WordPress users – favorite widgets/plug-ins?

January 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Admin, Web/Tech, Weblogs 

I know that I have a few WordPress users among my readers.

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Presbytalk Grand Opening

January 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Religion, Web/Tech, Weblogs 

I am pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the Internet’s newest Presbyterian Discussion Forum:  Presbytalk.

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Come and join us!

Job Search – day 3

August 15, 2008 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Web/Tech, Work 

Yesterday and today have been relatively idle days.

Yesterday, I took the advice of the severance release document and talked to an attorney about my situation and the document.  My church was able to refer me to three members who are attorneys and the one that I’m working with is doing the work pro bono.  We are waiting for the final release agreement to be mailed to me next week before deciding what course to take.

Also yesterday, the outplacement firm called.  I have an appointment with them for Monday morning for an orientation session.  Today I am gathering documents to get ready – resumes, performance appraisals, etc.

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I appreciate all of the notes of support that I’ve received so far.  I can see in my blog statistics that I have several different visitors from my former colleagues – please feel free to send an e-mail to the address in the left column.  This process is very difficult for me emotionally.  My self-confidence is taking the greatest beating right now.

Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

The New PC(USA) Moderator on blogging

June 23, 2008 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Religion, Web/Tech 

Bruce Reyes-Chow, the brand-new Moderator of the PC(USA), spoke about blogging in his post-election interview.  He spoke about the Internet and blogging in particular.

Reyes-Chow, a 39-year-old San Francisco pastor, husband and the father of three daughters between the ages of four and 11, said that blogging and using Facebook and other social networking sites “is part of my  way of being, how we naturally engage with people.”

He believes being transparent and prolific will “help people  feel invited to participate in the church in new way.”

He also recognizes people have “concerns about why we share so openly,” especially on the occasion when he places his political views online.

“I see something and I think, ‘That’ll blog,’ and I put it  on,” he said.

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During his campaign for moderator, someone asked Reyes-Chow if he could tell the person something about himself that could not already be found on his blog. “Not really,” Reyes-Chow said. “I am an open book, pretty much. I am excited about connecting with folks and using my spiritual practice of blogging.”

It sounds like Bruce has more or less the same view of blogging that I do.  Compare this to what I wrote a while back (after a very different emotional experience than Bruce’s):

As I have written, some of my most important core values are honesty, openness and authenticity.  When my pastor asked me, “Is there anybody that you run your blog posts by before you post them?” it hit me hard.  Most of you agree that I may have a been a little too open and have said one thing
out of frustration that you wouldn’t have said, but that it’s my blog and that I’m being careful enough by leaving out names.  …  One of the things that I love most about Camp Johnsonburg is that you truly can be yourself – warts and all – and you will be accepted (and even loved).  Some folks have rougher edges than others, and it IS possible to get too far outside of the bounds of acceptable behavior for camp, but for the most part it’s a place where 90% of the folks who come there feel at home.  I expect that from the local congregation too – after all, isn’t that what we’re called to do?  I realize that this may be an unrealistic expectation, even if it is a valid expectation.

I’m glad to see that someone else sees the usefulness of transparency in our community.  (Note – other commenters here have said the same thing – this is just the first time I’ve seen it in a press article.)

Blogging and the local congregation

June 5, 2008 by · 13 Comments
Filed under: Religion, Web/Tech 

As you know (if you’ve read the post below or one from last weekend), I recently agreed to stand for election to the deacons at my church.

The Nominating Committee asked our pastor to be the person to contact me.  They also reportedly asked him to express to me a concern over the existence and content of my blog.  Apparently they were concerned that I would blog about sensitive information or children or other events related to my service as a deacon – with the implication (as seen by me) that such blogging would be inappropriate.

I believe that I have shown an adequate track record of handling sensitive information (within the youth group or Project Open Door, for a few examples) while blogging about the church.  I would also like to note that the majority of what I write about my congregation is positive.  Last, I avoid as much as possible making individuals identifiable when posting my less positive thoughts or feelings.

My pastor has encouraged me to ask my readers the following question:

What is the effect on both a blogger and the relationship with his/her congregation when said blogger blogs about the local congregation?

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I know that many of my readers have chosen to blog anonymously (generally under a pseudonym like "Tall Steeple Preacher" or "Calvin’s Understudy" or such) and that they do write about events in their churches with some level of detail but with all identification of the people involved (and church) removed.  Others have chosen to avoid writing about their local congregation altogether, whether or not they use their real name.  Still others are doing something similar to what I am doing – blogging about local events and stories under their real name with their church clearly defined or easy to determine – but with different levels of detail and identification of people or churches.

What do you think?  My pastor and I are very interested in hearing your opinion.  What does blogging do to the relationship between the blogger and congregation?

Because this conversation discusses anonymity, and because in order to prevent massive amounts of spam I need to require at least a minimal amount of information regarding your name or e-mail for comments, I have an offer for this post only.  If you have comments that you would like to post anonymously, please feel free to e-mail it to me along with some moniker that you want me to use, and I will post it myself.

Blogger Blessings

December 28, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Life, Religion, Web/Tech 

I have been tagged by Gannet Girl at Search the Sea for a year-end blogger blessing.  This seems to be how it works (from the person who blessed her):

The idea… it’s a game of tag with a difference, rather than looking inwardly, we look outside ourselves and bless, praise and pray for one blog friend. By participating in this endeavour we not only make the recipient of the blessing feel valued and appreciated, but we are having some fun too. We’re going to see how far the bloggin’ blessings can travel around the world and how many people can be blessed! Recipients of a bloggin’ blessing may upload the above image {I chose not to use the image – Mark} to their sidebar if they choose to. If you recieve a bloggin’ blessin’ please leave a comment on this thread here so that we can rejoice in just how many blessings have been sent around the world!

