The Focus

I can often find myself getting lost in myself. My brain can be a infinite abyss of complex realities and unending reasonings.

That is, as you can imagine, only multiplied in times of extra stresses, confusion or uncertainty. And lately, that has felt a little bit like where I’ve been.

Firstly, let me just stress that I am so blessed with the worlds’ best wife and children. I am by no means ‘going through it’. In comparison to many in the world today, I’m living the dream. But every now and again, the minor stresses that I deal with eat away at the joys.

And its times like this that it’s good to stop and re-adjust the focus. This song, recently released by UNITED, is one that really spoke to me in this way.

So often, I feel guilty of loosing focus in the moment of a stressful week or an uncertain bill to pay. So much so that even when I do try to refocus, I miss the most amazing point of all. If only just for the 7 odd minutes of this song, I began to realise that the re-adjustment wasn’t about my focus – but it was all about realising how intensely focused God is on me. Just like He does on all of his children.

And as the universe around us screams of His greatness, it fails to compare, nor does it distract God from His ultimate desire – us. And that’s more than enough to bring my focus back each time to meet His gaze.

But what measures could amount to your desire?
You’re the one who never leaves the one behind.

I’m not a big fan of the aesthetics behind this lyric video, but the song and the lyrics are just phenomenal.

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Digitalisation: Switching your library to the cloud

I think that one of the most exciting developments of the 20th century is the cloud. For anyone who doesn’t know what the cloud is, it’s a number of things. Firstly it’s a backup for your data. Second, and this is my favourite one, it’s a centralised way to store files we all use. For example, music. Spotify, Apple Music, the list goes on. They store the songs and you pay a subscription to access their files in a library so vast – you’d never have enough storage to assemble yourself.

As a TV and film addict, naturally my physical archives reflected this. In my early days, this was in the form of drawers and drawers of VHS’s, taking up a significant portion of space in my bedroom and living room. Then came the arrival of dvd. Aside from being able to skip through films, play films on my computer and fit longer playback on a single disk – it had a significant other advantage of VHS. Size. Slowly but surely my VHS collection shrunk to half the size, while doubling the actual content.

Flick forward a few years and a similar process began changing my dvd collection into blu-rays. But before I got too far into the transition, the cloud hit hard, and before long another medium for TV and film was born.

Now I like to own the entertainment that I enjoy, especially when I plan on watching it several times over. So while I love Netflix, Amazon prime, NOW TV and the likes; they don’t completely replace the old fashioned way of assembling a personal video collection. Enter iTunes…

Back when iTunes was first starting out as a digital supplier of music, Apple probably didn’t realise the scope that it could actually achieve. Perhaps this is most evident in the very name of the service. But by the time iTunes was offering TV shows, films, audio books and such, they were clearly beyond the point where they could change the name. But either way, once iTunes had set itself up to be the virtual TV and film library of the future – I started to comprehend the space that would be freed on my shelves. The ease of selecting my programming, and ability to watch the videos on multiple devices were also massive bonuses.

So, now I write this, probably about four years into the digitalisation of my entertainment library. I thought, as we move further and further into the cloud -based age there may be some tips I could share. Things I’ve learned along the way.

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Hypocrite!

Nothing like an insult and exclamation mark to drive home a post title, eh? The title could relate to any number of people or things. Like the fact that this blog post is nearly a week late for week 4 of my 52 week blog journey. I mean that’s slack by anyone’s standards, and only the fourth week – wow! But, no, this post is about something a bit more close-to-home…

I wrote a blog post last week about the way in which the new US President, Donald Trump as been ‘welcomed’ into office by outraged social network users and media agencies alike. Not brilliantly. And while I could draw similarities between the title of this post and the said media agencies *cough* BBC *cough*, this post isn’t even about that.

It’s about the very notion of hypocrisy. The definition of the word hypocrite, according to dictionary.com, is “a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.”

And in the light of that definition, I think I need to make something quite clear. I am, by no means or measure perfect. This will come as no shock whatsoever to anyone who knows me. But I wonder if I dare suggest something grander, we all suffer from imperfection. The classic line whenever we mess up to excuse ourselves: ‘nobody’s perfect!’ comes to mind. And while flippantly used here and there in our daily lives – it’s actually a really truth that we should pay attention to every now and again.

So at the risk of beating a dead horse (a physical action I would highly advise against, but in analogy’s sake…), I revisit the Trump debate. Since my last post, there have been several actions of the new President that have been wildly unpopular amongst the louder-voiced of the Western World (dare-I-say, making their point seem more universal than it actually is). But it’s debates like this one that bring out the best and worst in people.

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