Ted's Tidbits

Two Guys From Andromeda are Back

Two Guys From Andromeda are Back

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Amazon settles sales tax fight with Texas comptroller

Amazon settles sales tax fight with Texas comptroller

Ross Ramsey:

Amazon.com will start collecting sales taxes from Texas customers this summer and agreed to make capital investments of $200 million and create 2,500 jobs in the state over the next four years, Comptroller Susan Combs announced this morning. In return, the state will drop its efforts to collect back sales taxes from the company. ... With the new deal, the company will start collecting sales taxes on July 1.

Reciprocal and Sustainable Community

Reciprocal and Sustainable Community

Ann and Derran Reese:

However, I am becoming a bigger believer in the idea that the most significant cause for poverty is out (or at least my) unwillingness to live in reciprocal, self-sacrificing community with the "other". I create poverty when I grasp on tightly to what is mine. I create it by holding onto the differences between "us" and "them." I create the poor because I do not see them as my brother or sister. What the world needs is a people who hold onto things loosely in order to live in reciprocal and sustainable community.

The Apostle John put it this way:

How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

[1 John 3:17-18][1], New Revised Standard Version

Don't Let Business Lobbyists Kill the Post Office

Don’t Let Business Lobbyists Kill the Post Office

Conventional wisdom says that the US Postal Service is going broke because it has an out of date business model, and that it is a waste of government resources.

Matt Taibbi reports:

But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers' Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees -- and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.

The impact of this legislation?

The new law forced the postal service to come up with about $5.5 billion a year for the ten years following the bill's passage. In 2006, before those payments kicked in, the USPS generated a small profit. Not surprisingly, the USPS is now basically broke.

Report Text Message Spam to AT&T

Report Text Message Spam to AT&T

Glenn Fleishman:

  1. Bring up the text message in Messages and be sure not to click any embedded URLs in the message.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap the empty circular (radio-style) button to the left of the unwanted message. The Forward button activates.
  4. Tap the Forward button.
  5. Enter 7726 (the numeric equivalent of the letters S, P, A, and M on a telephone keypad) and tap Send.
  6. AT&T responds with a message asking you to send the number from which the message originated (this and the spam report are cost-free if you have a limited message plan).

Dallas PD intends to use license-plates readers to catch criminals now and gather "information" for use later

Dallas PD intends to use license-plates readers to catch criminals now and gather “information” for use later

Robery Wilonsky:

...Last summer First Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez told the city council it also intends to use license plate recognition cams to "locate individuals owning outstanding City of Dallas fines and fees by identifying their vehicles on Dallas streets and then posting notices on vehicles that may have outstanding bills with the Dallas Courts offices." None of which sits well with at least one local defense attorney.

“Will you always believe in Jesus, Mama?”

Anonymous:

Part of me wishes I could offer him the certainty of fundamentalism I learned as a child, that I could just pressure him into faith by making him afraid of hell and the possibility that Jesus is coming back at any moment. It would feel a lot more secure to hear my child assert, "Jesus is the one true God" instead of "I want to become a Buddhist." Yet I know at it was these realities that nearly destroyed my faith when I discovered there was a bigger world, and I won't do that to my son. If Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world, then he is also the Savior of my children. I can teach them about him. I can bring his Love into our home.

I wonder how I will handle these types of conversations with my son.

The Case Against Google

The Case Against Google

Mat Honan:

If it can't keep its promises, if it can't avoid resorting to trickery, if it can't keep itself from subverting the power of its search engine for commercial ends, and on top of all that if it can't even deliver the highest quality search results at a default setting--the most basic thing people have come to expect from Google, the very thing its name has become synonymous with--why should you trust it with your personal data?

Do we really love people who aren't Christian?

Do we really love people who aren’t Christian?

Jon Acuff:

We think we do. We think we're doing a good job at that, but how do you really show someone love? You spend time with them. You stand with them. You be with them. I think that's a big part of what love looks like.

Big & Bright chosen as theme for 2012 Fair

Big & Bright chosen as theme for 2012 Fair

Big Tex:

The State Fair of Texas(R) has selected Big and Bright as its theme for the upcoming 2012 season, which begins Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 21.

Is it too early to start getting excited about the Fair?

Leading the way will be a Chinese Lantern Festival featuring illuminated and animated displays as large as 50 feet high and 300 feet long while fairgoers visiting Cotton Bowl Plaza will be entertained with an all new production of lights and graphics displayed on the facade of the historic Cotton Bowl stadium.

205+ days until it opens. I can’t wait!!!

Mr. Happy Man

Mr. Happy Man

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Mr. Happy Man from Matt Morris Films on Vimeo.

'Free The Network' trailer

‘Free The Network’ trailer

http://player.ooyala.com/player.js?width=560&deepLinkEmbedCode=dvcHFtMzrMoW8p90W2PneMAROLXLil3E&embedCode=dvcHFtMzrMoW8p90W2PneMAROLXLil3E&height=328

Mobile Sites vs. Apps: The Coming Strategy Shift

Mobile Sites vs. Apps: The Coming Strategy Shift

Jakob Nielsen:

...the second strategy question is: Should you produce a mobile website or develop special mobile apps? The answer to this question today is quite different from what it will likely be in the future.

tl;dr: Mobile apps are king today, but mobile websites are the future.

via TThor

Saint Valentine

Saint Valentine

Wikipedia:

The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in the Nurembrg Chronicle(1943); alongside the woodcut portrait of Valentine, the text states that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to the prisoner -- until Valentine tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death.

