Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Learning to Drive

Our daughter turns sixteen next month, so we are on a week-long road trip in which she's doing almost all of the driving to "burn in" her driving skills. She's doing really well too!

Practical Mentoring
God brings many people into our lives to help mentor and guide us, and it's up to us to keep our eyes and ears open so we don't miss them. A number of years ago a friend shared a great idea with me that is the basis of our road trip.

As each of his children were about to earn their driver license, he took them on a one-on-one week-long road trip in which the kid did most of the driving. His was a GREAT idea!
  • It's a rare opportunity to have a bunch of conversations between a dad and his kid. I have said many times that it's not quality time, it's quantity time. That's because you can't plan quality time, you can only plan quantity time. And during some of that quantity time, some quality time may happen...
  • Giving your kid the keys to the car is... well... kind of scary! They'll be completely on their own when they're out driving, with no way for mom and dad to protect them other than with prayer (I am not downplaying prayer's importance). This kind of burn-in builds confidence, skill, and creates the opportunity to give a lot of driving tips.
  • Once the driver license is in their hands, kids spend very little time at home. This is almost like a last-ditch opportunity to spend time together... before everything gets even crazier.
Well, I'm thankful for the lesson I learned from my friend. And we're having a great time driving throughout the state of California! Our daughter will have driven through L.A. traffic, long boring stretches of freeway, canyon roads, steep and windy mountain roads, bridges (like the Golden Gate!), and San Francisco rush hour! And we've had a lot of fun dad-and-daughter time together.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Leave My Desktop Alone!

One of our favorite movies is Blast from the Past. It's about a family that locked themselves into an underground shelter because they thought a nuclear blast had occurred during the Bay of Pigs. At one point the dad comes to the surface and encounters a current-day surface-dweller. The dad says to him, "Leave my elevator alone!", which later becomes a mantra in the movie. That line is similar to Moses saying, "Let my people go!"

Well, I wish software developers would, "Leave my desktop alone!"

Personal Preferences
While it is not the personal preference of all, I like to keep my desktop as clean as possible-- no shortcuts. There are two I can't get rid of (Recycle Bin and BlueTooth), but my desktop is otherwise clean. Why, then, do software companies insist on cluttering up my desktop with their shortcuts every time I update their software? It's just rude!

Some Play Nice
Every now and then a software developer is nice enough to include in their installation routine a question that let's me tell it whether or not I want shortcuts added and, if so, where. But most don't care about me, they just want to mark up my screen.

Menus Too
Even though Microsoft has told me how my menus should lay out, I've decided that I like them labeled and organized differently. The other half of this rant is that they should leave my menus alone too and save me the time it takes to reset them to my preferences.

I know that many will think this is a little issue that I'm making a mountain out of, but someone has to tell them to respect our personal preferences! What do you think?