Tuesday, April 8, 2014

LDS General Conference - April 2014

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Twice a year, the first weekend in April and October, the LDS Church holds what is known as General Conference.  The last weekend in March and September, there is a meeting specifically for the sisters in the Church.  The first weekend in April and October there are five, two-hour sessions where member of the Church listen to their leaders.  It is during these two hour sessions that the general church membership is instructed by the senior leadership in the LDS Church.  I tried to watch as much of General Conference as I could this last weekend.

Overall, the messages are excellent.  I always feel uplifted.  I also feel chastened.  I realize that I can do better as a husband and a parent.  I have made some mental notes on things that I need to do in order to be a better person.

One of the talks that I remember the most was given by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom titled, "What Manner of Men?".  The story that stood out from that talk was about the man that said to Elder Hallstrom, "That's the way that I am."  How many of us are stuck, drifting?  How many of us are working to better ourselves and to become someone better?  I personally have been drifting for some time, but I want to change.  I want to do something different.  I want to be a different person.  That isn't to say that I'm a bad person (I think I'm generally a good person), but I firmly believe I can be an even better person.  But in order to become that better person, I must be actively engaged.  I must work at it.  I must set goals and work towards becoming the person that I want to become.  Without those goals, I will drift.

If you feel that you are drifting, take some time to do a self-evaluation.  What do you spend your time on?  Is that what you really want to be doing with your time?  What interests you?  What things can you work on to be a better person?  Make goals.  Work on becoming the person that you want to become.  You are only limited by yourself.  You will fail to become the person you want to become if you fail to plan to become that person.  Wishing for something won't bring you any closer to your wish.  Only acting upon your desires will bring you closer to what you want to become.  Don't be discouraged if you occasionally fall short.  That is called life.  Nothing ever goes as planned.  Just remember to take those shortcomings in stride.  Learn from them.  Then move on.  Don't dwell on the past that you have no control over, but instead focus on the present and the future.  Chin up!  The future is bright and new! 

The end of an era - The sunset of Windows XP

On October 25, 2001, Windows XP was released to the general public.  Today, Windows XP is no longer a supported operating system, joining the ranks of Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98, Windows 95, Windows NT 4, etc...   Thirteen years is a long run.  XP came out less than a year after my fourth child was born.  My oldest child was almost eight years old.  What an incredible run.  I don't believe that even Microsoft understood the magnitude of XP's success on the computing world at that time.

Since then we have had Windows Vista (dud), Windows 7 (the true successor to Windows XP), and Windows 8.x (I hate that OS and I absolutely refuse to buy anything with 8 on it).  In the last four months, I have upgraded my own mother's computer (Windows 7) and my mother-in-law's computer (also Windows 7).  If you are still running Windows XP, it is time to move on.  Buy a new computer and put a modern OS on it.  Windows 7 OEM runs $139 at Newegg.com.  If you're a bit of a nerd and you want free, you can go with a Linux distribution and then run LibreOffice as your office suite.  My new favorite Linux distribution is Linux Mint.  I have Linux Mint running on some low-end hardware as my Plex media server and it runs just fine.  In fact, I'm writing this blog entry on that PC.  In 2001 there were no viable Windows OS alternatives.  Today, there are a few more viable options.  The two major options are Mac OS X and Linux.  If you don't care about a having a thick desktop, a Chromebook might be in your future.  (I have been pleasantly surprised with my Chromebook.)  Your mileage may vary with Linux as it will take some experimentation to find a distribution that suits your tastes.  I digress.

As I stated above, XP has had quite a run.  It is probably the most popular desktop OS of all time.  Today is a significant day indeed for the millions of users that still use it daily.  It is time to upgrade or install something different.  It really doesn't matter what it is, you just need to move to something that is supported.  My personal preference is 64-bit Windows 7.  I have it running on computers that have anywhere from 8 to 32 GB of RAM with as few as two cores to as many as eight CPU cores.  It is solid.  It is familiar.  It is fast.