Why you should respond to Windows 8


Win8Blue_WebOver on his Clear & Simple blog, my buddy Steve Fogg has a great post, “7 Great Church Websites That Have Responsive Design.” It’s a great post with some good examples of some church websites, both local and overseas, that use responsive design to great effect.

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How I Instagram on Windows Phone


As an ex-iPhone user one of the things I miss on my Lumia 800 is Instagram. But this doesn’t mean I’m completely blocked from using the service.

There are a number of Instagram viewing apps available in the Windows Phone Store. My top three would probably be:

  1. Metro.am
  2. Metrogram
  3. InstaCam

The main problem with all of these is that the Instagram API doesn’t allow for uploading, only viewing. Bummer. Uploading is only available via the official Instagram app, and there isn’t one for Windows Phone (yet). There have long been rumours of it happening (especially since the Android app was released), but now that Windows Phone 8 is out, they’ll probably skip Windows Phone 7 leaving all of us gen 1 and gen 2 device owners in the dark.

So, what to do?

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2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Australian Surface Pricing


In the early hours of this morning (Australian time), Microsoft announced it much anticipated Surface pricing and opened pre-orders. There has been a lot of excitement around Surface since Microsoft announced it back in June, so when there was news that pricing would be released, many of us techos waited with baited breath.

One thing that we’ve (begrudgingly) gotten used to here in Australia, is what we’ve come to know as the “Australia Tax”. That being, despite a very strong Australian Dollar, tech companies love to charge us more for our gadgets (surely it costs about the same, or even less, to ship containers from China to Australian as it does to the US). As of writing, 1AUD can buy 1.0266USD, so surely that should mean that we should pay less (in dollar for dollar terms) for a Surface in Australia than in the US? Well, no apparently.

Here’s a quick price breakdown for the base unit
(Surface for Windows RT, 32GB, no Touch Cover)

Store Local Price Converted Price
US 499USD 486.07AUD
Australia 559AUD 573.87USD

So, by my reckoning we’re paying $72.93 more just because we live in Australia.

Anyway, it’s not all bad news. Back in June, Microsoft said that the surface would be competitively priced against other tablets on the market (no second guess for what “other tablets” they were talking about). In fact it stacks up quite nicely. Take a look… http://sdrv.ms/SZc6qm



About 12 years ago, I left my old church. The church where I had grown up. There church where I had served as a Sunday School teacher (briefly). The church where I served as the audio guy (for close to an eternity). The church where I had edited our weekly new bulletin. There church where I had been a youth leader. The church where I had been a deacon. I left. I needed a change. So I left.

I had good intentions of finding a new church. I had even worked out a methodology as to how I would go about it. Visiting and revisiting a number of churches and ranking them according to a number of factors. Well that was the intention anyway. Sundays came and went, and week after week I didn’t go anywhere. My problem is that I hadn’t researched the start times so I had no idea what time to go (these were before the day of every church having a website).

One Sunday I woke up with a cold. A proper cold, not a bit of runny nose. I felt terrible. Truly truly terrible. Every cell in my body was under siege and, as any man with a man-cold will tell you, I just wanted my body to quickly succumb to the virus so that I could eternally rest-in-peace. It was that Sunday, when I woke, that I said to myself “today is the day, I must go to church”. There was one church who’s starting time I knew, they were about 15mins drive away and I had about 15mins to get there. I didn’t receive miraculous healing from my man-cold that day, but something deep inside me felt right. That was 12 years ago, and aside from holidays (and other special circumstances), I’ve been there pretty much every Sunday since.

This week I have the flu, along with my wife. So today (Sunday) with various body parts aching and sore, I was there at church. As we sung our worship songs, something happened. No, not miraculous healing, but as I focused on God, I no longer felt the effects of my disease. It was very appropriate that one of todays songs was Healer (Hillsong)



As I sit here in my office, I can observe children (and parents, mostly mothers) arriving to use a hall facility for a home-school group. This is a once-a-week gathering that allows home-schoolers to cluster together for group classes, collaborative learning and even assembly (I think). At a personal level, and as a parent, I would never (unless circumstances dictated) consider home-schooling. And as for this weekly clustering, there is a place where they do that regularly… it’s called a school! (NB: I have nothing against home-schoolers nor their choice to home school, I just have an issue with the concept in general).

I have a 5¾ year-old son who is in grade prep at a local primary school (US readers: kindergarten grade at elementary school). Nothing too unusual there. It is, however, a large school with almost 1,000 students. One of the reasons we chose it, was that because of its size, it is able to offer a range of extra-curricular activities for students to participate in. Much to our surprise, our son had joined the Auslan Club (Australian signing language) completely of his own volition. Today at their school assembly they will be performing a song (and yes, I plan on being there). There is no way as a parent I would be able to expose him to that in a home-school environment.

I thank God for the blessing of a good great local school, skilled teachers and the abundance of educational resources we have available to us though our state schools. And I thank God for the plans, hopes and dreams He has for our son, that we don’t even know about yet. I pray we don’t get in His way.
Jeremiah 29:11
Psalm 139:13-18
John 10:10

Update – click through for video Read the rest of this entry »



Photo by Fiona SchweersI have switched. For just over two years I have faithfully carried an iPhone 3GS in my pocket and it has been my (mostly) faithful companion. But the time had come to make the switch. Did I switch up to a swanky new iPhone 4S? Nope. Did I join the mass exodus over to Android and get a Galaxy Nexus? No (as nice a phone as it is). Did I get lobotomised and now think that I should get a Blackberry? No way. The only blackberry in my life is the jam I have on my toast of a morning. No, I chose the road less travelled and went with Windows Phone.

So, what exactly did I choose? I now have a very nice Nokia Lumia 800. I wont bore you with specs as they are very readily available elsewhere on the Internet. I am not even going to get bogged down in a technical comparison. What I do plan on doing is share some of my thoughts, over the coming weeks, of living with Windows Phone. Because my experience is isolated to the Lumia (apart from a brief Samsung encounter) I will not be able to separate my experience of the software from the hardware or vice-versa. That said, the first post will be about the hardware (which is fair enough, the first experience of any device is the hardware as you unbox it). Expect part one to land in about a week (or so).

NB: If you are interested in a raw technical comparison, check out vsChart.com

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