Re: Status

Dear Vivint,

We have been waiting on the design team for this exact same task since May of 2015. What assurances do I have that they will complete this task before May of 2016? I called and talked with Mike, the city inspector today, they have not heard a peep from Vivint about this address since not passing May 2015’s inspection.

Everything has been waiting on Vivint’s design team for 9 months now. In that amount of time someone has conceived a child, grown a human being and given birth to it, the most complex and fascinating work of God and nature, yet Vivint cannot update their simple autoCAD drawing in this amount of time. Nobody has touched it. It is just sitting there waiting for someone to care enough to do it.

Please escalate this. Talk to design team managers, engineering managers, Vice Presidents. Get names of people, phone numbers, dates, assurances. After that, call or email me with what you find and what was said, and why.

We have run a marathon 99% and fallen asleep a few yards from the finish line. Wake up, wake others up and stop wasting my and your time with this. This is ridiculous. I know, because the ridicule has already started among my friends and relatives on Facebook.

-Ezra J. Engle

On Feb 25, 2016, at 9:52 AM, Vivint <obfuscated-employee> wrote:

Hello Ezra,

Sorry I missed your phone call this morning. I was on another call. After talking with my local office regarding your account. We are waiting for our design team to make a correction to the CAD so the local city can sign off on it. Once the city approves of the design we then can schedule you for your final inspection.


On Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 5:17 PM, Ezra Engle <my-email-address> wrote:

Hey Vivint,

I am paying my $328.45 PG&E Estimated monthly Bill today because your company has neglected finishing their job for en entire year that I was promised would simplify and reduce my energy bills. This reminds me that you last told me that someone would be at my house within a week and that my account was very high priority. I wish I had good news from you, or any news from you each week. I am not even a happy customer. I am an contractually obligated future customer.

Thanks for nothing,
-Ezra J. Engle

thoughts youth

Unsolicited Advice


Photo by Josiah Engle

If the passage of time depresses you, you will never recover from sadness, because time will continue to pass.

If your hope is only in your youth, you will end up hopeless, because youth is temporary.

Create thinking patterns that help you succeed, and research what happy and content people think about and do.

Nobody said you have to figure out everything on your own. Learn from the regrets of others you trust.

You only live twice. Enjoy making the first life matter, and the second life will be awesome.



