Articles on Technology

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Read it on Kindle: see the collection, The Luddite’s Guide to Technology

Ajax without JavaScript or Client-Side Scripting (short)

It’s common knowledge among front-end web developers that Ajax is not necessarily “Asynchronous JavaScript and XML”: XML can quite well be replaced by JSON. But JavaScript and client-side scripting languages aren’t strictly necessary, and here is a proof of concept.
All I Really Needed to Learn About Programming, I Learned from Java (short)
As I look back on my programming experience, the most important things were not writing low-level serialization routines, or stunning optimizations that drew on deep theory. All I Really Needed to Learn About Programming, I Learned from Java.
The blacksmith’s forge: an extension of Euclidean geometric construction, as a model of computation
What is a computer? This looks at how high school Euclidean geometric construction may be seen as a model of computation, and then looks at an extension that opens the door to many more constructions that can give a powerful extension to Euclidean construction.

It allows quick construction for three problems classically considered to be insoluble.

The Case for Uncreative Web Design (medium)
Many people think good web design means making a design that’s different from other websites. This article argues another perspective.

Game Review: Meatspace (medium)

It is, in a sense, a description of the ultimate game.
iPhones and spirituality (short)
Texting while driving is dangerous; we’ve learned that texting is a strong enough technological drug not to mix with driving. But there are other lessons in life besides “Hang up and drive!” This is especially true with the technological drug of the iPhone.
The modern baccaulaureate (short)
You’ve heard of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Modern Major-General”? Here’s an update.
An Open Letter to Spam Patrons (short)
Do you hate spam? Here’s a letter you can send to business owners who don’t understand why spamming is bad.
The Luddite’s Guide to Technology (long)
The title “The Luddite’s Guide to Technology” is quite deliberately ironic. The content, a work of Orthodox mystical theology, is not ironic, and is a discussion of spiritually disciplined use of today’s technology. The discussion is meant to provide a roadmap and provoke reflection.

Passwords Maker (short)

It can be surprisingly difficult to make a password that is both strong and secure on the one hand, and not impossible to remember. Sure, if your password is “BQRaW3@8-i–d5bce” it is going to be a hard password for anyone malicious to guess, but that kind of password is hard to remember, and for that matter hard enough to type in!

Passwords Maker makes passwords that are hard to guess but easy to remember. Curious how that is possible? Take a look!

Religion within the Bounds of Amusement (short)

Inspired by a visit to a “seeker service.” To those unacquainted with Christian lingo, this means a church service which tries to reach out to people seeking God—but “reach out to people seeking God” really means, “put on a circus.”

So, you’ve hired a hacker (revised and expanded) (medium)

This is a revision of a classic guide for managers confused by hackers they’ve hired. Not the vandals who break into other people’s computers—the other kind of hacker, the law-abiding kind. Haven’t heard of them? Here’s a chance to do just that.

“Social antibodies” needed: a request of Orthodox clergy (medium)

An article exploring the social issues surrounding technology and faith and inviting Orthodox clergy to provide pastoral guidance, in other words “social antibodies”, for the internet, iPhones, and other features of the technological nexus that we are in.

Technonomicon: Technology, Nature, Ascesis (medium)

We are entranced by technology, and yearn for harmony with nature. But there is more to life than getting technology or taking walks in the woods.
Tinkering With Perl (long)
Something I wrote when my brothers were twelve to introduce them to programming. It tries to be very simple—just enough so kids can start tinkering.

Theory of alien minds: Bridging the gap (medium)

A look at a ‘theory of alien minds’ that is relevant, and profoundly useful to, UX and especially usability.

Usability for Hackers: Developers, Anthropology, and Making Software More Usable (medium)

Programmers can easily enough make software with an interface that makes sense only to them. This is a discussion of personal attributes that many programmers can draw on to make software that is much more usable.
Usability, the soul of Python: an introduction to the Python programming language (medium)
An introduction to Python that looks at usability as one of the most fundamental aspects of the language.
Why Study Mathematics? (short)
Have you ever felt like mathematics was a secret game that everybody but you understood? Here’s the secret.

Within the steel orb (medium)

Does Einstein’s theory of relativity say anything that relativism does not? Or does relativism say anything that Einstein’s theory of relativity does not?

Is there a difference that matters?

