Benjamin Franklin’s thirteen virtues

Benjamin_Franklin_by_Joseph-Siffred_Duplessis

I’ve been reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Among the books I’ve read it’s definitely one of my favorites. Not only do you get a sense of the history of the United States during the 1700’s but out of this time of struggle and formation you get a real role model.  Besides his contributions to physics and science through his discoveries and theories regarding electricity he helped to form many public services such as a fire department, a university and libraries.   Benjamin didn’t regularly attend Church services though he did believe in a deity and saw the need to formulate a system to develop his character.  He also gave money to the Presbyterian Church even though he didn’t much care for the preaching.  On one occasion he heard a sermon on Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (KJV).  He was particularly disappointed that the preacher didn’t focus on using this verse to strengthen one’s character.

He came up with the following thirteen virtues:

  1. Temperance Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.Humility.
  13. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

He then set about at working on each of these virtues focusing on one each week for thirteen weeks and then staring the process over again.  Each day he took time to examine his day and record if he had broken the virtue of the week in anyway.

13virtueschart

I found his system of character building to be quite fascinating.  Though I would encourage people to get connected to a good Bible preaching Church and more specifically a relationship with God through his Son Jesus who died for us because of our lack of character and tendency to sin, these virtues are all certainly consistent with God’s desire to develop us into virtuous men and women.

Tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it. – Benjamin Franklin

I found the following sites that talk about his thirteen virtues:

Happy Pi day


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Funny comment spam

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I received the following comment spam on my post about the Asus Transformer Prime. 

what bothers me is the sensitivity of the mouse on the keypad when you are typing on the dock. also the fact that is comes with windows 97. However i did download windows 2010 off of the android market and it works fine.

I understand the purpose of trying to post comments on blogs that have links to websites in order to inflate their search engine rankings, but it really is annoying.  It’s sad that we have to come up with things like captcha and Akismet to try to block out these types of misuses of the internet.
Ok, enough complaining.  I did however find the above comment pretty funny.  “the sensitivity of the mouse on the keypad”???  What does that even mean?  Windows 97?  I must have missed that version.  Windows 2010 must not have been very good because I’ve never heard of it.  :)  What’s even funnier than non-existent versions of Windows is the fact that they were able to download them from the Android market and install them on an Android tablet.
I guess if there weren’t such idiots who make bots to fill in nonsense comments on blogs then we wouldn’t have as much to laugh and complain about. 

Waterproof headphones for swimming

Last year I turned 41 and decided to get some exercise.  Those who know me know I’m not particularly active.  I’m an IT guy who’s hardest physical labor at work is to lift a server into a rack, and that doesn’t happen very often.

The year before that I realized that my weight was climbing with my age and put a stop to it by cutting out regular soda, watching calories and not eating boxes of Mike & Ike’s along with 2 liters of Mountain Dew.  So, I got my weight 20 pounds lower and have kept it there for a year and a half.  While I’m at an ideal weight I wasn’t in ideal shape.  I tried the P90x thing and made it through 6 weeks of that before I gave up, I hated it.  I tried working out in front of the Xbox with the Kinect and a workout game.  Hated it.  I tried a basic routine of pushups and situps, squats and such.  I hated it.  I figured if I don’t find an activity that I at least moderately enjoy then I wouldn’t keep doing it.  Running?  Sounds hideous.  Working out with machines at the gym, I have no idea what I’m doing and it doesn’t look fun.  Swimming?  Hmmm, that sounds kinda cool.  So, I began swimming about 6 months ago and I love it.  The other day while swimming I was kinda bored and thought, “it would be cool to listen to music while swimming.”

I jumped on the internet and did a bit of searching.  Most leads took me to H20 Audio’s website.  They have a waterproof case with headphones for the iPod shuffle.  There are a couple of places who have taken the iPod shuffle and made it waterproof on it’s own but they are more expensive than I wanted.

