Archive for January, 2008
O.k., time to get your ‘old guy’ rant on:
Melissa and I talked over bills tonight and I’ve had a post in my head for a little while that just took the right amount of encouragement to get out. Here it is: I hate the word ‘consumer’. I’ve heard it alot lately, but overall, it implies a few things to me. First, it turns living, breathing human beings into a commodity. People’s choices and stewardship of their money becomes strategic manipulation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for thinking through a business model well, but when you commodify people who support you, nothing good can come from it. Which, the link wreaks of hypocrisy, or at least a dissonance, of a band who cares about the poor but exploits the masses with the other hand. I’ve got a growing frustration with that speech for a variety of reasons, the least of which is his blatant (I’m yelling here…) ingorance of the technology environment he wants to deal in.
Calling someone a ‘consumer’ depersonalizes them (yes, I know it’s kind of like commidifcation, but I mean something different). It’s easy to take advantage of a consumer, or to sue them, or to charge them more money. It’s harder to raise the profit margins when Pete, or Dave, or John, or Randy, or Jeff are going to have to adapt their budget. It’s also harder to create products for a consumer and easier to create for a Pete, Dave, etc. It’s easier to understand who you’re selling stuff to when you know their name and when you know who they are. Forgive me for fan boyishness for a second, but the iPod is a great example of this; thinking through who is buying something really drives how you produce the product.
This is the same reason I despise the word ‘user’. The only context I use that word in is one that I could easily replace with a pronoun (e.g. THEY could do this if THEY wanted) and at that, I rarely try and use it anymore. Understanding who exactly you work for is critical if you want to love and serve them well. I find that hard to do when we de-personalize a financial transaction where consumers buy product.
I guess my point is this; too much of our society is de-personalized now. There’s value in human interaction; we bring light to the darkness when we communicate. Even in blogs and facebook and the like, there’s an opportunity to reveal who you are (without revealing too much information). Reading that speech today really solidified how odd it is to take a personal moment that can transend and be worshipful even at points and turn it into a discussion of suits and profit margins. We must always remember that there are people and needs behind transactions; it seems to me that people who succeed understand that.
O.k. random rant for a second. We picked up a low end second laptop for backup and those times that MJ and I are both working on gigs. The machine is beautiful, it’s peppy, but it came with Vista Home Premium. Here’s what I don’t like about Vista and that it takes some hand holding to make work:
- Aero, and CUA: Pretty, but insulting to think that a Core Duo chip with 1GB of RAM and 160GB of drivespace comes crawling with them enabled. Seriously. I’ll leave it to Apple to do a good GUI with bells and whistles at half the footprint of MS’s attempt. Also, disabled the CUA (or whatever the annoying ‘Are you sure?’ prompt is called). Figured I’d let McAfee do what it does best and handle the heavy lifting of security.
- Simple home networking. After digging in a little more this evening, it’s a chore to get two computers to talk to each other if both aren’t Vista. Laughably (is that a word) enough, Vista’s security awarness needs to essentially be disabled on the Networking end in order to make it talk at any semblance of normal to other machines on a home network.
Security should be transparent and not a hindrance. I told Aidan that he’s safe as I left him tonight in his room to sleep. I shouldn’t have to bolt the door, motion sensor the hallway, and alarm the front door in order to do good on that promise. Home networking should be that, safe, but unobtrusive. If a guy needs to pee in the middle of the night, he shouldn’t be punished.
Hoping for something better in Windows 7.
O.k., so quick adoption update: we’re waiting. The latests is the next round of refferals will come shortly and once we see how many girls are in that group, we should get a little better sense of the timetable we’ll be looking at.
Also, thank you all for listening to our ‘ask’ in the Christmas card. God has moved and as of last week, we’ve raised over $8500 for bringing our daughter home. It will *definately* help and we are so thankful for our great cloud of Internet friends who are adding the story that we will tell our daughter about her coming into our family and people who love her that she doesn’t have a chance to know yet. THANK YOU. It’s been a wonderful process seeing God work and seeing us take this journey to this point. We are excited to see what the year has for us and look forward to the day when we bring out new daughter home.
Our adoption is up on my radar for alot of reasons, but as we get closer, my dread that I had with our first child is a little lessened. Post Aidan, I always told people I knew that the first three months were just, well, hell (sorry Aidan! ) and that you needed to get over it and it would get better. As I got up with Aidan last night – he’s learning to go potty in the middle of night – I got a little lit when he wouldn’t get off an issue and so I ended up barking at him. He started crying and I realized immediately what a jerk I was an bent down and gave him the longest hug and apologized a few times. We reconciled (I think) and all went back to bed.
I remember just being steam rolled the days following Aidan’s arrival and just not being able to get it together and just weeping for the lack of so many things that I’d taken for granted. Well, four years later, I look back at that time and realized that alot of that was jealously and selfishness on my part. I’m not going to be so naive to say those still don’t exist, but the interesting about 4 years with someone you’re trying to instill ‘the Law’ in and explain sin to you come to find your own sins a ton easier to identify. I think that, for us, having Aidan has come to help us be alot more honest with ourselves and each other.
So, when I think about a few more years of this I’m strangely looking forward to it. Not with a expectation that things are going to be rosey or that I’ll have alot of sleep, but that we as a family are beginning to, in a very broken way, communicate our hurt and be honest with each other. It is my belief that, by God’s grace, we’ll soldier on with a renewed patience for the big challenges that lie ahead.
As this political season revs up (my picks for tomorrow – McCain/Obama (with Romney caving no later that SC)), I think it’s often important to take a break and get context. My pastor some time ago mentioned Daniel 2:21 which reads “He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the drama of the moment, but the reality is that God chooses leaders, both bad and good, for his own purposes. It’s easy to be distressed at the idea of president Hillary in November (God forbid…), but the truth is that nothing really surprises a soverign God. So, as you cast your ballot, read well, think well, research but don’t sweat it – the next day will come and God will cause the sun to rise and set again and nothing really will catch him by surprise.