#Charity365

You can’t give more than 100% but many giving even 1% can accomplish much, much more.

Five years ago I wrote about the struggle to begin giving charitably. My original concerns included questions such as “What charities would I give to?“, and “How do I donate in a personally satisfying and sustainable way?” It’s amazing to see where I am now compared to then and the relatively small, very gentle, very spread apart steps it has taken to this point in my giving. A lot has changed, and I think improved, in my giving and in my thinking about giving, but one thing is still at the core: Satisfaction, sustainability, and scalability. I’ll explain all that below.

Continue reading

Sanctus Valentinus: Behind the Verse

Oh, Saint, to your name, thereof,
My question is this, what is love?

On a warm summer’s day, sunshine beaming down on country fields, and in the vibrant spring of my life, many, many years ago now, I once spoke these fateful words to a certain girl I liked very much: I don’t know what love is. What precipitated this sad half-truth was a silly conversation, strewn with longing undertones and yearning unsaids. Half-truth, I call it, and still do, even from the moment the words slipped from my mouth. I knew I could love, I believed I had been doing it for some time, but with such an abstract term, complicated by our overuse, I still wondered at, and was haunted by, the question: What is love?

Continue reading

Nim’s Vintersaga

Join Nim, this Christmas Eve, in his snowy, wintry tale, as he sweeps you away to a world of gremlin hooligans, giants slumbering, wolves slavering, and one little girl whose faith in good remains. Enjoy as Ola Schubert takes you to another place, a magical place, whimsically crafted and beautifully orchestrated, in Nim’s Vintersaga.

How to Install MS TrueType Fonts on CentOS 5

I found the original post on how to do this over here at MS TrueType Fonts on CentOS 5 but just in case you’re intimidated by the rpm building commands I’ve decided to post the final RPM which is an easy install on CentOS 5 and you’re ready to go. Here’s the original excerpt from that post:

Microsoft TrueType fonts are used by most websites so it’s often useful to install them under Linux. No doubt due to licensing restrictions, there is no RPM to install them directly under CentOS, but it’s not that complicated [following] these instructions…

Instead of manually building an RPM, however, I’ve provided the RPM for download here.

  1. Download msttcorefonts-2.0-1.noarch.rpm
  2. Install RPM: rpm -ivh msttcorefonts-2.0-1.noarch.rpm
  3. Link up TrueType fonts for some apps: ln -s /usr/share/fonts/msttcorefonts/ /usr/share/fonts/default/TrueType

Done! Now, close and reopen any applications you may have open. If they can use the new font, like Firefox, and they’re not hard-wiring any specific fonts yet then they should start using the new fonts. For example, lots of websites using MS core fonts and Firefox will start using them if they’re available. There are so many graphics glitches than come down to pixel-width issues of the other fonts because you’re not using the MS core fonts.

Good luck and enjoy!

C.S. Lewis is Cleverer Than You Think

My good friend, Jamie, liked a Relevant Magazine article today titled C.S. Lewis’ 3 Most Controversial Beliefs. Both of us are a big fans of Lewis and it piqued my interest as much as Jamie’s, I’m sure. Some of the “controversies” noted would surely either convince his admirers that some of these claims are actually attributable to Lewis and are biblically acceptable or may shake the faith of Lewis’ more die-hard fans, such as myself, and wonder about the foundations of Lewis’ personal faith. Having read a lot first-hand from Lewis, and second-hand of the man, I nearly immediately recognized these claims were probably not what they were really claiming.

You see, the thing about really clever men and women, like Lewis, is that they’re clever enough to know when they’re beat, even when they are miserably unhappy such as on the amusing-for-us occasion of Lewis’ conversion. It is this trait of Lewis, and all truly clever men and women, that propels, or drags, an individual from one intellectual peak to the next. Such is the case with Lewis and these purported controversies.

Continue reading

The Jian Ghomeshi Saga and Root Causes of Violence Against Women

The following is a letter I submitted to the CBC program The Current, hosted by talented radio personality Anna Maria Tremonti. In the letter, I have put to pen my increasing frustrations about the nature of the discussion surrounding violence against women and why it is that our public conversations never seem to get around to the root causes of the problem, and to exactly why we’re seeing the behaviour that we’re seeing. For the record…

The Jian Ghomeshi Saga and Root Causes of Violence Against Women

I’ve listened with great interest over the past few months to your podcasts and especially those about violence against women. From the #YesAllWomen campaign to the Jian Ghomeshi saga I’ve listened to a number of podcasts and even blogged and tweeted about some of the issues, myself.

