Sunday, December 9, 2012


Last night a group of friends got together, most of whom were in the same college/ career Sunday School class more than thirty years ago.  Our class had been pastored by Mick Berberian, who is now the pastor at Elim Baptist Church in Seattle.

These annual gatherings are a blast! After each one I find myself thinking about the impact our old class pastor has had through us. It's really quite phenomenal! Of the thirty or so who were able to make it, some are business men and women, some are pastors, some are counselors, some are missionaries, some are authors, and more. I think what impresses me most is the high percentage that are in professional Christian ministry and are involved as volunteers in ministry. Mick had a significant impact on us, and as a result, on many others through us.

Jesus said you know a tree by its fruit. I get that. And when I look at the fruit of Mick just through that brief window of time he served us as our pastor, I am amazed and thankful. And it makes me wonder: what kind of fruit is my life bearing?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Windows 8 Pro Follow-Up -- I Kind of Like It!

That's true! I like it! But I don't recommend it yet... here's more:

I like how fast Windows 8 Pro loads. It is more nimble and seems to be as good as its predecessor, Windows 7 Pro. There's only one reason why I don't recommend it: the missing Start Button.

I said to a friend recently that once we solve the Start Button issue, I'm ready to recommend Windows 8 Pro. His response was: "Windows 8 still has a Start Button. It is just bigger. Press the Windows key or move the mouse to lower left corner."That's true, but it's so clumsy. Sometimes when on the desktop I can easily get the charms to show with my mouse, and sometimes it takes a few tries.

I get that Microsoft wants to have the same interface for all devices. I even think it's a good strategy! But getting to the Start Page (what replaced the Start Button) has got to be made easier than it currently is. Even making possible a simple shortcut that can be added to the Desktop Quick Access Toolbar would help.

Then I would endorse and recommend Windows 8 Pro.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Geek Nerd Dork Dweeb Venn Diagram - Which are you?

I was in a deep discussion with a friend about whether I am a geek or a nerd.  It escalated when we brought others into the conversation and asked them which is worse and how they define those terms.  (One said a geek is someone who bites the heads off chickens!  I don't know where that came from.)

I did a little searching on the net and found this venn diagram.  I love the fact that someone took the time to research and do the venn diagram!  (What does that say about them?)

So, which are you?  I still think I'm a geek.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2013 Standard Mileage Rates Announced by IRS

Today the IRS announced the 2013 optional standard mileage rates beginning 1/1/2013.  They are:
  • $ .565 per mile for business miles,
  • $ .24 for medical and moving miles, and
  • $ .14 for charitable miles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Article: Outlook Email Mail Merge

Outlook is a powerful tool. Mail merge (the tool that allows you to create one document, like a letter or an email, and send it to many people with their personalized information inserted throughout so that it feels as though it was written just to them) is also a powerful tool. Do you know how to do mail merge emails in Outlook! The article I just released to the publisher tells how.

Click here to read it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Saying Thanks

Sometimes saying thanks isn't enough. At least, it doesn't feel like it's enough to the one saying it. It often is enough to the one being thanked, but to the one who is thankful, it seems like more needs to be said or done to express how thankful he or she is.

