that I should use Google Documents, or that I should use Scribe or that I should use XYZ online service provider for all my documents and emails. While these solutions work most of the time, they are un-reliable at times, they are un-reliable at crucial times.

    I have heard of people never receiving email with their Google accounts and not having the email even bounce back as undeliverable. I have seen bugs with the way Hotmail handles content as well as people complain that Google Documents is ‘slow’.

    Well first of all most of these high-tech online services are making your web-browser consume just about all the CPU and RAM it can grab a hold of on your system and making your web-browser which was really meant to just ‘load a page’ run around like a football player.

    There seems however to be a good compromise however with certain services, that allow for synchronization with your desktop PC and the ability to load the files offline using a client program when you dont have an internet connection. This allows for the user to have a digital copy on their computer. A simple example of this is a program I have called ‘Stickies’

    Stickies uses a protocal called ‘web services’ this allows for the program to upload and synchronize my ‘Stickies’ (or post-it notes) with the amazon web services server. What this means is when I make a sticky note on my computer, the program will, go and create a sticky note on amazon’s web server, the same stickynote that I made on my computer in fact. So if I ever need to access or move to a different computer or use two computers with the same sticky notes (like home and work) then I can install the client on a different (or new) computer and it will go to amazon and download my stickies via the amazon web services.

    While this does not deal with privacy issues (U.S. Law to the best of my knowledge allows the gov’t to look at whatever they want if the servers are in the US) it does deal with the issue of being ‘stuck’ to the web.

    Amazon is not the only provider of web services, nor are they the creator, they are just an example.

    Many a times we use ‘web services’ because they are minimalistic and functional, for example ‘Google Documents’ we use the programs because they are well designed and simple and do not take a huge number of resources to install and run. Consider Microsoft Word. Who wants to load the entirety of Microsoft word the behemoth to type a simple document, sounds absurd doesn’t it? Need more RAM for your computer, thats probably why, we tend to be lazy so we use an axe to trim the hedges in the back yard. Why? because most of us only know how to use an axe and we think that learning a new program can be quite a task. It really is not that hard. Programs are very easy to learn, especially if you are on an Apple Computer. (the reason for this is apple interface designers always keep simplicity and efficiency in mind).

    Take a few simple windows applications for example:

    • Abiword
    • Rough Draft
    • Miranda
    • JDarkRoom

    These are very simple client applications. They are designed to be simple and designed not to slow your computer down to a halt. Various Office Suites and web-browsers load all kinds of bells and whistles that you probably don’t use, they also provide you with various visual distractions that prevent you from focusing on the task at hand. (JDarkRoom is a good example of a minimalistic editor, DarkRoom is the Mac alternative). Applications like “Think” allow you to focus on what you are doing! (btw if anyone ever finds a Windows version of Think then please please please let me know).
    In short, I am not convinced that web-applications will completely replace desktop applications furthermore, if you are not withing the reach of an Internet connection (some coffee shops like starbucks) yet you still want your information available there are some really good alternatives.

    What are some of the applications you use to get simple things done?

    What are some of the applications you would like to see?

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    Personal reflections on Christmas

    Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on December 20, 2007

    Sorry for the long space in between posts, life has been busy with work and other circumstances that have demanded more sleep that what I usually need so extra-curricular computing has been down to a minimal

    I have been reflecting these past weeks on Christmas and what it means to me. There are a few thoughts I would like to share:

    Tradition and Circumstance

    As I was raised in an Ismaili muslim home, I have had the wonderful oppurtunity to be very objective when deciding what Christmas really is to me personally. Growing up we did celebrate Christmas but in the confines of the Qu’ran (Jesus was a prophet, we would celebrate his birth). My mother being a catholic convert to Islam did stick with some of her family traditions as well as my aunt’s and uncles of presents. I always remembered as well the parcels my wonderful grand-parents would send me.

    thenativity1.jpgWhen I was single I enjoyed a minimalistic Christmas, I would lite some candles and remember and reflect upon the word becoming flesh, God ‘moving into the neighborhood’ as it were. I was able to do this with relatively little baggage, I did not have huge family traditions in the way (just some fond memories), I didn’t feel the need to have a Christmas Tree and lots of decorations and lots of Christmas ‘stuff’. That is not to say that sometimes these things are not fun, I just enjoyed my minimalistic Christmas.

    Well… Let me tell you… I’m not single anymore. That is not to say that I don’t enjoy Christmas anymore, far from it, my wife and I have been reflecting on what Christmas traditions we might indulge ourselves in. I have had to walk through in my mind a-fresh what Christmas is to me, how I would like observe, no, how I would like to take part in the birth of Christ (Christianity after all is not a spectator sport you know, not like watching people shop on Christmas eve, now there is a spectator sport!). I still gravitate naturally to a minimalistic Christmas, I can make some compromise for a pagan tree, and possibly redeem the whole thing back to a Christmas tree if I reflect on the lights and the evergreen and the star etc… Personally I would do fine to put out my nativity set (Thanks Flora! (I think)) on the coffee table and sit down with a cup of coffee and spend some time with Dad.

    I think I am learning to be a little more open minded, alot of what we know as ‘christmas ‘ has nothing to do with Christ at all however, things can be redeemed and used, used for the inward journey, my journey, your journey, to Behtlahem.

    Spend some time in the Journey this year.

