Here’s why you shouldn’t buy a smart TV even if you don't care at all about the privacy worries.

People break websites so easily. A very large portion of websites, especially for small businesses and organizations, are managed by people who don't have much experience with the technology or industry standards. Thanks to modern systems like Squarespace, it’s very easy to produce something that’s good enough for most people’s standards, but that also creates the possibility of breaking things.

If you can't hire a professional to build or maintain your website in a way that keeps it top-notch and better than your competition, here are some of the things to watch out for while working on your web presence.

I’ve built a lot of websites for Christian churches of varying denominations, and I’ve noticed several trends when it comes to things that are commonly forgotten by the staff people maintaining the site.

Photo above: the tabernacle at St Joseph's Basilica, the local cathedral in our archdiocese. Copyright Brian Holdsworth and used with permission, kinda.

Three years ago, I knew almost nothing about Catholicism. I basically thought of the Catholic Church as just another denomination, and one that really liked traditional, old-fashioned practices. Sometimes, I'd hear things ranging from “Not all Catholics are Christian”, to things like “Catholics are call going to Hell because they worship Mary and the Pope”. I didn't really know what to think, but considering that the more trustworthy sources I had tended to stick with a pretty non-damning set of opinions, that's what I settled with, though I wasn't so concerned about the matter.

In 2016, I wrote about how scoring the Olympics by total medal counts, or by just the number of golds, was an inaccurate way to say which nation did best, because different nations have different abilities. Either Kenya or Tajikistan "won", by my chosen measurements.

This year, I took the same "weighted medal score" (henceforth called WMS) that I used before, and compared it to a bunch of national statistics, looking for correllations. Athelete counts of course had the strongest, because the more athletes a nation has competing, the better chance they have of winning something. I don't think this was good enough on its own, because a richer country will have more athletes.

No, it's not.

Bottle of kombucha

I love kombucha. 

Several years ago, I became interested in it, but rarely bought it, as it's in that category of pricey, cool products that are too expensive for this Dutch guy to buy. I mentioned, off-handedly, to my wife once that I wanted to try and make some myself, but never really did anything until Christmas of 2015. That year, we decided to challenge ourselves into trying to find heartfelt gifts for each other with a $10 price limit. I bought her some earthy cosmetics and loose-leaf tea, and she bought me the supplies to start making my own kombucha.

Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This was a question that I started asking early on in my research of Catholicism. I understood the basic reasons why Catholics venerate the Saints and Mary, and why they believed they could be asked for prayer. (The actual process of veneration of the Saints, which involves scientifically verifying that a miracle has occurred because of the intercession of a possible Saint, was a key point here.) Being rather skeptical by nature, I decided to research the topic from the other perspective: why can’t we pray to the Saints?

Priest with thurible

Update: I'm Catholic now.

Though I've been exploring Catholicism for the past two years, I recently came to a point where I felt that I needed to take action on it. I've decided that, over the summer, I will decide on a local parish to join, and start attending their RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) class in the fall — meaning I would be confirmed and welcomed in to the Church at Easter next year, assuming all follows the usual schedule. Many people have recommend joining RCIA, even if I don't end up joining the Church, to really understand the entirety of what's going on.

The four best used albums

It’s weird to think of the idea of “used” music these days. In this age of infinitely replicable digital media files, why would someone move an .mp3 to your device when it can just be copied?

Ninety percent of the music that I own on vinyl was acquired second-hand. There’s a multitude of good artists from years past that not only are still worthy of a listen, but were popular enough that their physical music releases are still easy to find. The fact that many used vinyl records can be bought for as little as one or two dollars at a thrift store means the barrier to entry, and trying a new artist, is very low. Sure, many of the more popular albums will get snatched up by someone reselling them for $10, but it doesn’t hurt to check the vinyl rack at the thrift store on a regular basis and see what they have.

It is a well-known fact that cell phone service providers in Canada are some of the priciest in the world. When it comes down to the lesser of different evils, who should one pick?

I recently switched mine and my wife's phones from Koodo to Public Mobile. Public Mobile is owned by Telus, and operates off of their towers, so there's coverage anywhere Telus operates. Their big marketing push is that they don't sell phones. You can buy a phone from the manufacturer, a friend, or another used phone buyer/seller. Or bring one you already have.

Taxes 💩

I have a problem with some kinds of tax. I'm not going to go as far as saying that all taxation is theft (though sometimes it wouldn't be too hard to convince me) or suggest better ways to tax people to make the bulk of government funds (though I wouldn't mind talking about wealth taxes as an alternative to income taxes). This is specifically about taxes used as a deterrent against something that is bad, or deemed to be bad.

First, I should say: by "spend", I mean spending of all three core resources: time, energy, and money.

While this video is specifically directed at the Catholic Church, it's relevant to all Christian churches in my opinion. Because of Western society's focus on always picking the cheapest option, we've got to the point where church websites and branding are frequently done by unprofessional volunteers. Sure, this can keep the costs down at a new church, and sometimes the volunteers are actually skilled in the relevant areas, but that isn't frequently the case.

Sunrise in Edmonton

To contest my sister, who wants me to move back to Metro Vancouver, I've compiled this list of reasons why I'd rather live in the Edmonton area. (Not how I got here, but why I don't want to leave).

I always find it odd when a well-known public figure, such as a film star, author, or celebrity, goes out of their way to "announce" which political figure or side they are casting their vote for. Voting is usually set up in a way that gives the voter complete privacy, so their decision is theirs alone. It's weird that some people have to go and make a big fuss about it. Why not just say why one should or shouldn't vote for certain sides and not make some big announcement? 

What's even worse is when the person picks a side they know they will get hate for, and also don't agree with as much as some of the other options, and then go on to try to justify their choice. 

INKS. is my current go-to casual iOS game. It takes the idea of pinball to a very interesting, artistic level.

I stared in to a candle for way to long last night. Isn't interesting how on most properly-made candles, there's a sort of symbiosis between the flame and the wax? The flame never seems to get too large, and the wax doesn't melt so fast that it puts the flame out.

iOS 10 is out and you should install the update.