30/01/2009

Links

Category Technology Random
While sitting at LAX with not much to do except listen to the iPod, read a book, and surf the Internet a found some interesting links, and some funny links. See for yourself just how much useful information is available to those who will seek:

A humorous look at failure
Need a green data centre? Look here
Details of a zombie attack from gizmodo
Just how popular is the iPhone? Wow!
Want to be a genius? You'll need this iPhone app
An honest kiwi saves the US here
Just how good are Apple? Decide for yourself after seeing this!

30/01/2009

Digital Cameras

Category Technology
When you're on a trip away from home you use somethings more than others, like (maybe) your digital camera. In looking for something I came across a great web page dedicated to getting the most out of your digital camera. The web site is here and there are 10 great tips. Below are edited versions of what I thought were the best 3.

Tip #1- This Camera Belongs To
Digital cameras are just the right size to slip out of your pocket. Maybe the person who finds is an honest person who wants to get it back to it's owner. Take a photo of a note with your name and phone number on it. Then set that the splash screen (the photo that is displayed on the screen when you turn the camera on).

Tip #2- Car Park
Okay this isn't going to be all that helpful in NZ, but I'm writing this in America where the carparks are so big you could run a marathon through them without passing the some point twice. They have helpful names like 42H, or 94J, which readily stick in my mind (well for the length of time it takes for the sign to disappear from view)! A picture of the sign for your block will help you get back to your car after a long day.

Tip #3- Yellow Pages
Rather than tearing a page out of a phone book, take a picture of the page (or pages) you're interested in! Of course many of us have phones that can access the Internet wherever there is cellphone coverage. However I haven't been using that feature too much while in the USA because of exhorbitant roaming data charges. Back in NZ I'f just use my phone. But if I didn't have one ...

There were 7 other ideas for using your camera at the website if you're interested.

29/01/2009

BlackBerry Prayers

Category Technology
It would seem that the group of people at ITX (and for that matter Lotusphere) are very in touch with their gods and pray regularly. From the Urban Dictionary website comes the term BlackBerry Prayer. It is described as the supplicating position one assumes when grasping the popular six-ounce wireless combination e-mailer/phone known as the BlackBerry between your palms and thumb-tapping messages on its QWERTY keyboard.

Everyday I am surrounded by people doing their Blackberry Prayer rituals!

28/01/2009

Larry Norman

Category Church Music
I've got Larry Norman playing on my iPod at the moment and I went to the Internet to look up some of his lyrics. A quick Google of the song title found what I was after but also gave me a few other options. In reading an article about Larry Norman and the way he approached music it became easy to see why I enjoy it so much. His debut album is described as an album that was for Christians, just not those who want everything spelled out for them! Larry was quoted as saying, "I’m going to present the gospel, and I’m not going to say it like you want. This album is not for you.” Sounds like my kind of guy!

The article gets even better as it describes the historical setting that the album was released into (again quoted from the article): The fallout from Altamont and assassinations of King and Kennedy made way for the birth of the Jesus Movement in California in the early ‘70s. The walking wounded from Haight Ashbury were finding solace and salvation in the words of Jesus, but they found little in the church that reflected their culture.

When it was suggested Larry Norman move to a Christian label he wouldn't have a bar of it. Quoting from the article (which you can find here. He had little time for the Christian music industry, saying that “maybe the majority of Christian lyrics are just bad poetry…The songs manage to rhyme but they don’t manage to say much in between the lines.”

To be sure, his lyrics were anything but trite. He was considered too secular for the church and too church for the secularists. Case in point—the lyrics to The Great American Novel from Only Visiting this Planet. Written 35 years ago, the words still ring true, only the war is against terror and homeland security is today’s reality.
I've put the lyrics to that song (which I could probably quote to you) in the 'more' section of this blog entry.

28/01/2009

ITX7 #5

Category Work Technology
The show and tell session at ITX has been useful (as it always is). There are (again) examples of Territories solving problems using technology in both creative and effective ways. I can't help but think that a more regular session like this would be helpful. Technology is bringing us closely together and we (in IT departments) seem to have similar pain points and challenges to overcome.

