Sunday, December 18, 2011

Razor Sharp

I heard several months ago that gently tapping my razor (Gillette Mach3) on a cloth about a dozen or more times after each shave would help extend the razor's "life." The theory is that by removing the water from the blade, you reduce the likelihood of rust and corrosion. I can't say I've ever seen any of those blades become rusty--mostly because I think they are stainless steel to begin with. Nonetheless, they do become dull.

I shave about 5 days every week, and one blade lasts about 3 months (yes, 3 months, not 3 weeks). So I thought I was getting a pretty good return on my money to begin with. Just today I was at Costco and priced the blades--they had a 24-pack for $48.00, or $2.00 for each blade, or about 0.67 cents per month.

A couple nights ago I decided to search the internet for other ideas to extend razor-life. First I looked on Youtube. I decided to summarize what I found, in order to have a single reference to share with others when this subject comes up.

The advice can be broken down into a few main points:
  1. Preparing to Shave
  2. Daily Maintenance of the Razor
  3. Weekly Sharpening

Preparing to Shave
I'd never really given this process that much thought. Like most guys, I learned to shave from watching my father. He never really gave that much instruction on anything in my life--he was more of a "just do it" sort of person. So after decades of shaving, I finally learned that even getting ready to shave can help extend the blade's life. First, put a drop of oil on the blade (I use olive oil). Even though most blades come with a lubricant strip, this step helps the blades glide easier over the face. I apply it by putting a drop or two on a plate then putting the blade face down on the plate.

Second: After applying the shaving cream to your face, do not immediately start shaving. Instead, wait about 1 minute to allow the shaving cream to soften your face and stubble. You will get a much smoother shave by doing this and also reduce the stress on the blades. (By the way, putting gobs of cream on your face like they show in commercials is completely unnecessary. Commercials do that both for dramatic effect and to get you to thoughtlessly waste product so you have to buy more. Applying a thin layer is plenty. If, after waiting the minute, the cream has started to dry out, merely put another thin layer on your face, and then start shaving.)

Daily Maintenance of the Razor
Drying: As I already mentioned, gently tapping the blade on a cloth (I use just a typical facial cloth) will help remove most of the moisture. One video I watched recommended putting the blade into a bag of rice because the rice will draw out any residual moisture. It works but that means you need to come back later to apply the oil. It just is not convenient. So tapping dry is better for me. 

Protecting: After the blade is mostly dry by tapping on a cloth, once again apply some oil to the blade. The oil will dispel any residual moister and preserve the blade.

Weekly Sharpening
First off, you do not have to do this until you first start noticing your blade becoming dull. After it comes dull, this will extend the life of your blade at least another month, maybe more. It can be used with any blade, including the use-once and discard blades such as the ones pictured here.
This video recommends using jeans to sharpen the blades. I thought this was a hoax but realized I had nothing to lose by trying it. Surprisingly it does work. In fact, the blade actually seemed to give me smoother shave than when it was brand new. Another video recommends merely using your own arm to sharpen the blade. I tried it and got razor burn on my arm. I wouldn't recommend it, but maybe it won't irritate your skin.

(Updated 2011-1226)

Friday, December 9, 2011


As noted in another post this month, I love public speaking & teaching. My Speaker's Storyboard idea addresses that need but at times my creative interests take other directions. For that, it would be nice to have a large whiteboard but they are too expensive and somewhat ugly in a home environment. I needed something that was less imposing.

I started searching Youtube for ideas and searched on "homemade whiteboard" and "makeshift whiteboard." The first one returned more results.  Here are my findings, hopefully, if you are looking for an inexpensive solution, these will be of value to you too:

First take a stiff piece of cardboard, the size of regular paper. Glue a sheet of paper on both sides. Slide the whole thing into a sheet protector, you can write on the surface of the sheet protector using dry erase markers and then easily wipe them off. Since sheet protectors typically have holes for 3-ring binders, you can place multiple mini whiteboards in a binder.

