Variety Network

All Journal Entries

Welcome to all the journal entries I've written, collected on a single page. Each entry is on a heading level of one for easy navigation with a screen reader, and at the moment, the entries are displayed from oldest to newest. The more I write, the larger this collection will get, and thus, the slower the page is likely to load. This page may not remain up, but enjoy it while it is!


My Spiritual Journey And The Technology Behind The Site

As I write this, it's the morning and I'm at my parents house on my laptop, sitting in a recliner that they have in the living room of their house. It's a rather comfortable chair that I don't regret purchasing for them, though I'm not going to ramble on about my current surroundings.

My Spiritual Journey.

I'd like to begin by relating my experience in finding the lord and my life changing as a result of that. It began in 2012, around January or February, I don't recall precisely when. I met a person named Russell, who I've come to be good friends with, though at first, he didn't like me much. I always thought him to be an intelligent person, though, and he seemed to get along with everyone. He also seemed calm and objective when he needed to be and I found I liked that.

He soon became an administrator on my TeamTalk server, and with his suggestions, some of mine, and my willingness to commit to the changes that were being made, the server and my life began to transform. I found I felt more confident and sure of myself under Russell's wise teaching, though I noticed something when I'd speak with him. It wasn't often, though when we'd have deep discussions on certain subjects like humanity, people, the experiences he's had throughout his life in obtaining things he was fond of, he would talk about the lord and sometimes, would bring up the bible. At this point in my life, I wasn't very comfortable with such topics, though I felt I had a firm ground with scientific views. I never discounted the existence of God, though I didn't really believe it either.

Russell presented his experiences in such a way that they couldn't be denied as they were stated. There were no loopholes or anything I could turn around and make sense of in a purely scientific manor. I would ask him questions, though, trying to understand where he was coming from. I failed completely because I couldn't relate to it, couldn't analyse it. It made little sense to me. How could God do all these things?

I also had my own preconceptions about what religion was about, as well as the bible. I studied it in an environment that was boring and not comfortable for me. I grew up attending LDS churches, which was more of an expectation than anything, I felt. I didn't keep going, stopping when I was around twelve or thirteen, but going again when I was around seventeen and stopping a couple years after that. Religion, the bible, god, these were subjects I didn't understand, didn't really believe in, and wasn't comfortable discussing because I wasn't truly secure in my beliefs. I would always be nervous, even if it was only a little, worried if I would offend someone with my comments.

In 2013 around August, I decided to start reading the bible after another discussion Russell and I had about it and his beliefs. I figured I really didn't have anything to lose.

When I started reading it, I wasn't comfortable, but it began with a message that stated if you didn't read the bible with an open mind and heart, nothing would come of it. I could open my mind, I thought, but I didn't really know how to open my heart. I tried by setting aside all of my prior feelings about it, though I didn't entirely succeed. I wanted to understand it, though, so I kept reading.

As I did so, I still felt uncomfortable, but truth started to hit me from the words I was reading as I continued to try and be comfortable with what I was reading and not put any stereotypes, expectations, or beliefs of my own into it. The night I started reading, I prayed in the position I'd been taught, as it was the only one I knew. My arms were folded, head bowed, eyes closed. I asked the lord to help me with my doubt and disbelief, to keep the devil from my thoughts. I didn't really think anything was going to happen. That was my first expectation, and it got smashed as I lay in bed, feeling more at peace than I'd ever remembered. I was calm, felt confident enough to reveal what I was doing to some other friends, as I'd already told Russell what I was doing.

I related what I was doing to Russell and what had happened. He told me I was witnessing and that I seemed eager to witness. It seemed to be a good thing, though I wasn't entirely certain why, but I'd committed myself to reading the entire bible now, and that was something I wasn't going to turn away from.

In 2014 around July, give or take a month, I learned about a radio station called Moody Radio. I listened to a sermon that Russell enjoyed, though at first, limited myself to only that half hour. I eventually started listening to the two hours that he enjoyed, which is on Sundays from 08:00 AM to 10:00 AM mountain time. I found them enjoyable. In fact, they did something others hadn't. They touched me in a way that got me to think and consider deeper issues. I also felt like they touched me in a way I couldn't quite explain, but I wanted to hear more. The messages were deep and I felt moved in certain ways, though I didn't completely understand why.

I had moved to my own apartment in February of 2014, and at the time I was listening to the sermon's, I hadn't been reading the bible very much. They would talk about believing in God, and discussed how God changes you so you can fully accept him. I believed in God at this point, there was undeniable evidence such as my gaining security in my beliefs and the knowledge that the bible hadn't been dis-proven. I hadn't accepted the lord as my Savier, though, and I knew it. I wasn't entirely comfortable with that, but I didn't really trust the lord either, in that I thought I could change myself, and with enough evidence, I could believe completely on my own. That wasn't working, and I don't believe it ever will. You could probably convince yourself of your beliefs, and perhaps feel so strongly about them that you could state with assurance experiences that have happened to you that might reflect those of believers, but God must change you.

There were also things spoken about that I didn't know if I believed or not. We are all sinners. The lord died for our sins and we are redeemed through his selfless act. But what sin had I committed? I knew I wasn't a bad person, so what things had I done wrong?

