A new day dawns…

So I’ve finally gotten around to updating the functionality and look-and-feel of my website again.  I’ve been putting it off, due because I’ve been so focused on work and other things, that I didn’t care to spend the time on my own website (heh).  I’m still playing a bit with the look and feel, and the organization of content – what I’m going to keep and what I’m going to toss.   But I plan to keep at it until I’m satisfied, rather than letting it drag on again for a long time.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the new site – and we’ll see if I’m more successful at adding new content on a more regular basis this time.

Gong Hei Phat Choi!

…or Gong Xie Fa Cai, if you prefer Mandarin 🙂

Chinese New Year 2014HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!  Welcome to the Year of the Horse (Jia-Wu).

I’m starting off this new year with a company team meeting, and working with my team to set our company up for success in this new year.   I’m also becoming more involved in my church’s music ministry, which has been a joy (and a lot of fun) for me.

And something that one of my team mates pointed out to me, that I really have enjoyed is this video from Voddie Baucham:

Why I Choose to Believe the Bible – Voddie Baucham

Voddie explains very clearly and in an understandable fashion, why I believe the Bible to be both reliable and trustable.  I’d highly recommend that you check it out – even if you’re not a believer yourself.

Anyway – I wish you all the most joyous of New Year days, and hope that you have a chance to enjoy some good Chinese food, at the very least!  My family and some friends will be celebrating together and eating Da Bin Lo – yum!

A happy new year, but I still miss my friend.

Seven years ago, God decided that you had run your race to the finish, and took you Home, my friend. I wasn’t planning on posting anything, but saw that some of my friends had been remembering online, and needed to stop and just express…

http://www.theoslogic.com/mypth/?mypthID=87

It’s funny (in a sad way) to me how much of an effect he still has on my life, even so many years later.    Small things, like a pair of chopsticks that were his that I still have, or when I read the book of Philippians, when I sit down to watch a movie – or hear my sister complain about the house being too cold… when I hit the bookmark from Po’s memorial service in my Bible, and it reminds me of how passionately he lived his life, and pursued a relationship with God (…and Jess – talk about a great love story).

Po, my friend – I still miss you more than I can clearly express with words.   I can still hear and remember your laugh…  and despite the fact that I know it’s selfish, I do wish you were still around…

Today, I am reminded once again how precious the word “friend” is…

A friend is one to whom we may pour out the contents of our hearts, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

I treasure all of my true friends – and today, I remember my friend Po, and push forward on my own personal Race that has been given just for me.   I’ll see Po again soon enough … “But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me” (Phil 1:22a).

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a happy new year (year of the snake)!
Yes, it’s the Chinese New Year today – and this upcoming year will be one for my mom (who was born in the year of the snake).

Love you all, my family!

Phase 10 … no, Phase 20!

Hey –

It’s been a long time since I blogged, as I’ve been very busy with life, family, work – and the house!  I have some great stories that I want to share with everyone about that (yes, Paul – lawn care stories even).  But I mentioned the following to someone (who found it interesting), and wanted to document this before I forgot.

My family loves games – all kinds of games.  Board games, card games, computer games, indoor and outdoor games.  We have a lot of fun!  But with some – as much as we love them – they get a little old after a while.  What do we do about this?

We modify the rules or create new ones of our own!

Now, this isn’t all that unusual; I know others do this as well – but we’ve done this quite a bit with a variety of games, and I thought I’d share one of my favorites: Phase 10

This is a great card game that my family still adores.  But seriously – only 10 phases?  That doesn’t last very long if you’re playing at a decent pace.  So a few years ago, we sat down and drafted up another 10 phases (we have a few more beyond that, but not a full set yet – you’ll have to wait for those).

Anyway – the classic game has the following 10 “phases”:

  1. 2 sets of 3
  2. 1 set of 3 + 1 run of 4
  3. 1 set of 4 + 1 run of 4
  4. 1 run of 7
  5. 1 run of 8
  6. 1 run of 9
  7. 2 sets of 4
  8. 7 cards of one color
  9. 1 set of 5 + 1 set of 2
  10. 1 set of 5 + 1 set of 3

And my family now offers you the joy of playing the next 10 phases of:

11. Run of 5 and set of 5
12. Run of 6 of same color and set of 3
13. Run of odd OR even of 6 and set of 4
14. Run of 9 of same color
15. Run of 10 alternating 2 colors
16. Run of 4 and 2 sets of 3 (both sets all different colors)
17. Set of 4 and run of 4 (both all 4 colors)
18. 2 runs of 5, each a single color
19. 2 sets of 4:  one set – no wilds; one set – all wilds
20. Run of 10 all one color (no wilds)

11.  Run of 5 and set of 5
12.  Run of 6 of same color and set of 3
13.  Run of odd OR even of 6 and set of 4
14.  Run of 9 of same color
15.  Run of 10 alternating 2 colors
16.  Run of 4 and 2 sets of 3 (both sets all different colors)
17.  Set of 4 and run of 4 (both all 4 colors)
18.  2 runs of 5, each a single color
19.  2 sets of 4:  one set – no wilds
one set – all wilds
20.  Run of 10 all one color (no wilds)

If you enjoy this game as well – we hope you enjoy the extra fun 🙂

Nathan.

