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On the Seventh Day of Christmas

By Tim Butler | Posted at 11:21 PM

Well this is it. The last post of 2012, the tenth year of asisaid. It is amazing how many things have changed in the last 120 months, some of which have been chronicled thoroughly on this blog and which faithful readers have journeyed along with me on. I'm looking forward to 2013 and the new challenges and discoveries that lie ahead. I wonder what all will occur in this first year after the end of the Mayan long count calendar?

This past year has presented many challenges, but also a bounty of joys. A year ago just 17 days from now was when the Missouri Presbytery approved my ordination and call to serve at Grace Presbyterian Church. Nine months ago, I was ordained into that call — which seems both like a split second ago and an eternity. Over the year, I had the privilege to officiate three weddings, and officiate the sacrament of baptism three times and the Lord's Supper eight times. A year ago last May, I completed my first year teaching at Lindenwood and first year of Ph.D. studies. It has been a fascinating year.

I'm very thankful for all of the ways God continues to bless me, with my wonderful family, wonderful friends, wonderful opportunities to serve in the church and a wonderful place to teach. I am looking forward to 2013.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:37 AM

A bit of Christmas poesy from Christina Rossetti that I was thinking about yesterday while updating my office hours sign at Lindenwood:

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

By Tim Butler | Posted at 2:15 AM

It finally snowed tonight. It may have snowed so little that it will be hard to even spot evidence of it by tomorrow morning, but it was a delight just to see a hint of the white stuff after so little of it last year. Hopefully we will get a good, significant snow sometime soon.

On the Third Day of Christmas

By Tim Butler | Posted at 2:38 AM

I was too busy to think of anything good to post here, but didn't want to break multi-year tradition of posting each of the twelve days, so I posted this. What sorts of silly traditions lead you to do similarly odd things?

On the Second Day of Christmas...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 2:06 AM

I hope everyone had a joyous holiday. Mine was a peaceful, wonderful time with family. And now I am looking forward to the second day of Christmas, which, if the weather front scoots over just a tad will make the Second Day of Christmas a White Christmas. It might be a bit late, but it would still be delightful!

On the First Day of Christmas...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:25 AM

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have the most joyful of holidays as we celebrate the arrival of our Lord in the flesh so many years ago.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2.13-14 ESV)

Cable Trounces DSL According to Netflix

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:33 PM

Those who have heard my recommendations for Internet service often look at me incredulously. People so universally aim hatred at cable companies, they cannot believe I would insist Charter's service is superior to that of AT&T U-Verse. While I've worked with enough installations of the two services to say that Charter's Internet service is almost universally faster and frequently cheaper, many people hate the cable company so much, they insist otherwise. That's why a new ranking chart from Netflix is so interesting.

Netflix does a lot more to stress network connections than almost anybody else as they send “over 1 billion hours” of programming to members per month. The incredible amount of data they send out also gives them a great deal of data about how well different ISPs work around the country. In those rankings, only the two major consumer fiber services (Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber) beat out Comcast and Charter in the performance race, while AT&T U-Verse ranks at a dismal 11th place and AT&T's regular DSL is even lower at the 15th spot.

This isn't surprising from a technological standpoint. Unlike fellow Bell alum Verizon, AT&T opted to save money on its next generation offering by not running fiber to individual homes, instead using traditional copper phone wiring. The same copper wiring that has been around since Alexander Graham Bell. Traditional telephone wiring is definitely showing its age and while AT&T finds itself trying to squeeze every last ounce of capacity out of those aging lines, fiber and cable providers actually have a glut of capacity that should be able to maintain speed increases for years to come.

An example might suffice: Charter's “PowerBoost” allows customers to periodically “burst” at faster speeds than what one is paying for — it isn't unusual for me to see a Charter connection hit 10Mbps faster than its advertised rate, for example. AT&T on the other hand almost never actually achieves its advertised speeds and, even if it did, its fastest package (24Mbps) is 20% slower than Charter's more affordable, standard 30Mbps package.

Food for thought next time you shop for a new Internet package.

Cook on Friends

By Tim Butler | Posted at 6:02 PM

The Bloomberg Businessweek interview with Tim Cook is being widely quoted because of the media's interest in what Apple's CEO has to say, but I haven't seen anyone quote the sage concluding comment from Cook. Asked if he thinks of Steve Jobs often, he replied:

I do, every day. He was a friend, and it’s—I guess the external view of that is that he’s a boss, but when you work with someone for that long, for me anyway, the relationship is really important. You know? I don’t want to work with people I don’t like. Life is too short. So you do become friends. Life has too few friends.

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8

By Tim Butler | Posted at 8:01 PM

So, Microsoft introduces a “full PC” and “tablet” combo that, in many ways, seems to be what the first Surface should have been and officially suggests it will get only about 60% of the battery life of a MacBook Air that has a larger display, includes a real keyboard and offers comparable processors, RAM and ports. Interesting.

The Windows 8 Disaster Rolls On

By Tim Butler | Posted at 4:15 PM

So, apparently Windows 8 has advertisements within some of its core apps, a rather unprecedented move and one I am surprised there hasn't already been a commotion about. Even if you don't care about ads per se, there is a bigger implication than having screen space within parts of Windows 8 dedicated to generating revenue for Microsoft:

We can't talk about the inclusion of ads and not mention the “T” word: tracking. I haven't been able to find any information on whether or not Microsoft's tracking the ads you are clicking on, but if that is indeed the case, we'll find out soon enough. Unlike Windows 7 and earlier, your entire Windows 8 account can be tied to an e-mail account, so it would be rather easy for Microsoft to track things on a personal level - much like how Google does with its search engine, e-mail and so forth. This alone gives good reason to be concerned.

Can you imagine the outcry if the iPhone came out of the box with ads in its Weather or Stocks apps?

HT: Gruber

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