I knew there were certain things that I did which were sinful, some were obvious such as downloading things on-line which needed to be purchased, others not so obvious such as being judgemental toward others in my thoughts, not being as humble as I should be, and other things of that nature. I did my best not to act that way and believed that your actions are what truly matter. To some degree that's true, but your heart, your feelings and thoughts, also reflect you as a person. I didn't truly start to understand these things until October 6, 2014.

The day before, I had listened to a sermon that told of God creating the acceptance and belief within you that the lord is your Savier, that you couldn't do it on your own. I didn't really think about it that Sunday, but on Monday, which was October 6, I thought about that message at work. I decided, around 11:30 AM, to accept the lord as my Savier. Some part of me must have known and come to the realization that I am a sinner, though it wasn't an immediate conscious thought. My heart believed, though, and that was the most important thing. I felt like I'd done the right thing, that I was making the right decision. I called Russell at lunch and told him I was ready to be saved, asking him what I needed to do. I didn't feel I was saved at that point, but looking back on it, I believe that moment at my work was the moment I became saved, but there was still one more thing I needed to do.

Russell got me in contact with his cousin, a man named Wain, who called me around 05:20 PM. He wanted to know about my experiences to get an idea of where I was at in my spiritual journey, so I told him a brief overview of what had happened in my life. He told me there wasn't anything special I needed to do in order to be saved, that all I needed to do was accept that I was a sinner and wanted to receive the lord as my Savier, as well as confirming it out loud. He asked me if I'd done these things. That was when I fully realized I had. I said with complete assurance and confidence, "Yes." My life changed.

He said a prayer with me and did some research for me regarding churches I might be able to attend. After we'd prayed, I felt even better about what I'd done and the path I'd chosen. I felt light, happy, and my thoughts were filled with the lord. I even lifted my arms to check to see if they were the same weight, which they were. Later on, I did pray to the lord and stated that I am a sinner, asked for forgiveness, and told him I wanted to receive him, to accept and believe. I felt I already had, though, but was further reassured anyway.

For about a week, I felt a very deep curiosity and desire to sit in silent thought or research and learn about the word of God, which is both written in the bible and obtained through prayer, though to say that the word of God can be obtained through prayer isn't entirely accurate. You can change through God and prayer, and can even come to know certain things as well, but you still need to read, to learn, to figure things out for yourself. We have a brain for a reason and it's not good to let it go to waist.

Some changes in my life have been small, such as not humming to music at work, not being as filled with desire for purchasing things as I once was. Others are larger, such as removing every peace of illegal content I had on my computer, some of which I listened to a lot, and also making certain that nothing illegal would occur on my servers, or that I wouldn't be an accessory to anything illegal occurring. I started this process almost immediately after I got saved, the next day, removing much from my computer.

Through Wain, I was put in contact with a person named Jimmy, a paster at a community of people known as Washington Heights. They don't really consider themselves a church in the traditional sense, which I found rather interesting.

I was comfortable talking with him and getting to know him, which was encouraging. Last week, I attended church with them for the first time. One of the deacons named Louis is taking me at the moment. The only two things I didn't quite like was their loud music, and their referring to New Testament Christianity. Both of these things aren't anything to worry about, though, in terms of weather I should keep going or not, so I've decided to stick with it.

Today, I've found myself humbled when listening to the sermons I heard, which were about the people of God already having their place in heaven, and the differences between New Testament Christianity and the Catholic beliefs. There were also other topics covered, but those are the two main ones. Notice that I didn't say those who believe in God, but God's people, his children. I've come to understand that God chose me first before I came to the lord, Jesus. It's humbling to think about. I chose to be saved, but only because I was already receiving help from the lord.

If you have the desire to believe but don't for some reason, I challenge you to set aside any preconceptions, beliefs, or feelings you have about the bible, God, and any other religious or stereotypical views. Do so as much as you are able, then begin reading, praying. If you are truly seeking the truth, you will be heard, and perhaps, you will come to know the lord as I have. It's an incredible experience and something I wouldn't trade for anything.

Remember, don't thank me, thank the lord. I can't help you, only he can. All I can attempt to do is give you something to think about, consider, a seed of thought in your mind, something Russell did for me. I thank him and the lord for planting the seed. I thank the lord for all things. I feel humbled to give this message to all who will read it, as I wouldn't be doing so if it wasn't something the lord wanted me to do.

This may seem confusing to some people, so I'll explain my reasoning. For this, we go back to the beginning of what we know. I state it this way because there really isn't a beginning or end to eternity, it simply is and will always be. The beginning of what we know is from the bible in Genesis, chapter 1:1-5, taken from the 1611 King James bible.

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

This is the beginning of creation, the beginning of what we know. God has been, is, and will always be. Here's more evidence.

The earth remains in its perfect orbit around the son. It never changes, never alters. The moon remains in its perfect orbit around the earth. The oceans react to the gravity of the moon causing waves, the tide, and exposing certain creatures that live in shallow waters in the ocean when the tide is low. And, oh my, man made satellites are subject to something called orbital decay due to atmospheric drag and/or the gravity of earth, as well as various factors on speed and trajectory. Why aren't the moon, earth, and the other planets and moons in our solar system subject to this? The answer is simple, but can't be analysed logically or scientifically. God is perfect and is the creator. Physics and science can also answer this question, but since God is the creator, everything since is a result of God.

