Origin Series – It Is Written Oceania

April 8, 2014Matt No Comments »

It Is Written Oceania has just released a three-part series on the topic of Origins. Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? Are we made in His image? What does the Bible Say? It’s an interesting series and quite exciting for me as I got to help out with reviewing and editing the scripts (which were written by Clifford Goldstein) before they went to filming! Check them out below and please feel free to share with anyone you think might be interested:

Part 1 – Where Did It All Begin?

Synopsis:

Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? These are just a few questions that humans have been asking for millennia. Some people answer that we are nothing but chance products of a godless cosmos that has doomed us to destruction. In this, the first part of a series on “Origins,” Gary Kent points us to a completely different answer, one that better fits the reality we do see and offers us hope.

Part 2 – In His Image

Synopsis:

Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? These are just a few questions that humans have been asking for millennia. Some people answer that we are nothing but chance products of a godless cosmos that has doomed us to destruction. In this, the second part of a series on “Origins,” Gary Kent points us to a completely different answer, one that better fits the reality we do see and offers us hope.

Part 3 – London Fog

Synopsis:

Some people in England started what had become known as the London Atheist Bus Campaign. They placed ads on buses in the city making claims about the non-existence of God and what that means for us. In the last of this series on “Origins,” Gary Kent takes a look at those claims and, finding that they don’t stack up, turns to the Bible to find something much more hopeful.


Crypto-Currency, Coins and Mining

February 12, 2014Matt No Comments »
The bitcoin logo

The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of days ago I started reading about BitCoin. I don’t really know what, I think it may have been after coming across yet another news article on it.

Nevertheless, it lead me into an interesting world of HashCash, cryptography, prime numbers, mining, ASIC‘s and more artificial currencies than I imagined.

Having done virtually no reading on BitCoin before and having almost nothing to do with it (though I have a vague suspicion I may have setup a wallet years ago that is now long gone), I was surprised at just how much people are spending on it and how much of an industry has sprung up around mining it.

ASIC’s are application specific integrated circuits. These are designed specifically for mining BitCoin. Crazy stuff.

BitCoin is mined by utilising your processing power to process and verify BitCoin transactions. If you are lucky, you might unlock a block of coins in the process. Due to the high volume of some miners, particularly those invested in ASIC’s, its become difficult to get anywhere mining on your own. This has lead to pools, that pool resources and split the profits in a variety of ways.

On from here I began discovering other crypto-currencies based on BitCoin’s open source platform, most with variations of some kind or other.

LiteCoin seems to be one of the larger competitors and uses Scrypt cryptography instead of HashCash and PrimeCoin is based around prime number calculations.

I’ve had a little bit of a play with mining different currencies as well to see what was involved and if it is worthwhile bothering on a small scale (keeping in mind that mining on a standard computer runs your CPU and/or GPU quite intensively depending on the type of coin).

Having mostly Mac computers, I’ve had a play with two mining programs, Asteroid and Mac Miner. Both seem to work quite well but Asteroid has a nicer interface. Asteroid does not work below OS X 10.8 and Mac Miner doesn’t work very well below 10.7. Both seem to run well on later versions of OS X though. I just need to get round to upgrading the Mac Pro from 10.6.8. One other thing to note is that BitCoin is not worth mining at all on a CPU anymore, however, some of the others such as LiteCoin and PrimeCoin are.

Based on my reading so far, it seems to me that the crypto-currencies of most interest in no particular order are:

  • BitCoin
  • LiteCoin
  • DogeCoin
  • PrimeCoin
  • PeerCoin

DogeCoin is a meme based currency setup as a joke I believe, but it appears to have grown quite rapidly. PrimeCoin is based on PeerCoin, and both are more focused on CPU mining at this time and have taken a bit of an innovative approach using prime number calculations.

LiteCoin appears to be the second largest after BitCoin and currently still much easier to mine on a hobby level than BitCoin with the Scrypt method intended to discourage ASIC development (though it sounds like they are in the works anyway).

At the end of the day though, these coins are all schemes, artificial currencies that have value purely because people are willing to assign value to them. So whether one will grow or not is dependent on how many people are willing to use it.

It’s interesting, but I keep coming back to: It’s not real money. It can be exchanged for money, goods and services, as long as people continue to assign a value to it. It may be the future of currency and “real money”, it may not. It’s constantly changing though.

Overall, I think it’s fascinating, exciting and potentially a waste of time, but you never know ;)

Some interesting links:

  • Crypto Coin Charts List – Values, trading volumes of many crypto-currencies.
  • Triple-Mining Pool – A mining pool for BitCoin that seems to work relatively well for hobby miners with some extra features.
  • My Triple-Mining Mini Pool - In case you would like to join it :)
  • P2Pool - Has pools available for just about every type of coin along with graphs available to show the success rates.

Do you mine any of these coins, or any others? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!


The Best Little Advice Book – Wisdom and Money

February 1, 2014Matt No Comments »

The episode of It Is Written Oceania airing this week features Gary Kent studying the advice the Bible gives us about money. Some of the advice is the sort of thing you might expect to hear anywhere. I found it really interesting though some of the points that came from the Bible. Things that I have read before but never really considered. It’s really worth a watch, whether you need money wisdom or not.

The synopsis reads:

Have you ever struggled with your finances? Learn how to be debt free by turning to the Best Little Advice Book that has impacted the world with its unique wisdom on money.


