Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Time and Photos

Like many, I have my computer screensaver (now a misnomer – screensaver) set up to display photos. Photography is one of my hobbies and has been for a very long time. I can say ‘very long time’ and mean it since I am, at this writing, 77 years old going on 78 in a couple of months. Let me deviate from my primary thought of ‘time and photos’ for a moment. When I typed in the word ‘screensaver’ and called it a misnomer I thought maybe a short explanation was in order. In years past the old type CRT’s (cathode ray tubes) used as a monitor, projected a source of electrons on a fluorescent screen to create the images. I won’t get into how the newer monitors work or that some advanced CRT’s are still in use. So, with the old CRT, if one permitted an image to remain in one spot too long the image would burn into the florescent material (phosphors.) The technical expression for this is ‘long term phosphor persistence or phosphor burn in.’ To reduce the probability of burn in, a simple program called a screensaver would take over after a prescribed amount of time and cause an image to wander across the screen vs. projecting it in a single spot. With the new monitors, a screensaver in the classical sense is no longer necessary to protect the monitor from burn in. However some now use a screensaver program to project images on the monitor for entertainment or to just give us a warm feeling that the monitor and computer are turned on and functional.
Now back to the topic ‘time and photos.’ In the quiet of this overcast and rainy morning I was sitting here at the computer minding my own business, surfing and occasionally doing something useful like paying bills. I glanced over at two of my other computer monitors sitting nearby where the screensavers were running. I was distracted from what I was doing and I started watching the screensavers. Your likely thinking “Jim get a live.” Well to tell you the truth, I like my life even though it would seem boring to many. Yes, occasionally I will do things in addition to sitting at the computer and watching screensavers. I have my screensavers set up to randomly display photos taken from the 60’s to the present and I have taken a lot of photos over that timeframe. I haven’t converted too many of my older photos to digital yet. Some of screensaver photos are date stamped and some are not. I enjoy looking at photos of my family from the past and I enjoy adding new photos from the present so that I will have something new to look at in the future. Today one thing that caught my attention was some photos from just a few years ago of my Grandsons compared to some recent pictures and how fast they had grown. I look fondly at my Grandsons from earlier in their life when they were just young boys and now that they are young men. I enjoy looking at photos of my daughters in their relatively young age as well as photos at their current relatively young age. I won’t get into the definition of young & old since they are relative terms. As an old guy I do feel young at heart even though the more recent photos of myself don’t completely capture this feeling. I love living in the present since I know that the present lasts only a moment and soon will be the past.
I love nature and taking nature photos. In recent years I have taken many photos at River Farm down the George Washington Parkway from my home. I take picture there year round. One might think that this pretty repetitive. Maybe taking pictures in the same area is repetitive, however there is always something new in God’s creation that I may have overlooked or photographing at a different time of the day or when the light or clouds were shedding light differently, any of which can make a significance difference. Nature photography can be dynamic if you observe. Pictures cannot replace the actual beauty of nature in real-time, however real-time is dynamic and a photo view can bring back memories of years past.
Good thing that I have named my Blog Site, Jim’s Ramblings since today’s blog confirms that I do truly ramble from screensavers to family and nature photos.

Jim – August 12th 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014


There are many human rights infringements in addition to abuse of the environment. At this time and throughout recorded history, nations and individuals have not lived by the “Golden & Sister Rule” as defined in both religious and secular writings.

One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself
One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated


Believing in and following these two one-liners would would have a major impact on the world. We would want to protect the Earth on which we live and care for all those living on the Earth. Believing in something greater than self is necessary.

Until we sincerely want and work for something better it will not happen. Goodness & caring cannot be mandated.

I think that one way to relieve some of our current frustration is to look at the many unsung acts of goodness & kindness that occur each day and make an effort to pay it forward without personal expectations.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Moment in Time

When one is young thoughts are to be older. You can likely guess what thoughts may go through one’s mind when age creeps upon them. When is the optimum age? It may and probably is different for different individuals. Whatever you think is the right answer, it is right for you. Today I couldn’t help think of a good friend who will be 90 very soon. He was always active through his younger years and into his mid-80’s. He was and is a friend to all in whatever situation they find themselves. He gives his life, time and resources for others. Now my friend has very limited mobility with most of the time in bed. He doesn’t complain and takes each moment as it comes. He doesn’t dwell on the past or search too far in the future on what might come but lives in the moment. One day I asked my friend what he now missed most. He gave this simple one line answer “I miss visits by my friends.” If you have read some of my past postings you will know that the concept or illusion of time has always been an interest to me. The moment after you have read this sentence that ‘moment in time’ is a point in the past. In life we think that the past events are fixed and the future is open until it becomes the immediate present. That immediate flash in time that we call the ‘present’ has not yet become the past and can no longer occur in the future. So when my friend lives in ‘the moment’ that is exactly what we all do and maybe we just haven’t given this concept of time much consideration. Mr. Einstein suggests that there is no single special present but that all moments are equally real. A quote from Mr. Emerson “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” If we have nothing else to give but a ‘moment in time’ that is the most precious gift we can offer another person. Please consider giving another person a few moments of the time that God has given you. DO IT NOW….. Jim Sohn