I feel that today-- thankful again for the privilege of serving the Creator of the Universe! It was about twenty-six years ago that he called us to serve his church; and there have been so many ways he has confirmed that call and blessed me since! Here's a partial list:
  • First, 37 years ago (eleven years before MBS) he saved me from a life that was destined to be wasted in prison or in an early death.
  • He planted me in a good church and gave me friendships that continue to shape me to this day.
  • He gave me a wife who is an absolute delight to be in life-partnership with, and a daughter who brings me great joy.
Okay, that's the personal stuff, here's some of the work/ ministry stuff:
  • He gave me an interest in computers back in the late 1960s, and developed in me an ability to see their value and then later to develop systems and methods necessary to make them a valuable tool he would eventually use in ministry.
  • He took a guy (me) that had nearly lost his ability to communicate because of too many psychedelic drugs, and made me an effective conference speaker; giving me the ability to communicate technical information in a way that non-technical people could use to make good decisions.
  • My college professors would be shocked to know that I have been published in print hundreds of times. I think they would all agree that it wasn't my ability, but clearly a miracle!
  • He has granted our little firm the privilege of helping to shape how technology is used in churches and ministries throughout the U.S., and even beyond!
  • He has granted us favor among hardware and software providers, allowing us to influence solutions through relationships with engineers and executives.
  • More recently, he has granted us the privilege of helping to lead The Church into the cloud by placing us in an awesome datacenter and letting us 'play' with some very sophisticated hardware and software.
On that last point I am thoroughly amazed. In fact, it's what woke me up tonight and has me writing now with such deep gratitude. You see, I felt his strong leading to pursue this direction (the cloud) a few years ago; but I was cautious. I let him lead me and speak to me, and I did my best to pay attention and to follow. But I was hesitant because of the investment involved.

So I worked out a business plan that could pay for itself with as few as six clients added per year. That became my hope! Just six clients each year. But the Lord was going to do-- and has done much more than that. We've been offering hosted servers and services in our datacenter for a year this month, and he has blessed us with so many clients (after all, it was his idea in the first place!) that this month we are significantly expanding our datacenter capacity.

I am thankful to be serving. Once again, the Lord has proven himself to be faithful and true. I am also thankful that our opportunity to serve doesn't rest on the shoulders of my brilliance (that would be a problem!), but on the brilliance of the One who called us into service twenty-six years ago this month.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 ChMS Article Released to Publisher!

We have the privilege of publishing the most authoritative and referred-to resource to help churches and ministries find the right church/ ministry management software solution for their needs.  I just released the newest version to the publisher, and you can read a free advance copy by clicking here!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Unlikely Victim of Sandy

I was all set to fly this morning from Long Beach, California to San Francisco on a direct flight so I could attend and help lead the regional CITRT meeting there.  My flight was at 7am, and I got up at 4:30 so I could get through security with plenty of time.

I arrived there as planned, parked, checked in, went through a security pat-down, and waited to board my flight.  After boarding I took my seat and waited as the plane filled, then they closed the door and pulled the ramp back.

A few minutes later the pilot greeted us over the PA system, and let us know that communications with their operations had just been lost.  I was on a JetBlue flight, and their operations are all done at JFK.  Apparently they are unable to access their system from any other location, so the entire JetBlue fleet was grounded until communications were resumed.

In today's Cloud technology era, there is no excuse for this!  They should be able to take a few notebook computers to anywhere there is a secure Internet connection (or simply do this at another airport), login, and do their work!  Instead, I missed the CITRT meeting and now have a JetBlue credit to manage.  And a parking expense because the airport isn't responsible.

So, as a west coast resident and traveler today, I was a victim of Sandy-- albeit an unlikely one.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quick Review of Mountain Lion & Windows 8

I just released a new article for publication that is a brief review of these two new operating systems. A preview is available on our website at

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cool Sighting: White Bellied Sea Eagle

While on a bike ride yesterday a large bird caught my eye. It was more than 2' tall and was perched on the leaf of a cell tower impersonating a palm tree.  I took some pictures of it with my cell camera, but their quality wasn't great. (The best one is included here.)

I wondered what kind of bird it was, but thought it looked like an eagle!  So today I did some research.  It was an eagle!  Here in Huntington Beach!  Who knew!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CCB -- Totally Forgiven

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about an integrity concern I had with CCB (Consistent Computer Bargains). I had called CCB's leadership, but didn't get a response. Since my endorsement and recommendation of CCB has been so public over the years (more than a dozen print articles and numerous referrals while speaking at conferences), I felt the appropriate action was to post that I could no longer recommend them.