A regular sharing session (remotely using web technologies) where a couple of territories share solutions to problems they've implemented, or projects they're in the middle of. It would be beneficial to me and (IMHO) many others.

28/01/2009

Xtranormal.com

Category Technology
I was introduced to some cool technology which could be used fairly extensively by creative and not-so-creative people also. The tag phrase is if you can type, you can make movies. Text-to-movie. Xtranormal (www.xtranormal.com) is available to anyone currently. If you're interested in trying it have a look. But read the license agreement carefully. There are some unusual things you're agreeing to including any link to the site being to the www.xtranormal.com and not any underlying page. Bizarre!

Anyway, have a look at what you can create in under half an hour. I imagine you could spend another 30-60 minutes playing around with camera angles and expressions to punctuate your speech. For my movie (see below) I didn't bother as it was after midnight when I started playing around.

27/01/2009

ITX7 #4

Category Work
This afternoon was the 1st of my presentations. This one was on alternative operating systems (i.e. not Windows), and alternate office productivity tools (i.e. not Office). It was really hard and I didn't feel as though there was much interest or engagement. I've since had comments to the contrary but I still feel like it wasn't as good as it could have been.

Interestingly there were only two other people in the room seriously considering open source alternatives. One is assessing Lotus Symphony against Open Office and looking to deliver that to the 80% of people who only require basic functionality.

What intrigues me most as I reflect on some of the comments and my perception of how the content was received, is that most people would rather continue paying for something that they don't need to (especially Office). Now I don't think that Symphony or Open Office will be a complete replacement for Office - Office is far to mature and feature rich for a couple of new startups to compete with (at this stage). However my personal opinion is that even if I was only spending $50 on an Office license (which some are - but not me) then if I move 1000 users off of Office I've saved $50000. That is $50000 that goes towards helping people and not into supporting the machine.

27/01/2009

Ubuntu and Lotus

Category Technology
In preparation for a presentation I've put together a virtual instance of an alternate operating system (Ubuntu) and an alternate office productivity suite (Lotus Symphony). This exercise was simple and painless. Ubuntu is simple to install, has a clean interface, is intuitive to use, and just works (well on my hardware)! Adding Lotus Symphony (and also Lotus Notes) was again a simple and painless exercise. Time from go to whoa (or wow) was probably around an hour.

27/01/2009

ITX7 #3

Category Work
As we launch into day 2 of ITX things are begining to get going. After TTX last year comments were made that it takes a couple of days to settled into a conference mindset and warmed up enough to share your thoughts (some don't need long to warm up)! Today has some interesting sessions which perhaps won't result in too much dialogue. It will be interesting to see how much dialogue increases as we head towards the final day(s).

26/01/2009

Too much time

Category Random
Some people obviously have too much time on their hands:

26/01/2009

Interpretation

Category Church Bible
It is interesting how differently we all interpret things. This morning at church (with some of the ITX crowd) the sermon was on Jonah. An attempt was made to take us through the entire book of Jonah which was in some ways a little ambitious (IMHO) but did make the tempo quite fast (which I like). However the thrust of the message seemed to be that God will punish us right here and now if we don't do what He wants. In the van on the way back there was some discussion about the other possible messages that could be taken from Jonah.

Personally I think part of the message of Jonah is grace (God's relentless love and constant forgiveness). So despite my feelings or reaction to the sermon a lively discussion followed.

25/01/2009

ITX7 #2

Category Technology Work
So day 1 of ITX7 has finished and I've just spent an hour mucking around with The Flip a little flash based video camera I purchased. It is a pretty cool little gadget and only time will tell just how useful it is. Here are some selected shots from day 1 at ITX7.

