Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Air Harp

Still need evidence that the iPad will change the way we understand our interaction with computers?

When was the last time you thought about playing a digital harp?

I think Gartner Inc. (technology research and advisory company) sums up my sentiments about the sweet spot Apple is hitting with the form and potential content on the iPad. They believe "the iPad will help change the entire PC ecosystem.(TUAW)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Scientific Evidence that High Fructose Corn Syrup is Worse Than Other Sugars

The last 8 years of label reading has been vindicated. Thank you smart people at Princeton.

Specifically they found that HFCS creates more fat in the abdominal region.  

Friday, March 26, 2010

3 Idiots

Such a fun and energetic movie! You will laugh, you will cry (but you will laugh more), and you will fall in love with the characters and the story.

Hollywood better watch out. My favorite movie of 2009 came from Bollywood. I'm pre-ordering my copy of 3 Idiots right now (DVD release is March 31st). This is one of those movies you will want to be the first to introduce to your friends, or they will end up introducing it to you.

This last week I asked some coworkers I am training in India what their favorite movie was. This was their recommendation. I am at a lack of words to express how good this movie is.

If you want to get a glimpse of the quirky fun energy that is bursting from this movie, watch this trailer.

Exciting Adorned in Grace Publicity

Gresham Outlook brings attention to local human trafficking issues: "The front-page article includes detailed information of the situation locally and shares what local officials and legislature are doing to address the issue. It is strongly agreed that creating shelters is vital to breaking the cycle of young victims in sex-trafficking. According to Senator Wyden, “Without a place for the girls to escape to, they return to life on the street and to the same men who exploited them in the first place, that leaves police and prosecutors with no victim and no case.”

In the US it is estimated that there are only 70 shelter beds across all 50 states for victims of sex-trafficking to find safe harbor. Multnomah County Commisioner Diane McKeel is advocating for a 22-bed shelter in the Portland area for youth victims of sex-trafficking.

The Outlook also featured Adorned in Grace and the work that has been done and is being done to raise funds for Door to Grace's plan for a 10-bed shelter.

“We’re using a symbol of love, of purity, to attack the evil,” Tribbett added, pointing to the wedding dresses. “We feel that this is a very strong statement.”"

 Follow the blog or the cause on Facebook.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Magical "Content-Aware Fill" in Next Photoshop

This is mind blowing, yet frustrating, because it seems like it makes it "too" easy. I suppose it makes the point of entry lower for skill, but you still need talent. In the end it gives more people opportunity to discover and develop their talent. Less of a technical skill, and more art.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Future of Urban Mobility?

Miao is my favorite. Since it was designed in California (as opposed to Europe or Australia) it makes sense that it appeals to my tastes. Looks like they are taking the P.U.M.A. concept from last year to the next level!

GM unveils three futuristic, urban EN-V concepts: "
Filed under: , , , ,

GM EN-V concepts - Click above for high-res image gallery

Today General Motors unveiled a trio of EN-V concepts that showcase the automaker's idea for a new global, urban mobility vehicle. Developed in conjunction with its partner in China, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., the EN-V concepts build on last year's P.U.M.A. project that was developed with help from the balancing-on-two-wheels experts at Segway. Each of the three EN-Vs, which stands for Electric Networked-Vehicle, sports a different design. Why three? The various shapes demonstrate the flexibility of the electric drivetrain and are supposed to express three different characteristics: Jiao (Pride), Miao (Magic) and Xiao (Laugh). Jiao (the bubbly blue one) was designed in Austrlia by Holden, Miao (the blocky black one) was designed at GM's studio in California and Xiao (the streaky red one) was designed in Europe.

The EN-V concepts are GM's solution for the congested urban centers in which we're all likely to live by 2030. Their all-electric, two-wheel drivetrains take care of the emissions problem. They're also fitted with the latest GPS, vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity and an array of sensors and cameras that allow fully autonomous driving. The effect of all this tech is less congestion on city roads and the virtual elimination of accidents. Zero emissions, zero traffic jams and zero accidents - the future's looking bright!