This having been said, it's easier to follow my line of thinking, but I'll break it down a little more. The creator of something creates a device that is for a specific purpose and it will perform that purpose if the creator made it correctly. God created everything perfectly. Everything is here for its specific plan and purpose, even the objects man has created, as they wouldn't be here without God. The devil exists through the allowance of God, and is a deceiver, convinces people to live for the pleasures of the moment, and runs the world.

One big obstacle with some people is that they don't believe there's any outside influence on their thoughts. To the untrained, everything appears to come from within. Even I believed that before being saved, but afterword, I was able to tell what comes from the lord and what comes from the devil, and also, what comes from within my own nature. Following what the lord wants and not what my sinful nature or the devil wants, that's the challenge, but you can't learn without challenges, and some things like the devil's influence, you probably won't know about until you are saved.

I encourage anyone reading this to research these things for yourself. Read the bible. What do you have to lose? I lost nothing and am gaining each day, but at the same time, I am deeply humbled by the knowledge I have just revealed.

Now, we'll dive into the technology side of things, and I'll reveal more spiritual incite in the future.

The Content Management System.

We'll dive right into the technology behind the sight now, and it's fantastic. A content management system is something used to serve pages, but to do so in a manor that doesn't relate to directly modifying the html source, or other such things. Instead, you either modify things directly on the sight itself, or you modify files within folders, as I'm doing. I won't go into all the details now, but I'm using a content management system called Kirby. It's quite fast and easy to work with if I want things to look completely different, which is how I added my page counters and such. To find out more about it, you can click the Powered by Kirby link at the footer of the page. You can also find out more about Linode there as well, which is the company that currently hosts my server.

Wrapping Things Up.

For now, that's about all I can think about posting, but I'll update these entries as things happen in my life. The page for the journal entries will display some from newest to oldest, so you can click on any you'd like to read.

Have fun, everyone, and enjoy your days!


The Comment And Content Management Systems

It's about 04:30 in the morning when I decided to start writing today. I'm a little tired, but it's nothing I can't deal with. My apartment is nice and quiet as usual, and I've spent about two hours or so reading about the comments system and a little about Kirby, the content management system, both of which I'll discuss more in detail.

Kirby, The Content Management System.

As I stated in my previous post, though briefly, Kirby is the content management system that powers my site and allows it to exist as it is. Though I could have written my own custom system, I found Kirby and found it to be quite easy to use. Content is written in html, plain text, a text formatting system called Markdown, or a few other languages. You can separate your text into various fields for ordering or different things, as I've done with the author, date, and modified date fields that I use. In fact, the modified date and author fields weren't written in the examples, so I had to place them in something called a template, which is a file written in another language called PHP. Kirby has some great documentation about its use, the API which is an interface for programmers, and various different things you can do to extend Kirby.

The Commenting System.

Originally, I thought about writing my own comment system, which would basically go like this. Each folder where my page text is stored would have a sub-folder created, called comments. I'd then have the approved and unapproved comments in JSON format. JSON is something used to read data and parse it in whatever manor you like, and to write that data back to a JSON format if you so chose. It's easy to work with between different programming languages, so that's what I was going to use. PHP already integrates JSON decoding and encoding into its core, so that would make it quite easy to manage.

At any rate, the system was going to be very simple and streamlined. There would be form fields for your name, email, website, and a text field limited to, say, 2000 characters where you could enter your comment. Once you'd done this, you would submit the form and some invisible spam protection would happen to make sure I didn't receive much spam, if any at all. Writing it wouldn't be so bad, I suppose, but I decided not to invest my time in it. So instead, I used a system that already exists for use on sites.

Disqus is the system that I've decided to use. Kirby's blog uses it for comments, too, and from what I've seen it seems to work quite well. It allows for comment moderation, has spam protection, and other features that make it easy to work with and quite dynamic. Best of all, there's only a little bit of code you use to insert it into your site. Though they provide their own code which is written in JavaScript, they have an API. Basically, that means I could integrate it into my site however I wanted to and display the comments in whatever manor I wished. I could make it look like my site if I wanted to, and could probably allow it to operate without JavaScript if I wanted to, though I'm not entirely certain about that.

I encourage feedback on this system. How do you think it looks, should I try and change it? Should I just go with my own system? Going with my own system at this point, however, would seem a little counter-productive if people started commenting. I could back the comments up and place them in my own system if I wanted to, but Disqus is quite reliable according to their claims, so I'll try them and see how it goes.

Feel free to comment away, people, though keep some things in mind. If you are a guest, your email address will have to be approved before you can comment without being moderated, so your first comment might be moderated. And if someone flags your comments, which Disqus allows though I've not read up on it much yet, I'll be investigating things to find out why. I get emails at the moment with the way I've got things set up, and while I'm at work, I won't be approving anything. That'll have to wait until I get home.

Also, as I indicated above, you'll need JavaScript enabled for my site in your browser. You can have a better experience by enabling cookies as well, though I'm not entirely certain what they do, probably to keep track of you as a visitor or something. The cookies are optional, but if you want to read and write comments, you'll need to enable JavaScript for my site and allow it for disqus.com as well.

With that, have fun, everyone, and feel free to enjoy the site and my journal entries!


TeamTalk Updates And Other Things

Hello, folks! I suppose I'll get the TeamTalk aspect of this journal entry out of the way first, since technology is something I quite enjoy.