25/01/2009

America

Category Random
For dinner tonight (day 1 of ITX7), we split into 3 groups and I, with several others, went to a restaurant called Macaroni Grill. It was a decent meal although the portion sizes were huge (except for my sorbet dessert). Anyway I decided to walk back from the restaurant to the hotel and was reminded of how unfriendly America is to pedestrians. Foot paths that go nowhere! Pedestrian crossing that drivers don't stop at. The irony is even though I walked it wasn't much longer than the drive to the restaurant.

25/01/2009

ITX7 #1

Category Technology Work
As ITX7 starts I'm already intrigued by the different personalities, experiences, knowledge, and opinions present. It makes presentating and contributing challenging as everyone responds differently and the cultural context of language introduces further vaguaries. The most fascinating aspect of this is that TSA is one organisation worldwide with one mission. And yet every one of us present at ITX7 interprets or engages with the mission differently.

24/01/2009

iCalendar Files

Category Technology
As ITX7 starts tomorrow I was looking at the calendar which is stored in an Excel file. While it is easy to view and understand it isn't on my BlackBerry and there isn't really an easy to way to get the events onto my calenday (other than 1 by 1 manually either on the BB or from my laptop).

I figured there must be an easier way so looked up how to create an iCalendar file. Once I understood that (ICS files are plain text) I created one with all of the day 1 events in. The plain text format of the file makes it easy to open, understand and manipulate. If you want multiple calendar entries in a single file just cut and paste the code (changing the DTSTART, DTEND, SUMMARY, LOCATION, etc parameters). If you're interested in the iCalendar format, here is a sample event:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
VERSION:1.0
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20090124T130000
DTEND:20090124T133000
SUMMARY:Lunch
LOCATION:Dining Room
DESCRIPTION:Lunch will be served to you at your table so find a seat upon arrival
PRIORITY:3
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR

I learnt this in about 1 minute from www.pratie.com

23/01/2009

ls09 #13

Category Technology Work
What makes a conference successful? Well I'm sure most people have a thought on that, and most would probably focus on the event and the quality of the facilities, presenters, and material. Others might suggest longevity (if the conference keeps running year after year it must be successful). Now all of these are obviously important, vital towards success but I think the real proof of a successful conference is what happens afterwards.

If things change or progress as a result of the conference then it is a success. If skills and knowledge learnt at the conference makes a difference to my day to day life (positively) then it has been a success.

Only time will tell if Lotusphere has been a success for me. However it would seem it is a success for others as so many return each year (it has been running for 16 years) and their businesses appear to be successful.

23/01/2009

ls09 #12

Category Technology Work
It would seem that attendence at sessions is waning. This could be too many late nights (and alcohol for some) but I suspect (as is the case for me), that I've taken on board so much information it is hard to keep taking anymore on! I'm still in a session and there are more to go but am super happy that the presentations can be downloaded. The content is great but my brain is starting to fight against assimilating more information!

23/01/2009

IM is dead!!?!!

Category Technology
From the blog of Chris Sparshott comes the revelation that IM (instant messaging) is dead. For some IM still doesn't exist so for it to be dead won't cause any concerns. However the death of a specific technology should come as no surprise really. All of them seem to have a limited life before something new supercedes them. And if email is dead (according to Gartner), then it stands to reason that IM would follow shortly after.

23/01/2009

Jet Lag

Category Random
My head hurts! After not getting to sleep to after 1am I inexplicably awoke at 4am. For some reason I was awake until 6:30 when while considering what I could do if I got up I was rudely interuppted by housekeeping (at 8:30am)! Oh well I'm underway now, but missed out on breakfast.

22/01/2009

ls09 #11

Category Technology Work
Today was another full on day. I've just got back to my hotel room and it is 11:30pm and I need to be somewhere again by 7:30am! The good news is I'm sleeping fairly well now. Tomorrow is the final day of Lotusphere and there are some more sessions I'm really keen to attend. One is about building a development/sandbox environment for Domino and the other is about maximising the new Notes 8.5 client (plan is to roll that out during the 1st half of this year).

