Why did he post that?

Friends, family, and followers…

It has come to my attention that you do not all believe the same as I do on issues like doctrine, politics, worldview, and even faith in God at all.

This is not striking or alarming to me. For those who could not or would not seek an understanding of our differences, or simply don’t want to be friends with people with whom they disagree, they chose to unfriend or just hide me. I’ve done the same with a few. But I’m not scared away from people with whom I disagree, when we can disagree with a politeness that is quite rare today.

I find that every once in a while I feel compelled to remind y’all that I mean no harm.

On issues like politics, which really is just applied worldview, I’ve always been very clear. I am a single-issue voter. I sum my political philosophy as a supporter of individual liberty. The gist is this, as an individual each American has the right to live, the right to have their life defended and protected, and the right to defend and protect themselves, when they are old enough.

Applied, this means I am staunch supporter of life, from conception. And this means that the 2nd Amendment IS the foremost of our civil rights. None of our other civil rights can be protected, defended, or enforced, without the power to actually use the tools necessary to defend them. And that means the 2nd Amendment. I do not believe the government has the right to know what I have, nor should they inhibit my ability to freely purchase, own and possess all forms of modern personal firearms. I can go farther down that road, but I won’t this time. Feel free to ask me in the comments for specifics, if you feel so compelled. I will answer all polite questions.

On issues of faith, I’ve found a pretty decent balance, I believe, with the bulk of my friends on FB. I have other Christian friends from denominations and doctrinal backgrounds with whom we disagree…strongly. But under the umbrella of Christianity, we don’t treat each other like Shiite’s and Sunnies. More often than not, we agree to disagree. But also, a large portion of us simply agree on the most core of issues, but disagree on other interpretation.

I also am friends with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, claimed atheists, agnostics, Catholics, and Jews. And I’m sure I have at least one Muslim friend.

What’s the point of all this? Well, it’s my blog and I like to write about stuff that interests me. But I think I provide a point of view that challenges some and unfortunately upsets others.

But the big deal isn’t that my pro-gun meme share, or a pro Ben Carson share is going up because I’m trying to change your mind. I’m posting that stuff to remind those who ARE on my team, if you will, that they are not alone. I’m reminding them that they have political, social, philosophical, and doctrinal allies.

I’m what other Christian’s might call Reformed, or a Calvinist. I post serious doctrinal memes and not so serious pro-Calvinist memes, or quotes, etc. That is so that my Calvinist friends can be reminded, we are not alone.

Yesterday, I shared a meme-like text picture. A sister in Christ had had her limit of my war-mongering (my word choice), and posted a lengthy rebuke in the comments. I actually have very little problem with what she was trying to highlight. My only issue was that since we have shared life, I feel she’s obligated to confront me in a more personal way. I ended up responding poorly, and there were no more comments from anyone. I’m pretty sure I slammed the gavel.

After some thought, and an appropriate rebuke from my mom, I removed both comments. Then I sent a more private and direct communique with her. In person or on the phone it’ll be so much easier for her to express herself, and for me to hear her out, and possibly explain.

A little more background…
My “rules” are, if I post it on my wall, I control the flow of the debate, etc. And I don’t debate much at all on FB anymore. Why? Because changed ideas come from shared life conversations, not debates on FB.

That doesn’t mean that we can disagree, or you can’t probe for an explanation of what or why I believe or was trying to say. That happens often.

My “rules” also mean that if I post something on your wall, you have full control of how it goes. You don’t like it, that’s fine. If you want to chat, we might. I don’t debate anymore. But if you delete it outright, I’m fine with that. If I want to understand why, I’ll shoot you a message seeking understanding. But it’s your wall. You decide.

This has been a fairly normal kind of etiquette on FB since before non .edu peeps were permitted. Sorta.

So, let’s summarize. If you don’t like what I post, you have several options. Unfriend me, hide me, or simply ignore me, comment politely in a way that is appropriate for a quasi-public forum, or send me some sort of private message to discuss it more, especially if you’re offended by what I posted.

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV)

That is as much a reminder for you as it is for me. I must seek to be loving, in my interactions, in real life and online. But it’s also a reminder to you, this is what I want you to expect from me. And if you don’t get it, feel to talk to me about it…in a more private manner than commenting on a post.