TeamTalk

TeamTalk is a program that will allow people to communicate over voice. In fact, I have a server running on my little network, which some friends and I use. Anyone is welcome provided they follow the rules, which are outlined on the TeamTalk terms page. Some recent updates have provided a mobile client for TeamTalk, something I can use on my Android phone. It seems to work okay, though there are still some stability issues and some features that are missing. I talked with Jeff on my TeamTalk 5 server while I was heading home on the bus, which was pretty cool. I'd never actually talked with someone that extensively on a mobile client like TeamTalk before, and in fact, it's the first time I'd actually done that since TeamTalk 4, which is the most stable version, doesn't have an official mobile client, and the unofficial one is worthless and really doesn't work well.

Well, that's all I have on the TeamTalk front, so let's go into some other things I feel like sharing.

Ordering Electronic Downloads

This is something that you would be wise to be careful about. October 20, 2014, I ordered all of the Left Behind audio drama's from a site which has proven to be unreliable. My money, as a result, has gone down the drain. It's really quite a shame. I'm not angry about it, though. There are probably a lot of people that wouldn't understand why, but anger won't get me anywhere, nor will it help me in any way. The site is down. I have no way of contacting these people. And, I have no way of getting a refund. I keep checking to see if it's back up at any point, though, but so far, I've had no luck. Ah well. Life goes on.

Witnessing To The Facts Of Life

I do this every day. I witness, simply by being myself, showing people who I am, how I act, and other such things. Since I've been saved and become a Christian, my perspectives have changed and I feel like I have more self control than I did before. I try not to push my views and what I believe to be the facts of life on people, since I don't want to run them off. Pushing something on someone over and over is a good way to make them resistant to exploring what you're pushing on them. They develop an aversion to whatever it may be. And as to those who don't believe in God or the Bible, perhaps because they state they don't have a reason or simply don't believe the existence of such, I'm not sure how to witness to those people accept by simply telling them what I can if they allow me to, and being myself. I don't want to make people uncomfortable either, but I wonder if that's the right approach to take. When Russell witnessed to me, he made me uncomfortable as far as countering my own points of an attempt at logic and asking questions. Perhaps, though, it's more accurate to say I made myself uncomfortable. I really had no way of backing up my statements and views at the time before I started reading the Bible, and as a result, I didn't feel secure in my beliefs.

Well, I don't want to ramble on about that, since I already stated my story in the first journal entry.

Wrapping It Up

That's all I have for today. I hope everyone who's read this has enjoyed it, and I hope the search engine bots enjoy it too! The more they crawl the site, the more visitors I'm bound to get. So have fun, Google, people, and others. And feel free to comment!


Updates After A Long Time

Hello, folks! It's been quite some time since I've updated my journal entries on the site. Exactly four months, in fact. So, there have been a few changes. But first, I want to state that I will be updating my testimony at some point. It's going to have its own page, though I'll keep the old one around since it is one of sorts, though I think I can do better for God.

  1. Someone contacted me about this, and yes, I do have the Left Behind audio series. I'm keeping the old journal entries, though, it'll show how my feelings on the matter evolved. I contacted one of the companies that collaborated with earflix.com, which as of this writing is still down. They got me the Left Behind series and I found them to be quite entertaining!
  2. Sadly, I now have an apple iPhone... The horror! I'll go into that below this list, directly below, in fact.

Android Accessibility Difficulties

Why? Reliability. I wasn't able to answer calls effectively and reliably all the time, and sometimes, when I ended calls, I would lose speech from my screen reader, either because it was going through the ear piece on the phone, or the volume was turned down. Also, switching to speaker phone wasn't as reliable as I'd like it to be. The iPhone has been working well for me, and I've also switched to T-Mobile from AT&T. So far, that's working well also, and I have better service at my parents house on T-Mobile than I did on AT&T.

Exciting NVDA Developments

For those that don't know what NVDA is, it's a screen reader, something that will take what's on the screen and read it to you. That's a very basic description of what it does, but there's been an exciting development in the works. Remote access! Take a look at the following site.
NVDA Remote

And there you have it! It explains everything for you so I won't go into details, but it's quite an exciting thing! I look forward to a public release, and hope it works well for everyone when it finally does come out. In fact, I hope it's built into NVDA itself at some point, since I think this is a great add-on to have available to everyone, especially for tech support.

The House Watching

Yep, I was watching a house for a little over a week, and my parents rats to make sure they didn't starve to death. I'll be back in my apartment later on today, though, and I'm looking forward to it. Being at my parent's house for a week was all right, but I feel like I have more freedom in my apartment. I also don't have to worry about hearing loud, squeaking rats and wondering if they're ripping each other to shreds in their cage.

"Mom, dad, I'm so sorry, but... Well... I think the rats did each other in."

Now that's not a report I'd want to deliver, would you? Luckily, that didn't happen. The rats squeaking at one another is generally because one rat is being forced to do something she doesn't want to do, or they're playing with each other and one gets hurt. I don't think rats squeak when they're happy, I'm not entirely sure, though.

Final Thoughts

I'll try to update this more often with interesting events, but my life really isn't too interesting. We'll see how that really goes, hmm? Half a year or longer without updates on the old site, so, I wouldn't get your hopes up. Just have fun and live safely, and remember, God is watching you, me, and everything else.


