With the continuing onslaught of applications to communicate in short(er) message format from person to person or person to group there is an interesting battle for share of the market.  So let’s take a quick look at some of them that I happen to have installed on my device.

 Since I used an iOS device, the starting place for me is with Messages.  Messages is the base for cellular text messages and iMessages.  These messages can be sent between any cellular devices if sent as a text message and between iOS devices then it can be sent as an iMessage.  These can be person to person or group messages.  The iMessages can be used off from a cellular network and over wifi instead.  The limitation is that iMessages are for Apple devices only.

So from there the numerous apps opens wide up.  The ones that I have installed are Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Jabber, Skype, Kik, VZ Messages, Privatext, Cyber Dust.

In short each of them allow for person to person or group messages.  All of these would work on cellular data network or on wifi only.  The wifi usage is helpful for those that are wishing to message from non-phone based devices and only have wifi cabailities.  Privatext and Cyber Dust offer the features of the companies backing it claiming that they don’t store any of the data and that the messages have a limited lifespan… for those that use messaging for less than above board things.

For myself, I still default directly to txt/iMessages/FaceTime.  That connects me with 90% of all of the people that I happened to interact with.  There is a small percentage of people that I connected with on Facebook and then fall to FB Messenger.  The others are really only installed for testing and are rarely used.

Cyber Dust is a new app that has Mark Cuban’s backing.

In a world in which reputations are increasingly built and brought down on the web, the potential for Cyber Dust to help protect anyone with an online presence is, therefore, limitless. - Mark Cuban

I agree with Mark on this, I know personally that my communication with folk does not contain information that would have this adverse side effect.

In the end, there is a large number of “messaging” applications out there and the only ones in my mind that have the user share are txt/iMessage, and FB Messenger (WhatsApp by association).

Entry one of a series of posts on apps that I must have on different platforms.  The first installment will be the apps that I have to have/use on iOS.

I have been reviewing my home office and work office setups and trying to come up with what a nice workstation setup would look like.  As I move between home and work the setups differ but if I could create this setup at home I would work from home a lot more often.  Here is what I am thinking.

Desk: I currently have a very nice desk at home but don’t have a viable office chair there.  If I were going to change it all up anyways I might lean towards the UpDesk.

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Compute: If this would be purely a home setup then I lean towards the Apple side of the world, and we are really getting close with the tools that I use to being completely platform agnostic.  So going that way, I would put in place a 13” MacBook Air.

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To maximize the work space area, I am a fan of using the Elevator by Griffin Technology.  I have been using one of these for several years now, it is great for keeping the work surface open and raising up the laptop screen for better viewing.

Screen: We have a base of computing now but we need to move onto serious screen real estate.  With the amount of task being done concurrently or just the need to monitor and leave open and view able applications I like multiple monitors.  For this I would select the use of a VERSA mount like this option from Ergotron.  Mounted on there would be dual 27” monitors.In order to drive the displays the MacBook would need to be hooked up to something like this Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

Peripherals:  In order to drive the displays the MacBook would need to be hooked up to something like this Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

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 In order to achieve flexibility with for input and helping to reduce the number of keyboards on the work surface, I would place a Kanex Multi-Sync Bluetooth Keyboard. This would enable the keyboard to be used for several different devices.

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In keeping with not wanting to clutter up the work surface, I would have to choose a wireless mouse as well, something along the lines of the Arc.

All in all that would be a sweet office setup.  The flexibility of using the peripherals with various systems also make changing out the computing piece simpler.  Now to just start down the road of building out the work space…

More to come in the next post on the geek toolkit of apps and devices.

Words can speak to you to tear you down, pull you under and try to destroy you… but who is speaking these words to you?  In the case of many along with myself it can be our own mind. 

It can be the whisper inside you of regret that won’t let you forget. It can be the deamonous words of defeat that try to pull you right back down again just when you think you can win. 

These are the whispers and lies that we tell ourselves and to often listen. 

But there is freedom. There is One that makes all things new and has call you His own. You are a child of the One True King. 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 NIV)

These words are an interpretation on listening to the song by Matthew West, “Hello, My Name Is”.  I am thankful for the inspiring words that this talented song writer speaks to my heart everythme I listen. One of the greatest joys is sharing this song with my three little girls, letting them know the meaning of the song and then hearing them sing out loud in worship to our Great God.

Copy of a post that my lovely wife posted on our family site:

It is absolutely amazing to think about the significance of the month of March for us over the past few years. In March 2010, God spoke clearly to us while we were on vacation that we were to embark on the journey of adoption. One year later almost to the day, we were meeting Julia for the first time. And now, here we are one year later – celebrating our Forever Family. In between, it has been a series of highs, lows, and frankly, the darkest moments of my life. Let’s break it down…

Opening our hearts to a precious child born physically outside our family – EASY. Flying halfway around the world, adjusting to the 12-hour time difference, and spending 2.5 weeks away from our other children – NOT HORRIBLE. Loving a little girl as she howls over the loss of everything she has ever known?…Teaching her the rules of the home while still giving her the extra care she needs to work through her grief?…Living nearly an entire year of your life in a sleep-deprived state, waking up every one to two hours and hoping that prolonged screaming won’t be involved?…well, you get the idea. Adoption is HARD.