I've uploaded some more photos including some that may require some explanation! The Cast Only signs are everywhere and are instead of Staff Only. It is a little quirky but mildly entertaining. What was hilarious though was my wake up call. I'm sure you remember be having a bit of a giggle about everything on the bus (sorry I mean magical express) to the hotel being magical? Then you checkin and they say have a magical stay? Well I rang up to set up a wake call (which was 10 minutes early). When I'd finished setting it up (it is an auto-phone-attendant), the voice said have magical dreams!

22/01/2009

ls09 #10

Category Technology Work
It is kind of surprising how diverse the attendees at Lotusphere are. There is a great blend of females, ages (yes I mean old people) and countries. It is great hearing European accents again (I still can't differentiate between them).

Lotusphere really is an international event that provides significant value to anyone involved in implementing or supporting Lotus applications. If go even further and suggest that many executive leaders could benefit from some of the sessions.

22/01/2009

ls09 #9

Category Technology Work
The size of Lotusphere is difficult to describe. It is between 2 venues, both of which are larger than any venue I can think of in NZ. Walking between the venues takes at least 5 mins so I'm getting a reasonable amount of exercise (albeit stretched out over the day). I heard someone say they bought a pedometer last year and in one day covered 7 miles. I don't think I'm walking that far but am covering more distance on my feet than usual (which is good because it wakes me up)!

22/01/2009

Coffee

Category Random
I had anticipated that my coffee intake would have increased exponentially in direct corelation to the number of time zones I am away from home (GMT -5 is a long way from GMT +12). However if anything I'm drinking less coffee even though I'm also getting less sleep and the sleep isn't the best quality.

My theory now is my consumption of coffee is actually directly related to the quality of coffee available. They are only serving Starbucks filter coffee here (picture to be posted later today all going to plan) and it is at best average.

I think the 1st stop for me upon my return to NZ will be a coffee shop capable of producing a high quality flat white (they haven't heard of flat whites in America and don't even seem to quite grasp the appeal of them).

22/01/2009

ls09 #8

Category Technology Work
One of the massive areas being pushed and focused on at Lotusphere is social software. IBM really believe that the future of IT systems is in the collaboration area that crosses organisational boundaries.

In addition to software able for purchase IBM have developed a cloud service, www.LotusLive.com to make social software features across companies. I've signed up for the service and the potential of it is fairly limitless. In addition to bring able to work with people outside your organisation considerable effort is being out into integrating it with other Lotus products. This means internal Quickr and Connections installations will seamlessly work with LotusLive. That makes working with internal users and external companies effortless!

If you do signup at www.LotusLive.com (formerly called Bluehouse) look for me and add me as a connection.

21/01/2009

Humility

Category Bible
This morning I read a devotional about humility. It talked about how many of us choose areas we will be humble in and parade those around. I thought about that (applying it to myself personally) and came to the concolusion it can be a little like that at times - I stress how I wouldn't act a certain way or say certain things (which is possibly a way of saying, "please see these good things in my life!" It is literally parading around my humility.

Anyway here at Lotusphere there are plenty of people with plenty of reason to not be humble. They are very talented, very knowledgable, and very accomplished people in their professions. And yet they are so approachable, open to conversation and discussion and not condescending (at least not the few I've spoken with).

The verse in the devotional was Matther 11:29 Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest [CEV]. I'm sure I've heard dozens, possibly hundreds of sermons on this verse, and yet none quite seem to sink in for any kind of time. The Message translation (which I think I've quoted before here), puts it even better (but doesn't use the word humble):

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

It resonates well with me, walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it .... you'll learn to live freely and lightly

21/01/2009

ls09 #7

Category Technology Work
There really is so much information here that it is difficult to take it all in. I heard it said there are over 100 sessions scheduled as part as Lotusphere and the most you can get to is 25. So many times there is the tension of having to choose between 2 (and sometimes 3) different sessions (luckily some repeat). I've been out of the hotel for 15 hours today and it sounds as though tomorrow will be even longer (although there is a party of some sort tomorrow night)!