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The great hard drive debacle of 2013

For those following my recent mistakenly-formatted-hard-drive debacle, I have an update.

This came as a result of bad data/media management, on my part. I had stuff all over the place, and was “intending” to get around to cleaning it up for months. (I’ve had some downtime, and should have done it a while ago.)

So one evening, I needed to reformat a usb flash drive, and I went about doing it, but I selected my mobile WD usb hard drive instead. That held a ton of stuff, most importantly my whole photography library of raw and processed photos since about mid-2010.

I WAS able to rescue the photos, and most of the other media, with a tool called iSkysoft Data Recovery. It cost me $90, but it was worth it!

The next thing I set out to do was get responsible with all that data. Who wants to lose all their family photos?! With 4 kids, we have a bunch, and I don’t think I’m a good steward of documenting their childhood, if I don’t make an effort to retain all those wonderful photos.

So for the last several days I’ve been moving data all over the place. I also separated the large drive that I store tv/movie media on, from the rest. There’s no need to back that up, and I’ve found it’s easier if it’s plugged directly into my media player at the HDTV.

This morning I finished getting everything plugged in and running.

The next big thing I needed to do was reevaluate my offsite backups. I had been using my Amazon S3 account with a few homemade Automator apps for backing up my Apple Aperture and iPhoto libraries. But, with changes to how and where I store those photos, and addition of a Macbook Pro a few years back, I really haven’t been backing up well enough for a while. The mistakenly formatted hard drive is the perfect example of my backup system failing me, because I wasn’t using it correctly.

As I was working through all the data storage issues, I spent a bunch of time over that last week learning about alternatives. I was happy to rework my Amazon S3 setup, but wanted to know that what I was choosing was the best for me. However, my pal Jeremy Brooks recommended a dedicated service, for offsite/cloud backing up, Backblaze. The price is better than many others, and it’s basically an unlimited backup. I really only want the ability to upload stuff I want saved. Then, in a crisis, I could restore from that data. That’s it. I don’t need/want to upload and download stuff regularly. I use a free Dropbox account for that. So, having a setup-and-forget-about-it service works perfectly for me!

Right now Backblaze is running the initial backup. It’s gonna take a while, maybe even a few days, and that’s ok with me. Once it’s run, I really don’t need to worry about grabbing anything on the way out the door in an emergency, like a fire.

It’s all somewhere else, easily restored, once everyone is safe.

I’ve lost all self control

boxing-boys

I am passionate. I have strong opinions. You already knew this.

Throughout my social media existence, I’ve engaged, at various times in various levels of intensity, in many of those issues I feel strongly about; abortion, gun rights, theology, and many other things.

For those of us used to some kind of western idea of freedom, we’re accustomed to being free to engage in a discussion or debate, with at least a small amount of freedom to speak our minds. It’s codified in one of the most basic documents of our nation. However, if you’re a guest in my home, and you’re rude or I simply don’t want to hear your opinion, I’m free to ask you to leave.

In the socialwebs, that’s most often embodied in the infamous “unfriending”. Some websites allow you to do something in between, like hiding the offending party.

One area that doesn’t seem used that often, is the simple closing of comments. Bloggers and old skool media do this often. They write something they know will be offensive or bother their readers, so they close comments. Google+ allows this. Posting to this blog, allows this. Facebook, however, does not. 😦 Coupled with my love-to-hate relationship with Facebook, I wish I could just close it down for good. But there are too many actually-important-to-me family and friends whom I remain in contact with, on Facebook. Some of them live far away, and I just can’t get them to use Google+ for a better experience.

So, for now I’m going to try something new. When I post controversial stuff, just know that I’ll most likely just delete debate-worthy comments. It’s that simple. For those who can’t handle it, they can make it all go away by unfriending me. I’m more than willing, however, to take that conversation to a more private place.

First, I want to reserve my debate energy for actual people in my actual life. I cannot take upon the burden of changing the minds of every person I know, online. (Some of whom are photographically oriented friendships, of tremendous diversity.) So, rather than retort with you all, I’ll wait until we see each other in person.

Second, I will also permit any of those who genuinely want to discuss or even understand my view more, to chat with me on Facebook’s direct message center, or of course email always works.

I’m even considering going back through the past few day’s worth of heated conversations, and trimming out the contentiousness.

What do you think? Am I being unfair? Am I closed minded?