A sleek car under starlight, a different kind of information technology, a deep, blue-robed host, and the wisdom of a Socratic dialogue in a science fiction world.

What’s new?

CJSH.name/news

Sunday 15 May, 2015, the beginning of the Nativity fast (N.S.). I posted, Christmas gift guide 2015: A tale of two watches….

Friday 28 August, 2015, the Dormition, I posted, QUICK! What Is Your Opinion About Chemistry?

Tuesday 30 June, 2015, following a momentous decision by the Supreme Court, I posted, St. John the Much-Suffering.

Sunday 20 June, 2015, Fathers’ Day. I posted, A Facebook Portrait for Orthodox Clergy.

Sunday 17 May, 2015, my birthday. I posted, In Celebration of Tribbles (and FurReal Pets).

Sunday 2 May, 2015, the Fourth Sunday of Pascha. I posted, Work-Mystic.

Tuesday 31 March, 2015, the Funeral of my grandmother Jo Myre Hayward. I posted, Profoundly Gifted Magazine: An Interview with Charles Wallace Murry of A Wind in the Door.

Tuesday 17 March, 2015, the Feast of the peace-loving reluctant warrior and prince, St. Daniel of Moscow. I posted, The Orthodox Martial Art Is Living the Sermon on the Mount.

Sunday 22 February, 2015, Forgiveness Sunday. I posted, Our thoughts determine our lives: Beyond The Secret and the Law of Attraction.

Saturday 12 July, 2014, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. I posted, “Social Antibodies” Needed: A Request of Orthodox clergy.

Favorite Haunts

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The following, in alphabetical order, are some of my favorite places on the web. (The list is partially gleaned from Jonathan’s Canon.) I have a feeling that a list like this should be longer, but I haven’t recently spent a lot of time browsing the web, and therefore can’t tell of too many times I’ve found that rare gem buried under mounds of sand.

Institutional Pages:

The Bible Gateway
A powerful and easy to use interface permits visitors to look up passages and perform keyword searches in several Bible translations (in English and other languages).

Christian Classics Ethereal Library
The Christian Classics Ethereal Library, available on CD-ROM, is a collection of numerous classic Christian public domain e-texts, a lifetime’s worth of reading. G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy is a good place to start. This site also has links to other sites hosting noteworthy Christian content.

First Things: A Journal of Religion and Public Life
After long and frustrated surfing through innumerable web pages looking for serious Christian thought, and finding pages that are among human thought what MacDonald’s is among foods, I found a First Things article entitled Abortion: A Failure to Communicatethat was a breath of fresh air and then some: it was serious, thought-provoking, and drew attention to facts that were important but not obvious. First Things is a good place to go if you want to chomp on conceptual meat.

Freefind
Free Find is a free search engine, and powers the search functionality on this site.

The Gutenberg Project
The Gutenberg Project makes numerous classic books available online. It is the place I go if I want to read something on my computer and the Christian Classics Ethereal Library doesn’t have it.

iTools
A collection of research tools for searching web, newsgroup, dictionary, encyclopedia, phone directory, biography, quotation, …

Leadership University
Leadership University is a massive compilation of articles from First Things and other sites; it’s a good place to go and read and think. It was actually the place where I first found Abortion: A Failure to Communicate.

The Onion Dome
The Onion Dome is an online journal about the funnier side of Orthodoxy.

Orthodox Church in America Saints: The Prologue
The links in the Prologue are an excellent way to get a daily taste of the Orthodox tradition of biography as theology.

Orthodox Circle
This is an example of what community portals should be: practical, friendly, and a work of art. This one is for Orthodox Christians.

Vote Smart
For reasons elaborated by Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in an Age of Show Business, present American political discourse is a matter of show business, sound bites, empty phrases, and hard-hitting images — not rational arguments and positions — to the effect that most of what reaches us from the candidates is not helpful in choosing who to vote for.

When I asked around for websites that would cut through the circus and tell where candidates stand on issues, Vote Smart was reccommended to me. I am mentioning it, not to say that it’s better than other sites in the same category, but in hopes that people may use resources like this to get past TV showmanship, and vote based on where the candidates stand on the issues.

