Week 4 – Coming and Going

Thanks again for your many prayers this week. It’s been exciting to see what the Lord does each week as a result of your (and many others’) prayers. “Coming and Going” seems a good way to describe the activity of camp life. Campers are always coming and going each week, and we staff are constantly coming and going from/to various places on the campsite. This week we had a particularly special “coming.” The Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force visited the camp this week with 3 of his officers. He was very impressed by what he saw, and he gave the Wilds a commendation coin, which from what I understand is a very coveted recognition in the military. According to Mr. Ken, “it’s quite a hunk of metal.” 😛

I also had another interesting “coming” personally this week. I got a helper! Dr. Sam Horn, who is one of the speakers for CIT brought his son with him. Last week he was normal teen camper, but this past week he helped us out at JBC with various details like opening and closing the game room, setting up chairs for sponsors, etc. Some of you may remember that he had helped with this for one week last year as well. So it was neat to see him again, as well as to see the growth that had taken place in his life.

Of course campers are always coming, and I had another great prayer cabin this week. Three of the campers in it received the Expert Marksman award for saying all of Psalm 139. Another camper trusted Christ as his Savior this week. The counselor told me he prayed one of the neatest “sinner’s prayers” that he had ever heard. Mr. Ed taught through the 10 commandments in his morning chapel messages and gave the campers a neat way to remember them using their fingers. So in his prayer, he prayed through each of the 10 commandments, “I’ve broken this one, this one,” etc. (For numbers 6 and 7, he said “I don’t want to break that one”).

As usual the campers enjoyed Mr. Ed and his ventriloquist dummy, his gospel magic tricks, his powerpoint review games, his other gadgets, and of course, his preaching. I remember hearing Mr. Ed when I was a junior camper, and he hasn’t lost his ability to speak to kids.

Speaking of campers coming, I’m looking forward to those who will be coming down from PA for camp this week. You guys are in for a great week! We’ve got John Goetsch at teen camp, and Mr. Ed again for JBC. We also have Dr. Berg, Mr. Ken, and Scott Ashmore speaking for the CITeers this next two weeks. Can’t wait!

As far as the going is concerned, I got to go and do a new activity yesterday (new for me, anyway) — skeet shooting and handgun shooting. I’ve shot shotguns and rifles at targets before, but never at a moving one. It was quite a lot of fun to blast the clay targets out of the sky. It was even more fun to fire off a full clip of a .40 caliber Walther P99 handgun at a target from 25 yards. :) One of the full time staff members has a farm not far from the camp with a skeet shooting setup, and my boss is quite into guns and brought his own small arsenal along to “play” with after all the skeet shooters left.

And speaking of going, I’d better go and start getting things setup for our required service on the campsite this evening, followed by some extra good food and a good ole-fashioned fireworks show once it gets dark. Thanks again for your prayers!



Week 3 – You know you’ve been on summer staff a long time when…

Admin note: Again, sorry this is a week late. I have been unable to access my website most of this week. Supposedly another site on the server was clogging it. Sigh. The downside of shared hosting…

Thanks again for your prayers this week. We had a great week of camp and the Lord was really at work. This week we had some of the larger church groups that come regularly, so we had a lot of what we call, “professional campers,” or in other words campers who sometimes know the routine better than their counselors! Sometimes that professional camper attitude is accompanied by an insensitivity to God’s working as well, as they’ve “been there, done that, got the team shirt,” but thankfully that was not the case this week.

Perhaps because of all the returning campers, there were a lot of things this week that reminded me how long I’ve worked here. For starters, the theme this year, “Days of Knights” is the same theme as my first year working here, back in 2005. More related to the campers, one of the campers in my prayer cabin has an older sister who was one of my students this semester. Another JBC camper this week has two older brothers, both of whom were in my cabin on different years when I was a counselor. Another camper told me my sister had taught her violin at school this semester. And then to top it all off, in the middle of his message Friday, Big Bob called to me up in the sound booth regarding a detail of one his illustrations that he wasn’t sure about – while giving the illustration! Ok, maybe I have been here a long time. But I love the opportunities the Lord has given me here, and I’d be thrilled to keep serving here as long as He wills.