What’s the point?

Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and all sorts of other websites; we call them social media. What’s the point?

I joined MySpace first, back in ’05 or ’06. Even then I was a bit embarrassed. But I was producing a podcast back then and MySpace was necessary, so I thought. Then the others caught my attention. In early 2007 I joined Facebook and Twitter.

In the beginning they were cute, and mostly just for geeks. But as normal folk started joining up, I began to see the increased potential. Because my podcast was a Christian music podcast, it also had a ministry element. I was using blogging software to organize and publish the podcast notes and feed, WordPress. So I was able to see the ministry value of the social media. And it didn’t take much to connect the dots for everyone getting something from these social oriented websites.

About the same time, I joined the wonderful, sometimes underground, world of photography. First I joined Zooomr, then Flickr and Facebook. They all blended well with the larger social community.

You can only imagine that a real world social butterfly like me, coupled with a moderately successful podcast, and a growing list of photo-buddies, had a fast growing list of contacts and people I interacted with. I’m not trying to brag. It was my reality.

Add to this my tendency to hyper-focus, and it was a recipe for a serious problem. I hate the word addiction, cause it oft times robs the offender of responsibly. I was addicted, and it was all my fault!

Some people would joke or tease. But few were brave enough to rebuke. In fact no one ever really rebuked me, and I needed it.

In the past few months I’ve been slowly seeing that I pay entirely too much attention to the internet as a whole. Now, there are tremendous uses for this tool that is the internet. It is of great value to the growth of relationships, community, and the Kingdom. Yet we all know the dark things found on the internet as well. It is just a tool.

I have decided to re-evaluate my use of this tool.

As a Christian, I have seen the successful growth and maturity achieved through spending some special time alone with God. I’ve seen and experienced the proper use of fasting for similar growth as well. Not just from food, but all sorts of things can be fasted from.

Any and all use of social media I will fast from, for the month of March. I genuinely don’t want to sound like I’m proud or bragging at all. I promise that my goal here is to re-evaluate how and why I use social media. In April, I hope to write a post like this, sharing with you what I’ve learned. I may return with a very different purpose for those places you can find me online, like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and even this blog. During March, I do not plan on posting anything on Twitter or Facebook. Nor will I post any new photos to Flickr. I won’t be catching up on any blog reading on Google Reader either, nor will I be writing any new posts here.

What will I do with all this free time? You’ll just have to come back in April to find out.

Chrome OS, is it ready?

I honestly think it’s close.

Last night, we arrived at home after a 2 day road trip, to find an unexpected package on the front doorstep. What was it? A fancy new Google ChromeOS netbook, called the CR-48. Deanna and I were quite excited to open an inconspicuous box, to find a notebook inside. (I was more excited.)

I quickly busted out my camera, and went about the documentation of the unboxing. Those photos are here for your perusal.

Cool thing, once I pulled it out of the box and plugged it in I opened the lid to take a photo of it. I figured it would be off for this photo. Before I even had the camera to my eye, it was on. The thing turned on faster than I could have imagined! Presto! On!

Sweet.

Over the next few hours I signed in, played around, and set up my standard tabbed environment. Oh, I guess I should mention that if you’re already using any Google products, especially Google Chrome, you’re already half way to using a ChromeOS netbook. Yeah, I was prompted to sign in, and it loaded up all my stuff. Even my browser theme from Chrome on my iMac.

What’s the verdict? How’s it gonna work out?

Other than this machine’s inability to process my photos, I may use this for everything else. We have a Dell Mini, running Ubuntu, and it’s been a decent machine. The smaller screen, and a couple of keyboard issues, are the only problems with it. It is reliable, and just works. It needs nothing special to join our Apple Airport powered WiFi or to print to our Canon WiFi printer. It just works. Dropbox installs, and everything just works.

This Google ChromeOS just works, too.

I foresee a few issues though, however they’re mostly hardware issues at this point. One thing about Apple hardware, they never have ugly monitors/video. That’s one area they just do well. This CR-48 is a test unit. It is a beta product. I get that. That’s why I’m not disappointed or let down. (Also I didn’t pay for it, so I have nothing to complain about.) But the screen is kinda weak. The viewing angle is quite limited. Not to worry, I just bend the screen to fit my angle.

