David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Category: Reviews Page 1 of 3

1.5 TB Western Digital Caviar Green: Don’t Get One (Update 4: Turning the Corner?)

Update 4 (1/16/2011): Actually, they have now shipped the original drive they said they were going to send and it’s in Dallas currently. Not sure what that RMA email was about with the other drive type.

Update 3 (1/15/2011): Apparently the drive type has changed unexpectedly during the RMA process to the WD2002FYPS. I looked up the drive on Tom’s Hardware and came up with an interesting review. At this point in the process, you tell me what you would think after reading this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/2tb-hdd-energy,2371-5.html.

“Although a RAID Edition drive like the new RE4 sounds like it should spin at 7,200 RPM and serve up high performance, the new WD2002FYPS is not a new hard drive. Instead, WD modified and re-validated the existing 2 TB Caviar Green WD20EADS to suit the demands of 24/7 applications in business and data center environments.”

Have emailed my contact at WD twice with no response at this point.

Update 2 (1/14/2011): Well … Western Digital called today and I won’t say who I spoke with to keep people anonymous in the process. The sales guy I spoke with was very kind and apologetic. I must say, at this point, they are working to make up for this, as they are sending me this drive: Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s. Okay that’ll do. But we’ll have to wait and see how it performs, short and long-term. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Update 1 (1/12/2011): the story only gets worse. I sent the drive back to Western Digital a couple of months ago before the warranty ran out, at my own expense, and was sent back a used, scratched up, junky drive … that ALSO DIDN’T WORK WORTH A … (you know), in either of the computers I tried it in! I had initially asked on the site when requesting the replacement that I be sent a Caviar Black instead of the Caviar Green and that I was willing to pay the extra amount for the drive, and received no response whatsoever, but instead received an absolute piece of junk that didn’t work at all.

This is unbelievable to me, the level of non-support, the lack of quality in the product, the process from top to bottom, from the humans to the machines. I will never, ever buy Western Digital again. I’ve only had trouble. I have no idea in my mind why in the world Western Digital is still in the market at all. MAJOR FAIL on the part of Western Digital on this one!

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So for Christmas, my Dad bought me a Western Digital 1.5 TB (terabyte) hard drive from TigerDirect.com. No issues with TigerDirect to be clear. No issues with what my Dad got me since I told him the hard drive to order. And initially no issues with the hard drive either.

However, the past month or two, the computer would just freeze up with no warning or signs that a problem was imminent. At first I thought no big deal. Then it kept happening, and then the freezes became more frequent. Then they became everyday recently. Finally the other day, I rebooted the machine and it couldn’t even see the drive until I switched SATA (Serial ATA) controllers on the motherboard.

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American Patriot’s Bible – Words Cannot Describe II

America has a rich history rooted in the Christian faith, drawing many principles from Scripture. And while this is true, it does not lend us the conclusion that America was a “Christian nation,” even at our founding. Such an assumption is absurd and presents a misguided interpretation of history and a misunderstanding of the nature of how people are converted and saved. Many of the founding fathers were deists, an ideology which runs counter to the Biblical portrayal of an all-sovereign God, which necessarily affects our understanding of the Gospel.

The assumption that this was a Christian nation, displayed prominently within this Bible version, will hurt the cause of the Gospel in that it delivers the understanding to the unconverted that if you are an American and support the Constitution, you are a Christian and are “in” God’s favor. This is blatantly fallacious and patently unbiblical. American Religion is opposed to the Biblical Gospel. The Biblical Gospel critiques American Religion much in the same way Jesus critiqued the Pharisees.

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American Patriot’s Bible – Words Cannot Describe

American Patriot’s Bible: combining God’s infallible Word with the idolatry of American nationalism.

If there is anything that really gets my blood boiling, it is any piece of merchandise or any program or movement that holds up the idea that being an American equals being a converted, born-again Christian, something plaguing many of our churches to this day. And this Bible version (particularly as it pertains to the commentary contained within) is no exception, but in fact, is the ultimate example of exactly what I am talking about.

Don’t get me wrong here on this point: I love this country. In addition, this in no way negates my support for our troops or my desire to see this country continue in its current (hopefully improved) state. If you have read any of my political entries, you will know this is the case. This is merely about God’s Word being used as a platform for another agenda.

