Take No Thought for Tomorrow

I have adopted the policy of enjoying the day that I’ve been given. I do my best not to have regrets about past decisions, nor to relive things I could have done better. I don’t spend time in the future – despite how much my life and technology is a push there. I’m quite consumed with being content in the day that I’ve been given.

I hold that God rules the past, present, and future equally. Thing is, only He exists in all three time-spaces, because He exists outside of time’s boundaries. To us, He’s given us the present. The present is a gift – and one which I choose to spend every day unwrapping until the day is over. Then I can look back and smile because I’ve enjoyed His gift.

In light of saying all of that, I do not have this down. And, in reading about Matt Chandler (via Yahoo), I can see that I’ve got a long way to go before I truly live each day contending for His Kingdom, taking no thought for today’s needs or tomorrow’s cares.

Matthew 6:25-33 (ESV)

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

To the Chandler family, thanks for the very timely and humbling lesson. I’ll be adding you to my prayers.

Matt Chandler is pastor of The Village Church in Texas. Video updates are posted via the pastor’s blog at the website.

Living Mobile-Only (or Mobile-Mainly)

I was just asked these questions over at Brighthand. My message was a bit too long and I ended up having to snip out the ending part, but I wanted to post it all in full here as I think that the perspective that I have on mobile, and living from a mobile, is clearly explained in this piece. First, his questions, and then my response:

1. You have mentioned how your laptop (?) died and it was at that point you decided. out of want/need that you would do as much as you could on your Mobile. Is that still the case? Do you not use a Home Desktop?

2. You have mentions various hurdles and trials along you transition to a more Mobile Lifestyle? Would you mind naming a few of the difficulties you encountered? Was it Screen size? Memory Storage? etc?

Per question #1:
When my laptop died, it was my personal laptop. I was working as a contractor and had a desktop and tablet PC provided by the client (the tablet was for experimental purposes). I found that other than my really lengthy and complicated blog posts, that the Treo 650 and IR keyboard worked great – Spring 2006 I believe that was.

I received a desktop from a friend many months after that, but it was always more of a hassle to use – besides being an older P3 model, I move around often, and therefore waiting until I got in front of a desktop for anything was in my opinion a waste of computing tech. I pushed myself off of it not long after getting to Charlotte. It just wasn’t used except for ripping music off of CDs to put on my N800 or smartphone.

Right now, I use my work laptop when I’m under heavier loads to read/post – such as right now. I’ve been writing several posts for Mobile Ministry Magazine, doing Twitter, reading/listening to a few videos, and IMing. All of which are possible on my mobile – some easier than others. My N97 was streaming last.fm a little bit ago, and sometimes serves as the modem for this laptop.

Per question #2:
The first challenge is perception. I had to get over the fact that the mobile wasn’t keeping me from being productive, that it was totally my perception on computing. And while I had tried going mobile only before with the Treo, it was when I had to that those perceptions were totally broken.

The other challenge us (usually) hardware related. Some mobiles are better than others in terms of being a mobile center. If the device doesn’t handle several running applications well – like my N97 from time to time – then those crashes limit how much you can do.

Software wise its two-fold: applications have to be sufficient enough to keep a stable – if not slightly neutered – sense of productivity and accessories have to be able to use the native OS as simply as possible. To this end, my N95 handled using a wireless keyboard better as the OS was designed for non-touch, and so using a keyboard with it was pretty simple. I even learned new shortcuts around the OS. With the N97, much of that has been taken away – hence I have to pick my spots. Devices like the iPhone or N900 have non-existent or varying degrees of issues, but all have some compromise – they are designed to be mobile first.

Other struggles have been web-based – Flash is a kicker here sometimes, though the N97 does this fairly well. Updates can be quirky with non Symbian devices – Nokia does OTA firmware/OS updates better than anyone as in most cases you don’t need an attending PC. Backups depend on the OS, Symbian used to have a backup feature built-into the File Manager (handy); with online services though this is less a concern for some.

The other issues are enterprise related. For some reason, not every MS Exchange account is created equal. Some I could do Exchange syncing easily, others I had to opt for IMAP/POP for email and stumble on sending emails (servers on their end not configured right). Reading intranets can sometimes be a problem. And some companies just don’t allow you to bring your own device, even when you can show them they don’t have a hardware/device limitation towards administration.

All in all though, I like going mobile. Its fun to be freed from a laptop or desktop. These larger OSes use more power, processes, and generally are too heavy for most of what people would like to do. Yes, I could get along with local storage and browser-based apps on a laptop – I don’t do games. Everything can be simpler, and smartphones really point that direction. The iPad is pointing in a similar one.

this is long I know…

Last point, the Mobile Web Server piece is really a step up from just being mobile. Its not a thing of just accessing your device over any web browser, but its the ability to securely say who can access what about you when you choose, not when a 3rd party does. That ability to control your information on a mobile is empowering, and makes me wonder a lot about what people think when they don’t read the terms of service to every service/app they give information to willingly. I had hoped that the mobile web server idea would have caught on faster – but not at this time. People aren’t ready for that level of control just yet.