Kinda related, and I’m not sure if this is on purpose or not, but my assigned prayer partner each week so far has been a first-year counselor without a whole lot of experience. As a result, I’ve been able to share some of the things the Lord has taught me from my experiences which has been a great encouragement to them (and me). That’s just another reason to be thankful for what the Lord has allowed me do. This week, one of the campers in my prayer cabin was very homesick. Understandably, homesickness is not uncommon at JBC, but usually after the first night and the next morning’s activities, the campers are having so much fun they forget about being homesick. However this camper was still a little teary at lunch on Wednesday. However, I was able to help his counselor talk to him about the exciting things they were going to do that day (tubing, water wars, superslide, and of course the amazing, crazy, and hilarious Zing Zang Zap game show :) ) and I continued praying for that camper. On Thursday when I saw him, he was no longer homesick and was having lots of fun!

This weekend, I got to have some fun too. Camp opened up the brand new paintball field for the operational staff, since we aren’t able to play during the week with campers like the counselors are. And even better, they opened it up for FREE! 😀 So I spent about an hour and a half Saturday afternoon shooting and being shot. I have a couple of small welts to show for it, but it was a lot of fun, nonetheless.

Speaking of fun (or more accurately, work, on the sound crew’s part :P), our annual Summer Prayer Partner banquet is coming up in just a few weeks on July 16. I hope to see some of you there. You’ll probably have to look for me behind a sound mixer, but I’ll be there :P.

This week, Tom Farrell is back for round 2 at teen camp, and at JBC we have another favorite speaker, Mr. Ed Dunlop (and of course, his dummy, Andy) 😛 Looking forward to seeing what God has planned for us. Thanks for your prayers.


Week 2 – Getting it down

Thank you once again for your prayers. It’s very encouraging to know you guys are praying as different things happen during the week. This week actually went about as normally as a week can go. All of the God-directed “happenings” from last week did not have any counterparts this week. It feels good to be beyond the “first week” jitters. Everything even went very well technically this week, including the running of a DVD that Brother Ron wanted played during his message that he handed to me 3 mins before the service. (He had some circumstances out of his control that prevented him from getting it to me any earlier.)  So hopefully now we’ll be able by God’s grace to focus on continuing to improve upon everything, rather than correcting problems. :)

Campers come in all sizes, and I had one of the XL size in my prayer cabin this week. He had never been to camp before and he had a blast. He was also a lot of fun to watch during the games such as tube tug :) He responded during the services and made several good decisions. Overall the kids this week were very responsive to Brother Ron DeGarde’s messages. Several were saved, and on Friday night among other decisions, both a camper and his counselor were called to full-time Christian ministry.

I had two interesting counseling experiences this week that were a little out of the norm. First, on Thursday when all the guy junior campers are out in the woods playing capture the flag, I noticed from my perch in the sound booth, that a lone camper playing carpetball by himself in the JBC gameroom. I was about to go down and talk to him when the cleanup crew came in to straighten chairs and such and one of them started talking to him. I watched them talk for a while, and then they stopped playing carpetball and the cleanup crew guy got out a Bible and sat down with the camper. I wasn’t able to hear them from where I was in the booth, but I started praying. I found out later in the week that the cleanup crew guy had been able to lead that camper to the Lord. So it was neat to kind of be a part of / witness that.

The other interesting counseling experience took place with another staff member. He had responded angrily to a situation that developed and the Lord enabled me to confront him about it and remind him of some Scripture and biblical principles. He responded very well, and sought forgiveness from those he offended. It was a good reminder to both of us that it’s not just the campers who need counseling, but we all need it from time to time.