Exposure To Your Faults Is Difficult, Thunder Storms Are Great

Good afternoon, everyone! It's a wonderful day outside, raining a little here and there for which I thank the Lord, and as always, it's fairly quiet.

So, I want to talk a little about being exposed to your faults, things you've done wrong, things that, perhaps, you might not realize were wrong, things you could have done better. These are some of the things I've been exposed to over the past week, and I'm both glad and despondent for it. I'll explain.

I've learned through a friend how black and white I can be over issues when I'm explaining them. I'm very logical and systematic in my approach to things, something I deal with best but others, perhaps, don't. Because of this, it's difficult for me to empathise with others. My friends have told me it's difficult for them as well, but the difficult thing for me is trying to think about a situation logically that I can't apply logic to. People.

Perhaps it's a little far out there to say you can't apply logic to people. You can, but when you're dealing with emotion, logic can't always be used. Also, when you're speaking with someone, you can't apply something in your life that's helped you, then assume it will work for them or it's what they need without examining their own situation. This was something I learned yesterday after talking to the same friend who told me about my black and white approach and apologizing to him for something I'd said Friday morning. What I said was extremely selfish and, I could probably safely say it was self centered, since I wasn't thinking about him when I said what I did. My intention was to help him, and at the moment, I thought that I could do so by bringing a suggestion and idea that had worked for me to him. The arrogance and cruelty of my own statement and centered nature of my own thoughts was something I didn't like to be exposed to at all, but I knew to be true.

I almost ended up no longer being associated with this friend and I've thought about what I did wrong throughout the night last night, along with parts of the day today. First, focusing on my own thoughts and life was unwise, and through my own statement and thoughts, trying to apply that to him was the wrong thing to do. I advise people against that. Second, before offering him any advice in an attempt to be helpful, perhaps it would have been better to examine his situation more deeply first.

Because of this situation, I thought about giving up on giving advice to people and simply taking things in. I wouldn't learn if I did that, though, and I'd be letting the Devil win. It's my choice, of course, but I know God is with me. He's proven it when I obey, and proven it when I disobey. I'll probably fail in the future due to my own imperfect and sinful nature, but if I let that stop me, where would I end up in the future? Probably not doing much of anything. We all fail. The best thing we can do is pray, learn, apply what we've learned, then continue on. Why pray? Simply, I believe we need the help of God to get the most of our lives and the lessons we've learned.

On a lighter note, there's been some thunder as I've been composing this journal entry and some rain as I've spell checked it. I like it quite a bit! There hasn't been much, but I enjoy it all the same. I'll enjoy this cool, rainy weather while it's here and want it back when the hot, dry weather of summer comes.

With all that, enjoy your days and don't give up!


Changes to the Site and A New RSS Feed

Why, good morning! Sometimes I enjoy these late night postings, and changing the site a little, which I'll go through below.

The RSS Feed

Yep, I've got that, too. Just take the number off the page here and you'll see the link. If that page is removed, which is a matter of deleting the folder or renaming it to something different, it won't display anymore. So, head on down to the Journal Entries page in the navigation link, and you'll see it. Now, you can stay up to date with the latest, greatest posts I make!

Changes to the Footer

As you know from looking at the footer at the bottom of the page, there's a few different things that I have. One is a text page counter that keeps track of how many visitors there have been since the date the counter was initialized, that is, when the counters data was first written. I also have a hosted by Kirby, the copyright notice, and a page generation time. I've made a few different modifications to some of the internals and I'll go through them here, since I doubt any of it's a security risk.

The Page Counter

Previously, my page counter stored its files outside the web directory. Basically, that means that no one visiting the site would have the ability to see the files my simple counter creates. Unfortunately, this presented a bit of a portability problem, too. To mitigate that difficulty, I decided to rewrite the counter so that it stores its files within the same directories my content is in. This opens things up to the possibility of people accessing the counters files from the outside, but I'm not storing any information that would be risky. The only thing stored is the time the counter was first initialized, and a number indicating the number of visitors there have been to the page. It's a simple json file which works well with php.

And, to add a little note, I don't get too many page hits on my site. Well, that's okay.

The Page Generator

Page generated in 0.017 seconds.

No? Or is that not quite what you were expecting? Perhaps something more like this.

Page generated in 0.007 seconds.

Well, here's the reason for the change. The entire idea behind the page generator was to calculate how long, within a slight margin of error, it took for the page to load from beginning to end. Previously, I used what's called snippets to perform both tasks, to store the initial page loading value, then calculate and display the time it took for the page to load. Unfortunately, this didn't take into account how long it was taking to load the various files, classes, functions, and other such things from the Kirby content management system itself, so I modified the index file to set the initial starting micro time from php, rather than having the snippet do that. Basically, this means the page generation time is more accurate. However, it's not quite as accurate as I'd like it to be, but you can't have everything you want and take into account the time it takes for the data to be sent to the web server, the web server to execute the php module and parse the file through its engine, send all the data back to you, and finally close the connection. But hey, I'm probably off by, at most, 0.2 seconds, right? That's surely good enough.

Sitemap

Yep, I've got a sitemap back, and you can find it at my domain, slash sitemap.xml. So here's an example.
http://www.vrnw.org/sitemap.xml
Google indexes it once again, and so can you!