Thursday, June 12, 2014

God Keeps Records – What About the Government

God has always had access to ALL personal records and always will, and that’s OK with me. God is my maker. The government having unrestricted access to personal records & conversations is troublesome. We the people and governments of the world are so different now than in my earlier years of life growing up in the southern United States. There is a near universal (at least on planet Earth) increase in the distrust of each other and world governments. Greed and self indulgence is running ramped in this ever increasing secular world. My personal opinion is we are becoming even more secular, putting our self first and either not recognizing or admitting that we are all here on this beautiful Earth by the grace of God who loves us ALL equally. Indiscriminate collection of large scale information on individuals for no apparent reason except to collect the information is a violation of our privacy rights as individuals. This is likely escalating since now since it isn’t clear on who are the ‘good guys’ and who are the ‘bad guys’ and I am not sure we even have an agreed on clear definition. So in order to collect information on the ‘bad guys’ , is information being collected on all, including the ‘good guys’. Where does it stop, I don’t know but I am concerned. In the USA with Obamacare coming info full force in 2014 the broad based & centralized information collection process will become more intense. The IRS will be the focal point for collecting information on EVERY person in the USA and policing who gets, has and doesn’t have health care and action will be taken accordingly. The IRS has a proven record of not being able to even police themselves so its anyone's guess what they will do when they police us all. This is terribly frightening to a country that has in the past made individual rights & privacy a top priority. It could be that the government is now getting a head start on this large-scale collection process in view of the future. Maybe with international and home grown terrorist on the increase this is a security measure. Who knows, certainly not me. We know that our email exchange, Facebook, Tweets, & Blogs are being archived by our Internet Service Providers and can be made available to the government at their will. In these instances we knowingly participate as with me writing this blog. Intercept is another story and much too complicated and multifaceted for this blog. My thoughts are that we as individuals must have protected rights to express opinions. However we should not say or do things that we would feel uncomfortable about if they were published in the Guardian or Washington Post or on the day of judgment before God. At the same time we have the right to privacy where our personal conversations remain private and not indiscriminately kept on record by governments or other organizations. Is this an oxymoron? This is a subject that is much too complicated for this simple old guy to be writing about.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Welcome to the Wesley United Methodist Church in Alexandria.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blind Carbon Copy (BCC), the List Manager and God

To start off, BCC or blind carbon copy, refers to sending a message to multiple recipients in a way that there may be additional addressees concealed from the complete list of recipients. Normally when you respond to a message where there are BCC recipients in the original mail, these BCC recipients will not see your response (you may think - wow, that's good news).

The list manager is actually a glorified mailing list with a central address. If one sends a message to the central address then the message goes out to all that are on the list. List managers can be configured in many different ways that I will not discuss at this time. For the purpose of this blog , just remember that if you are on the list, you and everyone else on the list will receive the message. Also remember you may not know all who are on the list. Be careful what you say if you have post privileges.

Why would one want to add someone as a BCC rather than sending a message TO or at least as a Carbon Copy (CC)? I can't answer this question for everyone but one answer would be, the sender is being sneaky. That is, the sender wants a person or persons to know about something but doesn't want the TO and CC recipients to know that he/she is letting others know on the sly. One would need to be a philosopher to go into greater depth on this subject. As you will see later on this isn't why I am writing this blog.

As for the list manager there is a different twist and generally there is nothing sneaky going on if one is a recipient on a list. You may have been added to a list without asking and want to get off. On a reputable list manager its normally a matter of asking to be removed. Normally I said. When you join a business, social or professional group you might be automatically added to the list. Sometimes one must submit a request to be added to a list. You get the idea..and you will see later on that this isn't why I am writing this blog.

OK, why am I writing this blog? While taking a shower this morning I thought about the relationship between God, blind carbon copies and list managers. I quickly finished taking a shower and here I am at the keyboard. I know that this is a long lead-in but I am getting there. Please continue to read.

