Thursday, July 19, 2012

My blogs have moved!!

I finally did it. I have merged my blogs into one single web site, making it easier for you to follow all my activities, postings, and 'musings'. And it will make it easier for me to keep everything updated and 'fresh'.

So point your browsers and bookmark my new site:

This site will include multiple blogs covering all the things I am doing, so now you can have a one-stop shop. I hope you enjoy the new virtual space! Feel free to leave me comments at the new site for things you would love to see added or changed. I am always looking for new ideas!

This site will no longer be maintained.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

GC77: The Episcopal Church authorizes provisional rites for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships

In a strong mandate vote, the House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops and passed Resolution A049: Authorizing Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships.

The voting was done by orders (meaning the votes were counted separately between the Lay Deputies and the Clergy Deputies in the House). The results were as follows:


The proceedings were governed by the special resolution X023 which explained the way in which the debate and voting would be carried out. Specifically,

  • Following the introduction of the legislation by the Committee (done by Ruth Meyers), a minority report shall be presented lasting no longer than four minutes. After which, debate shall be limited to 30 minutes.
  • Each speaker shall be limited to two (2) minutes
  • To the extent practicable the Chair shall recognize speakers of opposite views in alternate succession
  • No procedural motion or ammendments shall be in order during the first 15 minutes of debate

A049 had already been debated and passed in the House of Bishops yesterday. All legislation before General Convention must be passed by both Houses in order for it to become law in our Church. So it was time for the House of Deputies to take on this matter and decide for the Church whether or not rites for the blessing of same-gender relationships would be permitted.

Many Deputies, both for and against, spoke before the House. It was pretty amazing to see the decorum displayed among the House as people spoke passionately, yet respectfully, to one another.

Ian Hallas, a Deputy from the Chicago Deputation, made an impassioned plea for passage of this resolution because "his sister deserves the same love that he receives from the Church" (referring to his sister's impending civil union and blessing).

Before we got to the actual vote, there were several procedural requests made which threatened to eat up so much time that the legislative session would have expired without a vote. It was agreed to vote by 'orders', and it was proposed that the various 'resolves' that were included in the Resolution be voted upon separately (which provides for a type of line item veto). But in the end, the Resolution was voted for in its entirety.

The vote results were announced right before the House was called to recess for the day. House members were quiet as the decision was read out. There were no shouts or clapping, nor any outburst that would have been considered insensitive or inappropriate to those present who may not have been in agreement with the outcome. I was very proud of my Church today.

So now the three-year provisional period begins. It will be very interesting to see how the larger Church responds to this. I am very grateful that our General Convention has taken this important step to truly living up to the statement "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!"

Friday, July 6, 2012

GC77: House of Deputies supports Youth Ministry

Thursday was a busy day in the House of Deputies. Our opening legislative session at 8AM was a short one-hour of getting all 800+ deputies organized and ready to tackle the hundreds of resolutions expected to be addressed, debated, and voted upon during the remaining eight days of General Convention.

One of our first actions in the morning session was to elect a new Vice President of the House of Deputies. Upon the recommendation by Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, we elected the Very Rev. H. Scott Kirby of the Diocese of Eau Claire to fill this position, which has been vacant since Brian Prior became bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota in 2010. The remainder of this organizing session was to elect a Secretary for the House and several other officers that will be required for the House to operate efficiently.

Bonnie Anderson also made that statement this morning that “I won’t be the electronic police,” in response to concerns regarding the use of electronic devices during the Convention (particularly in the House and on the floor itself). Deputies were asked to remain focused upon and attentive to the business of the House, and not let technology interfere with that focus (or the attentiveness of their colleagues).

This year more than in the past three Conventions I have attended, it is easy to see the explosion of electronic devices being utilized. There are plenty of deputies with tablet devices like the iPad, laptops, and smartphones. And with so much Convention content being published online at, and so many people who are live-tweeting and blogging, it will be an interesting experiment.

Then we broke for our first Eucharist at Convention. It is always an awesome thing to see over 1,000 Episcopalians gathered together to proclaim the Good News and celebrate at the Lord's Table.

