Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Survey: Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) Know Their Bible and Religion in General

Pew Survey Study.

Official LDS Newsroom reaction.

Hmm.  I find it ironic how many people think we either disbelieve the Bible or that we simply sweep it aside as unimportant.

As for why LDS scored so high on Bible questions in the survey, maybe it's because we're discussing the Old Testament every Sunday this year, for an hour? . . .  Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual.  Although, that fails to account for any questions on the New Testament.

For everyone saying this survey proves how atheists really know what they're doing, consider this Washington Post opinion from LDS managing director of Public Affairs, Michael Otterson.  Otterson, a former atheist, says, in part, "This Pew survey was structured to measure religious 'knowledge' at a rather shallow level," and the "study was about superficial knowledge, and not about religiosity or spirituality."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Google Docs (Finally) Updates Revision History Interface

Who changed everything!?!
Dang you, bmichael61!
Wahoo, finally, and yes!

For anyone who cares about seeing revision history, today's update begins to patch what I considered a gaping hole in Google Docs and in its collaboration appeal.

I can now see who did what and when, easily and by time stamp.  "You, won, we won, you won!" (my wife will appreciate the quote and the linked webpage's ingenuity . . .) (Hint: look at the heading at the top of the page)

Okay, back to collaborating with myself on Tax readings, etc.
So awesome, so so awesome (heck, it even uses my spiffy nickname!).  Do you like my IRS § 132 in Plain English?
I'm a little too old for this one; I can definitely see the use, though.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

General Relief Society Meeting

I think this is the first time I've had the ability to embed a video like this. Here's what the women of the Church, ages 18 and over, heard last night.

FYI, I posted this directly from the Church's website at

Pretty dang cool, IMO.

UPDATE:  Good news, it looks like the Church tweaked the videos so as to avoid auto-play.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Have a Confession to Make

This morning, I installed IE9 beta of my own free will and interest (i.e., I didn't install it because some webpage/application required it).
AZ must be freezing over

I know, I know!

Please, put the stones down.  Thank you.

Inspiration.  After all, if you're going to get mad at anyone, get mad at Sebastian Anthony of DownloadSquad.  His IE9 review really piqued my interest, and, after trying IE9 out for myself, I am, as he posits, "salivating" for Web apps to "become so tightly integrated to the parent OS they will simply become apps."

Chrome OS, anyone?

My Review.  In my taking IE9 for a spin, I decided to jot down some personal observations.  This will focus on the end-user experience.  If you want more behind-the-curtains details, see Sebastian's post above or just Google IE9.  Here are my thoughts, in random order:

(First, let me note a few surprises.  When I went to download the beta, I tried Chrome, Firefox, and IE8; all failed.  I ended up downloading it from my wife's iMac . . .  I tried again later on my HP laptop, and it was then available for download.  Who knows?  Also, downloading the beta to my wife's computer was a snap, while transferring it from her computer to a flash drive felt like an eternity.  Anyway.)

1. New Chrome-ish omnibox.

a) Look and feel.  

i) Size.  This statement might blow your mind:  I prefer IE9's omnibox/tab combination to Chrome's.  Why?  because it takes up a ton less space.  In Chrome, while I can make my omnibox thinner, this just enables me to see more extensions . . .  I have only two extensions visible (GVoice and a digital clock) in Chrome, so I'm disappointed by the omnibox largess.  On the other hand, I feel like the toolbar looks cluttered when I display more extensions.  Gripe for IE9:  Why all the empty space up top?  It could be about 1/2 Chrome's total toolbar if it would get rid of the useless, empty space.

On Sebastian's post, he he shows Firefox 4, Chrome, and IE9, side-by-side, and it looks like IE9 offers more viewing space.  Cool, except for I find this comparison illusory.  When the browsers are maximized (which is my preference), IE9 and Chrome have the same viewing space (see the "gripe" above).

IE9 and Chrome have the same viewing space, when maximized
ii) Background.  Chrome was, I think, the first browser to gray-out non-domain info in URLs.  I think, for the most part, IE9 does it better (see above).  Moreover, as Sebastian says, the address bar dims when I'm not mousing over it.  I LOVE IT.  The Web is the focus.  (As Chrome established two years ago.)

b) Auto-complete and search.  Like Chrome, IE9 does much better on URL auto-complete than IE8.  I also love the combination of the search and address bars.  I think FF's mistaken to keep them separate in FF4.  Unfortunately, I felt very wrong-footed, while searching, a couple times.  IE9 often seemed to take me to the "I'm feeling lucky result" of an entry.  E.g., searching for "as you type" directed me to . . .  It also seems like when I type a partial URL, such as, it simply searches Google for it.  Chrome takes me straight to the website.

c) Annoying bottom-bar gone.  You remember how Chrome was the first browser (that I know of) to eliminate that obnoxious, omnipresent bottom-bar?  I'm pretty sure IE9 does as well - very much appreciated.

