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  • Andrew Mercer 5:31 pm on December 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    You can now post an entry to a wordpress 

    You can now post an entry to a wordpress blog from Twitter. This is my test run. More info here

  • Andrew Mercer 6:25 am on December 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , internet, software,   

    tech 10 commandments 

    While on the 10 commandments, here is a fairly old one from the Joy of Tech – but still relevant today.

    Tech Commandments

  • Andrew Mercer 6:19 am on December 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , twitter   

    twitter 10 commandments 

    Found these whilst I was stumbling around the web. You may have already seen them, but they’re worth a laugh or two.

    If God Texts the Ten Commandments – by Jamie Quatro (here is where I found them)

    1. no1 b4 me. srsly
    2. dnt wrshp pix/idols
    3. no omg’s
    4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now;sun l8r)
    5. pos ok – ur m&d r cool
    6. dnt kill ppl
    7. :-X only w/m8
    8. dnt steal
    9. dnt lie re:bf
    10. dnt ogle ur bf’s m8, or ox, or dnky. myob

    m, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl

    ttyl, JHWH

    ps. wwjd?

    • Bruce 6:00 pm on December 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Haha! Very good.
      Love the new theme btw. cool.

  • Andrew Mercer 10:00 pm on December 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: christianity, , family, kids   

    car shopping 

    I have spent the last couple of days looking for a car for my 17 year old. It brought back memories of my first car, a 1980 Toyota Corolla station wagon that I bought in late 1983 at a cost of $3,000. That was quite a bit back then and I wasn’t sure what we ‘d get in our budgeted range of $2,500 to $3,500.

    Lanos1Well, we got an awesome car, with a lot of thanks to some friends from our church who more than looked after us. So much so that my daughter and I feel blessed and humbled.

    What was fun was the joy I saw in my daughter’s eyes as she looked upon her new car (of which she will pay 50%), but also the feeling I had that we were giving to her something that she will treasure.

    It can’t be compared to what our Heavenly Father has given to us, but I can appreciate even more what He gave when He sent Jesus to earth for all of mankind. His love compelled Him to send Jesus, just as our love for our daughter compelled us to help her acquire her first car.

    With gifts comes responsibility, something my daughter will start to experience tomorrow when we take delivery of her car.

  • Andrew Mercer 6:23 am on November 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apple mac, books, iPod/iPhone, kindle,   

    come in kindle 

    Tomorrow should see the delivery of our new Kindles, one each for my wife and I. I have internally debated whether I should acquire one, with the competition being the long rumoured Apple tablet, as I was really keen to see what Apple would do. The debate was finalised when the rumours began declaring that the price for the tablet would be over US$1,000 – some suggested as high as US$2,000.

    kindleWe have literally hundreds of books – the legacy of a pastor married to a librarian, and space has become premium so the transition to digital books has been a no brainer for me. Over the past few years I have been buying eBooks for my various PDA’s that I have owned, so I already have a good collection to place on the new Kindle even without buying any new books from Amazon.

    A great way to convert existing eBooks (PDF’s, Word Files etc) is to use Mobipocket Creator (Publisher). It’s a Windows-only application which is drag and drop for file conversion. The only problem I have encountered is that it doesn’t appear to work under virtualisation on my Mac. No dramas as I bring my work laptop home – the only time a dedicated Windows machine has been in my house for years!

    The thought of having upwards of 1,500 of my books with me is a bit staggering, but I must confess there have been times when having access to my library when away from home would have been fantastic. Just as the iPod changed the way people listen to, and in many cases, purchase, music, I think the Kindle will  do that with books. The fact the Amazon is now producing an international version of the Kindle will only increase the usage of digital books – only time will tell if society embraces digital books as they have digital music.

    Over the years I have also subscribed to Time magazine as well as many others. I generally keep about 10-15 issues before I think that I need to throw them out (again due to space constraints), now this becomes a moot point as there are many magazines that can be subscribed to on the Kindle which I will be able to keep as reference material for years to come and can also keep on my laptop and desktop through the Kindle for Desktop application.

