Friday, June 25, 2004

Why I Love Microsoft

It's because I hate open source software. Don't get me wrong; there's lots of interesting software available from open source suppliers. But the problem with Free software is that it costs too much. Case in point are the tools used to produce applications for Palm OS. Sure, my C is rusty, but now that I have a really nice Palm PDA, why not play around with developing a couple of really simple applications. All the development tools you need are available free of charge on the web. However they require a lot of knowledge and a lot of fiddling around to get them installed. The Installer program is different than any I've ever seen. By default it doesn't install everything you need. The user interface is difficult. The instructions are written by a master coder, not a documentation professional. Having downloaded and installed 2 packages from an online installer, I need to "mount" the right location. Then I need to download 2 packages for the SDK (software development kit, without which the rest is useless). One of the SDK kits has an installer, but the other doesn't - you are expected to unzip the files and copy them over top of the older files in the first SDK package. Then you have to run the post-setup program. Unfortunately they don't tell you where it is.

With Microsoft you click one button and it installs. With Microsoft I would have spent the last hour writing software (i.e. playing). Now I'm so frustrated I don't even know if I want to try developing Palm OS software.

Never Assume

I had assumed that the declarations by the Liberal Party that they would never use the "notwithstanding" clause of the Canadian Constitution, as well as their habit of referring contentious issues to the courts rather than Parliament, was simply a calculated plan to ensure their popularity. After all, if you never take a stand, you never offend anyone. But it looks like I should not have assumed anything.

Paul Martin is on the attack over comments by a Conservative candidate, who says he would use the "notwithstanding" clause. Clearly the Liberals are not simply being pragmatic, but rather are abdicating the authority of Parliament in favour of unelected courts because that is the best way for them to push a Liberal social agenda. They have now arranged things so that it is unthinkable that anyone would use the "notwithstanding" clause (i.e. they have villified anyone who thinks that this clearly stated part of the constitution actually has authority, in favour of the interpretations of another part of the constitution by unelected judges).

Thursday, June 24, 2004

A Day at Work

I was driving to work this morning and saw a guy standing at the Park-and-Ride. He had long curly hair and a scruffy beard, a long sweater over short pants and sandals, and he was carrying a sign advertising for the local NDP candidate. Now why was this predictable? 8-)

One of the guys who works for me was trying to phone IBM technical support to get the URL for us to download a free upgrade to a product we pay maintenance on. He ended up phoning 8 different numbers and actually had to explain to one technical support guy that Rational Purify is one of IBM’s products! Unbelievable.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Weekend Update

On Friday, Karen gave me the OK to buy a new Palm PDA. Previously my boss was loaning me her Palm Vx, which was a huge step up from the Palm Professional I was using. So I purchased a Tungsten E. It's incredible. The 320x320 colour screen is really nice, it can play .mp3's and with the SD memory chip I bought it has 160MB of memory. Perhaps most interesting is the "Docs to Go" program that lets me synchonize Word and Excel documents with my Palm. So, I downloaded the notes from about 30 sermons I've preached, as well as a whole bunch of other documents I regularly look at. Really neat.

The kids like a story when they are in the bath, so I've been telling them the adventures of Spaceman Spiff, who in fact sounds a lot like Joel. Spiff keeps encountering these horrible monsters. The first had a long face and sharp teeth and claws and was covered with hair and had pads on the bottom of it's feet and a nose that dripped slime and... turned out to be a puppy dog. The next monster stood on 4 legs and had horns and huge googly eyes and it would look at you and say "Moo". Then Spiff visited the planet Marsupion and met a monster that had huge back legs and tiny front legs and worst of all it's stomach opened up and out came small Marsupions, and this of course was a kangaroo. My final monster was called Proboscon. Proboscon has this long probe he sticks into people to suck their blood! Proboscon also has big eyes and wings and... at this point Bethany started laughing and asked me how big the Proboscon was (because she had figured out it was a mosquito. So, then Joel comes into my study with a story of his own about a monster that just turned out to be a bat. I think they're getting the hang of it!

Friday, June 18, 2004

A Helping Hand

On Thursday a friend from church took Bethany and Joel for the day, which gave Karen a big break. She still had Hannah (not much anyone can do about that when you are nursing), but when Hannah rested or wasn't fussy, Karen was able to rest and organize the school-room. This meant a great deal to her!

Last night, we had our anniversary dinner (our anniversary was actually last Thursday but this Thursday was when our babysitter was available). It was a feed the baby, go spend 2 hours out including travel time and come back to feed the baby kind of date. Yet it was special for us. It is the first time we have left Hannah with anyone (other than Karen's Mom).

Of course, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hannah was quite fussy last night. I guess the "being left with a stranger" think was a little traumatic for her (even though we know this "stranger" very well and have trusted her with our other children on many occasions.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Another busy weekend

It's been really busy on weekends lately. On Friday night, we had some friends from the United States come for supper. It was really great seeing them again. I barbequed chicken and Karen did this really nice ice cream cake with chocolate chip cookies in it.

On Saturday, Bethany went to the AWANA program Sparkies day camp. She had a GREAT time, and we heard about all the activities. Unfortunately she picked up 42 mosquito bites, and is now paying the price. Joel came along with me to drop Bethany off and pick her up, which involved 2 hours of driving. I took Joel to the library and then to Chapters to buy another "Eyewitness" book. Then I got a CD for Karen (and myself) and some subs at Quiznos. After lunch I mowed the lawn, and spent some time looking after Joel and Hannah, and some time napping as well. For supper, I barbequed some hamburgers.

