Monday, 26 November 2007

Horrible things are happening all around the world, in Sydney, and also within my heart.

A Sydney Morning Herald article reports what is going on in an African country. But what is more horrible is our ability to ignore such things. From the article:
During the war here, just one silver back was killed. And when it happened, within 48 hours millions in funding was sent to ensure the rest of the gorilla population was protected. Why isn't the same done with our women? I'll tell you why, because in the eyes of the international community animals have more value than humans in this part of the world.

What is described in the article is seriously horrific. But I feel so helpless as I know I am more than capable of ignoring such evil.

While I was waiting for Hanoh at Strathfield today, I saw a homeless man lying on the concrete floor outside the station. He was just lying there. People were not giving much attention to him, and only when they come within steps from him, they would be surprised and walk around to avoid coming too close to him. They were all so good at ignoring him. It seemed that only few steps were required to forget about a man lying on a street seemingly helplessly.

To most of us, he is kind of known. We know he hangs around the area and he is a homeless person. He was probably sleeping, or maybe even drunk...

Or... was he sick? Was he silently suffering some kind of pain? Did he lose consciousness because of some kind of illness? Or... was he dead?

I have no idea. I thought about going near him and check and see if he was ok, and even offer him help and talk to him about Jesus. But I only kept on looking at him... from a distance. I never had enough gut to go near him and see if he was not in some kind of urgent medical need. I never offered him help. I was just watching him from distance and listened to Hymns with my iPod. Oh, I use my iPod to listen to Hymns and Christian music, even sermons, I must be Christian! Wretched, disgusting hypocrite I am.

God, mercy!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Bank Robbery

I went to buy a bluetooth mouse for my new laptop after work today. Rhodes Shopping Centre is one of my favourite shopping spot, but I didn't expect this.

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Sometime early this year, I came to think about freewill of man. I probably should say that I hold to the Calvinistic view when it comes to the question of God's sovereign election and predestination. But that does not mean that I think we, humans do not have any "freewill". We still have an ability to make decisions in many areas of our lives. I cannot go much deeper since I am still undergoing a process of learning and un-learning in this subject, but as far as I know, Calvinistic view does not mean that humans have no freewill whatsoever.

So, after covering myself, let me get back to the subject of human freewill. I came to a conclusion that humans do have a "freewill" (the kind that is different to the ability to choose God and love Him), and that freewill we have only comes to us because we are spiritual beings. In other words, I concluded that our decisions and actions of freedom is a result of a spiritual act. I came to that conclusion because without spiritual element in the process, all things in the universe are deterministic. We are all physical beings and at the atomic level, everything has its mass and position with velocity/energy, so everything is and will behave in deterministic way. So for us to claim that we do have freedom, or freewill, we must be somehow above and beyond the physical limitation. Otherwise, we are just all bound by this deterministic law of the universe and whatever we do, it is in fact only a result of particles put in motion before we were even born.

Now, I learned later on that there's a such thing called chaos in our world. When we go to sub-atomic level, I learned that there are random activities going on and as far as we can tell, they are truly random, not just some phenomenon that is difficult-to-predict. This may pose a problem for my logic, since this indicates that not everything in the universe is deterministic. However, even so, this does not gift us with the freewill since it only says that things are not predictable, but we are still bound by the sub-atomic particles and their "random" activities.

So, I still hold to my view that human freewill can only be claimed and based upon another more profound truth, that humans are spiritual beings.

Now, I presented all these arguments without any reference to the Bible, and I am not going to give any here at the moment. Instead, I'll just show a secular and philosophical presentation on this very subject I found today.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Christians and computer games

Some of the contents of games are questionable, even for non-Christian community. But then, of course, Christians have tried to penetrate to this "market" and win over the place with Christian message. Here's a list how not to.

Oh, by the way, I like computer games. I used to spend quite a lot of time sitting in front of my computer and playing games. Now I often find myself not having enough time to do that, but still I casually play games like Warcraft/Dota, or Oblivion, etc.

Assumed to be?