Well, tonight is the first of four required Sunday evening services on the campsite. A staff member (whose identity is usually kept a secret) will speak to us and then we’ll have some really good food. If this year is like previous years, I believe it will be BLT’s and some really good cookies. Tonight’s service will also be special because it will be the first time anyone (that I’m aware of) will use the new Wilds Songbooks. They just came in this week, from what I understand, and they’re not even being sold in the bookstore yet. I had the opportunity to peruse one Friday afternoon and it looks like a great update.

Next week the speaker at JBC will be Bob Roberts again, and the teen camp speaker will be Will Galkin. I’m looking forward to hopefully hearing both of them this week. This week is also the first week of CIT (Camper in Training), which is our camper leadership program. We have what’s often called “the Northland Crew” of Sam Horn, Les Ollila, and Marty Von speaking to them. (Yes, I realize they’re not all Northland people anymore, but they all have been, if they’re aren’t currently.)


Week 1 – A Week of Happenings

Note: Sorry this is a week late…

Thank you very much for your prayers this week. In His goodness, the Lord directed some interesting events in the sound department this week. More about those a little later…

I always enjoy the weeks that Bob Roberts preaches at JBC, as on Friday nights he gives the service over to testimonies from the campers. It’s always encouraging to hear how God has worked in the lives of the campers. Many were saved this week at JBC and many others were convicted about specific sins. There’s also often an element of humor in these services as well, as it’s always somewhat unpredictable what a kid will say behind the microphone. But Bob uses even those elements to further explain truth from God’s Word to the kids.

But back to the interesting happenings. I forget if I mentioned last week about discovering that our primary effect lighting fixtures at JBC were in need of some serious repairs toward the end of last week. If you saw the JBC funtime/game show last year, you’ll probably remember the cool moving lights that we use for it. Well, those were the lights that were in need of repair/replacement. So my boss Rich and I stayed of up late one night last week trying initially to repair the fixture and when discovering that it was impossible, to find a suitable replacement that could be ordered as those fixtures are no longer sold. They arrived Tuesday afternoon, which gave me one more late night to get them mounted and then program them for the funtime/game show on Wednesday. Needless to say it was not our most flawless funtime ever, but the Lord was good and most of the “mistakes” were evident only to us and not the kids. And thankfully, the new lights performed very well. God was good in that I was able to transfer most of the programing from the old fixtures to the new ones with only some minor adjustments. We sent the others out to California to be repaired and when they get back I’ll have four cool lights to play with, err.. utilize effectively. :)

Interesting happening #2 for the sound department occurred on Thursday toward the end of our carnival out on the ballfield. About 5 mins before the end of the carnival, the amplifier for our sound system basically died, so all you could get out of it were cu- of- -oun- li- -s (“cut off sounds like this”). Since we had another game on the ballfield Friday morning, I had to borrow some equipment from teen camp and my station wagon filled in as an improvised sound car (see picture above). :) But that’s ok, because camp life makes us very versatile, right? 😛 But again, God was good in that teen camp had some equipment they weren’t using at the time, and I had time to discover the problem and implement a solution that worked.

My station wagon as a "sound truck"

My station wagon as a "sound truck"

Each week, as most of you may be aware, the camp pairs up each op staff member (me) with a counselor as prayer partners. This week my prayer partner was actually one of my Greek students from this last semester so that was an interesting and enjoyable “role-reversal” of sorts.   There are actually three of my Greek students on summer staff this year, and lots more of my students from the freshmen and sophomore classes I did grading for. I have a hard time getting them to call me “Andy” here at camp, instead of “Mr. Anglea” like they’re supposed to do at school. (And if any of you are reading this, it really is OK to call me Andy! 😛 ) I really enjoy the ministry I’m able to have with my prayer partners, especially having already experienced the other side of the prayer partner relationship in previous years as a counselor. Both of us are able to learn from each other.

Well, this coming week the teen camp speaker will be Dave Young, who I don’t believe I’ve heard before so I’ll have to try to get down to a couple of the teen camp services if possible. The JBC speaker will be Ron DeGarde, who I haven’t heard in several years, so I’m looking forward to hearing from him again. Please pray that this week will be less “eventful” than last, Lord willing. Thanks again for your prayers!


