Founder & Editor-in-Chief Steve Hewitt - steve@ccmag.com VP of Operations Michael Hewitt - mike@ccmag.com Contributing Editors Dr. J.D. “Doc” Watson, Terry Wilhite, Yvon Prehn, Nick Nicholaou, Walt Wilson, Jim Vanduzer Kevin A. Purcell, Ross Gile, Donald Stratton, Ben Woelk Copy Editor Gene Pearson Corporate Home Office
Mailing address: Delivery address: PO Box 319 Belton MO 64012 311 Manor Dr. Belton, MO 64012

Applying Tomorrow’s Technology to Today’s Ministry
Volume 19 November 2007 No. 11

Cover Story - Page 7

Roll Call Child Check-In
Special Feature - Page 9
by Nathan Diehl by Howard Horowitz by Craig Rairdin
by Steve Hewitt Spread the Word: Five Ways to Attract & Engage Visitors

Phone: (816) 331-8142 FAX: 800-456-1868 © Copyright 2007 by Christian Computing®, Inc.

Special Feature - Page 34
Is It Time For a Second STEP?

All Rights Reserved Christian Computing® is a registered trademark of Christian Computing, Inc. Written materials submitted to Christian Computing® Magazine become the property of Christian Computing®, Inc. upon receipt and may not necessarily be returned. Christian Computing® Magazine reserves the right to make any changes to materials submitted for publication that are deemed necessary for editorial purposes. The content of this publication may not be copied in any way, shape or form without the express permission of Christian Computing®, Inc. Views expressed in the articles and reviews printed within are not necessarily the views of the editor, publisher, or employees of Christian Computing® Magazine, or Christian Computing, Inc.

Editorial

Jubal Magazine is Coming!

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CCMag NewsBreif Inside the Box

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64-Bit Operating Systems & You
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by Donald Stratton

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Wordsearch Word Nick at Church Tech Talk

Innovative & Powerful WORDsearch 8 is Released
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by Bob Dasal

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Virtual Computer?

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by Nick Nicholaou by Dr. J.D. (Doc) Watson

e-Sword Update & Serious Language Tools
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ACS Ideas to Impact Internet Ministry

Church Management System History 101
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by ACS Technologies by Walt Wilson

Google (Finally) Announces Cell Phone Plan
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Handheld Devices

Will Apple Make a PDA?

Ministry Communication
Christian Gaming

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by Jim VanDuzer by Yvon Prehn

The Golden Compass: Don’t Boycott: Explain & Engage
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Higher Power with Kevin Scott Howard’s HotPic
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November 2007

Christian Computing® Magazine

editorial
Steve Hewitt - steve@ccmag.com

Jubal Magazine is Coming!

The Christian Music & Worship Magazine

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omething new is heading your way! A new magazine is about to be born. Jubal Magazine will cover everything in the areas of Christian music and worship. And the name? We are told in Gen 4:21 that, “he was the father of all who played the harp and flute.” The birth of Jubal Magazine is a result of a combination of many very talented people. Bill Rayborn has been one of the leading people behind Jubal. I have known of Bill’s work for almost 15 years (although both of us were pubA/V. It will be sent out in the same format, introduced and distributed in a HTML email, available for download as a PDF file for those that want to read it on screen, or print it out and read it on paper. If Jubal is not your “cup of tea”, then I encourage you to pass the information on to someone else in your church and encourage them to visit www.jubalmagazine.com and sign up. Just like CCMag, the magazine is free! Together We Serve Him,

lishing even longer!) Bill previously published The Church Music Report, and in those early years of CCMag, we would run announcements in TCMR about CCMag, and in exchange we let our readers know about TCMR in CCMag. Besides Bill, a few other names behind Jubal Magazine will be very familiar to CCMag readers. Mike Hewitt, Editor-in-Chief of Christian A/V Magazine, and editorial producer for CCMag, will be in charge of the production of Jubal Magazine and he will also contribute articles now and then. Terry Wilhite will serve as a contributing editor for Jubal. You have seen Terry’s articles in CCMag for over a decade. In addition, Terry has written for Christian A/V, Pulpit Helps, and Technology in Worship Magazine. Gerrit Gustafson will also be a contributing editor. Gerrit is a songwriter and worship teacher who was part of Integrity Music’s original Creative Team and currently conducts Worship Schools across the country. There are many others who have aligned themselves and are contributing content to this new exciting, new magazine, providing articles on subjects such as church drama, church instrumentals, professional church musicians and more. The first issue of Jubal Magazine will be sent out next month. As a subscriber of Christian Computing Magazine we will be sending you a copy as well. Jubal will follow the same model as CCMag and Christian
Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007

Steve Hewitt Editor-in-Chief 3

45-nanometer! The Next Step For Computer Chips What’s a nanometer? A nanometer is 45 billionth’s of a meter and Intel has announced that a new line of chips have been developed that allow for transistors and wiring in these new chips to be as small as 45nanometers! What does this mean? Presently the smallest transistors in chips have been 65-nanometers. This reduction in size means that a chip can hold 40% more transistors! This means that some of the chips Intel has finished developing will be able to hold 820 million transistors, compared to 582 million in present chips. Compare that to Intel’s first chips used in the early 1970’s which had 2,300 transistors. How small are these transistors at 45-nanometers? It appears that 30 million of them could fit on the head of a pin! However, besides the size, something else is important with the new 45-nanometer technology. It seems that for some reason, the size is special when it comes to power consumption. As chips have decreased in size they have leaked electricity, causing the need for more power, which also causes more heat. For SOME reason, 45-nanometer technology doesn’t seem to leak electricity. It is the right size for the atoms to move without as much waste. Tom Kilroy, general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group calls it, “the reinvention of the transistor!” Intel will be spending 8 billion dollars for new plants to create the chips and expects the new chips should be released for our use by first quarter next year. For more information, visit http://apnews.myway.com/article/20071112/D8SS4KLG0.html Man Faces 60 Years in Prison For Running a BotNet Stealing ID’s A male computer security consultant from Los Angeles has been charged and has pled guilty to setting up a BotNet, and used it to steal personal ID information for profit. The man, John Kenneth Schiefer, has infected around 250,000 computers with software that would watch for communications with eBay and PayPal. He would have his programs grab the communications and send it to his personal computer, where he would then use the information to purchase items and/or steal money from accounts. He has also confessed to selling some of the information to other criminals. Setting up Botnets to steal information from personal computers is a fast growing crime and law enforcement agencies are just now beginning to strike back. Schiefer will be the first man in the USA to serve time for such a crime. In addition to facing a possible sentence of 60 years in prison, he could be fined $1.75 million. Law enforcement agencies began working on this case in 2005, and are aware of others that are involved that may be charged. For more information, visit http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-botnet10nov10,1,3400959.story?coll=la-headlines-business People Buy DRM Free Songs 4-to-1 Some recording companies still like to keep Digital Rights Management software on their files, preventing people from making copies. They believe that IF their songs were released without DRM, sales would go down because their songs would simply be copied and sent to others for free. However, according to 7 Digital Media Ltd, a London based digital song retailer, in London, the sale of physical media music dropped by 20% last year. With the sales of DRM Mp3s growing, some online stores might drop DRM songs from their listings by next year. For more information, visit http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=vi ewArticleBasic&articleId=9046318&intsrc=hm_list Apple Computer Sales Increase Apple Inc. had a plan when they released the iPod. The plan stated that as more people used their smaller products (the iPod and now the iPhone) people would grow in their appreciation for the company and purchase their computers. It appears that plan is working. Sales have continued to go up, and Apple reports that they sold more computers than ever before last quarter. This is particularly important because they are preparing to launch a new operating system. Normally sales in computers will drop as people wait for the new 4
November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine

crn. it was a natural step to broadcast the weddings live via the Internet for those loved ones and friends who couldn’t make the trip. electronic registries where you can shop for presents. However. there would be substantial cost to implement. visit http://www. It sounds like users might want to give this new OS a pass until an upgrade is released and some of these issues are solved.2799657. Technology allows for people to get the full spectrum of the wedding experience. I think it sounds as if Apple has fallen into the same mistakes as Microsoft in the past.1. trying to push out a new OS every 18 months instead of waiting until they are sure it is bug free.infoworld. encouraged users to re-install the OS a second time to see if that would help. visit http://apnews.com/article/07/10/31/Securitygeeks-say-Leopard-needs--fixing_1. if the FCC was to mandate such a service.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Online Weddings? It seems that more and more weddings are being attended (viewed) via the Internet as a result of live Webcasts. uses who get past this problem are reporting additional problems with Wireless Internet.com/article/07/10/31/Security-geeks-sayLeopard-needs--fixing_1.com/articles/2007/10/23/business/webwed. within 24 hours. Many are reporting that soon after they boot their computer. and since most weddings are now being video-recorded. and http://www. she lost substantial business because her customers could not get in touch with her.php Apple Releases New OS Leopard. or basically a complete lock up with nothing but a blue screen.latimes.story?coll=la-headlines-technology PC Sales Hit 2-year High PC sales everywhere are up! HP and Dell both reported record sales. The first problem seemed to crop up for many as soon as they installed the new system. and in fact.html Should ISPs be Required to Forward Your Email? A woman has filed a petition with the FCC to force ISPs to forward your email for six months if you switch providers or your account is terminated. Since the technology exists. with HP showing a larger increase over Dell. others are complaining that the new firewall in Leopard is not secure enough and is complicated to use. visit http://www. The phone company can provide a recording on your old number informing people of your new number. No! We have all seen science fiction movies where a space ship was grabbed by a “tractor beam” and pulled. HP passed Dell as the nations leading computer company. it was also noted that the increase in sales of new computers was mainly due to the demand overseas. http://www. For more information. visit http://www. For more information. For more information visit http://www. tractor beams are being used in nano-science today! It has been discovered that when you get down to molecular levels.myway. Why don’t ISPs forward your email when you move to a new service? The woman who has initiated the complaint claims that when her account with AOL was terminated. Some members of Congress have contacted the FCC to let them know they are watching to see how this case develops.com/technology/la-fiapple23oct23. Sales of portable computers were also substantial. They received the “blue screen of death”.html Is a Tractor Beam Science Fiction? Actually.nytimes. However.com/software/202602568.com/article/20071017/D8SB9UTO3. In addition.com/aponline/technology/AP-E-Mail-Forwarding-FCC.html. “optical tweezers” Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 5 . a beam of light can be used to manipulate tiny biological structures or even individual atoms. For more information. and an online photo album for people to visit after the wedding. wireless broadband connections begin to degrade and eventually they drop connections and are forced to re-boot. problems were reported all over the Internet.iht. Is the concept just science fiction? Actually no. and is increasing the gap between them with these recent sales reports. Apple has acknowledged that there is a problem and on their site. or they can call forward to your new number. including electronic invitations. So. For more information.computers and OS to hit the market.infoworld. This is possible because light’s individual photons transfer minuscule amounts of force to particles they hit. Of course. The Post Office will forward your mail. However. But Problems Are Mounting Apple released their new operating system (OS) Leopard.