Is Google sniping IE9?
2. Google Docs and Blogger.  For the moment, Google Docs document and Blogger's post editors both seem unavailable.  This really hurts IE9 for me, and I'm sure the defect will dissapear soon enough.

3. Menu overload.  As I did with IE8 and other Microsoft products before it, I felt like gagging over IE9's seemingly endless and confusing options and menus.  Chrome's still a very fresh breath of air, here.

Agh, menu overload!
4. Page loads.  I give the IE9 developers sane property because I felt like IE9 was a million times faster than IE8 and even approaching Chrome's current dev build.  Even Gmail was quite snappy.  Impressive, most impressive.

5. Page load indicator.  I'm puzzled by the page load indicator because it often seems to disappear, long before a page finishes loading.

Wherefore art thou?
6. Extensions and AdBlock.  To my knowledge, extensions for IE9 are -- surprise! -- basically or entirely absent.  This means essential extensions like AdBlock are unavailable.  Admittedly, I use a host file to help block ads and other nonsense, yet most people are unwilling to go that far.  Chrome appears to have struggled for serious user adoption until it rolled out extensions; boy has it exploded its extension gallery and user base since then.  I'm very doubtful IE9 will have extensions (quantity or quality) anywhere near Chrome or FF, and, if it does, I imagine they will greatly impact IE9's speed.  Then again, I imagine most future IE9 users (who are still unsure what a "browser" is) will probably fail to notice either the diminished speed or dearth of extensions.

Superbar integration - meh
7. Windows 7 Superbar integration.  Yawn.  For me, this is essentially MS's way of keeping people tied to an ever-bloated Windows OS, and I really dislike the notion.  I'm a one window type of user, and while it's great to have my favorite websites pinned, I can pin tabs and completely bypass the Superbar in Chrome (this is why I have a digital clock extension - I hide the Superbar, for more viewing space/less distraction -  Chrome's about all I need, anymore).

8. Remember last session's tabs.  Absent.  That's right, IE9 has 10 million confusing and worthless options, yet it lacks the ability to remember the tabs I had open last session, by default - I have to manually select "reopen last browsing session," whenever I want to see those tabs.  Boggles my mind.

¡Viva el gobierno de Microsoft!
9. Favorites/bookmarks.  So let me get this straight, IE9 appears to lack a bookmarks import feature, and yet it has a built-in "" favorite?  Additionally, I dislike how favorites are placed below "history" selections, when I start typing in the one box (address bar).

9. Keyboard shortcuts.  MS seems to have some of its priorities mixed up.  Again, it has a gazillion menus and random options for IE9, yet it seems to provide about a handful of keyboard shortcuts, lacking such usuals as ctrl+pg up (to navigate tabs).

10. FAYT?  Find as you type.  When I read in Sebastian's post that I could "turn search-as-you-type on and off," I almost called Google, frothing at the mouth, to demand it finally implement FAYT in Chrome.  Alas, after much searching and scouring, I conclude find-as-you-type (as in a quicker ctrl+f) is woefully absent from IE9 as well.  Bummer.

11. Hyper-link click noise.  I believe the annoying, you-just-clicked-a-link noise is finally gone!  This is perhaps the greatest evidence that MS finally realized it can stop pleasing grandma and grandpa and start focusing on the rest of us.  May it continue.

Prepare ye, prepare ye!
Conclusion.  At the end of the day, IE9 has a few things I like better than Chrome and a ton of things I'm really bothered with.  It's still in beta, yet I doubt most of my dislikes will go away before the actual release (some time in 2011 . . .).

In summary, I'm stoked to see the main browser catching up with the innovators.  I think this drives even more innovation (viva competition!) and pushes us closer and closer to a cloud reality (you know it's coming!).  If anything, I'm now even more excited for Chrome OS to debut.  I look forward to your feedback (if anyone's actually read to this point) and a world of seamless apps/OS integration.  May it come quickly.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Google Docs Spruces Up Its Spreadsheet Import Functionality

Today, Google Docs came out with some awesome (for many people, very basic and essential) importing features for spreadsheets.

You can see the options for yourself, below.

Google Docs keeps advancing, wooo!!!
To me, one of the most promising advances is the "Separator character" feature, more commonly referred to as a data delimiter.  In English, a delimiter just means I can organize, group, parse, and separate data based on a specific criterion.