Week 0 – On your mark, get set…

Well, it’s that time again. Time for this blog to see some increased activity. Yep, it’s time to start posting weekly Wilds updates. (If you don’t believe me, go back through the archives of this blog and you will see that the majority of its posts are Wilds updates).

This is starting out to be a very busy summer (or maybe I’m just blocking out how busy previous summers were 😛 ). On that note, thank you very much for your prayers and support this summer. As always, if anything is going to be accomplished this summer it will only be through God’s grace. I’m very thankful the Lord has allowed me the privilege of ministering here at THE WILDS for a fifth summer. I will be serving in the same position as I did last year. My official title is (Junior Boot Camp) Sound Engineer, but like last year besides the associated duties of lights and video, I will also be involved with pretty much every aspect of the program here at Junior Boot Camp (JBC) from skits, refereeing games, and a new responsibility this year – running the Wilds of THE WILDS Bug Show. More on that (and probably some other things) in a future update…

Although we just finished Staff Training Week, the first week that all the staff are on the campsite, as some of you know I’ve been at camp now for over 3 weeks. I joined the “May Staff” for the first time this summer, a group of (probably crazy) individuals who find taking a break after school an optional activity, and instead help out wherever they can in order to get everything ready for summer on the campsite. I spent several hectic days getting all the audio and lighting equipment ready for the summer. Some of the things my boss and I did include inspecting all the speakers on the campsite (over 200 of them), conducting a capital expense inventory of the sound and lighting equipment as well as a media inventory, rewiring the dining hall sound system, hanging the lights for funtime in the Activity Center, a lot of cleaning, and more. Oh and of course, this was during senior trips, so we had to run those services as well.

Well, after an action packed week and a half (of mostly 14+ hr workdays), I had planned to head home for week before returning for the summer. So I’m cruising along up I-26 and all of a sudden instead of cruising uphill, I’m rolling uphill in the far lane from the shoulder. The Lord’s protection was very evident as I had to push my car off the road without any traffic incident, the only traffic was one car who pulled over to offer me a hand. They ended up being a family on their way back to PA after picking up their daughter from BJU. Of all the people who could have been on the highway that morning, God arranged for the person that stopped to help was someone with whom I had some connection and some implicit trust. So not only was the Lord’s protection evident, but also his provision. With their help and that of my insurance company, I got my car towed to a transmission shop in Asheville, which is back towards camp. They initially told me it wouldn’t be fixed until the following Monday, which pretty much scrapped my plans for heading home, as I would only be able to be there 3 days. The Wilds picked me up (the staff were on the way back from taking the seniors white-water rafting) and I figured that was it. But God’s provision didn’t end there. The transmission shop was able to get my car fixed and back on the road in less than 36 hrs, so with a 48 hour delay, I continued on my way home to spend some time with my family. In all, it was an awesome display of God’s care and concern, even before camp started. When I think about all the things that could have taken place (kind of breakdown, amount of traffic, distance from camp, who stopped, where taken, time to fix, etc.) there is no doubt in my mind that God was in control of every detail. I’m ready to see how else God will work this summer!

Staff Training Week, as I said earlier was very busy, and included its share of “why does this have to happen now” kind of moments, including our key lights that are used for our JBC funtime/game show needing to be repaired/replaced. But God is in control of these things as well, and with a little more work after church tonight and tomorrow morning, we should be all ready for camp to start.

The services this week have been excellent. We’ve heard from Tom Farrell, Ken Collier, Matt Herbster, Scott Ashmore, and of course, Doc Hay. It was evident the Lord was working in the services as the staff got things right with Him. Following the final service on Friday, we have a split guys/girls testimony time which was very encouraging as we shared what God has been doing in our lives this week. A recurring theme was our sense of inability and inadequacy for the task that lies before us this summer, but that’s right where God wants us. Please pray that as the tasks become routine, that this sense of dependency will remain.

