Sorry I haven't been posting as often as I'd like. My work schedule has fired back up, and I'm working on the shop floor for another 3-4 weeks. Until then, I won't be able to get much writing done... most of my energy will be used for resting, and required family things. At this point, I've pulled a whole week of 11-hour days on my feet, so I'm pretty tired.
However, I've got lots of material in the queue for the near future. I want to fire up my next "Retro Game of the Month" feature. I'd like to do a hands-on review of the Adrenalinn III pedal, which will take more than one post. I've got some good theological ideas I want to flesh out and share with you, my loyal readers. I've also got a few pieces I want to write on Christianity, Magic, and Role Playing Games (which is something I've been wanting to write on for quite some time). I also want to do some more work on highlighting Linux-based guitar software, and I've even got a domain name set up for that... just haven't gotten to it yet.
All in all, there's plenty of writing to keep me busy, but it will take some effort for me to get around to it all. Please be patient, and I will try to make the best quality content for you I can. Believe me, I want to write it all. It's just more time-consuming than I'd like.
And if I haven't said it before now, I want to thank each and every one of you for reading. It really means a lot to me, and I appreciate the time you spend reading my thoughts. It really does motivate me to do more, and to do it better.
So thanks, and stay tuned.
Throughout many times in my life, I've tried looking for direction. I had to make some sort of difficult decision, or do something I despised, or maybe I was just confused and looking for guidance.
Usually, I struggle through these kinds of things. Up until recently, I couldn't really think of why... it just never crossed my mind. I just assumed every time I tried, I sucked at making decisions. This kind of thinking sets us up for constant failure.
Instead of just giving up, I needed to step back from the situation, and apply a bit of logic. I know that God's direction for my life can be discerned, albeit if God is willing to show me. But I had become so accustomed to failing, I got to the point where I quit trying.
First: Happy 2015!
I've spent the last few years trying to redefine myself as a person. I found I'd been wandering through life, just kind of going through the motions. But we know that God has bigger plans for us... not bigger in the sense of "larger" but bigger in the sense of "having more impact on the world."
And let's be honest: the only thing we're here for is to serve as an example of God's love. We have to balance "dying to self" and living out God's plans for our lives. Where do we draw the line? How can we balance our own passions and God's passions?
The answer is simple. Our passions are put there by God. I'm not talking about our wants and desires; I'm talking about what things make our souls fulfilled. Things of value, things that make our hearts glow with purpose.
For me, it wasn't a matter of figuring out what I like to do, or what I'm good at. There's a never-ending list of things I'm interested in! What I needed to ask is "which of my interests is both spiritually fulfilling, and can meet a need in God's kingdom?"
"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell
People don't want to hear the truth. If you doubt this, try telling everyone the truth... and nothing else... for a week or more. You'll find out very quickly that we've trained ourselves to expect lies when we ask certain questions. Sometimes, pure unadulterated truth can be hard to swallow.
Almost every single person knows deep down that lying is wrong, and yet we do it anyway. Why is this the case? Why are we so willing to tell and expect lies?
The bitter cold snaps through my thinning exterior
As I spend another day on my posterior
Crunching through numbers and tables and graphs
When I should by out cycling I sit on my... plush office chair.
Forever ago when I still knew my name-ish
I swore that I wouldn't become what I came-ish
Now to my chagrin I am choosing to sit
And listening to people who are all full of.. non-value-added information.
Yet even with corporate methodical junkle
I know deep inside their theories are bunkle
That someday I'll willingly fly from this dirge
And fly south for the winter: corporate life's for the birds!
After a particularly good day of relaxing, I found myself feeling bad about not spending enough face time with my wife. There's of course a limit to that, but my Attention Defecit will not allow me to just sit for any significant length of time. This causes all sorts of relationship problems for me. Because people talk small talk, and I just tune out. I'd rather be blowing up aliens, or hacking the Matrix, or skydiving, or... something. Not fixing a broken shower head or remembering to feed the cats.
But we are happier when we have face-to-face interaction with people. Isolation draws us inwards, and if you stare inwards _too_ long, you won't like what you see. The reason for this is that we're our own worst critic. We are intimately familiar with our own failures and shortcomings, and we know exactly where they are. We put on a facade of "cool" to convince people we're not as messed up as we are, but the truth is, everybody's messed up- and we know it all too well.
