Jan 26, 2011

Hand-Formed Pots

Posted by Goldi on Jan 26, 2011 at 7:54 AM 5 comments
I was going through my old blog posts and decided to this share again which was one of my favorites. This is a reflection of my devotion way back January 14, 2006...

It was about tests and trials or troubles in life. It was compared or described in the way hand-formed pots are made. We are the pots, and the process the pots go through are the trials we experience in life.

Hand-formed pots are made in a process that allows the spirit of the artist (potter) to speak through the finished work with particular directness and intimacy. Like pots, we are "hand-formed" by our Maker, with "particular directness and intimacy" and that each of us is formed in a unique way for a unique work: "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

We were always told that we are all uniquely created, and the Scripture states that we are made for good works. As I read on it, I've thought of the process pots go through until it is finished. All pots go through the same kind of "cooking process" or preparation; first it is shaped by the potter and then it is "fired" in a kiln. There it is cooked (burned) and dried. And then some are even thrust into a smoldering sawdust pile and remains there until it is finished. The more "painful" the process, the more refined and elegant is the finished product.

I'm currently going through some painful trials and troubles in my life. And I also have friends who are going through different but the same painful experiences and have confided their sentiments to me. It helps to think that you are not the only who goes through the same unpleasant situations, that you are not alone, so it won't make you think that God is being hard on you only, and that he Has no favoritism.

But the pot making made me appreciate the trials more. Yes, the process is so painful that we sometimes can't help but to grimace in pain, but thinking how we will make an "elegant pot" after made me accept it, rather than question God why He has to give me such discomforts. A friend told me (Rhoan, I am talking about you. You may not know it but you really blessed me and uplifted my spirit with these words), that maybe the reason why God is giving us these, for it seems like all of us in the worship team are afflicted, is because He's preparing us for a bigger task. And instead of grumbling and feeling sad, he was happy about it! Sabi pa niya, "nae-excite na tuloy ako!" (He said "I feel excited"). Grabe Rhoan, nahawa mo ako. I can't help but smile when you mentioned those words. It is also through you when you mentioned those encouraging words that I saw how sometimes God speaks to us through friends. ^_^

I like how they wrote it in The Message Bible translation what Paul said in James 1: 2-4. It said "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."

Trials exist, not to break us but to complete us. We might be going through the same pain, or some might be undergoing more painful ones, but we must know that without these things, we will not be complete. God's purpose was not just to make us complete, but to make us beautiful and perfect, not lacking anything.



image from google
image from google

Maybe the reason why we are still hurting is because God is not finished with us yet, or like what Rhoan said, He may be preparing us for a bigger task. Our God is a God of happy endings, so if you are not yet happy, then it is not yet the end. Whichever it is, we should not be bitter but rather be thankful that we go through these things, because it is also for our good, that we be made perfect. God loves us, and He only wants the best for us. ^_^

Jan 22, 2011

Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5: A User's Review

Posted by Goldi on Jan 22, 2011 at 8:15 AM 3 comments
Alright! Here's my much awaited personal review of my new gadget, the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5. I've blogged a few days ago about my plan to get this little piece of wonder tool and actually, I got it on that same day. LoLs!

I bought this from Kimstore at Php 11,900. Way cheaper than how much you will get it from the malls, which I believe at this point ranges from about 22,000 - 24,000 Php. I have been shopping for this item for a long time already and so far, Kimstore is one of the cheapest that sell this, brand new and with warranty. I got the black color as what I mentioned with my previous post. Now on with the review. :)

 Primary reasons why I decided to get this over a wide range of other compact digital cameras:
  1. It's an all-weather, rugged camera. Waterproof to as deep as 3m/10ft (for 60 minutes. Based on Sony testing standards), shock-proof to a drop height of 1.5m/5ft, dust-proof, and freeze-proof down to to -10◦C.
  2. It's super slim at 17.7mm thickness, and almost the same size as a credit card (pictures will be shown for this)
  3. Takes great pictures on low-light conditions, thanks to the Exmor R™ CMOS Sensor

...Plus it's a Sony digicam which has already established a name when it comes to taking clear pictures.

Aesthetics
The Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 belongs to the line of compact cameras. And mind you, this one is ULTRA compact--which I liked most about it. I've always been after the handiness of a gadget, as I own a number of them and carry them almost all the time. I have 2 phones, and I carry around my favorite of all the gadgets I own, the Apple iPod Touch 4G, 32GB. So if there's anything I first consider when I shop for a gadget, it's its handiness and compactness, to fit in a decent sized purse or bag.

It's so small it's just the size of a credit card. And I find it soooo cool.

tx5 with card
The TX5 beside my Unisilver warranty card

tx5 under card

I find this camera beautiful, owing to its diminutive size. The body, as I see it, looks like it's made of metal at least in some parts. It's made in Japan, and it feels solid in my small hands, not wobbly. Feels sturdy even with its small and compact/light size. The body itself has a matte color, but the lens cover is glossy, which attracts finger prints and it really doesn't look good. It makes me always wipe it with a cloth for the prints irritate my OC eyes.

fingerprint
See how it attracts fingerprints

Well, this can be helped by carrying a cotton cloth always to wipe all those prints if it bothers one much. I can live with that so I still find this cool gadget pretty.

