29 January 2009

Thinking about security

A number of people in Stratford have had money stolen from their accounts as part of a large debit card scam. Even some people I know from the House of Blessing.

It has me thinking about passwords and such. As much as I am pretty geeky and like to think I am smarter than the average computer user, I have to admit that I use some pretty common passwords for just about everything. (not exactly the same, I'm a little smarter than that) So as of today I am going to change my system up. One of my favorite sites is LifeHacker.com - they have many articles on various software that can help create and keep passwords, this particular one seemed make sense to me:
You don't need to remember 100 passwords if you have 1 rule set for generating them. One way to generate unique passwords is to choose a base password and then apply a rule that mashes in some form of the service name with it. For example, you may use your base password with the first two consonants and the first two vowels of the service name. Say your base password is "asdf." (See how easy those keys are to type?). Then your password for Yahoo would be ASDFYHAO, and your password for eBay would be ASDFBYEA.
I'm also going to try out KeePass to help me remember the new passwords. I'll post a review of that once I have played around with it.

25 January 2009

I don't want to cause a Twitter

I've been thinking some more about Twitter and how it will effect the church. (You might want to read my last post) I did some reading of the reviews that are out there for Anthony Coppedge's book The Reason Your Church Must Twitter and I saw this quote by Jim Watson
"The beauty is that you can reach your people on their computer and/or on their cell phones, via SMS text messaging, which is a huge thing. Phone calls are tedious, email is often not read and fairly labor intensive for a church and in the end, ultimately, communication is key."
Communication is key, but I think that Twitter will eventually become like the things mentioned above, just another form of invasive annoying communication.  Ultimately people respond to communication because they have an connection to it.  (I already ignore text & Facebook messages from some people)   The quote is actually quite telling of how quickly we forget how cutting edge the mentioned technologies once were.

I'm know at one point email was the saviour of communication....because the telephone was quite tedious
I bet the telephone was once going to save the church.... because visiting people took a lot of time.
Throw in how websites, signs outside our churches,  radio broadcasts, pod-casting  etc. were all going to save the world around us.

A new medium will not change the way most basic reason that people ignore your message....they don't like you or you're not important to them. 

Being the McLuhan geek that I am I thought I would look at Twitter through MM's four laws of media:
ENHANCES:  - the ability to communicate information, to convey quick information.
OBSOLESCE:  - email, phone, talking to people, deeper connections
RETRIEVES: yelling across the street, passing notes in class....
REVERSE: reverses into constant barrage of short messages, devoid of personal connection

I'm going to contiune thinking about some of these.... feel free to let me know where I am wrong in comments.

24 January 2009

Technology saving the church (again)

Facebook and Twitter are going to save your church. No for real - it says so on the Internet.

Maybe it is just the type of blogs that I read. Maybe it is just the things that catch my attention. But, it sure seems that there are a lot of people out there that love to embrace each new medium that comes along.

I'm not even going to get into my usual mcluhanesque comments on media both being positive and negative* but there seems to be a rush lately to be the first person to literally write the book on the latest social network and how it will be the saviour of your church.

First there was Chris Forbes and "Facebook for Pastors" that would teach pastors how to "build relationships and connect with people using the most popular social network on the Internet."
Now recently we have Anthony Coppedge and "The Reason Your Church Must Twitter" who takes an even stronger stance with "a helpful, easy and practical guide to reaching the right people with the right message." I don't want to pick on these two authors. In fact they are both really smart men, that I respect a lot of what they have to say. I haven't taken the time to see if a few years ago someone wrote how MSN Messenger would save the church. I bet the Internet was going to save the church at one point, along with the computer, the automobile, and the printed page. All those things have had huge impact on both the church and our very core of culture, but the impact was not wholly positive. I could come up with lots of things about the comptuer, cars and print itself that have negativly effected the body of Christ.

Already I feel it. Somebody is muttering "ludite" and dismissing me as a technophobe. But stop and think about it, nothing has wholesale postive effects. Yes Twitter is great, people can track what other people are saying, eating, etc.... but what about depth? What takes people to a deep level of realtionship? I can as easily ignore the "This is the worst day in my life" tweat as I can engage that person. Being that I am disembodied here at my computer the person dosen't even know that I have ingored their call for help/attention/assistance. Maybe even worse I will make the mistake of dismissing them with a "don't worry tomorrow will be better"

I think us lovers of tech have to be (more) careful to not sell the latest and greatest technology as a fix for all that ails the church. We have see more than the benifits and see all the effects.

Always more to say...but that is good for now

* technically McLuhan has four laws (or directions) but most people really are only ready to focus on the positive and negative effects.

22 January 2009

A new Shane Hipps Book

I am really excited to see that Shane Hipps has a new book coming out.

Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith

Best I can see it is soon to be released (not available on Chapters or Amazon yet) and it seems that it will be in the same style as his previous book.

Without making a large gushing sound Shane Hipps really changed the way I look at this world... at least how I view technology, which tends to be a big part of my world. In many ways he is the one that turned me on to the likes of Marshal McLuhan, Neil Postman and others. So even if some of this material is rearranged from the first book, I will buy it as soon as it is shipping.

(and for the record this changes my mood from the last post)

21 January 2009

January Blas

I heard on the radio the other day that January 19th is the most depressing day of the year. I also heard it called "Blue Monday" and did a little digging and discover the science might be a little suspect. None the less, I certainly feel that this is a low time of the year. Over the last few years I have noticed a personal trend of feeling 'blue' in late January.

There are lots of things in my head but right now, I just can't put them to words. maybe I'll get some inspiration when the sun comes out again