Two New Carver Skateboards Available At Skate-Parts.Com

January 29, 2014Matt No Comments »

I’ve been a fan of Carver’s unique C7 truck system since I first came across it back in 2009, and I definitely love the ride of my 28″ Tear Drop board, so I thought I’d share two new Carver skateboards that have arrived at Skate-Parts.Com in the cruiser range – The 29″ Swallow Tail, and the 36″ Spaceman Pintail.

The Swallow Tail is a reissue of one of their earlier boards with revamped artwork and the new Carver Mag Wheels. The Spaceman Pintail on the other hand is a new model in a new shape offering a great all round board for cruising or hitting the hills. It also features the new Carver Skateboards Mag Wheels, which are larger than the old Carver Radials and offer a much better ride.

Check out the Swallow Tail below:

Carver Skateboards Swallow Tail Cruiser

Carver Skateboards Swallow Tail Cruiser


The Day It Rained Fire – By It Is Written Oceania

January 28, 2014Matt 1 Comment »

This is one of the first episodes presented by Pr Gary Kent for It Is Written Oceania. It’s an on location video about the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia and the impact it had on the lives and faith of the people caught in it.

The synopsis reads:

Black Saturday, 7 February 2009, is in the record books for all the wrong reasons: Australia’s worst natural disaster on the hottest day ever in Melbourne. Tragically, 173 people died in a holocaust of fire. Over 2000 homes were destroyed, Entire towns were razed to the ground. Over 7500 people were left homeless. More than 450 000 hectares of land was destroyed. Faced by a terrible tragedy like this, can we still believe in God?

I found this video very emotional, and I did struggle a bit watching it. There is nothing graphic or age inappropriate, but there is a lot of raw emotion that comes through the interviews and the destruction of the fire is devastating to see.


Australia Day Long Weekend 2014

January 27, 2014Matt No Comments »

What did you get up to this Australia Day? Tammy and I have been so flat out, running backwards and forwards between the Gold Coast, Kempsey, Sydney and Wagga Wagga over the last two months. Almost every weekend we have had to travel somewhere and have not had an opportunity to really explore our new home, around Sydney. So we decided this Australia Day to ironically, go driving! One thing that we have been talking about doing for a while is visiting and driving across the Sea Cliff bridge at Coal Cliff, on the Grand Pacific Drive just north of Wollongong.

So that’s what we did. It’s about an hour south of where we live, so it’s an easy day drive. We were so busy enjoying ourselves I didn’t take any photos, but we will definitely be going back so I will have to make sure to get some next time! There is a route map featuring the bridge here, it is located between Stanwell Park and Thirroul.

It was a spectacular drive, and we continued on down to Wollongong and all the way down to Shellharbour before circling around and making our way back up to Sydney. The scenery is spectacular. It reminds me in some ways of the Gold Coast, and in other ways, of Newcastle.

We are really looking forward to exploring the area more, and highly recommend checking out the bridge if you have the opportunity!

What did you get up to this Australia day?


Crossing Earth’s Finish Line – By It Is Written Oceania

January 24, 2014Matt 1 Comment »

This is an episode presented by Shawn Boonstra, previously of It Is Written International, looks at the end of the world and how humanity has expected the world to end all through history. Sometimes reasoning was based on mythology, sometimes on science, sometimes religion. What does the Bible say though? It Is Written Oceania looks at it in this episode. It’s not a destroyed planet, it’s a restored world.

The synopsis reads

You know, I’ve read the book of Revelation and I’ve noticed there are some pretty tough times coming. And the more I read it, the more I’m thinking I can’t wait to get there.


Lessons From a Vacant Lot – It Is Written Oceania

January 22, 2014Matt No Comments »

Lessons From a Vacant Lot” presented by Shawn Boonstra for It Is Written Oceania ties in a few interesting stories, including a school built on a toxic waste dump, Abraham and Lot, the plain of Jordan, Sodom and Gomorrah, and one by Leo Tolstoy. It may be an oldie, but it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

The synopsis reads:

Most people are willing to make sacrifices so that children can have a better shot at life. We do without some of the luxuries of life to save for uni tuition, we work that extra shift to pay for cricket, swimming or music lessons. And even if our own healthcare doesn’t cover a whole lot we still drag our kids to the medical clinic once in a while because we want them to have every chance at living a healthy, productive life. So then you’ve got to wonder why in the world would somebody build a school right on top of a toxic waste dump?


Waiting for a Wedding – By It Is Written Oceania

January 20, 2014Matt 3 Comments »

Waiting for a Wedding by It Is Written Oceania hosted by Shawn Boonstra is based on the New Testament parable by Christ about the bridegroom who arrived late. Some people had planned ahead and brought extra oil (or batteries in the case of this episode. Others didn’t and their lights went out. It goes on to look at Ruth and her marriage to her kinsmen redeemer, Boaz. This episode takes a look at how these stories relate to Biblical prophecy.

The synopsis reads:

There’s a moment in a young mans life where he asks a girl to marry him, and believe it or not that moment has something important to say about Bible prophecy and the end of time.


Shortcut Key To Delete Files on Mac OS X

January 18, 2014Matt No Comments »

If you have come from Windows to a Mac, you probably notice fairly quickly that just pressing the delete key when you have a file selected in Finder does not delete it. The first way that I worked out to delete files was to right click on them and select the “Move to Trash” option. This seems very impractical as soon as you have to work through a large amount of files, checking them and then either deleting them or moving to the next.

There is a quicker way though, a shortcut key combination.

Select the file and then press the command key and the delete key (Command + Delete) and it will be moved to the trash. Easy. This works while you are using Quick Look too and just moves you to the next file in the list after the one you were viewing is moved to the trash



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