Lithium ion batteries will take each EN-V up to 40 miles on a charge, which isn't that hard considering they only weigh 1,100 pounds. And since they're each less than five feet long, up to five times more of them can fit in a parking lot than your average car of today. Do they look as fun to drive as a Porsche Cayman? No, but driving a Porsche Cayman in a congested city center isn't all that much fun anyway. If we all end up living on top of each other, these little electric runabouts might be the best way to go.

The EN-Vs will be on display at the SAIC-GM Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai beginning in May. Feel free to follow the jump for GM's official press release that talks more about what our crowded future will look like and how the EN-V will help.

[Source: General Motors]
Continue reading GM unveils three futuristic, urban EN-V concepts
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Project Gutenberg

30,000 free books made available through expired copyrights (and the dedicated work of volunteers) - Project Gutenburg.

There is a surprisingly impressive array of books. Check out the Top 100 Lists or browse the Bookshelf by Category.

If you have an e-reader, iPhone, want to read some short stories on your computer, or plan on picking up an iPad, this is a great resource!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Whatever Happened To The Hobbit Movie?

First the quick time-line (as provided by my blog post archive) of the much rumored, ever anticipated movie:

  • The Hobbit - I first blogged about murmurings of The Hobbit prequel to Lord of the Rings in September 2006!
  • In January 2007 we all thought Raimi (of the Spidey trilogy) was taking the reigns. I was not overly enthusiastic of this turn of events, but still glad to see it was moving forward.
  • Almost a year later in December of 2007 there appeared to be an official Green Light. The key players were on board and an official blog went online.
  • A month later, January 2008, more details emerged. Elijah Woods was caught revealing that the Hobbit would be the first of a two part prequel, with the second being a "narrative bridge" to the Lord of the Rings.
  • Soon after it was announced that Guillermo Del Toro would take the Directors seat. Something I was much more excited about than Sam Raimi.
Then there was silence... for two years and two months... for what seemed like an eternity, barely a whisper was heard.

Today I am proud to announce we have official dates, time-lines, and clear confirmation of cast and crew. Filming begins in July, Del Toro directing, Jackson and Fran Walsh producing, and Sir Ian McKellen back as Gandalf (BBC).

All is well on planet Earth.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Buick is Back?

At least according to Motor Trend. The hot new Buick Regal graces the cover of the April issue, along with the redesigned LaCrosse. I have been drooling over these since I posted Would You Drive This Buick? back in January.

You can check out the cover, as well as the full article on the Regal and LaCrosse online: Forget the Last 30 Years: Buick is Back.

Some high claims are made. The all-new Regal has what it takes to trump Acura and Infinite? And the LaCrosse wins a head to head comparison with the Lexus ES 350?

It's a crazy world we live in when Buick builds a better Buick than the "Better Buick".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Request to All Pick-up Owners

My request entails two options:

Option 1: Please clean the garbage/paper/scraps/receipts/packaging/wrappers out of your truck bed before driving.


Option 2: You can enjoy a 20 mile stroll picking up all the garbage you have strewn along I-205.

Thanks. I appreciate it.

Okay, to be fair, option 2 is specifically directed at the owner of a 2008 white F-150 with a broken left tail light. But Option 1 is a general courtesy reminder.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Epic Weekend

Full of beauty, fun, service, laughter, and relationship.

It began Friday night with Oregon Youth Symphony concert at the Arlene Schnitzer with Elena and her youngest brother.

Saturday morning began with the ribbon cutting ceremony at Adorned in Grace. If you know any brides to be, please refer them there. Great selection of dresses for unbeatable prices with all the proceeds going to address sex trafficking that is happening right here in Portland.

Then we headed downtown for the Saturday Market with some sweet live music and picked up some mouth watering spices.

After a Costco shopping trip, including a beautiful bouquet of flowers, we played our first ever round of Bunco at Park Place Coffee. It got pretty crazy at times and was a great opportunity to meet some new neighbors in the Rockwood community.

Got through the first disc of The Two Towers "Platinum Series Special Extended Edition" (translation: 43 minutes of extra footage). Elena hadn't seen any of the trilogy. We are thoroughly enjoying the journey together. It's really exciting to talk through the epic adventure with someone who is seeing it with new eyes for the first time.