http://ap. First time offenders face a fine of up to $11. In the future.have been used when dealing with objects on a transparent item. visit http://ap.msnbc. which means you could use these beams of light to manipulate items on a silicon chip. He was able gain to access to their personal information in tax returns. It is the FCC’s job to enforce what they sold.com/article/ALeqM5id7kvTMmyj_oMN3K1s3UFPAPsGRAD8SJQ6SO0 Cell Phone Jammers On The Rise Those making and selling portable cell phone jammers (all operating outside of the USA) report that sales of the devices have grown to several hundred a month for USA customers. In one reported case. he has not committed any crimes by just owning the device. restaurants or hospitals. from the cure for cancer and disease to everyday practical devices to cut our hair. And.iht. Gas stations hope that the cost for the new pumps and Internet service will be worth it in customer appreciation. This is just one more reason why file sharing sites. such as a microscope slide. This is important because infrared light is not visible. the FCC is assigning agents to track them down and shut them off. Until he does. fed up with having to listen to other people talk loudly on their cell phones. Google will not sell any advertisements however. such as this. He reports that he purchased the device because his employees were always on their cell phones and wanted to use it in the back of the restaurant. For more information. People. However. now that the devices are starting to grow in numbers. However.google. credit reports.msn. The devices have the ability to jam all cell phone signals within a radius of up to 30 feet.com/id/21652542/ 6 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine .000.php Google Moves to Gas Pumps Google has entered into a business partnership with a gas pump company to create a pump that will provide customers with information on how to find local landmarks.com/articles/2007/11/04/business/jammer. increasing our abilities to produce nanoscale devices. a new discovery by MTI students has shown that they could use infrared light to accomplish the same thing.com/ article/ALeqM5g5bsljxRg-6WcgJQG3T1ML2XwfGAD8SOKOP00 File Sharing Programs Additional Dangers (Other Than Copyright Infringement).000 worth of items on the fraudulent accounts. hotels. However. Nanotechnology has many applications. the FCC is obtaining information on who has ordered these devices here in America. they hope to include the ability for users to enter an actual address and receive maps and directions. visit http://www. the FCC traced one of the devices to a restaurant owner in Maryland. ID Theft A man has pleaded guilty to using file sharing programs such as Limewire to infect people’s computers with programs that he used to steal their ID. The service will allow you to view or print the maps and driving directions. can be dangerous. Why is it such a bad thing to jam cell phone signals within a small area? Because the cell phone companies have paid tens of billions of dollars each year for a guarantee that the frequencies they use will be clear. bank statements and student financial aid applications. checking to see if he has used the device. The company will initially be offering the service in 3. For more information visit http://www.google. local businesses can include coupon information. He then used the information on 50 different victims to open credit accounts and purchase over $73. Surprisingly at this point. are purchasing the devices to use in public places in order to obtain some silence. For more information. it has been reported that he has received visits from the FCC and Verizon over the last year. They actually used their new technology to spell out MTI using bacteria cells.500 pumps opening across the nation.

html). from using videos of airplane takeoff and landings. rigid set of check-in rules. Everything in the program is geared around an airplane and travel. address. while also enrolling the student in the class. New Hope Christian Center in Waterloo. Indiana. such as parent(s) names. Quick Enroll allows entry of the child’s information.com/ccmag. The child then walks to the check-in station and scans their passport’s barcode to check-in. All children get their passport when they enter the room. Roll Call allows for quick entry of the child into the Roll Call System. We knew we needed to have one central database where all data was stored. When a visiting student arrives at the check-in station the first time. Once the passport is scanned. The check-in system we chose was Roll Call from By The Book (www. We have found the children love being able to scan their own passport.nathandiehl. We also worried about being able to connect a child with his or her parents — often it is hard to identify the parents of a given child. E-mail addresses. allowed us to integrate attendance records with children already in our system and already attached to a parent. We call this badge their ‘boarding pass’— and all students are required to have a boarding pass before entering the flight. the flight attendant goes through the aisle and collects all the passports for distribution again next weekend. the phone numbers and addresses would eventually become outdated. quickly and with minimal errors. Each student gets assigned a ‘passport’. In order to fulfill our desire to follow up with children. addresses. to a flight attenChristian Computing® Magazine November 2007 dant serving mid-flight snacks to the younger children. an Excel spreadsheet or manually entering attendance into our church database solution. we realized we needed a better way to keep track of our kids than handwriting nametags each week.com s a church with a strong focus on children and families with children. which is based on an airplane theme. no follow-up and no record of attendance. a name badge is printed out. we have been able to adapt the Roll Call check-in process to fit our own systems and structures. and right after an interactive countdown. on a movable card. bythebook. www. We discussed several different methods including paper logs. Our children’s ministries had little security. and generate their own boarding passes each week. In the end. Roll Call. when an adult notified us of a change in address or phone number. A 7 . One consideration in our choice was centralizing our data into one database. which contains the child’s name and barcode. We were able to seamlessly integrate the Child Check-in into our existing structure. the child’s record would be automatically updated as well. We have never recorded individual attendance on a classby-class basis. including adult names. we decided to implement an automated check-in station which would allow us to track attendance easily. to check children in to our weekend program for children. The flexibility in Roll Call is very useful. Publications Director. which we had done for some time. which they get stamped each week they attend. so we began to explore our options. This way.Nathan Diehl.cover story Roll Call Child Check-In . Once students are seated. On the back of this passport. instead of having to rework everything we are already doing to fit with a predefined. We knew if we tried to keep a separate database for children’s attendance. we needed a way to quickly and effectively track the individual attendance of each child every weekend. we have placed a Roll Call-generated badge. We use a remote check-in station. children’s names and attendance data. which we were already using as our church management system. phone numbers. Because of Rolls Call’s many customizable options.

the check-in station can be located anywhere in your building with network access (either wired or wireless) to the Roll Call Server—no need for a high-speed Internet connection throughout the building.birthday and any allergies. With Roll Call’s built-in reporting engine. no matter how you do things. and offers customizable options. we were able to adapt the Checkin process to our needs. as well as adding a lot of features we had not considered. Roll Call is highly customizable. including a mixed network. or barcodes can be on a small ‘key fob’. barcode (for optional check-out) and family number. including name. which strengthens the security of our classrooms. With the larger size. Because of the customizable options available. parent name (if parents have been entered for the student) and the name of the current class. as we have done by incorporating the badge as part of the passport. In all. There are two sizes of nametags with can be printed automatically at check-in. This is particularly useful for youth group check-in.2. in our case — is automatically printed once the Quick Enroll has been completed. Key fobs can be custom-made with your church or ministry logo on it. which make Roll Call’s child check-in fit into a variety of churches. Others want to know which students are new attendees who have attended three of the last six weeks. It has easily filled all of our requirements. and works on any PC or MAC. We generate specific information on each attendance report. Because Roll Call is a stand-alone install. It is also possible on this Quick Enroll screen to add an existing child to the class. including Vista. which can be assigned to each student. a small keychain-tag with a barcode on it. there are many customizable options—you choose what information should be printed on nametags and what information you do not. we have been very happy with the choice of Roll Call for our child check-in needs. while also allowing you to easily omit information if it is unknown. in the case the child is already entered in Roll Call. phone number and birthday. badge number. Roll Call allows the user to print out attendance reports on a class-by-class basis. and I was easily able to customize this information to print from the attendance report. Quick Enroll also allows you to add a child to an existing family. 8 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . while giving the duplicate nametag to the parent. OS X. A simple button allows you to easily search for parent’s name and add a given child to the parent’s record. such as when a family has a new baby. address. these and other customized reports can be easily generated. customized to output whatever parameters you want to do. A nametag — or boarding pass. but is not currently enrolled in the class. Optional information includes an image (such as a church or class logo). All nametags include child’s name. Roll Call allows for check-in either manual (type in each child’s name as they arrive) or automatic via an infrared barcode scanner. Roll Call is very versatile. Technically. Supported Operating Systems include MAC OS 9. Another option we use is the ability to print multiple nametags per student. These barcodes can be printed on a permanent badge. and any PC with Windows98se or later. Some of our teachers want to know when a student misses three of the last four weeks. Parents can be required to show their duplicate tag to pick up their student. This enables us to print one nametag for the student.

social CRM system combines and stores various member interactions in a single location to provide church administrators with a comprehensive view of member behavior. The Web has become the resource for information. The Web is a method by which churches can present their values and convey their mission. Joe directs Mark to the Web site where he indicates that he is twenty years old. then the better the experience for visitors. The better the communication. Many churches have a basic Web site that has very little navigation and extremely limited information. Now Church XYZ can send Mark information that is relevant to him such as concert announcements.com C hurches are always trying to attract new members and spread The Word. This 1. It is method of communication. One of the most powerful forms of marketing is word of mouth advertising. the better the relationship. Social CRM enable churches to create that personalized marketing that further engages members into the church. companies. Encourage word of mouth. Church XYZ has set up their Web site to gather information from its visitors such as age. like that offered by Kintera. attracting and engaging visitors isn’t always easy. A visitor. professional football and lives on the north side of town. The more robust a site. Use the Internet. Some churches may even have multiple databases each with varying member information. It is used for almost everything. let’s look at an example. It is even used as a tool to connect people and network. But attracting new visitors is only one step in a series necessary to actually increase church membership. and friends that seek a piece of people’s time. Professional Services for Kintera. People are more likely to try a new product or watch a movie. enables your ministry to customize interactions with members based on the information in your database. A social CRM solution. Churches must have an Internet presence in order to gain mindshare in an online landscape filled with numerous organizations. and other relevant messages about how Christ is impacting others similar to him in both age and interests. And then they must be encouraged to participate and become engaged with the church. wants to attend an event with his friend Joe. research and entertainment. www. To illustrate the value of social CRM.kinterainc. A Christian Computing® Magazine 5 November 2007 Ways 9 . 2. if it was spoken of favorably by a trusted source.special feature Spread the Word: Five Ways to Attract & Engage Visitors -By Howard Horowitz. After visitors attend services. including shopping. interests and neighborhood. Implement a Social CRM system. they must be motivated and enthused to come back. enjoys music. Every church has some form of a database varying from sophisticated CRM (Constituent Relationship Management) systems to hand kept notes. The good news is that the same tactics used to draw visitors can also be used to keep them connected. invitations to Bible study in his neighborhood. In today’s world of constant interruptions and information overload. meaning the more information it gives. 3. Vice President. Mark. This is based on a very simple concept.