I bought the iPod shuffle and waterproof case from Amazon.  It didn’t come with the goggles.  I haven’t used it swimming just yet, but will be later today and will update with my experience.  It’s more comfortable than I was expecting and it’s smaller than the pictures make it seem as well.  I’m really hoping it works well and isn’t too uncomfortable.  I’d like to swim longer but get bored after awhile.  With this I’ll be able to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks.

Update:  Ok, I got a chance this afternoon to use the headphones and waterproof case.  Wow!  It worked perfectly and it made my swim time much more enjoyable.  I played some great BT (it’s dance/techno and really good).  The case worked perfectly and I barely knew it was strapped to the back of my head.  The headphones were great too, way better sound than I expected.  I’m going to try a podcast the next time I swim.  The next test will be how well they hold up to 3 or 4 swim sessions a week.  I did forget to mention earlier that the waterproof case is really well made, it’s not cheap feeling at all.  I’m really happy so far with this purchase and I think it’s going to go a long way to helping me continue my swimming and finally keeping off the couch so much!  :)

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: E-20,E-20N,E-20P
  • Taken: 8 February, 2004
  • Focal length: 9mm
  • ISO: 80
  • Shutter speed: 1/1.6s
  • Title: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jawbone Up mini-review

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Im always intrigued with the various ways technology can be used in our lives. Especially when it reaches beyond my normal tech zones of computers and reading and video games. I purchased the Jawbone Jambox, a small Bluetooth speaker and was highly impressed by the quality. That prompted me to check out Jawbone’s website to see what else they were doing. I knew they did the Bluetooth headsets and didn’t need one of those. But then I saw the Jawbone Up and became curious.

After reading some initial reviews I wasn’t encouraged because it got a lot of negative feedback. Still the concept and images made me decide to ignore the bad and get one anyways.

I don’t workout at the gym but I do swim, so the idea of using it to track that exercise as well as the standard pedometer also lead me to take the plunge. On top of that I’ve been attempting to understand sleep and sleep patterns and how to get the best nights sleep.

So, how well does it do any of this? The sleep tracking works well and has been very interesting to see. It measures your movements while you sleep to determine how much deep and shallow sleep you get. It has a built in alarm to wake you at the optimal point in sleep, gently vibrating on the wrist instead of a blaring alarm clock. I still wake up groggy most of the time, but have noticed a few nights where it woke me at just the right time and I was ready to go.

The pedometer works well and has you set a goal so you can see how you do each day. It’s hard to get as much movement as you really should but that’s not anything to do with the device.There is a food tracking function but I haven’t used that much. It looks like it just allows you to take a picture of your meals. Not sure if it does more than that.

I haven’t experienced the issues of syncing, battery life and charging that others have reported. These issues have caused Jawbone to quit selling the Up temporarily until they can address them. They even went a step further by offering no questions asked refunds allowing the users to keep the device on top of the refund. Not many companies willing to stand behind their products like that.

As far as the workout mode goes I haven’t used it much to track workouts. The reason is my only workouts are swimming laps and I haven’t been brave enough to wear it while swimming. The band is listed as water-resistant to 3 meters. That should be enough to cover normal lap swimming but I didn’t want to take the chance. There are some who have said they use it while swimming and don’t have problems and just as many who have said they used it and then started having problems.

The band is comfortable to wear and I barely notice it’s there most of the time. The battery life seems to be around 6 days or so. It could probably go longer but I haven’t tried wearing it until it ran out.

I wish it had a PC or Android client. Currently its only on iOS for the syncing of data. I have an iPad so I use it on there even though the app is not made for iPad, it’s made for iPhone/iPod so it doesn’t look too good on the iPad. I also haven’t used it in conjunction to the iPhone to utilize the GPS tracking function.

Overall I’m happy with the device and may get up the guts to swim with it. Hopefully it’ll help me keep more active. Just the act of monitoring activity tends to make you want to be more active.

