Tired of crabs, lizards, and actor masks?

The procedure to change the icon used in a Gridworld project is as follows:

Create the desired graphic as a 48×48 pixel GIF image.

Save the image in the same folder as the .class file for the bug or critter or actor.

For example, if you create a class called testcritter that extends critter using Eclipse and assuming the default location for the workspace, place the graphic in the bin folder located in …/project/workspace.

On a Windows 7 system the file location for a user named Bob would be:



The Grace Effect

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Theology

“The true story of a little orphan girl who prays that God would give her parents and the family that overcame the odds in order to adopt her.” Sounds like a trailer from a Hallmark Christmas movie, right? But buyer beware, although there is a happy ending, this book will engage the mind and soul as much as the emotions. In The Grace Effect, Larry Taunton weaves together a convincing and practical apologetic for Christianity using the thread of common grace (or lack thereof) observed during his experience adopting Sasha, a 10 year old girl who lived her entire life in Ukrainian orphanages.

Common grace is defined as God’s benevolence toward all mankind without discrimination. It is described by Jesus in Matthew 5:45 – “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Beyond sun and rain, God dispenses this grace more personally through His sons and daughters. We are encouraged to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” The practical result of this is that the effects of common grace should be most observable in areas where there are higher concentrations of authentic Christians. This is what Taunton calls “The Grace Effect.”

What are the benefits of a Christian presence in society? What happens to a society that adopts atheism as its official ideology? The author probes these questions by sharing his observations of life for an orphan in a former communist-block country. The book provides just the right amount of history and philosophy to support the main point without devolving into an unreadable, academic textbook.

Taunton is founder and Executive Director of Fixed Point Foundation, an organization dedicated to the defense of the Christian faith in the public square. He regularly debates strident atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens while at the same time extending God’s love to them. This book, while not light reading, is engaging and inspiring. Sasha’s story includes a shocking revelation that will leave you with a fresh realization of God’s amazing grace – the one who is the adopter of the unadoptable.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Posted: November 20, 2011 in Theology

The message of the gospel is clear, salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

What about repentance?

Repentance from what? All sins? Do you know them all? Before Christ came, the Jews practiced a baptism of repentance which was accompanied by a confession of sins (Mt.3:1-12). Even the Pharisees participated in this baptism which provoked John to warn them of the baptism that was to come. The problem with viewing repentance as necessary for salvation is that the “heart is wicked and deceitful and who can know it?” (Jer.17:9) Even the Pharisees thought they were justified by repentance as they confessed “all their sins”.

This deceitfulness of self-righteousness is illustrated in Christ’s encounter with the rich, young ruler.  He demonstrated how useless it is to depend on your ability to self-evaluate your righteousness. Mt.19:16-22. The man was undoubtedly a good, moral person. He felt that he had done what he needed to do to achieve righteousness. But after a 30 second encounter with Christ, he went away disturbed. Christ pointed out one major flaw in the man’s bid to achieve righteousness. While it was not necessary to continue, I’m sure Christ could have listed many more.

Seeing that the man was deluded in thinking that he would be saved by his works, Christ explicitly said “if you wish to be perfect go and sell everything.” The intent of the Law was to make clear the degree of perfection required for one to achieve righteousness by works. Christ mad this clear in His first sermon as he restored the Law from the dumbing-down that it had suffered at the hands of the Pharisees. (Mt.5:20; 5:48)

Repentance is not a precursor to salvation as it is a work. And, as is made clear by Paul, (Gal.2:16, 3:11) you can’t be justified by works.

Repentance is not becoming someone that I am not. It is coming to terms with who I am. Is it necessary to repent in order to be saved? The answer is yes and no. If you understand repentance as a change of behavior than the answer is no. Expecting someone to change their behavior in order to be saved is salvation by works. If you understand repentance as coming to terms with who I am – a helpless sinner in need of a savior – then yes, that kind of repentance is necessary.

Read the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50.

“Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

Before you make another purchase online, can you trust that website with your credit card information?

Here are some things to look for:

  • Check your browser’s address bar. Don’t trust the site with your personal information if the web address doesn’t begin with https. Also look for a lock symbol on the address line.
  • Did you arrive at the site by clicking on a link someone sent you via email? Before you enter credit card info, check with the person who sent you the link to make sure it is legitimate.
  • Double check the web address in the address bar. Is it accurate?
  • Does the website display information that makes it more credible such as a physical address or logos of accountability sites like TRUSTe and BBBonline.

None of these, by itself, guarantees your protection from fraud but you can minimize the chances by doing due diligence.




Browsing through computer ads, I see a lot of home computer systems are equipped with a 1 Terabyte hard drive. If you’re like me, that really doesn’t mean much. I have no sense of how much space that is.

Here is a visual illustration. Glancing on my bookshelf, one of the thickest books I own is “War and Peace.” It is availabe as an electronic file on Project Gutenberg. The plain text is 3.1 MB (megabytes). There are 1024 megabytes in 1 gigabyte. So I can fit about 330 War and Peaces on a gigabyte. There are 1024 gigabytes in a terabyte.

So a 1 terabyte drive will hold 337,920 copies of War and Peace.

For a frame of reference, the Kindle store clains to have over 950,000 books most of which are not as big as War and Peace (plus Kindle files are smaller than plain text files). So if I bought every book in the Kindle store (assuming no pictures), I could fit them on three 1 terabyte drives.

Inkjet printers are cheap. They practically give them away. But do they? Here is my attempt to discover exactly what an inkjet printer costs to own and operate:

HP Officejet 4500 – $59.99 on Newegg.

Black ink (200 page yield) costs $13.99

Color ink (360 page yield) costs $24.99

Let’s say I print 2,000 pages for the year, I will buy 10 black cartridges regardless of how much color I print because black is used every page. (10 x $13.99 = $140)

If I use color sparingly but print photographs periodically, I will likely use at least three color cartridges (3 x $24.99 = $75).

Total ink cost for a conservative year of printing on a $50 printer – $215.

Now you know why the printer was so cheap. No, they’re not giving it away.