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    Creating an enviroment for Spiritual Gifts to be discovered, taught and recognized.

    Posted in -MTN- by lifesdirection on December 4, 2007

    I was reading on my friend Santosh’s Blog a little bit of David Fitch’s view on Spiritual gifts.

    Santosh writes “In order to exercise these gifts, church members need to recognize, affirm, test each other’s exercising of the gifts in the arena’s of Christ’s body.”

    While I completely agree with the above statement, it raises an interesting question. That question is what about those who come to serve, there are a number of people in the fringes of our churches that may not necessarily be believers. They may not even know that they are gifted, they might benefit from the more structured approach . Funelling works great for them. There are also those who come to serve and so the ability for them to serve where ever needed is important.

    I think that the Holy Spirit has the ability to alter one’s giftedness over time as it sees fit. One of the struggles I have had and I think we experience it in our ecclesiology is the separation between learned talents and god-given gifts. The ability to discern these two different blessings (some are bestowed from God and from other believers, the other are learned as a result of circumstance).

    An example in my life would be the ability for me to work with technology. While God might use this gift to an extent to bless other people (or just keep me out of trouble), it is not explicitly referred to as a ‘spiritual gift’. On the other hand, the ability to discern right from wrong, or have wisdom or knowledge beyond ones years is most definatly a spiritual gift.

    My intention is not to compartmentalize but the word “Gifts” and its colloquial definition with regards to our Christian culture has been stretched to cover secular talents more so than spiritual gifts.

    I suppose I have arrived at the following conclusion:
    The change that has happened with regards to the term gift, a spiritual gift and a talent (that may not necessarily come from the Almighty) which is causing confusion in our interpretation of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and its manifestation in the Body of Christ.

    Gifts, how do we know them?  Do we pray for them(Phil 1:19)? Are they given directly from other ministers (Rom 1:11)? Do we simply stumble across them? Do they come with repentance (Acts 2:38)? Do we already have them? (1 Cor 1:7)

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    A few utilities for those mac users out there :D (or PC users running OS X)

    Posted in -TECH- by lifesdirection on December 2, 2007

    utils.jpgI wanted to post some of the utilities that I run on my mac.  I’m also quite an avid Linux user as well so some of these utilities will have Linux ports or alternatives:

    Think – Think is an application that I use to simplify my desktop.  It allows me to keep from being distracted by only allowing one or two applications to be visiible on my desktop at the same time. This means things like system notifications, email notifications, dashboard applets running in developer mode etc… Won’t be so distracting.  This utility is good if you spend some intentional time on your Mac as opposed to just ‘browsing and IM’ time (Good for writing papers or programming).

    Onyx – This set of utilities to configure and weak your mac allows you to set settings that are not traditionally available via ‘System Preferences’.  While Onyx is not yet available for Panther, if you run Tiger (Which I do on my mac) then give it a whirl, but be carefull, as will all system tweaks you can mess things up, so if you dont know what it is then dont play with it 🙂

    Stickies  -Stickies comes with OS X, if you know what a post-it note is well, its a digital post-it note pad.

    Virtual Desktop or Spaces –  Virtual Desktop is for Tiger, Spaces comes with Leopard, and no, Apple did not steal the concept of Virtual Desktops from these guys.  Virtual Desktops have been around since Unix and (correct me if I am wrong) first appeared on CDE for Solaris.  Eitherweay they are usefull, they take a bit of getting used to but if you like to switch between applications but dont have a high resolution display, take them for a whirl.

    So those are some of the utilities that I gotta have! If you are interested in any of their Windows Counterparts let me know.  I believe I have found alternatives for everything except for Onyx and Think.  Which reminds me, if you find a Think alternative for windows PLEASE let me know (I have to run that OS at work).

    Have a blessed Sabbath (even if you don’t take yours on Sunday).

    Third spaces and the Internet

    Posted in Uncategorized by lifesdirection on November 28, 2007

    Third spaces are mentioned in David E. Fitches book “The Great Giveaway” (p.64-65). Upon reflecting on this categorization of a non-threatening place were we as christians bump into ordinary people in safe places. There are few of these in our culture. Places were issues of competition for power, prestige and plunder are subdued, places were our culture has the ability to meet and interact without presumptions.The Internet has often been touted as having many of the similar traits to those of ‘third spaces’. To most middle aged people, the Internet does not hold great significance as a tool for ‘quasi-social’ interaction, this disqualifies it from being a social enviroment in the eyes of many people.

    There is a group emerging that use the Internet to suppliment alot of their social activity and lives. Most of the people I meet, when I suggest that the three of these ideas, “third spaces” (now that Fitch has given me a term for it), the Internet and Youth brush me off. I think they do so because despite the fact that alot of social activity happens on the Internet for our younger generation, it does not strike us as relevant becasue the Internet to us seems to be extremely impersonal and lacks the dimensions of F2F (face to face) interaction. While this is true I beleive that we need to look closer at this medium. Despite the fact that you may not use facebook, msn spaces, blogs, LinkedIn or any other network tools, the next generation will and does. They spend alot of time in this third space and it is demanding more and more of our attention as technology becomes more and more accessible to the general population. I’ve been reflecting on how the ‘Global Village’ has implications on ecclesiology when it comes to ‘seekers’ and ‘strangers’. We may be missing out on ministry that only exists online.

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