Jun 282006

Tim Keller (and others) get interviewed as a part of the promo machinery for the 2006 Desiring God national conference. Video below is Keller addressing how the Bible and culture interplay, an under-played issue in most churches. [ht: emergesque; I posted my favorites to youtube with permission; also see Keller on Scripture as Foundation]

Regular readers here know I’m keenly interested in Asian American church issues, but I’m not exclusively limited to that. (I’m not all that comfortable in thinking of myself as a typical Asian American Christian anyways, and so I’m graciously declining the tag from Enoch to add to the APA parenting meme.) I want to see more church leaders engage on the critical concerns of how Christian faith and cultures interplay, particularly in a multicultural global context. So much of our theology has been handed down to us through a Eurocentric Western cultural lens that this confines our spirituality to a moralistic and ritualistic Christianity, instead of a vibrant faith that propels us missionally, culturally astute, and intentional on ethnic identity formation, among other things.

Jun 272006

// [Update May 2010] The latest web technologies that make cross-platform video chat possible are: Google Video Chat, Wetoku.com (no software download & install needed) Oovoo.com, iVisit.com, and more at my post about group video chat“. //

With all the internet and computer gadgets around, and now with the MacBook (and MacBook Pro) laptops with built-in mic and iSight video camera, you’d think it’d be easier to video chats online, and particularly between Mac and Windows PC too. Can laptop PCs with built-in webcams be far behind? (I remember in the 80s when phone companies would pilot test those video phones with 2″ screens, and it never did take off.)

One blogger described it as: “Getting video chatting work from my Mac to a PC running Windows XP was a complete nightmare…” and there is a Video Conference Tutorial for iChat and AIM, but that just goes to show how complicated it gets.

Now with proprietary MacBooks and iChat AV, you can easily make instant video chats with someone else you know that has a Mac over iChat, or someone who has a PC with a particular webcam and particular version of AIM, etc — plain too complicated; a website doesn’t care if you use Mac or PC, Firefox, MSIE, or Safari, so a video chat with webcams shouldn’t care either.

Cross-platform is the new name of the game! I want something that’s easy-to-install and popular enough that I don’t have to explain what it is. Skype has that brand-recognition and ease-of-use: over 100 million users or so.

Skype could easily step into this gap, and it’s kinda halfway there already, with Skype Video calls for PCs, but not for Macs yet. When the latter is ready and launched, my simmering question will be moot. Granted, there’s SightSpeed and iVisit for those wanting to do video chats between Mac and PC, but..

(A few years ago, Microsoft used to bundle NetMeeting into their Windows XP OS, and that was a pretty handy video conference + whiteboard + chat room + shared desktop tool for virtual meetings. I used it on several occasions with newbies, and it worked very well for meetings and training over the web, but I don’t know why it got neglected and phased out.)

[Note: the official Skype blog says >> Skype for Mac with video coming up -- but don't use the buggy version]

[update 9/13/06: Skype 2.0 for Mac with video is released! Now PC and Mac users can video chat with each other over Skype! Download Skype for Mac OS X or Skype for Windows.]

Jun 262006

WaPo is a blogger-friendly newspaper (and now with their own radio station too), b/c they use Technorati to link to bloggers who link to their articles. That’s very kind of them, and it brings a little bit of web traffic this way.

Vacation Deprivation: The Lost Art of Taking Time Off

That’s because one in four workers plans to work while on vacation this year, according to CareerBuilder.com’s annual survey. … On average, Americans leave at least four days unclaimed annually. … Compared with other developed countries, Americans receive the fewest vacation days per year on average — 14 days, as opposed to 17 in Australia, 19 in Canada, 24 in Great Britain, 27 in Germany and 39 in France, according to the Expedia survey.

I used to not vacation well either — too much time on my hands disengaged my brains and soul. This last vacation I took was a good restful one, to the degree that I even forgot my login password upon return! I didn’t take my laptop, didn’t check my work email, and had to call help desk for a reset.

Cellphone Company Makes A Call: Korean Americans: Firm Targets Tech-Savvy Population

Korean Americans make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, but U.S. telecommunications firms take note of them because their kin across the Pacific are among the most tech-savvy people on the planet.
Thirty-five percent of U.S. mobile-phone customers use their phones to send text messages, according to an M:Metrics Inc. survey taken in April. Nearly 10 percent purchased ring tones or browsed the Internet on their phone for news and information, M:Metrics said. More people are sending photos via cellphones; M:Metrics found a 30 percent increase from January 2005, to about 11 percent of customers in April.
About 70 percent of all Koreans surveyed in the 2000 U.S. Census said they were not born in the United States. Compared with other ethnic groups, Korean immigrants and Korean Americans more often prefer speaking in their native language even if they have lived in the United States for a long time, according to Kang & Lee Advertising, a firm that specializes in Asian American marketing.

AOL needs help

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Jun 242006

From my vantage point, AOL is still wrestling through the challenges to find a profitable way out amidst the dial-up to broadband transition. Now AOL has another round of damage control, cf: How hard can it be to cancel an AOL account? | You’ve Got Frustration: Breaking Up With AOL | On Tape: Rep Won’t Let Customer Quit AOL | Vincent Ferrari blogged his attempt at cancelling AOL that took 20 minutes. Others say that it can take as long as 45 minutes to cancel an AOL account.