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The Shack – A Review

There are so many reviews that have done a fine job of explaining the pros and cons of this book that I don’t feel I need to go into this for very long.

First, I’ll just say that after reading it, the picture of God’s sovereignty and reasons for ordaining that suffering be are attractive, though in my view, insufficient (see the book of Job or Romans 8 or John Piper for a better explanation). Also, the concept that God the Trinity is eternally happy in Himself (see Jonathan Edwards’ works) is refreshing. The emotional tug of the book (which made me cry at points, it really is a heart breaking story) gives great weight to its attractiveness in a culture absorbed in emotional appeal and presuppositions. Those emotional aspect of the book really caught my attention and I thought Young did a good job of making Mack’s situation enrapturing. I was really able to put myself in his shoes. And it is overwhelming considering the weight of that pain.

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Liberating a Captive Church – The Foreword to Christless Christianity

Here we are in the North American church—conservative or liberal, evangelical or mainline, Protestant or Catholic, emergent or otherwise—cranking along just fine, thank you. So we’re busy downsizing, becoming culturally relevant, reaching out, drawing in, making disciples, managing the machinery, utilizing biblical principles, celebrating recovery, user-friendly, techno savvy, finding the purposeful life, practicing peace with justice, utilizing spiritual disciplines, growing in self-esteem, reinventing ourselves as effective ecclesiastical entrepreneurs, and, in general, feeling ever so much better about our achievements.

Notice anything missing in this pretty picture? Jesus Christ!

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How Did the Economic House of Cards Fall? (MP3’s)

These two three four five six radio programs on This American Life do an excellent job of giving an on-the-street perspective from the Wall Street investors to the lenders all the way down to the individual home-buyers and finally the results of the recession in everyday life. In addition, there is a very good explanation of how banks work and why they are becoming insolvent. If you haven’t dug in to understand how we have gotten into this mess, you must listen to these programs. Excellent journalism.

More in-depth economic analysis can be found here:

(Update: 9.28.2009 – Though they don’t come to this conclusion in these shows, after much investigation and personal reflection on the events of the last two years, I have come to the conclusion that the Federal Reserve is ultimately at fault for meddling in markets, making money super cheap to obtain, and promoting an environment of pure moral hazard. Certainly, all those who took the bait, everyone from lenders, to consumers, to those on Wall Street, are all responsible in some manner. But ultimate responsibility for the over-arching cause of the crisis is the reckless policy decisions of our central bank over the last 30 years, starting with Paul Volcker (as I understand it), who is oddly one of Obama’s economic advisor’s. It is unfathomable to me that the same people who promoted reckless macro-economic policies are supposed to be the same people to get us out of this mess … by spending us even further in the hole. Unbelievable. And contrary to the assumption that “no one saw this coming,” think again … watch below.)

MP3 Sermons on Romans 9 – John Piper

If you really want to dive deep into the implications and ramifications of God’s grace and mercy to us in Christ, you really need to take the time to listen to this series of sermons on Romans 9 by John Piper. It is unfortunate these passages get skimmed over, ignored or nuanced to such a great degree there is nothing left but hollow theology. There is gold here if you will spend the time with it. Romans 9 answers these questions (though Romans 10-11 continues the answers as well):

  1. “If God has made such great promises to us in Christ that will NEVER fail (as explained in Romans 8), why is it that a majority of Israel rejected Christ, the only One who could save them?”
  2. “If all of Israel is not saved, and God’s promises have failed them, what are we to make of the promises of God given to us in Romans 8?”
  3. “Is God required to show mercy to everyone?”
  4. “Is God free to show mercy to whom He pleases?”
  5. “Is God bound by what the creature does or doesn’t do, or is He free to do as He pleases, to His own glory and for His own purposes?”
  6. “From where did our faith come from?”

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Windows 7 Beta – An Initial Review

With permission, this is an email I received from a co-worker named Nathan Abbott, who sent me a quick run down of the improvements and drawbacks to Windows 7 Beta after testing it this morning. Sounds like there are still some things Microsoft needs to improve, like the TCP/IP network stack. But progress has surely been made from Vista.

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Active Services

Memory Usage

Well I have spent a few hours with Windows 7 and here are my initial thoughts and feelings.

1.)  The network stack still needs work.  M$ implemented an enhanced TCP/IP stack and they still have bugs they need to work out of it.  File transfer times are still a bit sluggish.  I tested 10 MEG, 100 MEG and 4.0 GIG file transfers and XP still beats Windows 7.  I did notice that after turning off their IPV6 Helper service, files transferred a little faster.