Last week the founder and CEO of CCB called to ask what happened and, when he heard, he asked me to forgive him and his team. He assured me their rep had acted outside of their policy. As one who has been forgiven much, I obviously forgave them. Then I told him the only way he could begin to build trust again would be if his next layer of management also said the rep's actions were outside of their policy. We had that conversation, and I believe them.

CCB has been a pioneer and strong advocate in securing software licensing discounts for charities. They are driven by their heartfelt desire to help the Christian church, and I believe their desire to serve The Lord is sincere.

I hope those who read my previous blog post will agree with me that they are forgiven and should have the opportunity to prove their sincerity. I plan on giving them that chance, and hope you do too.

Friday, September 28, 2012

MBS Response to the Sophos False Positive Support Issue

We sent the following to our clients this afternoon about this challenging issue:
What a week this has been!  Let me catch you up on where we are with this issue:
  • Sophos put out a virus signature update last week that mistakenly identified some of its own files as malware.  Though they corrected the problem later that day, because so many did what they were supposed to do (tell Sophos to clean up the problem files), damage was done and it set off a domino effect that affected workstations and servers worldwide.
  • We have been working on our clients' servers and workstations nationwide to correct the problems this has caused.  It has meant a lot of 'after hours' work because of the multiple server restarts that were required.  We hope to be done with this process by Monday morning.  Already we have spent about 60 hours on this!
  • As you know, MBS doesn't sell or distribute hardware or software.  It was the decision of our board early on that we wouldn't profit from the hardware and software we recommended to help ensure that we remain objective rather than profit-driven.
Even though we are not responsible for issues hardware and software vendors create, we don't believe you should have to pay for this mistake the software developer made; it's just too big.  Thus we have decided to internalize and write off the time we've spent on this.  It's part of our partnership with you in Kingdom building.

Please accept my apology again that other support issues have gone unresolved.  We hope to catch up next week, and are working hard towards that end.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Article on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

BYOD is a wave that is just beginning.  There are management, legal, and even tax implications!  This article will help you prepare and plan for it.

Click here to read a free advance copy if it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mountain Lion: Thumbs Up!

When I blogged early last month about Mountain Lion, I had reservations and cautioned adopting it too early.  Apple has released a number of updates including a service pak, and it seems to be stable now. I recommend going for it unless you do some research and find that one of the apps you rely heavily on advises not doing so.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

San Francisco - The Most Spiritually Oppressed City in America

I'm in San Francisco this week for a technology conference. The conference is downtown, and there are lots of people who are homeless or just beaten down by life. Monday I drove throughout the city and was surprised to see that it's not just a downtown problem-- it's city wide!

Most locals probably believe it's because of the fair weather; that it attracts those who don't have a home. But I live in a place with fairer weather, and have been to other places in the country with fairer weather. And it's more than about the homeless. It's about people who look as though life has been very hard on them-- it goes beyond poverty. I've never seen as many people who are beaten down by life-- anywhere!

As I thought about it I remembered some Bible verses (Daniel 10 and Ephesians 6:12, for example) talking about how demons of various strengths and ranks have rule over geographic areas. San Francisco is the strongest real-world evidence of that. I think there is high-level spiritual oppression here. This is a city where wickedness (which I define as those things that are done which are contrary to what God has communicated as good and right in The Bible)-- where wickedness rules.

To my friends who call San Francisco home, I will be praying for you with a new emphasis:
  • For your focus on and dedication to walking with God,
  • For your protection from the enemy, and
  • For your impact on those around you and on your community.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

VMworld 2012

VMware announced some exciting developments in their platform here this week! Following are some of my notes:
  • VMware is focused on an annual update strategy. This year they announced vSphere 5.1.
  • They listened to their customers and have simplified the licensing that was introduced with vSphere 5.
  • They introduced Horizon Suite, which includes Octopus, ThinApp, AppBlast, Horizon Application Manager, and Horizon Mobile.
I'm especially excited about the Horizon Suite. I saw it manage Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices very nicely and with full IT policy strengths. It uses Active Directory user-based policy management, which means a user's experience will be the same on all of his/ her devices! Very nice, indeed.

