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Andy Geers

[ website | Geero.net ]
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Off to Geekland looking for a collaborator [14 Mar 2008|06:45pm]
I'm hugely excited about this weekend, heading off to a bizarre gathering of all sorts of crazy people, called BarcampBrighton2. I found out about it after attending a Geek Dinner in London a month or so ago, and it sounds like it's gonna be a hoot!

My slightly ulterior motive is the vague hope of meeting someone who might be interested in getting on board with my Bible-teaching computer games project. The chances are incredibly slim, but sometimes you just have to step out in faith!
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What about sin? [02 Nov 2007|03:29pm]
As a long time Dilbert fan, I've taken to reading Scott Adams' blog over the last few months. One has to be fairly careful in commenting on his posts, since familiarity with his style makes it clear that he probably doesn't really believe a word he's saying and just enjoys winding people up with controversial statements. That said, I thought today's post was quite an interesting conversation starter. Here's a rough summary:


  1. The most agreeable metric we can come up with to measure success in life is 'happiness'

  2. Studies have shown that 'happiness' is consistent between people of different religions (i.e. Hindus are no happier than Muslims, Christians are no happier than Jews, etc. etc.)

  3. The massive number of religions in the world make it quite clear that humanity is not equipped to identify true religion from false religion, or else we'd all agree

  4. Muslims face less of a threat from religious terrorists

  5. Therefore, since your religion has no effect on your happiness, and since your religion has no effect on your chances of being right, the way to maximise happiness and minimise risk is to become a Muslim



As I've already said, Scott probably doesn't really believe any of this and is well aware of the flaws in his argument, but for the benefit of the rest of us, here's a couple of thoughts I had whilst reading it:


  • I can't help but feel that Jesus would have taken issue with the use of 'happiness' as the right factor to attempt to maximise, at least if you're talking about happiness in this life. "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" (Mark 8:36) You could be the happiest person who ever lived, and yet if you end up being thrown into hell on judgement day then it will have profited you nothing. To be a little bit techie about it, you need to measure amortized happiness over eternity, and as of yet there have been no studies carried out into happiness beyond the grave!

  • To say that the prolific number of different religions proves that we can't tell right from wrong completely ignores the issue of sin: it assumes that we WANT to believe what's true and would forsake our religion if you could prove to us that it was wrong. Scott Adams, I'm ashamed of you! You of all people seem to realise that this just isn't what human nature is like. "This is the verdict, that light has come into the world, but people preferred the darkness because their deeds were evil". If we were to submit to Jesus as Lord we'd have to give up too many of our pet sins!

  • I've been led to believe that nobody cares about this any more, but back in my day (when I were a lad!) there was this little thing called 'evidence'. HELLO - what about the empty tomb??! Isn't that worth something as a clue that Christianity might have some truth to it?



Anyway, I hope that doesn't qualify as me being a dancing monkey.
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Technology is the root of all evil [23 Oct 2007|01:31pm]
Have a chew on this for a while...
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A note of explanation [21 Oct 2007|02:01pm]
I should probably explain, for the sake of my regular readers, why you might have found my more recent posts slightly less comprehensible than normal. I'm planning on using the next few months to experiment with moving this blog in the direction of being less about what I've been up to and making it more of a resource for Christian programmers. Programmers have a bad rap for being slightly sociopathic, but in fairness it's sometimes well deserved. I don't think that in general we're very good at being whole-heartedly Christian at the same time as being enthusiastic about our work - something about the mindset of a great hacker tends to produce something of a non-conformist attitude, not to mention a superior attitude towards non-techies who "just wouldn't understand". Just try imagining a smug Dennis Nedry type being enthusiastic about leaving his dug-out to go and sing and listen to a sermon and spend time chatting with other people like lawyers and accountants and... dare I say it... people in marketing, and you'll see what I mean. The tendency is to careen between that and the other end of the spectrum, which is to be sloppy coders who are just doing it to make a living.

Anyway, as an overflow of my own thinking on the subject, I hope (at least for a little while) to make this a place where issues of how to be a great coder in the service of Christ can be discussed. What happens when you bring God's word to bear on your source code? That kind of stuff. If you don't enjoy it, I won't be offended, though feel free to let me know that it's boring you so that I can assess this experiment accurately. If you are a coder and you find this helpful (or otherwise) then, again, let me know so that I can see whether to keep trying.