By using technology as a tool to communicate and engage visitors. Let’s say Mark attends a football activity hosted by Church XYZ. E-newsletters and e-mails are not one-way communications.churches just aren’t looking close enough. and events. 10 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . ministries. churches across the country can create and build the personalized relationships that bind people to people and people to worship houses. Mark’s attendance at the event is an indication that he has received the church’s message and decided to attend.same concept can be used to attract and engage visitors to your congregation. Use e-communications. Targeted and personalized e-mail or e-newsletters are much easier to send than most people think. so that prospective members are getting the most out of their relationship with the church. churches must adapt their efforts to fit in a world of information overload powered by the Internet and forced by extensive marketing. Using the reporting and analytics tool in its social CRM system. which are two of Mark’s interests. A social CRM system provides the reporting and analytic capabilities that enable churches to learn more about potential members. Social CRM systems provide such analytics as open rates. Church XYZ offers a variety of groups and activities specific to music and football. churches can get valuable information about a potential member’s receptiveness to church messaging. The implementation of a social CRM system makes segmenting your contacts happen in a simple click or two. A social CRM system is an effective tool to segment your database and deliver appropriate communications. Churches can use this information to determine popular activities and high interest content to further tailor and customize future communications. The social CRM system makes it possible to segment Church XYZ’s database of potential new members and send interest-specific e-mails based on information provided by the visitor to the church. Use reporting & analytics to refine your messages. The reports also indicate that the overall open rate for first time attendees had decreased 20 percent. click-through rates. Church XYZ continues to host the same event on a regular basis. E-mail and e-newsletters are a cost-effective way to communicate with potential members. 5. By using reporting and analytics. 4. Let’s continue our example with Church XYZ. Church XYZ can send Mark e-mail notifications about its music program and enewsletters with content about the church activities that revolve around football. Church XYZ can evaluate the event and determine what may have caused the first-time visitors to drop off. When using e-mail and e-newsletters. As attendance numbers fluctuate. it is important to make each communication personal. Then the social CRM system helps to guide that relationship based on each individual’s preferences. People tend to attract and spend time with similar people. but Mark does not attend a second time and overall attendance seems to have slipped. The ability to attract and engage visitors is one of the greatest challenges faced by churches in the United States. Members are communicating with churches about what they like and what they are interested in -. Encourage church participants to bring friends to worship and other church activities. Using this information. Church XYZ runs a report on the open rates of the football event invites. and length of time spent on a Web page. Mark is more likely to be open to such communications than he would if Church XYZ sent him information highlighting baking classes and sewing groups. The church discovers that Mark has not opened his e-mails from the church since the event.

64-bit is about how the computer handles “words” or groups of bits sent as instructions. and anything shorter would crash (so smaller instructions actually had “padding” inserted to make sure they could be handled appropriately). most of what you hear is either. keep in mind that you can still run an archaic Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 11 . the truth lies somewhere in between.Donald@PowerNotebooks. anyway? At its basis. the longest word-length available was 16 bits of data. 2) “64-bit isn’t compatible with any of your old software. stay away!” Is the ability to use 4GB of RAM really the only benefit of using a 64-bit operating system? Are 64-bit operating systems really so limited otherwise? Like most issues that cause such a polarized opinion. The way that words work. Newer processors increased the speed of operation and also developed techniques to “bridge” data between multiple words. 1) “Wow! 64-bit is awesome. If this seems a little backwards.” Ever since Vista. every instruction. piece of data. If you’re not using that much RAM. With the 8086 (the foundation of the x86 architecture computers have used for decades). Anything larger would be shortened. Despite this fact. and memory address had to be 16 bits. we have been comfortably computing at 32-bit for a while now using “segmented” data pipelines. So what is 64-bit. there has been a growing sense of excitement about 64-bit operating systems and how they are the “future of computing. which allows more than one 16-bit word to be handled simultaneously.inside the box Donald Stratton .com Operating Systems & You 64-Bit S ince before the release of Microsoft Windows Vista. while 64-bit processors handle quad-words. 32-bit processors handle double-words (two 16-bit words executed simultaneously). but all x86 processors were still limited to a 16-bit word length. or four 16-bit words. and the only thing you get out of it is the ability to use 4GB of RAM. I don’t know how I ever lived without it!” These comments generally have no information beyond the knee-jerk fanboy reaction.

This is still a significant improvement over the 3. and your hard drive cache. is physically limited to 32 gigabytes of memory. X86 based processors have maintained backwards compatibility throughout the lifespan of the architecture. a single. the Video card memory. Realistically. The x86-64-bit processors now offered by AMD and Intel share nearly identical instruction sets. which is shared between the RAM. your Video memory. 12 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine .179. since they are limited to a pure 64bit word length. Think of the memory address like a secretary who files and retrieves important instructions in your RAM. and any virtual memory being used by Windows. Theoretically. and that’s why the x86 architecture isn’t going anywhere for a while yet. non-bridged word that sends data wherever it needs to go. 64-bit-compatible PC with very little effort. One of the “words” that is kept inside the CPU is the memory address. which is why someone running Windows XP only ever sees about 3.” something that you may appreciate without ever realizing it.2GB of usable RAM offered by 32-bit operating systems. for example. but we are not likely to see 64-bit computing hit its memory cap for a long time. current systems are still delivering the barest fraction of this total.2GB of memory. but the programs you run on a daily basis would be impossible to run on these powerful systems. What’s the deal with memory? Memory addressing is the most readily apparent aspect of 64-bit processing.DOS-based program on your brand-new.184 gigabytes). which is why so many people proclaim that it’s the only advantage. Apple’s Mac Pro. a 64-bit operating system has a memory addressing cap of 16 exabytes of RAM (17. A 32-bit system can only address exactly 4GB of RAM. as needed. and one of their biggest unseen advantages is the idea of “relative pointers.869. There have been “true” 64-bit computers around since before the x86 architecture was introduced.

If a reference point was ever filled with something else for any reason. A Linux user must dual-boot to run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. and Mac OS-X (both Tiger and Leopard) are “hybrid” operating systems.” an error you may still receive from time to time in 32-bit computing. What about backwards compatibility? It’s true that not all of your old programs will run well. as do offerings from Maya. Relative pointers allow each program to have its own virtual. providing both 32-bit and 64-bit execution paths. or even at all. but x8664-bit processors actually have the ability to run two 32-bit instructions simultaneously. This meant that programs scattered important bits all throughout the memory address. Since the *nix concept is open source. or relative.“Pointers” are reference points that tell a program where to find the next word in its instruction set. Windows and Mac users are currently holding the short end of the stick when it comes to finding 64-bit applications to use. and there is 64-bit integration built into Far Cry and Valve Software’s Source engine games. Linux users are able to see exactly how much of an improvement can be had with 64-bit computing. with no “protected space” environment for 32-bit applications. All of Adobe’s software now offers 64-bit integration. sequential blocks to be free. rather than organizing efficiently. these had to be absolute points in the memory address. To keep 64-bit addressing available. Gamers are also starting to see the benefit of 64-bit. However Windows Vista 64-bit. which allows the program to load and unload much more efficiently. these hybrid operating systems actually run 32-bit applications inside a protected space that is run almost like an emulator. but. Vue Infinite. coders have developed kernels specifically for 32-bit or 64-bit processing. which is what allows for ANY backwards compatibility. which can provide a noticeable speed increase in 32-bit programs. but professional users have some definite bonuses. any program run would have to have a specifically 64-bit instruction set. which it has done readily and gleefully. speeding up memory. space for operation. Users have Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 13 . within a pure 64-bit operating system. the program would crash with a “General Protection Fault.and CPU-intensive processes drastically over 32-bit processing. since programmers could not trust efficient. and several other 3D design and CAD programs. Prior to relative pointers. as games like Crysis are designed to take advantage of 64-bit computing. Without this hybridization. Windows XP x64. With no backwards compatibility. the Linux has been reliant only upon itself to supply 64-bit applications. Linux and Unix users do not have a hybrid operating system.

