Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The BlackBerry Tour Continued…

Just wanted to update the post I wrote about on how I use my smartphone.  I added a few apps that I must say I really find useful. 

  1. The American Express shortcut.  Not a real app, but a super handy shortcut to have to track my Amex account.
  2. Homes For Sale is a great app if you ever want to look up any (listed) homes for sale.  It is handy because you don’t need to know the address, and there are multiple ways to find the home you’re searching for.
  3. MiniPaint is just a fun app to have if you want to add silly things to the pictures you’ve taken with your device.  I’ve used it to mock up my friends’ pictures then send them as an MMS. 
  4. SmartBCalendar isn’t free, but for 99 cents, I could rationalize spending a little on such a handy app.  I depend on viewing my calendar on this device, and after a while, it seems like this should be a standard feature.

That’s all for now.  I’m sure I’ll have a part three coming up.  :-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

To be reconciled…

For some reason I had this on my heart so this is going to be a different type of blog for me; almost like a journal.  I have just been thinking about the Christian walk and reconciliation, and how it is just a huge part of who we are as born again believers. 

When we’re born again, we believe we’re reconciled to God, through Jesus Christ.  This is a huge first step and should trickle down in our lives, with all of our relationships.  It is important to note that the Bible is clear that all people are God’s creation (Colossians 1:16), and that God loves the entire world (John 3:16), but only those who are born again are children of God (John 1:12;11:52; Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:1-10)  So God loves everyone equally. 

Ephesians 4:32 says Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  I just think of that in all aspects of my life, starting with my wife, probably because that’s the most close knit relationship I will have with anyone while on earth.  I think of being reconciled to her when it’s difficult because I feel I am right, and justice needs to be served.  Then I think of Ephesians 5:25 which states: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…  To be a Christian husband is to first be a Christian, and that means understanding that Jesus had every right to handle the Pharisees and make them pay for torturing an innocent man-but He didn’t.  I understand this could be taken too far to where the man just becomes passive and I don’t think that’s what God meant for us to do.  But as an example for us, He shows us where we can have the freedom to give up those things we might hang on to so closely, in exchange for adopting a characteristic of Christ, and in turn growing closer to Him.

Another aspect I think of for me personally, is with friends.  Both non-Christians and Christians require grace from me.  I’m sure that I even require more grace myself from them.  To me, the point is am I working toward reconciling that relationship for real?  For me it is difficult to walk away from any friendship, and it rarely comes down to that, but I have to check myself to make sure I’m doing all I can first.  It would be hard to see any person of faith have so many burnt bridges with people and give them any credibility for their ‘reconciled’ relationship with God.  It’s not a one way street.  It seems to be common these days to have bitter people either leaving one church and go to another, or bitter people as a result of people leaving their church.  Unfortunately, when I see a pastor preaching and know that he has those seriously broken bonds with people, it is more difficult for me to not judge, knowing he has those broken ties with others.  I think that breaks the heart of God.  Doesn’t that also distort the message of the Gospel that we are supposed to share?  When the world’s watching, I think it does.  I think it would bode well for more people to walk that out and live it, as hard as it might be, so that the world can see God’s love living through His people.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My first 5K run ever, included Alberto Salazar

IMG_4249 [1024x768]

Two days ago, a friend at work told me about a fundraising event his Mother’s organization was putting on at the University of Portland.  He said it was a 5K run, and that both Alberto Salazar and Joe Donlon would be there to ‘compete’ and help raise money.  As some of you know, I was training for my first marathon until I tore my meniscus while on a training run at the beach.  I have been running shorter distances and using a treadmill while I’m going through the physical therapy.  At any rate, I was able to run 3.16 miles in 23 minutes, which is a 7:16 pace, so I’m alright with that.

Being able to meet Alberto made it worth it all, though.  Alberto set a world record in 1981, running the New York Marathon in 2:08:13.  He also ran in what is known to be America’s greatest marathon, The Duel in the Sun, which was a very hot day for the Boston Marathon.  In this race, the weather was in the 90’s and he was competing closely with Dick Beardsley.  Alberto also trained my cousin, Josh Rohatinsky for several years.

