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Thursday, March 24, 2011

When God Orchestrates a Moment...

















I recently attended my 11th Re:Create Conference in Franklin, TN. This year, my friend, fellow Fresnan and worship leader, Jon Shebaglian, was there. Jon is a wonderful Christian man who has a passion for Christ that literally oozes out of him.

During one afternoon at the conference the 1211 Band from Austin, TX led worship. It was truly an amazing time of worship. As they started, I observed Jon helping the band's violist, Orhan, communicate his monitor mix issue to the FOH guys. Later, I watched as Jon and Orhan connected as Christian brothers and musicians. It turns out Orhan is a world-class viola player, having played with some of the finest symphonies in the world.

At dinner that night, I happened to hook up with Jon and Orhan has they were talking. They are both close-talkers - plus it was loud - so our heads were really close together. After a few minutes of talking, Jon asked Orhan, "So Orhan, I noticed you accent. Where are you from, originally?"

"I'm Turkish," he replied.

And then time stopped. I remember looking from Orhan to Jon to see how Jon would respond. I remember looking into Jon's eyes. I could see his brain working. An hour passed in the 2 seconds of time it took for Jon to speak.

"Wow," Jon said. "I don't know if I've ever met a Turkish Christian before. I'm Armenian."

You see, Jon's grandfather fled the Armenian genocide in Turkey. He great-grandfather was taken on a death march and shot. Jon is Armenian. Orhan is Turkish.

Then Jon brought his citizenship into the game. "You know, bro," he said, "We can put that all behind us because we are brothers in Jesus."

See, Jon and Orhan had connected on a spiritual level before they had ever connected ethnically. They had realized their brotherhood in Christ before they recognized that they were supposed to not like each other.

It was a beautiful thing to watch, 8 inches away from these two close-talkers. It was a God orchestrated moment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Great Tool for Your iPhone












Today I thought I'd tell you about a great tool called Dragon Dictation. Dragon Dictation allows you to speak into your iPhone and it turns your speech into text.

Yep... and it does it REALLY well.

You can then take that text and e-mail it, SMS it, tweet it or post it to Facebook. I would encourage you to check it out. If you have an iPhone, you can download it for free from the AppStore.

I love it. I use it all the time. In fact I used it to create this blog post.

And here's something fun: If you speak jibberish to the app, it comes up with some really hilarious translations like this:

Yes and whatever. Not on the games. One of them you can keep Norman is in the dunk. I were teaching in doing so good. To price kitchen... whatever. But for soon to get you I need sometime today to gain whatsoever.

Talk crazy, do a little editing and text it to your friends. They will then think you have lost your mind. Or better yet, they will actually try to make sense of it. Either way, it's great for a laugh!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Why I Back Up My DVD Collection to a Hard Drive














I back up all of my DVDs to a 2 GB hard drive using HandBrake. In future posts, I'll give you the basics of HandBrake usage as well as how I used a MacMini and an AppleTV to create a great media server for my upstairs and downstairs TVs.

Note: It is important to remember that the MPAA and most media companies argue that you can’t legally copy or convert commercial DVDs for any reason. I (and others) think that, if you own a DVD, you should be able to override its copy protection to make a backup copy or to convert its content for viewing on other devices. Currently, the law isn’t entirely clear one way or the other. So our advice is: If you don’t own it, don’t do it. If you do own it, think before you rip.

Why would you "need" to create a backup of your DVD? Consider this:
In early 2000, a group of Stanford researchers leased one of Intel's clean rooms and, with the approval of their parents, scrubbed down several 5 year olds, placed them in clean suits, handed each a DVD copy of Toy Story, and placed each one inside the clean room for 20 minutes. When the researchers opened the door, each and every child was covered in jam, as were the DVDs.

Oddly enough, there was no jam within 20 miles of the facility. This demonstrated that children, when in possession of a favorite DVD, are capable of conjuring jam from the ether.

That is why I backup my DVDs or rely on digital copies supplied with those discs.