Oh, and the answer is that you'll name your functions accurately and avoid code duplication. But that's a lesson for another day.
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Why I Was Wrong [20 Oct 2007|09:07pm]
At the moment I'm reading The Best Software Writing I, a collection of essays and blog posts by a variety of writers, compiled by Joel Spolsky with the aim of inspiring computer programmers to raise their game when it comes to communicating in written form. I have to say, I'm loving every minute of it - it's certainly thought provoking stuff!

One essay, titled "The Location Field is the New Command Line", by John Gruber, which was itself inspired by Joel's How Microsoft Lost the API War, was a very helpful contribution towards my thinking about my current job.

I don't think it's any secret that when I joined Trinity Mirror as a website developer two years ago, I wasn't especially convinced that this whole web thing was really going to keep me interested. I'd always viewed software development for the web as a slightly micky mouse exercise, hacking in 'inferior' programming languages like PHP whilst the true craftsmen of the world used men's tools like C++. I was keen to take the job because I was looking to move to London to get involved in a good church like St. Helen's where I could get trained up and equipped to handle the Bible rightly and to be with other Christians of my own age and stage, and the job looked like it would let me do that (and boy did it!). But in making that decision I was consciously choosing not to pursue my life-long dream of getting into the crazy world of computer games development (quite apart from the total lack of London-based jobs for rookies, with a few notable exceptions the industry is renowned for long working hours and big crunches towards milestones - not great when you're trying to be at church for 6:30pm for a Bible study on a regular basis!) It's not always easy to remember it, but God often speaks in his word of the rewards inherent in putting his will first even when it means laying aside our dearest ambitions, and that truth has certainly been borne out by my experience in this case. It's been just perfect for getting stuck in at St. Helen's, with great working hours and a friendly atmosphere. But, you know what? It even turned out to be fun.

Those articles have brought into focus the reason why I was wrong in thinking I wouldn't enjoy the world of web development. It turns out that the web is fast becoming the platform for which the majority of new software products are now being developed. Gone are the days when the default option for any new product is a Windows-only stand-alone application - now you just throw together a website! The tools to make usable, interactive web apps get better all the time, and the database-driven mindset that comes hand-in-hand with the web is often a very sensible starting point for a great product. Most of my work consists of developing our Content Management System; now, there's no reason why that couldn't be some colossal Windows application draining the life out my desktop as it sucks up my last remaining system resources, but it just happens that our CMS uses a web browser as it's interface. How we go about developing that product - the kind of features our users ask us for, the project management life cycle, etc. etc. - none of that is affected in the least by the fact that it's a web app. Oh, sure, the technical limitations and the options available to us are somewhat different, but the experience of programming on this product is exactly the same as the C++ development I did as a summer student. And even our programming language, Coldfusion MX, is starting to grow on me. But that's probably just yesterday's NULL pointer exception ordeal speaking.

There's no doubt about it, my current job is an amazing blessing. It's easy to grumble, but God knew exactly what he was doing when he put me here, and I only have to start enumerating the incredible opportunities it affords me for furthering God's kingdom to remind myself of why I shouldn't take it for granted.
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How Would Jesus Code? [12 Oct 2007|06:05pm]
[ mood | frustrated ]

HWJC?

The other week I said I'd been thinking a bit lately about how to be a Professional christian. Nobody likes an inconsistent Christian, so today I thought I'd write a bit about the importance of writing good code if you're a Christian. Or to put in another way (which I hope isn't irreverent) - How Would Jesus Code?

One of the things that Joel is very fond of saying is that "the difference between a tolerable programmer and a great programmer is not how many programming languages they know... It's whether they can communicate their ideas." Personally, I think this is merely a corollary of the fact that truly great programmers are other-person centred. Think about it for a moment: the other-person centred programmer is going to care about usability, because he doesn't want Julie in the office next door to get frustrated when she uses our CMS product and it behaves unexpectedly; the other-person centred programmer is going to care about commenting his code well, because he doesn't want his colleague Fred to have to spend a whole morning just figuring out what on earth his code is trying to achieve; the other-person centred programmer is going to want to write clean, well structured code, because he wants to new junior developer to be able to get to grips with the system as quickly as possible without having to jump through hoops; the other-person centred programmer is going to write as many automated tests as he can, because he knows how much it frustrates his customer when old bugs keep re-appearing with every new release.