The next is for much larger projects. Perhaps you've seen the costly solution of static cling roll of whiteboard sheets. An alternate and much cheaper solution is to use cellophane. I priced it at my local Walmart and it was only three dollars (US). Here's a video made by the guy who first proposed this idea.

Another surface that I discovered all by myself is the hard plastic that encases most small electronics. That plastic is also used in selling other products. Recently I bought a shirt & tie combo that came encased in the plastic. I cut off the large front panel of the box, adhered a piece of white paper using double-sided tape and used it.

Here are some other fixed and semi-portable solutions:

I also discovered the following quite by accident.... I hesitate to post a link because it may not be available to you, however, at my local Home Depot, in the paint department, they have something called whiteboard paint. Essentially, it is paint that dries to become a whiteboard on whatever surface you apply it to. It was about $20. (FYI: They also had chalkboard paint, but that is nothing I'm interested in.)

Finally, here's an idea that does not use dry erase markers. Instead it uses Washable Markers. These are typically marketed as children's activity tools but they are useful as markers for a whiteboard concept. I use them on the back of my bedroom door to draw out ideas. After I am done, a damp cloth cleans the surface without any discernible residue--if left only for a few minutes. If you need a copy, take a picture using your phone or a dedicated camera.

So there you have it. Everything from a small portable whiteboard (using a sheet protector), to a much larger surface and you don't have to spend a fortune to get it.

Always Learning--Speaker's Storyboard

Every year I despise TV programming just a little more.

It started when I was in my late teens (late 1960's) while I was watching a rerun of Star Trek (the original TV series). I began to sense that it was all mindless & useless. Every once in while I'd find something that was mentally stimulating but, like foods you find in a grocery store that are later discontinued, those shows usually disappear. For a while I liked programs featuring the sciences. But lately, most of that seems to focus on UFOs, and now "USOs". And how does EVERY episode end?.... "We really don't have any hard evidence, we may never know in our lifetime." So, while many refuse to believe in the Bible which has tons more evidence than UFO research has, it almost seems you'll find more people "believe" in UFOs.

So, I turn off the TV. Once or twice in a month I'll find a movie that my wife and I enjoy and we'll record it and watch it I don't have to put with another mindless feature-commercials.

So at age 60 what in the world could possibly be left to learn? Plenty! I enjoy public speaking. For several years (on and off) I was a member of Toastmasters, which is an international organization dedicated to helping professionals develop their speaking skills. I am also active as a religious teacher/tutor. Learning how to teach effectively, so as to keep the student's interest, is an art-form in itself. Of the various "hats" I wore at AT&T, one of them was the officially designated instructor in a group of 200-400 people. It was during that period that I came across Nancy Duarte's books, "Slide-ology" and "Resonate." (These books are available on Amazon.)

I am the sort to pick books apart (figuratively) and piece them back together in a way that becomes a helpful reference for me. Although nothing that she wrote was new, it was very inspiring. With it, I started pondering afresh something I've struggled with for years--is it possible for speakers to use the concept of storyboarding ( in quickly fleshing out a speech? I am happy to say that it is. Although what I named the "Speaker's Storyboard" is nothing like the original concept, the end result--that of being able to quickly conceptualize the progress of a speech--is the same.

Here is what I did to create this storyboard:
Get a large posterboard. The color doesn't matter, but a single flat-color is easiest on the eyes. Using MS-Word's textbox feature, I created several small "tiles" that I printed on regular paper and then affixed them to the posterboard. I divided the posterboard into 3 main sections. The bottom section, which is used first, I have tiles for "facts, reasoning points, illustrations, experiences and other bits of info. I placed these tiles as headings across the bottom-3rd of of the board. Then, when developing the speech, I use one sticky-note for each piece of data. If I have 3 facts, I make one sticky note for each and place it under the "Fact" tile.

