Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Tired of using a mouse for your computer? Thinking there must be a better way?
I just saw this new experimental way of interfacing with your computer called 10/GUI. (GUI = Graphical User Interface. Others have used the acronym WIMP: in human–computer interaction, WIMP stands for "window, icon, menu, pointing device", denoting a style of interaction using these elements. It was coined by Merzouga Wilberts in 1980. Although its usage has fallen out of favor, it is often used as an approximate synonym of "GUI". That's from the WIMP page in Wikipedia)

10/GUI allows you to use ten interface points instead of just one (a mouse cursor) or two (a scroll wheel). This broadens your ability to interact with your computer and allows you to do more at once. Check it out on this video. It really is worth a watch.

10/GUI from C. Miller on Vimeo.

Although the interface concept (using all ten fingers) is really quite revolutionary, there must be more you can do using ten fingers instead of one than the simple actions they suggest. It suggests that this is going in the direction of virtual reality - actually using your hands to manipulate objects on the screen. But we're not there yet. Part of the problem is that most of us are still in the mouse paradigm and can't yet get our heads around thinking in three dimensions or using more than one finger at a time. But then it works with a keyboard. Right now I'm typing reasonably fast with few mistakes on a keyboard and I can type faster than I can write - which is true of most people my age or younger. So the concept of speeding up the interactions between computer and humans is a solid one. We just need to be more creative.

However, I'm not sure that the "software solution" is all that innovative. Unless you need to keep dozens of windows open at all times it's not really all that helpful. As someone else said it's like putting training wheels on a bicycle - it helps stabilize something that is stabilized by forward motion.

Mac has started using some of these motions but it is inconsistent over multiple applications.
Re-wording the 10/GUI passage above to fit the Mac: a single finger points, clicks, and drags objects like a mouse. Two fingers scroll or pinch-zoom inside windows. Three fingers move windows around the desktop, and three-finger pinching resizes windows. Four fingers switch between applications, and four-finger pinching invokes Exposé.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It's September!

How did time go by so fast? Since my last post I've graduated from my doctoral program and have been trying to write more (obviously not on this blog) and turn my thesis into some kind of readable book. Since March I went to Boston for the grad ceremony, travelled to Atlanta for the Society of Pastoral Theology conference, spent some time in Quebec (driving my daughter to her summer French immersion experience) and did a week of worship leading at a camp. I will post some grad pictures and maybe a few others to get myself back to some blogging again.

Here's a picture of me right after graduation on the steps of Gordon College Chapel (I'm the one with the funny hat and the red collar).

Here are a couple of shots from Quebec City.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Doctor of Ministry Program

Just a quick note that I am at the point of my Doctor of Ministry program of defending my thesis. I have submitted a rough draft and am travelling to Boston to present my defense on Tuesday the 24th of March. Then I will have to make some revisions and then prepare for graduation on May 9th.

Epiphaneia Conference

I'm at the Epiphaneia conference today, The Evolving Church Amidst the Powers. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to blog again as I interact with the people at the conference.

This morning's first speaker was Walter Wink, a person unknown to some of my colleagues, but well known in certain circles for his books about "the powers." I bought his books when I was still working at Yonge Street Mission and tried to read them and work through them - not an easy task by any means. But he does bring out a number of very good things. In particular that every structure and organization has its own spirit. This spirit is what he and scripture calls the powers. These powers are created good, but they are fallen and need to be redeemed. Wink doesn't accept the concept of individual spirit beings. He asserts that it is too much like superstition for him. At the same time he speaks in very personal terms about these powers, in that they have distinguishable characteristics and personality.

The workshop I went to was with David Fitch whose blog I follow fairly consistently. His workshop was called"Evangelicalism and the politics of complicity" and dealt with the idea that we have some sacred cows in the evangelical world that actually prevent us from living in obedience to Christ. Three things in particular we have elevated to the position of idol status - that is ultimately powerless. He calls them Master Signifiers - words or symbols that inspire us but don't really have any power. Three characteristics are:
1. They don’t really refer to anything but we rally around them - like Obama saying “change” or George Bush declaring a “war on terrorism” but justifying just about anything including torture.
2. They play on antagonisms – kick their butts – To make us feel better
3. pacify us for complicity with the powers – we don’t really have to do anything ourselves about war or about change etc. but allows us to rally around these ideas.

The Christian "master signifiers" are
1. Biblical inerrancy - because we say the bible is true in every way but we don't do what it says. We proof text it to prove our denominational position but don't let it speak to our hearts and change our lives.
2. The idea of a Christian nation that somehow the best thing to happen would be to have Christian politicians, and laws so that we would live in a heaven on earth. However this is an elusive pursuit. We don’t know what would happen if we got what we wanted. We really can't really legislate morality but we think that we should. Change happens because hearts are change - not because laws are changed.
3. The deification of the decision for Christ. We have reduced conversion to merely responding to an invitation to raise your hand or sign a card. We have emphasized being born again instead of following Jesus. It has become about after death salvation from hell (fire insurance) instead of repeated returns to the altar. It creates an I'm in and you're out mentality. It bypasses desire and decision becomes only a mental thing – baptism has become a secondary thing instead of the full experience.

The afternoon will feature Stanley Hawerwas and Marva Dawn. Should be good.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Weak Is the New Strong

I've just been reading a piece by Andy Crouch about the emerging movement and he makes a comment about a sermon by Rob Bell entitled "Weak Is the New Strong." I kind of like that. My thoughts went to the concept that God is our strength and that His strength is made perfect in weakness and of course I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Too often in the past we have focused on the strength part of those verses (ie be the strong one in Christ) - perhaps rightly so. However, I think the real hope in those verses is that we really are weak and it is only as we admit our weakness that He can make us strong. A friend of mine likes to pray (in jest) "Lord, we've studied and we've worked hard. We've practiced and we're well prepared. We've have all the necessary technology to do a good job today. Our instruments are tuned and the sermon notes are ready. Besides that we've been told that we're very intelligent and good looking too. We don't think we'll need you much today. Amen"

It is in our weakness that he does amazing things. Under the temple system purity was lost by coming into contact with something unclean. But when Jesus came he made the unclean leper clean, he touched a woman with an issue of blood (unclean) and healed her (made her clean), he ate with sinners (unclean) and brought them salvation. He didn't wash his hands properly (unclean) but blessed the food and fed 5000.

We need to remind ourselves that every turn toward God and every positive work is a work of the Spirit of God. The stuff we build won't last unless the Lord builds the house.
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1

We need to be more like the little children and let the Father do the work. We are too much and too often like adults. We try too hard, we worry too much and we don't have enough fun.

Maybe that's a good New Year's resolution. Become like a little child.

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven
. Matthew 18:1-4