IMG_4250 [1024x768] 

I started this run off in the front of the pack, but that only lasted for about the first 1/2 mile.  I was then passed by one runner.  About 1.5 miles into the run, I was able to sprint and pass someone else.  I wanted to try and catch up to the front, but I felt I was already pushing myself.  I learned very quickly that while I was able to run 15 miles in my training, running for speed is different.  One piece of advice Alberto gave me was in my training, it would be good to mix things up a bit, and try sprinting for a mile or so.  I had been training for the marathon at a consistent pace.  It was a good feeling to not feel super tired after running this race, however.  Some runners really pushed themselves to the point of feeling sick.  My wife Bethany participated in this as well, and was able to jog the whole race in 31 minutes.  All in all, I was glad I did it, and will most likely try to run other informal races as my knee heels.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why and how I use my BlackBerry Tour

Just like the TicTac commercial; could I breathe without my BlackBerry Tour?  Of course, but I wouldn’t recommend it! 

First, I’ll explain my history with PDAs.  I’ve been and intense user of mobile devices ever since my first Palm Pilot back in 2000, the Palm VII X.  $400 gave me a device that looks like this:

 palmviixlarge [320x200]

Upgrading to the Palm m505 wasn’t a huge upgrade, but it added color and a more slick looking device w/a little more features:


I won’t keep boring you with pictures, but in 2002, you can see why getting my HP iPaq 3835 was an exciting move forward:


From then on, I had the iPaq 5555, the iPaq hx4705 (w/a beautiful 4” VGA screen (not QVGA)), then a WM Treo 700W, and finally a Samsung i760 running WM6.1 Pro.  Oh yeah, and now, the BlackBerry Tour 9630.  Before moving on, I must say, I used my iPaqs with a folding keyboard for years with no complaints.  I used them for work and college.  Great for taking notes, emailing, and running various applications. 

So, moving on to what I use my BlackBerry Tour for:

