Django vs. Yii

This post aims to be a hopefully helpful comparison between two web frameworks for anyone interested in getting started with using a web framework. I myself am new to using web frameworks, and I’ve only worked with each for a relatively small amount of time (Django for maybe 4 months and Yii for, heh, less than 2 weeks), so I am not an expert by any standard. Again, this comparison is mainly for n00bs like me who might be looking to get started with using a framework.

Continue reading

True Freedom

I’d like to share something I heard in a sermon that I’ve sort of been cycling for awhile in my car, and it pertains to, as you’ve probably gathered already, the notion of freedom.

The speaker  first posed a question – Who in the Bible, when God called him, responded directly with “Here I am”? The ensuing discussion was quite comical, but in short, someone first said “Samuel.” But at first, Samuel was confused because he thought Eli was calling him. Then someone said “Isaiah,” but at first Isaiah said, “Woe to me!” Then someone said “Moses.” Yes, Moses (a brief but edifying discussion on Moses ensues). Okay. Anyone else?


Then the speaker, very softly, said, “Abraham.”

In Genesis 22:1, God called to him to test him – “Abraham!” And Abraham said, “Here I am.”

What does this have to do with freedom? In modern society, people define freedom as having lots of choices. But the speaker brought up this concept – true freedom is when God calls you, you are able to immediately say, “Here I am.” Seen from this definition, having a lot of choices is not freedom, but rather the opposite; being bounded. Because if God calls somebody, and that person is unable to respond with, “Here I am,” then it means that he is likely being bounded by something. In the context/setting of the sermon (which was given at a seminar lasting a few days), the speaker noted that all the participants were in a sense “free,” because they were able to sacrifice a few days of vacation and free time to attend. Other people, when they hear God’s calling, may figuratively say, “Wait a little bit, I’m busy now,” or “Wait, I’m not done with this game yet.”

True freedom is being completely aligned with God. What does being aligned with God mean? It means that in our mind, doing the will of God is the only choice – straying otherwise is out of the question. If for some reason, we are unable to do the will of God, then we are not free, but rather bounded.

In my own daily life, I think I’ve been able to experience this phenomenon. When I make it to all the weekly services and see how few other members are present, I do feel a sense of freedom, because I didn’t let other things obstruct me from coming. In addition, I feel a little sad that there are so few other members present, because whether willingly or unwillingly, they are bounded. On the other hand, when I forgo spiritual cultivation like personal Bible reading and prayer, and instead choose to watch Hulu or check Facebook for the 10th time, after those moments of enjoyment, I do not feel refreshed because I just exercised my freedom of choice, nor do I feel free at all. I genuinely feel bounded. Bounded by sin, by my human desires.

I think people are bounded by different things. School work, job obligations, family ties and traditions, culture, TV shows, video games, the “live for happiness” train of thought, etc. It’s not a matter of forsaking all these things for the sake of God (although some of these things are probably better forsaken), but a matter of priority. If God is second to any of these things, then our resolve to do the will of God can be easily compromised. The result is not the feeling of freedom, but the feeling of being choked by thorns. But if God is above all else, we will willingly and gladly compromise and sacrifice other things, and the result is true freedom, being able to throw off all that hinders and run the race. When the church asks us to lead Bible study, we will do it. When a friend encourages us to attend a church seminar, we will do everything within our power to go (ask our boss if we can take the time off, see if we there’s an alternative summer school session that doesn’t conflict, ask a teacher if we can reschedule a test, attend in the evenings at the very least, etc).  When God calls us, we will say without hesitation, “Here I am.”

Matthew 10:37-39

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (38) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (39) He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Freedom can be considered a defining characteristic of life. If you substitute the word “life” with “freedom” in verse 39 above, you get:

He who finds his freedom will lose it, and he who loses his freedom for My sake will find it.

Kind of a neat way to think about it, in my opinion at least.

Personal Computing: Then and Now

Before you think that from the title of this post, this might be some scintillating discussion about the evolution of computers and technology, allow me to severely and promptly disappoint you by saying this up front. This post is solely about – surprise, surprise – myself, and how I used to do things then (i.e. freshman year and prior), versus how I’ve come to use computers now (a lengthy 4-5 years later).

What prompted this post was my visit back to NJ and cleaning around the house. I came across my previous laptop (an HP dv4000 series I believe) which I ditched because it would literally stall at any given time (not freeze, but stall – including the hard drive activity indicator LED). The only remedy was to semi-randomly apply pressure on the laptop with my hand, or to tilt it, until it resumed execution (before stalling again shortly thereafter). Yeah, weird. And very annoying when trying to work on projects, especially time-critical ones. Anyways, it’s still technically usable so I booted it up to give it a run, and browse through what contents I had on it in the hopes that I could salvage some data that I lost when my hard drive recently died. It wasn’t until I browsed through my “programs and software downloads” folder that I realized how much I’ve changed as a computer consumer throughout my engineering education.

Basically, pre-college, I was one of those ignorant consumers where everything I used was a black box (well, that might still be true, but to a lesser extent; at least, that’s what I’d like to believe), and I expected everything to be pre-configured just right. Thanks to the nature of my major (namely, requiring extensive use of a computer), I’m a more well-informed and tech-savvy consumer (again, that’s what I’d like to believe), and thus able to make some better choices in terms of computing. So without further ado, I present the “then and now” list: Continue reading