Another new year


It’s January 1 again. That time of the year when resolve to get things done (like my neighbour who, as I start writing, just broke the post NYE silence by firing up his line trimmer in an effort to get his garden under control), or to take a look back at the year gone by.

Even though I really haven’t blogged all that much this year, there were still a few good moments and people still came to read what I had to say (amazing!).

Here’s the top 5

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He already used up second but


F1Cooking1Hopefully you’re reading that heading and thinking, what the? Well, a few weeks back Fellowship Technology posted a video on their YouTube and Vimeo channels which is the the F1 Cooking Show Episode 1. The feature “recipe” (idea) comes from yours truly.

One of the really fun feature that the folk at YouTube have introduced of recent times, is the Closed Captions feature. This is computer transcription of the audio. I say this is a fun feature because there is no way anyone could ever use it for serious purpose, like actually understanding what’s being said.

So, here for your pleasure is the transcription text:

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The Fellowship One Roundup


login_f1_logoSince last year I’ve blogged a little bit about some of our Fellowship One implementation experiences. Recently Fellowship Technologies themselves recently republished something from a recent blog entry, so I thought it was time to bundle everything together in one handy spot.

So, here are my Fellowship One related posts in one handy, easy to digest meal…

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Fellowship One MacGyvered


All it took me was a printer, a sheet of paper, some laminating film and a hole-punch.

We’ve been using Fellowship One for about five months now and the check-in system for our kids church is great. This weekend we introduce another change, we’re starting self check-in using two of our kiosks. Self check-in is great, the parents have been issued with barcode tags (like the ones you get from the video library) and just walk up to a kiosk, scan, select their kids on the touch-screen and collect their labels. When it’s pack-up time you just hit the escape key, enter the code and shutdown the PC and… wait a minute how do you hit the escape key when you’re scanning and using a touch-screen (therefore: no keyboard)? Sorry to say this Fellowship Technology, but FAIL.

I started thinking about this a few months ago. I was sure there must be a way of having an escape barcode. I tried printing several using different barcode formats, but nothing worked. In frustration I tweeted my church IT peeps on twitter (#citrt). To my dismay I discovered that the way most churches were “escaping” from self check-in was to cold-boot the PC. Only Justin Moore (at GCC) seemed to be thinking along the same lines, but still he didn’t have an solution either.

So now in a world first, I have the solution thanks to a little bit of MacGyvering. Turns out the problem was the scanners themselves. They will only scan barcodes of a minimum length (4 characters, in the case of the Metrologic). So the solution was simple, create a barcode that reads: ESC+NUL+NUL+NUL. And here it is:ESC Bar Code

It’s encoded in CODE128, (1) because it supports control code characters, (2) it’s enabled by default on the Metrologic scanners (and probably most others), and (3) I have software that produces them.

So there you have it. Leave your comments, thanks, adoration, praise etc in the comments below. Cheques can be mailed to me here at Crossway.

Special thanks to Steve Fogg for the title of this post.

My top 5 of 2009


imageWell, 2009 is almost 17 hours in the past, so it’s time for a quick look back at my top 5 most popular blog posts for the year.

No. 5 – Movember

I participated in Movember last year and raised over $300 for men’s health.
Read the post here

No. 4 – Pandora

After seeing James Cameron’s latest movie Avatar, I couldn’t help but blog about my experience.
Read the post here

No. 3 – More Movember

Refer No. 5
Read the post here

No. 2 – ChMS for Aussie Churches

Databases and Church Management Systems are a big deal for churches of all sizes. This was my attempt to point people in the right direction.
Read the post here

And finally…

No. 1 – Disappointed Samsung

I like gadgets and I’d been holding out hope that the Samsung Omnia II would be the Windows Mobile uber-phone (and iPhone beater) that, on paper, it looked like it should be. Once I got to play with one, my hopes didn’t quite match reality. This post was by far the most popular, getting twice as many hits as No. 2 and some of the comments are classic.
Read the post here

Thanks for reading my blog. Come back to see what happens Random-ly in 2010.

Databases/ChMS for Aussie Churches


781602_index_box Whether your church has 50 or 5000 people, you need to store information about them. At the very least that information is their address and phone number, in a larger scenario it would extend to group involvement, rosters, donations, attendance etc. In the olden days (BC – before computers) this was done on index cards and the like. Today a small church may maintain a list of people in an Excel spreadsheet. These are all tools, and as the church becomes more and more tech savvy the range of tools on offer is ever expanding.

This post is not meant to be a review as I haven’t seen all of these products firsthand, but it’s merely a pointer to some of the tools that are out there and are suitable to Aussie churches.

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Kick Butt Kiosks


After several months of planning, design and prototyping, our new checkin kiosks arrived just the other day.

For those of you who live and breath within the church IT world, those words may sound a little familiar. That’s because they’re lifted from inspired by this blog post from Jason Powell.

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