Image Quality
Like I said earlier, Sony is already one established name when it comes to digital compact cameras that take great pictures. I will be showing some sample images here taken from my own DSC-TX5, by myself. I am not a pro when it comes to taking pictures, I'm just a regular photo taker. I was surprised though at some of the images I was able to produce with this small but terrible tool.

One of the features that the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5 boasts is its ability to take clear pictures even in low-light, and this is the first one I tested because this is actually one of the reasons why I kept changing digital cameras over time.
10.2 megapixel Sony CyberShot DSC-TX5 camera
Beneath the tough exterior you’ll find some equally serious imaging features. With a resolution of 10.2 effective megapixels, the advanced Exmor R CMOS Sensor ensures detail-packed pictures, with superlative low-noise imaging performance in low light. It’s a perfect complement for the superb Carl Zeiss lens with 4x optical zoom and 25mm wide angle for perfectly framed shots - from intimate portraits to dramatic travel scenes.

Brief history of the digicams I owned:
I first owned a Canon Powershot A495 which was the first best digicam I owned, but its size is not too compact and it's not waterproof. The time I owned that one though, waterproof models are not yet out in the market. At the first sign of these all weather cameras, I got myself a Pentax Optio W10 and fell in love with it. It's a lot more compact and the best of all, it's waterproof. It also takes great pictures, but still not comparable with the image quality a Canon or Sony digital camera produces. And it sucks on low-light. However as time went by, the waterproof line of cameras are being a lot more competitive overtime and Canon & Sony started producing their own. But they're way more expensive than the others when they first came out so I got myself a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1 as replacement for my Pentax due to the reviews I've read in the internet, it being one of the most recommended waterproof cameras. When I owned one though, I was not happy because I found it too bulky for me, though I liked it's wide angled lens, which became a very welcome upgrade from my Pentax which can only take in a small portion of a scene in its frame. I was not happy with the image quality though. I found it too soft, and it still sucks in low light. The gadget, unfortunately didn't even last a year with me. I sold it after a few months.

I chose the Sony DSC TX5 over Canon Powershot D10 because of its compactness. I was going to go for the Canon, if it only didn't look like a submarine. It's waaay bulkier than the Sony, and it's even bulkier than the Panasonic and I didn't like that. Besides, it's more expensive compared to TX5. Though I'm sure it delivers the best image quality because I owned a Canon before and I attest to that but it's just too bulky for my liking. So Sony won over it because of its size, and price :D.

I was supposed to be talking about image quality here, right? Check these out:

wwjd with flash
One of the great features of the TX5 is being able to select from the touch screen the point of focus. Cool, right? I played with the selective focus feature of the TX5 and this is what I got. I made the camera focus on the little calendar. This is with flash.

priorities with flash
Now I made it focus on the pen holder, still with flash

wwjd without flash
without flash, focused on the calendar. The light is only coming from the window, though our window's big so it's actually quite bright. This is still taken with a natural lighting

priorities no flash
pen holder focused, natural day light

macro no flash daylight
Macro shot of the calendar

macro without flash
macro shot of my lip balm, with natural light, which is quite low because this is somewhere in my table in front of curtained windows. Indeed it still can take clear photos in low light, and this is just a macro shot.

DSC00031
Low light macro of my icky laptop stickers


I just tested the macro low light shots, because in my opinion, this is where most of the compact digital cameras struggle. I am always sure that digital photos always look great with a generous supply of lighting so I no longer tested this with outdoor shots, though I've placed one in my photo stream. If you want to see the rest of the test shots, you can check my Sony DSC-TX5 User Review set in Flickr.

My verdict: Great low-light photos! I'm one happy owner! :D :D :D

portrait
a portrait shot of mine holding my black Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5

It will take a lot of words and a long blog page for me to make a comprehensive review of this thing so I just covered the parts that made me choose this camera over its other competitors. I still believe the best would still depend on the preference of the user so it still varies from person to person. If I'm to be asked, I'm pretty satisfied upon purchase of this gadget, but I can't answer for someone else who might not like this because they have a different preference. I no longer did a review on the waterproof feature because I don't think there's much to see there. Much of the picture quality still depends on the amount of light the camera can take in and we all know this is greatly reduced if you go under water so I'm not expecting much on this anymore. As long as I'm able to take pictures under water, it's already a great plus. So a good photo quality would already be considered a bonus.

So would I recommend this camera? I think so, if you have have the same preference as mine :).

I would welcome other questions if you want my opinion on the other features of this camera. Feel free to post your comments and I would probably just make a new blog entry should I gather a few more inquiries about the other features.

