Django recommends using PostgreSQL as the backend database. Decided to try to migrate my MySQL stuff on the new webhost. What a headache! First I couldn’t generate valid PostgreSQL because of some funky differences in syntax (e.g. ” and ‘ are not interchangeable). Then, phpPgAdmin totally sucks compared to phpMyAdmin. Like a lot more. Couldn’t import a SQL dump in phpPgAdmin (I could do the same import in phpMyAdmin no problem). Then, when I finally figured out how to bypass the whole php interface and use the psql utility (thank goodness for shell access on the new webhost), I could start importing data. Except, it’s importing very slowly relative to importing in phpMyAdmin (WITH the whole php wrapper interface!)

I don’t get it. PostgreSQL was supposed to be “better” somehow. An 8 MB SQL dump in phpMyAdmin takes less than a second to execute. The same SQL dump evidently completely overwhelmed phpPgAdmin, and using the PostgreSQL command line utility to do the import still takes a couple minutes.

A couple minutes is nothing, but it effectively took a couple hours away from my sleep time.

Making another switch…


Switch done!


…to Django hosting. In the process of switching webhosts again. I know, I only switched/got a domain less than half a year ago, but unfortunately my current host does not support Django. If anyone is looking for good cheap hosting though, JustHost has been great in terms of uptime, support, and features, including Ruby on Rails and shell access (which I did not use, but will be using with my new host).

So the new host is webfaction. They cost more and give me less web space (10 GB vs. “unlimited”), but they are a much more “tech-ier” webhost. Most of the interaction will be through SSH, and everything hosted is an “app” that gets mapped to domains. Each account gets its own apache instance to customize, a home directory, and a non-crowded shared server. There’s also support for hosting SVN which I plan to make extensive use of once I get past the noob stage of setting everything up.

Anyways, I plan on cancelling my current host and transferring the domain to point to the new host, so theoretically the move should be transparent to everybody, except for some possible downtime when I update nameservers and wait for the changes to propagate through DNS caches. That’ll take place within the next few days hopefully.

Stay tuned for a functional django app hopefully before the end of 2009…

Hearts Hardened Towards Loaves (I)

We all know the story of when Jesus walked on water. Jesus had just fed the 5000 and sent them away, and He asked his disciples to go ahead of Him to the other side of the water while He prayed. As evening came, there was a storm, and it was at this time that Jesus walked towards them on the water and calmed the winds and the waves. Needless to say, the disciples were amazed. The account according to Mark, however, contains an interesting after thought:

Mar 6:51  Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.

Mar 6:52  For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

Why did the disciples marvel? I guess it’s obvious; they just witnessed somebody calm a storm at will. But in hindsight, Mark realized that the fact that they were amazed at the time was because they did not understand something about the loaves, and their hearts were hardened. What did they not understand? Matthew 14:33 gives us the answer:

Mat 14:33  Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

If we put these two accounts together, we see that even though the disciples witnessed Jesus feed over 5000 people with merely 5 loaves and 2 fish, they did not understand He was the Son of God. They did not see the power of God in people eating their fill of food. They did not think multiplying bread to feed a large crowd was “miraculous enough.”  To them, this miracle was not worth marveling at.

Mark, however, in hindsight, realized that it should’ve been. They should have marveled when Jesus began to endlessly hand them bread to distribute to the multitude. They should have shaken their heads in sheer amazement, thinking in their minds, “Truly, You are the Son of God,” as  they picked up the 12 baskets of leftovers. But they didn’t, because their hearts were hardened.

How many of us receive more than our daily bread…and marvel? When we say grace and give thanks before eating, do we express our thanks out of courtesy and politeness as to a regular person, or out of astonishment and awe as to the Almighty God? Do we begin to doubt the existence of God because we see no miracles in our own lives?

Paul writes:

Rom 1:20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

Rom 1:21  because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

The ordinary everyday things – daily provision, protection and safety, God’s creation, etc. – are already sufficient evidence of the power and mercy of God. They manifest the glory and might of God just as much as the extraordinary, and thus are equally worthy of being marveled at. We have no excuse not to glorify and be thankful to Him.

We need not feel envy or self pity if others seem to be experiencing God in extraordinary or supernatural ways and we are not. We need not doubt the almightiness of His power if we are sustained everyday through ordinary means. Through creation alone, things that are made, we can clearly see His eternal power and Godhead. Truly, everyday is a miracle and grace worth marveling.

Reflections on Hard Drive Failure

On a Monday morning close to a month ago, I got on the BART for work and took out my (personal) laptop to do my daily Bible reading and prepare for a Bible study I had to lead. When I arrived at Pleasanton I quickly finished typing some notes and hibernated my computer.

After I left the office, I got back on the BART and took out my laptop again to resume. When I pushed the power button, after the BIOS loaded, I was jarred by an obnoxious beep and a terse message on my screen that said: “Read failure on internal drive.”

Long story short, I had to get a replacement internal drive from Dell.

Thankfully, I didn’t lose very much. It just so happened that the night before, I had decided to back up my recent files (mainly photos, music, random documents,and some programming stuff). It could’ve been much worse, so thank God.

But when I realized what I did lose, I was a bit sad. This next bit might sound kind of pathetic, but bear with me.

Since two years ago, I started avidly using e-sword. I only have NKJV on my computer and not in print, so consequently I’ve done most of my Bible reading on the computer. I also started making use of the study notes to annotate short reflections, thoughts, cross references, etc. on a bunch of verses, as well as markup like highlighting and underlining. The study notes and markup are stored in two files under Windows’ Program Files directory. Because of that, unfortunately, these files were not included in my automated backup the night before my hard drive died.

When I checked my most recent manual backups of those files, they were from the beginning of June of this year, 2009. I essentially lost an entire summer’s worth of Bible study notes, cross references, and short reflections. That may not sound like much, but considering I went to EWR and NYTS, it’s a pretty sizable amount.

I tried very hard to recover the files. I spent everyday after work for a week running various tools and utilities, but to no avail. Eventually, I decided to give up.

What did I learn from this (besides that I need to back up more often and more thoroughly)? I learned, to my dismay, that my heart was not first and foremost set on the Word of God. To my shame, I remembered to back up all my files the night before except the ones that were spiritually much more important.

I learned that I would rather spend many hours trying to recover random bits from my hard drive (which I never found), than to spend those hours reviewing my non-e-sword notes (I use OneNote as well) and perhaps manually re-add the study notes and reflections based on them.

To all you who are like me and extensively use computers for Bible study – be careful that you’re not unwittingly substituting your heart with your hard drive.

Also, buy Mac if you can :)