Another way to think of it would be to use the word "discrimination."  I can tell certain data apart because of something that separates them; I see a line and say, "Everyone to the right of the line, go to group A, everyone to the left of the line, go to group B."

For now, this feature in Google Docs' spreadsheets looks fairly embryonic:  it lacks some basic import functionality (described at the unofficial Google News here), and, so far as I can tell, is incapable of delimiting the data in a particular column - I relished this feature in Excel and long for its availability in spreadsheets.

At the end of the day, I'm happy to see Docs rolling out more and more capabilities.

New Patriarchal Blessing (Request) Tool and Beta LDS Newsroom

Church's new patriarchal blessing (request) tool
If you've read this blog a few times, you may have noticed I love emerging technologies.

A super-awesome technology emerging on the new LDS Church website is a tool for members to request a copy of their patriarchal blessing.  Members can also request copies of the blessings of direct-line ancestors.  This morning, for instance, and with a bit of detailed information, I requested a copy of my late father's blessing, and it will be post-mailed to me.

To access this feature, go to (or simply click the image above) and click on Tools>Patriarchal Blessing (as shown above).

I am thrilled to have this tool and be able to learn more about my ancestors and how the Lord personally counseled them.


Another roll-out I discovered with excitement this morning is the Church's updated newsroom.  I'm very impressed with how modern and professional it looks.  Click on the image below to visit the site for yourself.

Church's updated newsroom

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The End of a Dream.

"There is no point apportioning blame," said Snape smoothly.  "What is done, is done."

And so it goes.

After a few "whoa, whoa!"s, a few miscues, a few tears, and some unsavory spots on the carpet (they're gone now, take heart!), we've decided to shelve our daughter's potty training for another 6-8 weeks.

I would do a parody here on the I have a dream speech, except for the fact that I enjoy life and want to wake up tomorrow morning . . . alive.

"Farewell, potty training, king of ambitions, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you won't forget! Though your impact will decay, your spirit lingers on in the quiet, duty-free places of your apartment home. May your future offspring ever flourish and your human friends find solace for the loss they have sustained."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Our Divinely Inspired Constitution

Elder Oaks, speaking on the
importance of the US Constitution
The US Constitution holds great importance to Latter-Day Saints.  One influential speaker and leader is Apostle, Elder Dallin H. Oaks.  I have excerpted the following on his background:

For more than a half century, Elder Oaks has been a participant in or a knowledgeable observer of the operation of constitutions. Just after his graduation from law school, he worked behind the closed doors of the United States Supreme Court as a law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren. Later, he taught law at three major law schools: the Universities of Chicago, Michigan, and Brigham Young.

Elder Oaks practiced law and worked as a prosecutor and a defense attorney in the criminal courts of Chicago. He argued criminal cases in the appellate courts of Illinois. He published many articles and several books involving the interpretation of constitutions. He was the legal counsel to the Bill of Rights Committee of the Illinois Constitutional Convention, which drafted the only state constitution successfully written and adopted in the last 100 years.

Here in Utah, of course, he served as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court for three and a half years. Thus, he has had many years of hands-on experience in interpreting the United States Constitution and the constitutions of two different states — Illinois and Utah.

In 1992 he spoke on the divinely inspired nature of the Constitution from an LDS perspective:

This last Friday (9/17/10), on Constitution day, Elder Oaks spoke again on the importance of the Constitution and a few of the modern issues facing it:

I highly recommend both articles to you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: The Missing Piece

Stacey Miles was a very successful athlete in high school, college, and even professional sports. He was the kind of person who seemed to have everything going for him. In his own words, “Life was going along pretty well for me, or at least I thought.” Then, again in his words, “Life intervened. It threw me a couple of curve balls, first in the form of injuries that kept me out of any further sports activity, and then in the form of cancer.”

“We know beyond the shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come.”

—Elder L. Tom Perry, Let Him Do It With Simplicity

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How secure is your email password? (You might want to read this!)

Hackers may be unable to read
your mind; however, I guarantee
they have other methods . . .
Have you seen a rash of Gmail, Yahoo!, and Facebook accounts getting hacked, lately?

I have.

I read an article the other day on email password safety.  I strongly recommend you give it a shufti:

You might also just reconsider how public you want that Facebook account to be . . .
Guys like this dude know how to
figure out your password!
So be careful.

Heck, I'm a little creeped out, and I generally consider my disclosures quite conservative.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the article has less to do with passwords per se and more to do with things like security questions, etc.

Long live your account integrity.

Toilet (Potty) Training Begins!

"It has begun!!"

