Blog

Living and Breathing Fresh Air

Well, the last three months have been very busy in my life with everything from client work to my girlfriend and my anniversary (3 years). And some new technology has come into my life in the last week. I am in my Portfolio class this quarter, and as far as I can tell, should be graduating in December from the Illinois Institute of Art in Schaumburg. I have a big job opportunity on the horizon, and am loving freelance more than ever.

So on July 17th, Nicole and I celebrated our three year anniversary (of dating), and went to Lake Geneva the following weekend for a day at the beach, away from life, responsibilities, and all stress. It was really nice, and we had a ball. I want to go back as soon as possible, because the hometown atmosphere reminded me of home.

Of course, we have been working heavily on programming, including the Christian Life Church website, among other things. My coding has been pretty non-stop for the last three or four weeks, on all things from my portfolio to random, nonsensical applications and expressions of genius. Fun stuff, all in all.

And technology-wise, I refreshed my mobile line this week. I got a new phone on Tuesday (enV2 from LG), which is a nice little phone with a full QWERTY keyboard for text messaging, and today I purchased a new laptop and iPod touch (32 gb). The new laptop is the long awaited (for me, anyway) MacBook Air. I am actually typing on it right now. It is really a nice little portable computer, and is unbelievably lightweight. I bought the 64gb SSD (flash memory) version, and lemme just say that it is weird hearing nothing move inside this li’l machine. lol

I want to try and blog more, so we’ll see. Oh, if you haven’t see Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, go to Hulu and watch it! lol Later!

Birthday!!!

“22 years old? Wow, where has the time gone? Serious, I lost the time. Anyone have a watch?”

Yeah, that’s what I posted on my Facebook status today. Does anyone read my Facebook statuses? They can be rather entertaining, if I do say so myself. The other day I posted a lot of penguin related stuff. Anyone?

Some Changes

Okay, all! Last night showed me that I need to make a few changes around this site, and start using some more of the power stuff in Ministry(Starter). One thing you will now notice on the Blog/Theology and Home pages is shorter entry lengths. This was very easy to implement, and now three articles are displayed on the Home page, and twenty on the Blog/Theology pages.

I will be implementing some other things which will be relatively easy, and a few things that will be larger. A new layout is coming, but it will be version 4.5, not 5. I am simply updating the currently layout to more flexibly support what I want to accomplish with this blog. More will be coming over the following days and weeks.

Update

(Finally) [S]tyled the comment forms, and made some visual changes for the comments.

Declaration, Loud and Clear Now!

What is going on in America is becoming more and more clear to me, and I am feeling it quite heavily at my school. What is it that I speak of, you ask? The removal of Christ from our schools, government, and everything else. But, Jay, doesn’t the Bill of Rights declare separation of church and state? Isn’t the Constitution written to make sure that no religion is endorsed? No and yes. Follow me, and realize what I have realized. Stop now if you don’t want to find some major facts out about our nation and it’s faith-based foundation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

We all know this line. But what does it mean? Self-evident means that the truth coming after is absolute, and validates itself. It is not in question. Pretty big statement for men to make.

Business and Life

When I thought that life was getting crazy, more freelance has come my way. Believe me, I am certainly not complaining, because more freelance means more money, but it does mean that my blogging has suffered due to my workload.

So what is coming from James Finley and 3onesix? Well, I am working on a brand new version of the popular iPhone Bible application from 3onesix. This new version is finally bringing Notes, and features a really great highlighting setup. No launch time has been determined as of yet.

Interface Design

So I have surprisingly got into interface design over the course of the last year. Sure, I was designing interfaces for small CMS stuff, and for websites before that, but I have found that I have a knack for designing web application interfaces. This is of course thanks to the Ministry(Starter) project that I am heading all the design for. I cannot wait to show off more of the interface and tools over the next couple months and discuss all the stuff that went into it all. There are so many little UI widgets, subtle graphical accents, and CSS tweaks that make for a great user experience! Up until the end of last year, only Tom and I have been able to actually use it, and even then it was just for testing and not actual websites. Now we have three or four sites running it, and are running it for our own websites (including this one). As a blogger, it is everything that I want and need. I will be hopefully posting more extensive interface design articles soon here and on 3onesix.com.

Trying Comments and iPod touch

Update at 5:00pm Comments are now alive and working. Thank you, Tom!