Personal Sites

This category is for personal sites, including those of friends and acquaintances who publish real content, that I like. At the moment, it’s small (my best friend Robin’s site, for instance, has little besides a resume and some links), but I’m hoping that it will grow over time.

Josh Wibberley’s Wolfhawke
Wolfhawke is on this page because it contains fiction and some nonfiction — as well as having a nice look and feel. Josh is an American who grew up in Turkey and has lived in Germany, and we mesh well.

Connections

An Orthodox Bookshelf

Jonathan’s Canon

Reciprocal Links directory

Apps and Mobile Websites for the Orthodox Christian Smartphone and Tablet: Best iPhone, iPad, Droid, Samsung, Android, Kindle, and Blackberry Mobile Websites and Apps

Apps that are directly useful for ascesis

There are not many apps formally labeled as Orthodox Christian, but there are some apps and mobile websites that can be used in the pursuit of the spiritual discipline of ascesis. Among these apps are:

Ancient Faith Radio
The value of this app goes more or less without saying, but there is one caveat.

I visited a monastery whose rules included not playing recorded music, and I saw outside the nave an old man, with headphones on, listening to Byzantine chant, moving to its beat and off in his own world.

It struck me, if anything, as an act beneath the dignity of an old man. Being off in your own world is not good for anyone, but there are some things tolerated in youth that are just sad in a mature adult. And as best I can surmise the rule was not a rule against certain types of prohibited music (though acid rock would be a worse violation), but using technology to be off in your own world in the first place. And it is because of this that I rarely listen to recorded liturgical music: it is easily available, but there is something about it that is simply wrong. (And this is not just a matter of how digital music sounds to someone with perfect pitch.)

I know of nothing better in terms of Orthodox Internet radio than Ancient Faith Radio, and really have very little if anything to say how Ancient Faith Radio could better do the job of a radio station (or, as the case may be, two stations providing access to lectures, sacred liturgical chant, and access to past broadcasts). But I have some reservations about why Orthodox need to be doing the job of a radio station—as, for that matter, I have a cautious view of my own website. The ironically titled The Luddite’s Guide to Technology lays out the attitude where a radio station with crisply rendered sacred song available on one’s iPhone or Android should be used that much.

CJSHayward.com/psalms/?mode=mobile (bookmark for iPhone, iPad, Droid, Samsung, Android, Kindle, and Blackberry; tablet users may prefer CJSHayward.com/psalms/)
The Psalter is the greatest prayerbook of the Orthodox Church. This page selects a Psalm at random, until you click a link and it provides another Psalm at random. They seem to be helpful, chiefly because the Psalter is helpful.

JonathansCorner.mobi (bookmark for iPhone, iPad, Droid, Samsung, Android, Kindle, and Blackberry; tablet users may prefer CJSHayward.com)
I hate to hawk my own wares, but I’ve put quite a lot into the two sites linked above, and perhaps reading them may be of some use.

Your smartphone’s built-in note-taking application, or Momento for iPhone or iPad (with many diary applications for Droid, Samsung, and Android, and perhaps other offerings for other devices.
Some monks in the ancient world kept a notebook, and something to write with, by their belts. They would stop at intervals to write down their thoughts: not brilliant ideas to think about, but take moral stock of where they were and how they were doing.

Such a practice was not mandatory in the ancient world and to my knowledge no one requires it now. However, since I started doing it, I have besides some very stupid struggles come to a higher level of awareness, of nipsis, of how much goes on in my head and heart that is simply silly.

If you do this, it would be better to have an application that stores your information locally in your smartphone instead of uploading it to the cloud where others may more easily find it. That is why I don’t recommend Evernote for this purpose; it is a very attractive app in many ways, but not as strong on privacy as your smartphone’s built-in note taker or a diary app.

The Kindle app for iPhone, iPod Touch, Droid, Samsung, Android, and Blackberry (not to mention PC’s)
I wouldn’t want to denigrate paperback books, but you can buy some of the greatest classics on Kindle: the Orthodox Study Bible (an edition I discussed in my Orthodox bookshelf), the Philokalia, and My Orthodox Prayer Book. Plenty of lesser works are available too: see my own Kindle offerings at CJSHayward.com.

Wants and Needs
Having this app is a want and not a need, but there are legitimate wants.

This is a simple but very well-executed app to help appreciate what are our wants, what are our needs, and what we have to be grateful for.

