My kind of church lady

“Tamara laments the rise of a utilitarian mentality in the church – in which business models are imposed and buildings are regarded merely as assets. One could add that this same mentality has led to the mediocrity and at times downright brutality of modern church architecture. The church is seen as no more than an auditorium and not only the clergy, but the people too have lost any sense of the need to construct a temple and are intent on building a preaching hall.” — Closing Churches Closes Faith, by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I’m not sure a church should be exclusively a temple, or exclusively a preaching hall. If it must be one or the other, I’d rather go worship God in a temple. I can watch a sermon on tv, or read a book. I can sit and talk with friends at a restaurant. I can watch goofy Youtube videos, or listen to someone sing along to recorded music about anywhere; certainly in more places than I want to.

Windows 8.1

Initial impressions

For a while Alt-F4 was getting a real workout; I couldn’t find any other way to quit some programs. One of the updates seems to have fixed this, and most everything again has an X at the top right. There’s no Start menu, but I never used it much. The menu that comes up from WindowsKey-X is good enough. Most of the keyboard shortcuts still work. WindowsKey toggles back and forth between the desktop and that useless Start screen. Speaking of useless, Bing weather is that.

Powershell is good.

The computer is a generic Dell, bought off the shelf. So far I haven’t been able to get it to boot from anything but the hard drive, even though other options are there. They really don’t want you booting anything but Windows. It looks like it can be done if I turn off SecureBoot, but there are dire warnings. I want to read a bit more. Windows 8 Hacks by Preston Gralla has been helpful, though nothing there about SecureBoot; not that there needs to be, since that isn’t unique to Windows 8.

The whole environment does feel very intrusive and pushy. Give us your phone number; buy this; link that with your email account; is that your cellphone I’m detecting? You’ll want to link that to your email, right?

They’ve managed to screw up solitaire, which is now an over-animated mess that wants me to buy an X-box and subscribe to something.

But overall, it’s mostly harmless. Read a less favorable impression here. I understand if you pay more you can have Windows 7.

UPDATE: An update added window controls to “apps” like solitaire, mail, and the Kindle reader so they can be closed with the mouse by clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the window. But it turns out that clicking the X makes it disappear, but it’s still running according to the task manager. Alt-f4 does kill it. I don’t care for this. The computer belongs to me, not to Microsoft, or some consortium of corporate partners. If close a program, I want it to stop running, not to go hide behind a curtain. So, back to Alt-f4.

Robots

“Much of the current thinking about the future of automation adopts the viewpoint of the robot. It overstates the importance of the things computers are good at (things that tend to be easily measured) and understates the importance of the things that people are good at (things that often are not easily measured). The flaw in that view manifests itself only over the long run…”

Pale Moon web browser

I’ve installed Pale Moon in place of Firefox, hoping Pale Moon doesn’t impose any political or religious litmus tests. It looks good, and all the extensions work so far.

It must be that what the left really hated about the anti-communist witch-hunts of the 1950s was not that they were witch-hunts, but that they were anti-communist. You can tell because today the Gay Rights Nazis for Tolerance are happy to black-list anyone who disagrees with them, or even anyone who doesn’t cheer with enough enthusiasm.

“In response to Eich’s move, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that, ‘Mozilla’s strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where Corporate America is: inclusive, safe and welcoming to all.'”

Well, Mozilla is not quite safe and welcoming to “all,” is it?

Use super glue to hold a screw on a screw-driver

I needed to mount a shower valve to a stud with a couple of wood screws. To avoid tearing out more of the wall, this needed to be done through an existing hole in the finished wall. So as a result, I wanted to put a good-sized screw on the end of the driver, and then carefully insert it through a hole in the wall, then through the mounting hole on the valve, and so into the stud. There are screw-drivers that have a clip on the end to hold the screw, but I don’t have one. I do have a magnetic screw-driver, but the screw was too heavy for the magnet.

I put a drop of super glue on the screw head, put the driver in the slot, and let it set up for a minute, then slid it through the wall into the hole, and screwed it down. Wiggling the screw-driver easily broke it loose from the screw, and I did the whole thing again to run in the second screw. It’s an obvious trick that’s no doubt occurred to lots of people, but maybe it will save someone a little trouble.

Tin-foil tent

The president has one. Should you?

“When Cabinet secretaries and top national security officials take up their new jobs, the government retrofits their homes with special secure rooms for top-secret conversations and computer use.

Following a several-hundred-page classified manual, the rooms are lined with foil and soundproofed. An interior location, preferably with no windows, is recommended.” — Barack Obama’s portable secrecy tent (some assembly required), seen here.

So it’s true! It’s all true!

Or is it? Why are they letting the tin-foil truth come out now, just when we’re finding out about the Nazi art hoard? Or is it “hoards,” eh Mister Mugabe?

They won’t fool me that easily. I refuse to be panicked into taking measures the state’s attorney can then point to as evidence of clinical paranoia.

Sleep and death

a forced connection between unrelated links

Apparently researchers have noticed that “convective fluxes of interstitial fluid increased the rate of β-amyloid clearance during sleep.” Yet again, scientists trumpet their rediscovery of a simple truth our grandparents took for granted.

Score one for the Benedictine Monks. The US Supreme Court says the State of Louisiana cannot require someone to have an embalmer’s license to sell a coffin. It is striking how hard the State fought to sustain the monopoly of the funeral directors.