In our afternoon legislative session, one of our first resolutions of note was C100, which calls for restoring the $300,000 in funding for the triennial Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) to the Youth Ministries budget. ENS writes, "The every-three-year gathering of youth of the Episcopal Church had been slated for elimination in previously released draft budgets. Several young deputies, along with members of the Official Youth Presence, described the impact attending EYE had on them and its value in energizing a new generation of leaders for the church. Deputies voted to direct the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to place the funding in the youth ministries budget."

As a Youth Minister, this was a significant win for me. I have personally experienced how the spirit, fellowship, and witness that happens during EYE impacts the lives and spiritual formation of youth in our Church. There are usually 1,500 youth from across the Episcopal Church gathered during EYE, which offers a wide variety of workshops, programs, and formation opportunities as well as plenty of time for fellowship, worship, and fun.

The decision is not set in stone yet, however, The resolution still has to go to the House of Bishops for their consideration. I fully expect that they will concur with the House of Deputies. Then, the larger hurdle will be within the PB&F, where although they are being 'directed' to restore the funds, they have to 'find' those funds (likely at the expense of other budgetary line items). It remains to be seen whether PB&F will be successful. We won't know that until next week. I pray that they see the wisdom of the vote today and find the means to implement it.

Location:Indianapolis, IN

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

GC77: Ready, Set, Go for Day 1

The morning started with a 3.2 mile run with Joshua, Mallory, and Sarah. We met at the White River Trail at 5:30am (it was still dark outside and 75F). It was a nice 39-minute run, while we watched the skies brighten to start the day. Mallory and I ran together while the two speedsters leapt ahead. It was fun to run with Mallory, and grab the chance to chat about our lives. We ended the run with a 6:30/mm sprint to the end.

Then, after getting all cleaned up, I had the pleasure of meeting up with my Mom. First, we visited the House of Bishops Secretariat, then the Exhibitor Hall, and finally to the hotel to share a meal together. Mom had to leave for MIchigan afterwards, so it was a treat to be able to eat and talk together. She will be back here on Saturday for the duration.

Then I rested a bit before heading over to the Westin Hotel to listen to testimony at the Program, Budget, & Finance (PB&F) committee meeting at 12:30pm. Many Chicagoans testified before the Committee, requesting that funds be reallocated for key ministries like Youth and Young Adult Formation programs, the Episcopal Youth Event, the official Youth Presence at General Convention, etc.

One person testified saying "If it takes a village to raise a child, then the whole church needs to be engaged and funded to support young adult ministry programs, particularly those young adults who are not touched by campus ministry programs" ( for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being to attend a non-traditional college).

Every penny we take away from youth and young adult ministries represents a person who may not receive our message of hope -- people who need to hear the good news but who may have never heard it, or worse, may have heard a distorted version of His Word.

We heard story after story about how the drastic, sometimes draconian cuts in the proposed budget will impact the effectiveness of our ministry and mission as a church. The Bishop of El Salvador made an impassioned plea saying he "had no words" to explain the devastating impact the cuts would have upon South American dioceses. "Cuts have been made to our budget since 2007. We cannot continue like this."

The meeting room was way too small for this gathering, with people sitting on the floor (like I did) to people outside the room several rows deep who were trying to peer in and listen to what was being said. I am told that subsequent meetings will be held in larger space. I surely hope so.

After the budget hearing, we moved to the Convention Center to the House of Deputies where we listened to presentations by both the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies. Both deputies and Bishops attended this joint meeting, followed by orientation meetings to explain the rules of order, how to use the voting technologies, etc. This instruction is very useful, particularly to new Deputies who may not be familiar with how legislation is handled in a body of our size.

By the time we concluded, it was 5:00pm and I had been awake for 12 hours. But now the fun part of the day began. Joshua, Lee Gaede, and I went to the baseball stadium next door to the Convention Center and watched the Indianapolis Indians dominate a game, winning 5-1 with four home runs during the game. We sat in a block of seats reserved for Convention Deputies and had a great time. It was 104F when the game started, so we were quite thankful that we were sitting in a shaded section of the stadium!
After the game, we went to Champions for dinner (they make an awesome Cobb Salad) and then visited our Deputation Hospitality Suite. We had quite the discussion about Palestine and the Peace and Justice issues involving the Middle East and our country's actions regarding that region.