While 4GB of RAM isn’t the only reason to take advantage of 64-bit computing. Because of the protected space. Realistically. or the lack thereof. There are “driver wrappers” available for most hardware with just a little searching. so a program that takes up 100MB of RAM in a 32-bit operating system could take 105-110MB of RAM in a 64-bit operating system. RAM. Do you need a 64-bit operating system right now? Absolutely not. “There’s always a but…” Of course. AMD’s HyperTransport technology has to use around 12 bits from each 32-bit word to link them together properly. as opposed to the 16 exabytes usable for Intel. this causes an exponential decrease in the amount of RAM usable on an AMD system. but ten applications that would have only taken 100MB each (or 1GB total) in 32-bit XP or Vista could be taking up enough extra space in a 64-bit environment that 32-bit XP or Vista could have run another program. though. For Intel. Without these drivers. the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Both Intel and AMD have some significant issues with transmitting 64-bit data back and forth between the Northbridge (Memory Controller Hub). The last word on memory One thing to keep in mind with 64-bit computing is that more really is better when it comes to memory. there is no integrated memory controller. The nutshell The Good: +32-bit applications can take advantage of “double execution” for a speed boost. improved compiling performance.024GB).reported speed boosts. AMD’s issue may not be noticeable for several years because really. how many people use more than 32GB much less 1. and certain components may not run at all.024GB! Of course. your brand new computer isn’t going to run well at all. relative pointers. and several other small-but-noticeable gains. instructions do take up a little more space in your RAM. so the benefit is still there if you are willing to work for it. which reduces the AMD architecture to a 40-bit memory address. an AMD system can only use a maximum of 1 Terabyte of RAM (1. so there is a slowdown as data and instructions are routed through the Northbridge to the RAM and video card. and you will start seeing more and more benefits as the computing world begins moving into the 64-bit world in full force. it’s worth the upgrade. the biggest practical problem with any 64-bit operating system right now is drivers. but an upgrade to 64-bit is ill-advised unless you are willing to do some research before the upgrade to make sure it will work. +Your motherboard chipset is currently the only limit to how much RAM you can use +Protected Execution helps reduce program crashes +Improved system efficiency +Significant performance boosts for hardware that already uses 64-bit The Bad: +Steeper hardware requirements +Not many 64-bit applications available yet 14 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . 64-bit computing is an excellent reason to take advantage of 4GB of RAM. This is not a huge difference. If you have the ability. and a few other CPU enhancements in the 64-bit processing world. to put it lightly. Most major hardware manufacturers have been lethargic in offering 64-bit drivers. and CPU. security enhancements. Although we may never hit this cap before 128-bit computing sees popular acceptance.

select internet websites. but space does not allow us to cover them here. • Works with Collections so you can control which sources are searched—from your library. as well. Cross Reference Explorer Imagine sitting in your study with hundreds of volumes of Bible reference books. true to its name. and ties it all together. Library Organization Bigger is definitely better when it comes to Bible libraries. To view a complete listing of features and for complete information on upgrading or purchasing the program go to www. The newly released WORDsearch 8 is the greatgreat-grandson of the original program. improvements and enhancements. even if you’re not a language scholar yourself. powerful tools to help you prepare sermons and/or Bible lessons. where you do a search then see a way to improve it by paring away “hits” you don’t want.wordsearch word Bob Dasal . the search term had to appear as the first word in a topic heading.com Innovative & Powerful W WORDsearch 8 is Released ORDsearch Bible software has delighted users for 20 years with its speed and accuracy in searching the Scripture. This article provides a brief overview of WORDsearch 8. and the Community Library. which was just the KJV Bible on 5 ¼” floppies.” just to name two. Since most searches are of the Bible only. Parallel Bible Window Improvements Parallel Bible windows are great for seeing the range of possible translations quickly.bdasal@wordsearchbible. WORDsearch 8 combines Bible-centric content and functions with select content from the Web. and dozens of books fly off the shelves onto your desktop open to exactly the right pages. but big libraries lead to new challenges keeping everything tidy.wordsearchbible. your documents. The features include “Finds ’em Fast” and a new “Favorites Manager. The program has advanced tremendously from the original release. keeps on perfecting the wordsearching feature. Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 15 . It provides • Re-refine your searches. Word Searching Improvements WORDsearch. then you’re obviously not in seminary. so we’ve provided key features to help you get the most out of your electronic library.WORDsearch8. It will delight you with a potential library of over 2. So. WORDsearch 8 is fully compatible with Microsoft VISTA and XP. visit www. For more information. Turabian is the style of footnote preferred by professors at most seminaries and Bible colleges. but version 8 can find it anywhere in the heading.com. or for use in your personal study. That’s pretty much what happens with the WORDsearch 8 Cross Reference Explorer. In prior versions. You point your finger to a verse in your open Bible. Now there’s a “Narrow Search” button to let you add qualifications to refine a search without starting over. they have made it easier by placing Bibles into a separate tab on the search dialog. if you’re writing academic papers or have a friend who is. and with books purchased for WORDsearch 7 and Bible Explorer.400 volumes.com . There are many more additions. • Bible-only tab. WORDsearch 8 will save a lot of time and effort. WORDsearch was the first to introduce parallel translations back in 1994 and they are still seeking ways to do it better with more versions per window and searching directly from within the parallel Bible window. Topic Explorer WORDsearch 8 provides some powerful enhancements to the Topical Indexes feature. Integrated Web Access Now you can treat a lot of information found on the Internet the same way you use electronic books on your WORDsearch program. plus the resources available on the Internet. It also shows a list of matching topics and presents the article in a preview window as you browse the matches. Often search progresses in stages. • Search Greek or Hebrew with an on-screen keyboard for Greek or Hebrew characters. and other colleges. Turabian Footnotes If you think a Turabian footnote has something to do with horses or music.

2007. if you are using a Windows XP computer. Once the software is installed that enables this functionality. though most networks are engineered Christian Computing® Magazine Why Virtual Computers? Most of today’s computers have processors that are severely underutilized. and have been growing in popularity since the 1990s! In fact. increasing their value and ROI (Return On Investment) to their organization. stable. Historical Perspective Excess processor capacity was first noticed and exploited in early mainframe computers in the 1960s. Though Microsoft may win in the end. found it problematic. selecting the Windows Task Manager. In fact. they’re virtual. It wasn’t until the 1990s that we saw engineers and programmers doing something similar for PCs. we haven’t looked back. try right-clicking on your task bar (between the Start button and the clock). Engineers and programmers found ways to get more out of those computers’ processors. and Citrix. Opening it will cause utilization to spike. and switched to VMware. That’s when VMware created software allowing one PC to run multiple computers at the same time! Because these computers are not separate hardware computers but are actually running within another— or host— computer. But what exactly is it? And is it safe? And what does it cost? Let’s take a closer look. and powerful.nick at church Nick Nicholaou . and it’s done! The virtual computer runs in a window on your desktop and can be completely configured as though it were a separate computer! Three Vendors Currently there are three software providers for this technology: Microsoft. A recent survey published by Information Week (October 15. many churches and ministries are already saving money and enjoying the benefits of this technology. Does It Require an Advance Computer Science Degree? It’s actually very easy to set up a virtual computer! 16 November 2007 . What’s The Point? Virtual computer technology such as that offered by VMware can save your ministry a lot of money. (Both Microsoft and VMware offer free versions of their server virtualization software. how large of a hard drive and how much RAM it will need. all you do is click on a button to create a new virtual machine. page 40) showed that 77% of business technology professionals’ computers run VMware. In fact. While we often max out our hard drives and RAM.com Virtual Computer? T his sounds futuristic: virtual computers! But they’re a reality. VMware is easy to use.nick@mbsinc. but chances are it’ll quickly settle down in a range that’s less than 10% of processing capacity. the market is dominated by VMware. Consider that most networks today are best engineered with multiple servers to improve the network’s reliability and stability. our processors usually amble along at a small percentage of their capacity. and then clicking on its Performance tab.) In our firm’s lab we began our testing with Microsoft’s solution. VMware. It asks what the operating system will be.

Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 17 .

They are easy to configure and use. and are cost effective ways to get more out of your hardware investment. Fusion allows them to run any Windows-based programs. so many compromise their system to stay within budget.) Virtual computers— especially as servers— make a lot of sense. if needed. VMware’s Fusion can allow them to create a virtual PC on the Mac. that’s how I’m writing this article!) (Though there are a few ways to run Windows-based programs. What About Virtual Workstations? Virtual computer technology can help some desktop functions too! Here are two examples: • When your IT team wants to test a software package that’s been requested by your staff. we sometimes see ministries running multiple services on a server that should be run on separate servers to prevent conflicts. VMware’s Fusion is my favorite. such as your database or accounting system. • If some of your team members use Macs. can be shut down / restarted very quickly without affecting any of the others. they can set up a test system on a virtual computer much faster than they can on a standard computer. But buying those separate servers is expensive. and.with three or more servers. virtual servers allow the possibility of buying significantly fewer computers and configuring them as hosts with many virtual servers running on them! Each virtual server can be configured independently from the others. right on their Mac! Fusion can even be configured to completely unify with the Mac desktop so Windows-based programs run in windows just like any other Mac program! (In fact. 18 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . Rather than buying separate physical servers for each of those needs.

New from AMG Publishers. and Westcott-Hort Greek New Testaments (all with Strong’s Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 19 . and a few others.tech talk Dr. Also new in this latest version is the addition of several more Bible book abbreviations that the program recognizes. William R. I reviewed the wonderful free Bible software program e-Sword (www.docwatson3228@quest. the ESV translation. which is actually a reproduction of A.000th download of eS occurred in July!).esword. the 6. Shepherd’s Historical Atlas (graphics). Byzantine. This is one big reason why eS is such a wonderful value. You pay nothing for the program and even the add-ons that do cost something are still inexpensive. however. Lk. Free stuff includes an update of Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the OT. Robertson’s classic.D.net).8. numbers). I’d like to invest my space this month in updating you on this product. the Hebrew New Testament (translated by Franz Delitzsch). This version has a new “Gospel Harmony” feature (“Bible > Gospel Harmony”).000. Jas.html).e-sword. Of special note.net/word4day. for example. the CIA World Factbook (graphics). There is also additional support for Japanese and Vietnamese modules. (BTW. (Doc) Watson . written and given to the church by Rick Meyers. as well as informing you of several biblical language tools on other platforms for the serious student. The best news is that there are several new add-ons. etc. is A Word for the Day: Key Words from the New Testament (www. J.5. A Harmony of the Gospels. such as: Mt.T.net e-Sword Update & Serious Language Tools B e-Sword Update ack in the September 2006 issue. the Textus Receptus. The latest version of eS is 7. are the many low cost contemporary titles that are now available for eS. Php.

