Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Couple of Updates

I've not been blogging much this past week (the whole family was sick, not a lot of time) - so I want to share a couple of updates on what's going on.

First, the continuing saga of our new office computer (we got a mac mini, if you didn't know) continues to amaze me. Along with the switch we not only got a reliable computer that flies through it's tasks, we also made the switch from an ancient version of Word Perfect to NeoOffice (OpenOffice.org aquafied) - this means that our Church office is now using ODF, this makes me very happy. When you combine this with the ability of OS X to make a pdf out of just about anything, we're not going to be having any incompatibility issues with files we have to share with others. This makes me happy. I've also set up Adium on the office computer and me as the only contact for the secretary. As my office is now on a different floor from the office, this makes passing messages a lot easier (not to mention transparent when I'm working at home or at Panera). It's already been very helpful.

I continue to play with the mini myself - and I've discovered the wonders of Keynote. While I love ODF, the feature-set of keynote is the most awesome piece of presentation-technology I've ever seen. If I get a Mac (and I'm fully intending to do so), I'm switching to keynote. Why? Well, here's some features I'll use every week:
  • Drop Shadows - Shadows let me layer elements in a presentation, right now I use the GIMP to make drop-shadows, and then save images as transparent png's. It's a time-consuming process - not anymore.
  • Auto-transparency - I like to cut out some backgrounds to focus images - it's fun to do, but time-consuming. The auto-transparency feature of Keynote will likely come in handy.
  • Export to a Movie - I've always wanted to be able to export a timed presentation to a video so I could share it with others. Now I can. Oh, and you can also record your narration while the presentation plays. Sweet.
Also, I had a meeting with with Jay Delp today to talk about his impending consult here at Central (regarding a new presentation system here) as well as getting his input on some of the ways I use the screen for liturgy and preaching (I'm pondering books). Jay's one of the most sought-out people to set up A/V for big events in the Country, and has been doing some writing on A/V in worship so I value his thoughts. What I got from my time with Jay is two-fold:
  • First, he's an incredibly gracious guy with a kick-butt living room (it's his studio, geek-envy). I'm glad I got to talk with him just because he's an interesting person who's doing some nice stuff.
  • Second, he was very encouraging with some of the things we're doing here at Central - and confirmed that a lot of what we're doing is fairly unique to the way that screens are typically used in worship. This makes me happy - guess I'll try to get some articles written to see what people think.
Anyway, now I need to start working full-bore on my 10 commandments series, I translated both versions of the commandments today, and tomorrow I'll make a hand-out so folks can keep up with where we are in the order (I'm following the traditional Jewish numbering). I also need to start ordering books to start my research on next fall's series on the political implications of Jesus' message - suggestions?

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