Monthly Archives: August 2013

Four Killer Postgres Extensions

I’ve been using the Postgres database engine for probably 10 years now, and despite having also used Oracle, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite, MySQL, Access, FoxPro and others, it’s still by far and away my favourite.

In all my years of using it, I have never once encountered, or even heard of, an incident of data loss or integrity failure.  It implements the SQL standard rigourously. And whatever I throw at it, it seems to just keep humming along.

And more than that, it’s extensible.  Here are four extensions that take it from merely being the most solid, reliable relational database engine in existence, to also being an incredible modern application development platform.  And there easy to install and get started with.

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Maximum Performance

“Some people … are gifted with high trainability.”

I just read a fascinating article in the Guardian about athletic performance.  The concept of the ‘10000 hours’ of training needed to reach world class performance is well known, but recent research has shown another dimension to the equation, especially in the area of endurance sport.  There is, apparently, a big difference between individuals when it comes to their responsiveness to training.  In the studies, some people showed huge gains in their bodies ability to process and transmit oxygen to their muscles as a result of aerobic trading, but others, performing identical training blocks, showed little or no improvement.  This implies that a genetic predisposition  to adaptability is critical for the budding top level athlete.

This fascinates me.  I’m intrigued by the ingredients that go into excellent performance.  It seems that both natural giving and  disciplined, intentional training are needed.

You could find this research depressing, as it implies that people will never become too level marathoners, for example, no matter how hard they train.  But another way of responding to it would be to ask ‘what are my unique, inborn talents and abilities, and how can I nurture them to create my own excellent performances?’

Different Stories

I realized on my run this morning, in a moment of it’s-probably-obvious-to-everyone-else-but-a-revelation-to-me clarity, just how many different stories there are in the Bible.  I have at the back of my mind this idea that the Christian experience should be more-or-less the same for everyone, but a cursory glance at the Bible with open eyes should really disabuse me of that notion.

Jacob, for example, experienced God as the opponent in a wrestling match.  Moses experienced God as a burning bush, or a pillar of fire.  Job experienced God as a courtroom adversary, (and then both counsel for the defence and judge.)  David experienced God as all-knowing, all-seeing.  Habakkuk experienced God as frustratingly obtuse, Jonah experienced God as frustratingly merciful.

When Jesus turned up on the scene, the Bible continues in this vein.  The Pharisees encountered him as a dangerous challenge. Mary experienced tender compassion.  Peter experienced bold challenge.  Paul experienced dramatic life reversal.  John experienced profound philosophical satisfaction.

Why on earth, then, do I have this story in my head of the Christian experience being one of ‘convert, join a church, meander along in a reasonably satisfactorily middle class life, don’t get into trouble?’

If everyone who encounters God in the Bible had a unique story to tell about the experience, surely the only thing I can expect for sure about my spiritual narrative is that it will, also, be unique?