Then Pat Abrams and I left to go to the Deputies of Color meeting at 10pm. This meeting was also quite interesting as discussions surrounding the budget cuts and certain resolutions, and how they will reduce the effectiveness of the larger church in its Anti-Racism commitments -- its ability to conduct trainings, encourage diversity, and hold diocese accountable to their efforts to reduce institutional racism. It seems that the church has fallen back upon its commitment to addressing institutional racism in recent years and this is unfortunate. Funding for anti-racism trainings may now be delegated to the Provinces rather than Dioceses, which I do not believe will lead to adequate oversight, accountability, or consistency in implementation.

Today was a very long day. I am almost too tired to blog (so if my words are not as cogent as they ought to be, I apologize). I am heading to bed now so that I can get some sleep before tomorrow's 5:30am run. Thursday will be a full day of legislation, hearings, committee meetings, and our first Eucharistic celebration as a convention.

May the fun begin!

Location:Indianapolis, IN

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

GC77: Arrivals, preparations, celebrations (and Spiderman?)

On Tuesday at 8:30am, Joshua and I, both Alternate Deputies for the Diocese of Chicago, began our journey down to Indianapolis, IN to participate in the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. This convention is Joshua's first and my fourth.

The drive down was pretty simple, with only one major construction-related traffic jam to contend with on I-65 South. We had breakfast along the way at an 'oasis' over I-294, where we ate at Panda Express . Yeah, not exactly breakfast food but it was tasty nonetheless. The drive only took us about 5 hours, including our stopover at Panda. Not bad!

We parked the car, got checked into the Marriott hotel, and immediately ran into Shawn Schreiner from Chicago and letting her know that we were here. Then we headed over the Convention Center (right across the street!) to get our badges and take a quick tour of the Exhibitor Hall, where we picked up a few packets and some cool 'Episco Swag'. We met up with several friends along the way, Jed Holdorph, Mallory Holding, Ted Main, Richard Hogue, and friends from the Episcopal Conference of the Deaf. We also spent some time in the Episcopal Service Corps booth as well as the National Cursillo booth (whose next conference is in Chicago in 2013!).

Then we walked over to the White River State Park, which is only a couple of blocks from the Downtown Indianapolis Marriott hotel, to check out the start of the White River Wapahani Trail where we planned to run on Wednesday morning. Man, is it hot! It was 98F as we walked to the trail.

Once satisfied that we knew how to get to the trail tomorrow morning, we decided to head back to the hotel. I needed to change into nicer attire because I was heading to the Dinner/Gala of the Union of Black Episcopalians at 5:30pm with my Mom. There were celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Women's Ordination in the Episcopal Church. That was an awesome celebration, and I was honored to meet one of the honorees: Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas. What an amazing person! And my mother was the person who spoke about Kelly's accomplishments and made the award presentation (how cool was that!). They also honored Canon Bonnie Anderson who is the President of the House of Deputies.

Later that evening, I had some fun with Joshua and another running buddy Kipp. We decided to go see the new Spiderman movie since there was a theater within walking distance of the hotel. Great movie! Of course, that meant our first day at General Convention ended at 1245AM! (And of course, that means little rest before we get up at 5AM to go on a 3-4 mile run to start the next day)

Tomorrow will be the first day of the Convention. For those on legislative committees, they have an all morning meeting to kick off their process for conducting themselves during the Convetion. For the rest of the Deputies and Bishops here, we get started with a presentation by the Program on Budget and Finance (PB&F) of the proposed budget for national church. The budget is going to be a critical business issue facing this Convention so it is fitting that this will be the first item to hear about formally (we have already received the budget proposal online).

After that will be presentations by the Presiding Bishop, Rt. Rev. Katharine Schori, and Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies. Then we have Deputy Orientation sessions. After dinner will be Legislative Committee meetings, followed by a gathering of the Chicago Deputation to conver and discuss the plans for the following day.

Location:Indianapolis, IN

Monday, July 2, 2012

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

Yes, it is that time once again, when literally thousands of representatives from the 110 dioceses that make up The Episcopal Church convene to discuss matters, both sacred and secular, that impact the spiritual and daily lives of Episcopalians across the globe.

