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8 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro UpgradeWindows 8 has been out for a few months, and it’s had mixed reviews. Some people like it; others hate it. I’m convinced that it’s a worthwhile upgrade for Windows 7 users (and a must for Windows Vista and earlier users)—especially at the current introductory price.

My experience with Windows 8 went something like this:

  1. Intrigued. When I saw what Windows 8 was going to try to do, I was impressed. Could Microsoft really unify desktop/laptop and tablet/phone OSes and apps?
  2. Frustrated. When I started trying to use it during the beta stage, my excitement turned to frustration. Where’s the Start button? Isn’t the new Start screen a step backwards? What use is there to having two different versions of the same apps? Why is sleeping, restarting, etc. buried? Wasn’t this really just two very different OSes poorly stitched together?
  3. Happy. Once I started noticing all of the nice little improvements throughout the OS and realized that I could ignore the new Start screen and launch apps and find stuff just as easily as I could in Windows 7 (hit the Windows key and start typing), I was sold on Windows 8.

Many others have had the same experience. So expect a learning curve and an adjustment period before you give up.

Here are 8 reasons you should consider upgrading to Windows 8:

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Bonhoeffer Buzz

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyDietrich Bonhoeffer has been the subject of some interesting discussion recently. If you missed it, here’s a quick overview.

  1. It started with the publication of Eric Metaxas’s “groundbreaking biography” Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Amazon | WTS Books).
  2. Its publication has been largely met with rave reviews, awards, and lots of secular press.
  3. Bonhoeffer scholars Richard Weikart and Clifford Green called Metaxas’s reading of Bonhoeffer into question.
  4. Blogger Tim Challies highlighted these critiques in a recent post.
  5. Church historian Carl Trueman weighed in with some wise insight.

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Open an ING Checking or Savings, Get $25

ING DirectFor the last two-and-a-half years I’ve been using ING Direct as my primary bank for checking and savings. They offer lots of great benefits, and they’re all free. Since I pay just about everything online, I have less and less need for a traditional bank. In addition to paying nearly all of my bills, I can send money to people via direct bank transfer or paper check (that they send postage paid). I can even mail most checks in and have them deposited in a couple of days.1 That’s the single reason I keep a traditional checking account. I deposit the few checks and occasional cash I get into a checking account with Chase and use ING’s website to move money to and from any of my accounts—again, completely free of charge.

If you’re looking for a new checking or savings account, I’d encourage you to check out ING Direct. If you open an account with as little as $250 by the end of the month through my referral link, you’ll get $25 deposited into your new account. In full disclosure, I’ll also get $20. :)

Send me an email and let me know if you’re interested in opening a checking or savings account, and I’ll send you the referral email.

Footnotes

  1. I say most, because some checks can’t be deposited.
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Together for the Gospel Live for $5

Together for the Gospel LiveI stumbled across a blog post this week (can’t remember where) that had a video embedded of the men from the Together for the Gospel Conference in 2008 singing “Before the Throne of God Above.” I probably watched it a dozen times or more, I enjoyed it so much. So I went to go check out the album at the Sovereign Grace Music store and found out that they’re having a special sale all February. That means it ends today. All music albums are only $5 for the downloadable version and $6 for the CD version.

I picked up the Together for the Gospel Live MP3 Download Set and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I heartily commend it to you.

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Dispatches from the Front: Islands on the Edge

Dispatches from the Front: Islands on the EdgeA few weeks ago, my wife and I watched Dispatches from the Front: Islands on the Edge, the first in a series of DVDs from Frontline Missions. It was edifying, educational, powerful, and moving—well worth the 50 minutes we spent watching it. I highly recommend it. But consider yourself forewarned: it may start some discussions about quitting your job(s) and moving to a foreign country—or at least evaluating your praying for and giving to foreign missions.

Here’s the description of the series:

Believers everywhere desperately need a renewed vision of Christ and the unstoppable advance of His saving work in all the earth. Often our view of God’s Kingdom is too small and limited to what we have experienced. Dispatches from the Front provides a rare glimpse into this work, highlighting the marvelous extent, diversity, and unity of Christ’s Kingdom in our world. The journal format of each episode underscores the daily unfolding of God’s activity on the “frontlines,” bringing viewers up-close with sights and sounds from distant corners of the Kingdom.

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The Passive Voice Should Be Avoided, Right?

The Elements of StyleLike most of you who have taken classes with teachers who provided grammatical and stylistic critiques of your papers, I was told to avoid the passive voice as much as possible. Yet I was never really completely convinced of the notion. The Greek New Testament is full of passives, I rebutted, and a grammatical active may be a semantic passive (yet these, strangely, never got marked as improper). I just never felt like the case against passives was convincing. It was more of an unquestionable rule of proper writing style.

But not everyone is afraid to question this prevailing notion. I just read a scathing (understatement!) review of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style that addresses the issue of passives, among other things. It was written by Geoffrey K. Pullum, who is the head of linguistics and English language at the University of Edinburgh.

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Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek by Constantine R. Campbell

About two months ago, I happened to catch a Zondervan blog post that mentioned that they were giving away 20 review copies of Constantine Campbell’s Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek. I enjoy studying Greek, needed to learn more about the verbal aspect theory, and like free books, so I sent off my email and managed to snag a copy.

I got a friendly email yesterday reminding me that I still needed to write my review and mentioning the week-long series of blog posts on verbal aspect from the book’s author next week at the Zondervan Koinonia blog. It appears that I’m not alone as I’ve seen several other reviews coming out today.

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The Nativity Story (2006)

The Nativity StoryI bought The Nativity Story for my parents for Christmas (along with Planet Earth and Blue Planet) and remembered that I had never posted about it here. Shanna and I watched it last spring when it first came out on DVD. It’s not fresh on my mind, so I can’t give a detailed review, but I do remember enough to know that I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

It was very faithful to the biblical accounts. While I wasn’t convinced that all of the ways they acted out the story were the best, those issues were minor and their interpretations were generally within the bounds of viable options. I was initially disappointed with how abruptly the movie came to an end, but then I remembered that it was a movie about Jesus’ birth, not His life. Though The Nativity Story isn’t my favorite biblical movie, it is one that I would recommend and will probably watch again.

Other Reviews:

  • Peter T. Chattaway’s review at ChristianityToday.com
  • Al Mohler’s review at AlbertMohler.com
  • David DiCerto’s review at CatholicNews.com
  • Dale Mason’s review at AnswersinGenesis.org
  • Steven Isaac’s review at PluggedinOnline.com
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PureText

[rate 5]

Someone pointed me to a helpful little piece of software that I now use daily, so I thought I’d mention it here. The tool is called PureText. It allows you to paste text into any program or file without all the formatting. I use it frequently when working on a document in Word, composing an email in Outlook, or writing a blog post in WordPress. Instead of using the normal control+v to paste text, you use windows+v (or another combination of your choosing) to paste text without its formatting. It’s that simple.

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Theological Journal Library to Add BibSac 1–90

tjl.jpgIf you don’t have the Theological Journal Library published by Hampton Keathley of Galaxie Software, you need to get it—period. These journals are without a doubt some of the best theological resources that you can get for the money. Volumes 1–9 are currently available, and Volume 10 should be coming out sometime in October (assuming Hampton is on the same schedule as last year). Each volume includes 50 journals (Volumes 1–5 are sold together and contain 250 journals), and the average cost per journal is just under $1 ($.67 if you buy the bundle).

Here’s what you get if you buy all 9 available volumes:

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