ChatGPT explains some of the principles of the Bahá'í Faith.

    I asked ChatGPT to summarize some of the beliefs of the Bahá’í Faith. It did well.

    Some other teachings of the Baha’i Faith are:

    The unity of God, which means that there is only one God who is the source of all creation. Baha’is believe that God is unknowable in his essence, but he reveals his will and attributes through his messengers.

    The unity of religion, which means that all the major religions of the world are divine in origin and share a common purpose. Baha’is believe that God sends different messengers to different peoples and times, according to their needs and capacities. These messengers include Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Baha’u’llah.

    The unity of humanity, which means that all human beings are created equal and belong to one family. Baha’is believe that all forms of prejudice, such as racism, sexism, nationalism, and classism, are contrary to the will of God and must be eliminated. Baha’is also strive to promote justice, peace, and harmony among all people.

    The harmony of science and religion, which means that both are essential for the advancement of civilization and the discovery of truth. Baha’is believe that science and religion are complementary and not contradictory, and that they should work together to solve the problems of humanity and the environment.

    The equality of men and women, which means that both genders have equal rights and responsibilities, and that they should cooperate and complement each other in all spheres of life. Baha’is believe that the empowerment of women is essential for the progress of society and the establishment of world peace.

    The universal education, which means that every person has the right and duty to acquire knowledge and skills that will enable them to contribute to the well-being of themselves and others. Baha’is believe that education should be moral, spiritual, and material, and that it should foster the development of the individual and the collective.

    The world federation, which means that the nations of the world should unite under a common government that will ensure the security, prosperity, and justice of all people. Baha’is believe that the current state of the world is unsustainable and that a new world order is needed to prevent war, poverty, and oppression.

    The 2024 Journal Plan

    I’m planning my 2024 Journal plan. I’m always trying to fine tune and tweak the process to be most effective and easier for me to continue to be consistent.

    I have bought a new Bullet Journal every year for the past few years and always end up back to using my Lochby. I like the modularity it provides, and I don’t have a book for a year, I have a smaller booklet till it runs out of space. I then simply label the date range and pull it out and replace with a new.

    Furthermore, I am planning to run four booklets at a time this year. The first is the Calendar and tasks book. This will be general bullet journal style, and its title gives away its purpose. I don’t know if one booklet will last the year or if it will be split into another, I’m interested to see how that turns out.

    Next is Notes, this is just to have a place to scribble stuff if I’m on the phone or in a meeting. Pretty simple and won’t really be organized, just for immediate chicken scratch.

    Then there is the journal insert which will be where the true journaling and writing will happen every day. I expect to fill a few with them a year if I can stay consistent.

    And finally is my List booklet which is for exactly that. The books I’ve read through the year, a list of movies or shows I’ve watched, and anything else of the sort.

    And finally, I plan on carrying a field notes size pocket notebook for tasks on the go and when I don’t have the full journal with me. I have to thank CodeMacLife for the idea.

    We’ll see if I stick with this through the whole year. What I end up doing the past years is a month or so of consistency then a lull, then back at it. I would really like to be consistent throughout the whole year. I am thinking carrying the pocket notebook will really help.

    Wondering what to write about

    Wondering what to write about. I’m sitting here feeling like writing something, but I am not sure what to write, no idea. So I’m just sitting here pecking at the keyboard, trying to wing it. As you can tell, this has led to me babbling about what to write about.

    I think there have been at least a few hundred times, if not thousands, where I had that light bulb go off without the time or means to record it. This of course leads to me never remembering it. And now, when I want to put something to paper, or the keyboard in this case, I’m a blank.

    Maybe I need to find a good way to record ideas when they happen. A voice recorder would be cool, but what do you do when your idea comes to you when you’re on a call or a video meeting? I try to carry a little notebook around, but in reality it makes it onto my person about 15% of the time, with the rest of its life sitting unused on my desk or possibly near the toilet.

    If anyone else has a solution to this dilemma, please share. For now, I have some house cleaning to do.


    Vexed on Sunday

    I really need to seek help. I change my mind about technology constantly. Things like privacy, convenience, and the newest sparkley thing are always throwing me for a loop. Let alone, I have accounts on about half a dozen email services and multiple emails on each of those.

    Moral quandaries also cause problems. I want to do the right thing, but many times the right thing means inferior products and services, or more work in general.

    How do I balance these things? Even more important, why can’t I make a decision and stick to it? I feel I have to eventually find peace with a certain set of technological compromises, just to maintain my own sanity in the end.