Sunday morning workout at the gym before checking out at awesome local Hispanic church, Luz del Pueblo. We loved what they are doing. Great community/family of disciples!

While the sun was peaking out, a few of us at Barberry Village got together for a little service project. We planted some flowers at the with the two Samoan brothers I have been mentoring.

Wrapped it all up with an evening of swing dancing down town.

Topped off with some Voodoo Donuts over an engaging theological discussion with a great group of friends.

Epic weekend indeed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

How What You Buy Shapes Your Conscience

Prepare for some thought provoking mental stimulation on the subject of human nature.

First up is two psychological experiments concerning how the presence of "green products" products in our society is affecting how we think. The theory is "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviors".

The first experiment finds that the mere exposure to green products aroused altruistic behavior. Specifically, it made the participants in the study more generous.


Now for the really juicy part. In the second experiment participants were allocated money to purchase products from a eco-friendly web retailer or a "normal" retailer. (the participant didn't have a choice where to shop). Following this the participants engaged in a number of activities that ultimately revealed that those who purchased green products were more selfish, significantly more likely to cheat, lie, and six times more likely to steal.

Wow. Now there is some profound insight into human nature.

In other news - well, Toyota is in all the news - there is a fascinating (and hilarious!) Times editorial about how the authors wife chose to drive a Toyota Prius which consequential completely distorted her perception of reality.

After the flood gate of recalls began to open, he couldn't wait to give his wife a hard time:

...The problem is that I can't rub this in, because she won't acknowledge it. I forward her every article about the car's problems, but she keeps saying, "It's fine!" as if this were some kind of Salem witch trial for liberals. Even though Toyota's website says to immediately remove the driver's-side floor mat because the accelerator can get stuck, she won't do it. In a car we drive our baby in. This is a woman who won't give our son nonorganic blueberries.

Admitting there's a problem with her Prius would imply there's something imperfect about her entire Whole Foods lifestyle. The Prius has made her feel so superior that, when I drive it, she tells me I'm driving it wrong. My primitive method of accelerating to speed up and braking to slow down does not maximize miles per gallon, as she can show me on an annoying bar graph on that center screen. Prius owners work very hard to get as many miles per gallon as they can to win a game they like to call Getting in an Accident While Staring at a Screen with a Dumb Graphic...

For a while, Prius drivers in L.A. even got to park at meters without paying and drive in the carpool lane without a passenger. You don't get to drive in the carpool lane without a passenger the day you give blood. You could save every child in Haiti, and you would still have to feed the parking meter. And yet we could not thank Prius owners enough for their sacrifice in driving a really nice car that costs less to fill up. If Mel Gibson had been in a Prius, the cops would have set up a motorcade for him to weave behind and yell out his window about the Jews... (My Prius Problem)

Both of these examples present very convincing evidence of the importance in thinking through the source of the values which define how we live.

If you want to engage these ideas further, a fellow blogger wrote a great post titled "Is Ethical Buying the New Legalism Part 1" and "Part 2".

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Motivates You to Share?

Not stuff, or money - but ideas. Why do you share that video? Email that article? Post that link on Facebook? Why am I writing this blog?

1. Share to feel important (elitist). Sharing validates your experience because others think it is funny/important/helpful too.
2. Share to engage in shared experience (relationship). Sharing helps to connect you closer to others who laugh/think/act based on similar experiences.
3. Share in the hopes of sparking something (revolutionary). Sharing is a catalyst for change, it's rattling the swords and beating the drums in pursuit of a better future ahead.

These three points, the conclusion to a long meandering conversation with Milan, have absolutely no validity beyond our own observations and experiences on the matter. Do you resonate with one or more? Why? Do none of these quite capture why you share?

I just thought this was worth sharing...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lazy Sunday LIVE (Vid)

The original Lazy Sunday w/ Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg rocked my winter back in 2005. The two are back together 5 years later to perform it live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Never a Boring Bible Study at Barberry Village

By the time I prayed at the end I was on the verge of tears over how much joy and love was in the room. Such beauty.

Read about it at the Barberrian Villagers Blog.
We as a community at Barberry Village have been doing a study called "Story of God". As you might guess, it is an overview of Genesis to Revelations. We just hit the beginning of the new Testament; the virgin birth of Jesus.

