The "C" Branch

Jaded commentary on random shit, with an extra helping of cynicism, satire and general contempt for society & Western culture, religion, politics, celebrities, technology, business & more.

Feb 17

What is Divine Providence?


A nice young lady looking for help with a Social Studies project asked for help with this today, so here’s a little explanation of divine providence.

Divine Providence essentially refers to God’s activity and intervention in the world and in people’s lives. It can be and has been used – and abused – as an explanation or justification for just about anything – good or bad.

For example, many ancient rulers (and the civilizations which they governed) took the very fact that they were in power to mean that God willed for that to be. Therefore, this allowed them to get away with doing lots of stuff that may or may not have necessarily been good – but people accepted it as “fate” because God allowed that person to be in power, so therefore everything that was happening must be the will of God.

In fact, everything from the rise and fall of nations and the outcomes of battles and wars to explanations for droughts and famine has been and continues even to this day to be associated with the will and action of God.

This philosophy applies on a much smaller scale as well – and can be attributed to “fate” or “karma” too. In fact, you probably experience it on a daily basis without even realizing it.

For example, if something bad happens to someone and you overhear someone say “he/she had it coming,” they are expressing this very concept – that some higher power (karma, or the universe, or God) had some sort of intervention on that event taking place. And, every single day, millions of believers in God (including myself) attribute good things happening to God’s mercy and power.

Hope that helps!

Feb 17

FCC to Mandate Minimum Broadband Speeds


Unfortunately, most of the times the FCC or other areas of the US Government are mentioned on this blog with regards to the internet, it’s because they’re stirring up some sort of net neutrality outrage or some other problem.

Today, however, I have some interesting and more positive news. While it may be a bit unrealistic of a goal, the FCC has announced a plan to require a minimum speed for residential broadband providers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 04

Blogger to No Longer Support FTP


Blogger is discontinuing its FTP publishing feature in March 2010.

The other day, Blogger sent out an official email to all its users announcing that they will be discontinuing support for FTP publishing quite soon:

…we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

  • We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
  • We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation
  • Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released.

Blogger claims that it is a big drain on resources to provide the functionality, and further, that it would require rewriting all of the feature’s code to accommodate a new system they are moving to.

Feb 01

Google IE6 Phase-Out Confirmed


To confirm all the rumors about Google phasing out Internet Explorer 6, I got this email only a few hours ago:

Dear Google Apps admin,

In order to continue to improve our products and deliver more sophisticated features and performance, we are harnessing some of the latest improvements in web browser technology. This includes faster JavaScript processing and new standards like HTML5. As a result, over the course of 2010, we will be phasing out support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 as well as other older browsers that are not supported by their own manufacturers.

We plan to begin phasing out support of these older browsers on the Google Docs suite and the Google Sites editor on March 1, 2010. After that point, certain functionality within these applications may have higher latency and may not work correctly in these older browsers. Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar.

Google Apps will continue to support Internet Explorer 7.0 and above, Firefox 3.0 and above, Google Chrome 4.0 and above, and Safari 3.0 and above.

Starting this week, users on these older browsers will see a message in Google Docs and the Google Sites editor explaining this change and asking them to upgrade their browser. We will also alert you again closer to March 1 to remind you of this change.

In 2009, the Google Apps team delivered more than 100 improvements to enhance your product experience. We are aiming to beat that in 2010 and continue to deliver the best and most innovative collaboration products for businesses.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sincerely,

The Google Apps team

I guess that settles it! By the end of the year, all of Google Apps will no longer support IE6. I like it!

Jan 31

Google Officially Phasing Out IE6


Much to the annoyance of most web developers, IE6 has continued to hold a surprisingly high share of the browser market, even following the releases of Internet Explorer 7 and 8. Consequently, of course, we’ve been forced to spend hours testing and tweaking our designs – fighting with the outdated browser’s horrible incompatibility and lack of standards compliance – to make websites display properly in the archaic browser, often having to break standards to do so.

This is, of course, in addition to the terrible security concerns the horribly out-of-date browser presents.

Well, a recent announcement by Google may finally shed some hope on this situation. Google has announced that as of the first of March, its Google Docs service will “no longer work properly” on IE6. In other words, Google is no longer going to waste its time doing a ton of extra work tweaking its software to make it work on IE6 while it works every other browser just fine.

