Monthly Archives: January 2011

Thinking about knowing God’s Will

First, I think what I’d call the “broader will” of God is spelled out quite clearly in Scripture. We’re to love one another, seek justice, be compassionate, etc. I like Oswald Chambers’ emphasis on God’s will being that we be more and more like his Son, Jesus.

Second, I think God’s will is sometimes quite specific. Just about anyone in our tradition who is in the ministry is here because we believe we are “called” to this life. That’s way beyond just being like Jesus and pretty specific. One key here believing that God is perfectly capable of communicating to us. His will isn’t hidden or obscured like a riddle we have to untangle. If he wants us to do something he makes it clear to us.

Third, I think God is the God of Second Chances. If we do reject some specific call that doesn’t mean we’re destined to a life of spiritual failure or some kind of second-rate Christianity. I don’t think anything God calls us to is “second best.”

Fourth, if we don’t sense God leading us in some specific way…like when choosing between two different job offers, I think it’s an indication that he’s leaving the decision up to us. After all, this is the God who brought the animals to Adam to see what he would name them….apparently, there was no “right or wrong” name and the Lord was interested in seeing what a creature with free will would decide. Of course, some decisions carry with them moral overtones. In that case, we’re back to the first point. Otherwise, and most of the time in fact, I think we’re free to choose.

Office 2003 menu for Office 2010

Some of my Microsoft Office applications were 10 years out of date so a few months ago I decided to take the plunge and update to Office 2010.  I can tell it’s better but why Microsoft decided to dump their menu for these programs is beyond me.  I’ve spent a lot of time searching for some basic commands.  I’ve even, for the sake of office time, saved the document to the older format and moved it to my desktop computer which hasn’t been upgraded yet, and finished it there.  I had one Powerpoint presentation all finished except that I wanted the slide numbers to show.  After 5 minutes of trying to do it, I saved the presentation, opened it on my desktop in an older version of Powerpoint, turned on page numbering, saved it and walked away.

Finally I got the bright idea that out here on the internet somewhere, someone must have written an add on that restores the old menu.  Sure enough, there is.  It’s called UBitMenu and it’s a free download for private use.  Now, let me mention that I’ve not thoroughly tested this, but it appears to be just what the doctor ordered.  It adds the “classic menu” to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.  Check it out here. Once installed, you’ll see a “menu” tab.  Click on it, and you’ll feel right at home again.

Also, I’ll mention that I’ve always liked the Windows 95 start menu.  When XP came out it had the built in option to turn that menu on rather than the “new and improved” XP version.   Then, when Windows 7 came out (I really like it, by the way) it had the Vista menu only.  Off I went to the internet and, once again, I found the problem solved, it’s called Classic Shell and it does just its name implies: it restores the Classic Menu option.

Review of the Nook e-reader from Barnes and Noble

Here’s a report on the Nook WIFI Jackie got for Christmas.

The start was a bit rocky. Apparently, a lot of people got Nooks for Christmas. Some of the stuff that we thought wasn’t working was due to the B&N Nook website being swamped. We thought we had some settings wrong or that there was a problem with her unit but it was just that their website wasn’t responding properly.

In fact, she went by a B&N store a few days after Christmas and the “pro” there remarked that everyone was having trouble because of the over burdened website.

Another reason for the rocky start is that, while the Nook handles “Overdrive” books and audio-books from the library, the setup is far from intuitive. My feeling is that, while the capability is there, B&N really wants people to BUY books from them and not borrow books from the library or download free books from Google books or the like.

I spent a lot of time digging through the FAQ on the library website and then found a really good Youtube on the topic. (Just do a search for youtube, Nook, Adobe Digital Editions). It’s not hard but it I don’t think anyone would ever figure it out without spending some time searching the internet.

Beyond that, when we decided to try an audio book from the library, we ended up having to use yet another program, Overdrive, to check out the book and transfer it to the Nook.

Happily, once Adobe Digital Editions is installed, it handles the free, public domain books as well as the books on loan from the library.

Buying a book from B&N is easy enough, although you do have to go online and establish an account with them, including putting a credit card on file. She’s bought one book that way, and it “showed up” on her Nook a few hours after the purchase (again, if not for a slow web server I think it would have gotten there almost instantly).

So, here’s the deal:

  1. Buying a book from B&N: done directly from the Nook, pretty easy once an account is set up.
  2. Borrowing a book from the library: has to be done via a computer running Adobe Digital Editions (Adobe account and library card required) and then transferred to the Nook
  3. Borrowing an audio book from the library: has to be done via a computer running Overdrive and then transferred to the Nook
  4. Getting a free, public domain book from Google Books, etc.: has to be done via a computer and then handled by Adobe Digital Editions for transfer to the Nook

Now, the other side of it. Jackie loves reading from the Nook. The screen is great and it’s easy to use. It also plays audio files, music or books. We’ve already bought her a cable that lets her plug it directly into her car’s sound system. She’s looking forward to using it on her daily commute.