One of our neighbors we have been building a relationship with is a middle aged devout Roman Catholic women. One of the other neighbors is a recovering drug and alcohol addict who has been totally burned by Christianity and the "church", is skeptical at every turn, and has more questions then answers.

Those two lightening rods were almost enough to bring the building down within the first 10 minutes. I thought for sure one, or both, were never going to come back again.

But the Spirit pulled the group together and the last hour and a half was so full of joy, love, laughter and grace. By the end of it the women was laughing at the guys jokes and he was taken aback by a humble apology on her part.

By the time I prayed at the end I was on the verge of tears over how much joy and love was in the room. Such beauty.

Never a stodgy boring Bible Study here at the Barberry Village.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Slave to Public Opinion

Great thoughts from Donald Millers blog:

"We were designed so our identity would be affirmed in a relationship with God. In other words, my feelings of self worth do not come from within me, they come from an external source. That source was supposed to be God. But in the fall of man, that relationship was severed (it had to be as God could not mix or mingle with anything opposing him, not because He is a jerk, but because He actually defines what is good in the first place) and so after the fall, we continue to look for affirmation from an outside source, and that source is each other."

This reminds me of a life changing awareness that Tim Keller calls "The Problem of Sin". Don take it to the next level by observing how Christians can "sanctify" the pursuit of a flawed Christian identity that is defined by a jury of peers within the Church.

"That said, in Christian circles, the whole game gets confusing. Christians rightly affirm Godliness, theological accuracy, Biblical literacy, morality and zeal. So the Christian learns from an early age that if he has these characteristics, a jury of his peers will affirm him. And as well they should. But the problem comes when the opinion of the jury replaces the redemption we find in God. I once confronted this same friend about a wrong he had committed, and he became intense and angry. To him, I was threatening his very survival, his ace card (morality and righteousness) in the game. If his redemption would have come from Christ, he could see himself more objectively. But instead, he was a slave to the jury of peers."

These are also ideas Don covers in his book Searching for God Knows What, which I highly recommend as well.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sneak Peek of iPad Content (Video)

Ideas brewing at Penguin Books.

This is an excellent example of my thesis on how the "form" of the iPad introduces new media potential.

Penguin CEO John Makison gave a presentation showing his company's vision for content on the iPad. "Makinson's presentation highlighted Penguin's goal of embedding interactive content such as audio and video into its eBooks, as well as the inclusion of even more advanced features such as chats between readers." (MacRumors)

This is just a glimpse of things to come. My children are going to live in a crazy world.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Re-Connections at Barberry

Great quick story that Elena posted over at the Barberry Blog.

Wanted to share it with you all because it is an example of much of the "unexpected" fruit we are seeing at Barberry. It's so beautiful seeing God at work when you submit to His will and pursue after His mission for your life.

Re-connections: "When we first moved into Barberry in 2008, we naturally made a connection with our neighbors who lived right underneath us. An inter-generational family of grandma, mom, and young daughter who were very open and excited to meet friendly neighbors who they could trust and spend time with. The young daughter would come to the children's events, participate in many crafts and activities with much eagerness to learn. She was nearing 5 years old when the family ended up moving. We were sad to see them move, especially since the relationship was leading towards more discussions of faith, life, and purpose, but unfortunately moving is in deed a fact of life. We said our goodbyes, not expecting to ever see each other again.

Come February 2010, on a typical Monday, Josh finds a note on his door as he returns from work. This note wasn't one we ever expected. It was a note from the family. Written on pink paper, the note said the family remembers and misses us, and would like to reconnect. They left their phone number and request to re-unite contact.

I called and was blessed to hear how the family is doing. Mom was very proud of her daughter, who is attending school and is one of the top readers in her first grade class. The family is closely connected and feels very fondly about the school. Mom said her daughter thinks about us and would like to visit us soon.

We were absolutely thrilled to hear that this family has kept us in their hearts, even as we were apart for over a year. We invited them to come to the next community meal and will be connected regarding upcoming children's events.

