Friday, January 28, 2005

A Personal Productivity Toolkit

I've been wanting to increase my work productivity time recently. While wasting time today, I came across this article, and immediately got back to work.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

January 25, 2005

Quite a bit has happend since my last post. Most noteably, I've been to Toronto to meet my new work coleagues and Gracie celebrated her 4th birthday.

Gracie's party was quite fun. She invited 16 of her closest friends -- it was a hectic gathering to say the least. 16 four and five year-old's in the same room for an hour and a half proves quite tiring. I have to admit... I had a lot of fun though.

Gracie is becoming such a little girl. She is maturing, and quite fun to be around. I took her ice skating the other night -- she had so much fun! Lately she's discovered how to lock and unlock the bedroom/bathroom doors. Every door in the house is locked.

I've been very disturbed with the images I've seen in the news and conjured in my mind of all the loss and personal suffering undergone by the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami. I've come near to tears on a couple of occasions when I think of all the four year old girls who are now withought parents. I find myself hugging Gracie and telling her how much I love her many times a day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Shane Lethaby and Scott Wolff.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Microsoft Clear Type Tuner

I came across this handy ClearType tuner from Microsoft. It "automagically" tunes LCD displays to give the best possible output for the ClearType settings built into Windows XP. I used it on my home computer, and it produced noticeably better results.

Monday, January 10, 2005

January 12, 2005

We had dinner with mom and dad today. I was well over 45 minutes late due to an accident on Country Hills Blvd. and Beddington Dr. I spent almost two hours in the car making a trip that on a good day would have taken me only 25 minutes. Very frustrating. I did have a box of Krispy Kreme's to keep me company though.

Erin and I sat down with dad this evening to update our insurance.

We had stake priesthood meeting last night. The stake presidency did very well -- Rick, as usual, gave a very good talk. President Seidel spoke about following the prophet; I missed a good part of President Heningers talk because I was doing the count. President Melchin spoke about the upcoming 2005 Alberta Centennial, and how we should celebrate the year by inviting those around us to find out more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Of note was a double quartet of young men who performed twice. They were spectacular. I don't know all of the young men who participated, but I saw Pat Gilchrest & Daniel Murdock and three of the Matthews boys. To be honest, they were excellent.

I still don't have things quite worked out with work with respect to the new ownership. I'm hopefull to have everything resolve this week -- that's what I've been saying for the past three weeks though -- maybe this week. I'm going to Toronto this week for a couple of days to meet some of the exsisting IT staff, and hopefull come to some consensus regarding the future direction of IT for the organization.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Without Begining, Without End...

Before retiring for the evening I came across this Carl Sagan quote while reading the book, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson and I got so excited I had to sit down and capture all the ideas that came to me while reading it:

"Carl Sagan in Cosmos raised the possibility that if you traveled downward
into an electron, you might find that it contained a universe of its

"Within it, organized into the local equivalent of galaxies and smaller
stuctures which are themselves universes at the next level and so on forever --
an infinite downward regression, universes within universes, endlessly.
And upward as well."

This statement nicely articulates a sentiment I've had for a very long time but haven't been able to express. I've often wondered about the scriptural phrase, "no beginning and no end". I think it's a pretty difficult concept for our mortal minds to understand. No beginning? How is that possible? Everything has a begining... doesn't it?

The closest I've come to understanding the concept of "no beginning" is to consider a simple illustration. (Keep in mind that every example I can come up with applies the abstract concept to some concrete thing, i.e. space or time...)

Imagine cutting a standard piece of 8.5" X 11" paper in half; now, discard one of the halves and cut the remaining half into half again. Discard one of the halves and cut the remaining half in half again. Repeat this process infinitely. You may think that eventually you are left with nothing... but this can never be. By definition you are only ever cutting the paper in half, and therefore you will always have half of what you had previous to the cut. Always! Theoretically, the cutting never stops because you're always left with one half of what you started with.

Obviously this illustration breaks down when considered practically, i.e., we don't have tools to cut paper in half infinitely -- eventually the paper becomes too small to handle properly. But consider the example with respect to the concept of no beginning and no end. It is conceptually possible to spend the rest of eternity cutting a single 8.5" X 11" in half. No end.

Now I admit this next part requires a bit of a mental leap, but I haven't been able to verbalize it any other way yet. Compare the paper cutting example above to tracing back to the beginning of the piece of paper -- not the day the paper came out of the mill, but rather the root of the paper ie: the exact point at which the paper ceases to occupy space, and instead there is a void. By cutting the paper in half in an attempt to get to this beginning... you will never get there, there will always be some infinitley small portion of the paper left. Effectively, there is no beginning. (I know, I know... it still needs some work -- but it make complete sense in my mind.)

Now another example.

Imaging that after cutting the paper into some ridiculously small halves, say 1 X 10-100 millimeters squared you were magically able to shrink yourself small enough such that the dimensions of the piece of paper were, in proportion your new miniscule size, 8.5" X 11". Keep this image in your mind... and gaze around you. Now look up into the space above you to the place where the enormous you once stood and consider how big you once were. It's basically unimaginable.

I think it's remarkable that 21st century astronomers look out into the heavens and see some very small fraction of the totality of space (if there is such a thing); similarly particle physicists stare into the most powerful electron microscopes mankind has ever devised, and observe only largest particles we know exist.

No beginning? No end? Definitely.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

January 5th, 2005

Sean came over last night to help me give Matthew a blessing. Matt has been having ear infections off and on for the past three months or so. The doctor has prescribed three different anti-biotics. The third one (Zythromax) seems to be working, but Matt was a real bear to put to bed regardless.

Had a centennial committee meeting last night. It went pretty well. Tom (Saunders) does a great job of bringing people together. I'm also quite impressed with Ian Miller -- he's very well spoken, and quite agressive with the issues he's passionate about. To some that can come off as bulldog-ish, I don't take it that way at all -- infact, I quite appreciate it.

We had terrible snow today. Winter seems to be catching up with us finally.

The servers at work crashed today, and I spent most of the morning trying to bring them back up. Because of the problem I missed a tour at the NE center for my new coleagues at LifeMark. Oh well.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Jan 1, 2005 (New Year's Eve Party, Tsunami and Resolutions)

My first entry of the new year.

Erin and I went to the stake new year's eve party. It was quite fun -- dramatically different from previous years. The stake has always struggled accomodating the various age groups at this type of a party, mostly because new-year's parties are typically dances. That was changed this year.

Of course there was dancing, but there was a bunch of other stuff too. We had various games, ping-pong, fuseball, video games, Rook, karaoke, blow-up sumo wrestling, a commedian, magician and a blow up obsticle course. I'd say there was approximatly 300 people there -- quite well attended. Erin and I both had fun. Kevin and Elise went to a movie with mom and dad, then they joined us after the movie.

We've been watching the television for the past few days, keeping up with the terrible Tsunami disaster in Sri-Lanka, Indonesia and surrounding areas. As of this writting more about 150,000 people have died. It's definatle the most catastrophic event of 2004, likely in the last 25 years or more. The world community has rallied around the surviors and made some substantial donations. President Hinckley has asked the church to fast for the families of the victims, and to make a generous contribution to the church's relief efforts. It's remarkable to think that during the September 11, 2001 terroist attacks on the United States approximately 4000 people were killed -- this Tsunami in the Indian Ocean has taken rougly 40 times as many lives.

This year I resolve to keep the resolutions I set last year. Do it this year for heaven's sake!