The astute among you will have realised by now that you can sum all that up thus: Jesus would make for an AWESOME programmer. A popular phrase in the modern vernacular is "Egoless programming", which hails back to a 1971 book "The Psychology of Computer Programming" by Jerry Weinberg. I'm not sure there can ever be such a thing as a truly egoless programmer in a sinful world (and some even cast doubt on whether this an entirely desirable thing to aim for) but I think much of what is good about it is captured by the notion of an other-person centred programmer. Not letting our own pride or our own convenience get in the way of serving others through code.

Let me close with one tiny example I found in our codebase today. Imagine a simple messageboard system that allows users to post responses to an article. The code included a line like this (this is pseudo code - so please don't get distracted if you think my arguments are in the wrong order or something like that):

userMessage = regexp_replace(userMessage, /[xX]{51,}/g, "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx");


In all honesty, I don't think Jesus would have written code like that. "Why not, Andy?", I hear you ask. I don't think he would have written code like that, and nor do I think you should write code like that if you want to be a consistent Christian, because I don't think it's very other-person centred.

It's to do with the comments.

"Why does it need comments?", you ask. "It's obvious what it does - it makes sure there aren't more than 50 'x's in a row!" And to an extent you'd be right - often the best explanation of what the code is doing is the code itself (it's far less ambiguous than English, for one thing!) I guess you could argue, however, that a newbie might not be familiar with regular expressions, so a brief interpretation of the code wouldn't hurt.

But actually, that's not what bugs me about that code. What bugged me the most when I read that line was "why on earth does it make sure there's not more than 50 'x's in a row?" If you have any experience of programming, it'll be pretty obvious to you that what we have here is a bug fix. Somebody has quite obviously come across the situation where there's more than 50 'x's in a row, and something quite obviously went wrong when that happened, and they've phoned up our helpdesk and says "I'd like to report a bug". But the problem is that one person's bugfix is another person's bug. It's not inconceivable that next week the helpdesk could get a phone call from someone saying "I tried to make a post with 53 'x's in a row, but only 50 of them showed up. What gives?" When the bug report comes through to Fred, Fred fires up his IDE and trawls through the code, and he finds this line, and he thinks "Brilliant! What an easy bug fix! The reason only the first 50 'x's are showing up is because of this call to regexp_replace. All I need to do fix this bug is to remove this line. Fantastic!" So he removes the line and suddenly all 53 'x's start showing up again and the customer is happy. And no-one really remembers why that line was there in the first place.

So How Would Jesus Code It? I think he'd have written something a little more like this:
// Auntie Marge keeps sending lots of kisses in her messages, and it really messes up the layout, so do a little sanity check
userMessage = regexp_replace(userMessage, /[xX]{51,}/g, str_repeat("x", 50));


It doesn't look hugely different (except perhaps being a little more readable because it makes it obvious that there are 50 'x's in the substitution). It didn't even take much longer to write it this way. But it's infinitely more loving. Now when Fred finds that line, he realises that it's not a bug that you can't have 53 'x's in a row, it's actually a built in safety net. He's not going to accidentally reintroduce a layout bug because of a lack of understanding. Fred avoids looking like an idiot when things get broken again.

Other-person centred coding is hard, because it means thinking about other people instead of just worrying about your own schedule and your own pressures. But it's the only consistent approach to programming. HWJC?
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The Power of Estimating [05 Oct 2007|11:06am]
One of the most common causes of chaos in the development of software is poor estimation, usually as a result of too much airy-fairy hand waving of the "there's only a few things left to do" variety. The act of sitting down to make a schedule, breaking down the bigger jobs into their constituent tasks, estimating how long they'll all take, and so on, can have a remarkable effect on your awareness of exactly what state you're in, as I found out myself this morning. I decided it was time to figure out exactly how long I'd need to get the game engine sorted (game *engine* - this doesn't count the story line and making all of the game content) and counting just the core can't-live-without features (none of the nice-to-haves and not a great deal of bug-fixing time) I'm at 57 hours, which on one day a week would take about 10 weeks. Or, if I decided to split my time and use my Mondays off to work on the storyline and only use the Fridays for programming, would take about 6 months. Interesting news, huh?
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My Profession [29 Sep 2007|04:54pm]
An interesting question I'm thinking through at the moment is about how to be a Professional christian. Notice I said "Professional christian", and not "professional Christian" or "Professional Christian" (about which much has been written already, e.g. here or here). I'm thinking, primarily, about what it means to be a wholeheartedly Christian person who is also a Professional. In my case, a professional Software Engineer. Every year, like with any profession, a lot of very clever and very experienced people write a lot of very wise things about best practices and so on, such that any responsible professional has to do a significant amount of reading on a regular basis just to keep up with it all. In fact, if memory serves correctly, continued membership of professional bodies such as The British Computer Society depends upon a commitment to making time for a reasonable amount of background reading.