    I wonder if I am the only one so distraught by what email service to use? Is using a Mac that evil? I want to be able to repair it, but would I need to anyway? These are the questions vexing me this morning.

    How is your Sunday going?

    End of 2023 Default Apps Bandwagon!

    After seeing this on Kev Quirks blog, I thought I would do the same. According to him, all the “cool kids” are doing it. I think my list is pretty solid right now, minus I’m toying with trying some other streaming services for music. If I think of anything else I’ll add it.

    📨 Mail Service and client: Fastmail
    📝 Notes: Standard Notes
    ✅ To-Do: Apple Reminders 📆 Calendar: iCloud and Fastmail 🙍🏻‍♂️ Contacts: iCloud and Fastmail 📖 RSS Service and Client: Newsblur
    ☁️ Cloud storage: pCloud and iCloud 🌅 Photo library: Ente and iPhoto 🌐 Web Browser: Firefox (everywhere)
    💬 Chat: iMessage, Element, Discord
    🔖 Bookmarks: Firefox
    📜 Office Apps: Libreoffice and WPS Office(for pdf)
    🛒 Shopping Lists: Reminders.
    🎵 Music: Apple Music(on phones) or Cider(on desktop)
    🎤 Podcasts: Pocket Casts 🔐 Password Management: 1Password 🤦‍♂️ Social Media: MicroBlog 🌤️ Weather: Google
    🔎 Search: Kagi
    🧮 Code Editor: VSCode
    💰 Shopping:
    🗞️ News: Google News
    ✍️ Blog: MicroBlog

    As always feel free to comment or write me using the link below. Cheers!

    Finding the perfect music streaming service.

    I’m always on the hunt for the ideal Music streaming service. Currently, I use Apple Music since my whole family is pretty much in the Apple ecosystem. I myself actually use Windows, Linux, and Android most of the time, and it is possible to use Apple Music on all of them; either with a native app or third party.

    Sometimes though, I wonder if Apple Music is the best choice. I rule Spotify out because there app is pretty awful IMHO. Which then leaves Amazon Music, which actually has an excellent selection and price point, but there app is not the best either.

    I wonder what else is out there. Mind you, my music interest is pretty eclectic, but I do listen to a lot of Indie and Americana music, some real oddball hard to find stuff.

    And of course, there is the build your own collection idea, but without becoming a pirate I don’t see gathering enough music to not bore myself or sell my children to pay for it all.

    So please share what you’re doing, especially if you are a cross-platform user.

    Apple's new Macbooks are awesome, and this is why I won't get one.

    These days, I think no one can deny how great Apple’s hardware is. The M' series MacBooks are amazing, powerful and crazy battery life. Buying one seems like a no-brainer for sure. But then, I don’t think I will be getting one.

    I’ve tried to convince myself I need one, I may even actually need one. It makes complete sense buying one. But there are so many things that go against my beliefs built into those machines.

    I’m a right to repair advocate and believe if I pay anything, but especially more than a couple grand for a laptop, I should be able to do what the hell I want with it. This is absolutely not the case with Apple. They are locked down, glued and soldered together, so they are near impossible to fix or upgrade on your own.

    Apple has a history of throttling hardware to push new purchases. This is also a big no, no.

    The OS is pretty much a copy of multiple Linux Desktops mashed together and then blended with iOS. I do give them credit for insane interoperability within their ecosystem, though, which of course comes from great control over said ecosystem.

    And finally, though they preach privacy and say they care; they very quickly succumbed to demands of the Chinese government allowing them backdoor access. Even Google didn’t do that, they decided to just not do business there.

    For all these reasons, even though I know there isn’t a laptop out there that compares in performance, I just can’t bring myself to do it. I will go with a company like Framework instead.

    Let's think for ourselves.

    This quote from Abdu’l-Baha brings up an important aspect that has seemed to have left modern society, let’s bring this back. Let’s think for ourselves please.

    God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind, or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality.

    – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace


    To go 100% into Apple's walled garden.

    Still trying to figure out which my next PC will be. Mainly it’s the thought to get a Mac or to stay in the Linux and Windows PC world. Sticking with Windows long term is a no-go. Linux is the true choice for privacy, I feel the mac may be a middle ground, with much better privacy than Windows but not as much as Linux. But the Mac will have much more functionality, let alone I already have an iPhone, Apple Watch, Homepods, and an AppleTV.