Its last update.99).99). While they have been offering the NKJV. the BIG news (and you read it here first!) the NIV is coming very soon. and the Complete Jewish Bible ($14. the best one-volume commentary I have ever seen (and I’ve seen them all)—and at $20. The same is true of Lloyd J. and very graphic. who has jumped on the eS bandwagon with both feet! Check them out at www.99). Ogilvie’s (ed.00. although it does not contain all the illustrations of the print version). $19. which could also serve as an alternative to more robust Online Help. however.) massive The Preacher’s Commentary.99 is cheaper than any other software platform (and in hardcopy.99 each). which at $79.00).PDF). Also brand new at eStudySource is the very popular Life Application Study Bible Notes ($14. well organized. The Bible Knowledge Commentary OT and NT Set (the classics from the dudes at Dallas) is also a great value ($34. I would dare humbly add a word or two about eS’s documentation. forget about it!). 20 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . An absolutely must-have title (IMHO) is William MacDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary. and Nelson’s New Bible Manners & Customs (only $9. com.99). It’s simply written. I am impressed with this manual.99 each) for a while. And you just can’t get the beloved J. Larry Richard’s The Bible Teacher’s Commentary ($19. a revision is in order.eStudySource. As a former documentation specialist.99).a daily devotional based on Greek word studies made practical for Christian living ($10. it’s way cheaper than hardcopy. the old standby Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words ($14. as well as the Message and the HCSB ($9. there is 105-page tutorial manual (in . It would also be nice if this manual were accessible from the eS “Help” menu. which is nice because you don’t have to buy another Bible. NLT. As mentioned in my original review.99. so if these dear Christian brothers would have time. Vernon McGee’s five-volume Thru the Bible anywhere as cheap as here ($39. written by Barrie Gordon and Johan Struwig of South Africa.99). while the On-line Help is rudimentary. was 6-27-03. Other great values are Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (NT. And then there is eStudySource.

Serious Language Tools As a Bible expositor. for example. words. go directly to www. 5:2. select a “Related Topic. view search results by topic. there are still many other titles out there for the serious student. I have always liked Brown’s better. copy and paste verses. Craig Rairdin’s hands-down fastest Bible program ever. has several classic essentials for language study: Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. which is different from most other platforms but which I found easy to use. thanks to Pradis 6. Here is just a small handful that stand out to me: search the entire library by topic. Vine. and. copy. Not so here. All that in one place! So. Barclay Newman’s A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. 2) is right-click on a word. 8 tops—on a scale of 1-10). net/support. and it has many features that today’s marketplace demands. Having not only the NIDNTT but also the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis. point at “Related Topics” and have instant access to other resources that deal with that word. I was pleasantly surprised at the virtually instantaneous lookup (entering Eph 2.zondervan. They also have one of my favorites. That continues to burden me deeply. My benchmark. Stephen Renn’s (ed. in the “Goto” box in the upper left corner). I have been using the four-volume New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Colin Brown.) for many years. Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. and I say it again. serious students of God’s Word (which all we preachers must be) can truly rejoice that software makes a difficult task easier.html. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. frankly. WORDSearch (http://www. 4:1-4). word. sort of) with these powerhouses. of course. so let us support this effort for God’s glory. as well as: Kenneth Wuest’s works. and encourage a selfless Christian brother. or phrase. in context. Trench’s Synonyms of the New Testament. Finally. Words matter. I would again strongly urge you to support the eS project. Robertson. and most notably.” (For more about Pradis’ features and add-ons..htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan. and Syntax of the Moods and Tenses. link books to scroll simultaneously. Pradis (Fig. right-click on a word in the Bible text to perform such actions as search. create a bookmark or study note. e-Sword is what Bible software ought to be. Acts 20:28. most important to me. that of obeying God’s mandate to dig deep into Scripture so we can adequately “feed the flock of God” (I Pet. To name only one publisher among others.8.) It is that last feature that works so well for me. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 2) is Zondervan’s software platform. While Zondervan has cornered the market (well.0 (Zondervan). a verse lookup in Pradis is just as fast. or whole chapters into other documents.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/Software/Pradis. It also has a similar right-click lookup feature as Pradis. I can now use the NIDNTT like never before. the abridged Kittel (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). http://www. and it is still true. and. verse. for example. Vincent. or in concordance view. because I am moderately geeky (about a 6—okay maybe 7. of course.e-sword. book-chapter-verse. Jn. Many programs in today’s bloat-ware are positively “snailish” (is that a word?). Spiros Zodhiates’ Complete Word Study Dictionary (OT & NT). cf. all I have to do (see Fig. While I also use Kittel’s 10-volume work. an analytical interlinear Greek NT. ed. wordsearchbible. so the words of God matter most. 20:15-17. less than one percent of the people who download eS return to say thanks and contribute financially. Now.) Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. I said it once. Thayer. speed has always been an issue with me. But I have to admit. II Tim. has for years been QuickVerse 4.com). PLEASE go to the support page. Well. And finding an entry in other resources is only a nanosecond slower (more or else). if I may be so bold. Louw & Nida. Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 21 . which in-turn requires serious study of theology and the biblical languages. As I originally mentioned. Its “tabbed” main window enables you to move from one resource to another quickly. one of my favorite platforms.

the new companies entering the market were focused on the new technology and addressed only a small part of the challenges that churches faced at the time. editor-in-chief of CCMag. new software. knowledge of the church. MS-DOS applications were doing a great job of getting the work done in the churches. very few of these CMS companies are still around today. Shortly after came the second surge. Instead of purchasing their first computers.com Church Management System History 101 from ACS Technologies ately. and by the 90s.ACS ideas to impact Hal Campbell . there has been a significant increase in the number of companies offering software and technology solutions for churches. Incidentally. Each company developed software for a specific brand of computer. though. This meant churches had to purchase new hardware. there were no immediate plans for total integration. but the presence of the powerful Microsoft marketing engine pushed us all to the new Windows platform. and commitment to the market. the number of surviving companies was down to fewer than 50. Datapoint. developers could produce CMS solutions that operated on a host of computers. more than 250 companies began developing software for churches. In each of these times of technological changes. The Windows interface promised to be better and much easier to use than MS-DOS. As a result of this standardization in the PC industry and the decreasing cost of purchasing a computer. Thus. It was a crowded market. convert their data to the new system. Steve Hewitt. Several companies started up at that time and focused their efforts on the church market. Both ran Microsoft MS-DOS. IBM. which became the standard for all of the IBM PC clones that were coming into the market. The impact on the church this time was a bit different. or Texas Instruments. the third surge in CMS companies started with the shift from MS-DOS to Microsoft Windows. and were only able to offer the solution on that specific computer. The decision to switch to a new solution was driven more by the new Microsoft Christian Computing® Magazine L 22 November 2007 . By the mid-90s. has been reporting on the church management software (CMS) market for more than 15 years and says the numbers have nearly doubled in the past few years. like DEC. Since all of these machines were built to the same standards and used the same microprocessor and OS. The first time was in the late 70s to early 80s when churches first started using computers. many churches were switching to a totally new product. as it took many more resources and much more time. It reminded me of several other times in the 30-year history of the CMS industry that this has happened before. between 1981 and 1983.hal.campbell@acstechnologies. when the IBM PC and IBM PC XT were introduced. and retrain the entire staff — a very disruptive and expensive venture.

000 churches and faith-based organizations across the country. As each of these new CMS providers enter the market now. When the presenter attempted to demonstrate a new feature of Windows. If you worked with computers during the early to mid-90s. you understand that the Windows operating system was a bit buggy when it first came to market. so their offerings were limited to the new Windows technology. they’d be smart to take this history lesson to avoid the missteps of their predecessors. The next obvious need was the CMS product to make the Windows purchase worthwhile. Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 23 . the applications written on the Windows platform were not as feature rich or dependable. As president and CEO for ACS Technologies. Unfortunately for many churches. In addition. Hal Campbell is the visionary behind nearly 30 years of providing software solutions successfully to more than 22. No matter what issues the church faced at the time. that didn’t prove to be entirely true. many believed that the solution was Windows. The CMS companies at this time were either start-ups or companies treading new water in the church market. We all remember seeing Bill Gates in front of a large audience getting a demonstration of Windows and how it was so much smarter than previous versions.Windows interface and the assumption that any solution on Windows would be better than anything on MS-DOS. It’s exciting to work with the new technologies available to us today. the computer produced an error and the famous “blue screen of death” while the entire world was watching. The lesson we learned from this was that the introduction of a new technology doesn’t necessarily solve all problems. but a stable integration of the technology and the CMS is the key. It needs to be combined with a solution that works well with the technology. and both need to be stable.

Engineers have been working on the software for three years. November 5. that Google acquired in 2005. profits will increase for the manufacturers with little going to the consumer.waltccm@aol. it will work with four major service providers and manufacturers who have agreed to use Google’s programs in their handsets. The purpose will be to offer services and ads to people who are not using a PC (at the moment. Google will not be making the phones. Consumers will have to buy a new phone to get the Google software because the bundle was not made for existing handsets. Google’s software offers a competitive choice for uses of other mobile operating systems made by Microsoft Corp. it is developing a free cell phone software package.” promised Andy Rubin. Palm Inc. it could create new competition with rivals who charge mobile manufacturers to install their operating systems. the first phones equipped with Google’s software are expected to be available during the second half of 2008. dating back to a Silicon Valley startup called Android Inc. More than likely however.. Instead. “This is going to bring the Internet into cell phones in a very cool way. Google hopes.) That means millions of more people will have access to additional layers of information across the world.. will encourage developers to create new applications and other Christian Computing® Magazine Symbian.internet ministry Walt Wilson . Over the long haul Google’s plan will be good for the consumer in a number of ways. However. The announcement ended months of speculation about the company’s cellular development. and several other major phone makers. Because Google’s software will be free. and name in acknowledgment of its heritage. The mobile software still bears the Android 24 November 2007 . Google’s system will be based on computer code that can be openly distributed among programmers. That. nor does it plan to place its logo on the devices. Google said Monday.com Google (Finally) Announces Cell Phone Plan C onfirming its rumored entry into the mobile market. Research In Motion Ltd. which is owned by Nokia Corp. an Android co-founder who is now Google’s director of mobile platforms. There is always the hope that smart phones will be less expensive since manufacturers won’t have to pay for software.