If you are of religious nature you likely believe that God is all knowing or omniscient.

Hebrews 4:13 "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." 1 John 3:19-20 "By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything." Job 28:24 "For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens." There are more scriptures but you get the idea.

I must re-read this after typing since I must do a better job of following what I am writing ...and continue to keep this in mind each day...

If we are unwilling to say something directly to a person (not BCC) then it shouldn't be said or thought. If we subscribe to a list just to pass along gossip then we should unsubscribe.

We must remember that there is no BCC and God is a recipient of the contents on all list managers. If we say or intentionally do or even think of something unholy then we need to remind ourselves that God is already the recipient and we must self-correct. God will forgive you, but we shouldn't take Him for granted.

Jim - April 2012

Monday, February 7, 2011

When you forget something

A while back I wrote a blog on "Where do things go on your computer when you delete them.." Somehow that blog resurfaced in my mind a few moments ago. I had not thought about what I said but recalled it just now for some reason unknown to me. That made me think about "When you forget something" which is the title of this blog. I thought that I had better write this blog at this moment before I forget what I am thinking about.

Its not necessary, unless you want to, read the blog on "Where do things go on your computer when you delete them" since I mostly wrote that in jest.

This is a quote from that blog:
"I can see that to delete something is not actually throwing something out of my computer but rearranging it on the hard drive platter so it no longer represents the original data stream. So if I generalize, which is usually not a good idea, maybe I could say that things don't really go anywhere, like physically move, when I delete something from my computer. I might further say that the pattern and sequence of 'bits' & 'bytes' that originally represented a file or program has simply been randomized and the sophisticated pointers in the computer that did tell the computer where to look for a file no longer point to where the 'bits' & 'bytes' were/are located."

For the purpose of this blog, what if I replaced the word 'delete' with 'forget' and the word 'computer' with 'mind'?

Forgetting things has become more frequent with me as I grow older. Most of the time, if not all the time, we don't forget things on purpose (like in forgive and forget) but we do sometimes forget, or at least I do. I have asked myself Why, but have yet to receive an answer.

It is unlikely that we only have so much cranial capacity and experience a memory overload?

Do memory cell (neurons) die after a certain period of time?

If its dying, then what is the dying process, last in die first, first in die last or some other algorithm?

Is it our lack of concentration that we can't recall (forget) certain things?

Is there a loss, reduced or scrambled connection between neurons & nodes within the brain?

Is memory loss permanent, random loss/recall, scrambled? Likely yes to some extent in all?

I am sure that you can think of a number of other possibilities.

I am sorry if you thought this blog was going to provide insight on forgetfulness. It only raises questions to answers that I have forgotten or the neurons & nodes have yet to be connected in my brain to provide answers. Since I am more familiar thinking in the technical realm I can conjure up technical possibilities, but coming up Neurological possibilities isn't me.

In blogs I have discussed different capabilities such as Static Read Only Memory (fused link), Dynamic Random Access Memory and others. These are pretty straightforward and understood by a technical thinking person. In a static RAM the memory states alway exist as initially programmed and fused link Static SRAM's cannot be be changed, just thrown away and a new one burned. With the Dynamic Programmable Random Access Memory (DRAM), as the name implies, has a more brain like memory storage characteristic. One can program the memory, reprogram the memory, and access memory contents in any random order. (lets not get into programming aspects of different DRAMS and learning with the human mind)

An SRAM can withstand just about anything other than physical destruction and the memory contents will remain viable, that is no reprogramming on the fly. I have known people like that.

The DRAM is highly versatile for reprogramming and readout but can have some special characteristics that aren't so good. Some high speed dynamic memories require refreshing the contents on the fly, else they wont retain their memory state. Some folks are like that. Some DRAM's can have their memory contents inadvertently altered. Some can be sensitive to Ultra Violet light, static discharges, Radio Frequency waves, etc.

As I asked in the "Where do things go on your computer when you delete them.." blog, I ask now where do memories go when you can no longer recall them from your brain. Its pretty simple with computers but to me its beyond my comprehension with the human brain.

I was never a smart person but I knew more 'textbook' related things after graduating from college. I may know more 'life' related things now. I use the word 'may' since life related things could be a matter of perspective. Why do I recall vividly some 'life' related things of the distant past but not others? Why do I recall some 'book' related things from college days but many other things have passed?

Why is it that with some persons the mind is the first to fail. With others the heart or other body members fail first or we are consumed with something else. I am pretty sure that we will be pondering these and other questions into the future, if we can remember what questions we were suppose to ponder.

Jim Sohn