Pilgrim Notes

Reflections along the way.

Month: January 2007 (page 1 of 2)

A Conversation On Faith at Newsweek and Washington Post

Brian Leport directed me to an interesting page attempting to foster conversation about faith over at Newsweek and Washington Post. Hosted by Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn, this board invites a wide range of panelists to respond to various questions. Their responses are supposed to encourage a wide ranging discussion from Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Wiccans, atheists and others. The panelists include such luminaries at NT Wright, Adin Steinsaltz, Miroslav Volf, Martin E. Marty, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.

I’m not sure you can have true conversation without a face to face encounter, but at least there is some discussion. And some of it is even civil. My real hope is that something like this could happen out in the office, the home, the market, the community. In other words, where people from differing backgrounds could talk, listen and actually face one another. Some of the internet bravado might disappear and few people might actually enter into a real person to person dialogue.

Liturgy – U2 style

In attempt to draw the youth culture into the mystery of the Eucharist, one Church of England service will incorporate u2 songs into the liturgy for what some are calling a U2-charist.

New Technologies

Jeff Han spoke at TED last February and demonstrated this new multi-point touch application that could have some pretty cool ramifications in the next few years. Check it out.

Never Say Never – Music Downloads with no restrictions

NYT reports that the stone wall is coming down. After years of vowing never to allow music downloads with no copying restrictions, the major record labels are finally waking up to the digital age. Looks like there will be some major developments during the next few months and over the next couple years.

Tired of Solicitors? Master Opt Out list

NYT today provided a master opt list to get your name away from all those pesky solicitors. Here are the highlights:

PHONE SOLICITATIONS To stop them, go to donotcall.gov. Or call toll free, (888)382-1222, from the number you are going to restrict. (home and cell phones; you need to register every five years).

JUNK MAIL Host by the DMA (Direct Marketing Association). Not a guarantee but maybe a help. Online form – www.the-dma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html or mailing address – Mail Preference Service at P.O. Box 643, Carmel, N.Y. 10512. There is an online form at If you want to get more mail, there is also a place to sign up to get on the lists.

E-MAIL. No real good solution. You can try to make it harder for spammers to get your address in the first place by never posting your address in public forums. Spammers employ software to scrape the sites of anything with that @ symbol. Instead spell it out in a unique way like “the nameofthiscolumn at nytimes.com.”

CREDIT CARD OFFERS. Call (888) 567-8688, but be ready to give out some personal information like your Social Security number. Als0 www.optoutprescreen.com. You can do it for a period of five years or permanently.

OTHER OPT-OUTS Your personal information is accessible in less obvious ways. For instance, your computer tracks where you have visited online. DoubleClick, a company that collects data for online advertisers, offers a way to prevent your computer from giving it information at http://www.doubleclick.com/us/about-doubleclick/privacy/dart-adserving.asp.

But again, it is only a piecemeal solution. Other online advertising companies will still put “cookies” on your computer to collect the same data. So the next-best solution is to frequently run software that cleans out cookies. You can get Spyware Blaster, Spybot, or Ad-Aware at www.download.com free.

Your personal information, including parts of your Social security number, are available in publicly available data bases that you may never see. The most common ones offer a way to opt out of a listing. Nexis, one of the biggest, says you can opt out of its people-finding lists by going to www.lexisnexis.com/terms/privacy/data/remove.asp. Nexis does not make it easy because it requires that you prove you are a victim of identity theft before it will consider your application.

The Center for Democracy and Technology provides addresses and forms for other companies, like ChoicePoint, that do not let you opt out online (http://opt-out.cdt.org).

YouOS – Cool Web based OS

I’ve messed around with a few different online OS and most disappoint, but this YouOS looks pretty cool.

Free Lecture about Martin Luther King Jr.

Take a few moments this weekend to reflect on the embodied ideas revealed through Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. I got an email from the Teaching Company for this free MP3 download about MLK’s life and ideas. For those who are perptually wanting to learn and and relearn the things we should have learned years ago, the Teaching Company is a pretty cool resource.

Here’s a  littl excerpt from the site about the lecture:

Join Professor Dalton on this intriguing examination of Dr. King’s personal quest for freedom. You’ll explore how this courageous Baptist minister interpreted Christ’s concern for spiritual freedom and applied the nonviolent teachings of Christ and Mahatma Gandhi to race relations in the United States in the 1960s. Hear how Dr. King also developed the connection between freedom and justice that ultimately inspired history-making events such as the Montgomery bus boycott and Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a public, segregated bus. These events, and others that Dr. King inspired, paved the way for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision declaring Alabama’s—and thus the nation’s—segregation laws unconstitutional. (download here)

Everybody wants on my phone

Apple and Yahoo are both making big announcments about mobile phone. NYT reports that Yahoo is partnering with Motorola to introduce Go for Mobile 2.0, making it easier to search weather, news, stock, and sports scores. And Apple is set to make an announcement later today that supposedly will set off a “nuclear war” in the 4th screen world.

Convergence and the end of TV

This is the end of TV as we know it…and I feel fine. Jeremy set up his HDTV flat screen last weekend, running the cable through Windows Media Server. His television, music, internet, photos and movies are all managed by the same source. On the digital screen the switch between television stations and the internet was virtually unnoticeable. It apears simply as flipping channels. (And this was without the Venice Project!)

We watched some excellent amateur programming that will give networks a run for their money. With the falling prices of HDTV, the inexpensive access to good digital camcorders, and the vast pool of creative minds on the Internet–television and entertainment as whole has permanently changed and the “davids” are now entering the arena en masse.

My Gmail inbox finally has only spam

Email started feeling like a task, a drain, a distraction. After drowning in hundreds of unread emails, I decided that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I decided I’d start using the gmail labels. By thinking of the labels like tags, I just started creating tags for everything I could think of.

Creating filters in Gmail are much simpler than the exhausting Outlook process. You can create a new filter in a matter of seconds using from, to, subject, and keywords. Then you can choose to bypass the inbox and immediately archive it or delete it. At the same, you can set up a rule to immediately tag it. Plus, when you enter the filter criteria (to, from, subject, keyword), it immediately pulls of all emails with that criteria (like a search). So you can choose to apply rule to all those emails instantly.

Now everytime a new mail comes to the inbox, I either mark as spam, create filter, or read and respond if I don’t want a filter. This has reduced my time in the email box while helping me bringing important emails to the surface faster. Now I use Jeremy’s blog read concept by choosing what tags deserve daily attention, weekly attention or monthly attention.

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