First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge, Tennessee

There should be a law that states any church talented enough to perform the Brahms Requiem is also talented enough to create an effective and attractive online presence. Along this line of thinking I’d like to throw-down this axiom: W3C XHTML 1.1 and/or CSS compliance does not automatically make a website easy to read and navigate. Such is the case with the website for First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Here is a site where the web designer is on the right track with minimizing bandwidth and unnecessary verbiage; however, both the category selections and the method of navigation need some healing. Let’s look at the last first … that is, let’s talk about the use of web <form> <input type=”buttons” …

The use of <form> elements for basic navigation not only creates an unnecessarily high level of maintenance complexity, but by default the buttons don’t align or size-up alike. It also strikes me that using a <form> where a hyperlink is expected can and will produce some annoying accessibility issues that might drive users away. It certainly makes bookmarking and/or right clicking to open a new window or tab a virtual impossibility.

I’m just speculating, but I see enough code behind the scenes to think this is not a matter of a person not knowing how to implement classic image button rollovers, but rather wanted to use buttons that looked and felt like buttons, but wanted them rendered as text. A good line of thinking, and if this is indeed the case, then I recommend this navigational issue be healed rather quickly and effortlessly using “The Amazing Rolloverer” CSS button generator by InkNoise.

Still, I’m not entirely comfortable with the information outline/navigational hierarchy. Sure, one’s organ is important, but is it frontpage news?

Interestingly enough, the solution to this problem can be found in the form of a sitemap/directory I found commented out of the code on the home page. Like the rest of the pages, it suffers the same kitschy 1998 backgrounds and color scheme, but looking past the obvious is the fact that this site has already been well organized, and contains compelling content. Talk about a lamp hidden under a bowl!

So how would I heal this website?

There is enough existing content already there, along with a reasonably effective (but commented-out) hierarchy that most of the heavy lifting already done. I would edit out navigational banners such as “click on back button to blah … blah … ” and would swap-out ambigious terms such as “website focalpoint” where exists is a standard term such as “webmaster.” Still, the bulk of the content is right under their noses.

Once this is done, all that’s left after this is the relativey easy work is packaging all this good stuff so users can navigate intuitively and not suffer eye-strain. The trick then is finding, buying and/or developing clean 2004 CSS-driven look-n-feel and that doesn’t get in the way or distract from the Church’s purpose and personality already well-stated in the content.

With template in hand, pages could be generated using any variety of open source or inexpensive database-driven web publishing tool such as WordPress, pMachine or Mambo. Depending on one’s sense of overkill and/or server situation, it might be too much to install such packages on the server and deal with a database. In those cases, using a product such as DreamWeaver to develop the pages, and then maintain them using Contribute 2 is a viable client-side approach.

I personally maintain Redland’s site using MovableType, which I’m able to smith into a CMS by having the Sokkit webserver toolkit installed on my home PC used in combination with TopStyle to tweak the CSS into place, but I digress.

The point is, just about everything that is needed to heal the First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge, Tennessee website is already there. That is, the substance is already there, now it’s just a matter of style.

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Generic ADO Connections for ASP.Net

So you think you want to go the Microsoft Web Server route after reading a NetCraft post entitled “ASP.NET Overtakes JSP and Java Servlets” ??? Okay, I can understand that. I mean even with CPanel and WHM, managing an Apache web server can be a bit daunting. And while MySQL is free, there are some nifty tricks SQLServer has to offer, if you’re willing to pay for it.

While personally, I feel far more secure behind a Linux-based webserver, I’m required by my day job (you know, the one that pays the bills) to do the .NET/Windows Server dance.

One of the issues you might face in making the transition from one operating system and/or webserver to another is accessing your data. This is why APIs such as the PHP-based ADOdb and Perl DBI are popular on Linux/Apache platforms.

Similarly, this is why most competent Microsoft programmers access databases with interfaces such as the ADO, and more recently, OLEdb, unless of course you’ve been asked to use the MSDE 2000 while your crack technical staff obtains a license to and installs THE Microsoft SQL Server.

Wide Variety of Standards
Yeah, I know, the above paragraph reminds me of the only joke ever told by professor Frank da Cruz in my netorking class at Columbia University, a joke who’s punchline was “a wide variety of standards.” Took me about 3 seconds to get it, but I was sure to laugh out loud when I did (yes, I know, I’m a shameless suck-up that way, but I digress.)