I’ve read that others are complaining about the touchpad. I understand why, but haven’t really had any of the same problems. It works fine for me. I’m not drawing any artwork here, nor am I going to be doing much file browsing/moving (since there’s no real file browser).

In case you didn’t know, the CR-48 ChromeOS is a cloud-based, browser only experience. What does this mean? It has nothing else in the operating system other than a browser, Google’s own Chrome. There’s no icon to launch the browser, it IS the OS.

You can read all about it in other places. That’s not my goal. You can also read about how to install “apps” elsewhere.

The first few “apps” I installed are:

I also installed a few plugins right away.

I’ll post some more of my reaction in the coming weeks and months, I hope. If you’re interested in begging Google to give you a shot at breaking their new OS, then you can still fill out the application. Go to the CR-48 Pilot Program website.

Go see the slideshow!

Secret Date Night

Over the course of a few weeks, I began to notice that my wife was in great need of a date. Not just a night out, but a genuine, get-dressed-up-all-pretty date. So, I did what every self-respecting geek does; I sought input from the internets. I knew that I wanted to take her out to eat and then to attend some activity. I knew that I wanted to probably head up towards San Luis Obispo. I knew that we’d need a sitter, for our 4 rambunctious kids.

The sitter part was easy. I contacted one of our regulars and set it up.

The next part was actually kinda cool. I wrote a new “Note” on Facebook. (link to the actual note) However it was important that Deanna NOT stumble upon this note. So I customized the privacy settings for just that note. (Notice the accompanying screenshots) I wrote a brief request for ideas and tagged a wide variety of my Facebook friends. Within a few hours I had a good amount of input and was narrowing down a couple of ideas. Matt, knowing our propensity for good brew pubs, recommended Creekside Brewing Company. The meal was covered.

Eric then recommended the San Luis Obispo Little Theater. I had never heard of it, but I’ve attended a few “little” theaters over the years. I like the small atmosphere, and that most seats are good seats. Eric didn’t just recommend the theater, he recommended their current run, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by W. Shakespeare. I’ve seen it several times and it’s one of Shakespeare’s few plays that I like. I like the sarcasm and wit. So, it was decided!

GMap-browser
I also knew that I could use this evening’s activities to test out a feature of Google Maps that I’ve been wanting to do right. I’ve wanted to plan out a custom Google Map, using the My Maps feature, with a few locations. Then loading up the custom map, on my Android-powered Nexus One, I could use the built-in Navigation feature to drive or walk from each place to the next. This whole experiment is intended to help me be ready for our 12th Anniversary trip to San Francisco next month. I’m slowly gathering input from several sources for intended destinations whilst on that trip. My goal is to use the custom Google Map on my Nexus One to guide us to all the places we want to hit. I’m even going to color code the destinations with a priority. That way if we find that we’re running out of time one day, we can easily skip something. Or we could add something not on that day’s plan, if we find a little extra time.

**Tangent over.**

GMap-Theater-N1
So I built the custom Google Map. I only had 2 destinations, so I added a possible Starbucks, for the caffeinated drive home. I made sure to label each “pin”, so it would be easy to use on the mobile phone. I even checked the walking directions on the desktop Google Maps, to make sure we could walk from one to the other. Want to see how the same map looks on my Nexus One? Just about the same! Love it!

In order to see your saved maps, from Google’s My Maps, on your Android-powered phone, go to the Maps app, click the “menu” button, choose “layers”, then the “more layers” button. Now you’re given a list. At the top should be “My Maps”. Once you’ve saved your map on the browser version of Google Maps, it should appear in the next list after it loads. Wallah!

GMap-List-N1Selecting the little button on the lower left of the screen, below the distance legend, will give you a list of the locations. Selecting any one of those will give you Google’s detailed description of that destination. Very cool!

The date was planned, the tickets were purchased, and all was well with the world. I told her that day, that after some activities at church, we’d be going out. She would need to get ready and dress nice. Oh, BTW, she HATES SURPRISES! Which is of course a contributing reason for planning one.

Nonetheless, we got ready and headed out. Everything was awesome!

The food was great at Creekside Brewing, and so was the beer. We started with a sampler of their own brewed beer. That’s always how I like to do things, to get a good idea of what’s good and not. We both ended up ordering a pint of Monach Lite Blond Ale, and it was tasty! I tend to order darker colored beers most of the time. But on this evening, the Blond Ale was calling out to me.