And in addition to those representatives, whom we refer to as Deputies (and Alternate Deputies) and Bishops, are thousands of fellow church members who gather to participate in committee meetings and hearings, and watch the legislative process of our Church as we make decisions on Canon Law, church structure, liturgy, worship, ministries, and our common life together.

I will be attending as the First Alternate Lay Deputy for the Diocese of Chicago. I am very honored to have been elected to this responsibility and will be very engaged in the events and legislative process of the next two weeks. I am also very excited about the chance to worship with such a large body of the Faithful, as I know from past experience that the daily Eucharist is always a special time of connection with The Holy and with those in attendance.

It is also a wonderful time for fellowship and reunions, as we see old friends from across the globe and meet new friends as well. My mother used to be the priest at a parish in Indy, and she will be coming to spend time here. I am looking forward to seeing her and my aunt!

I will be posting my thoughts and reflections about the goings-on during General Convention. I do not pretend to be a liturgical, biblical, or legislative scholar. Just an Episcopalian with a sincere interest in the continuing ministry, witness, worship, and outreach by the members of this Christian body to the world as decreed by our Baptismal Covenant.

Stay tuned and we will travel this journey together. Feel free to respond to my posts and I will try to provide you with intelligent and cogent responses.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Time for a "gut check" on my Goals

So in January, I laid out some goals for this year. I felt it was time to 'come clean' with my progress, re-assess, and re-commit for the last six months of this year.

Losing another 50 pounds

Well, gotta be honest on this one. I have lost and regained, and lost and regained the same 5-10 pounds all year long. Partly due to doing a little too much snacking and a few too many splurges (mostly during lunches with my office mates). My meals at home are great, but I really have to stop the snacking.

Other players here are my training and race schedules. I do need to eat to maintain the energy levels necessary to run 20-30 miles every week. If I don't nourish my body, it will not perform and I increase the potential for injury. People have told me that it is hard to lose weight and train for marathons. I am beginning to see their rationale.

Lastly, my body is accustomed to my running regimen. It is becoming more efficient in handling the demands I am placing upon it during running. That is a good thing. But it also means that I have to really start 'changing up' my workouts in order to 'shake up' the body into working harder. I plan to use cross-training to accomplish this.

I do not believe in the time remaining this year, with my race schedule as it is, that I will achieve a 50-pound loss in 2012. But I would at least like to see 20-25 pounds of it gone.

Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle

On this score, I am doing a great job! I said that this would be the year of the Half Marathon. And to date, I have run four Half Marathons, and I have four more left to run, plus a 20-mile race. I qualified for membership in the Half Fanatics running club which was another goal I achieved in January.

I walked the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer and had a phenomenal experience! I raised $2500 for the cause, walking a total of 39.3 miles (a full marathon and a half marathon distance) in two days in early June. I cannot even begin to express how amazing that weekend was. I wrote up some thoughts on my Healthy Living blog if you are curious.

Lastly, I did register for the Chicago Marathon this October and have been busy training for this event. This will be my first 'running' Full Marathon. I am very excited and nervous about this one. But I will be prepared! I have run 11 races so far in 2012, and have another eight remaining including the Chicago Marathon.

Read the entire Bible

I began this journey but in recent months have allowed this to slip behind. I have been maintaining a spiritual discipline in other ways, listening to sermons and spiritual podcasts as well as keeping current on issues that will be discussed at our Episcopal General Convention starting July 3rd.

But nonetheless, I need to get back to the Bible and finish what I started. Reading the Bible can be enlightening and rewarding, and sometime a bit confusing. It was not laid out to be read 'in sequence'. That is why we have what's called a "Lectionary" to help put the readings in a chronological sequence that follows the Church Year (I hear those readings at church on Sundays).

Learn a new skill

I have decided to learn more about the Java programming language, specifically in relation to web development. This has become even more significant given the recent developments with Oracle and their 'ownership' of Java and what ripple-effects that is having on the development community.

So, there you have it. I will touch base again on my goals later in the year and see if my progress is continuing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mother's Day brings the AVON Walk 'home' to me

Today is May 1st. It is going to be in the 70s here in Chicago, and the sun will be out for most of the day. We think of May in terms of flowers blooming, gardens being planted, senior proms, school graduations, and the celebration of loving mothers on Mother's Day. And we end the month in remembrance of loved ones who have passed on.