The Dynamic robots.txt

You've all heard of robots.txt, right? It's used to allow or disallow certain things from bots. Of course, some aren't nice and disregard it, and sometimes, little traps are put in place for them. They sure don't like it since, sometimes, they can get ban.

Anyhow, Kirby has a plugin available for it to generate the robots.txt file, just like the one I use for the sitemap, it's just a little different. Well, I've got that, too, and it works pretty well if I say so myself.

PHP Version Changes

PHP 7.0.0 will be coming out soon. Don't believe me? Check out the change log. The best feature is increased performance, and I've updated my server to use PHP 7.0.0 RC2, and shall continue updating it from this point on, remaining in the 7.X branch until it's updated to a later version.

Admittedly, I didn't notice any performance gains after I enabled opcache and set some values. Basically, opcache is a method of caching code in shared memory so PHP can reference that code without recompiling the script as it goes. So it'll refer to that code rather than the script itself, with certain values set such as when to refresh the cache and so forth.

Title Changes

Notice anything different in the title? Perhaps it's the addition of the Journal Entries title. Yep, I changed that, too.

Going through my snippets with Kirby, I made some changes, one of which is a variable that can be set, which will tell the script to display the parent title along with the page and site titles, or not. On most of my pages, it's set to true. That is, as most of the pages are the journal entries at the moment. I may find a way to modify this later to allow for things like recursive display of the parent title. So, if I had a stories sub page, a story, and a chapter, it could go something like this.

Variety Network | Stories | The Test Story | Chapter 1

The Cool Weather Is Here

Fall has arrived, or if you prefer, Autumn. This means cooler weather, and soon, a time change. Oh, joy.

Wrapping Things Up

Well, that's all I've got so far, can't think of much else to say. Accept, of course, to praise the Lord for the wonderful things I have to enjoy like shelter, the weather we've got, and the things I've been allowed to enjoy, even Kirby, this content management system. Why? Because I love playing around with it, but I wouldn't have that to do if the Lord hadn't created man kind in the first place.

So, with that, enjoy, and have fun!


The Cost of Honesty

Here I am again on a wonderful, cool evening, but, perhaps, not quite as optimistic as I usually am. Though this situation I detailed a little in the summary doesn't bother me most of the time, it does a little when I look at it. IN fact, going through the emails exchanged has given me a perspective on some things that, perhaps, I could have done better, so I'll go through them here.

The first message from the friend.

I'm not going to reveal this individuals name, nor will I post their emails. If the individual gives me permission I may, but I'll simply leave it as a friend for now. I'll have notes along with what was said on both sides.

The email exchange began on Sunday, November 15, at 06:47 PM with a perspective my friend sent me from another individual. In this message was detailed how this person loved the Pyramid Scheme video, and that changing the minds of people isn't a job either of them should do, which I can agree with. This person also stated that some don't want to be convinced to change their mind, which I can also agree with. However, I'd say that there's a difference between changing a mind and adequate research, along with a modicum of common sense. I'll go a bit into why this is important later.

This person went on to state that they were glad my friend was having positive conversations with another individual, who had apparently mellowed a bit from some previous conversations, that's how I gather that, at any rate. This other person had apparently become more supportive, which this person thought was great.

Comparing leading with product or opportunity was then brought up and good points were stated for each. Leading with product, which refers to having passion about a product you yourself own and use was said to be a great thing, and I can agree with that. There are definitely good things about that method, as you can introduce your knowledge on a product, but you don't want to push it on anyone, either.

Leading with opportunity was then talked about, stating that it was important to do to take advantage of Amway's compensation system, which involves you receiving compensation for those whom you can get to join under you, or something to that effect. You can check that out at the Amway Wiki, though I don't recommend Amway, and I'll go into why a bit later. It was then said that approaching those who express interest in that is wise, rather than trying to give the opportunity to others. This, I can agree with, and I could also agree with the fact that presenting the opportunity of Amway to those who are receptive to it could provide you with advantages, but anyone who either isn't receptive or chooses to research things a little deeper wouldn't want to join, and thus, you wouldn't get the advantages of the system.

Losing passion was also touched upon, and it was said that it happens. I know this from personal experiences. Passions come and go for me in programming, my Christian walk, etc, so that's fairly normal, I'd say.

It was also mentioned that Amway is meant to be something you do on the side, along with what you're doing for a living. Apparently, it's not meant to be a full time job or anything of the sort, which given the prices of products and other such things, along with the membership cost, etc, I could understand that.

My friend was advised that balancing interests would help to keep Amway fresh and exciting, which I have no doubt about. In my opinion, it's wanted to keep it fresh and exciting so you'll stay hooked into the system, which I'll detail a bit shortly.

The person who'd sent my friend a message then wrapped up his message and my friend wrote, telling me that it was comforting to know that others also lost and gained passion in things. I can understand that, as it can be comforting to go through things with another. My friend asked me if I'd ever lost passion in things stating that it was doubted as I'd seem to stick with things, unlike what my friend stated, that in and out of things is what my friend tends to do, accept for sticking with Amway and a passion for music.

My friend also wondered why it seemed to be a trend for people to drop out of things they get into, though I failed to address this in my message. It was also stated that my friend has slipped in their walk with God, which is perfectly normal. I've done that as well. The message then came to an end.

