Ted's Tidbits

The Original Heresy?

The Original Heresy?

Scot McKnight:

The theme of burial with Christ is that we are raised to be one. The original heresy was to cut up the body of Christ and hack it to pieces.

What if the heretics were not only in the church, but the churches themselves were the ones committing the heresy?

Does your church sign advertise oneness in Christ or difference from other churches? How does it do so? Does your church website market your distinctiveness or your union with all churches in Christ?

The Treason Card

The Treason Card

Andrew Sullivan:

It is a sign of a movement that has so lost the narrative it can only smear or ignore those with whom is disagrees -- rather than engage them.

An Advent Thought From Megan

An Advent Thought From Megan

Megan Howard:

Easter is the holiday where we celebrate the fact that Jesus finished the work he came to do, the work that changed the world. But I also think there is good reason for Christmas to be the "bigger" holiday. It is the holiday of mystery and wonder. The holiday where we celebrate not what Jesus has done, but the holiday where we celebrate hope for what he could do. The baby Jesus is not a symbol of accomplishment, but a symbol of potential, and potential holds a great mystery.

The View From Nowhere

The View From Nowhere

Jay Rosen:

If in doing the serious work of journalism--digging, reporting, verification, mastering a beat--you develop a view, expressing that view does not diminish your authority. It may even add to it. The View from Nowhere doesn't know from this. It also encourages journalists to develop bad habits. Like: criticism from both sides is a sign that you're doing something right, when you could be doing everything wrong.

I am more and more of the opinion that opinionated reporting is more honest than “impartial” reporting. I don’t believe that one can truly be impartial and that anyone who claims to be is not being honest.

If someone has spent a lifetime covering an industry or topic or company or whatever, that makes them something of an expert on the subject. Someone whose opinion we should value.

He Has a Dream

He Has a Dream

Dan Bouchelle:

Whether you like it, love it, fear it or loathe it, the dream below is representative of many in a generation raised in our churches who have stuck it out but are struggling to live out their faith in our current setting.

What follows in the post it a list of attributes of the church this young minister wants to lead. Definitely go read the full thing, but I’ll pick out a few:

  • There is no building, but the foundation is the love of Christ
  • There is no pulpit, but Scripture is opened and taught in living rooms, coffee shops, bars and parks
  • Ethnic diversity is the norm
  • No topic off the table for discussion--a "safe place" for any issue

The Four Types of Christian Christmas Parents

The Four Types of Christian Christmas Parents

John Crist:

The "Giving-Gifts-With-Subtle-Hints" Parents: When I was 13 I got deodorant for Christmas. Thanks mom. When did you realize I should start wearing deodorant? April? And you decided to wait nine months because you figured it would be less awkward that just setting it on my sink one morning and saying, "Use this." It was more awkward at Christmas. Trust me.

Lessons from TileStack: What Does '#Discover' Mean?

So, last week Twitter debuted a new interface with the stated intent of simplifying the experience. This new interface has drawn criticism from many bloggers. Most of the discussion centered around Twitter organizing their user interface under two categories: Connect and Discover.

Their PR explains it this way (emphasis mine):

We've simplified the design to make it easier than ever to follow what you care about, connect with others and discover something new.

The problem with Connect and Discover is that they are not words people use to describe routine actions. Instead they are vague words that convey a range of meanings instead of describing specific activities1.

I actually get where they’re coming from. There is a perceived problem that people don’t really know how to use Twitter. In the old days of boxed software, this would be a documentation issue. In the post-manual world that we live in today, the user interface is to blame.

The answer is to simplify, which means we need less options. Before there were @replies, #hashtags, lists, search, followers and people you follow. I can imagine the meeting where someone asks:

What if we could reduce all those features to two sections. Two is less than six, so that makes it simpler which makes it better. We just need to name the two options in a way that conveys the full power behind them.

That’s how you come up with Connect and Discover. These are abstract concepts, not product features. To someone who already knows what Twitter is capable of, Connect and Discover are great words that succinctly distill the full potential of Twitter. To someone that doesn’t know anything about Twitter, these words mean nothing. They need to be explained in the context of Twitter.

The reason I know this is because Josh Gertzen and I made the same mistake with TileStack.

We needed a name for the button that brought up the stack editor.2 We wanted to convey to the user that launching the editor was a safe operation, that any changes they made would not be applied to the stack they were viewing.3 For that reason, we didn’t want to use ‘Edit’, because ‘Edit’ made it sound like you could modify something that someone else had made. We had many long conversations and debates about what to call the button. The thesaurus was consulted. Finally we chose a word4: ‘Customize this stack’.

The idea was that ‘Customize’ implied that you were creating a custom version of the stack you were modifying instead of modifying the original. This was the exact behavior we wanted to encourage: see a cool stack, make some changes and save a new copy with your changes. We really wanted to grow a community of re-mixers.