The top-3rd of the board is for the actual speech development. The 3 main tiles there are "Intro, Body, Conclusion." The "body" section gets the bulk of the top of the board. To use this section, I first review all the tidbits of sticky-notes I accumulated and look for two or three main points to drive home. I write those main points on separate sticky notes and place them under the body section. Based on those, I now know exactly what I want to teach the listener(s) and therefore I write the conclusion. Then, having the conclusion in mind and the main teaching points, I start moving all the tidbits from the bottom of the board under the main points. If a tidbit doesn't fit, it doesn't get moved up. Finally, after seeing the speech unfold in front of me, I write an introduction to raise the audience's interest and anticipate the points I want to convey.

(In the middle section, I've reproduced some graphical illustrations that demonstrate the development of a speech that touches peoples imaginations and hearts. These are mere mental joggers and only intended keep me (the speaker) focused on the creative process.)

As a personal challenge, once a week I prepare a speech, whether or not I am assigned to deliver it. This keeps my mind sharp and enjoying an artform (speaking) that can refresh the minds and hearts of others. You will find two of those speeches in this month's (Dec.2011) blog writings.

So, TV can continue to dull the senses of everyone else (like the people in the animation WALL-E), but I for  one, treasure this brain of mine and will continue to challenge myself to use my pastime for learning.

See also:

Addendum 2014-0605
I finally got around to creating a couple videos to show the actual storyboard I created. I divided this into two videos. In the first video, I show the actual storyboard and explain its features. In the second video, I explain the auxiliary information on the backside of the storyboard.

Pictorial-Composite Sign

If you look at any road close up, you will find minor flaws and yes, even inconsequential pits, even small potholes that any modern car tire can easily drive over. Now if you were driving along and someone yelled out "POTHOLE!" what would you expect? Something inconsequential. No, there has to be a reason for the warning--its because it is big enough to cause concern. And all of a sudden the car goes buh-bump!

The same goes for the warning that Jesus gave regarding the composite sign of the time of the end. Please turn to Luke 21:11 to notice a few of the mentioned elements about the Sign.

(Luke 21:11) and there will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.

We'll concentrate on just two of the elements, earthquakes and pestilences.

Are the earthquakes that we are experiencing now more frequent just because we have better reporting and recording? With the increasing discoveries of ancient writings from all periods of times and all corners of the earth, we are discovering that our ancient forefathers were just adept at recording details as we are. So, looking at 1914 as the see-saw pivotal year, lets look back from that point a period of 2,000 years. How many GREAT earthquakes were recorded? And by GREAT, I mean those measuring 7.5 or greater or causing 100 or more deaths or devastation  costing more than 5 million dollars. How many? 865, or, less than one-half earthquake per year. Now, lets look at the other side of the teeter totter. In just 69 years (report I looked at went up to 1983) since 1914 there were 605 major or great quakes. That is an average of 8.8, yes, nearly 9 major quakes a year. So from 0.43 (or less than one-half) to almost 9 is a monumental leap.

What about pestilence. In just the Spanish flu which took 20 million lives by conservative estimates and up to 100 million lives due to residual effect (based on the figures you'll easily find on the internet), that is substantial figure.Do you know anyone that was affected by the Spanish influenza? I do. My own grandparents. Yes, my mother's parents both died as young adults when she was about 3 years old. But how many is 20 million people? Well, presently, California's last census count was 37 million people. So you were to kill 2 out of every 3 people here in California, you would have the death toll of the Spanish flu. Bringing it home, reflect that today there are a little over 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses earth-wide. If all of them were to suddenly die, that would only be one-third of the people killed by the Spanish Influenza. But it is not the only pestilence to have struck since 1914. With increasing frequency, new strains of old diseases are popping up. On top of that you have cancer, AIDS, and other problems that have plagued modern man for decades. Some in the medical field feel it is only a matter of time before another major issue arises. Indeed these are difficult times hard to deal with.

So size, duration, increasing frequency, impact on human life, all of these are part of that Sign, just as noteworthy as is a large pothole. But there is one more thing that people minimize the importance of. While it is true that pestilence and earthquakes have always existed and are stand-alone events in themselves, what Jesus foretold was a composite sign. To illustrate, have you ever seen images like these that are made up of dozens of smaller pictures?