In case you missed the reality that made the punch line funny, there are just too many daggoned different ‘connectivity standards’ out there for databases. Probably due to the fact that there are just too many daggoned RDBMS tools out there, many of which are rotting legacy systems that you and I are now compelled to maintain and integrate. I mean, forget deciding whether or not to use VB.Net over C#, how do I seamlessly patch together an enterprise where the the CEO’s contact database is in MS-Access, an HRD system in Oracle, and the sales and tracking system is running on an MS SQL and still have code that is reusable?

One solution I read about this weekend comes in the form of a nifty GenericADO connection class in VB.Net, based upon a similar generic data access component in C# by the same author.

Need connection strings?
This generic approach works fine, once you figure out the connection string … which itself can be a black art when dealing with anything other than a Microsoft database technology. Well, that is once you download, install and then reference the ODBC .NET Data Provider (why this isn’t included in distributions of Visual Studio .NET is beyond me).

Still, ODBC wasn’t the real show-stopper when I first took-on .Net two years ago … rather it was Sybase. The biggest problem was figuring out the whole ASE thingie, an effort hampered by the fact that Sybase released a buggy version of their Studio installer.

Once over this hump, and once you’ve spent another half day discovering you need to first create an OLE DB connection object via the Sybase ASE OLE DB Administrator, then all you need to do is hack away until you find a connection string that works.

At least that’s what I had to do because at that time, there wasn’t an instructive website chock full of examples for every known .NET Data Provider Connection String available to man and geek.

Lobotomy Time
If you haven’t figured it out, this post serves some selfish reasons, such as links to websites and tips on how to dive through the flaming hoops of database connectivity in a Microsoft-based enterprise without ‘burninating’ myself into a crisp. Hopefully, some of you guys and gals will find these links useful.

And for you religious purists who not only know what a “Factory Pattern” is, but are so entirely snooty as to pooh-pooh such utility classes, here is a link to some rather hairy template connection classes that are sure to amaze and confuse your co-workers.

As always, your mileage may vary.

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United Church of Cohoes, NY

Okay, at what point did Dean Peters become the Dr. Phil of church web site design? Kidding aside, I am both glad and grateful that I can serve you guys and gals when you need to bounce ideas and problems with your church website. Believe me, I understand why you don’t always want to express such issues to your pastors and elders as all too often they misconstrue constructive technical criticism for apostasy. And unless you’re married to a total ‘Unix Chick’ like my wife, it’s often hard to find someone who gets where you’re coming from.

So please, continue to feel free confide in me, we are compelled by Christ to ‘Bear one another’s burdens.’ Moreover, I won’t make your concerns public unless you give me expressed written permission to do so. Which is exactly the case with tech blog4God’r ‘Yaak.’

I was first made aware of his problem when he left the following public comment last week:

Ah Dean, you do have your hands full, but, I bet I can match that site … My Church is holding a special session this week regarding their new site. The site here http://www.unitedchurchofcohoes.org/ is the new site!

The guy apparently didn’t pass it through the hands of reviewers first and the Church leaders are not happy. Part of me says he did his best and they didn’t give him much guidance so …

However, it needs Healing in a bad way…

Needs Healing in a bad way” is putting it kindly. Here is another site, that like a moldy bathroom, that needs to be ripped-down to the studs and rebuilt from the bottom-up.

I don’t know about you, but the splash page has that heavy, gunky 1997 look-n-feel that reminds me of the gaudy interior design of the set over at TBN. I think it starts with garish 31kb banner at the top which serves as big honking hyperlink, not back to the homepage as is usually the case, but to a completely spammable email address.

Within the body of the splash page, images that are somewhat better optimized, though one is of the building on a cold and snowy day. If you must show a brick building, why not wait for spring so that tree to the left offers some vibrant for your camera. Speaking of color, notice the use of bright blue fonts, usually reserved for hyperlinks, for the capital letters the author finds important. An effect I found breaks-up the ‘scanability’ of the text.

However at the bottom of this splash page, just before the link into the rest of the site, is the following comment in bright blue:

(Note: Before Entering, Must Have Java Virtual Machine or Equivalent Software Installed.
Webpage viewed at 1024 X 768 Only at this time. Change your Display Settings To Match.

I dunno about you, but considering the number of low-tech, senior citizen types that often comprise a church website’s demographic, I might think twice about sking them to know what the JVM, let alone download it and install it.

And it is this element that leads me to think this site needs to be redesigned. Well the JVM issue along with the fact that all the subpages are copyrighted not by the Church, but by an entity identifying itself as “Spritual Computers Web Solutions.”