Here are a couple of other things you can pray for this summer. As I mentioned earlier, I will have several tasks besides just those pertaining to the technical side of things. Please pray that I would be depend on the Lord to keep those various tasks in proper balance and not try to do them in my own strength as I am prone to do. Please also pray for our sound crew as we try to serve one another and the campers with the proper spirit.

Well, all the activity starts in less than 24 hours! The teens will be hearing from Tom Farrell this week and here at JBC we’ll be enjoying the ministry of Mr. “Big Bob” Roberts, who is the director of Kids 4 Truth as well on program staff here at JBC. I’ve been enjoying a study of Hebrews so far this summer, and I’m taking as my theme for the summer one of the major themes of that book, Christ’s supremacy, or in junior language, “Jesus is better…” Please pray that I would be able to show to those to whom I minister this summer that Jesus is better than anything else we try to replace Him with. Thanks again for your prayers and support!


Have We No Rights?

I finished reading a short book today that was recommened to me by a retired missionary that spoke at my church recently. The book is titled Have We No Rights? and was written by Mabel Williamson, a missionary to China in the first half of the last century. The book deals with the believer’s “rights” in ministry. I found it very convicting. It is also very appropo as I’m posting this from the Wilds where Tim K. is speaking about mission opportunties on the Frontline. The whole book is available as part of the Gutenberg project.

The book ends with the following “poem” which I thought I would share.

He Had No Rights

He had no rights:

No right to a soft bed, and a well-laid table;

No right to a home of His own, a place where His own pleasure might be sought;

No right to choose pleasant, congenial companions, those who could understand Him and sympathize with Him;

No right to shrink away from filth and sin, to pull His garments closer around Him and turn aside to walk in cleaner paths;

No right to be understood and appreciated; no, not by those upon whom He had poured out a double portion of His love;

No right even never to be forsaken by His Father, the One who meant more than all to Him.

His only right was silently to endure shame, spitting, blows; to take His place as a sinner at the dock; to bear my sins in anguish on the cross.

He had no rights. And I?

A right to the “comforts” of life? No, but a right to the love of God for my pillow.

A right to physical safety? No, but a right to the security of being in His will.

A right to love and sympathy from those around me? No, but a right to the friendship of the One who understands me better than I do myself.

A right to be a leader among men? No, but the right to be led by the One to whom I have given my all, led as is a little child, with its hand in the hand of its father.

A right to a home, and dear ones? No, not necessarily; but a right to dwell in the heart of God.

A right to myself? No, but, oh, I have a right to Christ.

All that He takes I will give;
All that He gives will I take;
He, my only right!
He, the one right before which all other rights fade into nothingness.
I have full right to Him;
Oh, may He have full right to me!

Keep Your Greek!

As a Greek instructor, I’m always looking for ways to help my students retain their Greek knowledge. Ok, let’s be honest. I’m always looking for ways to retain my Greek knowledge too. So when the opportunity to review Con Campbell’s, Keep Your Greek came along, I eagerly took advantage it. We all know the importance of original language study for helpful Biblical exegesis and exposition, but we also know those in ministry whose memory of Greek grammar and vocab are just that, faded memories. This book is helpful for both students wanting to keep their Greek from fading and those in ministry who desire to sharpen their memory of almost forgotten participles and pronouns.

This book began as a series of blog posts back in January of 2009, and as a result the book has a very engaging, personal feel to it. The book is short (less than 100 pages) and a very quick read. I sat down with it the night I got it and finished it in less than a hour. A unique element of the book, due to the fact that it started as a series of blog posts, is that Campbell includes at the end of each chapter some of the comment conversation that the original posts received. This adds to its light, easy-to-read style.

