Sam's blogger
Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Geek post - every once in a while I need to put a technical post to my blog to aide others who are less geeky. If you have a cable modem, you can increase your internet transfer speed by several times by making some simple modifications to your Windows operating system. The tools can be found at


First run the tweak test, then run Doctor TCP with the numbers it recommends. Finally run the speed tests to see the performance enhancements. With these enhancements, I can get a sustained transfer rate of 361K bytes a second (56K modem is doing well to get 6K/sec). Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

One of the hardest parts for me of being a minister is doing sermon research. I usually have so many balls in the air that the time to spend the day in the library and another to relax and read multiple sources on my Sunday morning topic just evaporates. I want to be able to fill my sermons with fascinating insights and connections as well as stimulating stories but often come up against the clock.

So I was delighted to stumble on
Questia - The Online Library of Books and Journals while looking for some books by Jane Addams with Google, my trusty source for good information. I took the tour and was astounded at the research tools at your fingertips. You can search 400,000 citations in their entirety for individual words, phrases or combinations of words or phrases. You can highlight lines that interest you for future use and they are automatically stored for future reference. You can make notes in the columns of the books that are also archived. It allows you to generate quotes and footnotes automatically then generate a bibliography of works cited. If I had tools like this when I was in college, I would have been a straight A student in the humanities! This seems to me to be a must have for anyone in academics.

So all you bookworms out there, I recommend you dive into this resource. It's a bargain at the yearly subscription fee. My librarian mother, may she rest in peace, would have loved this to pieces!

(If you decide to use the service, please use me as a referral so I can get a month of free service)

Monday, August 02, 2004

For the last four years, I've been politically active in the New York Capital Region in ARISE, A Regional Initiative Supporting Empowerment. It is a Regional Organization composed of religious organizations (Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Baptist), interfaith groups and neighorhood groups in Albany, Schenectady and Rensellaer Counties. We collaborate on areas of concern in our region such as housing, youth and education, sprawl, economic development, and the criminal justice system. I served as President of the organization for two years.

One of the reasons for this kind of organizing that is predominantly religious, and driven by strong religious values, is addressed by this article: Can We Be Good Without God? - 89.12 The author connects the spiritual with the political and suggests that without the underpinning of religious values, our society would be at risk. I'm sure George W. Bush would agree - and I would too but probably not for the same reasons.

Bush would prefer if we codified the connection grounded in the Christian tradition. I would do it in the plurality of values and commitents that interfaith groups might embrace. We need to build our society on our common commitments from which we derive our values and our meaning. The great religions of the world have quite a lot in common that can be that foundation.

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