The first step in any software development, and web site design IS software development, is to understand what you’re trying to say, and to whom. Though the aforementioned “main” page does show some though was given to what, I don’t see enough to elements, content or an informational hierarchy to convince me that user profiles were created and/or the site was tested thoroughly for usability and accessibility.

Here is just one example of how I am confused by the current informational hierarchy. On the “main” subpage, we see in the left frame (ugh, frames) a menu. Click on the first option, ‘Welcome’ and you get nothing. This is because unbeknownst to a first time visitor you’re supposed to double-click on the choice. When you do, you get sub-menu options, one which includes “Our Pastor and Family.” That’s not a problem, but then why have a top-level menu option below “Welcome” for “Pastor” when it’s “Pastors” because when you double click on “Pastor” you see the names of two pastors, neither of which is identified as “The Pastor” described back in the “Welcome” submenu choice for “Our Pastor and Family.

I could go on with other examples, but I think the point is made, the VERY first thing I would do if asked to heal this church website would be to re-define the information hierarchy in light of the purpose and personality of the church. This would mean going through everything the church prints, while concurrently interviewing and creating numerous user profiles. These profiles would describe the demographic and technical aspects of the average users, along with ideas of what type of information they’re seeking when they visit.

Once this is done, then we can worry about how to publish the site. In this case, Yaak informed via a private email me that he’s leading by example in creating a sample site using MovableType. Note, it’s still a work in progress, and please don’t worry folks, he gave me permission to mention it.

So Yaak, once you know what your categories are, here is a tip: click on the “MovableTYpe Weblog Config Menu Button” button on the left menu. Then click on the “Archving Options” along the top. For individual entries, you can use the following “template”:

<MTEntryCategory dirify=”1″>/<$MTEntryDate format=”%Y%m%d”$>_<MTEntryTitle dirify=”1″>.php

or even simpler:

<MTEntryCategory dirify=”1″>/<MTEntryTitle dirify=”1″>.php

For categories:

<MTArchiveCategory dirify=”1″>/index.php

At least that’s what I use over at Redland Baptist, the date/time stamp version over at the youth subdomain, the ‘or even simpler‘ variant to simply turn the post title into the page name over at the main site.

Meanwhile, if others of you have suggestions for Yaak, leave a comment. I’m sure he’d appreciate them.

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Click here to enter the cool church website!

Since last week, I’ve enjoyed several comments and even more private emails informing of various church websites in need of healing. A task made increasingly difficult now that my review of “The Coolest Church WebSite, Ever!” comes up numero uno for the Google query ‘cool church website.’ Fortunately, well actually unfortunately, there are enough self-proclaimed “cool church websites” out there to keep us all busy with reviews until Jesus returns.

Case in point, the website for high-school age students at the Central church of Christ in Moore, Oklahoma.

If your church doesn't have a spinning cross on its steeple, then why put one on your site?If you haven’t clicked in the hyperlink for today’s example, imagine a kelly green screen with a somewhat grainy, poorly cropped and centered picture of what looks like the side doors and facade for the church, and the parking lot … enough so to catch a glimpse of the sign. Flanking the image’s sides, spinning animated GIF crosses. Above this artwork, in lime green, the phrase that pays: “click here to enter the cool church website.”

Now a caveat here, today’s example webpage was designed back in 2001 two 16 year old kids. I’m sure now they look at it and roll their eyes, slapping their right hand to their forehead and whispering under their breath “what was I thinking?” It is also for this reason, I’m not going to say anything else about about the design elements … especially in light of the youth websites I first created … mercifully, all evidence of the latter has long since been rendered to the bit-bucket.

Instead, I want to use this page to talk about some misconceptions we have about youth ministry and what we do online. As someone who for the past 10 years has been involved with youth ministry and teaches a high-school aged Sunday school class, I know one or two things for certain.

  1. If you have to tell people it’s cool, then it probably isn’t. This is why I tell incoming classes that the only time I use their vernacular is when I’m making a parody of them. Let’s face it, nothing is more pathetic than a 40-some year old poop misusing the phrase “word-up.” This means when you write content, write it as you would speak it to them or anyone else. They’ll appreciate it much more than you’re lame, ‘Wonder Bread™’ rendition of hip-hop.
  2. This leads me to my second point: don’t confuse the Internet for television, MTV, movies or other forms of youth-targeted media. Unless you’re as awesomely talented and playfully demented as Mike and Matt Chapman, kids aren’t going to visit your youth website for entertainment. If they want movies, they’re going to go to the movies, if they want music videos, they’re going sneak a peek at MTV (unless you’re like me and are cable-free).

