Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
From Frank, Ethan, Becky, and Braden (expected in May 2009)

Friday, December 19, 2008


My pick of the week's top 5 items of interest:
  1. What will the Internet look like in 2020? Pew experts think the mobile device will be the primary means of using the Internet, the Internet will not increase social "tolerance", interaction in virtual worlds will be more common, and people will be more open to sharing private information and opinions on the Internet. Any surprises here?

  2. Several new digital billboards in Japan will have cameras mounted to determine how many people are looking at the billboards. It uses software that matches faces to a average Japanese face to determine how large the audience is.

  3. Google Image Search now allows you to search by several types: Photographic, clip art, and line drawing.

  4. Google is now serving search results optimized for the iPhone and Android phones. The results load faster and don't require using the horizontal scrollbar.

  5. Congratulations to the 446 Harding students who will be graduating on Saturday morning - a record December graduation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We're having another boy!

Yesterday we had an ultrasound which revealed that we are having another boy! Our new guy is due at the end of May, so Ethan and our new little man will be about two years apart... hopefully they'll make good playmates.

When Becky and I first went through the baby-naming process a few years ago, we came up with two candidates:
  1. Ethan - meaning strong and firm.
  2. Braden - meaning broad and wide.
Yeah, these are a couple of guys you don't want to mess with. 

So we've got the name. The problem is, when I checked the Social Security website to check on popular spellings of Braden, I was surprised to see that Brayden was actually a much more popular spelling last year (Braden ranked 156, Brayden ranked 64). A number of other spellings were also quite popular.

So now I'm wondering, how should we spell our son's name?

Here's a few thoughts I've had on the matter:
  1. The name should obviously imply the child's gender. I get a little annoyed when I read a name and can't tell if it's referring to a male or female. (Apologies to Carey, Ashley, Jamie, and all others I've offended.) What if our son wins an award, and the presenter doesn't know who our son is? "I now present this award to Mr.... or Mrs.... ah... sorry I can't tell because this is a gender-neutral name." I've never heard of a female named Braden or any of its derivatives, so we're OK.

  2. The name should be obvious to spell. No child should have to explain how to spell their name every time someone else needs to write it. That rules out Braedon and Braeden. But is the spelling for Braden or Brayden more obvious?

  3. The name should sound phonetically different enough from their siblings' names that they cannot be easily confused. If I yell out, "Braden, come clean up this mess!" I don't want Braden thinking I am calling Ethan. In some ways these names are phonetically similar, but I think there's just enough difference, especially with the initial consonant, that we're OK.

Now we just need to settle on one of these spellings. I can't guarantee we'll go with the outcome of this survey, but I am very curious which spelling you all think is the best.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Finals week at Harding

Only one student this semester managed to ask this question in class.

Jesus' disciples asking, 'Is this going to be on the final?'

Friday, December 12, 2008


My pick of the week's top 5 items of interest:
  1. Google has released its list of popular searches in their 2008 Google Zeitgeist. The most popular "what is..." query? What is love. Baby, don't hurt me.

  2. According to J.L. Needham, Google's manager of public-sector content partnerships, approximately 1,000 federal government websites are inaccessible to search engines -- that is, they lie in the Deep Web.

  3. How well are we preserving our video game heritage? The paper 'Grand Theft Archive': A quantitative Analysis of the State of Computer Game Preservation attempts to answer this question. Their findings aren't very positive.

  4. Although this is three years old, I just came across it this week. Charles Petzold asks, Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind? Petzold's Windows programming books have been a staple of my GUI class since 1997.

  5. Some Harding students have developed this very creative and entertaining Christmas card. Enjoy.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Natchitoches Christmas Festival

Once again, our family made the annual trek out to Natchitoches, Louisiana, to visit Becky's parents. This time we were there for the big parade and fireworks display on Saturday night. This was probably one of the best displays I've seen in years, and it was the first time Ethan has seen fireworks. As you can see from his expression below (with Nana), he seemed to really enjoy them.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Facebook visualization: Sharing around the World

Allan pointed out this beautiful visualization that from Facebook showing the interactions of users around the world. Watch comets orbit the Earth as friends post messages, write on walls, and comment on photos. Very nice.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Google for football scores

Very impressive... a Google search for denver broncos shows last weekend's score as the first result (which I've highlighted in red).

Pratt wedding

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was pretty eventful with Becky's brother Andy Pratt getting married to Jessica Davis in the Harding chapel on Saturday. Our families were all here for the event. Becky was a bridesmaid, and Ethan was the ring bearer.