Lotus Traveler in Domnio 8.5 has some really significant advances. You will be able to control the configuration of the Traveller client on phones, require devices to have a PIN, and even remotely erase a device (which has to be the best feature addition in my mind). In the session I went to on Traveller they installed and configured a server during the session (they're an hour long). It is surprising simple and intended to work with your existing implementation. I think that I will be upgrading our Traveller server as soon as I get back into the office!

Paul Mooney presented it (along with another superb session - the 11 commandments which I'll blog about when I get a chance) and he is obviously incredibly knowledgable about Domino, and also a very humorous presenter. I'm going to upload a few more photos shortly so keep an eye on the photo album section.

If you're wondering about the photo, it was from the Lotusphere Idol session. Essentially you can apply to be in the contest and you get 5 minutes to do a presentation in front of a crowded room (2-300 people) and a panel of judges. The winner gets to give their full presentation (1 hour) on Thursday. My favorite was a guy (I think it was a jack up) who did a session on Locust Fear!! In the photo (on the left) is Ed Brill (quite famous in the Lotus world).

21/01/2009

ls09 #6

Category Technology Work
If there is one thing I've come to realise while here at Lotusphere is that mobile solutions (i.e. BlackBerry and amet phones etc) must have a dedicated client. Web access just doesn't cut it at times.

If you consider Brightkite it is a very good concept. However the lack of a client for the BlackBerry means in order to use it I need to use a web browser. Compare this with Twitter (which does have a BlackBerry client) and the ease of use with a client is incomparable.

The point of this? We can't really rely on a web solution when we're expecting people to actually use the solution!

20/01/2009

ls09 #5

Category Technology Work
Well day 2 has come to an end and even though it is 11pm here (only 5pm NZ time) I've just been online talking to N & the boys as well as having a few Sametime conversations and sending some emails (much easier from the laptop)!

Dinner tonight was at Downtown Disney ... Think of the Main Street at any amusement park you've every been to and that is pretty much what it was like (only bigger)!! There was a totally cool Lego shop there that may get another visit from me.

Finally by popular demand (well 1 person asked), I've uploaded a couple of photos! Check in the work photo albums for ls09. I will endevour to add some more photos as we go. I did have a few more but the quality wasn't very good (I've been using the BB and I don't think I'm holding still enough for it)!

20/01/2009

ls09 #4

Category Technology Work
It is difficult to describe today and it hasn't even finished yet! My sleep challenges have had an impact but the buzz around the place is incredible and for good reason! I (though the wonders of YouTube) managed to find a different performance by the Blue Man Group piece they performed at the opening this morning. I'm not sure the video quite captures how good it was live (although I thought they could have cranked the volume even more)!

20/01/2009

ls09 #3

Category Technology Work
The Opening General Session was pretty interesting. Some of it wasn't of that much use to me and what I'm trying to achieve in my role, however it is always good to hear what else is available and where products are heading.

If you're interested in a better review of the Opening General Session read Ed Brill's blog. I will say that the Blue Man Group were very good and entertaining.

20/01/2009

ls09 #2

Category Technology Work
Hmmm, a rough start to the day after a very broken sleep. I had a couple of hours before about 2am when I found myself wide awake! Finally around 3:30/4am'ish (which is 9:30/10pm in NZ) I fell asleep. Then I was rudely awoken by my alarm at 7am (1am NZ time) so I could head off to breakfast and the opening session of Lotusphere.

Coffee always was my friend ... today it is more like a wheelchair and I'm keen to locate a source of Red Bull!

19/01/2009

ls09 #1

Category Technology Work
So day 1 of ls09 has come to an end. Already I've learnt things and enjoyed myself and yet there are still another 4 days to go. I suspect given the buzz around the place it will all go quickly and I'll end up with more information being taken on than I can actually use in the weeks (and months) after I'm back at work.

