Category Archives: Uncategorized

Three Things I’d Like From Apple This Year

My Apple wish list is really not very long. Just a very few things I believe Apple could accomplish very easily that would make my life, and that of a great many others, much easier and cause us to snuggle even more tightly into the warm, accepting embrace of the closed garden. And here they are without further ado.

First, give us the choice to work natively with Microsoft Office formats in iWork applications like Libre Office does. It’s just fine that I can import and export MS Office Formats to Numbers and Pages, but that little bit of friction is enough that I don’t bother to use the applications at all. Why? Because almost zero people in the business world even know what Numbers and Pages are much less what formats they use. If I am going to share a document with anybody it needs to be an xlsx or docx file. And if I need to share that document I need to do it now, not after exporting, figuring out where the file is and sending it along its way. And if an associate wants me to edit a file, I don’t need to import the file, work on it, export it and send it back as many times as are required.

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Transition Complete

With the rollout of folder sharing in iOS 13.4 and MacOS 10.15.4, my quest to be all into on Apple cloud file system using iCloud Drive and Notes is complete and seems to be working quite wellThings got off to a rock start when folder sharing got pulled from iOS 13 just prior to launch last year, and continued to spiral down with the initial quite buggy (in my experience) release of Notes folder sharing.

Something must have changed on the backend though because where before new notes might not appear in a shared folder for hours or days, today they are syncing immediately. Ditto for files shared with iCloud drive.

I have bid a fond farewell to Evernote and Dropbox. I would do the same for Last Pass if keychain would let me group my passwords in folders and share them with my family. And I would ditch Office 365 if iWork would support Excel and Word formats transparently and allow them to be default formats for creating new documents. The iWork formats would be fine if I worked in a vacuum or if more than .0001% of spreadsheet and word processor users used iWorks formats. Alas this is not the case.

Changes like that to iWorks are never likely to happen, but I have some hope apple will give us a better shared way to manage our photos.

Follow Up to Using iPad as Primary Computer/Apple as a Service Company

Since early September I have been using my 12.9” iPad Pro Gen 3 as my primary computing device and I must say it is handling the task with very few complaints.

Furthermore, my complaints are mostly about how iCloud works rather than how the device works. All of them center around services that Apple offers that, if they worked better, would make a huge difference in usability on the iPad.

My first annoyance is with Apple Notes. It syncs across devices and across accounts with shared folders. But it does so with glacial speed. If I scan a pdf of a document and add it as a note it will take as much as a day to propagate across all of the devices and users it is shared with. I have noticed it comes in two stages.

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Dropping Dropbox

I have been planning on dropping Dropbox when shared folders are available on iCloud. My primary reason was to save money and improve my security by staying in the Apple Walled Garden. Dropbox’s recent announcement of major changes in the way they think about what their service is have made me think a move is even more warranted.

In its new iteration it’s a centralized collaboration point for all of the things people work on together. The new Dropbox not only lets you sync and share your files, the folks at Dropbox now insist that it’s:

…a single workspace to organize your content, connect your tools, and bring everyone together, wherever you are. The first thing you’ll notice is an all-new Dropbox desktop app that we’re introducing today through our early access program. It’s more than an app, though — it’s a completely new experience.


I must fully concur with John Gruber at Daring Fireball who writes simply, “I didn’t want any of this.”

That seems to be the upshot of the commentary on the new Dropbox. Nobody was looking for another way, outside the operating system they are running, to integrate the cloud services they use. Especially one that comes in an electron app that eats memory. They wanted a lightweight, cross platform way to sync and share files.

Has Dropbox jumped the shark? Time will tell, but this makes me feel like jumping off the Dropbox platform is the correct decision.

Ruth and the Woman at the Well

You have no doubt heard the old joke about what happens when you play a country song backwards.  You get your wife, your dog and your truck back,  Grandma is alive and well,  and you get released from jail. In short, all of the myriad hurts and harms of life that form the basis for all good country songs are cured.

When I think about it, that’s a lot like the redemption of Ruth.  Boaz made good on her lack of everything she needed in this world, family, a home, status, food, and  a future for her family to come.  And sometimes I think that’s what we are really looking for when we come to God, we just want Him to play the song backwards because we are in places we don’t want to be.

But, as always, Jesus has other, grander goals for us.

