Sunday, December 28, 2008

My 2009 Challenge-- What I Hope To Do

Our church decided to give all the volunteers and staff the day off this last Sunday of 2008. It's the least attendance Sunday of the year, so they decided instead to give us a devotional to help us look at the year just concluded and pray for what God has for us in the year ahead.

Before doing the devotional with my family I attended the Second Life service at The message inspired and challenged me. It also impacted what I would say during our family devotional time.

2009 Will Be Challenging
For the first time in many years, I'm wondering if God will move us this year. We're as overextended as many in Southern California, and so it's not beyond the realm of possibility. I mentioned this to my family as we shared our concerns for 2009.

I also mentioned that my biggest concern over possibly having to move is that I don't feel we've impacted our neighbors enough cor Christ. We've sponsored and hosted neighborhood block parties and movie nights, but only one person in the fifteen homes here has decided to place their trust in Jesus in the twelve years we've lived here.

So I challenged my family to think of practical ways we can serve our neighbors, believing it will have a greater spiritual impact on them. The way I thought of was to use my computer and bicycle repair skills for them. Please pray with me that we would see more trust in Jesus before our time in this neighborhood comes to an end-- whether in 2009 or in 2049.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 2008 has been a good year of ministry for our family and for our team, and we're grateful for all God brought our way. Even the homegoing of my wife's father... he lived and died well-- a saint to the end.

I hope this season is all you want it to be, and that the year to come is even better in every way than 2008 was. It looks foreboding in many ways, but it also looks full of hope!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Small Mac! Introducing the Mactini!

Enjoy this announcement video for the smallest Mac so far!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This'll Make You Smile! (Is That OK?)

Dean Lisenby posted a blog today with an embedded video that is definitely worth watching (thanks, Dean!). It take 16 minutes, but it's VERY good. Turn on your speakers or put on your head phones; here it is!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PC & Mac Video Chats that Work!

Howdy. I'm a Mac, and my wife is a PC. We've tried a few technologies to video chat, but none have worked well. I can video chat flawlessly with other Macs, and she can do so with other PCs, which led me to conclude that it must be due to our differing platforms. And maybe because of the atmospheric differences between Venus and Mars...

Hope Rekindled
I noticed that Tony Steward was doing a large video conference (more than sixty participants!) on TokBox, so decided to check it out. It works! I've had a number of video chats across platforms today, and each worked!

TokBox is worth looking at. And it's free! w00t!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Blackberry Storm

I've been using a Windows Mobile PDA phone for some time and I rely on its PDA features. But many of our clients have bought Blackberry phones, so I decided I would switch when the Storm became available. That would help us better support Blackberry phone users on the networks we support.

By the way, I would love to try an iPhone, but our company is locked into nearly a dozen two-year contracts with Verizon. We like Verizon, and the iPhone is only available on AT&T, which would be costly.

Early Christmas!
My Blackberry Storm arrived a couple weeks ago. How fun to get and try something new. I activated it and configured it, but found that because I use a Mac I couldn't install many of the applications I rely on. And the BB Desktop Manager wouldn't work on my virtual Vista machine. Hmmm...

So I began looking for replacement applications. Though disappointed at this point, I was okay with changing in the name of progress. I deal with that a lot...

Exchange Server Software
Then we installed and configured our Blackberry Professional Software; a scaled down version of Blackberry Enterprise Server. We were told it was nearly the same software, but with a thirty-user limit. Well, it wouldn't synchronize between my phone and our Exchange server. But fortunately it came with a complimentary technical support incident, so we decided to give 'em a call.

A day and a half later of almost constant tech support and engineering, the synchronization began. w00t! BB said they weren't used to working with virtual servers, and that was our problem. (Those of us who work with virtual servers know that wasn't the issue.)

Finally, I as on my way to enjoying the Blackberry experience. That is, until synchronization stopped about twenty-four hours later. Hmmm...

Well, on to the actual phone...
I found it very hard to type on the phone. It often wanted to use a key my thumb was barely touching rather than the one it was entirely over. That made for very slow texting. In addition, it was really hard to move the cursor back to a position where I needed to make a correction, so I found myself having to backspace a lot to correct errors.

When the phone synchronized with exchange, it didn't pick up all of the contact data. So I had to correct a lot of my contact data.

The phone got very good cellular connections even in weak areas, and the camera was excellent. But those weren't enough for me, so I switched back to my old Windows Mobile PDA phone after a couple of weeks of trying to make the Blackberry work.

If you are a non-corporate user who wants this phone almost exclusively for making calls, playing music, taking pictures, etc, it's a good phone. If you're a corporate user who needs to rely on its PDA functionality, you may be disappointed by how difficult it is to navigate.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This'll Make You Think! (Is That OK?)

Jeff Wilson just posted a blog (one I recommend following!) with an embedded video truly worth watching. Thanks, Jeff! Here it is:

We're Celebrating!

Our daughter, Amanda, is a 17 year old junior in high school. This semester she decided to take pre-calc at the community college because she'd be able to get it done in one semester there vs two semesters in high school.

The class was much harder than she anticipated. As it turns out, she hadn't had trig yet, so she had to self-study trig while taking pre-calc. As the final approached she found herself barely passing. So she studied very hard. I mean VERY hard! Today she saw her grade online-- she got 85% on the final, which pulled her up to a B in the class!

Way to go, Amanda! You didn't give up and you did your best. God has blessed you for it. Your mom and I are very proud of you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Church Management Software Article

I have the privilege each year of publishing an article listing church management software (CMS) providers and what they say their software can do. I’m surprised each year to hear it is one of the most requested articles for reprint, likely making it the most authoritative reference on the subject. Click here to download an advance copy in PDF format!

What does the article have to do with Krispy Kreme donuts? Nothing! I just like their donuts!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Love Trash Day!

Okay, I know this sounds kinda weird, but I really do love Trash Day! There's something that feels good about putting all my trash out and having a 'trash authority' come and remove it all for me.

Maybe it's because that's what happened for me spiritually a little more than thirty years ago when I trusted my life to Jesus. He removed the weight of sin from my life and gave me a fresh start.

So Trash Day is a reminder to me that Jesus has cleansed me from my sin (the trash in my life) and removed its eternal consequences. And I love that!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Managing IT in a Tight Economy

The economy has taken a serious downturn. There’s no more disputing that fact, and it’s affecting church and ministry budgets. Are there some things you can do to keep your computer system stability and reliability growing when finances are tight? I think so, and wrote an article about it. Click here for a free PDF copy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Am Second

Every now and then a website comes along that is so compelling I want to share it with as many as possible.

I Am Second is one of those websites. I strongly recommend you check it out. I bet it grabs you like it did me!

Monday, December 1, 2008

AppleCare Kudos!

It's easy to trash a company's tech support when I'm frustrated, and working with as much technology as I do, I'm bound to get frustrated with just about every company eventually. That said, it's nice to say, "Way to go!" when a company goes beyond what they're required to and takes extra care of me (especially if they don't know I'm a member of the press!).

AppleCare took extra special care of me today, and they deserve kudos for it! Thanks Apple, for going the extra distance.