North Western Winds

Contemplating it all from the great Pacific Northwest

iPhone 4

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I saw Steve Jobs’ demo of the iPhone 4 today and must admit I find this to be an interesting product, much more so than the 3Gs of last year. If memory serves, the 3Gs added speed (always welcome) and video recording. iPhone 4 adds a lot more – and it looks better too. Jobs referred to its’ style as reminiscent of a Leica camera, and that’s no lie. Leica products look fantastic and this new phone looks like it belongs at the same table.

I purchased a iPhone 3G two years ago. It was the first iPhone available in Canada and I have no regrets about that. It’s been a great product – a boon in many, many ways. I do regret that my Roger’s contract has another year to go before it expires and I can upgrade to a phone like this this without penalty.

Since my wife and I are both iPhone users, the Face Time video calling feature looks promising, even if it is limited to WiFi. I also have some hope that the new camera will be more useful than the toy that shipped with my 3G. Finally, I would love to have a look at that new display. In my experience Apple’s displays are phenomenal and this one looks like it will raise the bar.

The only disappointment I can see is that storage is limited to 32 GB. Anything would be an improvement over the 16 GB I’ve been stuck with, but 64 would have been a real hoot. I wonder if Apple stayed with the 16 for space and / or cost saving on the device or if they have some kind of cloud storage in the works.

My hope is that by next year, we’ll know the answer to that, and I can buy accordingly!

Written by Curt

June 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Cell phones, Tech

A few tweaks

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I’ve replaced the Twitter feed here with an RSS feed from something new that I’m toying with – a Tumblr Blog. I’ve also cleaned up the sidebar a bit. It’s all about making things cleaner and simpler. I find the simplicity of the Tumble blog refreshing but am still trying to grok the interaction – or, the lack thereof.

Written by Curt

February 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm

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The whole thing

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It’s hard to sure it’s worked 100%, but I think I managed to get all of NWW on this WordPress blog. Boy, logging to the old Blogger site was an eye opener. It has barely changed since I moved, what, two years ago?

I Love WordPress! It’s only become better in that time and is constantly improving.

Written by Curt

June 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Blogging

Site Update

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I’ve begun the process of updating the site, especially the sidebar. I’ve added a Twitter feed and updated the Author page. NWW is beginning to look less like an artifact.

Written by Curt

June 14, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Blogging, Uncategorized

Blogo

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I wrote that last post in a blog editor called Blogo. It’s a pretty darn nice looking bit of software I first became aware of right about the time I took my lengthy hiatus. I didn’t pick it up then, but I did wish it had been available when I switched to Mac computers about two years plus ago. Recently, seeing that it was on sale and seeing that I was  thinking about writing for the first time in a long time, I grabbed a copy. This would streamline and help things along for sure!

Well… I barely got that first post up.  There was a nasty bug between Blogo and WordPress that caused Blogo to crash hard. No amount of restarting the program or re-booting the Mac helped. Thankfully, the folks at Brain Juice (great name, that!) were quick to reply to my e-mail. I sent along some crash logs and waited. It took some time but today they advised me of a new beta that is supposed to resolve the issue with WordPress.

So far it looks like it works. I have not been able to replicate the previous crash. Hat Tip to Brain Juice for being responsive and for making a blog editor with a great feature set and interface.


Written by Curt

June 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Posted in Blogging, Uncategorized

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This still on?

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I never imagined when I wrote the previous post about Obama’s candidacy that it would be over a year before I hit the publish button again. It’s been more like a year and a half since I was posting regularly. What can I say about that? I was seriously burnt out from blogging, and blogging about the topics that had come to drive North Western Winds: Darwin, Abortion, religion and Catholicism, as well as Harper’s Conservative Party of Canada.

Removing those bows from my quiver left me with little ready at hand to write about, and the whole blogging thing had become, in my mind, burdensome. I found myself turning to a different longstanding interest of mine – technology. I got some new toys and started reading some very different sorts of sites.

In April of last year (2008) my family was involved in a serious car crash. It occurred, of all places, early on a Sunday morning on the way to Mass. Our SUV was written off by the insurance company, I had three cracked ribs and missed weeks of work, Rebecca has shoulder pain to this day, and my mother in law was in hospital for weeks with minor fractures and a concussion.

That event had a deep impact on life in our house this past year. We’ve had a lot to deal with and it isn’t over yet. I’m doing well and have been back at work for some time now. Rebecca has changed occupations and is working on getting that shoulder right. My mother in law has had the longest journey back but she is turning a corner.

On Christmas eve this year (2008) I fell ill – literally! – after supper and was down and out for a week, and weak for a time after that. It was some sort of stomach flu that made me feel like my insides were melting away. It was hard to eat and I spent days tossing and turning on the bed, wishing it would stop.

Those events put a dent my church going, which was becoming dangerously monotonous even before then. I’m still Catholic and I still attend, but my tolerance for religious ‘enthusiasm’ is even lower than it was previously. My religiosity remains literary  and philosophical but I have a gained heightened awareness of my own differences from the Church Cheerleaders. My attitudes towards Darwin and abortion have not changed though. They preceded my churchgoing, so perhaps that’s no surprise.

I find myself having a falling out with the Conservative Party of Canada. Whether it is the relentless pursuit of free market liberalization or harsher penalties for everything, Harper’s Conservatives are too ideologically driven. A proper Tory party has the good of the Canadian people as its goal, and uses every tool it has to that effect. Harper’s team, on the other hand, wants everything it does to cohere with certain ideas that strike me as cheap, simple, and reductionist. I voted Green in the last election and I would do so again.