Mike Phelps:


Each picture is like the separate elements in Jesus Sign, each is a stand-alone picture in itself. However, Jesus wasn't talking about that. He was talking about the big picture that all those events combine to form. So, what you are supposed to see is not the individual images of this swimmer in various swim positions. You are supposed to see the gold-metal winner. Likewise, what people are supposed to see regarding Jesus' sign is not the individual events, but that they are part of a much larger picture marking a particular time in history.

So don't loose faith or hope friends. Even though the faithless people in this world try to discourage you with talk that the potholes of life's troubles have always been with us, we know that Jesus was warning us of something much greater than a typical pothole. This is major buh-bump! Hold on. The ride will only get rockier as Jehovah carefully drives us into the new order.


Reference: Other samples of composite or mosaic pictures (Google search on keyword phrase: "mosaic pictures")

Armageddon-Act of Love or Hate?

Index of Blog Articles

The article below considers the premise that the God who gave us our brain and power of reason is Himself also intelligent and reasonable.

Picture this--You own a set of condos on prime ocean-front property in Maui. Recently one of the tenants has stopped paying rent & the other good tenants are complaining that the bad one is littering the grounds & harassing them. You've taken all preliminary steps to correct the situation but you are left with no alternative, drastic action is required.

Which of these seems most reasonable to you?
1. You evict the bad tenant in order to restore peace in your condo community.
2. You evict all tenants, then burn down all your condos & get bulldozers to level the land.
3. You move the remaining good tenants to another location and leave the bad tenant where he is.

Which did you choose? All property owners I know would choose the first option. But why would I even suggest the other two options? They are so completely absurd that no one in his right mind would even think of such a thing. And you know what, you'd be right. But as absurd as it sounds, the last two are what some religions teach God will do concerning this earth.

Yes, concerning the 2nd choice, evicting everyone & burning it all down, some religions teach God intends to destroy the earth & everything on it at Armageddon. Never mind the time and investment God put into this planet. Never mind that God looked down and saw that everything he made was good. Never mind that even to this day scientists cannot find another planet like it. They want to believe God will destroy this gem of a planet. Yet at Isa.45:18 we read that God did not form earth for nothing and Ps.37:29 says it will be inhabited forever by mankind.

What about the 3rd option, moving the good tenants elsewhere & leaving the bad tenant behind? One version of the rapture teaches just that. All good people will go to heaven but the bad ones will be left on earth, implying that earth is a punishment. They don't bother to think that if God wanted everyone in heaven, he would just have put them there in the first place--just like he did with the angels. It just doesn't make sense and is completely opposite of the clear and simple declaration at Proverbs 2:21-22, which reads: "For the upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it.  As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it."

So the wicked are the ones leaving the earth, not the righteous. But the wicked aren't going to heaven. They are being cut-off, put to death, "That's all folks," ding, ding, game over; the wicked just got k.o.'d. Yes, just as our first option indicated, the wicked are evicted not just to remove the wicked influence but because God wants to bless those who are loyal to him. Again, notice Proverbs 2:21.

But what does it take to be considered an upright one? While Jesus was still walking the earth, he was approached by what appeared to be a sincerely honest young man. He indicated he was following the spirit of the Mosaic Law and asked what more he should do. When Jesus recommended that he demonstrate his full and complete reliance on God by divesting himself of his material wealth, the young man went away dejected because he didn't have that strong a faith. Similarly, when one of the congregations that Jesus counseled in Revelation had become complacent, lukewarm in their service, Jesus said he would vomit them out of his mouth. Truly, indecisiveness and halfhearted devotion are unacceptable.

So let’s review. We know the earth we live on is not the target of God's anger, nor is all human life threatened with extinction, just the incorrigibly wicked that refuse to humbly submit to God's rule. Also, we learned that the destruction at Armageddon is not the end but only a means to an end--that of returning the earth to God's original purpose. Armageddon is not an act of hate by an angry God, but an act of love in behalf of his loyal ones--to bless them with a peaceful life. (Revelation 11:18)

Do you want to be a tenant in God's paradise earth? Then seek righteousness, seek meekness, probably you will be concealed in the day of Jehovah's anger.


