Monthly Archives: July 2007

My Thoughts On Tithing

Of all the commandments lovingly given from our Heavenly Father, the law of tithing is among my favorite. In the Mormon Church, tithing is defined as “a commandment from the Lord to pay one tenth of one’s annual increase or income for the building of His Church on the earth.” This commandment has been present since the early days of the Old Testament and continues to apply to us today. (See D&C 119)

There are three reasons I love this call of sacrifice from the Lord:

1) So often, commandments offer a principle and allow you to rely on the Holy Ghost to know how to act. Being kind to others and having moral thoughts are two examples of this. This can be rewarding but it also allows for missed judgement calls. Sometimes you must learn as you go.

With the law of the tithe, it is crystal clear what is expected. In exchange, Heavenly Father promises very specific blessings. I love the simplicity. I testify that the blessings are always given when this law is followed.

2) The law of tithing is a call to action. You are expected to do something.

The Lord commands, “Thou shalt not kill.” This is easy. Just don’t do it. But the law of tithing says, “Refraining from action is not enough. I need My people to be anxiously engaged.” I like that.

3) I think that most people are giving by nature. As we see earthquakes and floods cover the earth, we all like to help financially when we can. But with each disaster, we see responses from government and charity organizations that are sometimes equally disastrous.

Tithing in the church allows a way for me to give with complete trust that the funds will be used appropriately. The Lord directs this church and the use of it’s funds. I know that. While the money may be handled by human hands, the system and procedures are of heavenly origins.

A Month With The iPhone

The longer I use the iPhone, the more I love it. Yes, love it. (Why don’t you marry it?-Because I’m already married.)

A few reasons:

1) It’s built incredibly solid. At first, you carry it around like it’s a glass bubble, but the more you handle it…the more it is treated like a cell phone. It holds up nice. The big, bright screen shares a pocket with my keys and there isn’t a scratch to be found.

I’m a big fan of electronics and gadgets, but I don’t buy them often. Usually, when you handle a gadget, it feels cheap. It feels like they cut every corner they could to make it less expensive to build. This includes usually laptops, phones, music players, cameras, etc. But this isn’t the case with most Apple products. The iPhone, iPod and Macbook are great examples.

2) After a month of use, it’s still a pleasure to use the phone. I’m not talking about all the web, SMS, etc. Those are fun too, but even the phone aspect is great to interact with every day. Going back to a regular phone would be near impossible for me now.

3) I’ve always used my mobile phones for email and internet lookups, but this iPhone brings it to a whole other level. If I were to go on a trip, I could easily leave my laptop at home and have the iPhone replace it for a few days without skipping a beat. (That never would have happened before.) Mail, Internet, and Calendar on the iPhone is just as powerful as it is on my comptuer. And since Netnewswire syncs with Newsgator, all of my feeds are available at anytime as well. (Just yesterday, Newsgator announced an iPhone interface for your online feeds. It’s pretty.)

4) The “Maps” application by Google is a huge selling point. We spent last week in Oceanside and I used it all the time. It’s very easy to find places, get directions, call restaurants, and just have fun with it. In fact, the Google Maps online could take some design points from the way the iPhone does it.

5) I love to watch Candace play with her phone. She loves it and uses it all the time. I regularly hear, “I love this phone.” from the other room.

6) The Wifi and EDGE internet connections are seamless. Getting online is very easy. I often have to remind myself how easy it is to use. Before, I’d see a link on tv and send myself a note reminding me to check it out next time I’m on the computer. I’ve caught myself doing that a couple times forgetting that the iPhone will give me the same experience as the computer will later. Pages load up beautifully. They are easy to read with the crystal clear screen. Apple has made input fields and drop down menus easy to use.

As an example, this morning I had to get a smog check for Candace. When I started the car up, I remembered that it still had the “Check Engine” light on because the dealership forgot to turn it off last time. As you know, the smog check won’t go thru if this light is on.

I was about to shut off the car to go back inside to look up how to turn it off. I caught myself and instead used the iPhone. It was right online with the house Wifi, it took 90 seconds to google the answer and turn the light off. Incredibly useful.

7) Sending and receiving text messages is useful and fun. The iPhone breaks it down by person as opposed to chronological. Instead of just having random snippets of text to go thru, the iPhone has them look like a chat window. You can scroll thru all past messages with a person and read it like a conversation.

8- The Photos are fun to scroll thru. Whether you’ve taken them with the phone or synced them over from your computer, you just flick thru them and enjoy. The screen makes them look great.

You can also easily sync pictures FROM the phone. So instead of your “Cheesy smile in front of the Rome Coliseum” picture just sitting on your phone, it can zip over to iPhoto easily.

9) The virtual keyboard is great to use. I’ve never been able to type this fast on a phone. Not to solicit myself, but I was quick with regular phones. I’d beat people one-handed. But I’m quicker with the iPhone’s keyboard and very, very rarely make mistakes. The more you use it and trust it, the faster it gets.

I also love that the keyboard can change according to what you are doing. This isn’t possible with plastic keyboards on Treos and Sidekicks. The buttons change. For example, when you are entering a url, the space bar isn’t used so it becoms a “.com” button.

10) As with the iPod, the unsung hero is iTunes. Syncing with iTunes is great. Your Address book, your calendar, your photos, music and movies all move over without a hitch.

Even better, iTunes keeps a backup of everything. This is incredibly nice for restoring. My first iPhone was being passed around and plopped into a root beer float. When I got my new iPhone, I plugged it in and within 2 minutes I was exactly where I was before with everything on my phone.