VMware continues to lead in virtualization.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Windows 8 Professional Testing

Clients, readers, friends--  and even family often ask me if they should upgrade to the newest OSes.  Windows 8 has folks talking, and now that it is a finished version I'm about to begin testing it.

A Bit of Perspective
I don't have high hopes for Win8, but will give it my usual objective attention. Why don't I have high hopes for it? I've been in IT long enough to have seen a Microsoft workstation operating system (OS) pattern:
  • DOS 3.x - great operating system
  • DOS 4.x - an operating system IT avoided
  • DOS 5.x - great operating system
  • DOS 6.x - an operating system IT avoided
  • Windows 3.0 (and 3.1) - great operating system
  • Windows 4.x - an operating system IT avoided
  • Windows 95 - great operating system
  • Windows 98 (and ME) - an operating system IT avoided
  • Windows 2000 - great operating system
  • Windows XP - great operating system
  • Windows Vista - an operating system IT avoided
  • Windows 7 - great operating system
  • Windows 8 - we'll see!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Article on Telecommuting

A couple of months ago I blogged about how telecommuting can work ( It's such a strategic issue that I decided to expand the post and turn it into an article.  After releasing it to my publisher I added it to our company's website (lots of free articles there).  Here's the link:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

We're Looking for a New Software Vendor

For more than fifteen years we have recommended folks buy their software from Consistent Computer Bargains (CCB). They have helped many churches and ministries, and we were glad to help them get started and flourish. I have written many articles recommending them.

Unfortunately, our recommendation of them must stop, and we are now looking for a new software vendor to help churches and ministries.

The problem is that CCB decided to start competing with us. That in itself is not a problem; there are many churches and ministries looking for good IT help. But they never called to talk about changes they were making; they just did it and let us hear about it from our clients. Yes, our clients began getting calls and emails soliciting their business and even making statements like, "What would it take for you to turn to us instead of MBS?".

I am greatly disappointed that CCB has chosen to end our friendship. We know Jesus loves them, and so do we. But we can no longer refer anyone their way.

We are actively looking for a new software distributor that will help churches and ministries with software purchases. Dell has stepped in and is covering a lot of that ground for us, and doing it for less than CCB was! But there are a few items they can't help with. If you know someone we should talk with, please let me know!

Post Update: I've updated the story in a post worth your reading. The quick link is

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

MBS' New Dell Rep

Dell has assigned us a new rep, and he sounds like he's going to be great for our clients and colleagues to work with!  Here are his contact details:
     Adam Earhart
     (512) 513-0945

We'll be updating the MBS Spec Sheet soon with updated quotes, etc.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mountain Lion Impressions So Far

Early this week I upgraded my 11" MacBook Air (mid-2011) from it's native Lion to Mountain Lion.  Here are my observations after four days.

Interesting Differences
  • Software Update now launches the App Store's Updates page
  • iChat is gone; replaced by Messages
  • Notifications-- probably something many like; but I turned it off for everything except FaceTime
  • PowerNap (I disabled it)

  • Improved graphic quality of display resolution and Dock
  • Faster system startup time (about 40%)

  • Lots of spinning beach balls throughout the day
  • I've had to force quit applications a few times
  • I've had to hard restart my computer twice
  • Slower shutdown time
Overall, I think it's okay.  I recommend waiting, though, before upgrading to avoid the spinning beach balls and required restarts that reduce productivity.  Perhaps those issues will be resolved with version 10.8.1.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Article on the Hardware I Use

Folks often ask me what I use for a computer, cell phone, tablet, headset, etc.  I released an article today for publication that is how I answer those questions.  If you'd like to read a free advance copy, click here!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Telecommuting Can Work!