If there's something that become endangered in the last two generations, it's the idea of sacrifice. We went from being the most respected and feared country in the world, to being the laughingstock of even third-world countries. I think this came about, largely, because of the elimination of sacrifice in America today.
Sacrifice /ˈsakrəˌfīs/- An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.
Think about it. How can you sacrifice for something "regarded as more important or worthy" when the most important thing in your life is your own comfort? When we value comfort, laziness, and entertainment above all else, we turn sacrifice into a mockery. There is no reason to give anything up.
By definition, there must be something more important and worthy to sacrifice for. We must intentionally choose what things are noble and worth pursuing. Otherwise, we fall into the default state of "whatever." People who have changed the world did it because they had a perspective for something bigger, something greater.
"No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself." -Seneca
There is so much more to being a mature man than being strong and wealthy. And I'm not just saying that because I'm relatively weak and poor; the truth is, I have been able to objectively look at my life through the lens of time and see where I was wrong. I spent a lot of time in my youth chasing dreams that were a wisp of smoke, and trying to get away with things I knew were wrong. I was full of myself, full of energy, but had nowhere to apply it. I had no Great War to serve in, had no Mission to accomplish. Nowhere to prove myself that I thought mattered.
Somewhere around 1993, when I was 19 and in the throes of self-discovery, I was approached by a man in his 20's whom I respected a great deal. He was a musician, someone who always seemed to have his act together (which is rare for musicians). He asked me if I would be interested in starting a fraternity chapter for men of music. Like-minded men, who were young, but wanted to be involved in making the world a better place through music.
This past November (2014) was the lowest month for page views I've had in more than two and a half years. I've had to look through my logs and see why, but I think I've finally figured it out: I hosted several photos here that I linked to from discussion forums (mostly computers, bikes, cars, music). These count as "hits" without people actually visiting the blog, which throws the numbers off quite a bit. Going through my 404 logs, I can see where people are still linking to photos I used, and in some cases, someone linked to it from somewhere I didn't even know existed. This might be part of the cause. (Taking three weeks off to write a major article didn't help, either!)
I need to go through and clean these loose links up. It will 1. help clean up the traffic stats, and 2. ease some of the load on the server.
There are also plenty more things I have in development, but they will have to wait until Christmas break, when I have time to devote to them. Hopefully you'll think they will be worth the wait! I'm also going to be working on setting up a new website for musicians using Linux, which sadly, there are far too few of (people using Linux, and websites for them).
I'll also try to incorporate a Twitter feed in the sidebar, which I've tried previously, but dropped because 1. the embed code sucked, and 2. I didn't use Twitter that much back then. Both have changed now, so I will give it another shot. I've had this website up and running going on TEN YEARS at this point, so there's nowhere to go but upwards!
I got more in me. Let's do this.
NOTE: If you've noticed you haven't heard anything from me in the last 3 weeks, it's because I was working on this article!
We can't escape it, we're in the digital age. Companies are all about Data, and we as consumers have followed along. With the rise of GPS-enabled devices in phones and bike computers, almost anyone can now track their cycling and running statistics, complete with geolocation and tons of other stats. This of course allows us to not only track our ride history, it allows us to compare information and apply it different ways.
I've long been a fan of GPS technology, and so naturally I migrated to using GPS to track my bike rides and commuting miles. But there are so many choices out there! How's a person to decide what's best for them, except try them all? I even made a poll in the G+ Bike Commuter Cabal community!
Fear not, for I've already used them all*, and my findings are here to help you make a decision on which App is best for you and your riding style.
We're going to look at the top ones, and also include Google's newcomer "Google Fit" to the mix, just to see how it stacks up against apps that have been on the market for years. I started off using a 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab, and recently got a Motorola Moto G, which is what I'm recording rides with now. All app data and screenshots are from the Moto G. The apps will be reviewed in the order I tried them, nothing special about that.
- App itself (quality, reliability, features, ease of use, accuracy)
- Accompanying website, features, ease of use
- File Formats import/export
- Paid features (if available)