Tradtionally, I've tended to (rather simplistically) feel like such a commitment requires a level of enthusiasm that I wasn't sure I could maintain whilst also being a wholeheartedly Christian person in a busy city like London where free time (and hence reading time) is such a scarce commodity. This sentiment has almost certainly been exascerbated by my ongoing questions about some form of full-time Christian work long term (and hence an implicit lack of commitment to my current profession). However, I've realised lately that to be a wholeheartedly Christian person in the workplace, to truly honour God, you have to be prepared to work hard for your employer (as Colossians 3:22-25 tells us so clearly). And one thing that is certainly required of a Software Engineer, therefore, is professionalism. A commitment to be at least sufficiently well versed in the collective wisdom of those who have gone before you as to avoid being sloppy. As one of my friends very helpfully reminded me, my one day a week at home working on my Bible-teaching computer games isn't a free day - I've redeemed it and bought it back at a reasonable price - so to fail to manage it well, given all of the literature out there on how to make sure a software project fails (always much more enlightening than anything claiming to make sure you succeed!), is simple negligence. Like godliness in other areas, investing the effort to know this stuff isn't straightforward or easy, and requires a bit of hard work. But then, as Jim Packer so succinctly put it, Christians do, after all, have "more help and a greater motivation".

Anyway, I've still got plenty more thinking to be doing, but in the mean time I've been rather enjoying reading plenty of Joel on Software and other technology blogs. May God use it all to turn me into a wholehearted servant in the world of Software Engineering!
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My Day at Home [21 Sep 2007|03:12pm]
So, in case the pirate lingo slightly obscured what I was trying to say yesterday, let me reiterate that God has very graciously paved the way for me to go part time at work in order to free up more time to work on my Bible-teaching computer games project. Today was my first day at home, and I'll be honest in saying that I have by no means used the whole day so far for working on my game.

  • The first thing I did was to assemble my new computer chair that was delivered in lots of little pieces.

  • The second thing I did was to finally get around to tidying my room, and in particular inventing a filing system so that all of the miriad piles of paper could be combined in some sort of semi-ordered fashion. In the end I bought some of those plastic envelope kind of things and put some stickers on them with headings like "Financial Matters", "Instructions and Warranties", "Catalogues", "Scrap Book", and that kind of thing. Much better!

  • The third thing I did was to make a list of the BIG tasks outstanding on my computer game, and which were the critical paths holding everything else up. It turns out that getting animated models out of Blender and into my DirectX-driven game engine is the biggest worry.

  • Hence, the fourth thing I did was to start work on a test animation in Blender. I've got as far as making and rigging a very crude model of a man, now I just need to make him wave at me.



Anyway, as boring as that may have been, this is my way of keeping myself accountable to you all. As one of my friends very helpfully pointed out, this is by no means a free day off - I've redeemed this day at a price, and it needs to be used well!
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[19 Sep 2007|11:42am]
Hurrah, 'tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day! If ye`re strugglin' a bit t' work ou' how t' talk, thar`s a great wee tool at http://www.syddware.com/cgi-bin/pirate.pl. 't e'en lets ye translate a web page - had a bit o' a chuckle at me swashbucklery Christian blog!

God be very gracious t' me these last wee tides; I`ve really enjoyed me new house an' me new flatmates, things at work be goin' well, an' I be finally on me four tide week t' free up more time t' work on me Bible-teachin' computer games. He`s also been challengin' me lots on th' blessin' o' holiness, an' how livin' his way really be th' most awesome way t' live. Hurrah!
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First post from new house [07 Sep 2007|10:12pm]
This is a very brief post just to demonstrate the exciting news that I've managed to get internet access from my new house - and what's more, my little old computer actually managed to connect wirelessly!
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Here I Am [23 Jun 2007|12:20pm]
Busy busy busy. Today is my first Saturday in for a loooooong time, so I've been working hard to rest well :) Started off with a long overdue haircut and a cooked breakfast from a very cool little Spanish cafe near the Whitechapel Bell Foundry (plus, after enquiring about their music, I've now added The Very Best of the Gipsy Kings to my Amazon wish list!) Then I phoned up a shop in East Sussex and snapped up a bargain of a second-hand camera lens so that I can give back my colleague's telephoto that he's been very kindly lending me for the past month or so.