Suffice to say that there is a lot going on in May. What does May mean for you? Is it your 'gateway' that leads towards summer fun and freedom from school? Does it signal a time of rebirth, renewal, and rejoicing?

This year, May feels a bit different to me. Sure, I am happy that my son will be 'graduating' from middle school and heading to high school this Fall. Yes, I am happy to be celebrating another Mother's Day with my wife. And yes, I will take time on Memorial Day, as I always do, to pay my respects to my grandfather.

But perhaps more than in previous years, I am reminded of the role mothers play in our lives. I am very thankful that my mother is alive and very active in her ministry. I am very thankful that my children are blessed to have mothers who love them unconditionally. I am very thankful that my sister, the mother of my nephew Chris, is healthy and strong.

It is painful for me to think about how Mother's Day affects my wife, who lost her mother to breast cancer over 20 years ago. I know that she misses her mothsr a lot, and while we know she is watching over us in heaven, it does not always alleviate the sense of loss.

When I decided to participate in the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer, the main reason for doing so was because of my mother-in-law. Barbara was very supportive of us when I dated Christi during high school. She was very loving and kind. She had a lot of love to give when her life was short due to this terrible disease, which runs through generations of women in her family history.

As the date for the AVON Walk quickly approaches -- June 2-3, 2012 -- I think more and more about Barbara, friends who are fighting today, friends who have survived, and friends who have not. I think about those, like Christi, who have lost loved ones to cancer. I have been doing a lot of praying about this.

I am walking because I needed to find a way to make a difference. Praying tends to lead to action, and I feel that I need to do this. I need to take a positive step to do something that will have a positive impact towards ending this disease.

If you feel like I do, then I encourage you to pray about what you can do to help this fight so that there WILL be a time when cancer is not the scourge that it is today.

If you wish, you can join me in the AVON Walk by making a donation to the AVON Foundation. Any amount will help, from $5.00 to $500.00, as all the monies collected will add up to help those get the treatment they need and to fund the research necessary to find the cure. Just go to my AVON Fundrasing web site and make an online donation. it is totally secure.

Make May a month of action -- a time to celebrate things new, a time to celebrate relationships, and a time to honor those who have gone before us.

Friday, March 9, 2012

iPad 3/The New iPad.... more like the iPad 2S

Is Steve Jobs watching this rollout? I would imagine that he kept hoping Tim would say "And one more thing..." because in my opinion, this announcement was just not very compelling, and certainly not "revolutionary". As I watched the announcement unfold, the phrase "And?" (from the recent commercial for Coke Zero) kept coming to mind. I just wasn't feeling any excitement.

So what was Tim Cook trying to get us all excited about? Well, the "new" iPad, of course. Yeah, no more model numbers. So we go from the iPad, to the iPad 2, to the "new" iPad. What will next year's model be called? Perhaps the "newer" iPad? Or the "even better" iPad? Lame. (And as an Apple mobile device lover, I just hate having to type that word here)

The key improvements

The Retina Display: This seemed the be the lynch pin of the presentation. They certainly spent a lot of time talking about it. Which I find a little wasteful considering the Retina Display has been around for two years with its introduction with the iPhone 4. The 2048x1536 resolution at 264 pixels/inch is fantastic to be sure. Greater color saturation will make photos and video look better as well. I imagine iPad 1 users will jump to the new iPad but would people upgrade from the iPad 2 just for that? Perhaps Apple is targeting those iPad 1 users and those who are still trying to decide on their first tablet purchase.

The new A5X Graphics Processor: To make the new Retina Display "pop", they had to improve the processor to a Quad Core Graphics chip that can drive all those pixels without seriously draining battery life. The A5X (not the expected A6 chip) is designed to do just that. I get the feeling that this chip won't do much for general application performance but is really just a powerhouse to support faster graphics processing. Nothing wrong with that!

4G/LTE and Tethering Support: As I said in a previous post, this is the one thing I was hoping for! And it is finally here! Of course, it should have been in both the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, but whose complaining (okay, I am). The LTE speed (for those who live in an area that has it) will be a big benefit for power users of the device. And the ability to use the iPad as a Personal Hotspot to support five other wireless devices will be much accepted (the costs of which will be up to your carrier, of course). I think this was inevitable. I wonder how the Personal Hotspot feature will impact battery life though.