Day 1 Highlights
A Lotus Domino Administrator overview - Fairly basic but for someone like me who doesn't spend all that much time in Administrator (this wasn't supposed to be a confession post) it was a really good session. I came away feeling comforted that I was 'doing things correctly' and enlightened as to how I could do other things I wasn't aware of (like figure out how to get rid of an old administrators account!

The Lotus Quickr session - Again fairly basic and light but it gave me a new appreciation of the possibilities with Quickr and a view of where the product is heading (far more 'social' based). This is a great product with some great potential and as with most products one of the main limits is the imagination of people using it and the control exerted upon it!

The pool party (just to make some people jealous - Vaughan you're not in Orlando so don't try and fool us in Brightkite)! Apart from great food (and it was very good) there was some good live music. There was also some odd ladies dancing - The IHQ guys were rather taken with them!

19/01/2009

Lotusphere 2009

Category Technology
Over the next couple of weeks I think the majority of blog entries will have a technology focus. That is because I'm at ls09 (Lotusphere 2009) along with more than 20000 (no that isn't a typo) other people.

I've already attended a couple of sessions and am sitting in another now sipping a coffee waiting for another to start! So far a couple of things that stick out:

1> Everything here is on an enormous scale! The hotels, roads, cars, some of the people - way bigger than what we have and very different to the UK

2> There are a lot more females involved in IT here than I've observed elsewhere (and I've been to TechEd and uForum) - that has to be positive

3> Technology is helpful. Most aspects and material related to this conference is online (which is very helpful) - I'm checking the schedule from my BlackBerry

All of this is positive and there is a real buzz around the place (or maybe that is the coffee talking considering the jet lag and the hour (1am NZ time) I got up this morning (one of the handful of times in my life I've been up in the morning before my father - and I'm cheating by being in a different time zone)!

18/01/2009

Magical

Category Work
So I finally arrived in Orlando (around an hour late) and found that the arrangements that had been put together for my transport weren't there. Then I found I couldn't get hold of either of my contacts either on the phone or through Twitter, BlackBerry messenger, etc. So I took matters into my own hands and managed to get a free transfer to my hotel (which had changed since I left NZ for some mysterious reason).

To cut this long story short (after all it has taken me over 50 hours to get from home in Wellington, NZ to Orlando, Florida) the bus wasn't actually a bus. It was the Disney Magical Express! On it a short video was played to welcome you and introduce you to Disney World. Just about every 3rd word was magical and there aren't any staff or workers, they're all cast members!

17/01/2009

Only in America

Category Random
I'm currently in transit in LA and flicked on the TV to do some channel surfing. I came across a talk show where there is a group of African-American women who bleach their skin to make them "lighter" (their words not mine). I'm stunned to hear about this and shocked by their reasons! One started while at school (less than 10 years old) because there was a "white girl" in the class who got special treatment (in her opinion). Another because 3 previous boyfriends left her for lighter women. One has been bleaching since she was 5 because her mother did. Skin bleaching is a billion dollar business globally and I'm shocked to hear that people do this. I guess one could argue it isn't that dissimilar to colouring your hair, wearing makeup, plastic surgery, etc.

However the most shocking part was one of the women is bleaching her 3 boys (aged 4, 5, & 6), everyday before school! It is one thing to pursue vanity in your own life but essentially it would seem to me that bleaching your kids skin sends the message that dark is bad and light is good. Somehow I don't think that is the right kind of message I would want to be sending to my kids.

15/01/2009

Brightkite

Category Technology
Just this week a work colleague, (Mark, introduced me to Brightkite.com. It is similar to Twitter (which is a micro-blogging service) only location aware. What this means is as you create a list of 'friends' and in addition to seeing your 'micro-blogs' they are able to see your location (you can control how accurate your location is published as).

It is kind of cool (mainly because it updates Twitter for me). However I'm keen to see whether or not it can help while at Lotusphere 2009. Having not been to Lotusphere previously I'm not sure what to expect. Although I understand it will be huge (20000+ people attending). The hope (from my work colleague) is that those of us using it will be able to 'find' each other without resorting to expensive roaming text messages or exhorbitant roaming phone call costs!! Watch this space for an update on Brightkite.com as well as infromation, photos, and thoughts from Lotusphere and ITX7!

