Category Archives: Tech

I’ve turned off the Koine Greek podcast

The traffic was just burying my server. Heh heh.

No, I just realized that the podcasting plugin I was using was tagging everything on the site as though it was a podcast. But really, I didn’t even really record Intermediate Greek since it just wasn’t a lecture-style class. Most of what would have been recorded would probably have been me mistranslating something, thus discovering fresh new heresies.

So, TTFN to the exciting world of podcasting.

“Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss”


**Big news!**

**Today was my first day at a new job!** Two weeks ago I resigned my position as VP of Production and Technology at Simply Retail, where I’d been for over two years. I hadn’t been actively looking for a new job, but one day about a month ago I got an email from a friend and former co-worker saying “we find ourselves continuously saying ‘we want to find someone like Ken Martin.'” (It’s nice to hear you’ve left a reasonably nice impression.)

Well, we had lunch and talked and it turned out they had what seemed like a nice possibility. We continued through the process, and voila, it turned out to be a very nice opportunity. And I said yes.

**So I’m back at [Digital Cyclone][5]!** I wrote about them a few months ago [noting][1] that they’d been bought out by [Garmin][2]. I’m now a Garmin employee, as Digital Cyclone is a Garmin subsidiary.

My job title is Web Application Developer. Why would I go from a [VP position][4] to a developer position? Well, there are a few reasons, but the basic summary is that I’ll have better compensation in a familiar company, in an industry I find interesting, with people I enjoy, in a technically challenging environment. I will miss interacting daily with the folks at Simply Retail, and there are parts of my leadership role that I will miss, but I plan to apply what I’ve learned in that role and blow the socks off folks at DCI. :)

What a blessing it was to be presented with the kinds of challenges I saw as VP, and to find that, previously unbeknownst to me, I could meet those challenges. That’s probably the biggest thing I’m taking away from Simply Retail.

[Simply Retail][3] has been wonderful in many ways. They, too, are in an interesting industry (healthcare retail), and I worked with fantastic people there whom I will miss. It was nice to leave on pleasant terms, and it’s likely I’ll be doing a little freelance work here and there for them. And it will be great to watch from afar as they continue to grow.

So there you have it! See, there really was a reason I’ve not posted much lately. :)

Pedantic note: Though the Who allusion was kind of a fun post title, in the song it’s a sad reflection that once the “revolution” came, nothing really changed. That’s *not* how this change feels. Web technology, mobile apps, weather, aviation, and now GPS… this geek is going to have fun. No negative reflection on either company intended. :)

Free University-level Greek Instruction


Apple’s iTunes Store announced today the availability of iTunes U: free college classes from places like MIT and Stanford. Audio and video. And among the offerings are [Greek classes from Concordia Seminary][1].

I’ve downloaded a few. They seems really good. So far, it’s stuff [Pete’s already taught me][2], but nevertheless, I’m sure I’ll be downloading and listening. It’s often useful to heard things explained in a different way. gets a facelift

And a whole lot more. :)


I’ve finally switched on a group of changes I’ve been thinking about and working on for a long time. We had a site up, but it was basically straight WordPress, which just didn’t work well for what we were looking for.

Well, it’s still WordPress, but with a much more customized approach.

I decided to separate out what we did on our server and what we leveraged from somewhere else. Now, instead of trying to do our own calendars or use a pay service, I’m using Google Calendar and a nice plug-in for WordPress (which I’ve hacked slightly to serve my purposes). How wonderful to be able to add an event by typing “send Ken a check every second Thursday of the month at 10:30am” and have the system understand it and add it.

I’ve pulled together what I think is a novel use of static pages and categories into a pretty unified navigation system. The overall design is tableless, and (last I checked) valid XHTML and CSS. The CSS is virtually hack free with the exception of a conditional CSS inclusion for older IE due to their hideous treatment of overflow:visible. I can remove that later if I want to do a bit of a rework; we’ll see. I think I’d like to add a pre-IE6-era css file for simple display for folks with very old browsers; I’ll be keeping an eye on traffic stats to see if it’s worthwhile.

We’ll be podcasting Sunday messages shortly; just a plug-in and some set up. I have the audio already. The hardest part will be tracking down titles, references, and descriptions. (But it won’t be that hard.) Video is being served from and stored at Google Video (their server space, their professionally maintained cross platform player).

I’ll post a more detailed technical rundown on that site with links and comments. Time will tell, but I think we’ve landed on something we can really do some good stuff with.

If you have comments on the new site, I’d love to hear them. Use the email address on the site, or the comments here.

Free Koine Greek Vocabulary Help


Inspired by the very cool work at [](, I’ve started to put together a vocabulary tool using their freely available, incredibly portable code. It’s just started, and I’m trying to find a source for the vocabulary words in order of frequency of occurrence, but at least you can give it a little run and see what you think.

[Ken’s Greek Vocabulary Tool](

Just choose a frequency range (I’ve purposely grouped it into tracks as they appears on Pennington’s [*New Testament Greek Vocabulary Guide*][cd] CDs), and then click “memorize” next to the word “definition”. There’s a flash card mode and a matching mode, both available from the bottom of the table. I only have about words down to about 100 occurrences right now.

Feedback appreciated in the comments here.

Typing Greek Letters on the Mac

I asked a question on the wonderful Mac site Macintouch about multiple keyboards and multiple input languages. Basically, I want to be able to easily switch between typing Greek and English. There were some excellent responses, one in particular which had a link which led me to a little Googling, and man, are there some great resources out there.