My role at the youth camp that happens each summer has changed a lot since I first got involved as a sixth grader in 1989. Camp itself has also changed a lot through the years. I couldn’t say it has become better or worse, but in some ways you could make a case for both sides. Maybe it is a case of ‘the good old days’ syndrome on my part, but I can appreciate simplifying things down to the essential parts at camp so that distractions are minimized. I do not plan on describing each year one by one and the subtle differences that took place between them. I will describe past and present instead.
The past: less than 80 teens gathered at Lassen pines in open air tents shaped like covered wagons each wagon with a solo counselor and spent the majority of time outdoors eating at picnic tables, sitting on wooden bleachers near a bonfire each night and playing games in a field nearby or at night. The speaker used an overhead projector to illustrate his points and to captivate his audience.
The present: over 200 teens gather at Sky Mountain Christian Camp and stay in cabins with heaters and windows and private showers and indoor plumbing- and electricity where they can plug in their chargers etc. They have 1-2 counselors and spend about 1/2 of their time indoors in a gym or cabin and cafeteria and 1/2 outside playing competitive games and walking to and from events. There is a full band and concert setup stage and lighting projector screens and fog machine in a carpeted multi-use room and media is managed with professional state of the art equipment.
I really enjoyed the low tech approach to the camp experience, and appreciated how different it was from home life as a teen. Now that technology is integral to so many parts of my life, in some ways it is good to learn about God in that context. The only consistent concern I have is how effective people can be engaged the farther they are from the leaders of the music. How much can you connect with a person leading worship music when 199 others are there to catch in your peripheral vision? At what point does worship leading become a christian rock concert? I believe that there is a place and a reason for all of these things to exist, but have been thinking about how youth ministry may be missing the tougher to implement parts of ministry such as direct mentoring. Not just to live holy lives and strive for purity and seek God through time alone reading and praying, but to be a big brother or sister to teens. To be available is the most valueable resource to the average teen, (if an average teen ever existed). I write this because this is what I see lacking to a degree in my own ministry, the personal time spent with individuals that communicates, ‘I really like you’ and not just , ‘i am doing my job’. I like the teens I work with, and sometimes think about how much more effectively I could teach certain things with just a little more time with each one.
I also have a role as a father. I do believe that this role is above my role as a youth leader, because what a hypocrite would I be to put aside my own children and wife to pursue a role of spiritual mentor? A big one. Thankfully my wife is also very on board with youth ministry and we are likeminded in a desire to see these teens thrive in life, so here is not much disagreement on our purposes. I feel we are more and more like one person as time passes in some ways. At some point, I have to acknowledge that I can’t be around forever to lead a youth group, so I am thinking about how to prepare teens and others to not be dependent on Karyn and myself for what to do next. I want to encourage others to own the purposes they have been given and come up with ideas of their own to try out to complete those missions and goals unguided by me, but by the wisdom and discernment given to them by God. I also hope to have all of the other parts of the church working smoothly with each other with the youth group, and not as such seperate entities that seldom interface.
Right now I want to focus on having scheduled moments to connect with each of my children (and my wife) as individuals, and keep looking for more people I can trust to help with the teens and help keep me accountable for the goals I have set for myself to stay living on purpose and be the best I can be with God’s help.
I don’t feel effective at times, so I would appreciate your prayers of support, if you would put in a word for me next time you talk with our Father.
I am encouraged by recent sermons delivered to my iPhone from Arcade Wesleyan Church in Sacramento, and am really excited about what they are doing, listening attentively. Also a new podcast about living called “The Existence Project” has been fun to hear from.
I hope nobody thinks I have a problem with Christian Rock Concerts, or people making a living in ministry, but I was just speaking from my own memory of my earlier teenage perspective on things. It informs the way I approach things from time to time.


Traveling to Denver Colorado

I am on the flight to Denver now. I have no Internet access, because I am at or above 10,000 feet of altitude on southwest airlines. I had two cranberry juice cups and a blueberry breakfast bar distributed by my host. I just got a whiff of what smells like nail polish. I hope there is not someone on this plane actually applying nail polish while in flight. I really have a strong dislike for the smells common in beauty salons.


I Don’t Get it.

I don’t get why I am already getting these errors on my virtual machine.  I try and try again, restart, and the problem persists.  There does not seem to be an easy auto detector for the problem.  I will have to write down the names of the failed updates and research them by name and attempt to manually override whatever was planned.  

No really big deal though, it does work, and it’s not like I have to depend on Windows to work for me.  That’s why I have a mac now anyways.  I purchased XP so I can help others and browser test my web pages in a native setup, as most people in the world have to do things, with Internet Explorer, because they don’t know better, or have no choice.


Borrowed Time

It seems like all of my time is borrowed time. I have more ideas than time to implement them. I remember when I was a teenager and had more time than I knew what to do with, and there was nothing to do because I had no money, but all kinds of ideas about what to do with money I did not have. I imagine some day if and when I retire, I may have time and money to do things, yet have no strength to do them. Then I will give money to hard working teens and time to overscheduled parents (by watching their kids), and remind them that it is not wrong to ask for help. Perhaps I should lend my strength to someone who is retired. Perhaps I should give some money to a teen who needs some income as well. I need more sleep too.
Thanks to God for the perspective.