Apple called the iPhone “revolutionary.” I was skeptical. Now I’m not.

(PS, I just wrote this whole blog post from the iPhone while I’ve been waiting for the smog check.)

A Great Time In Oceanside

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My family (pictured above) just got back from a fun week in Oceanside, CA. This was Cole’s first big trip and he did great. He didn’t make a peep the whole drive there or the whole drive back. He was a little champ tagging along for a train ride and a walk to the harbor.

On a personal note, he also told me he likes the cool, most air in California because it cleared up his complexion and got rid of his heat rash. Together, he and I pondered why we choose to live in the heat-box known as Las Vegas.

If you like to see more photos, I’ve set up a gallery here. You can navigate by clicking on the right side of the picture to go forward or the left side to go back.

As always, thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Tingey for always being so generous with their condos.

For His Adoring Fans

While we’re away on vacation, I thought I’d try something new.

When I take a picture with my iPhone, it automatically gets uploaded to flickr and then lands in the sidebar of this blog. so now Grandma Susan can always know what little Cole George is up to on his first big trip.

Cheat Sheet For Life

From one of my favorite speeches of all time:

The solutions to life’s problems are always gospel solutions.

I’d say that is a good thing to remember. It certainly rings loud in my heart each time I struggle.

Going On A Monkey Hunt

Are you tired of the Cole posts yet? Well, here’s another anyway.

Cole is such a nice boy. Even when we lay him down to sleep he is calm and observant. Above his bed, we have a monkey mobile that we turn on to put him to sleep. Cole loves it and he likes to keep his eyes on the monkeys as they move around in circles.

I think it’s a great workout for his little eyes to learn to “keep his eye on the monkey.” That will come in handy when we get him in the batting cages.

Here’s a short video of Cole doing the monkey watch.

[QUICKTIME http://www.brianstucki.com/blog/wp-content/video/colemonkey.m4v 500 276 false true]

(Quicktime Movie, iPhone enabled)

A Long Time Coming

For as long as I remember, I’ve been so excited to have my first son. My plan has always been to teach him baseball, guitar, prepare him for a mission and name him George.

It’s tradition in my family to have the oldest son with the middle name George. Kay George, Dale George, Brian George and now Cole George.

Last night we had both Grandpa Georges up for dinner. My dad suggested we take a photo. We probably could have found better lighting and background in the studio but we were just glad to have Grandpa Kay to play along.

So here is the photo. I look chubby, Dad looks happy, Grandpa looks proud and Cole just looks surprised by it all.

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My Approach On Backups

Take a minute and picture this scenario. You turn on your computer tomorrow and it is completely busted. The OS won’t start up, the hard drive won’t spin and you’ll never see anything that was on there again. Would there be any pictures you might miss? Maybe an iTunes collection that’s gone? Homework? Journals? Address Books? Pretty scary huh?

Luckily, I’ve never had a computer die on me. But, I get enough calls each week from distraught people asking me if I can save their data. Usually, they had a hard drive die. But I also had a good friend who had his computer stolen and that data is just as lost. Because of my job, I have some high-end software tools to try and save data. But sometimes, it’s not possible. That is a very disheartening result for the computer owner.

Because I’ve seen so much of this first hand, I’ve been pretty serious about backup on my own machines. I have three different backup plans, each with their own purpose. I want to share my backup scheme in hopes of encouraging you to start a scheme of your own.

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Full Backup Nightly: I keep a 500GB External drive attached to my machine. I chose a MyBook drive because they look good and Costco has a great deal on them. I have this drive stored in a locked drawer out of sight. Every night at 2am, my computer wakes up, uses the awesome Mac application SuperDuper! to clone the whole internal drive and then goes back to sleep. I never see this happen but get a note that lets me know it took place.

I call this my “Quick-Up” backup. If ever my machines internal drive was to die, I’d be able to boot from this external drive and be up and running again with no more than a day of data missing.

Weekly Backup: Each Friday morning, I have an email reminder from Google Calendar that tells me to “Backup my Mac.” I plug in a second external drive and use the free iBackup to copy all the things that are important to me. This includes Pictures, Music, Preferences, Mail, iTunes, finished iMovie projects, etc. iBackup makes it quick to do and consistent each week.

Once this backup is done, I take it with me to my data center and put it back on the shelf to sit for another week. This backup is my “Safe Keeping” backup. If my house went down in a fire, I’d have this data still. If someone broke into my house, took my Macs and my backup drive, I’d still have this data with a week of data missing at most.

I know not everyone has a high security data center, but keep this copy at your parents house or at your office. Anywhere outside of the home that might keep it safe

Online Backup: This could be the most simple backup at all. I use Mozy.com to backup my most important data.

If you sign up with Mozy.com, they will give you two free gigabytes of storage. This should be good for some important documents and photos. If you need more space, it’s $5/mo for unlimited storage. UNLIMITED!

The nicest thing about the service is how easy it is to set up. After signing up, you download their application. (Available in Mac or PC) Then, you run the program and choose what you want to back up. Once you are finished, the backup starts and you never have to worry about it again. It will keep your computer backed up continually. It works in the background storing all of your data safe and encrypted on their servers.

The one problem with Mozy.com is that your first backup will take a real long time. Sometimes a few days. This is because most internet connections have a slow “upload speed” so it takes a while to get all the data on their server.

If you don’t take any other backup steps, at least get going with the online backup at Mozy.com. It’s simple to set up and even the free 2GB can save some of your data.

So that’s it. That’s how I keep my data backed up. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Maybe you have lost some data and now you’ve got some routines of your own?