This isn’t to say your youth website should look and feel like the rest of your church’s website. But if your objective is to bring them in by being cool, then all you’re going to really do is look like some old fool. Instead:

  • make the site informative;
  • make it a place where they can contribute content and feedback;
  • make it relevant with continual posts about things they’re facing, things they like, or upcoming events.

The bottom line is incredibly simple, if your youth website is informative, moreover it if ministers to the needs of your youth, they’ll think it cool, and they’ll come back for more.

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Mountain View Lutheran Church of Apache Junction AZ

Where do I begin with this site review? While the website for the ‘Mountain View Lutheran Church of Apache Junciton AZ‘ isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, it does manage to win the distinctive honor of containing just about every ‘sinful‘ element imaginable. It certainly is the type is site I have in mind when I refer to the Body online as ‘a great cloud of witlessness.

Let’s start off at the top … note my spelling of ‘Junciton‘ above, it is a cut-n-paste directly from the <title> tag of the site. Moving on to the visual elements, we begin with an advertisement for their free hosting company followed by a banner full of Google ads, one, which on my initial viewing, randomly included “Forclosure Listings.” A topic I’m sure every church wants to have associated with its name.

Directly below the ads is an evil scrolling marquee stating the obvious with a “welcome to” message. Fortunately, this only annoys MSIE users. Unfortunately, other elements of the page caused my Mozilla/FireFox browser to crash. Perhaps it is the use of 63 consecutive &nbsp; characters on line 116 of the underlying HTML used to ‘position‘ the John 3:16 image?

Below the less-than-readable right-to-left scrolling text, a 10kb, 638×173 that is “reduced” in layout only with the <img&gt tag arguments of width=”184″ height=”24″. A minor transgression when you consider the full-bodied 57kb, 400×409 “seal” image that again is reduced in “vision only” with the height and width arguments of the <img> tag.

This practice of bandwidth death by image bloat occurs several more times as it is clear that the webmaster here isn’t familiar with Father Flander’s famous sermon of July 13, 2003 where he flogs the faithful with:

‘Just because Jesus miraculously turned water into wine doesn’t mean he can miraculously turn your 1280- x 1024-pixel image whose file size is 1.8Mb into an image whose file size is only 74Kb just because you changed the WIDTH= and HEIGHT= attributes to WIDTH=”420″ and HEIGHT=”336″.’

Below the fold‘ we finally see some text, all navy blue text against a not-so-dark cadet blue background. All bold with emphasized text underlined … as if it were a hyperlink, but isn’t.

To the right of a warning about the green and yellow dumpster (on the front page), some animated gifs. Directly below the kitschy animated email/mailbox .gif is a java applet offering a menu that could be done in a fraction of the bandwidth and would be far more search-engine friendly if rendered using text and CSS.

Each of the menu links throws open a new window … thus breaking the back-button ability of the user.

Much of the same occurs with the subpages with regards to text, fonts, colors and images. This is only worsened by the fact that none of the subpages I visited offered any sort of navigation back to the homepage. However, some subpages managed to contain a single hyperlink to a third level of data abstraction.

So how would I heal this site in 10 minutes?

rm -rf *.*

Or in MS-DOS parlance:

del /F /S /Q *.*

I know I’m being a bit less generous and a bit more caustic than usual. Maybe I’m grumpy from having to go back to work after visiting Jordan. Perhaps it’s the server move, but pages such as the homepage for the Mountain View Lutheran Church of Apache Junciton AZ truly irritate me. Perhaps because to me, they become little more than self parodies of what not to do.

Perhaps I’m bothered by the fact that we as a Body don’t bother to read the instructions. For example, there are free style guides one can peruse online. There are inexpensive books on the topic. There are several examples of good sites, and free tools to help even the most novice webmaster create a competent site.

Perhaps what I need to do is to play the lottery. That way, when I win, I can quit my day job and spend a week healing sites such as these from the ground up.

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When good Hosts providers go Bad

What do you do when a good host provider goes bad? That’s the situation I’m in right now. I’m not going to name names, but over the past couple of months, I have been enduring some irritations due to a new host administrator who doesn’t quite grasp the trade-off between ultra-tight security and inconveniencing the user.