The second message, from me.

Since I wrote this, I'll quote it directly as it's not a problem. It was sent on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 02:17 AM, I was up early that morning. I'll be stating notes between paragraphs if necessary.

Hi,
I've had passion in Christianity and dropped out as well, so I'd say that's pretty normal. I can't immediately recall anything else I've had and lost interest in at the moment, but even so, with all the articles you've given me and such, I still think Amway is dishonest and a model of supposed business you don't want to be involved in. I'd still recommend you find a job for yourself and not be involved in anything like Amway. A job will be better and you'll actually make money from it, and will be paid for the work you do. Also, you'll be totally honest with folks, which is always a plus.

Blake

Some things to note. As I stated before, I failed to address the issue of the trend of people getting into things and dropping out. I focused on Amway and how I believe it to be dishonest, and didn't address that other issue. As far as people getting into things and dropping out goes, I believe they do so because they find something that looks good on the surface, get into it, find out it's not what they thought and doesn't meet their expectations, then leave it.

When I stated that my friend would actually make money with a job rather than using Amway, I was correct in that statement based on him telling me that, in actuality, when my friend looked into the financial situation, told me that the money received was very little when factoring in costs of various things, all of which I don't recall.

From my own opinion, I do believe Amway is a dishonest system. They claim that you're an independent business owner. In actuality, you depend on them for your products, the billing system, the site you have through them which is a generic thing that's simply re-branded for each person based on their name and perhaps a few other pieces of information. After all, your supposed independent business is powered by Amway, so when Amway falls, your business falls. It would seem that it's not independent after all, that, in fact, it depends on Amway for its operation. A true independent business isn't going to depend on this single system for its operation, but can diversify and move to other systems if one fails, and in my opinion, a good business model would be to have many such things available and standing bye, especially in the area of marketing and sails.

The dishonesty to others comes in when you tell them the business you have is your business. It isn't yours, it's Amway all the way through and through. In the sense that you own a business license it's yours, but everything else is Amway, so that's not being honest.

When I told my friend he'd be paid for the work done at a job, perhaps I didn't clarify that completely. When my friend is marketing and communicating with people, that isn't the way money is made with an Amway powered business. The money is made through sails, getting people to become their own supposed independent business owners under you and earning commissions from their sails. It's a handy system that tries to encourage promotion, participation, dependence on them, and gaining new members. In a job where you work for a business, however, you're paid for all that you do at a flat rate, unless the job is based off of how much you sell, or in assembly, how much work you're able to do. Other than those, and perhaps other exceptions I'm not aware of, you're generally paid at a flat rate that's reliable.

In hindsight, I focused on Amway perhaps a bit too much, and while I have strong feelings about it, perhaps stating what I did in the manor I did wasn't the wisest course of action. However, what's done is done and can't be changed. I also believe that I didn't explain things quite as well as I could have, though don't know if doing so would have made much of a difference.

The Third message, from my friend.

This message was sent on the same day at 03:20 AM. In it, my friend told me in a terse manor I interpreted to be angry, that it didn't matter what I thought. Looking back at these messages, I then wonder why my friend asked me what I thought of things, and has asked for my opinion of Amway and various subjects before. Perhaps, at that time, my friend simply referred to my thoughts on Amway and didn't care what I thought at that time. However, the manner in which the message was stated didn't appear to be apathetic, so I didn't actually believe that my friend didn't care as was stated.

The fourth message, from me.

This was written on the same day at 7:16 AM, by me. It took me a few hours of thought to come to the decision to write this, and for a while, I didn't know if I would.

Hi,
You have told me before in the past that you do care what I think, so I take your terse and harsh reaction as an impulsive and angry one, which further proves that you do, in fact, care about what I think on some level or another. I consider you a friend, and if any friend of mine is doing something I perceive might not be in their best interests, I'm going to help them in the only way I know how, I hope you'd do the same with your friends.

I still believe this one to be true. After all, if my friend didn't actually care about what I thought, why the harsh and angry response? On some level, my friend does care or the terse, angry reaction would have been a truly apathetic response that proved my friend really didn't care.

Also, I do believe Amway isn't a good thing to be involved in. I'm concerned for my friend being involved in such a thing, because I believe it's dishonest and I'd never advise anyone to take part in anything dishonest. If someone is, I'd want to help them by pointing out what I think and what my opinion is on the matter. It's up to them where to take it after that.

You are, of course, free to cut contact with me, and while it may bother me initially, it will only further serve to re-enforce that, on some level or another, you care about what I think. Any reaction but apathy would prove that, even the harshest, most hateful and hurtful reaction you could give me.

I tell you what I tell you because I care about you as a person, and while you may dislike certain things I may say, I don't say them out of any desire but that of wanting to help you.

I never want to be cruel in any way, only offer things that I think and believe to help someone. Despite everything that happened, even this far into the messages, I still believed that, and wanted to help. I also wanted to be polite and leave options open, and try and make it clear that my friend was free to make any choice desired, so I presented the option of cutting contact even though it was already there, though I made the unsaid option said.

I hope I've not misinterpreted your reaction in any way, and I hope you're still willing to contact me in the future.

Blake

I wanted to make sure I hadn't actually taken the reaction posted the wrong way. Perhaps I should have posted that first before the rest of it, and stated what I believed to be my interpretation of the message before the rest of it. Other than that reordering, though, I can't imagine much of a difference I could have made to that message.