At MBS some members of our team have been telecommuting since 1990. I'm often asked how I know whether it's working for us. The unspoken question is, "How do I know I'm getting a full day of work in exchange for a full day of pay??

That is an excellent question, and one which every employer wrestles with-- whether their staff works in the office, on the road, or from home!  And the answer is the same regardless of where employees work: Does the amount of employee output meet or exceed the expectations of the employer?

Let's face it: even employees who work in offices can under-produce. They can waste time doing things their employer hasn't asked them to do, and their output suffers accordingly. That can also be true for employees who work on the road or from home. So, I recommend two things to help in this area:
  1. Employers, give your team clear guidance on what you believe they should be able to accomplish in the time they are at work. If they exceed your expectations, reward them for their diligence and capability! If they under-produce, let them find employment elsewhere that is better suited for their skill-set and motivation.
  2. Employees-- especially those who are Christians-- the Bible encourages you to do your work as though working for the Lord himself! Writing to those who were enslaved to their employers (a far worse condition of employment than most of us experience today), Paul said in Colossians 3:22-25: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism." NIV
And telecommuting has some significant advantages! Studies show that it increases employee morale and job enjoyment. And it reduces employer cost because of the reduction in office space that must be maintained.

Yes, telecommuting can work! It takes diligence and trust on the part of the employer, and needs to be matched by diligence and integrity on the part of the employee. But that's really true of any employer/ employee relationship, regardless of whether the location is an office, on the road, or at home.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Bonus Years

If you knew my past, you'd understand why I say I'm in the bonus years. Before deciding to believe in Jesus as my savior I was pretty messed up.  My life up 'til then could be characterized as one ugly bowl of soup:
  • Always in trouble in school; getting suspended and even expelled.
  • Dropped out of high school near the end of the 10th grade.
  • In trouble with the law for dope and fraud.
  • In trouble in the military for fraud and being a malcontent.
  • One of the largest volume wholesale drug dealers in northern Los Angeles (high quality pot, hash, and LSD).
  • A total stoner; spent almost an entire summer on LSD and other hallucinogens.
  • All this by the time I was twenty-one.
I really never expected to hit fifty years of age.  I don't think anyone who knew me expected me to live that long either.

But then something happened.  Through a series of events I was confronted with the promises of God over the summer of my 21st year.  In September I told God, "To the extent you're faithful to your promises, to that extent you can have my life."  One of his names is The Faithful and True.

So here I am, in my fifties!  And that's why I call these The Bonus Years! And there is truly no greater joy than knowing God and living life his way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Article on the Business Case for Charity Software Licensing

I just released an article to the publishers designed to help software providers understand the benefits they should consider regarding charity licensing discounts.  My hope is that it will sway those not currently offering charity discounts to begin doing so.

If you'd like to read a free advance copy, just click here!

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Article on Wise Cloud Strategies

Church and ministry leaders are being tasked with making Cloud decisions, but need to know whether their decisions are good or bad, wise or unwise.  This brief article will give you a framework for working through Cloud decisions.

Click here to read a free advance copy!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

HTC Thunderbolt vs Motorola RazrMaxx

I switched to a Motorola RazrMaxx smartphone last week because I needed a better hotspot for when I'm away.  I'd been using a HTC Thunderbolt and liked it a lot, except that it was a very weak hotspot (acknowledged by HTC).  Here's a quick impression of the RazrMaxx compared to the Thunderbolt.
  • Size & weight are similar
  • RazrMaxx Weaknesses
    • The viewable image is unnecessarily narrow for the frame
    • Location of the Home button is unique
    • The Dock is not as nice
    • The Keyboard has smaller keys & no cursor keys
    • No kickstand
  • RazrMaxx Strengths
    • Great battery life
    • Hotspot performs well
    • Proximity Sensor turns screen off when phone is next to face
    • Double USB-port charger
I hope that helps you evaluate whether a change is in your future.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Article on How Studios Manage Media Files

I've been wanting to research how the movie studios manage their audio and video files for some time! I finally connected with someone I could interview (but not quote), and this article includes the surprising ways they manage this important task.