An apology is minimal damage control; the call center rep was fired. Let’s think out loud what’d be purple cow remarkable: how about a one-click cancel button? I love how SafeUnsubscribe™ makes my life easier and puts the customer in control (not at the mercy of over-aggressive advertisers)…

Jun 232006

Question: I’ve listened to all the free Tim Keller sermons on Redeemer’s site. I’ve also bought his series on grace (outstanding) and the series on Hebrews. Since these are sort of costly, I’d like to get some recommendations before I purchase more. I know this is very subjective, but thought I’d give it a try anyway. Thanks!

djchuang >> The most complete list of free sermons that I know of (and other goodies by and/or about Keller) are at www.djchuang.com/keller/.

Once you’ve exhausted those, my best suggestion is to save up so you can start a new sermon subscription on MP3 this Fall (since Keller takes summer breaks), and hear his most recent and current sermons to come. I find practically every one of his talks to be compelling listens, and would have a difficult time just picking out a few.

The other way to selectively purchase his sermons is to think of which book or which topics you’re currently needing more insight about, and then browse the Redeemer sermon store for matching ones. [Maybe other bloggers can chime in too.]

Jun 212006

My childhood dream was to be a standup comedian! [applause, deep bow, "Thank you very much!"] That’s my one joke standup routine. This has turned out to be more wishful thinking than a passionate motivated pursuit. I’ve watched my share of standup comics doing their thing, especially during my high school and college years. My favorites are the likes of Robin Williams, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld. Even Bill Cosby. Tim Allen not so much.

During my recent air travel on direcTV-equipped jetBlue, I got to see biographical sketches of Chris Rock (on Headliners and Legends[!?]) and Tim Allen (on Inside the Actor’s Studio), and Bill Cosby in action. I’d seen Robin and Seinfeld live and in person, plus watched Seinfeld’s Comedian and his TV show too. Both their comedy routines and life stories mesmerize me.
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slightly sunburnt

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Jun 192006

I’m back! A great vacation time in Hawaii, and I’m amazed to be awake here at 6:00am Eastern time, delusionally ready for a week at work already. I spent the weekend in flight from Honolulu back to Los Angeles (Saturday) and from Long Beach to metro Washington DC (Sunday). 6 hours time difference between Hawaii and DC. Enjoyable time with my wife and son, and I am slightly sunburnt on my chest from napping by hotel poolside without sunscreen. (I had sunscreen on for all the other times I was out in the hot Hawaiian sun..)

I won’t bore you with my vacation details. I feel like a travel newbie when it comes to vacation. Most of my travel has been domestic and more conference-attending than personal leisure. In retrospect, I would’ve spent much more time over at TripAdvisor.com to get a sense of what to do on vacation.

I thought I had posted a review of my pilgrimage to Leonard’s Bakery for some heavenly malasadas, but it apparently got lost in cyberspace? I had gotten an email confirmation thanking me for my review, but now I can’t find it. :( takes some time to appear. I wrote about how delicious the malasadas were, and I even got the June special Mango custard-filled malasadas!

[update] While I didn’t blog much about this vacation, I should have mentioned the best Japanese sushi buffet we ate at in Honolulu (Oahu) called MAKINO CHAYA. This restaurant doesn’t have a TripAdvisor entry yet, but it does get raves in its forum and has gotten great press here and here and here.

first vacation all year

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Jun 082006

I’ll be taking an out-of-town vacation, going off of the continental 48 for a week, preceded by a cousin-in-law’s wedding, with a possible meetup with Rudy.

I’m not taking a laptop with me. No live-blogging. No podcasting. No moblogging. I will take my Nikon D50 digital camera. I’ll have my cell phone. My wife and son will be with me. I’ve been separated from my wife for over 2 weeks and single-parenting. Look forward to re-connecting! (Word-choice for shock value only. *grin*)

Back in 10 days.

Jun 072006

Just received this request for willing and able respondents who are Christian and Chinese American — please help pass the word and participate too (if you fit the profile):

I’m currently conducting a survey among Chinese Americans age 20-70+ and was wondering if you could help me pass along the link. My survey focuses on religiosity and how it is beneficial to Chinese American behavioral practices because of the support network. There has been a lot of research on other ethnic groups (African American, Caucasian), but very little research on Chinese Americans. It has been especially difficult to find willing participants that are both Chinese American and Christian, so if you could give me some advice or help I would really appreciate it.

Thank you,
Jeanine Yang

Survey link = www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=509892175146

Survey info: In this survey, we are interested in the opinions of Chinese Americans. These questions will be related to family, work and other things. This survey will take approximately 20 minutes and there are approximately 100 questions. Please take the time to complete the entire survey. You may stop and complete the survey at any time. Your answers will be saved.

Of course, this survey is completely confidential. You are not required to answer any personal information and all questions are voluntary. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact Jeanine Yang at [email protected].