It began last month, when I suddently discovered I no longer have shell access to any of my accounts on this particular server. No warning, just poof! When I inquired what the problem was, I received the following response:

Unfortunately, due to a serious security threat to our company’s servers, we have moved forward with removing all commandline access to any of our servers until we feel the threat has subsided. We currently have no estimate when this access will be restored.

After a bit more complaining, “jail” access was restored. Jail access is a term for limited shell access. That’s fine with me, I didn’t need all the commands Linux has to offer, just tar, grep and a few other essential operations for the installation and maintenance of software.

This didn’t last long. The next day, no email, just no access. When I inquired as to why, they replied with:

We enabled jail shell access for you and 5 hours later, the server went down which was continuously working for 33 days. When I checked the logs, found that the server went down after you logged in. I don’t know what you were exactly doing* there with the shell access. I am sorry that we cannot enable shell access for you and I am blocking it. Hope you understand the situation. Thank you for contacting me and please do contact me in case of further issues

     *Please note, the bold emphasis is mine.

Now two things about this bother me. First, by the administrator’s own admission, he didn’t know the cause, just that he granted me jail access and the system crashed. Second, he didn’t check his log files, because had he, he would have realized that all I did was “pico .htaccess” … that is, I used a text editor to make a modification because my site was under attack from a comment spam flood attack. In other words, someone attacking the system dropped it, and by denying the honest man access, the administrator prevented me from protecting the system.

This misunderstanding was eventually resolved, however we had another server-related issue with mission4me.com, email wasn’t getting to or from deanpeters.com. A few months back, I had moved Chuck Holton’s account to another server, then deleted the account on the old server where deanpeters.com resided. Unfortunately, they didn’t remove the MX record, so email between Chuck and I was essentially tossed into a black hole. I resolved this just before I left the country.

Then, when in Jordan, thousands of miles away from my loved ones, email to deanpeters.com ceased to work. Apparently, email I was deleting, or at least sending to the “trash can” wasn’t actually deleted, so it was consuming disk space. The provider, again without warning, stopped any further incoming email. Exactly what I didn’t need to happen at the worst possible time. I conveyed this to the provider, and they responded with a Catch-22. They weren’t going to restore access until I deleted several incoming messages … which I wasn’t going to delete because they were holding them, and I wasn’t going to delete them until I was in country again.

More complaining finally got this resolved, somewhat …

… then last night, I discovered I could no longer send SMTP from my home computer. When I first inquired as to why, here was the response:

Yesterday, the cpanel developers released a bulletin that stated all cpanel servers could be comprimised if they were not updated to version 9.x. Taking security very seriously, we moved forward with this upgrade immediately. However, cpanel always falls victim to introducing new bigs with each release, and it appears this upgrade was no different.

Please try setting up your email client manually (not with the cpanel autoconfig) and making sure that you have checked ‘my server requires authentication’. Out techs tested this connection successfully and replied with their findings. Please let us know if you still have issues.

I was a bit suspicious of this reason. They had in the past identified the wrong cause, and after having updated Cpanel on a server I now manage with the same update, I found no such problem. So I ran some tests of my own and came to the conclusion that they were blocking the IP address: pool-141-156-161-125.esr.east.verizon.net. I informed them as such. Here was their reply:

I am afraid that all the ip’s on that network are completely blocked (on our servers) because of spamming. Since we consider spamming as a serious issue we have taken necessary steps so as to prevent spamming through our servers. In your case I shall directly contact the spam prevention team and ask them to remove your ip if it is blacklisted in their database. Thank you for contacting me. Please contact me back if you have any further questions. Have a nice day.

I asked them if they realized they were blocking an entire portion of the Verizon customers living in the heavily populated Maryland suburbs of DC? Their response was to blame a black hole list:

We do not directly block any ip address due to spamming unless it is from our server. We use rbl’s provided by organisations like tdnsbl.ahbl.org that monitor servers for spamming and maintain a database of such servers so that other s can use them to stop spamming on their mail servers.

I then checked ahbl.org. Not blocked. I checked several other lists. It was only blocked at NJABL.ORG. Why my host provider made me query several blackhole lists is beyond me. Why they would go ahead and trust a single blackhole list that blindly blocks an entire range if IP addresses (Verizon VZ-DSLDIAL-*) without checking my specific IP address is just plain sloppy … especially when said IP isn’t on the eight other blackhole lists they employ.