    My two requests to Amazon are:

    1. Please finish developing the Kindle for Mac app
    2. Make available the Kindle for iPhone app to people outside the US

    As the Kindle also allows for the spoken word as you drive, it could also diminish the need for the purchase of Audio Books. What is certain is that due to the close parity of the Aussie dollar to the US$, the cost of Kindle books has become about 50% of their print equivalent – another fine reason to add to that of the space saving benefits for purchasing and using a Kindle. So in summary, my key reasons to acquire a Kindle are:

    1. Portability
    2. Cost versus print equivalents
    3. The ability to be an audio book
    4. Storage

    I will give you my initial thoughts on using the Kindle after I have tried it for a couple of days – unfortunately you will have to wait. My wife says I can only use it after I open it for Christmas! I wished she believed in early presents.

    Until then then, I will stick with reading my print books – I do have a few to get through that I have recently purchased.

  • Andrew Mercer 9:21 pm on November 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    i have moved 

    Hello all,

    My blog has changed address and can be found here at

    Hope to see you again soon.


  • Andrew Mercer 6:49 pm on November 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    make an audio book from any text source 

    I was reading a blog that I regularly visit yesterday and stumbled upon instructions for creating audio books from any type of text file. It was so awesome that I put it out on Twitter early today and have been requested to “fill in the blanks”.

    First and foremost, credit goes to Rick Mansfield and his blog This Lamp. Unfortunately for you users of PC’s and the multiple variants of Windows, this will not help you, but if your a Mac user you will find all the instructions here.

    The example that Rick describes is converting a christian resource book into an audio book. Yet this method works for anything that contains text – I have created audio books from pdf files, Word docs and Pages docs, the list is endless.

    One last thing that Rick doesn’t mention is that when you have your new “Text to Speech” file in iTunes, you can then convert it into iTunes audio book format by running a script called Make Bookmarkable by Doug Adams and you can download the Apple Script here.

    Rick in his post mentions how little time it takes to create an audio book from scratch. One of the ones that I created was The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson. The final product was an audio book that would take 10 hours and 54 minutes to listen through – total time to prepare and convert on my MacPro was about 8 minutes. 

    It’s an absolutely awesome way to get audio books onto your iPod or iPhone. The possibilities are endless – I can see myself converting some of my daughter’s Uni text books next year so she can listen to them as she commutes to Uni, rather than having to carry them with her.

    I hope you enjoy exploring these unlimited possibilities. If you’re a Windows user and you know of a way to do it on that platform, I’d love for you to share the secrets.

    Happy audio book listening!

  • Andrew Mercer 10:54 am on November 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    what do i say? 

    Come next January, I will have been married for 25 years – from research, that is a Silver Wedding Anniversary. What that goes to show is that my wife is a very understanding, gracious  and generous person to have put up with me for so long without much complaining or attempting to remodel me too much.

    So last week when she mentioned that she didn’t really enjoy reading my posts about technology and stuff and that in future she would prefer more of the philosophical, what was I supposed to do?

    It is so obvious, that I am surprised that you are waiting for my response.

    Here’s my response – I’m writing a philosophical post.

    I just hope that your spouse loves you as mine does me.

  • Andrew Mercer 10:36 am on November 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    an open view of things – part 1 

    A couple of days ago I started reading Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open. It’s really well written and so far I am about half way through the book – he has been dating Brooke Shields and just won the 1995 Australian Open, so I haven’t read the confessions of his drug taking yet, but I have read about his infamous wig.

    A number of things have stood out to me in the first half of the book, including:

              1. How well it is written (a pleasant surprise)
              2. Agassi had a difficult, dysfunctional childhood
              3. His candidness as he writes.

    But all of that pales into his explanation of how he hates tennis, and hates it with a passion. What is telling is that he still manages to play the sport at such an elite level. How often do we say how we hate our jobs, and that we’d really love to do our hobby, sport or lifestyle pursuit as a profession, whilst looking at musicians and sportspeople through envious eyes. Clearly Agassi didn’t enjoy the where he was in his life.