Apps that are generally useful

G.K. Chesterton said, “There is more simplicity in the man who eats caviar on impulse than the man who eats grape-nuts on principle.” And there is more Orthodoxy in just using an iPhone as a tool for being human than going to the app store and looking for apps endorsed as religious.

Do a Google search for best iPhone apps, for instance, and you will find a wealth of app recommendations. And many of these can work as a support for an Orthodox life of ascesis: Orthodoxy did not invent the pot, the belt, or the hammer, and yet all of these can have a place. Not, perhaps, the same place as a book of prayers, but a legitimate place. Secular tools and activities are holy when they are used by a life out of ascesis. And there are some excellent apps; among them I would name PocketMoney, a personal finance tool;mSecure, a password manager; Things, a to-do list; GPS MotionX Drive, a navigation tool; Flashlight, which lets you use the LED as a flashlight; and the main Google app, a search app optimized for the web by the company that defined search. All of these have their place.

But there are many apps on those lists that are unhelpful. Games and entertainment apps are meant to kill time, which is to say that they are meant to provide a convenient alternative to the spiritual discipline that tolds monks, “Your cell [room] will teach you everything you need to know.” And I suggest asking, in considering an app, “Does this support ascesis?” A to-do list helps with nuts and bolts of a disciplined life. An app to show a stream of new and different restaurants feeds gluttony. It is fine for Orthodox Christians to use apps that are not branded as Orthodox or ascetical, but the question “Does this support ascetical living?” (which is in no way a smartphone-centric question, but a basic question of Orthodox life, to be settled with one’s priest or spiritual father perhaps), applies here.

A closing note: When do you call 9-1-1 (or 9-9-9)?

There is a good case to be made that the most important number for you to be able to call on any phone is 9-1-1. However, this does not mean that your first stop in dealing with boredom is to call 9-1-1 to just chat with someone. It may be the most important number for you to be able to call—and the only number that may save your life—but using 9-1-1 rightly means using it rarely.

I would not speak with quite equal force about smartphones, but I would say that if you really want to know how to use your smartphone in a way that supports Orthodox spiritual discipline, the biggest answer is not to use one more app or one more mobile website. It is to use your phone less, to visit people face to face instead of talking and texting, and to use apps a little more like you use 9-1-1: to get a specific task accomplished.

And this is without looking at the problem of an intravenous drip of noise. The iPhone and Android’s marketing proposition is to deliver noise as an anaesthetic to boredom. And Orthodox use of the iPhone is not to deliver noise: all of us, with or without iPhones or Android devices, are to cultivate the ascesis of silence, and not make ourselves dependent on noise. And it is all too easy with these smartphones; they are designed so that it is too easy.

The Fathers did not say “You cannot kill time without injuring eternity,” but on this point they could have. Killing time is the opposite of the ascesis of being present, of being attentive of the here and now that God has given us, and not the here and now that we wish to be in or the here and now we hope to get to. Contentment and gratitude are for here now, not what we imagine as better conditions. We are well advised to live astemeniously, and that is where the best use of iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets comes from.

Smartphones have many legitimate uses, but don’t look to them for, in modern terms, a mood management tool.

  
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The Best Things in Life Are Free

Christmas gift guide 2015: A tale of two watches…

The Luddite’s Guide to Technology

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About

About

The other sections of the website show some creations. This section has assorted courtesies that every website should provide—and a little bit about the author. The most recent entry is a Periodic Table: Elements That Have Shaped Me, and Elements That I Have Shaped This site has a list of recent additions, sorted by date.

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Acknowledgments
There are several people who should be thanked in getting this website online.

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Awards won (medium)
The recognitions Jonathan’s Corner now holds.

By the same author (short)

A short but sweet “after hours” portfolio when main work is tightly held as confidential.

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A ‘character sheet’ for the author, Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward, written using the traditional lingua franca of the RPG/gaming community.

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An Interview With the Author (short)
Classifieds 1000 interviewed C.J.S. Hayward about his website, Jonathan’s Corner. The interview is online here, as well as under several categories with Classifieds 1000.

A periodic table: elements that have shaped me, and elements that I have shaped (short)
You know how some people have periodic tables of other things, like fonts? Here’s a list of things the author is grateful for.

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