Incidentally, on a total tangent, I would like to point out that my job has done wonders for my telephone phobia! I normally really hate phoning people up - I think it's something about the fear of interrupting them, then having no way whatsoever to gauge their facial expressions and work out if they're angry at being interrupted or not, and then having to be entirely pro-active about starting a conversation with them since they have no idea who you are. Anyway, my job involves quite a lot of phoning up customers or our support staff or whatever to discuss new features and so on, and it really seems to have helped. See, God knew what he was doing when he made me into a website developer!

Anyway, so now I'm writing in my blog whilst listening to a bit of jumbled up Coldplay on Winamp. I've started to use 'shuffle' a little less than I used to and listen to one particular band/artist a bit more. Not sure why, I'll probably start shuffling again one day for no particular reason.

Later it's my boss' wedding reception down in Kent. That will be interesting, to say the least. Quite looking forward to it, though a bit worried I'm going to be absolutely shattered tomorrow, depending on how the transport works out on the return journey.

Have a good day,
Andy.
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Through and for [12 Jun 2007|11:06pm]
This month has been a rather busy one for poor little old Andy, and I'm now feeling rather tired. Last weekend was camp training for my CYFA camp (Bredon 1) in the summer - and whilst it didn't help the tiredness thing, it was a much needed encouragement in many ways. One of the things I was reminded of was the fact that life is all about Jesus. It sounds like such an obvious truth for a professing Christian, yet it's amazing how often I need reminding! One or two of the talks we were given really helped me to meditate a little on the notion that the universe exists through and for Jesus Christ. If it's true, it means that the very purpose of my existence is to know Jesus Christ - the whole point of getting out of bed in the morning is to spend another day in his service. I think one small way this cashes out is in my attitude to quiet times in the morning with the Bible open - do I see it as just a necessary thing I have to get out of the way before I can get on with the real business of the day, or do I see it as the high point of my morning, an expression of the very purpose of my existence? Heady stuff!

Anyway, now I'm going to bed to sleep. Ah, sleep!
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The All-Out-Obedience-ness of Faith [04 Jun 2007|10:17pm]
On Wednesday my Bible-study group at church will have reached our last study of the academic year, as we've been working our way through the mighty book of Romans. We'll be doing a review of the whole book, and hopefully it will be a good time of reflection on how the mighty truths God has been teaching us serve to transform our lives as we seek to respond by giving our whole lives as a living sacrfice. From the header and footer of the letter, it seems that one of the driving thoughts behind it is this little phrase, "the obedience of faith". Now, I know that there is disagreement about whether this means "the obedience that consists of faith" or whether it means "the obedience that flows from faith", but I think that in the context of Romans it's not really that big a deal: either way it calls for all-out obedience by the giving over of our whole lives.

This is the thought that struck me in our leader's study last week: the gospel is the agenda for the whole world. Many people think of Christianity as some kind of add-on -- "well, if it keeps them out of trouble and it's not hurting anyone, then it's fine by me". But God says that the gospel is the agenda for the whole world -- every moment in human history is actually about the gospel, the roll-out of God's master plan for the universe. With a perspective like that, then naturally the only appropriate response is an all-of-life response -- anything less is to cut against the grain. So whether it's the obedience that consists of throwing your whole weight on God and getting on board with his eternal gospel, or the obedience that flows from trusting that his is a gospel for all the nations that affects everything that ever happened, either way it calls for some changes.

What a gospel!
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Google Developer Day [02 Jun 2007|12:25pm]
I had a fairly weird day on Thursday attending the Google Developer Day at the Old Brewery in the City of London. It was a lot like being back in Cambridge - I'd forgotten quite what it's like to be in a room full of quite so many computer geeks, all with their laptops and distinctive sense of humour!

Anyway, considering the whole thing was completely free, Google excelled themselves with the quality of the free food - they certainly know their target audience! They'd renamed all of the conference rooms after Star Wars planets, had lava lamps galore, and the "Blogger's Lounge" (as they called the main chill-out room) was kitted out with Google-coloured bean bags, as well as the obligatory computer terminals.