Yes, folks, my wife and I have embarked on a 3-day, no holds barred adventure to potty train our daughter.

We've had a few successes so far and one moment where my wife exclaimed, "Whoa, whoa!!" grabbed our daughter and flew her over to her royal throne (child's toilet).  Mid-flight, we had an unintentional release of ammunition, which, thankfully, landed mostly in a fortuitously placed bowl.

We're basically apartment-bound for the next three days, and we'll probably update you, occasionally, on how things are going and whether we've given up the ghost.

In some random good news, we "won" a prize in a scratch-off contest for a local, going-out-of-business car dealership.  Long story short: yes, the prizes were pretty weak sauce and yet still appreciated.  Thankfully, I got out of there and avoided buying a new car!

More to come!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Understanding My Blog Name: The Cougar Abogado

Many of you may have wondered just exactly what the CA means.

Well, Cougar comes from the mascot of my alma matter (mainly since I was there when I launched this blog).  And for the unveiling of Abogado, click here.

In the spirit of learning and at the subtle behest of my wife, I'm also including this great introduction to Spanish:

I hope you've enjoyed this unveiling and that you now feel confident about passing your 8th grade first semester of Spanish final (con exitos).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: The Voice of the Spirit

I am particularly impressed that this message was given 17 years ago (or in 1993, which, in my opinion, was at least three or four years before even the Internet took off - let alone broadband, smart phones, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Here is the full text of the message:

Indeed, moral values and religious values, in general, are coming under attack more and more.  They are seen as old fashioned, outdated, juvenile, or even as stemming from "neurological disorder."

We live in a constant monsoon of information.  Yet, in this "information age," I feel like many of us are "Ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Timothy 3: 7).

The most important truth I know of is that we are literally sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father, God.

To me, it is a simple and sublime truth.

On the other hand, how many in this world know or believe this plain and precious truth?  Put another way, how many deride it as childish, foolish, or illogical, and so put their trust in the arm of the flesh, ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge that God is our Father (the truth)?

This true disorder (or state of confusion), is much like the people at the time of Christ:  They ever clamored for  things they could not understand (think Stephen Hawking), and so "look[ed] beyond the mark" of their true Messiah, Jesus Christ (See Jacob 4: 14).

I know and testify that Jesus is the living Christ, the Son of the living God.  I know that we are all sons and daughters of God and can become like Him if we will follow the voice of the Spirit.

How do I know these things?  By the same way all of God's prophets learned truth: by the voice of the Spirit (See 1 Nephi 22: 2; Moroni 10: 5; Jacob 4: 13; Alma 5: 45-46; see also Guide to the Scriptures, Holy Ghost).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nope, Keep the Change (Bumper Sticker)

I've been meaning to post about this one.

I saw this bumper sticker on a car in front of us, on the drive home a few days ago.

American Ingenuity

Google's New Family Safety Center

Although there are a few things I disagree with in this video, I'm very glad to see the effort:

Here's a link to Google's Family Safety Center, which has some helpful resources.

I hope this helps (even a little)!

Google Instant on Chrome

I think this feature is awesome (so far, at least).

It's essentially Google Instant (dynamic search results and websites appearing as or before I type) in my omnibox (address box).

Note that the search results appear in the "New Tab" page, rather than from

Yes, some pages can load and be distracting, if I'm absotively blunderous with my words, which I speak, and it takes me 10 seconds to figure out what to type.  Otherwise, I find it dead useful.  I love it.

So, how are you to win my fabulous prize?  Add the following command-line flag to your Chrome shortcut: --enable-match-preview (in Windows, right-click on the Chrome shortcut, select "Properties" and append the flag to the "Target" value text box).

Or get a preview of one of your favorite web pages before even clicking enter

Again, copy the following and paste it in the "Target" value text box:  --enable-match-preview


Friday, September 10, 2010

Best Speech EVER

As in the past, I must give the F-Word credit where credit is due:

In like manner, I feel compelled to cross-post this diamond in the rough.  Enjoy!

If you're like me, at the end of this marvel you may still wonder if it's real.  So far as I can tell, it is.

If this enthusiastic gentleman is unable to capture the county treasury position, I think he's got a shot at being Lou Piniella's replacement for the Seattle Mariners (General Manager).  Make sure to read the third paragraph (with Bucknor).  Good times.

Yahoo! COULD have had instant search 5 years ago


Experimental, Yahoo! live search from 2005
I love the Colin Powell quote at the end of the article above:

"'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It's an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms."

May Google continue to take innovative risks!