It is just amazing seeing how God reunites people according to His will. No doubt that God has a reason for them contacting us - so far its been a clear blessing and encouragement to us, but I have a feeling there is more to it than just that. Please pray that God will continue leading this relationship in His purposeful direction."

Friday, March 05, 2010

Congressman Ron Paul Return $100K To Treasury

Because he runs his office frugally to provide the greatest possible service to taxpayers in his district. $100K is an increase this year, over the $90K he returned to the treasury last year. (

Do you need anymore reason to start taking this guy seriously?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

New Media Potential of the iPad

This is not a fanboy rant. I'm a dreamer, and in my dreams I see a new form of media. This has less to do with the iPad as an Apple product, and more to do with the potential of the iPad (and similar devices) to pull back the curtain between those dreams and reality.

The dust has settled from the event. I have have engaged in a lot of discussion about the iPad; a mixed response of critiques, praise, confusion, excitement, and disappointment.

I'll be honest. I'm not here to defend the name (but you can't deny the priceless marketing value due to it's close association with the omnipresent iPod in the consumers mind), or make excuses for the lack of a camera, multitasking, or flash. There are a handful of very pragmatic articles in favor of the iPad (at Cnet and TUAW to name a couple), so I won't dabble in those ponds. This article is more visionary and philosophical in nature.

My argument hinges on the future potential of new media functions through the introduction of a new media form.

As with all new technology forms that are introduced, initially we wrestle with how to deal with it. It is tempting to simply translate the functions of current technology to a new form. We can witness this exploration process at work in history. The printing press, the photograph, the radio, the motion picture - each of these introduce new media forms introduces new functions that interact with and shape us, our society, and our culture.

With each new function introduced by a new media form, we grapple with what to make of it.

Following the invention of the printing press there has been an explosion in the use of the written word as a medium. Until the 20th century, this media was unchallenged in it's supremacy to communicate a message. With the invention of the photograph (in its static and motion state) in the 19th century the grappling process began. As technology advanced, the image exploded onto the scene in the 20th century, laying claim to the media throne. This has profoundly shaped our society and our understanding of the world.

Think Kindle.

The written word has largely remained prominent alongside, largely independent of the image. Authors have been limited by the form of words on a page to communicate their message. The Kindle merely translated this age old function into an electronic form. That's fine. But what if we can do more. What if we can...

Think different.

What if a new form of medium can be wielded, destroying old paradigms. What if a creator does not have to be largely divided by the lines of audio, imagery, and words - divided by the titles of musician, photographer, and author? And even further, what if the creator can reach out and interactively engage the audience in ways never imagined? What if the walls which separate the tools of different medias can be torn down?

The works produced by such a creator will exist outside of our current comprehension.

The iPad introduces an effective way to explore completely new functions for media. An author can publish a work with no thought to how much color or pictures are used, integrating video into his work, creating a immersive soundtrack that seamlessly loops and transitions with each turn of the page. But is the person who creates such a work still an author?

The iPad is initially significant to authors, artists, producers, publishers, animators, musicians, designers, and creators; not to the consumer. This explains the discrepancy between the unenthusiastic response of the consumer and the CEO of Disney referring to the iPad as a "game changer".

My prediction: In a year the consumer will be blown away with the content they are being offered on the iPad... if we can dream big enough.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Valve teases Mac w/ Steam (and Games)

Head over to MacRumors for the other 6 teaser images. Great news for Mac users with increasing development for the platform!

A nice nod to Apple's historic commercial:

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Brand Association Quiz

How strongly do you associate color and imagery with the worlds biggest brands?

This is pretty telling of how deeply advertising impacts our psyche.

The Brand Quiz

I got 14 out of 21.

Once you have taken the quiz you can come back to my blog and highlight the following text to see the answers. Don't cheat. I think you will be surprised how many times your brain comes up with the answer after you think you will never figure it out.

1. Amazon
2. Ikea
3. PayPal
4. Shell
5. Starbucks
6. Harley Davidson
7. Cadbury
8. Nokia
9. Nintendo
10. Caterpillar
11. Coca Cola
12. Hertz
13. Blockbuster
14. FedEx
15. Gap
16. McDonalds
17. BP
18. Virgin
19. Yahoo
20. Visa

21. Olympics

As see on Brand New