The motto of the day was "What's good for developers is good for Google" - and my free Google T-shirt certainly sits very comfortable next to my free Microsoft T-shirt that says the same thing about all of the free stash that Bill Gates lavished upon Cambridge CompSci undergrads. In both cases, whilst I can see the clear business case for them cosying up to people like us, I really have no problem with it, since I happen to quite like their software and enjoy using it - and I certainly enjoy free food, too!

You can see a few photos if you're interested on Flickr.
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The Power of Idols (or not) [10 May 2007|10:28pm]
I sat down with 1 Samuel on Saturday to try to work on my Bible-teaching computer games project, and God graciously gave me a much needed reminder in the form of Samuel's "farewell address".

The scene is like this: the people of Israel have been generally rubbish and despite all the awesome stuff God has done for them in rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, and bringing them into the promised land, and so on, that's not really enough for them, because they want "to be like all the other nations" around them and have a king. God makes it very plain to them that this is a personal rejection of His rule - they want a human king because they don't want to have God as their king (that was far too distinctive for their liking!) Samuel calls down thunder and rain on their imminent harvest "so that you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king." - and, quite appropriately, "all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel." (1 Samuel 12:18)

What follows is fab: 'And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king." And Samuel said to the people, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord and server him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."'

This encourages me in at least three ways:

  1. It's in God's interests to preserve and restore his people, since his great name is the one at stake, and besides which, he went to great effort, even giving his only Son, to make us into a people, and he's shown he's not going to give up on them lightly!

  2. Just as Samuel promised to continue to intercede on behalf of the people, so the New Testament tells us that Jesus is even now interceding before the throne of grace for the good of those who love him (e.g. Romans 8:28ish), and Jesus is way cooler than Samuel (and let me tell you, Samuel was pretty cool himself!!)

  3. God continues to provide instruction on the good and right way - phew! Without him, and given the nature of our sinful hearts, we'd be utterly lost and constantly going the wrong way



Anyway, all this was particularly relevant for me this week, since I'm in great danger of turning aside after "empty things, that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty", such as Digital SLR cameras and so on. I find it really sad that I'm able to get so excited by something like that, and yet to be so cold about God - the God of light who invented optics and lenses and pretty things to take pictures of! It's incredible how one is inclined to go to extraordinary lengths to serve one's idol - skimping and saving, sacrificing other costly things like holidays instead. And all for something that cannot rescue me or bring fulfilment. Crazy!

Please God, save me from my idolatry! Help me to love and serve you alone, and to keep your good gifts firmly in their place, remembering to give thanks to you as the author and creator of all things.
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...Speaker's Corner, Pt2 [06 May 2007|05:15pm]
Oh, and the other awesome thing about Speaker's Corner is that there are a million and one other photographers milling about, and I found quite a few of those people had uploaded the photos I saw them taking to Flickr. How awesome is that?? Without the Internet, you'd never get to see how other people's shots turned out, but this way you get some really good inspiration.
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Speaker's Corner [06 May 2007|05:12pm]
I made another trip down to Speaker's Corner today, for a photo shoot. I discovered it for the first time last weekend, and though I'm not sure what I make of the actual speaking, it certainly attracts some interesting people. From a photographer's point of view, I love the freedom it gives me to poke my camera right in people's faces - the whole scene is so "in your face" that one extra lens is hardly noticed, whereas normally I'm far too scared to take closeups! For that reason, it seems to me like a great training ground for a very amateur photographer like myself. The other great feature is that you often get exactly the same people week after week, meaning that if a shot doesn't work out, you can learn from it and then go back the next weekend to try and improve upon it.

Not a great deal to look at, but you can find my set on Flickr.
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Beta launch of my Flickr to Facebook importer [01 May 2007|10:01pm]
It's still very primitive, but I put live a vaguely working version of my new site, a Flickr to Facebook feed processor. In the long term I hope to support many more sources besides Flickr, like bookmarks from del.icio.us and blog posts, but it's a start.

If it interests you (and if you like Facebook) then please support me by posting the link on your blog or whatever, so that I can get some Google ratings!
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Feed My Face [30 Apr 2007|10:06pm]
So I've very quickly got quite obsessed with this whole Facebook thing... I'm quite excited tonight because I managed to reach a key milestone on the software for my new website, www.feedmyface.net which offers Flickr integration with Facebook. I gave it a feed from Flickr, and it found all the photos with a certain tag and then uploaded them to Facebook! Now I just need to make a pretty user interface so that it's friendly and easy to use.
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