Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Education - It's about what you put into it

A friend and I were discussing our educational experiences today. We were discussing the general lackadaisical nature of elementary and secondary school, vs. the much better experience we had in college.

It got me thinking about how much of the benefit we gain from education is determined by our own motivation and attitude. Until you've graduated from high school you are pretty much forced to be there. As a result, you find yourself surrounded by a lot of people who adamantly don't want to be there in the first place. The end result of this is a lot of wasted class time and a lot of nonsense rules.

When you get to college things improve, because although your parents may be pushing you to be there, if you drop out the sheriff isn't going to show up at their door... The end result is more people who want to be there, but still there are plenty of people who would rather be somewhere else. In college I found that I could learn almost as little or as much as I wanted in any given class. A perfect example is Art Appreciation. We were required to take either Music Appreciation or Art Appreciation. As a musician, the "easy class" was the music one, but I decided to take art because I knew nothing about art. From day one my attitude and enthusiasm in the class was vastly different than almost all of the other students. Everyone was taking it because it was a requirement, but I had decided to use it to learn as much as possible about art, rather than just checking off the box on my schedule. As a result, I absolutely loved the class, and I learned a bit about a subject that I otherwise was clueless about.

With seminary there was a significant change from undergraduate work. Very few people go to seminary out of obligation, they go because they want to. This makes things like group projects far more interesting because everyone is (generally) engaged in the material. At the same time there are classes that people are only taking because they have to. Still, post-graduate was my favorite level of education for both the challenge and the overall academic environment.

I agreed to teach several of our staff members Hebrew this year. We started about three weeks ago, and the difference between students who are taking a requirement and pastors who want to learn something is incredible. I have never seen a more engaged group of students than this one. Everyone is eager to learn the material and is quick with questions. It's like having a classroom full of star students. Not only is it an honor to teach them the language of the old testament, it's a blast at the same time. I am fully confident that when we are done every one of these guys could test out of Hebrew at any seminary in the country.

My point? The reason this class is full of super stars isn't because they all have a natural affinity for semitic languages. The reason is because they all want to be here, and they all want to learn the material. Treat every class, even art appreciation, like it matters and you will be astonished how much more you get out of your education.


Monday, August 8, 2011

So incredibly awesome

This is one of the greatest videos I have ever seen. Elevation church baptized 1426 people this past weekend. It's always good to step back from our roles from time to time and remember why we do what we do. This video expresses it in a nutshell: changed lives.

Follow from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cloud Computing - Where is the revenue?

In this excellent article John Foley asked the question about cloud computing: Where is the revenue? There are some pretty big surprises when you look at the real reported numbers. Amazon bundles AWS revenue into a category they call "other" and it is nothing like the $25 billion number that gets bandied about.

The same is true for all of the big players. If this is the "next big thing" then why aren't we hearing anything about revenue? My question is this: When was the last time you heard of a company hiding success? Cloud computing revenue numbers are like real sales figures for every table not named iPad: dirty little secrets that are kept quiet. This can't be good.

There are so many IT buzzwords that have come and gone, and I fear that this is another one. Remember push? That was the next big thing. How about thin clients? Time and time again the buzzwords get all the press, but what keeps selling is desktop pc's, servers, and software...


Monday, August 1, 2011

Lion - Server Dataloss Explained

I have had some questions about how exactly this works and what the ramifications are. I've put together a little screen capture that demonstrates the problem in detail. We have tested this with both Snow Leopard Server and Lion Server. Watch this video and you will see exactly what the problem is:

Lion Dataloss on Servers

What needs to happen is that Apple needs to change the API for versions to disable the functionality entirely on shared volumes. With it disabled the app would have to revert back to the "you have unsaved changes, save or quit" behavior of all prior versions of MacOS.

I recognize that Apple is trying to make things easier for the novice, but at the same time the ability to do non-destructive edits is something that people use on the mac all the time. It is a fundamental feature of a computer. What versions is doing is removing the ability for the user to control when they write changes to a document. With a personal system this isn't the end of the world because versions allows you to "revert to save" but with networked volumes this will only end in tears.

If you require that the user first duplicate the document, there will quickly be thousands of duplicate documents on the server that users did not throw away. This is also a big problem.

There has to be an answer to this, and it's going to have to come from Apple.