P.S. Remember how Xerox came up with the GUI, only to gift it to Steve Jobs? (Just do a ctrl+f search for "GUI" or Steve Jobs, to see what I mean.)

It hurts to get complacent!

Xerox COULD have owned the computer GUI
HAHA, Xerox!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burning the Koran??

I whole heartedly agree with this news release:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through a spokesman, issued the following statement today [9/8/10] in response to news media inquiries:
“A key tenet of our faith is to accord everyone the freedom to worship as they choose. It is regrettable that anyone would regard the burning of any scriptural text as a legitimate form of protest or disagreement.”
I also think the following verses are pretty relevant:
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 5: 43-44

CLARIFICATION:  To avoid confusion, I want the reader to know that my assumption in writing this post was that Terry Jones planned (or is still planning, now?) to burn Korans as a vocal reproach to radical Islamist terrorism.  The point here being that, in my view, the best way to fight evil is by doing good.  I refuse to call Muslims "the enemy," and think of them as fellow children of God and as my religious cousins, as it were.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Google Instant

Okay, this is pretty dang awesome.

If you're too "busy" to watch this 1:41 video, just know that Google can now give you instant results as you search.

I've given it a quick whirl, and it's pretty jumbo-large (smashing).

Here's the official Google blog post and the unofficial Google news post, and the behind-the-scenes, detailed explanation.

Results appear below, as the user types

All of this prompts two questions for me:

1) "Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster"  Now the question:  If Google's all about showing results as I type, for better, faster results, when can I get find-as-you-type enabled in Chrome!!??  See Issue 150 to find out what I'm whining about.

2) How will Bing respond?  Big Facebook "like" buttons for every search result!  MS's current state of affairs:  "Always and forever."

Vomit.  I can't believe I just did a Mac guy spinoff!  I hate you, Steve!

First Temple in Former USSR

On August 29, 2010, President Thomas S. Monson dedicated this temple in Kyiv, Ukraine.

President George Q. Cannon once said, "“Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed … lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Temple Blessings", Liahona, Aug. 2010, 4–6

Click here for an overview of why Latter-day Saints build temples.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Today's Spiritual Message: Are Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) Christian?

This question sometimes puzzles me, though I can understand why it arises.  Latter-day Saint theology breaks with post-New Testament Christian history (the Nicaean and Athenasian creeds) and returns to the doctrine taught by the Savior Himself (see all of John 17 and especially John 17: 3,11,21-23).

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost" (Article of Faith #1 of 13).

In the spring of 1820, a fourteen-year-old boy named Joseph Smith, upon praying in a grove of trees near his home, was visited by the Father and the Son.

The First Vision in the Sacred Grove, 1820
Joseph Smith learned first hand that the Godhead is made up of three separate beings.

As all prophets have, since Adam, we worship the Father in the name of the Son (see Jacob 4: 4-5).

We believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to do the will of His Father (see John 5: 19, 30; 3 Nephi 27: 13), which was that He should atone for the sins of all mankind (see John 3: 14-17; 3 Nephi 27: 14-16).

Please enjoy the following messages which answer the question, "Are Latter-day Saints Christian?"

Elder Gary J. Coleman talks about his conversion as a young man

Elder Jeffery R. Holland talks about our Christianity

Please visit this detailed version of Elder Holland's talk to watch or read about the many evidences found in the scriptures about the separate nature of the Godhead.

This topic is especially relevant for me as Mike Gallagher discussed it the other night, in relation to Mitt Romney's potential difficulties brought on because of his LDS faith.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't Be Evil? Google's Evil Secret . . . MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I found out about this video after reading this article, followed by this one.

As Brennon Slattery of PC World advises, "Watch it with the lights on."  And from my own experience with sketched-out movies as a kid, please think twice before showing this to youngsters.

I think what I enjoy most about this video is how it's hosted on YouTube . . .  (Google's subsidiary.)

On the other hand, what disturbs me most is how I will probably have nightmares about Eric Schmidt peddling me false ice cream and stealing my deepest secrets, for many dark and eerie nights to come.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gmail's Priority Inbox: Pretty Dang Cool

To be blunt, I thought this feature would be wasted on me.  Then I watched this video.

My initial test-run reaction is that it's pretty awesome.

What are your thoughts?

BYU Football Declares Its Independence

I'm totally stoked.

Blaine Fowler, a former 1980 BYU football player, called it the greatest day in BYU athletic history.

Greater exposure, better teams, and actually being able to watch the games (take that, The Mountain!).

I'll let my associate blogger give you all the pros and cons.

Here's a brief announcement with links and video, if you'd like to see/read more:

We've just got to endure one more year in the Mountain West.  Free at last, free at last!