(Psalm 37:29) The righteous themselves will possess the earth, And they will reside forever upon it.
(Psalm 37:34) Hope in Jehovah and keep his way, And he will exalt you to take possession of the earth. When the wicked ones are cut off, you will see [it].
(Proverbs 2:21-22) For the upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. 22 As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.
 (Isaiah 45:18)For this is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the [true] God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited: “I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.
(Revelation 11:18) But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give [their] reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

Do Not Assume To Know The Path

After hearing a speech several months ago, I decided it was time to put into concrete terms what I gleaned from it....

When I hear the word "assume" it is usually associated with something resulting in negative consequences to self and others. In this particular case, there is a bit of a different "spin" on the issue. I found it interesting. I hope you do too.

The account in 2 Samuel, chapter 7, tells of an assumption that both King David and Nathan (the prophet) made: “And it came about that, when the king dwelt in his own house and Jehovah himself had given him rest from all his enemies round about, then the king said to Nathan the prophet: “See, now, I am dwelling in a house of cedars while the ark of the [true] God is dwelling in the middle of tent cloths.” Upon that Nathan said to the king: “Everything that is in your heart—go, do, because Jehovah is with you.” (vss.1-3).

Was it a good thing that David thought of? Absolutely! It demonstrated deep appreciation for his relationship with Jehovah. With confirmation from Jehovah’s spokesman, the prophet Nathan, David was sure he had made a good decision. But was it?

It doesn’t take long to find out how Jehovah feels about this; that night “that the word of Jehovah came to Nathan.” It probably surprised both Nathan and David. Essentially, Jehovah reprimanded them saying, in effect, ‘did I tell or ask you or anyone else that I wanted a house?’

The lesson I draw from this is that even for things we may think are good and proper and would bring praise to God, we should never assume anything without first asking him in prayer to guide our decision.

One of the worst miscarriages of so-called righteous judgment in this regard was the religiously-fired wars that have assumed God would condone that activity. Its not a new thought. Jesus himself foretold the time when “everyone that kills YOU will imagine he has rendered a sacred service to God.” (John 16:2). The very first fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in the book of Acts when Stephan was “murdered” by Jewish zealots. (Acts 8:1)

Before leaving this example, it would be good to ask: “So what is the instruction in the Bible regarding handling apostates and those with beliefs that differ from ours? Jesus himself answers this: “LET them be. Blind guides is what they are.” (Matthew 15:14). Paul, after his conversion, gives further instruction: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil.” (2 Timothy 2:24)

What other examples are there? Coming back to the second paragraph in this essay, it comes down to anything and everything that we do; even as Paul wrote: "Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let YOUR petitions be made known to God."  (Philippians 4:6). So, do you want to enter into the full-time ministry? Do you want to move to a foreign country to aid in the growth of Christianity there? These are noble goals. But then, so was the building of a “house” for Jehovah. Don’t assume. Ask Jehovah in prayer.

Another example is at Leviticus 10:1,2.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Data Tracking & Smartphones

Just about anywhere you turn today, there are users complaining about data tracking, whether it be for Android or iOS devices. I am frankly amazed at the blissful ignorance of those individuals. The very services they love to use and that have greatly accentuated their mobile lives they seem to think was all done by magic. (Sure, I resent just as much as the next person that location-based ads will start becoming more pronounced—especially in light of the fact that AT&T has now put a choke chain on the amount of data that a user can consume. It would sure irritate me if I started receiving numerous, unsolicited ads that count against my data plan. But that is another story.)

The fact is that the whole reason the government mandated more accurate GPS systems was specifically for the reason of tracking. (We were spoon fed the idea that it was for our own safety but that was just to get us to buy in.) It doesn’t take brain surgery to realize that. But I am not suggesting that the intent was nefarious either. Did we really expect that social media and other apps would just be NSA? Apparently so. But the fact is in order for those services to work correctly, just by definition there would have to be some data caching. The greater population of users do not realize that. If anything, what this all argues in favor of is that we users need to educate ourselves. If we don’t want all this monitoring, then perhaps we should settle for nothing more than QMD (Quick Messaging Devices). You love your smartphone? Then stop your whining.