    He had a fair share of the world watching him “work” and he hated being there, yet he still persisted. Agassi certainly did not have the ideal childhood, it was clearly far from normal and his adolescent years took place in the public eye, yet he has grown into a fine human being.

    It’s refreshing to see now, the man that he has become, and to read his confessions of how he tried to hide from himself, as well as the public.

    When I finish the book in the next couple of days I’ll share Part 2 with you, but until then, consider reading it yourself – you will learn a lot about Andre Agassi, and I dare say that you will learn a little about yourself.

    In the meantime, here is a video of Agassi sharing some of the reasons he wrote Open.
  • Andrew Mercer 5:32 pm on November 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    bible study options 

    I’m a Mac user, and proud of it. When I made the switch from Windows in 2004 the biggest challenge that confronted me was what bible study software would I use. For all of my Windows life (from 3.0 to XP) I had used various versions of QuickVerse and it’s associated atlases and dictionaries.

    Unfortunately for me, QuickVerse only came in a Windows version, and PC emulation at the time was terribly slow, so it was not an option for me to consider. I therefore had to find a new bible study software – there were a number of free/cheap options, but the standout was Accordance.


    Now using Accordance was more a paradigm shift compared to switching to Mac and something that took some time to come to grips with. It was frustrating as it limited my ability to study and prepare messages, but over time I have come to appreciate it more and more – it’s power in compiling searches from a huge array of resources is awesome. To me, Accordance, makes the complex simple – a bit like a great teacher of the Word.

    Five years on, after attending a training seminar in Sydney, I love Accordance. Yet now, Logos has recently released Logos4, clearly their best offering yet.


    The Mac version is currently in Alpha mode and it’s fun to be a part of software development, whereas the Windows version is a complete release. With the advent of exceptional Windows virtualisation programs such as Parallels and VM Fusion, running a Windows bible study application is no longer a chore for Mac users.

    The Windows version of Logos4 certainly has a Mac feel to it, but not quite. Yet is a great tool and has a great interface for students of the Word – powerful searching and great layout of resources for viewing. A neat bonus from Logos is that they have released an iPhone App that will sync your library with the phone – unfortunately, no information is presently able to be stored on the iPhone – it must by streamed over Wi-fi or 3G phone networks.

    It’s a great position for the modern Christian to find themselves in – two great bible study apps for either of your operating system of choice.

    For me, I will use both as they do different things in some ways better than their competitor. But if I had to choose one, it would be Accordance, as there motto says, the bible is central.

    So if you’re in the market for new software, please consider Accordance and I Know you won’t regret it. Go ahead, make the switch!


    PS – if you don’t want to leave Windows, Accordance provides an emulator so you run run Accordance on your Windows based machine.

    • Bruce 10:22 am on November 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Been looking at the accordance site. Looks very good. Which level of product do you have?

    • Andrew Mercer 1:46 pm on November 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I'll check when I get home and let you know. I think I'm Library Collection – Standard

    • Donovan Palmer 1:34 am on November 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I use Logos as well, and find with Accordance it makes a powerful combination.

      That said, there is no one with the quality of Accordance Bible for the Mac platform. When it comes to standards, Accordance is the one which sets the bar.

    • thislamp 12:10 am on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Andrew, I’m curious about your comment that initially Accordance “limited [your] ability to study and prepare messages.” Was that simply because of learning the way Accordance works, or is there something that could be improved in Accordance in regard to preparing messages?

    • Andrew Mercer 5:48 am on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I was simply the way Accordance worked – I came from an old version of QuickVerse that was for me, very easy, but basic. Once I went to a training day with the Browns, I saw the power and potential of Accordance, and I now love it.

      • Dr. J 7:20 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Glad you are enjoying Accordance. We have weekly podcasts now to help users get the most out of their software. You can find them under “Lighting the Lamp” on iTunes.

        • Andrew Mercer 9:08 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink

          Dr J
          I have been watching the past 10 or so podcasts and they have been very helpful You do a great job

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