” said Michael Gartenberg. The list of wireless carriers that have agreed to provide service for the Google-powered phone in the United States include Sprint Nextel Corp. a Jupiter Research vice president. Telefonica in Spain and Telecom Italia are among the carriers that have signed on to provide service outside the United States.software improvements that could spawn new uses for smart phones. Samsung Electronics Co. and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile in the United States. They are among a Google-led group of 34 companies that have formed the Open Handset Alliance.. Both Motorola and Samsung already use Microsoft’s Windows Mobile in some of their phones but pay for the privilege. Texas Instruments Inc.5 million. Apple’s iPhone with its revolutionary user interface is also a groundbreaking advance in mobile technology. China Mobile. units and expects big sales over the Christmas holidays. Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 25 . So far.. and Nvidia Corp.. Broadcom Corp. “This is a shot that is going to be heard around the world.. but it’s just the first shot in what is going to be a very protracted battle in the next frontier of the mobile Web. Apple reports that it has already sold 1. Motorola Inc.. On the supplier side key players include major chipmakers like Intel Corp. HTC and LG Electronics Inc. have agreed to use Google’s software in some of their phones. Qualcomm Inc.

While this facilitated document creation in the early months of STEP.. It wouldn’t have to be translated into the native format of your Bible program. We wanted publishers to be able to easily create content in the STEP format. 26 November 2007 .laridian. people were beginning to hear about the Web. Thinking that a dozen years might give me some perspective. In addition to HeavenWord. Laridian.com I n last month’s issue. Needless to say to some of you who have been around for a few years. Some History In 1988 I wrote the program that would become QuickVerse. and then hooked up with Parsons Technology. but it’s good to expand your mind a little bit every once in a while. I sold it from home for a few months. In 1995 I received a call from Jim VanDuzer from Loizeaux Brothers Publishers. WordSearch and Zondervan produced STEP-compatible software. Christian Computing® Magazine This article is probably more technical than most you’ll be reading in Christian Computing. Inc. Just as STEP was being launched. To cut to the chase: After lots of phone calls and meetings. www. but rather your program would read it directly. and explain why I don’t think it will happen again. was poised to take over the world but at the time there were few editing tools for HTML. so we based STEP on Microsoft’s Rich Text Format (RTF). Kevin Purcell told of his dreams of a day when the Bible software publishers would get together and agree on a standard format for their Bibles and reference books so that he wouldn’t have to purchase six copies of his favorite Bible to use on the six different programs he runs on a variety of computers and portable devices. He thought the developer of his favorite Bible software (Scott Musser from HeavenWord) would be interested in supporting a common reference book format if one or more of the major Bible software developers would get on board. the latter licensing QuickVerse to use with their content. Jim said his company would publish their reference titles in that format to get it started.special feature Is It Time For a Second STEP? —Craig Rairdin. Jim was a Bible software user and also a Christian publisher. They hired me as Director of Church Software and we built a product line around QuickVerse that included church management software (Membership Plus). I believe it doomed the standard from a technical perspective even before it was out the door because it was tied to a file format that was at the end of its useful life. President. The goal of STEP was to have a standard binary format for Bible reference books that would be directly supported by all STEP-compliant Bible software. this took me back to 1995 and the development of the Standard Template for Electronic Publishing (STEP). the language of documents on the Web. I thought I’d comment on the process then and now. which was supported by Microsoft Word and a number of other word processors. Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML). sermon illustrations (Bible Illustrator) and a variety of other products for Bible study and use in the church office. the Bible Software Industry Standards Group was formed and work on what would become the STEP standard began. Parsons Technology published two or three versions of QuickVerse that were compatible with STEP from 1995 through 1998.

Every company has their own take on what’s important to preserve about a book being published for their software. we treat 3 John in the KJV as an entirely different book than 3 John in the NRSV. it floundered and eventually faded away. and then implement a table-driven algorithm for converting references between the two versions of 3 John. In short. Consider the fact that in our Bible software. We have competitors. it will either go nowhere or complain that the verse doesn’t exist. This knowledge of the “versification” of each Bible affects the information we store for each verse of each Bible. One program even takes you to the beginning of 3 John when you try to go to verse 15. Bible software companies have surprisingly limited commonality between their data formats. I left Parsons Technology at the end of 1998 and the new management didn’t place the same value on a common data format as I did. who store a bookmark on verse 15 as a bookmark on verse 15. and I think they still apply today. Other differences include the way that reference books are organized. This sounds fine. One program with which we’re familiar has a simple format for dictionaries which consists of an entry word followed by its definition. we’re aware that 3 John 15 in the NRSV is the last half of 3 John 14 in the KJV. in which the verse reference is followed by the commentary for that verse. Lessons Learned There were some important lessons we learned from the experience of trying to define a common data standard for Bible software. They use the same concept for commentaries. but then how do you publish a dictionary as simple as Nave’s Topical Bible where there are multiple words that correspond to one entry? Or a commentary like New Unger’s Bible Handbook where the articles cover more than one verse. Since Parsons had been the driving force behind the standard. A bookmark attached to 3 John 15 in the NRSV should take you to 3 John 14 in the KJV (in our opinion). If you go to the KJV and tell the program to take you to the location of that bookmark. Plans to remake STEP with HTML or XML as its foundation were left unfulfilled. and they are interspersed with articles about various historical and cultural topics for which there are no Bible references? And what do you do with front matter and back matter? Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 27 . and that the KJV has no 3 John 15. Bible software that doesn’t try this hard to reconcile differences in versification between Bibles doesn’t need to differentiate between these two versions of 3 John. however.

Bible software companies have limited vision when it comes to a common data format. I solved that by volunteering Parsons to be the company that did the work and spent the money. when I left and the vision of the new boss didn’t match that of the old one. Without a successful Parsons Technology. We thought the desktop Bible software companies would welcome the opportunity to be able to sync with data from our users. we could potentially synchronize our user-created data with similar data from other Bible software publishers.) I personally don’t believe this vision exists anywhere today. You might say “let’s go with the simplest implementation”. that’s a Pollyanna worldview that will get you nowhere when trying to define a standard. regardless of platform. As we worked through the issues we realized the design we were coming up with was completely independent of what it was synchronizing. However. Any new standard either needs a champion to pick up all the balls dropped by the other participants. I don’t know how obvious it is from the outside. The second and perhaps more interesting conclusion was that it wouldn’t have to be Laridian software on the other end of the pipe. We gave those tools away to all the member companies. Therefore. but we’d be able to sell them to our competitor’s customers. As an extension. Sure. There were two immediate conclusions from this. Bible software companies have limited resources. You think that this sounds like a good idea because users of the less-sophisticated program are going to gain features. it was going to be possible to sync any of our software with any of our other software. This would be a benefit to the user of course. “If everyone would adopt our data format. But the developer of that application looks at your proposal and realizes he’s going to have to spend a lot of time implementing all those new features that he’s been careful not to waste time on in the past. bookmarks. it meant we’d even be able to sync two databases from the same program with each other. In that setting. STEP stumbled. I had a fairly large staff and we were financially comfortable. Management also needs the vision to understand why a common format is important to the industry.. highlights. And that leads to my last lesson. That is. a company might say. Unfortunately there’s more to this than just having the time and money. or even sending people to meetings to discuss the standard is going to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money for travel and lodging. but also to the desktop Bible software companies because 28 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . between our MyBible program for Palm OS and PocketBible for Pocket PC. but for the most part Bible software companies have very small development staffs and most don’t make a whole lot of money. At the time we came up with this idea there were few players in the PDA Bible software market. Nobody was willing to make the investment in developing all the common software and tools necessary to make STEP work. the word “competitor” would no longer be relevant. We would no longer be limited to selling our books only to our own customers. One of my key understandings was that having everyone share a common data format meant that the market for our content (Bibles and reference books) would be at least doubled if not tripled. or it needs two or three successful participants who can share the load. In fact our software for Palm OS was out-selling all the traditional Windows desktop Bible software in Christian bookstores. Case In Point: Synchronizing User-Created Data A number of years ago we began working on technology to allow us to synchronize user-created notes. at least not among those with the means to make it happen. (I later read a book called Co-opetition that made that point and gave a name to what the STEP participants were doing. In those early conversations with Jim. and I don’t get the impression that those who might be capable are interested in taking on such a project. you suggest we go with the more complex implementation so that no features are lost. I was blessed to be in a position where I had the resources to back that vision with action. there would’ve been no STEP. That is. First.” I think every Bible software company shares that vision. we’d be happy to participate because it means no work for us. these companies are out of the picture. This leads to the next point. There may not be more than one or two companies among us who can make the kind of investment in a new standard that we did when I was at Parsons. So. I came to understand the importance to publishers and to Bible software users of a common data format. This was one of the big problems we faced with STEP. Parsons developed the common tools that everyone used to create books and to write their own software that interacted with STEP books. the engine that did the synchronizing didn’t care where the data was coming from nor going to as long as the software that interfaced to the customer data was interacting with the engine in the way it expected. If implementing a standard. These differences of opinion about what is important and what is not cause irreconcilable differences when companies come together to agree on common ground. which sounds like a good compromise unless you’re the company with the more complex implementation and know that your users are going to be deprived of features. etc. Nor could it continue without a strong commitment from Parsons Technology. I could afford to put a couple people on STEP development without the risk of missing our other product delivery dates.

and d) use a particular font. We’d like to try to figure it out. easilyunderstood format that everyone would be able to either translate to or from regardless of how they stored the notes in their program. there really wasn’t a way to make this work. In the meantime notes created in our program would come across to the other program with no style information at all and would look bland and non-functional when rendered in their program. standard. as it would keep the big Bible software companies from competing with us in the PDA space. • Another product has a rich collection of user-defined “styles” that are stored in the program. which were all mutually incompatible: • One product simply launches the user’s word processor. So tagging a value as a “Strong’s number” meant a) link it to the Strong’s dictionary. It supported a number of languages that we simply couldn’t support on the Palm. • The features in the notes from a third program were simply too advanced to duplicate on our PDA platforms. and then stores the file name for the document they create for each verse. we store a user’s notes in HTML and figured that was a nice. b) color the text green. so it has no way to convert it to HTML or convert our HTML to its format (since it technically has no format). c) make the text bold. and that someone who is smart enough will come along with an elegant solution. generic. In the end. The notes themselves contain only references to these styles. we found a variety of solutions to the creation and storage of user notes. They could bundle our software with theirs and not have to develop it on their own. and the correspondence to the internally stored styles would be lost (for example. especially the Palm. We’re hoping it’s the case that we’re just not smart enough. However. because we think it would really be useful.it would allow them to address the growing PDA market without investing much of their own time. then the user would be able to change individual attributes of the style in different notes. For example. We stood to profit from this as well. We approached several of these companies and were met with a positive response in every case. In the process we learned how differently we all see the same problem. If the styles were converted to HTML for storage in our database. the user could make one specific reference to a Strong’s number be in italics instead of bold). but in the end none of the opportunities worked out. Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 29 . The Bible software has no knowledge of the internal format of the document.