(Maybe we should get rid of mobile phones all together--after all, every time a phone hits a tower, it can be tracked and movement charted. Gasp!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S2 coming to AT&T & suggested summer release

Interesting. I found this quote on in reference to the G2:

"Our inside sources have told us that it has indeed been approved, and ***WILL BE AVAILABLE ON AT&T***. As for ironing out a specific date, it’s still unfortunately too early to tell, but we are suspecting this has more to do with AT&T wanting to sell as many Atrix’s as possible before debuting the Samsung Galaxy S II. Still, we suspect it will be available before the end of Summer."

Full article (dated April 6, 2011) here:

I also had a feeling they were trying to bleed as much blood out of the Atrix turnip as possible. Now that Atrix has shown up on Amazon for $50 and at Best Buy for $30, I'm hoping the rivers of buyers are drying up on it. Couple that with the numerous negative reviews from users, it is definitely time for "the next big thing."

Seeing as iPhoney5 is reported to be released in September, I'm sure they will try to space release of this somewhere between the Sammy Infuse and the iPhoney.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Western Bars & the 21st Century

For anyone that’s sat through an old western movie or TV show, you know exactly the imagery I’m conjuring up here—you have the old men gathered around a table playing cards; the quiet, strong-charactered bartender; the floozy who thinks she can sing; and finally (what we all were waiting for), some action from the gunslinger(s) who come barging into the joint, and shooting a round just to get everyone’s attention (he suffered from poor self-esteem and was compensating with a wild entrance).

Well, not much has changed in the world. The bar has given way to online discussion groups. Pretty much everyone is playing on level ground and fair deal. They just want to deal their card for whatever its worth, knowing that it will probably be challenged. Someone always has a hidden agenda to steal the game & enrich him/herself with adulation from others. The bartender (moderator) always has his gun of censorship right where he can grab it at a moment’s notice.

Then there’s the floozy. These characters have no interest in the beverages being served, the games others are playing or anything else. They merely want to entice someone, anyone, to listen to their overtures. They usually post right in the middle of any interesting discussion offering such absurd services that wonder why the heck they are there in the first place. "There’s a brothel down the street with plenty of activity, honey, go play there."

Finally, the gun slinger enters. This character also has no interest in the communal activity. He just wants to come in blazing. He gets some sick enjoyment out of destroying peace. Problem is, his distraction techniques can be very effective—and hence everyone breaks into a bar fight. You feel like saying, “Look, if all you have to offer is your hate, there are plenty people like you, why not go join around your own campfire and enjoy your bravado there?” But you don’t say that, because you will be their next victim.

Now, you’ll notice I’m missing one key character—the sheriff. Sure enough, policing of the internet is still in its infancy and none of us really want to see Big Brother involved in running all the internet. So, for the most, we try to be peaceable and amicable, that is, until the hidden ACE falls out of someone’s sleeve.

Yup, more than a hundred years and nothing changed. The setting may have changed, but the characters are all the same.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bellyakin' & Impatience.

I just turned 60, so you'd think that by now I'd have a whole lotta patience. Well, actually, when it comes to people, I do. When it comes to other things, nope....

