Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Photo Experiment : Pocket Telescope Zoom

Inspired by this photo which turned up on Twitter, I experimented with my pocket telescope (8x21mm) and the camera(3.2 Megapixels) on my phone. The photos below were taken next to Carnoustie Golf course - I should point out it was pretty windy so holding the telescope in place over the lens was not easily to do steadily.

The first picture is taken looking east at the Arbroath cliffs and the second looking out past Barry Buddon. I will definitely try again perhaps with a more powerful lens. I have many pictures of the beach after living there a number of years. Would be good to capture some of the activity out on the water from watersports to wildlife. Dolphins where are you? :-)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Music & Poetry at Barry Mill

Back to local history it seems! Next to Carnoustie is Barry and Barry has had a water powered mill for around 5 centuries. More info at wikipedia. Last year a local group managed to 'Save Barry Mill' from closure. This was partly fund-raising but also getting people attending. A number of events were organised including a couple of music nights. Last year was great fun so Marta and I looked forward to a night of 'music/poetry/comedy'. A different format and it worked well. Of course my Flip Camera came along too and below is a collection of highlights of the second half of the evening.


Friday, 18 June 2010

Shape and the Stylus - My iPad Thoughts

I try and keep this blog relatively geek-free but one tech topic that has come to mind recently is worthy of a wider audience than my 'coder' blog. Yes it is those smartphones and tablets. Don't worry I am not going to drone on about dataplans, signal coverage or apps! This is about shape, price and form factor.

I have used mobile devices and touch screens for many years when I was given an early Palm Pilot at work. These were amazing devices for the day. Remember a decent PC cost you around £1000 and here was something that would fit in your pocket that could run some decent applications for around £150. These devices got me used to using a stylus on a small device.

The iPad looks very nice and a bit expensive. Probably safe to say it will never have a stylus! This is a shame as both can work well together. My Nokia phone is touch most of the time but I can pull out the stylus based on preference (text entry for me). Android seems touch focussed too - I do not know of any stylus based devices for it. It would be nice to grow my iPod touch to an iPad size but only 'nice'.

My dream tablet device would be as follows - 7 to 10 inches, Stylus + touch input, optional keyboard, Wifi only, thin and running a Google OS (Android or ChromeOS). What sparked this imaginary device was watching some people with smartphones. People I saw seemed more comfortable holding the stylus and given the productivity boost and familiarity, I can't see it going away. It has mass appeal.

One other little quirk I have with mobile devices is price. Okay maybe we all are price quirky! I don't like small devices to cost more that the Palm Pilot price of at very maximum £200. There's something uncomfortable about carrying £400 of device in a pocket, sitting it on a table in a cafe or handing it to a child. So I hope a Google device can deliver on the £100 price point.

Okay two techie blog posts in a row. Something very different next time I promise!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Media Management

Just had a good chat room discussion re:iPods and media. It amazes me the efforts some go to manage large libraries with gigabytes to be indexed and backed up. It kinda takes the fun out of it when tagging every last detail of the MP3 tags and comparing bit rates. I don't understand the need to carry ALL your music with you ALL the time either.

Then again I am a big Podcast listener and not very fanatical about music anymore so an 8gig device is more than enough. I have an immense amount of free shows to pick from so high throughput and a 'listen and delete' policy stops things piling up. Daily podcasts can mount up so have to be careful with how many of those you subscribe to! It solves those media management problems and is rather good fun. I'm off to download today's crop of juicey episodes...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Local History - John Knox

Going by the photo's of a spaniel on the beach on this blog, you would probably guess that I live on the coast. We are lucky enough to have a beach just a few minutes away. Across the water from this beach is St. Andrews - not far as the crow flies but a little bit of a drive via Dundee.

The town of St. Andrews is pivotal in Scottish (world?) history for many reasons. Not least due to John Knox - there is an excellent Wikipedia article about his life.

There is much a modern reader might find objectionable or at least uncomfortable in his life. A man of God carrying a sword, sermons causing riots, meddling in politics, publishing anonymous attacks? However his strong will, radical ideas and example of individuals struggling any way they can against oppressive governments has universal appeal.

So as I stroll along with the sand with Dandy, I try to picture a chained Knox in a French galley rowing away from Scotland. His strong will forming to return to his home country one day and preach the true Gospel of grace once again. For all his mixing with Queens and great minds such as Calvin, his dedication and faith in giving the Gospel to the people were his primary focus and not political reform and social programmes.