Well, I have spent the last twenty minutes trying to get comments back up and running after a couple months of them being turned off, and have been unsuccessful. Hopefully I will have that back up and running tonight after talking to Tom to see how it is done with the new Ministry(Starter) build. lol

Day 5

Okay, so today I have been programming all day on what I was designing last night. I have the foundations of a really awesome database management tool underway. Think phpMyAdmin, but 200% prettier and easier. I have been programming it all in PHP 5, and have been having a ball! Maybe two balls! No, I’ll take the second one back for later. lol

So I have two major sub-projects going now. I have a portfolio manager and a database manager. The portfolio manager is to allow me to very easily build a portfolio website, and manage the projects/pages with great ease. I needed something that could handle the info, and tried Ministry(Starter). To my disappointment, this was not a good option for my needs. I wasn’t making a blog, so why use a blog to create the site So, this is when creating a custom system comes in and, hence, *P*ortfolio *M*anagement *S*ystem.

So tomorrow will be much the same. A mix of design, development, programming, and experimentation. Also, Nathan Freeman and I will soon be starting his photography site. So lots of and lots of work. Later!

Thanksgiving

Ephesians 5:20: “Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States, and every blogger has to post what they are thankful for. I guess that it is tradition or something. Out of all the blessing of this world, my first and foremost thanks goes to my Adonai, Jesus Christ, for not only loving me through all the bad moments of my life, but going to the cross and taking up my sins, forgiving me. Out of what I have here on the Earth, I would place them like this:

1. Family and friends, including my wonderful girlfriend that is always by my side. How can the people that I love most not be at the top of my list.
2. The gifts that our Creator gave me when it comes to computers, the Web, and programming. He has given me a mission and the tools to accomplish it. I cannot help but praise Him in all his glory for these gifts.
3. The blessing to have access to the technology that I do. So many don’t have the access that I do, and I am so thankful that I am blessed with this. This is not in gloating, but rather in praising. I wish to eventually be able to help those that are less fortunate, especially technologically.
4. The knowledge to strive for more knowledge when it comes to the Word and all that comes with it. God has shown me his knowledge through the Holy Spirit within the last two-ish years, and I have continued my hunger for more.

There are likely a million more things that I could easily list, but these are the biggest I can think of at the moment. As we transition out of November, we move into the Christmas season. This is my favorite season of all, so prepare for more articles and more fun around here. lol

YouVersion

This is going to be a relatively short blog entry, but expect a bigger one to come within the next week. Who has heard of YouVersion.com? If you haven’t, you should check it out. I have been an avid user of eBible.com (I am a Premium, paying user) for the last year, and over the last few months have been following LifeChurch.tv (a mega-church that offers their sermons as high-res video podcasts). Well, I just got word, because of the video podcasts, of LifeChurch.tv’s new Web 2.0 bible. At first, I thought that it was going to be an eBible clone, but upon further inspection, I discovered that was certainly not true. YouVersion allows for you to easily tag verses, just like eBible. It allows you to search by tag, just like eBible. But that is where things divide. YouVersion allows for you to attach videos, blog articles, podcast episodes, and more to verses. So my first look-up was 2 Tim 3:16, and I found a link to a sermon on Catholicism and the authority of the Bible over traditions and rituals. It was lovely! I would really suggest that those of you who haven’t seen it go and check it out. Now. Like, right now.

Ministry(Starter) is sweet!

The time has come for you all to put up with my geeking out over how sweet Ministry(Starter) is and how great it is to work with. Yeah, this thing is freakin’ sweet! lol I could never say that enough, and Tom knows that! lol All my templates were made and edited in Coda, since Ministry(Starter) supports offsite editing. But, anyway, on to the other news:

Yeah, if you cannot tell that this site has a new layout, you are likely using one of those screen readers. The new layout features a newly redone crest, also known as the Shield of Faith, brighter and more contrasty colors, and a slightly more Web 2.0ish look. Plus, I finally got rid of Textpattern and moved to my own Ministry(Starter). The switch was easy, being that I have been looking at Ministry(Starter) and salivating for the last year waiting to run From the Gates of Hell on it. lol

For the moment, I cannot show you anything from within Ministry(Starter) until we choose to release the next demo. I can say we are closing in on the finish line, and it is definitely powerful enough to run an entire site, as you can see here. I will likely publish the template codes though next week just to show you how easy the coding is for this site.

As for the other big features, I will be launching the tumblelog, new Photos section, and more next week. For the initial launch, comments have been disabled, but those should be back up early next week or even later this weekend.

I am so excited about the new features and getting this blog back on track as being a wonderful theology and random life blog, so I hope you are ready for this final stretch of the year with From the Gates of Hell.

The New Plan for FtGoH

Possibly as early as this weekend, you will see a brand new layout for From the Gates of Hell, along with a new blog plan.

  • I am moving everything to run on our new Ministry(Starter) CMS, which is giving me a lot more power and flexibility, especially with XML output and Javascript functionality.
  • a new Tumblelog style blog is going to allow for more frequent, yet smaller posts
  • a blogging schedule that will ensure at least one theology article a month, and numerous standard blog entries
  • a new, still easier to update Photo Gallery
  • and more!