Here’s an idea for the future

Whenever there’s an advancement in technology that stays for the long haul, it is accompanied by a lot of people thinking, “Well that just made sense, I wonder what took so long for people to realize that.”
Some people in the technical field believe that a love of science is chosen in rejection to faith in God. That those who believe in Jesus Christ as the savior of their soul must chuck all logic out of the window when they claim a faith in God. There may be some who reject all of science fearing all of the complexities of asking questions and the humility that that entails.
I believe that God created the universe as described in the Holy Bible. I don’t know how a scientist might describe it if God allowed him/her to watch a time-lapsed version of it from an omnipotent point of view.
I also believe that no technology created by mankind rivals that designed by God. The best breakthroughs in technology come from a close study of the inherent designs found in nature/creation. God made mankind in His own image, and I believe that includes His nature to create, and to be pleased by His created things working as designed. I have a strong God-given desire to create things, but I don’t always have opportunities to excercise that. I tell friends and family about ideas I have regarding technology and inventions, as well as how certain products and even hardware are crafted/engineered. Not everyone is as excited by such discussion as I am.
Instead of just pointing out that this product or that software does exactly that thing I told my wife about a few years back, I decided to just blog it out, so that it at least gets published. Hey, maybe I can get some credit in the years to come. It sure beats clamming up and considering the cost of trying to sell ideas to businesses built on making money from a generation of people told that they all deserve an ‘A’ because they are special.
I was thinking about digital cameras. The sensor is built to mimic film both in form and function. The lenses we pay so much money for direct beautiful light through a nearly circular aperture to a square sensor. Cameras like my wife’s Canon 20D are helpful because they sense when the camera is sideways and rotate the RAW image in-camera. If the sensor was a hexagon shape, it would seem you could get a lot more efficient use from the real estate on a sensor. If the pixel arrangement were not in rows and columns of square or rectangular pixels, but more like that of a honeycomb, with interlocking hexagon shaped pixels, I imagine that would produce a much better resolution image in the long run. I also think of natural sensors like the eyes of a horsefly or other insects. Even the cells viewed at the microscopic level of the human eye, I am sure are not arranged as a square grid, it’s just not natural. I have a hunch that when High definition camcorders, screens, displays and
sensors are using screens with a hexagonal pixel arrangement, even if still square at the macro-level, will look back and think, “Oh, how horrible looking those square pixelated antiquated screens and images look from the past.”
That’s my idea. Let me know if someone else thought of it already and when I can get a honeycomb sensored Canon DSLR where portrait and landscape is a postprocessing afterthought as white balance currently is in shooting RAW.
I will let you (the reader) know when I get another idea worth writing about.
-Ezra J. Engle
Artist and otherwise creative guy


Random Thoughts

I got a new to me/ used Palm Treo 700p to replace my 650. It’s quite an upgrade. The software to synchronize with my computer is not ready to use/ still in development- so I am synchronizing with Palm Desktop Software on my small Windows XP partition for now. I like the idea of having everything synchronize perfectly across my web, computer and mobile devices, but it seems once you have 3 things involved, things get messed up soon enough. I wish I understood the Palm OS better, so I could figure out which file to delete to stop this alert that happens every 5 minutes telling me that “The Default Scheduled Get failed” whether or not I have my email set to auto synch or not. One solution to ridding myself of the problems associated with synching is to have 1 device that was my computer and fit within my pocket, and did not require plugging into a main computer to get software onto it or updates on it. Every device out there that is portable and “smart” needs to be intermittently
connected to a base computer to stay up-to-date. I like my laptop and have grown to depend on a pretty high performance computer, but for all of the regular pc users out there, who could care less whether or not they could have a great Desktop Experience, they just want to browse the whole internet, and view all standard attachments, and have a full featured email and calendar client with the ability to reliably make and receive phone calls. I think the computer experience for this sort of consumer should be within a phone and may dock at home to have the same interface on a larger screen display- for viewing movies, if desired, but would not require that. I think it can happen within 3-4 years. It would require cheaper and prevalent open access to high-speed wireless data, consumer demand, and impressive advances in battery technology. I want to have a single data bill and no itemized phone call charges with long distance & peak minutes discrepancies, just unlimited data sold a
t different speed rates. Everything today seems so redundant. Redundancy is good for police, safety personnel and Some proffesional types, but not for me. If I can’t rely on one service, then it’s not worth having around and paying for. Oh, my lunch is over.