Happy Valentines Day!

The Remaking of Vickery Meadow

The Remaking of Vickery Meadow

Leslie Minora:

They fled some of the world's most dangerous places, only to land in one of Dallas'. Slowly and unsurely, they're making it their own.

I'll Fly Away

I’ll Fly Away

Richard Beck:

Because here's the deal, does I'll Fly Away make any sense when it's sung by rich people of power and privilege? I mean, what the heck are you flying away from? Life in suburbia? The Caramel Macchiatos at Starbucks? The vacations at the beach? The fact that you have clean water, indoor plumbing, central heating/air, and two cars? ... So of course when the privileged sing the song it sounds theologically shallow. The privileged shouldn't be trying to fly away. They should be worrying about the injustices at the gate. ... In sum, I'm back to the realization that Christianity sounds different--theology, hymnody, and the bible itself--when heard from the margins of society. What doesn't make sense at the centers of power, prosperity and privilege often make a while lot of sense on the periphery.

The Worst Tech Awards Show Ever

The Worst Tech Awards Show Ever

John C. Dvorak:

It's all very superficial and annoying. Awards, however, are often designed to be slightly controversial and draw attention. Otherwise, nobody would write about them. It's part of the game. So, a few editors decide on stupid nominees, bad winners, and weird anomalies, typically over lunch. Decades ago, I was in such a meeting and one of the managers rigged a specific award because he was getting laid by the "winning" company's PR representative. Whatever works.

Buddy Rich Impossible Drum Solo

He may not be your kind of guy, but just watch this video of him playing up there without all the assistance and he will definitely show you what it’s like.

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via @CoffeeGeek

What is a Just War?

What is a Just War?

Andrew P. Napolitano

The problem with most wars is that they are more strategic and adventurist than they are just.

via @southern__bread

The Illusion of Privacy

The Illusion of Privacy

Tal Givoly:

What happens when people have the "illusion of privacy"? Naturally, they feel more comfortable in sharing information, uploading photos and videos online, etc. Once they feel more comfortable about doing so, they do it more often. This, obviously, is the intention of Facebook, and many other corporations.

via Dave Winer

The Soterian Gospel as Selfish

The Soterian Gospel as Selfish

Scot McKnight:

Instead of having a doxological orientation (how does this bring glory to God) or a christological orientation (what does this say about Jesus, King and Lord) or a theocentric orientation (how does this all reveal God), we too often judge whether something is good by asking selfish pragmatics: How does this help me?!

Sh*t Dallas People Say

Sh*t Dallas People Say

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They Were Right (And Wrong) About The Slippery Slope

They Were Right (And Wrong) About The Slippery Slope

Rachel Held Evans:

It was easier before, when the path was wide and straight. But, truth be told, I was faking it. I was pretending that things that didn't make sense made sense, that things that didn't feel right felt right. To others, I appeared confident and in control, but faith felt as far away as a friend who has grown distant and cold. Now every day is a risk ... but the view is better, and, for the first time in a long time, I am fully engaged in my faith.

When asked which command was the greatest, Jesus said:

'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment.

[Matthew 22:37-38][1], New Revised Standard Version

I take this to mean that God does not want us to check our brains in at the door. He demands our whole mind. That includes the part that asks questions, the part that thinks rationally. He wants our whole heart. That includes the part that hurts when people suffer and cries when he realizes he was part of the problem. We must ask the hard questions, use the brains he gave us to make sense of this world, and use the talents he gave us to change the parts of the world that make no sense.

Why are software development task estimations regularly off by a factor of 2-3?

Why are software development task estimations regularly off by a factor of 2-3?

Michael Wolfe:

Let's take a hike on the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles to visit out friends in Newport Beach...

via Marco Arment

Pressing For Decisions

Pressing For Decisions

Scot McKnight:

...twelve ways revivalism's theories of conversion have shaped and permeated evangelicalism:
  1. Conversion is equated with salvation
  2. There is an emphasis on human choice and decision. It's all about the will.
  3. Conversion is seen as punctiliar, something that happens all at once, can be dated and marked and known.
  4. Revivalism is ambivalent about the intellect and is often anti-intellectual.
  5. Conversion becomes an individual transaction with God, apart from the faith community/church.
  6. Revivalism is ambivalent about or even anti-sacramental. (Including baptism.)
  7. For revivalism, conversion is easy and painless and certainly not costly. "Just accept Christ today."
  8. Among revivalists, evangelism is reduced to techniques.
  9. Revivalism pushes that God has no grandchildren, but is ambivalent about second-generation Christian nurturance into conversion and faith.
  10. Revivalism has at times struggled with connections between conversion, baptism and the Holy Spirit.
  11. The church's mission is to obtain conversions.
  12. Revivalism focuses on the after-life with minimal reference and orientation to this world.