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Life in the Spirit

Last week, in our study of Ruth, we noted that the Book of Ruth is traditionally read during the Jewish Festival of Shavuot, also know as the Feast of Weeks or in Greek as Pentecost.  This was the harvest festival in ancient Israel and, more importantly, the celebration of the giving of the Law of Moses.  It is called the Festival of Weeks because the Jews count the seven weeks starting with the second day after Passover, 49 days.  This is called the counting of the Omer.

An Omer was a volumetric measure of grain equal to about 2.4 quarts or 3.74 pounds of barley.  Each day of the counting, an Omer of barley was offered as a sacrifice in the temple until Shavuot when an offering of wheat was made.  Counting the Omer is to show how the coming of the law is anticipated and how the people desire it to be make it real in their lives.

It is interesting to note that Shavuot is commanded in Leviticus 23:15-21 and immediately after that in verse 22 is the command that they were not to reap to the edges of their fields, the very command that provided food for Ruth and Naomi.

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Ruth and Redemption

Many of us are old enough to remember Green Stamps.   I remember going to the grocery store with your Mom.  They had those big machines at the cash register (no scanner, a mechanical cash register that made lots of interesting noises) with dials on the front.  After the sale was rung up, the cashier consulted the reciept and dialed out the appropriate amount of S & H Green Stamps.

Green Stamp glue smelled different, I can still remember and recognize it.  Dad was in charge of the stamps after they came home.  He’d organize them, mositen them with a sponge and paste them in Green Stamp Books.  Statcks and stacks of Green Stamp books, or so it appeared to me.

When there were enough we’d take the books to a, wait for it, Redemption Center.  (As an aside, how is it that Churches are not called Redemption Centers?) At the Redemption Center Mom would pick out a crock pot or an iron (really it was never anything fun) and we’d turn the stacks of Green Stamp books in and depart with Mom’s minor appliance.

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This is one of those topics about which, when all is said and done, much more is said than done by most believers.  I don’t know about you, but having been a Baptist my entire life I have been exposed to more evangilism/witnessing training/equiping thingies (its a techincal term) than I care to count with little to show for the effort.

With that disclaimer I thought I’d try a fresh look (for me at least) at the topic, see what I could find that was off the beaten path that may prove inspirational.  As it turns out there is not much off the beaten path regarding witnessing and this discussion is going so sound like the discussions we had on:

  • Reading Scripture — Do it as part of a two way conversation with God with whom we wish to be in relationship.
  • Fasting— If you fast do it with an eye to receiving our reward from God and from the overflow of a heart committed to God, because we know Him relationally.
  • Purity — Per Calvin Wittman “…the pure in heart have had their eyes opened, they can walk in the light as He is in the light and have fellowship with God and one another.”

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The First Rule of Fast Club…

…is nobody talks about Fast Club.

Or at least so it seems.  You don’t hear many people, especially in Baptist Churches talking about fasting.  You hear about fasting rather more from our Catholic friends.  That’s the whole purpose of Lent is it not?  You give up something you like as a sacrifice or to concentrate more on your walk with God.  Or you do it as a means to propitiate God, to placate Him, to get Him to notice you or to show Him how worthy you are.  Or perhaps it is to punish ourselves, to somehow atone for our own sins.  Or maybe it has magical properties as a ritual, like reciting the Payer of Jabez over and over (to cite a more or less recent example of mummery that keeps showing up among Christians).

How about you, have you thought about fasting? Have you fasted?  I have to admit that I have never even considered the possibility.  I suppose the closest I have ever come to fasting is my traditional abandonment of rutabagas for Lent.  I have given them up for as long as I can remember, starting as a teenager, and I have never, ever, cheated.  It is not often that I flirt with perfection so I must cherish what little I can find in my life.

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It’s All in How You Read It

You’ve heard it said before that meaning is all in how the text is read.  The law is often like that  One reading may convince someone the law means one thing and another something else entirely.  It takes courts to sort the various possible readings out and even then the meaning is bound up in the way the Judge thought the law should be read.

I think everyone who goes to church routinely, as a matter of conviction about the existence of the God of the Bible believes that the Bible has something important to say.  I wouldn’t think that any of them think it’s a bad idea to read the Bible.  But how it’s read is the important thing.

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