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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

see also — My Homepage

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

Any links with a dashed underscore probably point to Amazon.com

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Blogger Dissatisfaction

I just received a useful and well-written message from Blogger.com stating that they "will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010." Based on what I have read so far, the upshot is that I can no longer host my own words on my own web server when using Blogger as my interface.

I haven't had time to look into the long and short of it, but my initial reaction is that I will not be satisfied with hosting my weblog on Google's servers, and will either switch away from Blogger or just let this weblog continue to exist as a dead archive. I'm not sure how this will work out. But for the moment, I feel that Google as Blogger is failing to provide an acceptable alternative.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thunderbird 3 Gripes

This seems to be a nuisance on a scale worth warning others about: Thunderbird 3 taketh away, and you may have to jump through hoops to get back the lost functionality.

First, the headers in each message are now shown no matter what your preference. In order to get back the screen space you've just lost, you need to find and install an add-in. Seriously?! Yes. It's very lovely, I'm sure, that the junk mail, reply and delete buttons are now displayed in that space. Or not.

Second, the count of the total number of messages in each folder is now gone. In order to get it back, you have to find, and (the version number) and install an add-on. Seriously?! Yes.

Third, the words "Local folders" get appended to every folder name until you install the above-mentioned add-on. I really could use that screen space, thankyouverymuch.

And, last on the list for this moment, the All or Unread messages control seems to have vanished. I haven't found the way (setting or add-on) to bring it back yet.

Come on, team . . . Thunderbird 2 had a workable interface. I only upgraded to 3 in hopes that it would go faster! Please don't take away capabilities as the price of staying up-to-date with current releases and enjoying whatever new features you wish to offer us!

And don't get me started on the number of hours it took Tbird 3 to index my existing e-mail folders.

Overall . . . my recommendation is that you upgrade with your eyes open. Look at the above list, and if none of these things will be a thorn in your flesh, then go for it.

Friday, October 09, 2009


This morning's Sabbath School lesson contained two quotes that resonated with me, for whatever reason, and I want to share them with you:
Circumstances may separate friends; the restless waters of the wide sea may roll between us and them. But no circumstances, no distance, can separate us from the Saviour. Wherever we may be, He is at our right hand, to support, maintain, uphold, and cheer. Greater than the love of a mother for her child is Christ's love for His redeemed. It is our privilege to rest in His love, to say 'I will trust Him; for He gave His life for me.'—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 72.
Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, 'Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.' This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.—Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 70.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Most Unexpected Gift

Yesterday after lunch I hurried to the cafeteria to get myself a treat: some decaffe. (I've been mostly decaffeinated for several weeks now.) As I stood at the coffee bar, one of the cafeteria workers, one I make a point to chat with whenever I'm there, came by to clean the area. I joked with her that it was OK for me to put an extra packet of sugar in my coffee, since it was my birthday.

"It's your birthday?" she asked, and gave this careful consideration. "Wait here," she directed. "I bring you gift from Burma." She scurried off toward the kitchen.

I finished pouring my beverage and added cream (hazelnut, my favorite :-) ). A moment later she reappeared, holding a neatly-packaged scroll of dark cloth. It reminded me immediately of a souvenir my parents had brought back from an orchestra tour to the far east about three decades ago.

Together we unrolled the banner to reveal an eye-catching map of Myanmar, divided into provinces marked with glitter and surrounded by figures displaying glitter-encrusted native costumes. She showed me which province held her home.

I knew that she had taken a trip to Myanmar a few weeks previously. Apparently she had brought back this souvenir and kept it at work, waiting for the right moment to bestow it on someone. I'm very gratified to have been the recipient!

Thank you, Rose. What a very lovely gift!

Here's the banner. Neither the camera nor the lighting were sufficient to the gift, but you can get an idea of it, at least.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Muddy Creek Falls - Top

Muddy Creek Falls - Top, originally uploaded by Daniel Ashton.

Vicki and I visited Swallow Falls State Park this weekend, and I came away with a few pictures. Follow the link to see 9 of the 287 frames I shot.


Monday, July 13, 2009

J. Wilton Ashton

On the occasion of my grandfather's 102nd birthday . . . warm and loving memories, and praise to God for the years that I was privileged to know this remarkable man.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

All Programs - Communicate?

My father was quoted recently as saying that there are two fundamentals that music students must learn:
  1. All music is dance music.
  2. All music is vocal music.
The notes you play on piano or violin don't find their musicality until you, the player, can touch their movement and feel their warm breath on your face. It's when your spirit moves and your heart sings that true music pours out.

As I read a developerWorks article by Doug Phillips, it strikes me that a similar rule could be expressed for the applications we use:
  1. All computer programs are about communication.
About the furthest I can come from that rule are games like Solitaire. But even those more frequently have shared score boards, where you can communicate your prowess to other players.

Clearly, e-mail and instant messaging programs are all about communication. Office applications and record keeping are about communication, too, although we forget it too easily.

So, how would your favorite programs be better if their architects and designers had thought more about how they communicate, and how you use them to communicate?

Monday, March 23, 2009

National Security Must Not Cost Our Core Values

"I fundamentally disagree with Dick Cheney -- not surprisingly," Obama said. "I think that Vice President Cheney has been at the head of a movement whose notion is somehow that we can't reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don't torture, with our national security interests. I think he's drawing the wrong lesson from history."

It remains to be seen, of course, whether this is merely political rhetoric. I hope he really means it.

-- from this CNN article

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Am I Missing?

I recently received an invitation to solo with our local community orchestra. While this is by no means an opportunity to "make it big time," it's still exciting because it gives me a reason to study and practice, perhaps to learn a new piece of music or dust off an old familiar one, and to do something that's high on the list of things that I'm able to do skillfully.

In traditional Vulcan fashion, I'm trying to manage the excitement, fight it, repress it. ("Come and see the violence inherent in the system!") Excitement gets in the way. It distracts from the other things I need to do (and I don't need any more distraction, thank you very much), and it creates a huge opportunity for disappointment. Excitement is not pragmatic.

As I over-analyze my internal workings, I find myself wondering just what I'm missing by refusing to revel in excitement, to bask in it briefly. Surely God gave us this emotion for a purpose. And what physiological effect does excitement-management render on my body? Am I damaging something by suppressing this form of eustress?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brass at Westminster

Our brass group will be playing at the Westminster SDA church tomorrow morning, with prelude starting at 10:45. See you there?

320 Crest Lane
Westminster, MD 21157