LTE does suck up battery life (as most Android users with 4G/LTE will attest to). So Apple has tweaked the battery in the new iPad so that even with LTE, you will still have 9 hours of battery life (10+ hours if running 3G). This will be a welcome benefit to those LTE users who currently have to buy extended batteries for their Android phones.

Improved Camera with 1080p: The new 5 megapixel camera is nice but more of a 'duh' in my book. It should have come with the iPad 2. But Apple likes to improve its cameras with every new device release, so this comes as no great surprise. Basically, this is the same camera that ships in the iPhone 4S so people will enjoy using the iPad as an overly large camera for both stills and HD Video at 1080p. The new auto face-detection and auto image stabilization will also be appreciated.

Updates for iWork and iLife: These improvements are pretty much par for the course. GarageBand got Smart Strings, a Note Editor, and a cool new feature where multiple iPad users can collaborate in a "jam session" that can be recorded on a single iPad as separate tracks. I can see a lot of musicians trying to see how this can enhance their creativity. iMovie can now generate 'movie trailers' which should be fun. And the new iPhoto app will offer 'photo journals' that can be stored in iCloud and shared with non-Apple users via a web browser. All very nice (but not limited to just the new iPad device).

Siri with Japanese support: Okay, so if you speak Japanese, you are going to love this new feature. But otherwise, it is just another language Siri supports. It has yet to be really tested in the real world to see how well it works. Just ask Siir users in Scotland about their experiences with language recognition. I wonder how Siri will handle the various dialects in Japan.

iCloud streams movies now: iCloud is just going to expand its reach as more and more developers begin to figure out how to utilize the Cloud in their applications. The fact that Apple will now stream movies from the Cloud is just a natural extension of what it does now with media. It's a good thing, especially if it has adaptive streaming to handle varying bandwidth availability at the device level for those of us who won't be using LTE.

Apple TV supports 1080p too: Oh yeah, the new Apple TV device, which supports NetFlix and other streaming sources, will now hook up to your HDTV device in full 1080p! While this is not historic or revolutionary, it is what I would expect from a streaming media device in today's world. If you are one of the many who are 'unplugging' from the likes of Comcast, AT&T UVerse, and DISH Network in favor of getting all your entertainment over the Internet, then this is something to pay attention to. For $99, it is well worth the investment because it also allows you to stream all the media on your PC/Mac to your HDTV (photos, music, and video).

To wrap things up

I don't mean to say these improvements aren't very nice. They are all nice enhancements. And that if I had the device, I would certainly be taking advantage of them. But they just seem like a small step up -- like where the iPad 2 should have been from the start. The top four items on the above list were all things that users like me were clamoring for about this same time in 2011 when we were all waiting for the iPad 2 announcement.

The app improvements and the updated iOS 5.1 I will get on my iPad 2, so I do not really consider them germane to discussing the value of the "new" iPad. I will get to enjoy the new features of GarageBand, iMovie, and iPhoto without the new device. And sure, the camera icon visible on the lock screen is great (but of course you still need tech gloves if you live in colder climates to swipe the thing).

For those of us who shelled out the cash for a 3G 64gb iPad 2, I cannot justify the cost of upgrading to this new device. The only compelling enhancement is 4G/LTE. The Retina Display is all nice and fine, but unless you are an iPad Gamer I don't think the display alone is worth the cash. I think I'd rather wait for the iPhone 5 with LTE support and just tether my iPad 2 to that when I need the speed boost.

I can't help but wonder if Apple has 'jumped the shark'. It has been a full two days since the announcement, and I am still thinking to myself "And....?"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

iPad 3 Announcement coming March 7th

Here we go again! Apple has made it official today -- an announcement on their new iPad will be made on March 7th. Official specifications and features have not yet been published by Apple but the web is filled with rumors and wish lists for the new mobile device. And, Apple's new iOS -- iOS 5.1 -- is also expected to be revealed during that announcement as well.

Having purchased the 64gb/3G iPad 2 last April, I am once again faced with the decision to upgrade or pass. I have to say that as of right now, I am likely to 'pass' on this one. I just don't see anything truly compelling enough for me to spend the money for another iPad. It might be a better choice to save my money for the next iPhone instead (especially if the coveted iPhone 5 comes with LTE support and the ability to share that connection with my iPad 2 when needed).