2.)  There are still too many services that start on startup or have a delayed startup.  A base install starts with 38+ services on boot up.  I trimmed it down to 28.  I have attached screenshots [above].

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Thoughts on Piper’s Book, The Future of Justification – A Partial Review

In the past, just doing a cursory reading of some of N.T. Wright’s statements on justification, I thought that I could at least grasp a basic concept of his understanding of this centrally important piece of the Gospel message. Then I picked up Piper’s book. Now I’m even more confused than I was before; I now have some clarity on various points, but I see now I haven’t even scratched the surface of where the man is coming from on justification. Wright’s comprehensive picture of God’s working out salvation in history seems to be coming from a totally different avenue, one the church has never been down in 2000 years. It seems Piper is confused at points to, or sees seemingly contradictory understandings within Wright that he is putting out there at various junctures. While reading Piper’s critique and seeing quotes of Wright’s, I think to myself, “This is a Catholic understanding of justification,” and then at other points, I affirm with Wright that part of his articulation is the traditionally historic Protestant view (i.e. the “Wright” one … get it? Wow, okay I’ll stop … you knew it had to come, ya know, a pun … okay I’m digging a hole).

Things became much clearer tonight though as I continued reading (as much as it can in waters already muddied by a whole new articulation of a super vital doctrine that has never once appeared in all of church history). One of the things that has really come to bear in my understanding of Wright on justification is the way in which he distinguishes present and future justification. I have never even considered these as two separate, yet related doctrines (nor do I at this point still, just so I’m clear … I believe I’m justified now and will be in the future on the same basis, Christ alone). In the present, says Wright, we are justified by faith alone, knowing that all Christ has overcome and achieved is ours, or in other words, the verdict is in: we are His and have been made His by Christ. Okay that’s comforting. Here it comes though … yet future justification, the justification yet to occur at the judgment seat of God, is faith and the entire life lived in love as a confirmation of true, authentic saving faith. Confused?

With Piper, along with Wright, I concur that our lives should be overflowing with good works (imperfectly) from the supposed supernatural change in our hearts we claim to have had happen in us by God’s working alone, and that if that isn’t happening in us now (or we have no desire or struggle even with such things), we should very well question if God has born us anew at all; that is, is our faith the work of God in us alone to save us and keep us, or is it a false faith we worked up out of our sinful flesh that cannot stand the test of time and trials that will inevitably come (and believe me, they will)? If God has created in us a new heart, made us a new creation by the resurrection of Christ, then what necessarily results from that supernatural work in us is sweetness and fruitfulness, not bitterness and rottenness. I affirm this with Piper and Wright.

Wright is correct to point out that so much of Protestantism has erred in not presenting a balanced view of Paul’s understanding of faith and works, that the two go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other (James 2:14-26). If God brings about faith in your heart, faith that can only come from Him, a faith that is supernaturally struck by the “beauty of His majesty” and the extent to which He went to bring us to Himself, that faith will inevitably produce good fruit because that is what we’ve been redeemed to. Faith and works are indeed interconnected.

But are they interconnected as the basis for our final justification? Or even our present justification? And yet somehow that understanding in itself isn’t connected with my present justification before God’s throne (the very thing that gives me hope when I’ve sinned and fallen short of the glory of God)? Are the two “justification’s” even distinguishable other than by time? I have a hard time accepting that understanding. It’s like a synthesized version of Protestant and Catholic views on justification almost, patching the former into our present justification and the latter into our future justification. Ultimately though, it comes down to our works in his view, from my standpoint.

I affirm with Piper that in Wright’s view of these two “justification’s” (present and future), the basis or root of both is different. In the present, for Wright, justification is rooted in faith alone through Christ alone. Yet in the future, our justification, the final proclamation of our vindication, that we are God’s covenant people, is based on our faith and our whole life lived … or in essence, our works. I agree that faith “works in love” of necessity and the effect of faith is works, but negate the understanding that our justification, either present or future, rests on faith + works in any fashion. This itself is a perversion of the Gospel of Christ and, as Martin Luther said, sola fide (faith alone) was “the very hinge upon which the Reformation turned.”