At the beginning of 2011 AT&T announced they would release 20 new devices in 2011 (this year). Supposedly 12 of those will be Android devices. It doesn't take anymore than 4th grade math to figure out that should be about one device per month, right? So how many Android devices has AT&T released as of April 6th? Two. (Count them, one...two!) Hmmm. Slight disparity here… Four months, two devices. (On 4/12 AT&T announced two LG Android devices, so I guess that catches them up, 4 for 4). So they still have 10 8 devices to go in less than 9 months and still no news about when the coveted Samsung Infuse will be released. (There is also some industry buzz about the "Samsung Galaxy S ii" coming to AT&T but AT&T doesn't even mention it. In fact, if you check their website (as of today), besides the Infuse, the only other phone they have identified as "coming soon" is the LG Thrill, which I'm not thrilled about at all. Talk about gimmicks—come on now, really—a 3D camera and you can only view the 3D images on the phone?!!)
So AT&T, when are you getting off your duff and releasing  another phone? Or are you still trying to bask in the light of those sorry excuses for advanced technology (Moto Atrix and HTC Inspire phones)?  (Okay, I’ll admit it, those phones really aren’t that bad. I just despise Motorola and don’t like the screens on the HTC phones that much.) Will you really wait until May or June to release the Infuse as some have suggested? That will mean you'll be play major catch up toward the end of the year to make your goal. I can't imagine you flooding the market with a slew of new phones all at once, its just not good marketing sense.
So why are my britches all bunched up? Becuz, pappy, I want the Samsung Infuse and I want it now! What does it have that isn’t currently available? I want a phone with a front-facing camera for video conferencing. Yeah, yeah, I know, the iPhoney4 and the M-Atrix both have front-facing cameras. You already know how I feel about Moto and the iPhone, well, let’s just say I haven’t drank the Apple Cool-Aid and never will.
So again, here we are in the 4th month of the year and AT&T hasn’t even released three devices. Doesn’t molasses run faster than that?

Addendum: Someone had asked about the dimensions of the Infuse. What I was able to find was a video from CES of someone holding a Samsung Captivate alongside the new Infuse. After some image editing for perspective, Here is what I came up with.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Confused Loyalties

It is so easy to read history and completely miss its lesson on us today. Military strategists are not that naive. They closely examine history to find out what worked and what didn’t. Professional sports coaches and players are the same. However, the history I am considering is that of people and their relationship with God. (Due to the overwhelming evidence, I will dignify the one I am speaking of by calling him by his unique name—Jehovah. Perhaps you have read other renderings like Yahweh; that’s fine. The points are twofold: 1) praise him as Jesus did (Matthew 6:9), and 2) to set him apart from all other (false) gods--1Corinthians 8:5,6) But I digress.

The history lesson I am referring to is found in what some may consider an obscure book in the Bible, Nehemiah. But the lesson is not unique there. It is echoed time and again—the matter of loyalty, specifically confused loyalties. To many that I know, doing what is “right” is circumstantial. That must have been the case with Eliashib, a high priest in Jehovah’s service. That man had a relative named Tobiah that had no respect for Jehovah’s clean worship.  The Insight book sets the dynamics here: “An opponent of Nehemiah. Tobiah was “the servant,” likely some official under the Persian king. (Ne 2:19) Both he and his son Jehohanan married Jewish women, and Tobiah was also related to High Priest Eliashib. This put Tobiah in a position of advantage for undermining Nehemiah’s authority, in that many Jews looked up to and spoke highly of Tobiah”

Focusing on chapter 13 of Nehemiah, we see that Eliashib had taken a section of property dedicated to worship and made it into a dining hall for Tobiah. It must have seemed right to him to show this official such honor but it was definitely confused loyalty. In contrast, Nehemiah set him right by drawing a clear line as to what is acceptable and unacceptable—removing the furnishing of Tobiah from their place.

Today, it is easy to become confused when someone we care for does things that are not in keeping with Bible standards. We might be afraid of hurting that person or losing their friendship. Especially within the Christian congregation when we see a fellow believer acting questionably, especially if they are close friend, we might be reluctant to speak up. But really, if we didn’t, what would be the outcome for them at Armageddon? They would lose their life—and  then we would have lost our friend forever. On top of that is the principle stated at Ezekiel  3:17 & 18, “Son of man, a watchman is what I have made you to the house of Israel, and you must hear from my mouth speech and you must warn them from me. When I say to someone wicked, ‘You will positively die,’ and you do not actually warn him and speak in order to warn the wicked one from his wicked way to preserve him alive, he being wicked, in his error he will die, but his blood I shall ask back from your own hand.”