So what are people thinking?

LTE Support with Qualcomm 4G LTE Gobi 4000 chip.
This is the only real feature that makes an upgrade truly enticing for me. Having 4G LTE speed for the iPad would be awesome. Most people use their iPads for more powerful mobile computing, video/entertainment, and gaming. So having the ability to manage files in the Cloud more efficiently, enjoy a smoother video streaming experience with NetFlix/Hulu/YouTube, and faster audio streaming via iCloud are all major benefits of the faster network.

Quad Core A6 ARM processor by Samsung
The iPad 2 is a dual-core A5 processor that is very fast. It was a definite improvement over the original iPad processor. The A5 chip is also what is powering the iPhone 4S. So imagine the speed of this new quad-core A6! The iPad will be a speedy device for sure, and marrying that with the speed of 4G LTE, and you will certainly experience the 'turbo boost'. I would say this is the second enticement for moving up to the iPad 3, especially if you are a gamer, an iMovie user, or a power user who pushes their device to its fullest.

Bigger battery Capacity
One thing that 4G LTE users have groaned about on their HTC phones, is the impact of the LTE network access on their battery life. It isn't pretty. LTE can drain a battery fast, so it only makes sense that Apple would want to beef up the already beefy battery to compensate for LTE. I use my iPad all day long and it can last me 10-12 hours. If using LTE reduces overall battery life by more than an hour, I would be very upset. So increasing battery life makes sense. And if you don't use LTE, maybe the device will last a few more hours than it does today.

The long-awaited Retina Display
Everyone has been waiting for it. It did not appear in the original. It did not appear in the iPad 2. So it just 'has' to be in the iPad 3, right? With a potential resolution of 2048x1536, this would be great for game developers and video enthusiasts, not to mention viewing the photos you transfer to the device from your favorite Digital SLR Camera. Rumor have the screen being developed by Sharp, Samsung, and even LG. But with rumors of manufacturing challenges flying around, it is still unclear whether this is going to be realized in the next model.

A better Rear Camera at 8MP
Every time Apple releases an iDevice, they seem to want to improve the camera optics. So it is reasonable to expect that the iPad will get a better camera, perhaps at the same 8MP resolution as the iPhone 4S. It would be short-sighted to have an iPad 3 with a mediocre camera. So one feature pretty much brings the other along.

iOS 5.1 Release
Apple has been working on this new release for the past 3-6 months, and developers have had beta releases to work with for a while. It would make sense for Apple to announce the new OS along with the iPad 3, especially if there are features that the new device will take advantage of. A few of the new features that have leaked include:

  • FaceBook integration: Just like iOS 5.0 included Twitter integration, we will see greater integration of FaceBook into the built-in apps. It will be easier to upload photos and videos to FaceBook without using the FaceBook app, as well as posting updates. We might also see merging of contact information between the Contacts app and your FaceBook friends.
  • Notes w/Rich Text: The Notes app is pretty basic. Until now. Now you can choose more fonts, colors, sizes, and other rich text elements to your notes, making them a little more useful. Not sure if this will make me stop using apps like Texttastic or other notetaking apps, but at least they are improving this built-in solution.
  • Siri upgrade: Siri gets some improvements including support for the Japanese language and more support for dictation into email, notes, etc.
  • Camera slider swipe-up: To make it easier to take photos using an iDevice, there will now be a camera icon next to the Unlock Slider. You will be able to 'swipe up' on the camera icon to execute the camera app. This is great for those who have a lock code on their device. Now, if they could only make the camera app execute by pressing a volume button or something -- for those of us who live in winter climates and wear gloves (and don't have a pair of tech gloves).

    A few other rumors...
    A couple of rumors that I think are not likely to appear in this new release are Thunderbold device support (faster USB connectivity), a mini-USB port to replace the 30-pin connector for syncing, and a higher 128gb capacity model. I just don't see Apple changing their position on using the Cloud for additional storage needs. If you are a Cloud user, having USB ports to add storage is less necessary. And the mini-USB connector port would be great, but all of us with our multiple iDevice accessories (cases, chargers, GPS, speakers, VGA/HDMI adapters, etc.) would be pretty aggravated if they no longer worked (or we had to buy some $30 converter cable/adapter).