    I think Linux is the idealistic, stand your ground, fight back against the man choice; but I do want some convenience. Also, the Linux side has the right to repair options if I go with a Framwork laptop or System76. I still have a bit of time to make the decision, but I always bounce back and forth. I may never come to a sound conclusion.

    Electronic Journaling

    I’ve used two main pieces of software for journaling on and off. The first being DayOne Journal and the other being Standard Notes. I feel I should only be in one, and I would like it to be Standard Notes, but I find the book printing feature of DayOne so appealing. To be honest, I have never ordered one, but I find the idea comforting and will eventually some day.

    Standard Notes does let me save a backup in plain text, but it is much harder to separate, format, and I would have to self-publish it in some way to get a copy, maybe through Amazon(cringe!). This seems like a very difficult task, unless I could somehow automate the process with some sort of script. But I pay for StandarNotes as my Notes app, so it makes it the preferred place for Journaling, since I already pay for it. I just want the dang book.

    I wonder if anyone who reads this has a method of achieving the printed book option without using DayOne. Please use the reply by email link below to share.

    Mystery of the non-dairy creamer...

    Walking the dogs every day, I always see miscellaneous items of trash along the side of the road. Usually food wrappers or beverage containers. Today, while walking Hazel, I saw a big one liter container of non-dairy creamer, you know, the ones that don’t have an ounce of real dairy in them.

    You know, I don’t approve but can understand throwing an empty can or bottle out the window, you finished your beverage, and you don’t want the trash in your car, and you’re a lazy piece of crap who can’t wait to find a garbage can, I get it. Of course, it could also be an alcoholic beverage, and you don’t want to get busted with it in the car, in which you’re also an idiot at this point.

    But why non-dairy creamer? Was some dude driving chugging some fake cream? At what point does one empty a container of non-dairy creamer while driving? This is a mystery that completely baffles me. I just don’t get it. Is there a secret about non-dairy creamer we don’t know? I just can’t wrap my head around why a fairly large bottle of this fake cow juice would be laying on the side of the road. Someone enlighten me, please!

    My privacy tools

    I’ve been using some various apps and services for some time for privacy and security. I thought I would share some of them and what I use them for. Mind you, it may seem like a lot, but it is not really.

    • Proton - I use this service for my email, calendar, VPN, and passwords. They are based in Sweden and everything is end-to-end encrypted with zero knowledge storage(zero knowledge means even they can’t read your data). You can also create on the fly disposable email with their sister service SimpleLogin. They also have encrypted file storage, but I do not use it since it’s not cross-platform; the desktop app is only available on Windows for now.
    • Standard Notes - Again, zero knowledge end-to-end encrypted notes and to-do lists. They also even have a built-in blogging platform if you want to use it. This is the main place I write down important notes, thoughts, and so on.
    • MySudo - This service provides end-to-end encrypted identities. You can have an email, phone number, and credit card tied to an alias identity. For example, when we moved last, I used a MySudo phone number and email to search for a moving company. When you start searching for them, you are bombarded by movers calling trying to get your service. Once we selected a mover, and it was over, I deleted the alias, which ended all calls and emails immediately. Also, great for online shopping or Craigslist transactions.
    • - This is another debit card provider. You link it to one payment method, and then you can create cards to pay anything. No need to even use your real name or address. Anytime I buy anything online without a Privacy card. You can also set limits, or create one time use cards. It also allows what was purchased so the credit companies or your bank cant collect the data on your purchase history. For example, I have a card for Netflix, Disney, Apple TV, …etc. If I want to end a subscription, I just delete the card. I also set limits, My Netflix card can only be charges max $20 a month. So if anyone got that card number in a security breach, one, they can only use it at Netflix, two, they can’t ever spend more than $20 that month. Which of course if my monthly payment was paid, they would be rejected due to the limit being reached.
    • pCloud - pCloud is a file storage service like OneDrive, Google Drive, etc… by default not everything is encrypted, but you can add an end to end zero knowledge folder. The app is also cross-platform. So I can throw unimportant documents in pCloud and use its crypto folder to store receipts, taxes, and other sensitive info.
    • Signal - This is what I would like to be my main messaging client instead of Facebook, Text, WhatsApp, or others. The reason I say I would, is because it’s so hard to get people to use something that offers them privacy. I could tell most folks that all kinds of people could access your text messages, or the various privacy violations companies that Facebook (owners of WhatsApp) have made. People still won’t switch to something private. If your friend or family and actually read this, the hint is for you, please switch.
    • Kagi - Kagi is my replacement for Google or Bing search. It is a pay to use search engine, but has 0 tracking. You pay because they aren’t tracking and selling all your information to advertisers and throwing ads in front of your face. I have only been using it a short time, but it has quite a few nice features and I find the results better than Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.

