James's Weblog

Review: Stan and Ollie

Mon, 14/01/2019 - 12:15 -- James Oakley
Stan and Ollie
© Sony Pictures

It's a rare treat to watch a film while it's still showing in the cinema. Normally it's DVDs or terrestrial TV rights for us. But as a long-time Laurel and Hardy fan, Stan and Ollie was one not to miss.

And boy was it one not to miss.

Their films are well known, as is the era when they made them - mostly under Hal Roach Studios. Stan and Ollie tells the less well-known bittersweet story of their reunion in the early 1950s, their plan to make a film in the UK, and a music hall tour here to rebuild their profile for that.

Jericho and Violence

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 13:07 -- James Oakley
Archaeological Remains at Jericho

On Sunday at church, we looked briefly at Joshua 6, the fall of Jericho.

I say briefly. This was an all-age service, and we're running through a Bible overview at these monthly services. So my rule of thumb is that the talk should be followable by someone aged about 7, whilst having application and food for thought for those of any age. That means one main point, and the talk has to be brief.

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Mary and Joseph

Mon, 24/12/2018 - 10:30 -- James Oakley
Mary

Children's Bibles are great. They retell key stories from the Bible in a way that children can readily follow. Each one has its own editorial policy, aiming for a particular reading age and style, with consistent illustrations.

But they're a minefield. When you try to summarise to remove extraneous details, it's easy accidentally to remove the most important thing. Like Jesus forgiving the sins of the paralysed man in Matthew 9:1-8.

When you have extra details that need a little explanation, it's easy to do so in a way that removes the most important tensions of the narrative. Like this example ...:

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Cousins

Mon, 17/12/2018 - 12:55 -- James Oakley
Cousin Explainer
Image Credit: Dean Kehoe

The past couple of weeks, this image has been circulating on Facebook, entitled the Cousin Explainer.

Given the huge number of likes (256, at time of writing this) and shares (3,400, at time of writing this), it seems I wasn't the only one who needed this mapping out clearly.

As a mathematician, it always bothered me that I could not explain, or even better 'define', what an mth cousin n-times removed is. Well, now I can. And I share it here so that you can too.

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The death of death

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 11:23 -- James Oakley
Fee on Corinthians

It's been a joy, and at times a challenge, to preach right through the letter of 1 Corinthians. It's healthy to take a long epistle like this, and to tackle it in a single sermon series, so we don't lose the train of Paul's thought by interrupting the series midway through. The challenge, then, is to decide how fast to go. Too fast, and you get such long blocks that the details get lost and the series is bland. Too slow, and the series simply takes too long, and we actually do lose Paul's train of thought because it's so long since we began.

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Packages missing in Ubuntu that worked in Debian

Mon, 26/11/2018 - 11:03 -- James Oakley
Moving from Debian to Ubuntu

I've set up lots of servers that run the Debian flavour of Linux. It's light-weight (works on little RAM, if installed in a minmal configuration) and extremely stable.

But for a particular purpose I recently needed to run a server using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

I hit a newbie gotcha that had me stumped for a while, but once I'd solve it, it was really simple.

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Jesus, born of Mary, without sin

Tue, 06/11/2018 - 10:55 -- James Oakley
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Immaculate Conception of Mary

Yesterday, I had a discussion with a group of friends on Facebook (as one does), along with a number of others whom I've not had the pleasure of meeting. It started with someone posing what should be a solved puzzle in Christology, and therefore easy to answer. But between us we initially had a bit of trouble articulating the necessary categories and distinctions to solve this one. Others were well ahead of me, but eventually I think we got there. Or, at least, I am now a lot clearer. I may not be exactly correct, but I'm a lot more thought through than I was.

Set up a new Security Key with PayPal

Tue, 30/10/2018 - 17:09 -- James Oakley
Symantec VIP

Two Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication (2FA) is a good thing.

A password is secure, as far as it goes. Only you know it. So only you can log in.

But if someone else learns your password, they can log in. So you add a second factor. As well as something you know (your password) you need something you have in order to log in. This may be your mobile phone, or a small gadget to generate a passcode.

This is an especially good idea for any website that may cost you something - mobile banking, for example.

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