Continue reading

How to make a movie trailer: Jurassic World meet Jurassic Park

I just caught the Jurassic World trailer and something bugged me as I watched. It was playing to the same old, tired Hollywood manipulation routines of every other ‘blockbuster’ move trailer. It got me thinking about what the original movie and how that original trailer, now 20+ years old, would hold up against modern trailers. So, first, here’s the new Jurassic World trailer…

I’m with you if your interest is piqued, you’re a little excited, but you’re also a little disappointed by the trailer. Something’s missing…

Well, try this Jurassic Park trailer on for size…

Continue reading

iRacing Force Feedback Settings

Update 2015-02-26: I’ve been changing up my FFB settings in iRacing lately after realizing that linear ffb resulted in such low force strengths (to avoid clipping) that I wasn’t really feeling the road anymore. The ffb changes were just too subtle. So, because I have a low-end wheel, a G27, I’m now using non-linear ffb and doing the usual binary-search to find the optimal force strength to avoid clipping. I’m doing this only because of my relatively low-end, entry-level G27. I expect the recommended usage for higher strength wheels (T500s/T300s, Fanatec ClubSports, Accuforce Pro, etc.) should still use linear ffb.

Update 2015-02-26 – 2: For the record, a binary search is one where you take your current value, determine whether it’s too little or too much, and then double it (when too little) or halve it (when too much), and repeat that process at each new level to dial in on your optimal value. For example, for iRacing force strengths I might start out at 32, decide that’s too much and go to 16 (half of 32), decide that’s too little and go to 24 (16 + 8 which is half of 16), decide that’s too much and go to 20 (24 – 4 which is half of 8), decide that’s too little and go to 22 (20 + 2 which is half of 4), decide that’s too little and go to 23 (22 + 1 which is half of 2), decide that’s too much and go to 20.5 (22 – 0.5 which is half of 1). This is a real example I just did in iRacing a few minutes ago on the Mazda MX-5.

Update 2015-02-26 – 3: Nvidia users should check out these threads: iRacing graphic optimizations for NVIDIA users, Guide: nVidia iRacing Antialiasing (AA) Settings, NVIDIA SLI Compatibility results. The second guide about AA gives some good settings for Nvidia Inspector (I use in-game 4x AA with Nvidia Inspector AA – Mode Enhance and AA – Setting “8xS [Combined: 1×2 SS + 4 MS]”. Read the thread for what they mean). The third thread is about SLI and getting rid of microstuttering (I use Nvidia Inspector “SLI Compaibility Bits” = “0x00402015″ per the thread). It’s not perfect but it’s better than in-game AA and should be give higher performance.

iRacing Force Feedback Settings

I’m a big fan of iRacing sim racing and I frequent their forums quite a bit. I’ve seen a number of posts, over time, on the iRacing forums about people asking for the right force feedback settings for their wheels. As it turns out, this info in its complete form is harder to come by then you might think so I’ve decided to post everything I know and have implemented for my Logitech G27 for force feedback in iRacing…

Continue reading

Secrets of iRacing

Update 2014-12-29: Added a racing tip, clarified some points, fixed some typos.

Update 2014-11-23: Organized the post a little by adding and separating sections by topic such as sales, racing, safety rating, etc.

Secrets of iRacing

Okay, “secrets” is a little dramatic, but here are a few tips, tricks, hints and maybe a few lesser known things about the iRacing service that you might find valuable or interesting to know. Let me know your own tips and tricks!

Sales

iracing-saleBlack Friday Sales

iRacing has an annual Black Friday sale where account renewals are typically half off. For example, a one year subscription usually costs $99 but during the sale it costs $49. You can renew for multiple years and the the code they give you can be used multiple times even on different accounts.

iRacing Dollars and Credits Sales

iRacing has a sale around March (Update: They did the same thing Christmas 2014) where you buy iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you extra iRacing Credits for free. For example, buy $20 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $5 iRacing Credits free, or buy $75 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $25 iRacing Credits free. iRacing Dollars and Credits have equal value and can be used to purchase cars and tracks exactly the same. It’s a good deal!

Any other sales or discounts?

Sorry, no, iRacing doesn’t seem to do sales like other online stores like Steam where games might be 50% off or more. iRacing doesn’t sell cars or tracks at a direct discount other than the iRacing Dollars/Credits sales mentioned above. So try to score when you can!

Racing

Never Qualify On New Track Days

New tracks typically launch on Mondays in the evenings (EST). If you qualify just after the switch you’ll likely be one of a few who did and you’ll be at the front of the grid. Unfortunately, most smart drivers know new track days are typically going to be pretty bad for racing incidences so they don’t qualify and start near the back to avoid first corner wrecks. So, save your SR, and just practice before the race. Enjoy the ride around the track while all the bad drivers crash out early. Qualify the next day.

Continue reading

After Atheism: New Perspectives on God and Religion

When I work from home I often listen to podcasts and I’ve been listening to CBC Radio Ideas’ After Atheism this week. This is what I’d call a post-post-modern look at religion and materialism over the past few thousand years. This is a compliment as they recognize things like the resurgence of spiritual interest, the myth of religious violence, the actual (not supposed) factors at play in the separation of church and state. They even recognize Christianity specifically has been behind many social change movements and demonstrably not just an ‘internal, private spirituality’ thing.

The episodes are long and in-depth but, for the first time in a long time, CBC is giving as fair a shake as can be expected to faith in general and, in places, to Christianity in particular.

It’s by no means pro-Christian but it’s decent place for open discussion.