In an interesting way, it is my interest in technology that has brought me to writing this post. Rebecca and I have been trying out Twitter for a couple of months now. She – no surprise really – has been quite taken with it and has a lot of followers. Introverted egghead that I am, I have been less interested in posting than I am in seeing what people do with the service. Rebecca is threatening to start a new blog (yes, again) for those times when “140 characters just isn’t enough.” Seeing her work on that project reminded me that I have a project here, one that I might be able to remake in a way that makes writing and interacting fun once again.

I make no promises about what might or might not be posted here. My most recent interest, one that has gobbled up oodles of my time, has been working with a virtual Linux machine on my iMac. I don’t have much to say about Obama other than I still don’t like him.

Let’s see where this goes, yes?


Written by Curt

May 5, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Obama on the Mount

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It’s been a long time, but I simply can’t let this pass by me without a rejoinder:

(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told a crowd at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sunday that he believes the Sermon on the Mount justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions. He also told the crowd that his position in favor of legalized abortion does not make him “less Christian.””I don’t think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state,” said Obama. “If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.” ((Hear audio from WTAP-TV)) St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans condemns homosexual acts as unnatural and sinful.

I sincerely hope our American friends will soundly reject Obama as a presidential candidate in favour of a far more mature and steady John McCain. There is much about Obama that makes me more than a little queasy.For starters, that ‘obscure’ quote from St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans is older than any of the gospels. I just happen to be reading Garry Wills’ book, What Paul Meant at the moment. Wills is a liberal Catholic. He might, for all I know, agree with Obama’s positions.This quote from the introduction shows that he would argue for such a position along very different lines. It also makes Obama look silly:

Many people would just as soon avoid Paul’s psychodrama and go “back” to the Gospels, which do not argue about understanding Jesus but just present him. Taking the shortcut was the obvious thing to do in the Middle Ages, when it was thought that the Gospels were written by the original followers of Jesus, who were eyewitnesses to what they set down. This lead to the view that there was a primitive church, true to Jesus’ simple teachings, which was later contaminated by Paul’s doubts and theories and wrangling (this is Jefferson’s thesis). But scholarly enquiry has destroyed the idea that the Gospels have a simple biographical basis. They are sophisticated theological constructs, none written by their putative authors, all drawing on second – or third – or fourth hand accounts – and all written from a quarter of a century to half a century after Paul’s letters. If we want to see what the original Jesus communities looked like, the first and best witness is Paul, the earliest writer of what would become the New Testament. In fact, his authentic letters [of which Romans is one – ed.] are the only parts of the of which we can say we know who wrote them. The Gospels, coming later, try to make sense of a history that already contained the conflicts that Paul reveals to us. Those who believe in a providential revelation through the New Testament must deal with the fact that Providence preserved the first batch of inspired writing with the signature of Paul. His letters were written roughly two decades after the death of Jesus. Other new Testament letters attributed to Paul or other authors (Peter, Paul, or John) are written two to five decades after his, and imitate the form of his.

Written by Curt

March 4, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Maintenance

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This is a maintenance post that can be safely ignored. Moving some accounts has meant that some images that I was hosting elsewhere are no longer appearing in the site, as the links have broken. I’m attempting to restore the links and have the images hosted here.

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Written by Curt

December 8, 2007 at 7:10 pm

Posted in Blogging

Harper’s capital mistake

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This is the dumbest thing the Tories have done since winning their current minority government.

It is simply wrong to rely on courts to achieve a high enough standard of justice to warrant the taking of a human life.

It is logically inconsistent to hold that our courts should not have the right to apply the death penalty, but others do. Canadians will rightly draw the conclusion that what’s coming next is a death penalty debate in Canada. I don’t think Canadians will want any part of this idea, and they will thrash a party that tries to foist it on them.  The recent Ontario election seems a likely model.

What’s more, this abrupt course change can be used by the opposition parties as ammunition against the Tories’ omnibus crime bill, a bill the Tories have been daring the opposition to bring down the government over. That’s been a good tactic, one that I don’t expect the opposition to take. With this action, however, that bill can now be cast in a new light. And it does not flatter the Tories.

If anything has been missing from this government, keeping it from being able to seek an election with some degree of confidence that it will gain seats – and possibly even a majority in the house – it has been a lack of statesmanship. It’s not that statesmanship has been entirely lacking, but magnanimity and generosity have not been on display in quantities large enough to sway a leery voter.

I can’t see the upside of this in any way. 

Written by Curt

November 2, 2007 at 6:59 pm

The future of text

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The New Yorker still does great prose:

The Google Library Project has so far received mixed reviews. Google shows the reader a scanned version of the page; it is generally accurate and readable. But Google also uses optical character recognition to produce a second version, for its search engine to use, and this double process has some quirks. In a scriptorium lit by the sun, a scribe could mistakenly transcribe a “u” as an “n,” or vice versa. Curiously, the computer makes the same mistake. If you enter qualitas—an important term in medieval philosophy—into Google Book Search, you’ll find almost two thousand appearances. But if you enter “qnalitas” you’ll be rewarded with more than five hundred references that you wouldn’t necessarily have found. Sometimes the scanner operators miss pages, or scan them out of order. Sometimes the copy is not in good condition. The cataloguing data that identify an item are often incomplete or confusing. And the key terms that Google provides in order to characterize individual books are sometimes unintentionally comic. It’s not all that helpful, when you’re thinking about how to use an 1878 Baedeker guide to Paris, to be told that one of its keywords is “fauteuils.”

Taken from a story about the future of text by Anthony Grafton. 

Written by Curt

November 2, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Tech, Uncategorized, Writing