Hopefully such a substantial move by an authority as big as Google will finally prompt a transition away from support for the old browser on the internet in general. If that’s the case, it would mean a lot of long-overdue relief for web developers everywhere.

You can learn more at this BBC News story: Google phases out support for IE6

Jan 09

What Do You Want Your Life To Look Like This Year? – Part 3


Previously, we learned why most resolutions people make don’t end successfully as well as the two key factors that will help you actually keep your New Year’s resolution. If you missed them, you can catch the first part of this series here and the second part here.

Lastly, we’re looking at how the compromises we all inevitably make can prevent us from getting what we really want out of life – or worse, giving up on ever being able to have it – and take us further and further away from having the life we really want.

Deep down, we all long for a life we want to have – a “dream,” if you will. Remember your “why” from Part 2? Hopefully it encompasses every single aspect of the life you want – down to the time you’ll wake up in the morning and what you’ll eat for breakfast. But, chances are, you don’t currently have everything you want out of life, or else you wouldn’t be reading this! Of course, it’s not likely that you can have every single detail of everything you want all at the same time, but the things you want most – the things you won’t settle without – often turn out to be the things that are settled without.

So what happens between the amazing dreams we want to fulfill in our lives and the reality we’re actually living on a daily basis?

What happens is that we make compromises. We settle for less than what we want, or accept it thinking that we can’t really have what we want. And unfortunately, compromising turns our dream of the life we long for into an abstract fantasy instead.

It could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps you want to move to a warm climate but are staying where you are (compromising) for the sake of your job. It could be a relationship that’s holding you back. It could be the fear of failure, or any number of other possibilities. Regardless of the reason, the truth is that at times we all let something hold us back from everything we want – and end up “settling” with something less. And to really achieve the life of fulfillment we really desire, we have to look at where we’re compromising and make a decision of what it is that we really want most.

Here’s the part where I have (get) to be honest. I hate cold weather, and have dreamed of moving to a warm climate for years now. Yet, this winter, I’m still looking at icicles and snow-covered ground out the window. Why?

The truth is, I’ve made compromises as well. In my case, I’m not afraid of packing up and leaving…in fact, I’d be happy to! But I have let two things pin me down: my work and my relationships.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some times where compromising can be perfectly healthy and even necessary, especially in relationships. Two people may want to live in different places, in which case a compromise would be absolutely necessary. Remember, sometimes you can’t have every single aspect of your “why” be reality at the same time. In this sort of situation, however, the “why” itself changes to accommodate the situation, so it really isn’t “settling.” In this example, wanting to be with that person matters more than where you live, so your “why” – what you want most – adapts to prioritize being together with that person rather than living where you want.

The problem is when you do feel like you’re “settling.” If you’re counting on that person to change, of if you’re really not happy with them – it isn’t the thing you want more than anything else – then being with them is probably not the thing you want most. If you feel “pinned down” in a situation and are not happy to make the compromise, then it’s most likely not a healthy one. Chances are, just like myself, you can already think of a handful of “unhealthy compromises” that are keeping you from the life you really want.

Unhealthy compromising prevents us from being happy or fulfilled. In fact, it can often make us depressed and miserable. It makes us feel “stuck” and “helpless.” This leads to a downward spiral that only gets worse.

In the first part of this series, we learned how attempts to stop unwanted behaviors often fail because of an underlying condition that must be corrected first. This is one of the biggest! If you’re not living the life you want to live, why would you even bother trying to lose weight or stop smoking? You probably wouldn’t even want to get up in the morning!

If you want your life to really change this year, forget silly resolutions to lose weight or stop smoking, because barely anybody actually keeps those anyways!

Instead, focus on what you really want your life to look like. Take your “why” and your detailed picture of how you want your desired life to look, and compare it to reality. Discover every single aspect where you’ve made compromises and evaluate whether they are healthy or unhealthy. Then, decide what you really want most and update your “why” accordingly. Even though it’s very difficult, it’s always better to take back commitments, end relationships, or make other hard decisions than to remain “stuck” in a life you don’t even want to be living.

So here’s to you, for a great, prosperous year filled with all the things you want most!