Title change: HOME OWNER

I am quite happy to announce that I am now an official home owner!  I have acquired a 7-ish man hot-tub, attached to a nice 4 bed / 2.5 bath house on the western side of Lancaster, PA!

Pictures and further details forthcoming, after the shock wears off a little more….

Two quick thoughts….

(1) I’m house shopping again (this time in PA) – and I’m very serious about getting a house by this summer!  More on that later…

(2) If you’re a mac user, you will want to check out the new MacHeist:

http://www.macheist.com/bundle/u/94384/

$39 for 12 programs is a pretty sweet deal – and since they’re each worth about that retail, if you like even two of the apps being offered, then it makes total sense to buy!

For me, I’m really interested in:

  • SousChef (been wanting a cooking / recipe software package for my mac)
  • PhoneView (for my iPod Touch)
  • World of Goo (I’ve heard great things about this game)
  • Wiretap Studio (to use to record work calls for project needs)
  • Espresso – looks like an interesting / new programming editor

So anyway – I pay for one, and basically get the rest free….whee!  If you’ve got a mac, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Oh – and if you bother to join in their “heists” (puzzles) which are separate, you can get a lot of other apps for free….

Cheerios!

Gong Hei Phat Choi!

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone 🙂

It is now the Year of the Ox (Ji-Chou) – I hope everyone had fun “practicing” their American New Year’s, because now the _real_ one starts 😛

I’m working on a dynamic system that maps out the 60-year cycle of the Chinese New Year schedule (zodiac + chinese stem / branch + dates) – but still have a few kinks to work out in the logic.  Until then, here’s what I have if you care:

           http://www.theoslogic.com/hong_bao/

Nathan.

Proof positive: MO > IE

So I got these pictures almost a year ago, and never got around to posting them until now 🙂

BUT I wanted to share with all of you doubters out there. Still think that Internet Explorer is fine as a browser? I just wanted to point out that it’s now being advertised in towns all over the country that Mozilla Firefox is much better than Internet Explorer – and not only that, they apparently have WHOLE GALLERIES setup just to prove that it’s better….you don’t believe me? Then just check out these two pics (click to view full images) 🙂

Advertised as you drive by...
Advertised as you drive by...
Mozilla beats out Internet Explorer...
Mozilla beats out Internet Explorer...

And if you look closely at the second image, you’ll note a sign that I’m fairly sure is a neon “perl” advertisement – although I’m sure that some DOUBTERS out there will think it’s just a broken “open” sign….but WE know better 🙂

So these galleries apparently are great places to get all kinds of good information! Maybe you should check it all out 🙂

mainstream TV providers conspiracy?! What do you think…

Now, I’m not a real conspiracy nut – although I can come up with a few if you really want to have some fun talking – but there are times when things become so OBVIOUS it’s kind of like a slap in the face.  

I’m talking about things like gas mileage on cars.  I mean, seriously – my 1985 Subaru got better gas mileage than all but the best of the current hybrids, people!  Any idiot who falls for all those the dumb TV commercials about how great the new cars are with gas mileage deserves the loss of money when they buy one.  It’s sadly apparent that most marketing groups think that the general public is made up of idiots!

However, I want to bring up something new (at least to me):  TV advertisement audio levels for non-HD television.

I’m not a major fan of cable OR satellite TV – and although I do enjoy the network and paid tv channels that I receive (for a very high price).  Overall, common sense dictates that you use whichever one is:

  1. Cheapest (or that you can afford within your budget)
  2. Gives you the features that you NEED
However, I believe that TV providing companies (at least the cable providers) are sinking to a new low…
My sister and I have recently started noticing that the audio level for many of the commercials is WAY higher than whatever show is being played. We either have to lower the volume for the commercials and raise it again for the shows – or we just outright mute the TV through the commercials. Maybe this is just accidental or some  poor editing, you say?  
I think not…

So what do I think?  I’m guessing that the tv providers are trying to come up with not-so-subtle ways (audio and video degredation, small pauses and hiccups at random moments, etc) to “encourage” people to make the move to purchasing HD services and equipment.

I mean – if you have any form of non-broadcast TV (ie cable or satellite), then you’ve seen the commercials touting all the new HD content available.  And if you visit any store with technology available, it’s all about HD content and how awesome it is…

SO – what do YOU think?  Am I (and my sister) just imagining things and jumping at shadows (or loud audio commercials)?  Or do you agree that there is something not-so-sneaky going on with tv providers?