I am going to bless:

Will Smama for grace under fire in the past year.  She has survived a very difficult life event and kept on rowing without permanently losing her mind or resorting to bad behavior.
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Adam and Sarah Walker Cleaveland as they move into the next phase of their lives after seminary.

Will Spotts as he moves on from the PC(USA) and yet continues to provoke deep thoughts.  I value Will as the one shining star that I see coming from the “other” side of the liberal/conservative divide – he has consistently debated with respect and dignity for those who disagree.  It’s amazing how rare that is.

Capitalization and “Christian”

November 8, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Religion, Web/Tech 

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Is that technically correct?

iPod – Day One

May 10, 2005 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Music, Web/Tech 

The iPod arrived yesterday.

First, a big thumbs-down to buy.com.  I ordered the iPod last Tuesday – “In stock – delivery in 3 to 5 days”.  They claimed to have shipped it on Tuesday – “order by 4pm EDT for same day shipping”.  However, all they apparently did was send the package info electronically to Fedex Ground.  Fedex didn’t see the package until Thursday.  They delivered in Monday, 6 days from ordering (not 3-5 as advertised).  On top of that, the packing list in the box was for some poor person in Parma, OH for a rack-mount Ethernet router.  I hope that item made it successfully.

The box that it comes in is tiny – and so is the iPod itself.  It’s about the size of a cassette tape case (or, if you’re really young a cassette case is about the size of an iPod).  It seems to have come about 80% charged – I had to plug it in for about an hour to fully charge it.

Installing the software was tricky.  I had to load the CD, wait for it to activate, and then plug in the iPod through the USB cable.  It chose to format my iPod (since I’m a Windows user rather than Mac).  After the reboot, the computer didn’t see the iPod for a while and I had to pull the USB cord (after waiting 15 minutes with “Do Not Disconnect” on the screen) and re-enter it.  It then let me into the serial number screen.  That accomplished, the PC rebooted and iTunes came up.

I’d already loaded music into iTunes, so it started sync’ing the approximately 350 MP3 files.  That took quite a while (at least 45 minutes).  While I was waiting, I ripped a few more CD’s, though that ran at 1/2 speed (about 3x).

So far, so good.  I’ve used it at work, and the sound quality is very good.  I used the Apple earbuds for a while, but found them to be uncomfortable after an hour or so.  I plugged in the cheapie headphones that I keep at work, and had to crank up the iPod’s volume (though not all the way up – full volume is still too loud).  These headphones play treble stronger than the Apple buds, but I was able to turn on Bass Booster on the iPod and it seems to help.
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The User interface is pretty straightforward, once you figure out that you have to drag your finger around the dial to get the menus to move.  I haven’t had any trouble finding the menu options that I want.  The games are a little hard to play, but that’s not why I bought it.

My music selection is decidedly skewed by the small number of CD’s ripped thus far – and the fact that they were all sorted together on my shelf.  I suspect that Shuffle will produce more random play once I’ve got more CD’s loaded.

I definately need some accessories:
Car Cassette Adapter
Car Charger
Better headphones

I also want to download and play with iArt to put album cover art on the Photo iPod.

Joining the iPod Generation

May 9, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Music, Web/Tech 

I’ve decided to join the iPod generation.

I’m a Systems Analyst.  I do project planning, requirements definition, design, programming, testing – the whole gamut of the system project lifecycle.  That means a lot of time spent sitting at my desk typing.  I work in cubicle-land, and until lately my cubicle neighborhood has been pretty sparse.  However, it’s getting more crowded lately – and therefore noisier.

I’ve burned an MP3 CD and listened to it on my PC at work, but I get tired of the number of songs that fit on one CD.  I also listen to Internet radio, but I assume that someday the network folks are gonna catch on and ask me to stop.  Therefore, what I need is a way to carry my CD collection around with me.

Sounds like an iPod to me.

I ordered an iPod Photo 30GB from buy.com last Tuesday.  I’m a little annoyed at them for slow shipping – they claimed to have shipped it the same day on Tuesday, but Fedex’s system shows that they didn’t get the trailer until Thursday.  It’s really a one-day delivery to me, but it’s not here yet.  Should arrive this afternoon.  buy.com claims “3 to 5 day delivery” for this item, so they didn’t make it.

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That’s when I realized that I wasn’t getting anything in iTunes from the CD’s.

As it turns out (after an hour of digging on the Internet), my old Dell (purchased 1/2000) needed an ATA driver update in order to play/rip CDs with iTunes.  After installing that, it worked fine.

I have two drives – DVD/CD reader, and a CD burner.  I got about 7-8x speed on my ripping 192 bitrate MP3’s.  That translates to about 10 minutes per CD, or 6 an hour.  It’s gonna take me quite a while to get all of my 100+ CD’s (probably more like 150) ripped.

I’ll post more as I get a chance to play with it and use it.  I expect to be buying some accessories as well – probably an AC charger for work and a car charger plus a cassette adapter for the car.


The Time Traveler Convention

May 7, 2005, 10:00pm EDT (08 May 2005 02:00:00 UTC)

East Campus Courtyard, MIT

42:21:36.025°N, 71:05:16.332°W

(42.360007,-071.087870 in decimal degrees)

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Please note that the date is in reference to the Gregorian Calendar in use at the host time.

I’m posting this here, as I believe that my blog will become so popular that transcripts should be available well into the future!

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