It seems to me that to Australian eyes, when a man has a vaguely-asian-sounding surname, they just assume that we would be speak in one of the asian languages. Well, I am a Korean-born, immigrant to Australia, so I can speak Korean naturally. But this story of a brother was quite funny.

But sometimes, it gets a little bit beyond just being funny. My church is a Korean immigrants church (well, at least it has been so far), but we also have English speaking congregation who cannot quite understand Korean well, and many of them would not identify themselves as Koreans, but Australians. Granted, most of them are still Korean by blood, and have grown up in Korean culture because of their parents, even though they grew up in Australia. However, it is not always appreciated by everyone when a guest speaker addresses all of us as Koreans and display his broad(?) cultural experience. We'd rather be addressed as Australians and be given a fair treatment than to be treated special just because we look asian.

YouTube videos

1) A funny parody of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile hunter.
2) Australian?

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Gutsy Gibbon - 4 and final

Right. I was a bit tired and annoyed when I wrote about my new installation of Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon). I did have problems which made me re-install Ubuntu about 20 times, although in the end I was able to use my computer. However, as I tried to fine-tune my system to make it more performant, to my horror (ok, just annoyance), it's performance started deteriorate. When I drag windows, they would lag and leave trailing marks all over the screen, when I open an application, they would appear 3-4 seconds after I launched it, and so on. No desktop effects were enabled, nor was it possible.

However, I figured these all were caused by my graphics card (Radeon X1650 Pro AGP). More precisely, it was to do with the driver issue. Ubuntu couldn't configure my graphics card properly, and ATI didn't provide the right driver (or it might have been just me being ignorant not knowing how to configure it manually, but hey, I never claimed to be a seasoned linux user).

And so, I gave a last shot, I removed my X1650, and put back in my old card, Radeon 9250. It's a lower-end graphics card, but I was hoping that Ubuntu would be able to recognise it properly and also the driver supported. And I re-installed Gutsy again.

Gutsy recognised the driver, and all the previous display-related issues and performance issues disappeared. Amazing. Nice.

With desktop effects enabled, Gutsy Gibbon truly looks pristine, and the system responds promptly. I have to say that I am quite happy with this OS now, and it is growing on me as I use it more.

Now, after seeing me using Gutsy Gibbon for a few days, even Hank (my housemate) is willing to give it a try on his Virus-infected (no, not just infected, *infested*) computer. Great!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Is my blog hard to read?

Saw this rating on Gordon's blog and I had to try it.

cash advance

No way... it must've been my recent posts about Linux and all. Or... it could be attributed to my shabby writing skills, especially in English. English isn't my first language, so please excuse me. ;-)

Gutsy Gibbon - 3

Ok, I give up. Ubuntu 7.10 is running well and all is fine now... as long as I don't try to change settings, or try something new. I admit that in the eyes of linux experts I must look ignorant and stupid, but after re-installing Gutsy Gibbon about 20 times over two days, it would be the linux enthusiasts who are presumptuous in claiming that linux is as easy as Windows (whatever that means). I now pretty much gave up on trying to fine-tune my system including my monitor/display settings, desktop effects, performance tuning, etc. Sure, everything is working ok, but all the bells and whistles features are not running and everytime I try to make it work, the whole system denies me. So, I will contend myself with just an ability to do simple word processing and surfing the net... for now.

I have to say though, after trying out Ubuntu installation, linux still has *A LOT* to catch up compared to Windows or OS X in terms of driver support and making things run "out of the box". This isn't entirely linux camp's fault, but also has to do with hardware manufacturers. They need to provide a way for open source developers to write and use drivers for their products. Without that "open-ness" the linux camp won't be able to penetrate into as wide user base as Windows. At the same time, linux camp will have to be careful in how they present themselves when they market their products as if they are as easy as installing and using Windows already because they are simply not (at least as of yet).

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Gutsy Gibbon - 2

Ah... Staying up till 4:30am installing Ubuntu 7.10 did not end too well. It turned out that Ubuntu installation was not as breezy-easy as some enthusiasts claim to be.