As you can see. It’s better to use a proprietary file format that gives you access to the data and indexes you need than to try to be compatible with a less-powerful database format. not on the iPhone itself. the effect is as if there is a common data format (i. They also have the ability to view Bibles and reference books. Our iPhone program iPocketBible was written in-house but runs on a Web server. Every file has to be a database. One five-letter word can be highlighted in five different colors. highlighting is verse-by-verse. Consider these facts: • In MyBible for Palm OS. Entire words must be the same color. Synchronizing user-created data between our products is something you’ve been hearing a lot about lately. Unfortunately. The differences in data format are driven by unique properties of the platforms on which they run. • PocketBible for Pocket PC stores the location of highlights as a word count from the start of a paragraph. It’s even more automated for iPocketBible since it is Web-based and can easily access our customer database. you’re entitled to view that book on any device you have that runs our software as long as you’re the only user of the device. So highlight synchronization is always verse-by-verse. The user interface for character-by-character highlighting would be impossible. • iPocketBible for iPhone stores the location of highlights as book. We’re rolling that feature out to our various platforms even now. your KJV Bible works on every device you own that runs Laridian software) but in reality it’s different data. we take advantage of that database technology. this solution doesn’t work between vendors. 30 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . but you can buy one copy and install it on your desktop and your Pocket PC as long as you’re the sole user of both systems. As far as sharing Bibles and reference books between products we’re able to solve that problem administratively rather than technically. highlighting is character-by-character. Our PocketBible program for Pocket PC was written in-house. We can manage this because our Web site knows everything you’ve purchased from us and can give you access to the various versions of each book you own. Our solution is to support the “least capable” device. The only way it could work is if the publishers would agree to some kind of licensing change that would allow us to accept some kind of certification from another Bible software company that this customer has purchased (and therefore paid the royalties) on a copy of a particular Bible or reference book. • MyBible stores the location of highlights as a character offset from the start of the verse. MyBible for Palm OS was written by an independent developer but we have subsequently taken over coding on the program. but each uses a different data format (with the exception of the desktop and Pocket PC versions. Furthermore. and all of them store them completely differently.Standards: Not Just a Problem between Vendors Laridian is in somewhat of a unique position because we sell Bible study software for a variety of platforms. iPocketBible running on our Web server could read either Palm or Pocket PC data. The Palm OS doesn’t really have a file system. which share a common data format). It can give you access from your Web-enabled phone to the books you’ve purchased from us even if you originally purchased them for another platform by simply looking you up in the database. That is. and that we were permitted to give that person access to that title in our format. highlighting is word-by-word. On the Pocket PC you have to enable “verse highlight mode” to see highlights you synchronize from the desktop or other devices. impractical) to support character-by-character highlighting without massive changes to the program. The entire verse must be one color. Thus. and verse. There are issues even within our own product lines. The databases from Palm OS can be read on a Pocket PC but they’re not very powerful. but it has access to database servers that are immensely larger and faster than what we can do with a Palm or Pocket PC database. To support multiple users accessing the program at the same time.e. It would be impossible (actually. chapter. When you purchase a license to use one of our books. Our desktop Bible software is based on our Pocket PC product but has a completely different user interface. Enhancements are being made to MyBible to support this highlighting mode. • In iPocketBible for iPhone. • In PocketBible for Pocket PC. The user interface to support word-by-word highlighting would be very complex since the iPhone has no text selection capability. supporting a common data format is difficult even within one company with several related products. All of these products have the ability to create personal data like notes and bookmarks. you can’t buy one copy of the NIV and give it to everyone in your household.

To help you understand. We haven’t made anything easier. Most of the licenses we have with publishers are very clear about what we’re allowed to do with the text of their books. there’s a question of whether or not you’re violating the rights that you’ve licensed from the copyright owner. like HTML or XML. Discussions about a common data format should not be entered into lightly. Instead of agreeing on a common binary file format. you could move books from one vendor’s program to another by exporting and importing. but pushed up a level. or with much optimism. I’m glad Kevin brought this up. They often will say that they’re licensing the text only for use in a particular product. So this suggestion would get us out of having to agree on a common binary format but we’d still have to settle on a standard format for the tagged text files that are exported and imported. then we’re facilitating the violation of our agreements with publishers. but also includes information like where each verse starts (for Bibles) or where footnote markers are to be placed.What About a Common Export/Import Format? Kevin had a good suggestion for a compromise: What if all Bible programs could export a book to a tagged text file. This kind of thing has been tried but never successfully. there are issues of copyright. This includes formatting. and also import books in that format? That way. and this is a good forum in which to address them. When you put a feature in your program that allows users to export book from your program and import it into another. like bold and italics. we’re not naïve about the difficulties that we would encounter along the way. A lot of the same issues apply: Any feature of a program that requires special information from the Bible or reference books is going to require certain information in the tagged text file that starts the whole process. we’ve just moved the problem. I think we need to be constantly challenged to re-think the solutions we offer to our users. I’m sure these are questions that many of you have had. Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 31 . If we provide a feature that exports the text for the purpose of importing it into a product for which it isn’t licensed. Second. you need to know that the books we publish in our programs start as text files with special tags inserted to tell us things we need to know about the text. Furthermore few Bible software companies (and few of their customers) are going to be willing to compromise existing features in the interest of having a common data format. this is really the same problem. The issue is that the owner of a copyright has the right to control how his or her work is published. we’re agreeing on a common tagged text file format. Summary I think it would be difficult to come up with a common data format between companies because few (if any) have the money or resources to dedicate to the problem of resolving the differences between competing formats. having been there before. This sounds reasonable but there are two sticking points worth considering. First. This is a touchy issue with copyright owners. On the other hand. regardless of the conclusions we come to. We then process those tagged files and create the binary files that you think of as the Bibles and books that go into your Bible program. While we at Laridian would be willing to talk to other software developers about a common data format.

(What I really didn’t like about it was that you had to load the Zune full of songs before you could tell it which songs to take off so you could put on the ones you really wanted. When the “Palm Pilot” first came out. The Newton had excellent handwriting recognition. When I got the Zune I liked it better than the iPod Photo because the screen was bigger. notes. Do a search online for “apple pda” and you’ll see a lot of rumors and even some mock press releases about an Apple PDA.jimv@laridian. And. Microsoft is now marketing a number of Windows Mobile devices as mobile offices to business people giving them the ability to handle email. If you read my article last month you know that I don’t have (and don’t plan at this point on getting) an iPhone. The iPod Touch comes in either 8 or 16 GB models. After that probably some email/communications capability and some sort of “reader” for books and Bibles. documents and spreadsheets among other things. The embedded software included an address book (Names). some sort of note taking and a clock. The iPod Touch is first and foremost an entertainment Christian Computing® Magazine W 32 November 2007 . it was a glorified electronic day planner. But through all of this. The Palm pretty much blew the doors off of the PDA market. Other people may create a list with different items or different order. just when everyone thought they were dead.com Will Apple Make a PDA? hat are the basics for calling a device a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)? I guess this largely depends on the person and how they plan on using the device…it is “personal” after all. The Message Pad was a very capable handheld computer. “Converged devices” is what they became known as and I was pretty dead set against them if I remember correctly. I had a PC modem card for my Newton that allowed me to send and receive emails and faxes. Those were followed by integrated Palm and Windows Mobile (the latest name of what was originally Windows CE) devices with phone capabilities. but I hated the software. clock and Pocket Quicken. Many cell phones are basic PDAs. a calendar (Dates). I think (in order of importance) a PDA should include your calendar. a calculator. (There was a cool scene in a Steven Segal movie of him sending a fax from his Newton while on a runaway train. I remember back in the mid 90s the looks I would get on the plane when I was typing on my keyboard attached to my Newton. Prior to the iPod Touch I had a Microsoft Zune and before that an iPod Photo.) I recently bought a MessagePad 130 off of eBay for very little (I wanted it for nostalgic purposes). The device itself was fine. they keep track of contacts and some can handle your calendar as well.handheld devices Jim VanDuzer . Pretty quickly (almost) everyone had one. Apple dropped out of the market. In case you’ve been hiding in a cave (in which case you wouldn’t be reading this article) the biggest buzz in handheld devices right now is the iPhone. along came this thing called an iPod that made a little bit of money for Apple. I’ve since been won over by certain devices that handle phone and PDA functions both equally well. Many of you are old enough to remember that it was Apple (not Palm) that started the PDA market in the first place with the Apple Newton. It was screwy. I still really love my HTC VOX.) The iPod Touch has an even larger screen (and uses iTunes which allows better control of your media). contacts. But I did get an iPod Touch (think iPhone without the phone and so slightly thinner). If you remember back then laptops were rather large and the (relatively) small Newton caught a lot of eyes. Then come Palm and Windows CE and the many different iterations of devices that ran one or the other platform.