The fifth message, from my friend.

This was written on the same day at 12:49 PM. It was very short and to the point, with the F word stated twice. My friend would make any decision desired, and forget me. That's stating it kindly.

The sixth message, from me.

I had a little over two hours to think of what to write back to my friend as a response, and sent this one at 03:13 PM.

Hi,
I never meant to give you orders and commands, and tell you what you must do, to be sure. I'm in perfect agreement with you. All people are free to do anything they desire, including yourself. I only give my recommendations, suggestions, and opinions, which you've told me before you were glad I did.

Given the tone of my friend's previous messages, I wanted to be clear that I was giving recommendations, suggestions, and opinions only. I certainly wasn't commanding my friend and giving him instructions or any kind of directions on what to do. My friend seemed to disagree, though, at least that's what the messages seemed to indicate.

You've certainly made my day a little interesting and different, so thanks for that, I appreciate it!

No reason to be rude, and it was true. These types of messages I don't receive every day. It gave me something to ponder, I worried about it, I decided what to do in relation to it, then I proceeded. It was a little interesting even if it was also nerve racking. Besides, it never hurts to thank people, and after getting over my initial worry, I laughed a bit at the message my friend had sent with the F word, which still seems quite silly to me. I didn't mention that to my friend, though, but I did think about it.

I'm curious, from the tone of your email, it sounds like you may not wish me to send you messages anymore. Could you let me know if you still want me to email you or not? If you don't want me to email you, then I shall never again send you an email, and will take that seriously, and will never send you another email message regardless of weather you send me messages. I must, as a Christian, keep my word and be honest, so please let me know what you'd like from me.

If you choose to respond and let me know, could you please use clear language that isn't cursing so both of us are absolutely clear on the meaning of your message, weather or not I should continue to email you. If you choose to respond in a way that may not be entirely clear, I'm very likely to interpret it how I understand it, which may not be how you understand it.

Thanks,
Blake

I'd left other methods of contact open should my friend choose to have me never send another message again through email, but I also wanted to make it clear that whatever my friend wanted from me, I would do, as I did state for my friend to let me know what was desired for me to do regarding contact, or lack of contact.

I think I wrote that message to my friend pretty well, and can't think of anything I could have changed in that message.

The final message, from my friend.

This was written at 6:07 PM, and I'm glad he didn't curse in the message. He honored what I asked of him, for which I'm appreciative. The message did make me sad, though, until I prayed and gave the situation over to God, who took it and my worries left. Even so, I still do feel some sadness and loss, though not nearly as much as I did after first receiving the message.

My friend made it clear that I'm not to contact in any way, and that hearing from me in any manner is not desired. In fact, my friend stated that my email was removed from contacts, along with my Skype, which I don't use often anyhow. My friend also stated I wasn't incorrect about the tone of the message sent, which I gather was referring to the message sent before this one.

The message I would have sent.

If I'd been permitted to send a final message, this is probably how it would have gone, and would probably have been sent a few minutes after the final message.

Hi,
I'm rather sad that we're parting ways like this, and that you don't want to hear from me in any manner ever again. I also think it's unfortunate that you seemed to see my suggestions, recommendations, opinions, and advice as more than the thoughts of me, but as things I demand you follow, at least, that's how things came across.

I will, however, honor what you told me, as I'd previously asked you to clarify what you wanted from me. I appreciate you being clear and not cursing, so both of us understand the message completely. I will never contact you again. If you contact me, just as you desired, I will not contact you since you told me you didn't want to hear from me again in any manner. That is unfortunate, but once again, I shall stick to my word and do as you desired me to do.

I hope your days go well, and I'll pray for you.

Blake

Final notes.

In my opinion, my friend was acting irrationally, angrily, and with great hostility even though I made it clear I was only trying to help in the only way I know how, and that, being my friend, I would desire to help, and would do so. I thought I was being as honest as I could be based on what I believe and what my opinions are, and thought I was making that clear. My friend seemed to take what I said as things that should be done, which isn't at all how I intended it to be.

I've become more assertive and confident in my Christian walk, and in standing up for honesty and integrity both within myself and as my opinions to others. This is where following Christ has led me. A lost friendship. Jesus Christ tells us to count the cost before following him, and though I didn't end a friendship, my friend made that choice. I still think it's sad, and even more so since, by the admission, I shouldn't even contact my friend if I'm contacted, as my friend stated that wasn't desired in any way. I took that seriously as I said I would, and won't reach out to my friend in any manner under any circumstance. That's what was wanted of me, apparently, but it isn't something I'll enjoy. That, however, is the consequence of the words written to me.

I hope I've not misrepresented the position of my friend, or the individual who's message my friend sent to me. I'm open to any corrections and will revise things if needed.

As I always am, I'm open to any thoughts or opinions by anyone, even rude ones. It will make my day interesting, even if there's some discomfort to go along with it. Don't abuse the comments system, though.

I hope this has given some people something interesting to think about, I've certainly thought about it in writing this, though wanted to get it out there. I felt it's something I ought to do, though can't exactly explain why.

Enjoy your days, everyone, and think hard before committing yourself to following Christ and turning from your sin, but even so, I recommend it as it is true.