Huddles I had to overcome to make my computer boot up properly:
1) I had to learn how to burn the Live CD (Installation CD). The fact that I forgot how to burn an image (.iso file) was one thing, but having to burn in a slo-mo (I used x8 speed) was another thing. Perhaps I was just being too impatient, but I burned 4 CD's at higher speeds and they all turned out faulty! Blank CD's are really cheap nowadays, but still, what a waste (especially of time)!

2) Some may attribute this to my old hardwares, but after installing OS and reboot, the screen would go blank. After some painful research, I found that it was to do with Ubuntu startup splash screen (that one with Ubuntu logo and a progress bar underneath). /etc/usplash.conf file did not have the right resolution setting (for my monitor whose maximum resolution is 1024x768) when installed, so it would mess up the graphics card and wouldn't display anything on the screen. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one having this issue and smart people posted up how to fix this problem on ubuntu forum.

3) Some of the hardware config setting was too brittle I found. When I finally got the above problem fixed, and logged on to my computer, I was trying to look around and see what this OS can do with my computer. When I was looking at my display setting, my monitor refresh setting seemed to be set a bit too high (from my memory), and with an intention to prevent hardware damage, I tried lowering refresh rate to 70Hz from 75Hz, but that suddenly gave me another blank screen! I was able to restart and login as root in recovery mode, but I couldn't start x-windows when I booted up normally. So what did I have to do? Re-installation.

4) Now, I still wanted to check out that famous desktop special effects (compiz/beryl), and I couldn't make it work with my current drivers. I tried downloading the latest driver from ATI website, and after installation, guess what? Another blank screen... damn... Well, I'm gonna give another shot at it still.

Will update if I finally get the whole thing working, but might take a while...

Gutsy Gibbon

I've been looking around to buy a new computer (preferably a notebook) for a few weeks now.
My current computer was becoming too slow and unreliable and I was worried that it would die on me suddenly. I already fixed it 4 times and spend around $600, and I didn't want to spend any more money on it. I also planned to install Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) as my operating system on this (old) desktop for a while.

Well, the time has come.
No, I haven't bought a new computer yet, but when my windows was infected with a Trojan tonight, I thought it was time. As I type, my computer is being formatted and installed with Ubuntu 7.10. I was a little concerned at first when the Live CD failed to install. I found that there's some conflict with my dual-boot I configured years ago with RedHat 9. Fortunately, when I ran Windows-based Ubuntu installer (I don't know how else to describe it. I'm not as Tech-savvy any longer, but that's ok. Ubuntu seems easy enough ;-), Ubuntu installer worked as it should.

Now, I might have lost some data I've been junking up on my hard drive, but hopefully all those data I backed up will contain everything essential and will be useful when I get a new notebook computer.

Anyways... if any of this posting does not make sense to you, friends, do not worry, I'll just show you what Ubuntu is and can do when you visit my house next time.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Are Women Human?

Just finished a book called, "Are Women Human?" by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Only took me about an hour and a half. It contains a long-ish introduction and two short essays.

I wrote a very (extremely) short review/opinion about the book at Shelfari.

I'm not sure if I can embrace the view point presented in this book in its entirety.

The two essays argue against the "(aggressive) feminism" of Miss Sayers' contemporaries, but taken in the current West society, at some points, it sounded as if she was promoting "egalitarianism", which is an idea that I disagree with.

Nevertheless, these are short, yet insightful writings that helped me to think deeper and wider.

A bit too pricy for its thickness, but if you want it, you can get it from here, or here.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Rick Warren (Re)evaluated

Michael Spencer at the internetmonk has (re)evaluated Rick Warren(of the Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Life) and his ministry. It was refreshing to see such an honest and humble approach he has taken. Too often I have seen people slamming someone without giving enough thoughts. Criticism is important, but the way it is expressed is equally important. If a criticism is expressed in a bad way, even if the criticism itself was legitimate, it may hinder people from seeing the truth rather than clarifying it.

Thank you Mr. Spencer.