Knox’s grave is in the middle of an Edinburgh car park. This is a scandal. I think Scotland needs a loud, brash and un-PC Knox preacher of today to stir things up but maybe not to riots with a two handed sword!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Want Real Letters Again? Try The Penpal Club

I mentioned previously that I had signed up for a Penpal club through a Twitter contact. You can sign up (for free!) if you would like some real letters again.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Machine Mode Change

Churn churn goes the machine. Yes this blog is feeling rather mechanical so here's a personal post rather than diving into historic documents. I still have not figured out the 'best' way to serialise the Confessions. Working on it :-)

It has been a year of changes so far with a new house, new pets and many other matters coming up. Thankfully almost all positive! I am pondering what to do with this blog and others but this one should not change too much in form. I seem to bounce between specialised blogs and aggregating everything into one place. Trying not to follow that pattern this time.

I have been pushing out to do new things (difficult for a creature of habit and routine like me). One opportunity today is to get back to 'real letter' writing with paper and everything. A Twitter pal prompted me to get back into it with a Penpal Club. You can visit her blog here.

Right that is all. Just and update and ramble to break the silence. Take care.

Friday, 23 April 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 13


3. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 12


2. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-
sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them,
but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of
whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by
them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest,
his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent,
or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due
from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to
require of them.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Confession Confession

Sorry. Yes I have slipped behind with the 'Confession' posts for a few reasons. Firstly the old reason of being busy with life and secondly I have found other great documents and am trying to find a way of sharing them in the same way without it taking years or being terribly confusing.

There's a lot of news to comment on from the UK election, fossils, various Vatican scandals and Atheists' arrest agendas. This is still primarily a personal blog but I have to decide where the votes goes for example so expect a little more coverage of current events.

Feel free to suggest a topic in a comment :-)

Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 11


1. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal, most just, and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 10


10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 9


9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Friday, 12 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 8


8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 7


7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 6


6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 5


5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 4


4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 3



3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part 2



2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:
Of the Old Testament:
II Chronicles
I Samuel
The Song of Songs
II Samuel
I Kings
II Kings
I Chronicles

Of the New Testament:
The Acts of the Apostles
Peter 1
Peter 2
Thessalonians I
Thessalonians II
John 1
John 2
John 3
Timothy I
Timothy II
Corinthians I
Corinthians II

All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith : Part One


The First Part of a Long Series of Posts – one article per blog.

1. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

Click here for a PDF of the full text. Click here for the background to the text.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

An Exclusive Blog Post


Recently I have been drawn into debates about some trendy teachers on the liberal side of the Christian church. I have a draft sitting here on the topic of one such character and I do not think I will finish that post. Great experience putting it together and researching it but writing about individuals does not personally sit well with me especially when the wider point is general. In principle though, naming names of false teachers is Biblical. It can be very messy when those teachers are ambiguous.

So this will generally address a problem with such teachers of today (and often of the past). If there is one issue that is the acid test of whether to use someone's teaching or not it is Universalism. Consider the following quotes from the Gospel of John:

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

So there we have it a divine Jesus – Messiah and Son of God is essential or you face the wrath of God. Anyone can repent and put their faith in Him. There are many many more I could add to the list but these 5 are all in context and more than sufficient.

Some today are keen to be ‘inclusive’ and flat out say all will be saved because God’s grace will win over human hard hearts. Others walk a middle road not quite being inclusive and not quite being exclusive yet keeping Christ as the central figure. This must be hard work to maintain this position if nothing else, yet it is very common in the mainstream Church.

The consequences are eternal too – should we risk our lives and our families lives to pass on the Gospel if it is just a nice to have? Can we ease off if everyone is saved in the end anyway?

Based on scripture, it is a deadly serious essential and we must take the message to all urgently. I just do not have time for wobbly looking teachers (however interesting or dynamic they are) – I will pick up the blog, book, podcast etc by the teacher that I know has a solid position on the message of Jesus.

Both is the answer to ‘Inclusive or Exclusive?’. To enter the Kingdom, you must be born again but all are invited to repent and put their trust in Jesus.

No danger of me becoming a mainstream trendy teacher then :-)