Yes, if we aren’t bold enough to stand up for what is right and help our friend, even if it means losing their friendship for a while, we also could be in jeopardy of losing our life. But the motivation should always be 1) love of Jehovah first and foremost, and 2) true unselfish love for our friend.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another "phone" post

For years my wife had referred to me as "Mr. Pushy Buttons" because of my fascination with electronics. It started when the first LED watches came on the market around the mid-1970’s ( Prior to that, I had always used Timex analog watches—they were cheap and somewhat dependable (and easily replaceable when they were no longer dependable, LOL). I’ve always been an “early adopter” of any technology but limited funds kept me from having all the toys I wanted.

When the Commodore64 computer came out, I was at Gemco (now defunct) and bought one, along with a monitor & printer. When I showed a peer (we were both in our early 30’s) how “neat” it was to write “Hello world” in Commodore’s implementation of BASIC, he was not impressed. I was. My wife also wanted nothing to do with them—“I won’t touch that thing until it learns to wipe my ….” (I’ll spare you the details.)

Years later I was proud owner of an HP “Jornada 720” Handheld PDA that was a miniature computer with a touch-screen full keyboard in a clamshell design. It fit inside my suite jacket and I really thought I had something very special. Well, within 2 years the touch screen stopped working and I pretty much vowed to myself I’d never ever have another touch screen device. Well, it turns out that “never ever” was actually only about 8 to 9 years. That was when I got the Samsung Impression touch-screen phone. It wasn’t an iPhone, but it was affordable and had a touch-screen. Other manufacturers were playing catch-up. And actually, I love this phone. I’ve had it for nearly two years now and I must say that the touch-screen has never given me any problems at all.

My wife had also had a Samsung product, the Eternity, but it was having problems—inexplicably powering down. It was just occasional at first, but then it got to be a real issue, powering down several times a day, sometimes in the middle of a very important call. My upgrade option was available so I took her to AT&T. I had previously looked at the Samsung Captivate when it was first released, but paying for early upgrade was not something I was interested in. When she saw it, she was very impressed.

Now, I knew about the Android OS, but not really any particular details. I had never played with it. So after my wife chose the phone & we got it home, I was more than mildly impressed. I had actually thought it would be nice to get one of the new Windows Mobile phones because of it having Word & Excel. Though editing on these phones is not anything I relish, I still felt it was better than nothing. What turned me off to the Windows phones was that they still (as of this writing) haven’t resolved the “phantom data” issues the phones are sending. It wasn’t until we actually got the Captivate home and I started reading the PDF user manual that I discovered it came loaded with QuickOffice. (No printed manuals are included anymore, which really irritated me). That application allows not only viewing but editing of Word & Excel files as well as viewing Power Point (I never use it) and PDF files. That alone sold me.

When my wife & I started discovering all the apps we could download for free, I started to drool. Now I feel deprived. She has a virtual computer in her hands and I have what I now view to be an anemic proprietary OS by Samsung that is very limited. So why don’t I go out and upgrade? Because around the June 2011 timeframe, Samsung will be releasing the Infuse. AT&T calls this a 4G phone, but industry writers say it is more like 3.5. It is not LTE, but rather an HSPA+ phone. It is supposed to have Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) loaded on it, whereas the Captivate is still using 2.1 (Éclair). (What gives with the slow OS upgrades on AT&T anyways?! After all, Gingerbread (2.3) has been out for over a month; Honeycomb (ver. 3.0) was previewed this month and Ice Cream Sandwich (version number yet to be announced) is expected in the middle of 2011. So unless the Infuse is updated, it will be coming out with a version that is 3 generations old!)

Anyway, the point I started out making is that I have always been a gadget enthusiast (ok, “freak”). I am very much looking forward to upgrading my phone to something that is considerably smaller than my HP Jornada and yet infinitely more powerful. If you haven’t checked out Android phones (and, like me, you are not an iPhone fan) I highly recommend you check out Android phones, regardless of which carrier you are on. (Yes, the “Droid” phones offered by Verizon are Android. For some reason, they chose to “brand” their Android offerings by making it sound sci-fi current.)