August 27, 2013

Building a Mystery

Bob Goff, over on the Storyline Blog:

We all set out to build things in our lives. Things like careers, or relationships, or faith, or confidence or even organizations. And in the process of setting out to build one thing, sometimes we discover that we’ve built something else too. Something even more useful; more meaningful; more enduring; something that’s a better fit for us.

I experience this time and time again when I set out to do something or “make plans”. It took me until my mid-twenties, and three or four years after I first became a Christian to stop making plans and just trust God. That doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t think or pray about the future, but I pay more attention to the present and the process than I do the end result. In the end, we all get to where we’re going, somehow, some way even if the destination isn’t exactly what we had in mind when we set out on our journey.

Random aside – I love the bit in the beginning of the post about getting power from a glacier. Fantastic stuff.

August 24, 2013

Everything Now Is Different

I have zero expectation of discipline or regularity with writing this post every year. Even now, this first year in, I’m only just getting in under the wire. One year ago, today, Bethany and I welcomed Reagan into the world. It was a phenomenal day in North Carolina to wish her a happy birthday.

The passage of time bears significant inconsistency between present and past. Some moments, as they are happening, seem to take an eternity. In hindsight, most are fleeting. Always, the future is too far off. This past year, I’ve become all too familiar with the experience of time.

By far, I’ve been most surprised by the limitless love that overwhelms my relationship with my daughter. I felt overly prepared by many generous sentiments prior to her arrival – “it’s impossible to describe how much you will love her” – only to find myself blindsided by its mind-boggling truth.

Everything, now, is different. Nothing ever will be the same.

August 21, 2013

Hundred Year Jobs

Cisco released their earnings last week along with another bit of notable news,

Cisco announced Wednesday that it will cut 4,000 jobs, citing a difficult economic climate.

which didn’t strike me as odd until I got around to this little nugget:

The company also reported it has an incredible $50.6 billion in cash, up more than $3 billion from the previous quarter. Cisco and other big tech companies including Apple and Microsoft have been amassing large cash hoards during the past few years.

That struck me as odd and I did some back of the napkin calculations; if we assume it costs Cisco an average of $125,000 per year for each of those 4,000 employees, $50 billion buys each of those employees another 100 years of employment. I recognize that’s an oversimplification of how a business operations and that kind of thinking is exactly why I’m not a CEO (and as one astute cohort pointed out, a lot of that cash is probably overseas) but it just feels a bit … off.

August 8, 2013

Another (Brighter Side) Is Waiting

A great counter to the “dark cloud of unproductivity” that’s been following me around this week:

So much of what’s lovable about both the band and this song, and so much of what separates The Avett Brothers from other folk-rock acts, revolves around the group’s persistent lyrical fascination with living a noble and meaningful life. “Another Is Waiting,” like the Avetts songs before it, reaches farther than it needs to — and accomplishes more as a result.
Source: NPR Music

Love this band. October 15th officially marked on the calendar.

August 1, 2013

Shipped From the Future

Multiple outlets reported this yesterday, here’s an excerpt from an Engadget post:

Today, The UPS Store announced its plan to bring 3D printing services to the masses. The shipping company will soon roll out Stratasys Uprint SE Plus printers to 6 locations in San Diego to test out the new service; it’ll be aimed at small businesses, start-ups and retail customers in need of a professional grade model to produce things like prototypes and artistic renderings.

I worked for UPS for just short of five years and while I was there (and, honestly, still to this day) I always wondered if Star Trek style replicators or transporters were even small blips on the R&D radar. Well, 3D printing isn’t exactly “manipulation of sub-atomic particles”, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Keep on keepin’ on, Big Brown.

July 31, 2013

Oh My Bittersweet Carolina

Poignant, but honest, a Wake County teacher in an Op-Ed for the N&O on the state of education in North Carolina:

We don’t need the end-of-grade testing results or performance standards to keep us accountable. I feel the immense accountability every day when those 24 children are looking at me. They are my greatest motivator – because they are the future.

North Carolina has never, historically, been a state known for its educational prowess. I’m a product of the state’s education system, so it’s not easy for me to swallow my pride when I write that. I’m not optimistic about where we’re headed and as a father to an eleven month old daughter, that makes me feel even worse.

July 27, 2013

Truth in Writing

A recent spate of blog posts from Donald Miller caught my introspective eye. Maybe I’m just being more attentive or, more likely, perhaps there’s a reason why his books strike a chord with me – perhaps we share similar perspectives.

In the first, he extols the virtues of the judicial branch and their dedication to a document, the Constitution; a virtue most Americans (including Christians) aren’t exhibiting as much as we think:

In my opinion, the court is doing a much more objective job seeking the “truth” than the church is. We act more like Congress — we take our sides and bend truth to defend our tribe. It’s ridiculous. In today’s culture, a truth-teller won’t have a tribe.

In the second, and perhaps more controversially, he expounds on the notion and extent of truth as we’re capable of understanding it.

That said, however, I like something Albert Einstein said, he said, “Gravitation is not responsible for falling in love,” and I think he’s right. I suspect what he means is there’s something more, something neither the theologian or the physicist can explain.

Don’t jump to conclusions by what you read in the excerpts I pulled – read each of the pieces in their entirety (they’re short) and then draw your conclusions.

July 20, 2013

A New Hope Begins

Every so often, circumstances arise that present an opportunity for us to collectively jump to illogical conclusions filled with vitriol and hyperbole. All too often, these such circumstances are tragedies that, when given an opportunity to investigate, analyze and evaluate, elude our capacity for understanding. To put it more succinctly, after much time and effort, we know too much about too little.

In the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial, I intentionally avoided much of the conversation and discussion that circulated following the announcement of the verdict. Quite frankly, it is all too much for me to digest. Two responses, however, provided me some comfort in knowing that reasonable, calm and civil discussions are taking place: the first, Donald Miller’s exploration of the truth gap, a phenomenon that pervades our lives not only in nationally covered tragedies like the death of Trayvon Martin, but also in our day to day experiences both spiritual and secular; the second, the unexpected and reportedly off the cuff remarks from the President in a surprise visit to Friday’s White House press briefing.

Each of the two responses come from different places – different perspectives – but both share a call for introspection and reasoned, nuanced thought about the circumstances and social atmosphere that lead to such tragic ends. No one among us can change what happened and, in reality, very few of us will ever have an opportunity to have a direct impact on the actions and decisions that might lead to another similar tragedy. But change and prevention don’t happen anywhere if they don’t first happen within your own heart and within your own mind. The change begins with you; it begins with me.

July 3, 2013

Touch

Besides overall build quality, the trackpad on MacBooks is the most tangible reason I can think to give when people ask why they should buy a Mac over a PC. But when comparing the $999 price tag of an 11 inch MacBook Air (the lowest cost Mac laptop) with a $250-$300 PC laptop, most cost-conscious buyers balk at the difference. Maybe there’s hope for those cost-conscious or Windows-favoring shoppers on the horizon:

Microsoft has been working with Intel, Elan, and Synaptics to allow Windows 8.1 to directly control the pointer, multi-touch, and gesture support in trackpads. For Windows users this should mean that future laptop trackpads will work more like mini touch-screens in a similar way to how Apple’s MacBook trackpads operate in OS X.
Source: The Verge

On a related noted, I recently had some experience with a touchscreen Windows 8 laptop (Lenovo U310 Touch). Not as terrible as I thought it would be.