This year has sucked when it comes to blogging, and I am looking to change that, so watch out this weekend and next for some great new stuff.

My new toy!

I am typing this from my new toy, my iPod touch. Yeah, I finally got one. LOL I bought it yesterday morning, and am utterly loving it. Typing is so fast and the corrective features are amazing. I am actively working on Ministry(Starter) and some other projects and have just been crazy busy since IMC. Hell is getting a new layout, I just have to find the time to get it done. And for those of you that have an iPhone or an iPod touch, be sure to check out the 3onesix Ministry Tools app at http://iphone.3onesix.com. I will be around. Later!

Ahmadinejad

Read the Article
How many people realize what this man, President Ahmadinejad of Iran, is praying for the end of the world? How many of you realize that he is trying to eliminate Israel altogether? In June 2005, when he took office, he stated that we were 2-3 years from the end of the world, and he is getting fiercer and fiercer as we get to that. We are 2 years in, and he has at least 3000 centrifuges for nuclear enrichment, and though he says they are for energy, he also spouts war with Israel. Iran, we know, has been killing American troops in Iraq, has been funding Hezbollah and Syria in their attacks on Israel, and possibly even had/has ties with Osama bin Laden. This man is getting ready to do something, and is aching for war. This one man, we should be watching more heavily than anyone since Hitler, because he will be the next (if his Allah wills) to reign holocaust on the Jews.

Internet Ministry Conference, 3onesix, and my Absence

Hey, y’all! I first must greatly apologize for my lack of presence around the interwebs lately. I have been on and busy on projects, and just haven’t had the time to blog as much. Expect within the next month for Hell to be rebuilt very soon. I am switching to a primarily short-form blog format with a Tumblelog, and will be running 100% on Ministry(Starter), following suit of my girlfriend and my roommate (now ex, as he graduated on Wednesday). This will allow me to blog more often. Also we are starting our boom with 3onesix, launching our XHTML/CSS/Javascript and PHP tutorial site and our scripting laboratory. Also, Ministry(Starter) is nearing completion.
Also, we are at the Internet Ministry Conference. We are talking to tons of people of many different groups, ministries, and careers. I just met Dale Mason, Vice President of Marketing amp Media, and Dan Zordel, Senior Director of Product Development, from Answers in Genesis. We talked about Ministry(Starter) and my future and whatnot. Yesterday, I was interviewed by Craig Vonbuseck, of CBN Internet Ministries work, about Second Life and LifeChurch.tv’s existence on there. I cannot even mention everyone that I’ve had chats with, and the air is just buzzing here. We are having so much fun, and it is just a bunch of Jesus geeks hanging out and talking about Internet Ministry and web development.
Needless to say, we are so excited that we have been given the chance to come here and hang out and learn more. We always could use more training/knowledge, especially when it comes to Ministry(Starter) and how we/it are going to succeed. I am making a lot of contacts, and am having a lot of fun. As I said, I will be updating Hell soon with a new layout (the best one yet) and a new goal.

21 Years Ago

You’d almost think it were my birthday with how many emails that were sitting in my inbox this morning. Apparently I am 21 today or something. Go figure.

So I have been very busy on a few small projects, and of course our big project, Ministry. We are hyped, and having fun programming all sorts of stuff. I have been on a XML and AJAX binge over the last few weeks learning what I can do with XML (and PHP DOM processing). I will be announcing the main project that has come from that soon. :D Also, Prayrbox will likely be getting a few updates next week, if all goes well. And, we may be launching another site next week along side Prayrbox that I think everyone will love.

So, on with my 21st birthday! lol Don’t worry, I have no intent to drink anything more than Mountain Dew and water. I mean it. No alcohol here.

Naked Day! Streaking!

Okay, so April Fools was awesome, getting hundreds of hits in 3 days (more than ever before) because of stealing SimpleBits.com’s logo. lol Good trick, ay? Well, today is Naked Day! This is when we strip off all our <style> and show off our <body>! No CSS all day, but it will be back tomorrow, I promise.

Welcome to Hell

So, I thought, with prayrbox launching, and 3onesix and Ministry(Starter) all getting logos, I would work hard to get a new logo for From The Gates of Hell. And so, I decided to rebrand the site in the process. From The Gates of Hell has now been renamed “Welcome to Hell”. Far easier to remember, and a lot cooler sounding.

Others that are rebranding today:
Nathan Smith
Shawn Grimes
Snook.ca
and more!

With this logo, I went simple. You see, when it comes to this site, the only bit of the logo that showed my faith, so this new logo focuses on that simple bit.

Prayrbox!

After much wait and anticipation, prayrbox.com is launching at 10:00 am (Central Time)! Yeah, we hauled butt, and got it done this week, and will be launching today. Check out the article on 3onesix.com