Every Problem

As the saying goes, when you have a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.

In my case, I got an angle grinder earlier this year, and now every problem looks like too much metal.

The angle grinder is much more fun than a hammer. The kids like seeing the showers of sparks.

So far, the angle grinder has helped me replace ball joints, brake pads, struts, and shocks. Plus it sharpened my mower blades.

Also note: the angle grinder will take care of a variety of problems with nails too.

Young men worked at the grinding mill, And youths stumbled under loads of wood.

Lamentations 5:13

I Switched to Bing

I had Google setup as my default search engine for the Safari browser on my iPhone. I edited the link so that it disabled the autocomplete function, which gave a bunch of search suggestions as you were typing. I did not like that, mainly because my kids will use my phone from time to time and some of the suggestions were inappropriate. Plus I felt it was distracting and contributes to ADHD.

It was easy enough to disable – just add a string of “complete=0” to the URL and you’re good to go, just a plain search engine with no too-eager-to-please additional help popups. See my previous blog post on the topic of disabling Google autocomplete for details.

But Google changed something on Thanksgiving. I looked up something and noticed that Google was throwing possible search terms at me. “Is this what you meant to type?” “Maybe this?” “Look, a lot of people are searching for these words, would they interest you?”

No, Google, I am not interested in what other people are looking up. If I were interested, I would search for that.

At first I thought I opened the plain Google URL. So I made sure to use the special link. But no, the special link didn’t do anything anymore.

I poked around on the internet, but there were no suggestions. Changing the settings using the link at the bottom of Google didn’t do anything either.

I figured I might as well try Bing. Alas, Bing also wanted to tell me what other people liked searching for.

Lo and behold though, the Bing settings let me disable that. And it worked. I have set my default search engine on my iPhone to Bing.

Now when my kids want to look something up, I do not have to worry about hearing a question along the lines of “Dad, what does such-and-such mean?” Or even worse, not getting asked that question and having them click the Google suggestion.

I’m not a fan of Microsoft products, but I will gladly use Bing since it’s behaving like I want my search engine to behave.

Now a word was brought to me stealthily, And my ear received a whisper of it.

Job 4:12

College Football Thoughts

The College Football Playoff committee has produced this year’s selection of teams, which means that a lot of people are unhappy.

In my case, I should be happy, because the team from down south is not in the playoffs. But the committee didn’t learn its lesson from last year.

And that lesson, that I mentioned last year but apparently the committee didn’t read, is that they shouldn’t place the 3rd-best team from a conference into the national championship playoffs.

One could argue that Alabama is the 3rd-best team in the SEC. And yet they have been selected as the 4th-best team in the country. Why not Auburn, the team that beat them and won Alabama’s division?

I’m not going to go on an Alabama conspiracy theory – I just think the committee is taking the wrong things into account.

They favor minimal losses over conference championships, and I take the opposite view.

I thought the debate in the committee would be between Ohio State and USC – both two-loss conference champions. I personally would have chosen USC, because OSU already lost to Oklahoma so we have an idea of how they would have done in the playoffs.

I like the idea of teams playing significant non-conference games, and I think the committee’s direction undercuts that. If they are going to reward minimal losses and ignore conference championships, it’s in teams’ best interests to setup a favorable schedule.

Plus, with the limited games, there is limited cross-conference comparison, so it’s hard to tell if a two-loss PAC-12 champion is worse than a one-loss Big-12 champion. Maybe the PAC-12 is tougher this year. Maybe Oklahoma would have another loss if they had to play Notre Dame. Now we won’t know until after all the bowls are done if USC should have been the fourth team in the playoff.

I do hope that Clemson will blow out Alabama, to give yet another sample point to the committee that a team that did not make its conference championship game should not make the national championship playoff.

Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads.

Deuteronomy 1:13


Took Forever

I heard someone use the phrase “that took forever” and although it never bothered me before, now it does for some reason.

That reason is that if something really takes forever to complete, then it can’t have completed, therefore the phrase can’t be in the past tense.

Acceptable uses are “taking forever” or “takes forever”, but never “took forever”.

As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.

1 Samuel 20:23

eHow Summary

I like to do things, and I like to use the internet to help with instructions. Usually they’re helpful, sometimes they’re not. One gripe that I won’t go into here is that videos are not the answer to everything.

One thing that all my searches have in common though, is that a page from ehow.com will appear in the search results. You can save yourself a lot of time if you just always avoid visiting that website. I have made that mistake enough times that I know better now. And I am passing that knowledge on to you. Learn from my mistakes.

In case you’re wondering what the problem is, I will summarize every eHow page:

How to Fix Your Widget

Step 1: Get your replacement parts
Step 2: Get the broken widget, remove the screws holding it together, and open it up.
Step 3: Remove the bad parts
Step 4: Put in the new parts
Step 5: Close the widget and tighten the screws holding it together.

You’re done!

Lest you think I’m being generic and leaving out details for my example, I’m not. The eHow pages that I’ve read are all like that – they don’t provide any details on the specific procedure I was looking for.

I’m my cases, I’ve usually tried to do the obvious stuff and got stymied by something that was not cooperating and then I look to the internet for tips unique to the particular item.

Other websites are more helpful – Instructables, just about any forum-type site, etc. Those all provide useful details. But eHow and its cousin Wikihow and also Justanswer I have found to be useless.

But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:31

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m not posting anything today – I’m too busy doing Thanksgivingy stuff.

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

1 Chronicles 16:34

What Signs?

Since it’s football season, that means I’m watching TV.

And since I’m watching TV, that means I’m seeing commercials.

One commercial that I’ve noticed is for a Volkswagen SUV. It shows a family on a road trip and they’re driving through a sparse area – looks like a desert. The daughter is holding a map and a marker and she asks the dad something like “How about now?”

The dad looks down at the nav system in the vehicle and waits for a couple seconds before saying “Ok, now.” At which point the daughter scribbles on the map. I assume she’s crossing of a state, keeping track of which states they have gone through on their long road trip.

The commercial then finishes by showing the view from a slight distance, and we see the car driving off down the road. And we see a road sign that tells us it’s the New Mexico state line.

That’s my problem with the commercial. Dad should be looking at the road, not the nav system. And he should tell the daughter to watch for the road sign.

The fact that the dad doesn’t know or realize or care there’s a physical marker that they can see at the state line tells me that he trusts too much whatever’s on a glowing screen in front of him. Volkswagen must be marketing this vehicle to the types of people who drive into lakes or off bridges because the nav system told them to.

And the commercial is not consistent, because if the dad is so into glowing screens, I would expect the rest of the family would be too. But the daughter has a paper map. If the dad were the type of parent to give his daughter a paper map instead of phone or tablet with a map app, then why is he not doing the same for himself?

As a dad, one of your responsibilities is to teach your kids how to handle the world around them. He should have instructed his daughter on what to look for outside the SUV. He is not teaching her to fish – he just handed her the answer.

We do not see our signs; There is no longer any prophet, Nor is there any among us who knows how long.

Psalm 74:9