Sundays are always busy. We had "one of those nights" with Hannah, and Karen let me sleep in, and I took the two oldest children to church while Karen tried to get caught up on sleep. In the afternoon, I helped a friend get a presentation together on a short term missionary trip he took to Serbia, and tonight I took the two oldest children to see the presentation. I also spent some time playing Lego with Joel, so I am "spent".

This morning after the first church service, I had a conversation with a friend whom I regard as a clear thinker. He pointed out that even while our society has rejected the idea that there are any absolutes, we have latched onto the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a defacto absolute. I thought this was an excellent point. It concerns me that members of the Liberal party have denigrated the idea that anyone would ever use the "notwithstanding" clause in the Constitution. It is present in our constitution so that Parliament and not unelected judges will have ultimate power. But under the Liberal system of rule, the notwithstanding clause is a dangerous tool, only to be used by unstable conservatives who would undue all the "progress" the Liberals have given us (such as same sex marriage, abortion on demand with no restrictions, etc.). Well, in the upcoming election, we as a country will get what we deserve.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Important Speech by Ronald Reagan

In this link, Ronald Reagan is far more eloquent than myself. His speech is one to ponder.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Democracy is dangerous in Canada!

Stephen Harper, who is the Conservative candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming elections, has stated he would not introduce legislation or hold a referendum on the issue of abortion, but that if a private member introduced a bill on the issue he would let the members of his government vote their consciences (rather than forcing all members of the ruling party to vote one way). Liberals and womens groups have gone ballistic! How dare he let people vote their consciences! How dare he let democracy function in Canada! There are some issues that are too important to let the people be heard through their democratically elected representatives!

Of course, this isn't surprising. The last decade of Liberal government has consistently refused to let Parliament rule on touchy issues. Far better to abdicate responsibility to the unelected courts. That way nobody can blame the Liberal party! Furthermore, the Liberals act like the "Not Withstanding" clause in the Constitution is a terrible, evil device, and that anyone who would use it is evil. But in refusing to let Parliament decide issues, the rights of Parliament and the functioning of democracy in Canada have been diminished. We are no longer a democracy, but rather we are ruled by the courts. The 'Not Withstanding" clause in the Constitution has been reduced to a curious historical after-thought, rather than an important device to protect the supremacy of democratic rule in Canada. This is not what we intended and this is not what the Constitution says, but a decade of dodging issues by the Liberals have left us in this sad position.

Of course, I have no strong opinion on this issue...

Saturday, June 05, 2004

A Busy Day

Karen let me sleep in today, which is good because the day was rather busy. I took the children to the library. This was the third Saturday in a row. It's working out well. We got some books and some educational videos and a couple of not so educational videos. I also got some grass seed and some top soil, and reseeded the bare patches on the lawn.

Today was also a good day from an educational point of view. I finished reading one of the children's read aloud books from their school curriculum. I went through about half of the new David Macaulay book "Mosque" and made some comparisons of building principles with his book "Cathedral". I looked at an Eyewitness book with Joel on art and perspective. He likes drawing, so I thought it would be good to teach him a bit more about perspective. Then, with the children, I watched a video about the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I spent some time looking after Hannah, and helped Bethany with learning to ride her bike, and barbequed a flank steak for supper, balanced the chequebook, filled out some paperwork to get reimbursed for an eye exam, played K'NEX with Joel, and worked on a sermon.

I'm tired. Hopefully Hannah will sleep well tonight, so all of us can sleep well!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Miscellaneous Update

Hannah went to the doctor today, and he said "no problem". She is feeling a lot better, as evidenced by acting the way she usually does. In other words, it is now her fussy time and she's crying.

Wonder of wonders, the ACLU in the United States finally did something right. A Pastor got kicked out of a public park for performing baptisms in the river. Although the park officials said they had no policy on this, they still asked him to leave. The ACLU has stated that if people are allowed to wade in the water, there is no reason to prevent baptisms in the same water. Usually the ACLU is known for supporting all kinds of wacky leftist causes.

I received an email today saying "Copyright Violation". Usually this kind of email is just spam and I delete without reading, but this time I took a chance. It turns out that the webmaster of a popular Christian site objected to me copying a couple of articles off their site several years ago (giving credit to the original authors of course). Over the years I have linked to a lot of articles, only to have them go away. When I found these articles, I downloaded copies of them to my web site so that the original links could disappear but these articles would still be available. Apparently this is unacceptable. This webmaster wants the content only available on his website. OK, I deleted 4 articles and now I'm compliant. But I do have some serious reservations about Christians copyrighting materials and then preventing their distribution. Not sure what this guy says he does for a living - "I look for copyright violations, to the glory of God"? I thought the goal was to make sure the truth gets spread to the widest audience.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Hannah feeling a bit better

Hannah seems to be feeling a bit better. She is more awake, and is fussy at bedtime (which is normal) but still is having some tummy troubles. We have a previously scheduled visit to the doctor for her tomorrow.

It's hard on a parent when children are ill, but thankfully our children have had remarkably good health over the years. There is much to be thankful for.