Back to My Mac is inspiring.

I tried this program that works with Apple’s new OS called Leopard and their subscription service called .Mac the other day, and wow, I am impressed. I used to use a free program called Chicken of the VNC and also tried a shareware program called SpyMe with HamachiX, and they worked, after some fiddling, but Back to my Mac is amazing, and I think I an guess where Apple is going.
Back to my Mac let’s me click an icon in my computer that represents another computer I have and select share screen button which instantly opens up a window with an excellent scaled version of the screen of the computer, giving me remote access to it as though I were using it directly. Because it’s built into the new OS, I don’t have to download 3rd party software and worry about upgrades and compatibility so much. The thing that struck me was when I clicked the green resizebutton in the window, it resized it to a 2″ square, and I could still use the mouse at that tiny illegible size to drag items around on the desktop and click icons on the dock. This resizing used to be a pain with other programs I used previously and even using the mouse and clicking things was irritating due to the lag time between the click and seeing what happened when the sreen refreshes like a slow strobe effect. Apple must have put some time into making this all very flexible.
I think that there’s gotta be a back to my mac icon coming to the iPhone by January to show off that you can now control your desktop at home with your iphone from anywhere in the connected world. After seeing that it’s possible to control the desktop in such a tiny window, I know it can be done, with a little magnifier and some panning and zooming capabilities. They just need to make sure the .Mac service as easy and reliable as the desktop experience I have had. This would make it useful for everyone while waiting for native 3rd party application approval by Apple for the iPhone.
I tested the usability of the Back to my Mac by controlling my Macbook Pro’s screen from my old ibook g4, and accessing the Windows version of Palm Desktop on my bootcamp partition through VMWare Fusion’s window That’s a lot of hoops to jump through and control in a way that felt close enough to real time and native that I was sold on the possibilities of doing that through a future iPhone. I am waiting for the iPhone to open up a little to do all the stuff my Palm Treo 650 currenty does natively, except for the automatic soft resetting feature, of course.


Waiting for Leopard

I was planning to purchase a new laptop since Spring this year, but wated to buy it after the new operating system from Apple was launched. Since it has been delayed, I have been following all Apple Hot News, Mac Break Weekly, The Mac Round Table, Mac Attack, This Week in Technology, Engadget, NPR Technology, and recently Google Technology News.
I assume that no matter when I purchase a new laptop, I will be disappointed if I hear a new announcement shortly after with a significant upgrade that makes my system seem relatively useless. I must have quite a bit of restraint up to now, however, since my current laptop is a 12″ ibook G4 Power PC with 1.07 GHz I have had for 3 years or so. I did upgrade the hard drive from 30GB to 160GB so I could install Final Cut Studio (which required 40GB at the time all by itself) and the memory from 256MB to 768 MB of RAM. I just wanted to have all of my software on one machine, slow and limited as it was (it took 3.5 days to render a 12 minute HD video slideshow in Compressor, but it did it!).
Since I am using professional applications, it made sense to plan to get the “pro” series of macbook. I was thinking of holding out for a 12″ macbook pro, without a DVD drive and a secondary 32 GB Flash Drive which would supplement RAM and speed up the system startup process. I may even hope for some pressure sensitive touchscreen features if they got Wacom Technology on board in their development process, but that may be asking for too much for less than a year from now.
I am writing all of this down perhaps for bragging rights if that’s exactly what Apple does, and perhaps to get it out of my mind, so I don’t feel compeled to talk to non-Apple fans about what they care nothing about.
Then I will wait for the first CDMA iphone to be announced in the spring/summer of 2008 with 3rd party applications opened up so I can turn off the phone and use a future Bible application offline, without worrying about text/email distraction.
Thanks, I feel better now.