14/01/2009

Quitting?

Category Random Technology
From the 'seemed like a good idea at the time' or 'short sighted action' file comes a website dedicated to potentially destroying your future. Quitinstyle.com chronicles the limitless ways that the Internet is serving a useful purpose. I say useful as many of these seem like fanciful dreams as opposed to actual events (although maybe I'm just wanting to believe that)!!

13/01/2009

Focus

Category Church Bible
As I continue to read The Church on the Other Side (Google Books is amazing!) I thought an analogy Brian D. McLaren used:

Imagine that we are a modern construction company building a housing development. Our goal is to build a great development for the good of our company and the future residents. So we cut down trees, scrape away the topsoil, fill in the wetlands, channelise the streams, and do whatever else is necessary to build the development. Nearby, we clear-cut, and then strip-mine a mountain so that we can get raw materials for our houses and roads. Downstream, silt from our development clogs up a bay. Animals flee or die. Native plants are replaced with ornamental species in black plastic pots. But since none of these problems are visible or bothersome to our residents, we don't notice. It is not that we don't care; it is that we don't notice. We never even think of the larger effects of our development's success. The development's success is our only goal. We finish the development, people move in, and we win awards for an ideal planned community.

Now by itself that paints a picture of so many churches and the attitude of many Christians. We're focussed and we're busy. But we're so focused on the 'development' that we can't see other things around us. We don't realise what is happening out side of our 'development' as that is where we live and operate.
Brian D. McLaren continues:

This is the church as we have too often practiced it in the modern era. The world exists as a source of raw materials for the church. It's okay to tear people out of their neighborhoods as long as we get them into the church more. It's okay to devalue their "secular" jobs as long as we get them involved in church work more. It's okay to withdraw all our energies from the artsand culture "out there" as long as we have a good choir and a nice sanctuary "in here." It's okay because, after all, we're about salvaging individuals from a sinking ship; neighborhoods, economies, cultures, and all but indvidual human souls will sink, so who cares? In this way of thinking, we could build more Christians, better Christians, and dynamic Christian communities ... at the expense of the world, no for its good.


Now feel free to correct me because I'm not a biblical scholar or a student of theology ... However I just don't think that is what Jesus came to achieve. He came to help (John 3:17) everyone, not just those who 'knew him' (Matthew 9:12).

13/01/2009

Facebook

Category Technology
Following on from my blog yesterday about social networking, Facebook made the news (again) today. Queenstown Police have setup a Facebook page to help solve crimes. If they have photos of someone committing a crime they post them online in their Facebook profile to assist in identifying the suspect. For the news article about it click here.

I guess this answers my question as to whether social networking can serve any work purpose! It would seem the limit is our creativity and willingness to embrace new ways of doing things.

12/01/2009

Social Networking

Category Technology
It is nearly time for an International IT conference for the organisation I work for and I was asked (very last minute) to prepare a couple of presentations. One is to be called Exploring Social Networking. It is an intriguing subject and directly eliciting thoughts from some people on the matter. Social Networking would include (but isn't limited to) websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, LinkedIn, etc.

There are a couple of questions in my mind about social networking.
1> Can they actually help us do business (whatever our business is)?
2> Could they help build the kingdom of God?
3> What (if any) are the risks?

While I have answers in my mind they're my answers and I'm wondering what others think about social networking (or perhaps IF they think about it)!

09/01/2009

Salt and Light

Category Books Church Bible
Matthew 5:13 is a verse that reminds me that I'm meant to live my life outside of the church. Like Jesus my life is meant to make a difference to the people I associate with, the people I come into contact with. The more I reflect on the verse the easier it seems to be. Learn to love others the way Jesus did. Simple and yet difficult to act out because of selfishness.

