On Netflix and Inflection Points

So Netflix is upping the cost of unlimited streaming and getting a DVD shipped, by a lot. My first thought was that we’d dump the Netflix DVD option and move to Redbox for DVD’s. After all, at one movie a weekend, which all we do realistically, Redbox is half the price. Pus, with Micah now driving, he’d happily run to Redbox for us just to get to drive his car. Half price movies and a happy teenager, what could be better?

Now I’m thinking that we might dump Netflix altogether. The streaming movie offerings are nice as a fill in but the selection isn’t strong enough to drop the $8 a month on. Frankly, every time we’ve really wanted to stream something right now (like when the kid’s karate instructor scheduled a party at our house to watch the original Karate Kid and then forgot to rent it.) we’ve been bailed out by Amazon Unbox, not by Netflix. I double checked and everything in my Netflix queue is available on Amazon for rent at pretty reasonable prices ($2.99 for the older stuff).

One of my uses for Netflix is streaming movies while I’m working on the road. Except that it rarely works. Too many hotels still have really poor wireless. (I’m look at you Hilton brands, Marriott kicks your butt in this area.) When it takes 3 hours to stream an hour and half movie you can bet the experience is terrible. With Amazon, the rentals are portable so I can rent and download before I leave home taking portable movies with me.

Ok, I think I’ve convinced myself, now to go convince my wife.

Freedom is never a release and always a responsibility

As Egypt begins to ponder what freedom might mean for them, and the course to freedom is by no means set yet for Egypt, yesterday’s Daily Drucker reminded me of what freedom really means. It made me wonder if Egyptians are really ready for freedom, not just license.

“Freedom is not fun. It is not the same as individual happiness, nor is it security or peace or progress. It is a responsible choice. Freedom is not so much a right as a duty. Real freedom is not freedom from something; that would be license. It is freedom to choose between doing or not doing something, to act one way or another, to hold one belief or the opposite. It is not “fun” but the heaviest burden laid on man: to decide his own individual conduct as well as the conduct of society and to be responsible for both decisions.”, [Peter F. Drucker with Joseph A. Maciariello, The Daily Drucker]

Sometimes God Wants My Attention

Last week had a rough ending. To review:

  • I lost my ATM card while I was out of town on business
  • I got stuck in a client’s parking garage because:
    I lost my ATM card earlier
    I didn’t have cash
    They didn’t take American Express
    The employee who validated parking was gone for the day
    (A guard had pity on me and let me out)
  • Avis gave me grief even though the needle clearly said full
  • Delta managed to lose both my upgrade and my exit row seat meaning that I had to sit in the back corner of a 757

Now that you’re caught up, the only thing I could do in my cramped little corner of Delta’s finest is to read a book. I really needed to work but I’m not a contortionist, so that wasn’t happening. With nothing else to do I pulled out my book, Joel Osteen’s latest, It’s Your Time and started reading.

An hour and a half later I was done with the book and I was inspired. The rough ending to the week no longer mattered. It’s You Time pushed me to look farther and deeper and ensure that I had not limited God and what he could do in my life.
I would have read the book either way, it was up next in the rotation, but the circumstances of the day forced me to pay attention and open me up to the book’s message.

The Hole In Our Gospel

In exchange for a review, the folks at Thomas Nelson were kind enough give a me copy of the book, The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. Richard is the president of World Vision,  a Christian charity dedicated to helping the poor across the globe.

 

The beauty of this book is in the delicate weaving of World Vision’s mission with  Richard’s personal story of his road  to  becoming  the organization’s CEO.

 

The book begins with Richard telling his story. He describes his journey from CEO of Lenox to CEO of World Vision. Along the way,  he recounts how many times he said “no”, only to have that door stay firmly and completely open. The story compares Richard’s unwillingness to embrace his role with our inability to see the suffering of those across the globe.  As he finally catches the vision we get a glimpse of what can be done to truly change the world with Christ’s love, one person at a time.

 

World Vision is involved in the nitty gritty work of Christ. They dig wells for water, provide micro loans, help improve crop yields and assist with disasters. In short, they bring Christ to the need.  The book is full of stories of hope. There are stories of  villages saved by a World Vision well and enterprises funded by micro loans. There are stories of  tribal elders still confused about why Christians would come halfway around the world to help them after a tsunami. In short, they are stories of works opening the door to faith.

 

If you’re hardened to the poor, if you think they are uniformly lazy, read this book. If you think the third world is without hope, read this book.  If you can finish The Hole in Our Gospel without being moved to compassion, call the coroner. You’re already dead.

It’s Happened, I’ve Run Out of Books

It’s finally happened. I’ve run out of books. I have half of an ebook left to read but none of my other books are available from the library and I’m resisting buying anymore right now. Maybe I’ll reread Relic.