    Some of this may seem a little overboard to most folks, but it’s not really as complicated as it sounds. Whatever minor inconvenience there is, is more than worth the privacy I get in return. I still use social media and I understand the loss of privacy using such sites. But their tracking is a bit more limited since they all have their own email linked to them, if it’s a paid service it has its own card and a name that is made up on it. I’m no James Bond, and if a talented person puts forth the effort they can put the pieces together, but for average corporate abuse and spying done by many online services and sites it helps obscure my presence. If anyone has any questions or wants more info, I’m more than happy to answer, just click the reply by email button below.

    Linking Combat and my Faith

    I joined the Baha’i Faith in 2010. After a childhood growing up Catholic, my stint in high school as a proclaimed atheist, to a seeker after my time in the army, finally finding and falling in love with the Baha’i Faith. As I now read the history of the faith and its writings, I think back to being a soldier.

    On March 20th, 2003, I crossed over the border from Kuwait to Iraq for the first time. I was a ball of fear, excitement, and wonder all rolled up in one. I spent most of the first few days in the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle. I remember seeing a sign telling us that we were atop Babylon, which all I could see was sand and some old brick walls scattered about in the region. With the occasional view of MLRS rocket systems sending volleys and feeling sorry for those on the receiving end. Other than knowing the name Babylon, it held no significance to me on that day.

    One of the subsequent significant events I remember from the invasion is doing a feint to make the enemy think we would cross a particular bridge over the Euphrates. Of course, there was quite a lot happening there, and at no time did I put too much thought into the river’s name. But I remember artillery hitting buildings, lots of gunfire, and having my first opportunity to engage the enemy. That day is very much ingrained in my mind.

    I saw the Tigris river for the first time a couple of days later. I didn’t give it too much thought beyond recognizing the name from various holy writings of the many faiths. I must have crossed that river a dozen times after that. It sat in my memory banks as that place I’ve heard of in the Bible, but the history never came to mind.

    I then left Iraq to return yet again, not long after. I was wounded ten miles from the Tigris as I and many others fought for their lives on the bloodiest day I had ever witnessed. Again I used lethal force against other men.

    Now all these years later, I sit and read holy writings and see Babylon, Euphrates, and Tigris repeated all the time. Bah’u’llah, the figurehead of the Baha’i Faith Himself, was exiled to Bahgdad and declared his message in the Ridvan garden along the Tigris river; I was wounded around six miles from that holy and historic location. Let alone, after some investigation, I discovered I was less than two miles from His home in Bahgdad, which was destroyed in 2013; I could of, or may have even seen it, chances are pretty high for that matter. I have pictures of buildings not far from its historical location.

    Now that I am a Baha’i, I cannot help but think of these facts as somewhat mystical coincidences. I did more praying in Iraq than I had in the previous decade. Was I spared in battle to later become a member of the Baha’i faith? Is there some link that I won’t ever know until I move on to the next world? It’s exciting to dwell on. The entire idea I was so close to something I believe so strongly in now but had no clue then fascinates me.

    Did my fighting in Iraq in consequently have any effect on my being in the Baha’i faith today? I have to wonder.

    This photo shows the building I lived in for some time in relation to Karkh which is the area Baha’u’llah’s home was located

    Mapped section of Bahgdad showing locations

    Podcasts and the gig economy...

    I am an avid podcast listener. When I say avid, it is the one media I consume the most. A few years ago I worked away from home, had a decent commute in both directions and drove around for work itself. This allowed me to listen to quite a bit. The past few years, I have had little time to listen. It’s hard at home with family looking for my attention and work itself being largely on the phone. But as of recently, I have come up with a solution.

    Uber! Yes, Uber it is. I signed up to be a driver. To be honest, i’m not driving really, I’m using the delivery side. With 2 kids and 2 dogs, it’s hard to keep the car presentable for passengers. But delivery I’m good with and can listen to whatever I want while doing so. So far this has been great. I spend a few hours every couple of days and get much more of my listening in and make some money while doing so. The work is ridiculously easy. It has been great so far.

    I’m now thinking of trying a couple more services, such as Instacart or DoorDash. It actually gets sort of addictive trying to get the jobs and gaming their systems to maximize profit. As I learn more about it, I will update you.