Hope that helps, and sorry for the length. Going mobile-only is indeed filled with compromises and benefits, but it usually boils down to how much control over your computing experience do you want, and how much friction towards getting things done will you accept.

Another One of Those Responses

I sometimes wish that I could push the MMM queue faster, because there are times when other comments or posts come from other websites, and I’ve got responses or similar thoughts that would be great to hit on. I can’t (won’t) do that though because the times are assigned for a reason. And what happens between the creation of the post and the time its published leaves room for reflection, correction, and considerations that I might not have seen before hand.

So is the case with this post (Obama, Community, and Technology) which was forwarded to me through a brother-in-Christ at Twitter. There’s more on this I need to reflect to, even after the item I speak of publishes at MMM. I’ve left this comment on that piece until then, and maybe by the time mine publishes, there will be something of a better discussion to be had:

Was just pointed to this via a friend over at Twitter – someone I’ve never met in person but would totally define the friendship as that of a brother in Christ.

Also, my mobile phone is my laptop, phone, music player, cable box, camera, etc., so my use is a bit closer to Obama’s in some cases.

To your question:
Is it possible to be a faithful Christian without regularly participating in biblical community?  Why or why not?

If you are defining biblical community as “a fitting of like-minded, believers who are accountable to one another and utilize their relationship with one another to bolster their relationship with God and community” then the technology doesn’t matter at all. It is as its always been, a window [or door] towards intimacy.

What the article that you quote doesn’t, or cannot, get into is the depth of Obama’s relationship to those people whom he does remain accountable with. Nor can we, despite media’s ability to figure out such things, determine who and how often he engages within accountable fellowship – sorry, we just don’t get that lens into his or anyone’s life.

A faithful Christian is and has always been one who devotes their life to God through believing on Jesus Christ and this faith becomes manifested in the love and depth of relationships they forge with persons around them (the 2 greatest commandments). How they forge these relationships should never come into question – because if we are going to use the oft quoted “forsake not the gathering…” verse, then we need to understand that it was that they were denying accountability with the Body, not forging it through a different lens.

As a tool, mobile and web allow *some* people to maintain intimate relationships that would otherwise not be possible. These tools also allow people to find their way towards God where traditional media and methods have not been so successful. The implications of self-seeking with web and mobile have yet to be determined, but its probably going to be something along the lines of another revolution for the Body. This can only be assessed when the mobile and web have met their plateau – not when those persons to whom the tool isn’t native ascribe former methods to them. Assessment has always been done in this wise of every biblical trend.

If we want to foster biblical community, then we need to teach accurately the implications of the tools used and the culture lived – both of these are changing drastically from former generations. Biblical community, as I defined above, hasn’t changed in definition, only in how its being lived out. This is natural for the faith (its not always been orthodox), and will be continual until Jesus returns…

…it makes a lot of sense to understand the intersection of faith and mobile tech… its something the Body should do more often for everything that intersects with this beautiful faith.

Fixation with Skype

Ok, so what’s the deal with me and Skype? I have kind of mentioned it a lot. And its one of the reasons I purchased the N97.

It’s simple really, as a VoIP service its quite solid. Its not too expensive, and I’m willing to pay for some featues. And it spreads my carrier use to a non-major carrier (AT&T). Flexibility is key in mobile, Skype gives me that. Now, where’s that native Skype piece the N97 was to have?

Innovation is Being Incubated Here

Just finished changing my signatures at a few places online as I’m preparing for the move from Nokia’s Mobile Web Server to (a few) places. Just wanted to bookmark one of the signatures though as I think that it speaks volumes towards where I have been and where I am going:

For one reason or another, I see the moving on from the MWS as another in those times in my life where I’m going to be forced some to produce where it has been painful to do so before. I look forward to what innovations will come out of these next moments. It should be pretty exciting.

Let’s Play Computing of the Future Today

Figured that I’d carry the Apple Wireless keyboard, and use it to post impressions and be productive from my smartphone today. You know, this wasn’t possible before Apple announced the iPad yesterday (insert sarcasm-mark. Yea. Let me know when I can not spend $$$ on accessories to type (dock connector for a keyboard, come on) or plug in additional memory. The future is simpler than I use my mobile today… ok, if Steve says so.

Reactions on Paul Shirley’s Piece

I’m deliberately now getting to this. I read his letter/post a few hours ago after hearing about it this afternoon. It merited some thought, because my initial reaction was that I agreed, and felt totally repentant.

You see, for the lack of polish that his statement was – and the resulting consequences all around the web and through his employer ESPN towards it – Shirley spoke with the kind of conviction that demands that he changes, we change, and that Haiti changes. For all of the talk about the history of Haiti, what we (USA) have enabled there in terms of the quality of life, etc., we have a great responsibility not to be so apathetic that we throw money at issues without addressing them.

