The Grateful Christian

Essays, opinions, and works-in-progress by a conservative Lutheran pastor.

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Location: West Michigan, United States

In order of importance, I am a: Husband, father, pastor, hobby programmer, writer. Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust instead
Of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head.

--C.S.Lewis, The Apologist's Evening Prayer

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Contrapositively Cool

Grateful guy that I am--correction, that I aspire to be--I want to publicly acknowledge my gratitude to Jeff Duntemann, a well-published tech guru of wizard class. He also happens to be, as he puts it in his online diary, an "unapologetic religionist," describing himself as an adherent of "non-Papal Western Catholicism." He has been writing an online journal titled "ContraPositive Diary" for eight years, but I just found it: it's linked in the blogroll at left.

I like that he is a techie with an interest in spiritual things. I like that he, too, is another fan of Pentangle's cover of the Lyke Wake Dirge. But okay, let's get to my reason for being grateful. Jeff is a generous guy. Back around the turn of the century, Jeff Duntemann helped me find Delphi (the Pascal computer programming language implementation, not the Greek oracle).

He is, in his own words, "writer, editor, technologist, contrarian." 'Writer' is modest. He's written several books as sole author, and co-authored another bunch. He was Senior Technical Editor at PC Tech Journal and wrote a column for years in the venerable Dr. Dobb's Journal. Like I said, a guru of wizard class.

I had been an old-school Turbo Pascal hobby programmer, in the days when the Digital Research's operating system CP/M ruled. I wanted to get back into the game in the PC world, but was having a hard time with Object Pascal. I read something he had written about the future of Pascal, and sent him an email thanking him for his good thoughts. I said something like "I'd like to get into visual programming. I wish there was something like Visual Basic, but for Pascal." He wrote back, amazingly enough, and said, "Did you miss Delphi??? That's what you want." He was a huge help. He gave me an introductory version of Delphi to get my feet wet. I did, and then went out and bought Delphi version 2--and one of Jeff's books--and I was able to re-do my old Turbo Pascal CP/M church applications in Delphi.

I am once again in his debt, for his excellent introduction to the latest incarnation of the spirit of Delphi, Turbo Delphi, titled "Jeff Duntemann's Turbo Delphi Explorer From Square One" without which, I would have found the installation process exceedingly frustrating; and I never would have found out about Nick Hodges' cool tutorial Camtasia videos.
Thank you, Jeff! Long may you run!


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