  1. It’s a pretty good cell phone first.  I use my Plantronics bluetooth ear piece as well as the speakerphone sometimes, and I’m happy w/it.  Something I thought was neat, is that although the Tour has a Qwerty keyboard, if you dial a number such as 800-BEST-BUY, it auto translates those numbers as if you used a dialpad.
  2. Texting is great on this device.  It’s quick and easy, and you almost have to turn the spell checker off for shortened words.  I have shortcut keys enabled so from the home screen when I hit ‘Q’ I am taken to a blank draft text ready to go.
  3. For email, the Gmail app is excellent.  It keeps your email in conversation threads which I love, and you can view all of your labels (folders).  The only thing I wish it had was the push email function.  The built in email client on the device is push, so I just setup my Gmail account in there, so I’m still notified when I get new messages.  Also, that way if I take a picture or want to email something, it uses the devices email client to send those.
  4. The camera is beyond what I need, but I still love that it’s there.  With 3.2 million pixels, a flash that you can turn on, off, or to auto, digital zoom, image stabilization, white balance, and color effects, there are plenty of features.  Even when the phone is on silent, though, it still makes the shutter sound, so I got a simple app called Peek-A-Boo.  Oh, and the video camera is handy to have as well.
  5. For music, this phone has some neat features.  First, you can hook it up to your computer and use media sync, which lets you sync your iTunes playlists to your microSD card.  I sync a few of my playlists, and some audio podcasts.  There’s a free app that came preloaded called Slacker Radio that lets you search and listen to pretty much any song, and create custom music stations.  Oh yeah, that the headphone jack is a standard 3.5mm so any headphones will work.
  6. I’m a to-do list freak (it’s how I manage my life professionally and personally), so I use Remember The Milk, and I installed MilkSync, which keeps my native BlackBerry tasks in sync with the online version of Remember The Milk, fully equipped with both plenty of shortcut keys, as well as Google Gears for offline support.  I set mine to sync both ways automatically, once each hour.  This is probably my favorite feature.
  7. I like having my Bible with me every where I go, and now I do, using Laridian’s Bible Reader.  I have my ESV (English Standard Version) and can look up verses quickly. 
  8. Another great Google app I have is the Google Sync app.  This is because I use the calendar on the device, as well as the contacts, and what luck; they both sync OTA (over the air) automatically.  This way everywhere I go, I have all of my contacts and calendar appointments.
  9. I have two push apps installed: the Fox News app alerts me when there’s breaking news, and the WeatherEye lets me know my current, daily, and weekly forecasts.
  10. The Gtalk client is nice, because I can leave it on all the time, so anytime someone wants to chat w/me they can.  This helps make the world even smaller.
  11. Youmail is a neat free visual voicemail app.  It alerts me when a caller leaves a voicemail, and lets me retrieve the message from the Youmail application, or from the MP3 it sends me as an email attachment.
  12. Evernote is great for note takers like me.  It allows me to create and edit notes on my device, and then I can view them from any web-based computer.  I do keep the Evernote desktop software installed on my laptop because it’s easy to add notes there.  Sometimes if I really want to make sure I have access to a note, I’ll create one in the resident memo pad, then copy it to Evernote.  Evernote mobile requires an internet connection.
  13. Because this device has GPS, Google Maps is a must have app for me.  Not only does it pinpoint exactly where I am, but I can get turn by turn directions to anywhere.  I can lookup local restaurants either by name or cuisine.  Using Google Latitude I can broadcast my location and see where my friends are as well.
  14. UberTwitter is my favorite Twitter app.  I’ve tried a few of them, and I like this one best.  It’s fast, free, and allows me to do everything I need to (DM, RT, upload pictures, etc…).
  15. Last but not least, is called SmrtGuard.  With this software, I can track exactly where my device is if it is lost or stolen.  From the web interface on any web-based computer, I can track my device, lock my device, have my device call a phone number I’m at to listen, remotely self destruct the device (and microSD card), and audio ping the device.

There are other apps I have installed, such as MaxMem and Facebook mobile, but I don’t use them all the time.  Same with the built in web browser.  Nice to have, but not a deal breaker and certainly not the best browser.

What device do you use?  Why don’t you have one of these?  :-)


Thursday, May 14, 2009

100 Days

I can’t take credit for writing this, but I felt inclined to post it.  :-)


Presidential comparison quiz

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given Tony Blair a set of inexpensive and useless (to Tony Blair’s UK video formatting) DVDs, when Tony Blair had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved? (Remember the bad press Bush got when he and the King of Saudi Arabia “held hands” as they walked together?)

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent “Austrian language”, would you have brushed it off as a minor slip? (Anyone remember the bad press Dan Quayle – another Republican - got when he reportedly wished he had studied Latin before going to Latin America? Forget the fact that he never said it – the press ran with the story…)

If George W. Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current on their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had proposed, deliberately and with full knowledge, to double the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within the next 10 years, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had campaigned on a promised to cut out all earmarks, and then signed a spending bill, above and beyond his budget, containing more than 9287 “earmarks” and pork projects totaling nearly $13 billion, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive?

Can’t think of anything? Don’t worry. He’s done all this in 10 weeks -- so you’ll have three years and nine-and-a-half months to come up with an answer.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Quick Quote

I couldn’t not post this quote after I read it:


"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.  The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.  When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.  You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A little humor?

I don’t have time to write what I’d really like to write about which is finance stuff and the economy/Obama administration; particularly Geitner and job duties.  I’m refraining because I have a 30 page paper I’m writing for school (and a project/presentation).  OK.  So I’m just going to post some pictures I thought were funny and maybe they can help express my thoughts; especially the first one.  Enjoy.  Oh, and the 2nd one isn’t political, but politically correct.  :-)