So please forgive an interruption in service later this week as I go through the painful process of moving HealYourChurchWebSite.com and a few other accounts to servers affected by a host who suddenly had problems with Verizon, blog comment spam flod attacks and actually knowing what the problem is instead of guessing or blaming the first thing that comes to mind.

I personally speculate and attribute this to a new administrator coming town.

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w3c Link Checker

We’ve discussed linkrot way back in July of 2002 in context of never, ever, EVER deleting a well indexed link on your own site. But what about links to other sites?

Let’s face it, the one thing we know for sure about the Internet is the uncertainty of hyperlinks. Servers go down. People change careers. Hackers destroy things.

One nice and free tool to check the links on your site is w3C’s Link Checker. You merely enter the URL and presto, it offers you a variety of ways you can view the status of your links.

I personally found it very sturdy … slammed it with blogs4God about a day or two before I left for Jordan.

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You need to explain the difference

An interesting thing happened to me while sitting poolside here at Aqaba, Jordan. I was talking to an individual who works for one of the larger Christian marketing firms. He wants to develop a lay-ministry website for a neighborhood prayer ministry. Like many people I run into via Heal Your Church Website, he’s brilliant within his chosen vocation, and knows which end of the mouse of the computer to speak into, he’s no geek.

Its for these reasons he’s registered a domain and has subscribed to the web-development services offered by Register.com.

I mentioned that perhaps a blog-driven format might suit him better since his site is more current events oriented. Just type the post, no HTML in involved. He shrugged his shoulder and replied “well, I can do that with register.com.”

I didn’t reply. Instead, I just looked out over the beautiful blue waters of the Red Sea and thought that when I get back, I need to think of a way of describing the differences between a turnkey static website management system such as those offered by Register.com and the services one might get from a dynamic publishing system such as TypePad.

And more than explain the differences, explain why one would be better than another depending on the user’s context. Oh yes, and be able to explain it in non-techical geek terms.

How about you, un in to this much? If so, how have you explained it. Leave comments.

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The CD I would have burninated

This is post for any and all of you headed for mission trips this summer. No matter how much homework you do, emailing individuals who’ve been there and done that, read the web pages at hotels, hostels and cities of commerce websites, no matter how well laid your plans … will often go awry.

Tonight is an excellent example. The brochureware for the hotel we’re visiting lead me to believe they have a full-fledged business center. Technically, it is a business center, but it’s better suited for meetings than networking.

Here I sit hacking away on an NT-based Pentium III with a monitor that has seen better days. This is accompanied with a 56kb modem that’s hooking into a phone line that’s 32kb at best. That’s when the connection doesn’t drop (no matter how much we futz w/the options).

So I’m unable to download my copious pictures from my day’s journey. Fortunately, we have with us a college student with a very nice DELL laptop who’s agreed to allow me to offload my images onto him machine until we can transfer them at an Internet Cafe.

So if I had it to do over again, a laptop or perhaps a plug-n-play USB CD Burner. I’m leaning towards the later. This is because we’ve been able to find computers, but we haven’t been able to FTP at will. We’ve also run into other members of the team who grossly under estimated how many memory cartridges they’d need for their digital camera if they weren’t going to FTP. A small USB burninator would have done the trick. Hmmm … wonder what’s stopping me from getting one here? Probably the fact that a burninator requires burnination software.

Hey, why hasn’t anyone firmwared a simple embedded Linux-based portable picture cache/burninator. We could call it the Trogdor 2004.

I think I would have also burninated a CD with the ‘GNU utilities for Win32.’ These tools would have given me instant access to wget to suck down content, tar and gzip to compress and package images. A few other tools as well, but mostly tar, gzip and wget. This, inspired by the fact that it took almost an hour to ftp 500 images yesterday.

If nothing else, we need to find some blank CDs so we can buninate our photos off our friend’s laptop. Maybe at that time, I’ll see what I can do to get some of them cool command line utils on a CD so I can keep’on blogging from Jordan.

Going on a mission trip? Add the above to your packing list. Gone on a mission trip? Let me know what else you might suggest.

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‘Pelase’ Proof Read

They say a picture is worth 1000 words.
‘Pelase’ don’t say something like this on your web church’s site
(the sign is bad enough):

Don't let worries kill you - Let the church help.

  • Always test your new code.
  • Mistakes like can really detract from your site’s content …
  • I always get the help of a third partly before going live.

NOTE – Sorry guys, but I’m recycling an old article for new commentary. First, because it was published almost two years ago, second because I’m very tired, and though I have some geek things to say … I’m falling asleep on the keyboard.

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