A nice thing about Macs is they are Unicode-ready (Windows probably is now, too, but I’m not as familiar with it). Unicode is a “format” which allows for a huge number of possible “letters”; far more than we normally use. But in order to type these characters on a regular keyboard, you need key combinations; like hitting shift-4 to get a dollar sign.

Well, here’s my “something back” to the vast I-want-to-type-Greek-on-my-Mac community.

Setting up your Mac

Go to the Apple Menu > System Preferences > International > Input Menu and check the checkbox for “Greek Polytonic”. For me, that gives me two active Keyboard Layouts “U.S” and “Greek Polytonic”.

Then under “Input Menu Shortcuts,” set a Keyboard Shortcut for “Select next input source from menu”. You will use this shortcut to switch between the two layouts. I use option-space.

Also, choose “Allow a different input source for each document” under “Input source options.” This is really nice; it does just what it says.

Last, check “Show input menu in menu bar.” It is convenient to know what keyboard you’re in. This will show you a little flag in your menu bar.

Get a Good Font

Macs and PCs ship will a few fonts built in. Old-timers Times and Arial are among them. Recent versions are aware of Unicode and have a lot, but not all, of the special characters. There are some other free Greek fonts around. I like Gentium. Download and install by double-clicking the font and choosing install, or by opening Font Book and choosing the Gentium folder.

Print My Cheat Sheet

To type Greek characters, you’ll need to use special key combinations. It will be a while before you have them memorized, so Mac users please feel free to download my little cheat sheet here.

Take Her for a Spin

Now, it goes like this:

1. option-space
2. start typing καί θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος
3. option-space to get back to your normal keyboard
4. send me great piles of money

That’s it! I hope that helps someone get started quickly. If you see any errors or something that it would be useful to add, please let me know in the comments.

PhpMyAdmin config error… AUGH!

Imagine a fresh install of MySQL, ( PHP, and phpMyAdmin which didn’t work. MySQL is running in Terminal just fine. PHP is cranking along nicely. But phpMyAdmin steadfastly refused to run:

> Probably reason of this is that you did not create configuration file. You might want to use setup script to create one.
> Error
> MySQL said:
> 1045 – Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’ (using password: NO)

Run the setup script. Nothing. /config world-writable? Yes. Try manually editing the /config/ with various recommended basics. Still no love.

The missing step? **Move the out of the /config directory to the root level of phpMyAdmin!**

…sigh… I didn’t see that written anywhere. Why doesn’t the successful “setup script” tell me to do that? Not too mention that the setup script will report “New server added” when in fact config/ only got created, not written to.

The English Standard Version (ESV)


The English Standard Version is a fairly new English translation of the Bible which, as I understand it, tries to be as literal to the text as possible while trying to avoid some of the sometimes wooden phrasing found in very literal translations like the New American Standard. I tend to like this side of the spectrum for Biblical translation, and had been looking forward to the ESV’s release.

Then it came. One day, strolling through a Northwestern Bookstore, I saw I beautifully covered ESV. Nice leather embossed with almost Celtic artwork. Beautiful.

Then I opened it. Ugh.

Under this wonderful cover, these carefully translated words were printed on the worst paper I’ve ever seen. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it. I opened another, then another. I gave up on the leather bound and tried different form factors… all the same dreadful paper.

Now everyone’s used to the wispy thin paper Bibles are often printed on. I am, too. I have a few. But this paper allowed me to see the “shadow” of text even three or four pages deep! I would have bought one that moment – I might have even bought two, one for a gift – but the paper made it nearly unreadable.

Well, while in Arkansas last week (I’ve some story telling to do on *that*), I found a hardcover “pew” version of the ESV which finally had a different and better paper. And I bought it. And I like it. Even though I don’t get the smooth, cushy feel of the leather. sob

Anyway, the ESV has moved from doghouse to acceptable (yes, admittedly on issues of form, but still, reading has to be readable) to downright Make Me Giddy because of [this][1]. That’s a screen grab of the free [MacSword]( But look carefully. I found a beta version of the ESV texts for it! WOW! With Strong’s!

Right now, NASB is my favorite. Maybe ESV will replace it. It certainly makes me more interested to use it since I have a searchable copy. Though I really hope the Greek will someday be my primary New Testament.

Zombie web site

I thought I killed it. Long ago. But as I was doing a [vanity search](, I found a [live copy of my old site]( running. Hmph. Dawn of the Website. thud… thud… thud… THUD… THUD… GRRRRRRRR!

Sending email to a group? Remember: BCC

Most people, when sending an email to a large group of people, simply go to their To: or Cc: field and start entering names. This is dreadful. It’s terrible. You must never do this.

Why? Because if I am one of fifty people in that list of recipients, then you have just shared my email address with a bunch of people that I don’t know. Let me emphasize that: *you* will have shared *my* email address. Grrrr.

This takes my carefully meted out email address and lets it out onto any number of unknown computers, where, when they get struck with viruses, may in turn be sharing my email address with hundreds more people. And so on.

I do not want “I thought this was funny” email from people I don’t know. (I rarely want them from people I *do* know.)

I do not want the increase in spam which is the result of an email address becoming more and more public.

I do not want other recipients of the same email to think we are now “related” enough to start including me in *their* bulk emails.

I don’t want my email address wrecked.

If, after careful consideration, you must send bulk emails, do this:

– Put your own email address in the To: field. Nothing else.
– Put everyone else’s email address in the Bcc: field.
– Leave the Cc: field empty.

This will protect everyone’s email address and allow the messages to get through.

And stop bugging me.