There was just one problem: people didn’t click the button. We knew this not by using fancy analytics tools, but by the questions we were asked by email or in our forums. One of the top questions we got was a feature request for a stack editor. We were completely befuddled. The stack editor was the core of what we had built, and most people didn’t even know it existed!

Back to the drawing board. The problem with ‘Customize’ was that it always implied that the intent was to make a new creation. Early on, there was no community. People just wanted to upload their HyperCard stacks and edit them in the browser. We needed something that would convey this ability as well as the fact that it is still a safe operation on someone else’s public stack.

After another long round, we finally settled on ‘Inspect’. The word sounds pretty harmless. You’re just looking around to see how something worked. There’s also the notion of an Inspector Window which was essentially what our editor was.5

Do you care to guess what the impact of that change was? How about nothing? We ended up making a series of videos showing how to use the site, which did help a lot, but we still got questions about where to find the stack editor.

To be fair, both Customize and Inspect are actually pretty concrete words, but they were the wrong words. How do I know they were the wrong words? I didn’t use them myself. I would always say Edit. In fact, the tool palette that appeared was called the Editor (not Customizer or Inspector). Those words were forced because the natural word wasn’t deemed to be good enough. This just exposes that we weren’t as smart as we thought we were. Eventually we broke down and just called the button ‘Edit6


  1. When was the last time you went to Twitter to Connect
  2. By default, stacks were loaded in play mode. If a user wanted to modify the stack (or see how it was built), they needed to launch the editor. 
  3. You could launch the editor on any public stack on the site, so that you could see how they worked. 
  4. Err... phrase. 
  5. Without the window. 
  6. If you edited someone else's stack, we indicated that it was a safe operation by changing the Save button to a Save As button. 

So, American detainees are non-citizens?

So, American detainees are non-citizens?

Dave Jones:

But, remember what we're talking about here. The whole controversy is about detaining Americans, captured on American soil. So, when Scott Brown says that trying these folks in court would "award detainees the same rights as U.S. citizens," he is evidently saying that once you are detained, you are no longer a citizen.

Blessed are the entitled?

Blessed are the entitled?

Rachel Held Evans:

...we've got to have a "Merry Christmas" banner in front of every parade and an inflatable manger scene outside of every courthouse... or else we'll make a big stink about it in the name of Jesus. ... This is a very strange way to honor Jesus, "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped...but made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant." (Philippians 2:8) ... Jesus wasn't embraced by the government. He was crucified by it.

On the impracticality of a cheeseburger.

On the impracticality of a cheeseburger.

Waldo Jaquith:

Further reflection revealed that it's quite impractical--nearly impossible--to make a cheeseburger from scratch. Tomatoes are in season in the late summer. Lettuce is in season in spring and fall. Large mammals are slaughtered in early winter. The process of making such a burger would take nearly a year, and would be wildly expensive--requiring a trio of cows--and demand many acres of land. There's just no sense in it.

via Daring Fireball

A Christmas Carol As Resistance Literature

A Christmas Carol As Resistance Literature

Richard Beck:

O Holy Night, it turns out, was a song of political resistance and protest. Imagine Americans singing in the years leading up to the Civil War the lyrics: "Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; And in His name all oppression shall cease." O Holy Night is a political protest. A Christmas carol as resistance literature. This is as it should be. Advent is a call to Christian anarchism...

Awesome! I love learning things like this.

The abusive teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl hurt both women and children

The abusive teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl hurt both women and children

Rachel Held Evans:

Why bring this to your attention? Because the Pearls are inexplicably popular in certain Christian circles, and abuse in the name of God must be spoken against. If your church is considering using books by the Pearls as part of its curriculum, please say something. If you see friends or family employing their tactics, confront them. This is not simply a matter of different parenting methods or relationship styles—like Sears vs. Ezzo, or cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers, or complementarianism vs. egalitarianism—it’s a matter of abuse. There can be no more beatings, no more deaths…especially not in the name of Christ.

I’m about to become a parent, so I’ve been reading as much on the subject as I can. Just about all the authors disagree with each other on some points, so I’m reading to backfill my mind so I can come up with my own style. I like parts of almost everything I’ve read, but every once in a while I see something that is just shocking.

What I Learned About Dallas From Watching Top Chef: Texas

What I Learned About Dallas From Watching Top Chef: Texas

Jason Heid collects some choice quotes from various national media outlets discussing last night’s episode of Top Chef: Texas which was filmed in Dallas. It’s a wonderful collection of gems such as

What we learned here is that rich people in Dallas are freaking weird.

Thank you Bravo, for bringing this wonderful attention to my beloved city.

You Are Facebook's Product: That's Why You Don't Pay to Use it

You Are Facebook’s Product: That’s Why You Don’t Pay to Use it

Adrian Hon:

... it's not as if you pay to use Facebook. You're the product, and the advertisers are the buyers!

via Dave Winer

How Does SOPA Threaten Stack Overflow

How Does SOPA Threaten Stack Overflow

Joel Spolsky

If we took down everything somebody wanted us to take down, the Internet would be worse. Right now, under the DMCA, we require the person making the complaint to send us a complete DMCA take down notice. ... We respond by notifying the person who posted the material, giving them a chance to make a case for why the material is non-infringing. ... The SOPA dramatically alters the careful balance in favor of "alleged" copyright holders.