I have a hard time accepting the idea that my present justification and my future justification are somehow not the same at the root, that is in Christ’s work alone, appropriated through faith alone, that is all granted by God’s grace alone. The thing that gives me hope, everyday, is that both forms of justification, present and future, are exactly the same and are both rooted in the singular saving work of Christ alone, wrought out upon the cross, sealed and confirmed in the resurrection, and applied by His Holy Spirit to His elect covenant people, and in my particular case. It is knowing I’m secured by His grace, that I’m declared righteous, that gives me freedom to work for His glory and honor, because now no longer am I doing it to be justified (or made right with God), but I do it because I want to out of a love that overflows in my heart (all of which is it self a gift a grace).

If in the present I look off into the future justification of my life at the judgment seat of Christ and I see that His judgment of me is based on my faith and the life I’ve lived (or works), and not merely faith alone, will I not attempt to work harder to make sure “I’m in” the covenant community of God? Does my final justification then not hone in and rest upon what I’ve done in my life, which is defiled and wretched? What hope is that?

You see then, in all reality, if I believed this, ultimately the final verdict of whether or not I go to heaven or hell depends on my obedience, my works, which once again hits at the very distinguishing mark between Protestants and Catholics for 500 years (which Wright, in my opinion is folding on doctrinally): for Catholics, their justification, or right standing before God, comes by faith and works, produced by the infusion of the Holy Spirit into their hearts; for Protestants, our justification is through faith alone, that we are accounted righteous by Christ’s working on our behalf … but we saved through a faith that works in love of necessity … because the faith that God grants His people is of Himself and full of power, effectively changing the course of our entire lives (though we still yet remain imperfect). Ephesians 2:8-10 articulates this Protestant doctrine the best: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God saves His people by grace, granting faith, which justifies them, and then He moves in them to work for His glory.

I find all of this highly confusing, especially to those who have only a fundamental understanding of what justification is, let alone Wright coming along and making distinguishing marks between two different kinds, a present and a future justification. Wright says the Reformers were confused on the issue and that the conversation between Protestants and Catholics got off on the wrong foot during the Reformation. But I can only say Wright seems to have confused himself 1) about what the Reformers were saying concerning faith and works, and 2) he may be reading too much Second Temple Judaism back into the texts of Romans and Galatians in particular.

But, I am no scholar, nor do I presume to be, nor have I read any Second Temple Judaism from which to make any kind of a standing assertion such as that. I have only grasped a few of the concepts Wright is articulating, or at the very least attempting to, so I could very well be wrong and misunderstanding what he is saying. As you study, one of the things you realize is just how little you know of anything really. If Piper is confused at points, surely I’m going to be. Somehow I feel that Piper’s confusion comes from (possible) contradictory statements and a (possibly) confused N.T. Wright who is uttering them. But maybe I have a bias.

Google Chrome – First Impressions

As with most Google products, many of which I use, simplicity seems to be the overarching theme. This is good for many of their applications, such as Google Talk and Earth, which makes it easy for the average user to navigate and operate. However, I must admit, I was hoping for a bit more functionality with the release of this new browser. Because it lacks some of the “out-of-the-box” functionality of Firefox and even IE (such as a basic menu toolbar), it fell short of my expectations.

Now, I know you can add applications to it and so forth. In addition, it is still in Beta testing, so things could change with it. But I doubt much will be added, knowing Google’s simplistic mode of developing applications. Their web browser is no exception. And for that I think I will simply stick with Firefox, at least for now.

Also, I did some investigation on what “engine” (or the component that drives the browser) they are using to render web content to your computer screen and this is what I found in the log files after hitting my websites: “AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.27 Safari/525.13.” So, they are essentially using Safari as the browser core? That’s disappointing, though I know it’s not for you Mac fans out there. However, that’s not me, nor is it a great majority of my colleagues.

I figured they would be developing their own engine and going from there. Maybe that was already outlined from the very beginning in the initial news release, but since I only heard about it the other day, I haven’t had much time to investigate that. Regardless, I’m disappointed. I guess I was hoping maybe they would create their own engine code that made browsing even more efficient. But it’s just (in the Democrats words) more of the same, it seems.

I will say though that if you just want a straight, vanilla browser with no complex parts to it and all you want to do is read news on the web, or whatever, this is the browser for you. But if you want more default functionality, stick with Firefox or IE. I’m not impressed so far.

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