The book consists of 10 short chapters (each only a couple of pages), a motivational appendix, and an annotated list of resources for pursuing Greek retention. Each chapter deals with one easy-to-implement principle for retaining (or regaining) your Greek. The ten principles are:

  • Read some Greek every day
  • Don’t rely on interlinears
  • Don’t cheat with  Bible study software
  • Know your vocabulary like a good friend
  • Practice, practice, practice, parsing
  • Read fast to get the flow
  • Read slow to get the details
  • Immerse yourself in Greek with as many of your senses as possible
  • It’s easier to learn Greek the second time than the first
  • Make a plan for how you will retain/regain your Greek

None of these principles are earth-shattering, but Campbell makes them easy to understand, and even better, easy to implement.

In the appendix, Campbell includes the following anecdote:

In my first year of Greek at Biola University, I nearly failed the subject. The professor, Dr. Harry Sturz, had compassion on me and gave me a passing grade. I took a different professor in second-year Greek. He gave us a battery of exams at the beginning of the semester. One exam each week. I failed the first exam. I failed the second exam. I failed the third exam. I failed the fourth exam, but it was a high F! And I got a D on the fifth exam. “Hey,” I thought, “I’m really getting this Greek thing down!”

The professor called me into his office and told me that I should check out of Greek. That was the wake-up call I needed. I went down to my dorm room, got on my knees, and confessed to the Lord that I had dragged his name through the mud. I reasoned that since I am in Christ and he is in me, he was failing Greek, too. And even though I was at a Christian school, I was soiling his reputation. I repented of my sin–the sin of mediocrity because I was surrounded by Christians, the sin of thinking that I did not need to do my best since I was a Christian.

I went back to the professor and asked for one more chance. He granted that to me. I ended up getting an A in the class both semesters. It still took me two more years of Greek at Biola before I even felt moderately comfortable with the language, but I had learned my lesson. Now, to be sure, my experience is not everyone’s. But, for me, learning Greek became a matter of spiritual discipline. And even though I was very sick in my fourth semester of Greek–so that I missed five and a half weeks of school–I still did well in the course.

I don’t consider myself good at languages, but I do consider myself a steward of the life that God has given to me. And I have never recovered from the impact that the Greek New Testament has made on my walk with Christ.

This is not the author’s testimony, but that of one of the foremost contemporary Greek scholars, Daniel Wallace. Yes, The Daniel B. Wallace! If you’re struggling, you can excel, but you have to take it seriously.

My only criticism is that book is so short. I would have loved to have gained more from it. Overall, this was a great book and I plan to recommend it to many of my students.


The Story of the Gospel

This week on campus here at Bob Jones University was Missions Emphasis Week. We had the special privilege of having missonary J. D. Crowley as our speaker all week. Each of his messages were excellent, and I highly recommend listening to them repeated times (I just finished listening to them again tonight myself.)  You can download them from BJU’s chapel messages page. That link will take you to Monday’s message (probably my favorite) and you can find Tuesday’s-Thursday’s from there.

Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite…

I want to take my last breath having guarded the gospel, proclaimed the gospel, suffered for the gospel, and having passed it on unchanged, unmodified, and untweaked to the next generation. ~ J. D. Crowley

Evangelism is making God famous by telling His story. ~ J. D. Crowley

The good news of salvation through Jesus Christ makes sense in the context of this story-line and in no other. ~ D. A. Carson as quoted by J.D. Crowley

Feeling somewhat inspired by the first quote in particular, i came up with this wallpaper image. I’m sure someone else could do a much better job, and I’d love to see it when you do.

Widescreen (16:10)

Passing The Gospel (Widescreen wallpaper)

Standard (4:3)

Passing The Gospel (Standard wallpaper)


Would Paul have used smiley faces in his letters?

I’m preparing a message on Philemon right now, and I thought it would be helpful to capture the emotion of the letter, as well as internalize it,  by recasting it in a more contemporary format.  I tried to remain faithful to the details of the text, but I’ve also added in some interpretations which are extra-biblical (educated guesses, in other words).  I enjoyed the process, and thought I would share the results. This is a not a translation of Philemon, but rather a loose paraphrase using more contemporary syntax. Enjoy.