In other words, it will make the Internet worse and put good sites like this out of business.

Pizza Hut Now Serving Vegetables

Pizza Hut Now Serving Vegetables

Nick Rallo:

Before we all stuffed our bodies with Thanksgiving last week, Congress declared pizza a vegetable. Only not really. Tomato paste, which is obviously associated with pizza, was declared a vegetable. ... Meanwhile, in San Antonio, where the above photo was taken (via Reddit's San Antonio page), Pizza Hit is enjoying Congress's findings.

Pizza Hut: Now Serving Vegetables

So You Want to be an Entreprenuer

So You Want to be an Entreprenuer

Dave Winer:

I'm afraid the adults are not levelling with the young folk. And we should be. Even the universities glorify the idea of being the next Zuck. That's like betting your future on winning the lottery. And you're not going to win the lottery. And you're not the next Zuck.

Whatever Works For You

Whatever Works For You

Marco Arment:

Previous-me tried to persuade everyone to switch to my setup, but I now know that it's not worth the effort. I'll never know someone else's requirements, environment, or priorities as well as they do. I don't know shit about Windows or Outlook or architecture. You should use whatever works for you. And I no longer have the patience or hubris to convince you what that should be. All I can offer is one data point: what I use, and how it works for me.

My thoughts exactly. His post could have been a page right out of my own journal.

"The End of Local Radio"? Reports Say Clear Channel May Be About to Go All "Robotics."

“The End of Local Radio”? Reports Say Clear Channel May Be About to Go All “Robotics.”

Robert Wilonsky:

Clear Channel owns and operates six radio stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market: KDGE-FM, KDMX-FM, KEGL-FM, KFXR-AM, KHKS-FM and KZPS-FM. But several times this morning, Friends of Unfair Park have sent this piece from Time Out Chicago that says at any moment, any or all of them could lose their local voices.

Rick Perry's Balanced-Budget Illusion

Rick Perry’s Balanced-Budget Illusion

Jim Schutze:

...if you want to know what a state really owes, you have to add up all of what it owes to its own pension funds and other public obligations, as well as gimmicks like the ones reported in the Star-Telegram. When you do that for Texas, we're in the top five debtor states in the country with California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. We're actually in 48th place -- with California in 50th as the most debt-ridden. Our debt per capita ranking is not great -- 29th place.

And Perry’s holding this up as a model of a well balanced budget? Remind me again, why we didn’t tell him to “Adios, mofo” in the last gubernatorial election.

Ten years of Windows XP

Ten years of Windows XP

Peter Bright:

But in many ways, the thing that cemented Windows XP's status wasn't Windows XP itself: it was the lack of any successor. Microsoft's Longhorn project, an ambitious plan to radically rework Windows, with an all-new set of APIs and a database-like filesystem, was delayed and ultimately abandoned entirely. Windows Vista, a massively scaled back, more conservative release, eventually arrived in 2006, but by this time Windows XP had become so dominant that users, particularly business users, didn't want a new operating system. That Windows Vista had trouble in its early days, thanks to its steeper hardware demands, its polarizing appearance, and display driver issues--mirroring, in many ways, Windows XP's own introduction--just served to entrench Windows XP further. Business users stuck with Windows XP, and Windows Vista struggled to ever make a serious dent in its predecessor's market share, peaking at just 19 percent in the final days before Windows 7's release.

Nest: The Learning Thermostat

Nest: The Learning Thermostat

If Apple were to make a thermostat, it would be like this.

UPDATE: It’s made by the guy who created the iPod.

Quicksilver Roars

Quicksilver Roars

Solid update to a great productivity tool that, although I’ve used it for years, I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of it’s potential.

On Parenthood

On Parenthood

Jeff Atwood:

As an adult, you may think you've roughly mapped the continent of love and relationships. You've loved your parents, a few of your friends, eventually a significant other. You have some tentative cartography to work with from your explorations. You form ideas about what love is, its borders and boundaries. Then you have a child, look up to the sky, and suddenly understand that those bright dots in the sky are whole other galaxies.

Posts like this both excite and freak me out. My Henry is coming at the end of this year, and the only thing I seem to know is that I don’t really know what I’m in for.

Talk the Talk: Mayor Mike's Pals Shovel Up the BS at Council Retreat

Talk the Talk: Mayor Mike’s Pals Shovel Up the BS at Council Retreat

Jim Schutze:

I feel sorry for the rest of the city council having to sit through this kind of goofy-ass bullshit. I wish we could have a mayor who knows how to be mayor instead of how to do Ouija-board tricks for out-of-it corporate Moonies still high from their last group herbal massage and martini hours.

Schutze sure has a way with words.