    So, are you planning to buy an iPad 3? If so, what is your compelling reason? Are you going to be selling an existing iPad in order to buy the new one? If so, check out, which offers great deals for trading in your tech devices of all kinds for cash, gift cards, you name it.

  • Friday, January 20, 2012

    Opportunities and Goals for 2012

    It is the year 2012, and it has started off with a bang. On January 4th, my wife and son and I traveled to Orlando,Florida for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The last time we visited the House of Mouse was in 2007, when we went during the Labor Day weekend. This time, we were going for a purpose: so that I could compete in my first Half Marathon!

    The experience was truly inspiring! Being out there running with 27,000 others in the Half Marathon, and running the 5K race with my son and 8000 other runners, was an emotional event that I will never forget. The fact that I ran my first Half Marathon was a big part of it. But also, meeting new friends, running mates, and members of the W.I.S.H. Racing Team (We're Inspired to Stay Healthy) made the whole weekend that much more enjoyable for me and my family. Needless to say, I plan to return to Disney World in 2013 to compete in all three races -- the 5K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon. If I can do that, I will come home with four Disney medals for the effort.

    For a more detailed report of my Disney experience, visit my Healthy Living blog site and read the posting about it.

    After returning to the 'real world' of Illinois, I have been thinking about the past year and what this year might bring. I have been thinking about what I would like to accomplish in 2012, and I have come up with several.

    Lose another 50 pounds

    In 2011, my weight loss efforts continued, bringing my total weight loss since May 2010 to over 110 pounds. This was very rewarding for me, seeing my shirt size go from a 4XL to just XL, my pants size go from a 58 to 44, and now being able to fit into clothes previously too small for me. I have given away tons of clothes to Good Will that are now way too big for me.

    But, I am not done yet! My weight target is 190 pounds. I have 50 more pounds to lose and my goal is to lose them in 2012! The past few months have seen my weight loss stabilize -- no gaining but no losing either. I believe part of this is the result of my training for the Half Marathon, but another part of it is that I have become more lax in my tracking of what I eat.

    So 2012, I re-dedicate myself to following my Weight Watchers PointsPLUS program more carefully, continue to eat healthy foods, and lose these last pounds.

    Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle

    This will be the year of the Half Marathon! I ran my first on January 7th at Disney. My second will be on January 21st, when I run the Polar Dash down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago where it will be well below freezing and lots of fresh snow on the ground. After that, I have three other Half Marathons scheduled between April and September. I also have three 5Ks (one was completed on January 6th) and one 10 Mile race scheduled.

    In June, I will be participating in the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer Research. This is a two-day event where the first day is a 26.2 mile walk, followed by a 13.1 mile walk the following day. I will be doing this to raise awareness and funds to help in the fight to find a cure for this terrible disease that affects both men and women alike. More on this soon. I hope I can count on your support to help me in this fight!

    My biggest athletic challenge for 2012 will be my first Full Marathon: The Chicago Marathon in October! I am very excited and intimidated by this one. I am putting together my training plan for this race now, so that I will be prepared.

    Other than running and walking, I will also be working out at my health club, doing some biking and swimming and strength training. Not only do I want to lose weight, I want to build more lean muscle mass, strengthen my core, and make sure that I am losing fat, not muscle. I want to be a lean mean fighting machine!

    Read the entire Bible

    I want to improve my Bible literacy this year by reading the entire Bible over the course of this calendar year. More importantly, I want to study the Bible more this year, finding out more about God's purpose for our lives and how His Word can both convict and encourage me to live a life worthy of the sacrifice that Jesus made for me on the Cross.

    Learn a new skill

    No one knows everything. I want to learn something new this year. Right now, I do not know what that might be. But I am going to keep my eyes open adn when the opportunity arises, I am going to grab on with both hands. He who stops learning, stops living!


    So, I guess that is it. These are my goals for the new year. What goals are you shooting for? If you haven't thought about it, then now is the time. What do you want? What do you value? How can you improve yourself, your life

    Here is hoping that you have a wonderful and prosperous 2012!