From: Paul, currently in prison for preaching about Jesus Christ, along with our brother Timothy

To: Philemon my beloved friend and fellow worker, as well as your wonderful wife Apphia, your son Archippus (you must be proud of his call to ministry :) ), and all the other believers who meet in your house for worship.  Say hello to them for me!

I hope this note finds you enjoying the grace and peace we have from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m constantly thanking God because I’ve heard so much about your love and faith that you have for Christ and all the believers. Do you know what I’m praying for you right now? I’m praying that you will be greatly effective in sharing your faith so that our testimony as Christians would magnify Christ. We have rejoiced and been very encouraged knowing of your love. The believers you have sacrificially supported have told us all about it!

Now, I have something to ask you. I could just command it, but I’d rather ask you out of love.  Yes, even though I’m your elder and even though I’m in prison because of Christ, I don’t want to command you, but rather appeal to you on behalf of my son, Onesimus. Yes, “my son.” I led him to Christ while here in prison. Now I know that before he was completely worthless to you, the exact opposite of his name. But Christ has changed him! I can’t think of anything better to call him than Onesimus and I’m sure he will be useful to you (and to me as well.)  I sent him back to you, and even though he is your slave, please welcome him as you would me.  In fact, I would have liked to have kept him here to help me, as I know you would do if you were here, but I didn’t want to do that without asking your permission first. I would be thrilled if you would send him back to me, but that’s your decision.  Don’t just do it because I asked.

You know, I’ve been thinking about all this… it’s possible God worked all this out just so that you two could be together forever. Not as a master and slave, but as brothers!  I consider him a brother, but it would be even more the case for you!

Again, please welcome as if he were me.  I realize he probably stole some things from you when he ran away.  Just send me the bill for anything he owes. I promise I’ll pay it back. (but I think we can count it even, considering what you owe me :) )  Yes, brother, I’m asking you a favor, and I know it’s hard for you.  But this will give me so much encouragement in the Lord.

But why am i going into all these details, I know I can trust you to do even more than I’ve asked. And hopefully, as a result of your prayers i’ll soon be released from this prison.  When that happens I’m planning to come visit you as soon as possible, so make sure the spare room is ready :)

Oh, Epaphras who’s also here with me in prison says hello, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke my other coworkers

May the Lord Jesus Christ enable you to do the right thing,


Thoughts on the iPad

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong.


I typically try to avoid reacting like the guy in the cartoon here.  Hopefully I’m continuing to do that, because as long there’s an internet someone, including myself, will be wrong on it.  And in that vein this will  hopefully be brief because I have more important things to do than correct people that are wrong on the internet. But (here I go) IMHO, there is a bunch of junk being said about Apple’s newest device, the iPad.  Now, before you turn me off, this is not (hopefully) a glowing, koolaid-drinking, fanboy review of how the iPad is going to change your life and be the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Still with me? Good. My thoughts will be organized around several major complaints I have read/seen/heard in the last couple days.

It’s disappointing/underwhelming.

Well, duh, it’s your own fault. There was so much hype about this device and how it was going to have this feature and that feature and change this industry and be a __(fill in the blank with your device of choice)__-killer and serve breakfast in bed and be bathed in unicorn tears and everything else.  I’ve followed the Apple rumor mill for several years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen more hype over the announcement of a single product than this one. Of course this is only fueled by all these “leaks” from “sources” and every Mac blog analyzing them for every detail. Puh-leez!  If the device had every feature that people wanted it would end up looking like some Franken-tablet.  Remember one of Apple’s goals (and i think a good one) with every product is intuitive simplicity (“it just works”).  The iPad succeeds at this.

Despite all the hype, I refused (tried to at least) to get caught up in it. (I was still eagerly tuned in to the liveblogs Wednesday afternoon.)  I realized that there was no way they could deliver a product that would meet everyone’s wishlist. And they weren’t trying to. Personally, I deliberately tried to set my expectations low, so that whatever was delivered I would hopefully be able to view it objectively. I was hoping for a big iPod Touch (more on my expectations at the end).  And that’s pretty much what we got. :)

It’s not a netbook-killer.