Click here to read a free advance copy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

Okay, here's an admission most would never make. A few days ago, while handling my pellet rifle I grabbed it wrong and accidentally pulled the trigger when it was pointed at my foot! Yes, it was loaded! Yes, I shot myself in the foot!

Fortunately, I was wearing a shoe so the damage was only on the surface-- and a little below the surface; but not significant.

That was painful! And embarrassing! Even more embarrassing because I'm being so public about it!

I got to thinking, however, that this is the way many of us conduct various aspects of our lives. Without believing anything will ever go wrong and expose our foolishness, we:
  • Don't back up our data,
  • Drive on bald tires,
  • Work on running car engines,
  • Fix live electrical connections,
  • Sneak into places or actions that could ruin us,
  • Pilfer just a little at work, and more.
The problem is that those life-on-the-edge actions and attitudes almost always catch up with us. And when they do we're so embarrassed. And sometimes our life is wrecked with, at best, a long road of recovery.

In a book I recently read, The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley does a great job of putting into perspective the principle that direction-- not intention-- determines our destination. It doesn't matter that we never intended to be known for a particular failure. When caught and the facts come to light, observers often say, "What was he thinking! Of course those actions would lead to that!"

I encourage you to consider what poor decisions you might be making, and the path they're taking you down. I have some in my life that I'm battling, and knowing that deciding to go in a different direction when tempted is all that's necessary is very helpful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

IT & WebDev Are Not The Same Thing!

I attended the 2012 CITRT event last week-- which was great, btw. Another attendee who is focused on web development (WebDev) briefly blogged his thoughts about the event and did a good job from the WebDev side of contrasting the two disciplines.  They really are different disciplines!

BTW... click here to go to a previous post on this topic that goes into more detail.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Favorite iPad Apps

I'm often asked what my favorite iPad apps are.  Here's the current list (most are free; some aren't):
  • Communications
    • Bria - a softphone that works with VoIP PBX systems
    • IM+ Pro - a jabber client that interfaces with private instant message systems
    • Twitterific - Twitter client
  • Productivity
    • FileBrowser - good app to attach to file servers and copy files back and forth (does not auto-sync, though)
    • iThoughtsHD - mind mapping brainstorming and note taking app
    • Vtrace - helps show folks how many hops there are between them and the Internet server they're connecting to
  • Fun & Games
    • ArtPuzzles - great puzzle app
    • Backgammon - good app, but it cheats a lot
    • Hangman
    • Sudoku +
    • Zentonimo - another fun puzzle app
  • Mobile Empowerment
    • American Airlines HD
    • Lifelike Clock - great alarm clock
    • iTap RDP - great terminal server client
    • Spb Wallet - great electronic wallet that syncs with Windows, Mac, and Droids
  • Media
    • Netflix
    • Trailers
  • Reference
    • Bible from
    • Bible Verse
    • Kindle
    • Logos Bible
    • RecipeBook
  • Utilities
    • Air Display - makes iPad a WiFi-connected additional display for Mac and Windows computers
    • Calculator HD
    • Net Master HD - great network poking app
    • NHK Clock HD - great analog clock app
    • Speed Test

Friday, April 13, 2012

Airline Captain Tech Support

I have a friend who's an airline captain for a major airline.  He's also an awesome surfer.  And when we talk our conversation is very casual and totally surfed out!  We were sitting on our boards one day waiting for waves, and I asked him if he has to talk over the plane's public address system very often, or if he delegates it.  He said, "Oh, dude-- it's the worst!  I have to play it so straight!"  That story still makes me laugh!

Good airline pilots are good for many reasons.  One is that they keep their passengers updated when things might not appear to be going as originally planned.  Like when you're in the line-up to take off at some airports and the captain comes on the P.A. and lets you know that your plane is sixth in line to take off.  That's helpful information!  It didn't fix anything, but just getting the status update helps you feel more comfortable.