Jan 21, 2011

Google Ads: So That is why you're not approving me

Posted by Goldi on Jan 21, 2011 at 1:52 PM 0 comments
I've been fussing about how it's taking a while for Google AdSense to review and approve my registration. I thought at first that they have ignored it. Turns out I was the one who ignored their notices. They have been sending me emails pala as to why my registration takes a while to get approved. Actually, they have denied my registration twice already.

First email, on December 24, 2010--the day I signed up for an AdSense account:
Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. Unfortunately, after reviewing your application, we're unable to accept you into Google AdSense at this time.

We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below.
Issues:
- Page type
---------------------
Further detail:
Page type: Your website is a type of website that we do not currently accept into our program. Such websites include, but are not limited to, chat sites, sites that drive traffic through cybersquatting, and sites that use excessive keywords in the content or code of their pages.

Okay??? So it's my "page type". They did not specify as to what type of page they saw my blog is, but I'm sure it's not any of the page types they cited as any of the types they currently do not accept in their program. I mean, how could my site possibly be a cybersquatter? I am aware that my blog domain is quite common but I've purely thought of that and it just so happened that the address was available when I first signed it up so I saved it for myself. And how could I be cybersquatting when no other popular website registered the name for them? Just because I am an individual I am no longer entitled to have a very easy to remember domain name? It doesn't make sense. I googled "noted thoughts" while I was writing this part of my post and voila! I did find a site that registered the name noted thoughts for them, which is about media. However, I saw that they have it registered just last year. I had this domain since October 2008, that's when I first got it and here's the proof. So if there's anyone who'd be cybersquatting, I don't think that's me.

My site's not even a chat site, and I don't actively drive traffic. I just let them come. And I don't think I use excessive keywords in the content or code in my page even if it's no longer relevant in my posts. Like I said, not [HYPER]actively driving traffic.

I mentioned I didn't notice these emails so I actually just got to read them now. So before, I just re-registered the moment I noticed an abnormality. Then came the second email, January 20, 2011:

Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. Unfortunately, after reviewing your application, we're unable to accept you into Google AdSense at this time.

We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below.

Issues:
- Unacceptable site content
---------------------
Further detail:
Unacceptable site content: Your website contains content that we do not
allow at this time. Please review our policies (https://www.google.com/adsense/policies?hl=en_US) for a complete list of site content not allowed on web pages.

So now they can't accept my site content? C'mon... I especially made this blog for "everyone's" eyes, and I mean EVERY ONE, ANY ONE. I am always very careful at making this suitable for all audience to the point that the entries can still be "child-friendly" and that's also the reason why I don't blog much, because I'm being very careful in publishing contents in this blog. So again, it doesn't make sense what would be unacceptable in any of my writings. There are other bloggers there who haven't written any single blog post without profanity and yet they have google ads flashing in their pages.

I wouldn't be making such a big deal out of this if not for the ridiculous reasons they've given me for not accepting my registration. It's okay if they don't want advertise in my page, but it's actually the fact that I think they're not being fair with me. But okay, if they really don't want to flash their ads here, what can I do? I wouldn't want to change my blog address just because of that, because I was the first to get this in the first place, right??? I could've been the owner of that business with the name Noted Thoughts for God's sake! So not fair.

I hope Nuffnang doesn't get me into this kind mess. So far, I see they're blogger friendly. Thank you.

Adsense in My Blog

Posted by Goldi on at 8:52 AM 0 comments
I don't have much time to regularly check what's happening in my blog, and I don't do this blogging thing on full time basis anyway. I am trying to monetize this hobby of mine but only as a sideline.

A few days ago, I blogged about how my Google AdSense application is still pending for approval. It's been really quite a while so I decided to check again what's happening, having also noticed that the sample ads were no longer showing in my blog. I was surprised to see that my application seem to have been reset. I have to do everything again like fill out the information they require and check the EULAs.

It's no biggie with me, but I can't deny that it was a hassle. Anyway, I just did everything again and so again I got this notice that I will need to wait a week for my application to be approved. Yeah right.

I know they are not the only option I can have to monetize my blog and so I just signed up for nuffnang today and placed them in my sidebar. I'm putting Google at the end of each of my posts.

Jan 19, 2011

Planning to Get the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX5

Posted by Goldi on Jan 19, 2011 at 1:35 PM 0 comments

I've been eyeing this camera since last quarter of last year 2010. I actually have it listed in my wish list. After several checking outs of online reviews, unboxing videos, and images of the actual product, I am finally decided to get this gadget. I'm thinking of getting the black color so it would not be too difficult for me to resell it in case I decide to upgrade or replace this in the future. Although I can't think of any reason right now yet of replacing this in the future, I have a history of not being able to keep any gadget in my hands for longer than 2 years because I am almost always tempted to get the updated version of what I own once something comes out. I'm just thinking ahead in case this happens, though my plan is actually to keep this gadget until it gives itself out on me. I want to know how long this could last.

I'm hoping to be able to write a review about this product once I get to lay my own hands on it.

 

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