But then, somewhere along the way the days become marked by more joy than sorrow. The grieving becomes an occasional occurrence rather than a daily event. Crawling gives way to first steps, followed by running. First smiles turn to tentative giggles, which evolve into quick smiles and belly laughs. And stress and tension give way to familiarity and love. But I think pictures speak louder than words…to me this picture of Julia is a perfect, adorable representation of how far she has come in the past year.

(Special thanks to Warner Photography for capturing the moment and allowing us to share it here!)

I could spend paragraphs telling you all the milestones that Julia has achieved already – and maybe I will at some point. But for now, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you for your support over the last year while we adjusted to our new family. Thank you to Julia’s birth parents for bringing her into the world. And thank you to Our Heavenly Father, who led us to Julia and shows us all the ultimate model of adoption through His love for us.

And to our precious Julia – sweetheart, it has been a very long year in so many ways yet I also can’t believe it has already been a year since you were placed in our arms. I am constantly amazed by your resilience, amused by your antics, and in awe of the progress we have all made together in the past year. We love you forever.

(Originally posted on March 7, 2012)

So I am not going to get into the over use of the term “cloud” in the computing world today but I would like to look at an idea that has been rolling around in my head for the last few days.  With the launch of Google Drive there is yet another major player in the online storage space.  There are a large number of them and The Verge did a nice comparison over here.  That is all well and good and there  are several place online to get free “cloud” storage.  Users can now select the one that they desire to use.  Once you have hit the limit of the free space for a provider what do you do then?  You can select to pay for their services and increase the storage space or select an additional service and go down the same path… but what if there was another solution.  So the idea rolling around in my head would be “cloud storage” aggregation.  The idea is to have one service running on your device (computer/mobile device/…) that you authenticate with several cloud storage providers.  The aggregator then takes care of synchronizing your files up to one or more of your cloud storage provider spread the load and storage.   Based on some rough calculations there is 50+ GB of free online cloud storage.

Today in worship I was singing along the lyrics and right after I joyfull sang the following I was struck and had to stop.

Lord use us (me) as You want, whatever the test

I was struck by the power and responsibility to that statement. As I was standing their silently reflecting on this I was convicted that I dont believe that I could sing that wih full truth. I have said yes to the Lord in many places and callings not knowing what would come of it… spreading the Gospel, world travel, unemployment, sleepless nights…

But am I ready to stand before the creator of the universe, my Savior, my God, my redemption, my Lord, my all and say; use me as You want, no matter the test!?!

Here is far more than I could capture already written about disk alignment for both physical and virtual machines so I will not attempt to recount the reason, theories and proofs for having aligned drives. So you know that you need to have your drives aligned but you have 2000+ virtual machines and you find that your drive alignment is off… now what? You (and your team) continue to search for a solution that is the most effective use of technology to help bring the world into alignment. Enter finally one simple amazing tool from Nicholas Weaver, UBERalign.

UBERalign allows for fast and if setup to concurrent VM drive alignment correction. There are some caveats that are pointed that need to be taken into account so before testing please read the details through. Test it out and then get on UBERaligning your virtual world away.

As some of you as friends and family know, our youngest daughter is currently in a stage where she does not sleep well at night. This is a heavy weight on my wife and myself as we help comfort her for what seems like endless hours night after night. This morning in worship this song was spoken from God’s heart to mine as I sat there in tears trying to listen. So I sat there thinking: What if my healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights? What if those are what it takes to know God is near? What if trials of this life are God’s mercies in disguise? What am I really praying for? What are you really praying for? The song is titled: Blessings, by Laura Story.

We pray for blessings We pray for peace Comfort for family, protection while we sleep We pray for healing, for prosperity We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering All the while, You hear each spoken need Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things
'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops What if Your healing comes through tears What if a thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
We pray for wisdom Your voice to hear And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love As if every promise from Your Word is not enough All the while, You hear each desperate plea And long that we’d have faith to believe
'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops What if Your healing comes through tears What if a thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
When friends betray us When darkness seems to win We know that pain reminds this heart That this is not, this is not our home It’s not our home
'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops What if Your healing comes through tears And what if a thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near What if my greatest disappointments Or the aching of this life Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy And what if trials of this life The rain, the storms, the hardest nights Are Your mercies in disguise

To add to the ongoing online recipe collection I bring to you Buffalo Chicken Dip. This recipe originally came to us from our friends the Hansen’s.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 4 bonless chicken breast
  • 12 oz hot sauce
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 16 oz blue cheese dressing
  • 8 oz monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup celery

Season and bake the chicken in a shallow backing at 350 degrees for 1 hour. I generally bake the chicken in advance a day or two. After the chicken i cool, shred the chicken and layer into a 9x13 pan. Cover with the hot sauce. Melt together the cream cheese and blue cheese dressing in a pot or a double boiler. Pour the melted cheese mixture over the chicken and hot sauce. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and bake for 30 - 40 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and top with chopped celery. I serve it with corn tortilla chip scoops.