That's how we, as IT professionals, need to approach tech support.  When there's a lull in the action, before they can start to feel like maybe they're being ignored, let them know the status of things!  Letting them know, for instance, that you're waiting to hear from the manufacturer on something helps them know you're doing all you can on their behalf.

Put yourself in their shoes.  If you'd start to feel impatient or neglected at a certain point, become their advocate and proactively give them a status update!  It takes very little effort and goes a long way towards earning their trust and appreciation.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Article on 3 Things Needing Attention on Every Network

I released a new article to the publisher on three things that need attention on every network. Click here to read a free advance copy!

MBS is Growing Up! Finally!

Our firm, MBS, has been serving Christian churches and ministries for nearly 26 years!  When we started we offered six different services which the Lord used to meet clients' needs; but over the years He has led us to focus better and better.  Beginning in 2011 our only focus is serving the IT needs of Christian churches and ministries.

We also launched the next generation of those services in the Fall of 2011:  cloud hosting of Exchange, SQL, and VoIP servers.  All done in our secure, state-of-the-art data center.  Honestly, I have been surprised at how well The Church is responding to those hosted services!  I'm very excited about it; we love serving Christian churches and ministries well!

This month we added a new tool for our internal use: a help desk support ticket tracking system.  With our growing team of IT engineers we needed a better way to keep track of our clients' support requests.  Though we may eventually outgrow it, we're using SpiceWorks.  When a client emails our support team it automatically generates a support ticket.  It's only been live about a week and already I'm liking it!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sending Text to Phones from Email Clients (i.e. Outlook)

Sometimes it's handy to send someone a text message (SMS) via email.  It's easy to do!  Just address the email to the intended recipient's cell phone number-- including the area code but without a preceding 1-- and append it as follows:
  • ATT:
  • Sprint:
  • T-Mobile:
  • Verizon:
For instance, if you wanted to send a VerizonWireless customer a text message via email, address is to


    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    New Article on Our Relationship with Our Mobile Devices

    I just wrote a fun and helpful article on how to manage our mobile devices.  Click here to read it!

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Windows' Hidden Admin Account

    When Microsoft support told me to switch to the hidden Admin account I fell out of my chair!  Well, figuratively speaking, anyway.  And guess what!  It doesn't have a password!  Go figure...

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    New Article on IT's Role in Strategic Planning

    Most church and ministry leadership teams are unaware of how visions cast and implementations planned affect or are affected by their computer systems. Let’s look at how leadership can improve this process and achieve more successful results.

    Click here to read the article.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Nice Touch, Tech Support!

    I have an awesome phone headset!  When it started having trouble charging, I called the folks we bought it from,, and took advantage of their lifetime support.  They decided the best thing to do was replace it, even though I've had it for more than a year.

    Today it came via FedEx, and I was surprised to find four Tootsie Rolls in the box!  What a nice surprise!  And though the candies barely cost them a nickel, they earned a bunch of goodwill.


    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Macs: Even More Vulnerable Than I Aready Knew!

    A client called that had changed the password on their Mac (OSX 10.7.3) and forgot what they changed it to. It needed to be reset, but they had no way of logging in to reset it.

    I did a little research and quickly came up with a simple process that was shocking! Simply:
    • Starting the Mac with two keys pressed brought it up in a terminal session logged in as root (the most authoritative user on the system).
    • Three simple commands produced a list of all users on the computer (their short names), and
    • One more command allowed me to change any of those users' passwords to whatever I wanted.
    • Then a simple reboot allowed me to login as them with their new password, giving me access to all of their files!
    It really is that easy to completely hijack a Mac and all of its contents!

    Are you kidding me, Apple?!!? Can't you at least require a password or some other methodology to protect the files on your computers?

