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July 2008

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Good news everyone. After my mom had her thyroid (half her thyroid to be exact) removed they checked her again for cancer and she is cancer free! No further treatments are needed!

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Well, this is what happens when you believe in imaginary things. This is why I prefer reason to religion.

At least 50 people have lost their sight after staring at the sun hoping to see an image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports.

Alarmed health authorities in India’s Kottayam district have set up a sign dispelling rumours of a miraculous image in the sky and warning of the dangers of looking into direct sunlight.

Forty-eight cases of sight-loss, allegedly caused by photochemical burns on the retina, have been recorded at St Joseph’s ENT and Eye hospital in the region since Friday.

Despite warnings, and the potentially harmful effects of their actions, believers are allegedly still flocking to a hotelier’s house in Erumeli near where the divine image is said to have appeared.

“All our patients have similar history and symptoms… They have developed photochemical, not thermal, burns after continuously gazing at the sun,” Dr Annamma James Isaac, the hospital’s ophthalmologist said.

Even churches in the area have disowned the miracle after health officers and doctors approached the clergy.

The house where the miracle is said to have occurred has apparently been the subject of rumours for months.

The hotelier, who has since moved, had claimed that statues of the Virgin Mary in his house have been crying honey and bleeding oils and perfumes. Source

Vanity domain names seem to be the current fad. Apparently .coms are no longer cool in the web world. I’ve been debating a move from mikeschepker.com for a long time. Since the title of the blog is piece of shep it would make sense to move it to pieceofshep.com. Now I’m thinking of something entirely different. To go with the trend, maybe I should change the title of my blog and go with the domain I just purchased, shepis.me. The title of the new blog would obviously be shep is me. I don’t know yet. I also purchased imshep.com. Right now all these domains point to mikeschepker.com. Any thoughts? Should I move to pieceofshep.com or shepis.me or keep the site at mikeschepker.com?

I’ve only had my iPhone for a day and I am in love with it. I love being able to get on wifi networks on my phone, having a full html browser, the applications. To be honest, while the phone is great, I don’t know if I’d ever buy it if it didn’t allow 3rd party applications. That’s what makes the iPhone truly great. I love being able to be in contact with people anywhere, whether it be email, IM, twitter, or whatever.

This is my home screen on the iPhone
This is my home screen on the iPhone
The email on the phone is fantastic and looks just like it does in Outlook. Now, if our work webserver goes down, I can be notified right away if I’m not at the computer. Twinkle is great for a Twitter client. I tried Twitterific, but whenever it would launch it would crash right away. Probably my favorite has-some-use app has to be Shazam. You let it “listen” to part of a song and it will tell you what song it is. That should come in handy whenever I’m in the car and don’t know the song.

Another cool app, and this one cost, is the MLB At Bat. When I bought it I thought I was just getting

The second screen of my iPhone
The second screen of my iPhone
the box scores and the Who’s On stuff, but no. They did more than that. They update the games with video highlights as they are going on, so you can watch the highlights of the game. And the video quality is amazing. Other great apps that I’ve tried are Facebook, Last.fm, The New York Times, and Google. The Google one is a little pointless because you can get to all their stuff via the Safari web browser. It is kind of nice though because it is a quicker way to get to those things. All in all I’m extremely happy with the phone thus far. And I’ve not even used it to watch movies or listen to music yet. It was a great purchase and I can’t wait to see what other cool apps come out for it.

In case you haven’t noticed, Last.fm has received a makeover. The new site looks fantastic compared to the old one. It probably has to be one of the best site redesigns by a popular website that I’ve ever seen. The best part about the redesign is the user profile page. If you look at mine, you can see how clean the new design looks. I love how it has thumbnails of the artists (or album covers) next to the recently played songs. The images for the artists in the user’s library are excellent as well.

Last.fm displaying artists I\'ve played (click to enlarge)
Last.fm displaying artists I've played (click to enlarge)

Notice how nice and clean they look. They charts are now ajax-ified and are quite nice. The color scheme of the site is much easier on the eyes. They managed to create a new site that totally changes the look but still feels familiar. It goes to show you can have a complete redesign without losing your identity. Overall, it is a really successful redesign. Maybe MySpace and Facebook should take note. Much props to the design team at Last.fm.