Maybe the curse that Pat Roberson spoke of really needs to shine on us as an indictment (versus shining on him only, or us distancing ourselves from his comment). Because, if we really cared those people, we would have been more preventive from the knowledge of previous disasters so that this one wouldn’t have been so devastating (or maybe it would have because in trying to prevent, and something occurring, we would have had our ego crushed by God’s actions that don’t need our approval to occur or not occur).

In my opinion, Paul Shirley should not have been let go. At least not for that kind of accountability. He did exactly what mature adults should do in situations like that – look in the mirror and ask the real and heart-wrenching question of maturity: “do I really love my neighbor as I love myself if I allow them to stay in the state they are in that I am empowered to get them out of?”

The Gospels speak of the end of days, and how two groups will stand before Jesus. The group on the right has their deeds spoken of them like an awards letter, “you clothed me, you visited me, you fed me… come and enter into my rest.” However, those on his left get the opposite acclimation letter, “you didn’t clothe me, you never visited me, you left me hungry… depart from me you workers of iniquity.”

Even though we went over there to assist, did we give them the fruit of a life that won’t be the same because we not only fed them, but taught them to eat? Or, did we just package up a microwave miracle, quick to cool off and be no more filling or hot than it was before we arrived?

For those in Haiti, Paul Shirley’s letter was a call to step up and accept responsibility as much as they are able, and when they are able. For us, its a call to stop looking at ourselves as gods, and start acknowledging that we are no better, unless we use our talents to improve the lives of all those we have influence towards.

Mr. Shirley, message received.

Flash and the iPhone (Unmet Journalism)

Today is Apple day it seems, and so here’s one of two posts of mine on the company/subject. This one has to do with the unmet expectations of journalism when it comes to those things relating to the iPhone.

As solid as the user experience is, there’s just too much ignorance from those who should know about mobile when it comes to evaluating what’s possible, versus what has happened. And this article over at Venture Beat is really one of the worst that I’ve seen. The facts aren’t full, and the real issue is skirted for what could amount to an attention-getting headline.

I won’t speak for others, but I did have my piece to say in response:

I have to agree with many of the comments here, this article while starting with the right premise, didn’t really take the technical or philosophical turns that could have been more fruitful for discussion.

For one, Flash doesn’t need “the cloud” any more or less than any other web-based technologies do. The assumption here is that Flash is like other multimedia, however its a platform used for a container for usually incompatible media and for complex interactions through its specific scripting language. If you will, you can call it nearly an operating system, just without the overhead, and with the assumption that many of the interactions are driven through some kind of IP connection.

Concerning these points:
1. Very real device limitations
2. Bandwidth issues
3. Battery life impacts
4. The “moving target” of web technologies

There are no limitations with any of the upper tier smartphones in this wise. Flash Lite has been running successfully on Nokia’s Symbian smartphones, and plenty of others (usually not in the US) for many, many years now. When the iPhone released without compatibility to even Flash Lite, this was seen as a slight for Apple, not Adobe, as the run-time was already well optimized for mobile device hardware/software.

Bandwidth issues are a very real issue with mobile devices, specifically smartphones and cellular-connected laptops. However, their bandwidth issues relate first to the signaling used to maintain the connection, the architecture of the network(s), and then the end-user’s use of whatever web-based media that might be flowing over that connection. Its being increasingly realized that many carriers in the US did not build out their networks for the dearth of persons who are using always-on data connections that they push these same users to. So while Flash can contribute to issues here, bandwidth can’t be cited as a reason for no Flash on mobile devices – especially when the counter argument is that “the cloud” is a better item to leverage. They (Flash and the cloud) are both the same – a media platform – in this case.

Battery life is an issue for all mobile device. Again, though, I will cite the use of Flash Lite for media *and* user interfaces on mobile devices which has been optimized for such constrained hardware. Battery life is no more a limitation than the processor or the user – that is to say, this point just doesn’t stand in this argument either (again, Flash and the cloud are platforms, both would utilize the available physics of a battery the same as usage will determine impact).

Lastly, the section on the “moving target of web technologies” should have been more fleshed out. In light of the recent video which showed that the Webkit-based browser on the iPhone is capable of video play through the use of HTML5, I would say that it is not only well positioned for web technologies, but that the target is moving *towards* the hardware limitations, and not away from them. Flash (again) has been available in three versions of its lightweight Flash Lite format for almost 5 years now (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_Lite), and happened to have always been ahead of where mobile device hardware was – it tried to emulate the desktop experience as best as possible. These points weren’t raised, and therefore this is where I say in the beginning that this article could have been better fleshed out for discussion.

I agree with your statement, “Mobile internet users should be able to access all the content on the Internet, especially all the good stuff like video and slideshows that are currently only in Flash formats on millions of websites.” The change will come not from “the cloud” though, it will come from content producers creating accessible content (for example: http://camendesign.com/code/video_for_everybody or the S5 HTML slideshow format) which uses plugin platforms like Flash to enhance the experience, not be the only experience.

Its better to speak about the issue fully, and in truth, than to just create buzz about something that doesn’t even get swatted down.

Where are the journalists who write to engage the issue, not just gloss over it?