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    The Dumbing Down of America

    Americans are being trained by many around us to care about things that don't matter.  I live in Southern California, and today's main news story is that we have a major winter storm coming.  In fact, we are under storm watch! The details of this story that consumes about 20% of our local newscasts are that the storm may dump as much as one tenth of an inch of rain and we may experience some cold drizzle!  That's the biggest story on the news here!

    Newscasters are motivated by what gets them ratings.  I get that, and Storm Watch works.  What they're not doing is boring us with the details about why our fuel prices are rising or why the U.S. is losing ground on the world leadership front.  Those don't produce ratings, and they also don't fit the political perspectives that many on the news media have.

    What would happen if someone did an in-depth study on the reasons behind why our fuel prices are rising to historic levels?  They'd find it could be fixed by the public putting pressure on our political system to allow domestic drilling and require a high percentage of domestic oil be sold in the U.S.

    What about the world leadership front?  They'd find it's the policy decisions our politicians are setting that are driving us into debt and that are causing world opinion to lose respect for the U.S.

    When was the last time you saw something on the news about these or about how many millions are stolen from credit card users because they don't reconcile their monthly statements?  Merchants now ask us if we want receipts in a supposed effort to save the environment.  They're really cutting their overhead, while at the same time teaching consumers to not reconcile their statement (how can they without receipts?).  (This is also the real reason behind why hotels no longer change bedding daily.)

    The news could serve the public if it wanted to.  It would mean going against newscasters' political perspectives, though, and most aren't willing to do that.  And their supposition that it would drop their ratings is false!  Americans are hungry for truth and for help.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    “IT Crash” Takes on New Meaning

    Today I’m flying to the Texas Ministry Conference in Houston.  My connecting flight in Dallas is delayed, and because I’m speaking tomorrow at the conference I talked with the airline personnel to determine if this flight would go or if I should take another one.

    When he shared the nature of the mechanical delay, I was surprised!  The maintenance folks are trying to get the printer in the cockpit online-- without it they cannot fly!  Being an IT pro, I guess I should have offered my services…

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    New Article: Consumerization of IT

    Computer use is going through a significant change… one that is challenging the status quo of most church and ministry networks. The IT world refers to it as the Consumerization of IT, and it is growing.

    This has become a hot topic among church and ministry leaders, so I wrote an article about it that I hope you find helpful.  Click here to read it!

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Texting Abuse

    Texting is a great communication tool, except when misused.  Texting is about simple communication in real time; it is not about calendaring or task management.  Here are a few examples of this kind of misuse:
    • I need someone to send me some information they have at their desk, and I think of it while watching my favorite evening television show, so I text them.
    • I want to get together with someone in a week or two, so I text them the date.
    • I remember that I need to give someone some info they need for a task or meeting, and I text it to them off-hours.
    Sending them a text message, rather than an email or creating a task I can follow up during work hours assumes the other person A) reads their text messages at that hour and, if so, B) will remember to review their already read text messages later.  It can also result in someone showing up for a meeting I never put on my calendar.

    Texting in this way can also be a way of shifting the responsibility from procrastination to someone else who may or may not respond to the text.  And if they don't review old text messages when they get to work, the blame for missed deadlines, etc unfairly reflects on the person who may have never seen the text at a time they could respond appropriately.

    When making requests that have ramifications, always use email rather than text messaging.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    How to Rename Your Kindle Device or Application

    I recently gave my wife a Kindle File, and she loves it!  I linked it to my Kindle account so we could share books (wouldn't it be nice if Amazon let us link family accounts for sharing purposes!).  The problem was that Amazon automatically named her Kindle Fire Nick's Kindle.

    Renaming the device was not obvious on the Amazon website, but the steps to do so are surprisingly easy!  Here they are:
    1. Login to
    2. Click Manage Your Devices on the left side of the screen
    3. Click the Edit link next to your registered Kindle device's name
    4. Sync your Kindle device or application
    That's it!  Pretty easy, too!