Anyway, I'm reading The Church on the Other Side by Brian D. McLaren (thanks Rod Carey for loaning it to me) and it is a provocative read ... Well not so much for me yet, but I can almost hear the outcry in so many churches at the heretical ideas in the book. Great stuff, I love a bit of controversy, seeing a cat amoung the pigeons, participating in passionate discussion about how we work out our faith in our daily lives and make a difference!

Matthew 5:13 in the Amplified Bible puts it really well: You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.

If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you will have noticed me comment on occasion (mainly Sunday's) about church. Church is something I struggle with so the book is a refreshing view which so far (page 37) is a lot closer to my paradigm than what I've experienced in church so far. If you click on read more

09/01/2009

Twitter Song

Category Technology
Some people either have too much time or they're hoping to make a career out of mocking culture ... Funny!

07/01/2009

Ministry of Rivals

Category Random Church
I found this article on the ChristianityToday website. It was interesting as I consider the kind of leadership I respond to and enjoy being part of. I do think that differences are a key to progress and robust decision making. Here is a quote from the article (the whole article can be found here)

Our church's elders have a pretty good safeguard against unwanted persons slipping into our leadership team during the annual elections. Of course the elders had to approve all candidates for church office, but we also followed the convention of allowing any one elder among the twelve to veto the name of any candidate he "had a problem with," even if that problem was unsubstantiated or described as "just a bad feeling."

On the surface the practice seemed reasonable enough. After all, we had a fine, tight group of men with a good chemistry. We didn't want anyone coming in who might disturb that fragile balance or who might not be a team player. We were all painfully aware of churches where a poorly chosen elder or staff person had kept things in a continual uproar. So, we thought it was best to be safe. But safe leadership isn't good leadership.

07/01/2009

Mr. T

Category Technology
"I'm gonna virtualise you suckas!"

06/01/2009

Judging

Category Random Bible
This is really a quote, but seen I posted one yesterday I thought I'd call it something different today.

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Reminds me of a verse.

05/01/2009

The Jesus I Never Knew

QuickImage Category Books
I've just (finally) finished reading Philip Yancey's book. It was interesting for many reasons however.

In many ways the Jesus Philip introduced was the one I have always lived with (albeit I'm somewhat uneasy about him). Philip brings the Jesus to life I read about in the gospels. Brutally honest. Confronting the established religious leaders. Honest to a fault. Difficult to understand! Hard to pin down. Full of love. Interested in life .... and so many more things.

What struck me most though is how this Jesus (the one I like to think I know and the one Philip Yancey introduces) is so different to the one the church presents. Somewhere in the past 2000 years we seem to have forgotten that Jesus was more interested in loving people. More interested in mercy than judgement. Most interested in reconciliation. We (the royal we of the church) seem to be more comfortable with the baby Jesus in a manger, or Jesus the 30-something year old man who conformed to the religious leaders ideas. What I notice most about Jesus and religious leaders (churches) is that he saved his harshest words for them.

What is the challenge of the book then? To make known the Jesus who was a lot more difficult to reconcile. The one who pursued people so they might experience God's love and catch a glimpse of a different way of life.

05/01/2009

Quote

Category Random
An interesting quote from www.reallivepreacher.com

We think having faith means being convinced God exists in the same way we are convinced a chair exists. People who cannot be completely convinced of Gods existence think faith is impossible for them. Not so. People who doubt can have great faith because faith is something you do, not something you think. In fact, the greater your doubt the more heroic your faith.

01/01/2009

Technology

Category Technology Work
After two days with the BlackBerry out of action everything is working again now. It is amazing how often you use something and how little you realise you 'depend' on it.

I say 'depend' as my life continued happily without it (N was probably very pleased it stopped beeping and buzzing for 2 whole days)!

Without it I was a little more stressed (work wise) as I wasn't as in touch. I also wasn't able to check out addresses, phone numbers, websites, and all the other little things I do from time to time on the move away from my laptop.

The point? I think I'm addicted to my BlackBerry! It keeps me in touch (with something I possibly shouldn't be in touch with) and let's me access useful information! Is that good?

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