I most recently saw this basically voiced as: “But Steve Jobs said that a netbook doesn’t do anything better, and a netbook does a lot of things better than the iPad.” That’s wasn’t Jobs’ point.  His point was that a netbook doesn’t do anything that a laptop or a phone can’t do better.  In other words, the iPad fills the gap between the phone and the laptop better than a netbook does.  The things that Jobs targeted (email, browsing, personal video watching, reading, viewing photos, etc.) the iPad can do better than a laptop or phone.  This is largely due to the iPad’s multitouch interface.  People like tactility (for lack of a better word).  It’s fun to touch stuff and make it respond. The iPad succeeds at this.

It doesn’t have flash.

And may its tribe increase.  No single item has caused Apple more trouble than flash support.  As a web developer, I view flash as a necessary evil, kinda like IE 6.  The sooner it dies the better.  And if one of the main reasons Adobe comes up with to encourage Apple to support it is so that people can view immorality (the link is safe, believe me), may it die faster.  And along this line, if you want to accuse Apple of having a “walled garden” (more on that in a moment) you can lay that blame at the feet of Adobe and their proprietary plugin too.  At least I can develop for the iPhone/iPad for *free.

It’s locked down.

This, as a geek and amateur “hacker” is probably my biggest beef, as I like to be able to tinker with things under the hood.  But I understand why Apple does this.  It’s another one of their commitments to the user experience. All the apps in the App Store I’ve seen have nice GUIs. And as I almost entirely download free ones, which are the more likely to have “ugly” designs, I think I’ve seen a fair sampling.  This is not true for programs as a whole.  When I was primarily a Windows user, one of my favorite things to do was find “new” freeware, so I know how bad GUI designs can be.  This is not the case in the App Store.

It doesn’t have X feature.

There are two ways to answer this question.

1) It doesn’t need it. At all.  USB? SD Card? Use bluetooth or the cloud.  As they say, “there’s an app for that.” (Dropbox is an excellent one, btw). There’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to do most things on an uber-wirelessly connected device.  Even some uses of multitasking (running multiple apps at a time) fall into this category.  (Oh, and remember there’s still push notifications, so you can still know when you get a facebook/email/SMS update.)

2) It doesn’t have it yet. This is another thing I’m not completely crazy about, but again, I understand.  Would it have been great and possible for Apple to include a camera (front/rear/both) and keep it at the same price point? Probably yes. So why didn’t they? As a consumer, I don’t like this, but it’s called built-in obselecense. Apple is a business, and their goal is to make money.  Lots of it, as Jobs reminded us with the brief history at the beginning of the keynote.  Some of these features could have been added in, but if Apple waits and adds them in later, the consumer has more reason to upgrade.  For that reason, I rarely, if ever, buy first generation products from anybody.  Also, some of the desired features (multitasking in particular) is not a hardware issue but a software issue and can be updated at anytime.  It’s very likely we’ll see some type of multitask support in an iPhone OS 4.0 upgrade later this year.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. So were my expectations met? To be perfectly honest, no.  I was expecting multitasking ability, and maybe we’ll still get it when iPhone OS 4.0 (or will they start calling it iMobile OS?) ships later this year, according to the rumor mill. 😛 Will I be getting one when they come out in 2-3 months? No. (Of course, if you want to get me one, I won’t refuse it :) ) As I mentioned earlier, I think it’s wise, and in addition, good stewardship to wait for the second generation for technology purchases. Let someone else work out the bugs. 😛  What about it particularly excites me? Well, for one, I really like the looks of the new iCal. For another, I’m looking forward to use it for reading. I don’t mind reading on an OLED screen; it doesn’t bother me. And it will be an improvement over my iPod Touch (or maybe I should call it an iPad Nano now 😛 ) I’m excited that they decided to use an open book format (epub), and besides that there’s still the Kindle app and Stanza (my personal favorite).  Not to mention Logos :)

Ok, I’m done now, the internet can go back to being wrong 😛