I had the Creekside Slider Burgers (Three mini angus beef burgers topped with grilled sweet onions, double smoked bacon, roma tomato and horseradish mayonnaise.) and they rocked my world! Very tasty indeed! When were done, we walked along the Mission Park creek. It extends from the Old Mission San Luis Obispo, for a city block, connecting the park to the handful of top notch businesses that border the creek, with Creekside Brewing at the end. After arriving at the Old Mission, we traversed two blocks to the SLO Little Theater. We had plenty of time to pick up our tickets at will call, and wander inside. The little city theater is a nice little facility. They were selling some refreshments, and coffee was available to all in attendance.

We had just enough time to find our seats and finger through the program. I didn’t feel rushed, nor bored. Just perfect.

I’m not much of a theater/play reviewer. I acted on and off through high school and college. I’ve been in musicals and traditional plays.

This production was presented by the Academy of Creative Theatre (ACT) which “has been providing students year-around theatrical training for the past 12 years. They are dedicated to inspiring young performers and technicians in a lively, nurturing and fun environment.” (link) This meant that the whole cast was completely young people. In some circumstances, that would be a bummer. In this, it wasn’t. The cast was great, especially the girl who played Puck. She rocked! A few of the cast members over-acted a bit, but that’s to be expected with young people. Over all, they did a fantastic job!

We had a great time on our date. The kids were cared for well. We ate wonderfully. We were supremely entertained.

Oh, and we got some coffee for the trip home!

A return to Feedburner

When Google bought up Feedburner, many people considered that this was not going to be good for Feedburner. My own knee-jerk reaction had me jumping ship, and going back to the built-in RSS in WordPress.

I’m sure that if I had actual people reading my blog, then it might have mattered. But, it didn’t.

Well, today I returned to Feedburner, begging for forgiveness.

So, if you’re one of the 4 people who subscribe to this blog, with Google Reader or something like that, then would you mind taking a moment to resubscribe to my Feedburner feed? Thanks!

http://feeds.feedburner.com/tcarpenter

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Attention Google, your Reader team is asleep

I know that Google’s Profile, Buzz, and Reader products are all interacting these days. And with Facebook’s horrible stumble in recent months with the issue of privacy, there hasn’t been much discussion on Google’s total failure to integrate our privacy and profile settings. But, to be blunt, it sucks!

My current example is the appearance of a number of “Anonymous” profiles wanting to view my Reader content. I tend to lock down my social media stuff, only sharing with approved friends and contacts. Anyone going by the name “Anonymous” is an immediate block. You might think, “No problem, just block them.” I do. And they continue to reappear each time I refresh.

AH! LAME!

I took some screenshots so you could see what I’m talking about…

Google Reader

Block Anonymous

Caught another bandwidth thief!

Taking a peak at my stats today, I discovered some MySpace user (does anyone still go to MySpace?) was stealing bandwidth from me. This has happened before, and I love to encourage thieves to host their own images.

So, I renamed my originals, and changed the ‘img’ tags in my own posts. Then, I created a special image, just for the thief. Here it is:

Of course I took a look at my beautiful work, on his MySpace page too!

Jake | MySpace

Enjoy, Jake! Oh, and don’t steal bandwidth!

You can buy me…

I just thought I’d mention to you all that there’s a sweet camera I’d love to have some day.

I’m not looking to replace my dSLR, nor to meet every photographic need. I simply want a nice, semi-compact, high end camera that I can carry around when I don’t want the complexity of the dSLR and all the lenses.

The Leica family of cameras are amazing. They’re not for everyone, for sure. But, the first time you pick one up, and simply click the shutter release, you very well maybe cursed for ever. The curse is because Leicas are outrageously priced.

I have a fun, metal, small SLR for film, so I’m interested in Leica’s digital offerings. With a little bit of curiosity, I’ve chosen the M8 as the one I want. Why? Well, it’s not as high priced as some of the newer M8’s, but still able to use the standard Leica M-mount for lenses. It’s also small enough to carry along without too much effort. I won’t be forced to bring a large bag for it.

Anyway, that is all. The next time you’re feeling generous, hit B&H, (or some other vendor), and pick one up for me. Don’t forget a lens. Voigtlander makes a few affordable ones. Thanks.