Home furnace keeps shutting off, super easy and cheap fix

I’ve been having heating issues at home with the arrival of cold weather. Our thermostat is set on 68 most of the time. I’d notice the temperature would be 66 or 65 and the heater would not be on. Turning off the heat at the thermostat and back on seemed to get it going. After a few weeks of this I decided to replace the thermostat.

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This seemed to fix the issue and I praised myself for not having to pay for an expert to come out and do something simple for me. Until it started to not heat again a couple of weeks later.
Still determined not to pay someone big bucks I went to the greatest source of human knowledge and inspiration since God gave us the Bible, the Internet.
The main fan comes on right away, the heating element by the blowers lights up red hot then all three jets come on for about 4 seconds and promptly shut off.
It does this about 4 times and quits.
I noticed some led lights and they indicated low flame.
Googling this gave me some instructions on cleaning the flame sensor, a metal rod that sits in the midst of the flame and looks like this image:

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The instructions were to remove this and clean it with sandpaper. Apparently it gets dirty and fails to register the flame is working properly. So far this appears to have fixed the problem.
We’ll see if I once again avoided having to have an expert come out charge me big bucks!
Beware: I am not a heating and air expert just a DIYer with Google. You have been warned.
Here’s a sample link of the advice I used to get mine working:

I don’t have a password

Me: I would like to close this credit card account
Customer Service: Ok, what is the password?
Me: I don’t have a password, I never used this account.
Customer Service: I can’t close the account without a password.
Me: I don’t have a password, I never used this account and I want it closed.
Customer Service: You will need the account number.
Me: I don’t have the account number, I never used this account.
Customer Service: I will have to get you to our fraud department.
Me: I don’t need the fraud department, the account has never been used and I would like to close it.
Customer Service: One moment…
Fraud department: I need your password please.
Me: I don’t have a password, I never used this account and I don’t have the account number either.
Fraud department: What is the phone number you are calling from?
Me: It’s my work number why?
Fraud Department: I’ll have to call you back on that phone.
Me: Umm, ok.
Fraud department: (after calling me back on the number I called in on) Ok we can change your password now.
Me: I don’t need a password I just want to cancel this account.
Fraud department: Oh, this account is already closed. But I can transfer you to our customer service account if you’d like to open an account.
Me: Why would I want to open an account if I called in trying to close an account?
Fraud department: One moment please…
Customer Service: I understand you want to open an account?
Me: (passed mad and now genuinely amused) No, I don’t, I wanted to close an account.
Customer service: I need your password please.
Me: (hangs up)

6 weeks 20 pounds

This is a chart of my weight loss that I started June 8th.
This coming Tuesday the 20th will mark 6 weeks and a drop of 20 pounds.
The small blue and white diamonds are the actual weight readings.  The red line is the trend line.

I haven’t done any exercise, I took information from The Hacker’s Diet and kinda took an extreme approach to eating less calories than I burn.
I am going to start doing the exercise program laid out in the Hacker’s Diet which is actually meant for getting fit not losing weight.

The first thing I did was cut out all soda, period.  No diet soda or anything.  I have only drank water with the Crystal Light flavoring packets (they are only 5 calories).
When I did eat I  just ate in small quantities and avoided obviously high calorie things like Krispy Kreme doughnuts and boxes and boxes of candy like I normally would eat.
For the first 2 or 3 weeks my daily calorie intake was roughly 600 calories.
Now, don’t start saying “that’s not healthy, you are starving yourself….” I’ve heard it all and ignored it all.
I was keenly aware of what my body was telling me and was watching out for adverse affects.I’m no doctor but the only adverse affect I noticed was constant hunger all day long, which is kinda annoying but livable.
Over the past 2 to 3 weeks I’ve slowing increased my calories to a whopping 900 to 1000.
Beginning later next week I’ll be slowly increasing up to roughly 2000 or whatever works best to maintain my weight.

Not everyone can do an extreme diet like this but it certainly worked for me, now for the hard part of maintaining this weight.

  • Taken: 17 July, 2010
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