The other feature that is keeping the iPhone and the iPod Touch from being a full blown PDA is the ability to install third party applications directly unto the device (this is why Laridian went with a Safari based Bible “program”). But even without those I still have a basic PDA. iPocketBible requires a subscription for a minimal fee ($1. remember?) recently launched iPocketBible. I’ll bet you could probably find a web site that would allow you to create and save notes. I can download movies and TV shows to it. The iPod Touch is missing the memo or notes feature (the iPhone does have a notes feature). After that any books you purchase from Laridian are available on your iPocketBible account. They’ve done a really good job recently with their laptop computers. Well actually I’m glad you asked about that. dates and notes. but it has the other basics. I understand the iPhone has these same features as well. This morning I downloaded the upgrade to 1. What I think they’d be better off doing (and as far as I know no one from Apple has asked for my opinion. This allows me to access my email (all of my email accounts have a web client). If you’re not currently a Laridian customer and you have an iPhone or iPod Touch you really should check it out. and alarm) and a calculator. Pretty quickly people started writing other programs that you could install on your Palm. I only expect them to keep making these devices better. Apple has done a good job with the iPod. I think they’d be crazy to do a standalone PDA (but they’ve done crazy things before). I can browse YouTube (yippee! – sorry. Laridian (full disclaimer…I work for Laridian. I have my contacts and my calendar and if I’m in a WiFi area I have my email and a Bible (and the most of the rest of the Internet). but I’ll give it anyway) is to bump up the software “features” already on the iPhone and iPod Touch.99/month or $20/year). The first version of the system was missing the ability to add calendar items (not sure whose mistake that was!). Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 33 . there are several groups who have “hacked” the iPhone and Touch so that you can install third party apps. so I don’t have note taking abilities on my Touch and I can’t install third party apps. but I can’t edit them or create new ones. you can sync your commentary to your Bible and you can read your devotionals…all from your iPhone or iPod Touch. If you are a Laridian customer you now have access to all the books that you own (except for the Ancient Christian Commentary Series due to the publisher’s restriction) on your iPod Touch or your iPhone. There are even rumors that it runs on the Wii!) If you remember the early days of the Palm it was basically a device that allowed you to sync addresses.2 and it now allows me to add items to my calendar. Like the iPod Photo I can sync pictures to the device…only on this screen I can actually see them. It syncs with iTunes.device. Okay. You could add contacts but not calendar items. (iPocketBible also works with Safari or FireFox from your Windows or Mac computer. What else do I really need from my PDA? Oh yeah…a Bible.) So is Apple going to get back in the PDA market? Personally. Because the Touch isn’t a phone I can’t connect from “anywhere” but it does have WiFi capabilities so whenever I’m at Panera or Starbucks or my house I can get online. If you’re into this kind of thing. I would expect this to change in the not too distant future however. if you didn’t get that re-read it with heavy sarcasm implied). stop watch. Along with having my Touch sync with iTunes it connects to Outlook and syncs my calendar and contacts. But what I’m finding interesting about the iPod Touch and the various discussions about whether or not Apple will be releasing a PDA is this: the Touch and the iPhone are already PDAs. too. You can add notes. And when they do they’ll have a really good PDA on their hands… and hopefully in mine.1. Now they’ve done a good job with the iPhone and iPod Touch. set bookmarks and highlight verses in the Bible. And they wouldn’t need to bump them up too much to make a fully functional PDA. In addition to what I’ve already mentioned the iPod Touch has a clock (with a world clock. (I can access my Google docs to view them. timer.

com A Christian Communicator’s Response to Don’t Boycott: Explain & Engage n the extremely rare chance that you have not received one of the many warning emails making the rounds of cyberspace. I found myself wonChristian Computing® Magazine The Golden Compass: O 34 November 2007 . we ought to take time to at least get our facts straight. There is no Creator God or Jesus in the books. or a bandwidth hogging download picture of puppies and angels— we know to immediately delete. Burning witches. his characters memorable. It correctly records that the author of the book series. Rather than boycotting it. staring major stars (Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig). he does not believe God exists.yvonprehn@aol. the movie) is about “killing God” and that the “dumbed down” version presented in the movie is an intentional ploy to lure children to the evil of the books is simply silly. the plot. the Inquisition. a warning about bad guys in parking lots. (a key one is Enoch. Hysterical. his books have nothing to do with “killing God.snopes. abuse of power and people are issues many within the church would agree are evil—no big surprises or shocks here. but to be precise. described in a rather odd angelic history) who are weary of ruling. the enemy as perceived in the books is a religious authority gone very wrong and the Pullman carefully describes the spiritual heads of this religious authority as “not the creator” but his regents. www. the emails warn that the movie is a “dumbed-down” version of a series of books that is about killing God and that Christians should boycott it. A site often linked to the emails. The real enemy in the books is the Magisterium. More than anything. Phillip Pullman is an atheist. is hardly the epitome of literary or religious insight.ministry communication Yvon Prehn . Pullman is a skilled writer. In the books. 7 The Golden Compass movie will be released. Pullman obviously has huge issues with the church. But when an email with high-moral sounding seriousness advises boycotting a movie based on a best-selling children’s fantasy series. incorrect explanations about the books. I think the movie provides a challenging opportunity for Christian communicators to explain and engage—here’s how: Explain the book. the books magical. do little to advance the Christian faith. or as angels with barely super-human powers who can be vanquished by human power.” As Pullman has stated repeatedly. the spiritual powers are transformed humans. and themes honestly We all experience the frustration of endlessly forwarded emails. but from that to assert that the whole plot of the books (and by implication. on Dec. from people who admittedly have never read them. an obvious reference to the church and his descriptions of it are obviously one-sided. Based on the children’s fantasy series by Phillip Pullman. When the email topic is a web-worn chain letter.com . the repression.

These clarifications aside. please go to my website: www. he did not organize an idol boycott.” and he took what was personally repulsive to him and used it as a bridge to share the gospel message. Jesus’ disciple Peter has similar advice for us: 1 Pet. 3:15: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. dæmon. without reading the books. “I see you are a very religious people…. good or malevolent "supernatural beings between mortals and gods. That is Christian communication at its finest—taking the popular media of his day (the pagan idols) and using them as an opportunity to share the Christian message. and related topics. Intelligent. to evaluate honestly them from a biblical perspective and then to communicate clearly and kindly the truth of the Christian message in a way that helps our people and gives them tools to share with their children and friends is a tremendous amount of work.thelionsvoice. I found it was a time to communicate deeply and effectively about historical Christianity. thoughtful engagement as an alternative When the Apostle Paul (Acts 17) arrived in Athens. Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 35 . He walked around and studied them and then when the time came for him to share his message.dering if Pulllman had ever met a kind or caring Christian and chastened as I wondered how I come across to those with whom I disagree. such as inferior divinities and ghosts of dead heroes" (see Plato's Symposium). but that is our core task as Christian communicators. To deeply consider challenging topics presented in the books and upcoming movie. To confuse the two terms. is not moral indignation. For some specific examples of how I’m doing that that you can reproduce and for additional ideas and resources. In addition. afflict. he could stand up and say. which does little to advance the credibility or honesty of the Christian faith. a city filled with pagan idols. When the Da Vinci Code debates were raging a few years back. if we can trust it now. the shifting and confusing definitions of witches and angels. and other topics which well worth exploration and explanations. there are many other things in his books that are non-Christian in subject matter: lying as a useful way of interaction.[1] used purposely today to distinguish the daemons of Ancient Greek religion. how we got our Bible. different from the Judeo-Christian usage demon.com. but is boycotting the answer to dealing with them? I don’t think so. But do this with gentleness and respect. or possess humans. but sloppy thinking and incorrect criticism. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. The following definition from Wikipedia may prove useful here: The words daemon. by those who admit they have not read them) are embarrassing in their ignorance.. The confusion between daemons and demons for example—in the book series the daemons are the animal manifestations of the soul of a human and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Christian definition of an evil spirit. which were obviously repulsive to his monotheistic background. some of the web-criticisms of themes in the book (again. a malignant spirit that can seduce. are Latinized spellings of the Greek δαίμων (daimon).

Should Christians be as aggressive in this realm as they are becoming in film? While doing some research.com).” As you can see HERE this is a clean site that deals with Christian games on all platforms.org Christian Gaming like to play video games. There.higher power with kevin Kevin A. Are Christian’s missing a golden opportunity to reach people in this huge arena. That is the first step to healing isn’t it? The sad truth is that I enjoy some of the games that I know are not healthy. Purcell . So we stopped playing … all of us! Today we focus on sports and driving simulation games. I found a site called Game Praise (www. Founder.holleywoodreporter. I 36 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine .kevin@kevinpurcell. I enjoy a game of Madden 2008 football with the kids from time to time. reviews and discussion about Christian video games. I chose to quit playing first person shooters (FPS – games where you act like a soldier or a cop or a criminal and kill and shoot things as if you were in that setting) because of my kids. My oldest son was playing Star Wars Battlegrounds and after playing for about an hour one afternoon we saw some very aggressive and bordering on violent behavior towards his little brother. I said it out loud. Linder share news. Matt Linder started the site in June 2006 because he “looked around [seeing that] there were many other Christian sites dedicated to games but there was no site that was exclusively dedicated to Christian games. But I don’t have enough time to play games. If it grows at present rate it will only be ahead of gaming by a few billion. or sims for short. One Christian gaming company states on their web site that industry analysts say that the gaming industry will top $46 billion by 2010.6 billion last year (according to The Hollywood Reporter www. The film industry brought in $42.gamepraise. Recently that got me thinking about Christian Video games.net) which is a portal site for Christian gamers.

” I am not and I think. where you will “discover the world before the flood. So it is admirable that Christian companies are offering an alternative. Dance Revolution except with Christian artists. but now there are Christian game companies that really understand games and the culture that surrounds them. the beach.bigideafun.com/media_gallery. thousands of years passed of which we know virtually nothing. this game could be a lot of fun. Linder said.com. He said.” As my previous family anecdote illustrates. I’ve always said that if the gaming industry would get serious about educating kids. They just might be the Electronic Arts of the Christian Gaming industry. is taken through the first part of level one where you kill weeds to collect gems. Once installed you load the game and it enters into a beautiful world.dancepraise. If you have a teenager Linder recommends “… any of the Dance Praise games from Digital Praise. They distribute a large stable of Christian games.” I downloaded the demo from their web site at www. Civilizations may have risen and fallen . Myth and legend also point to an ancient past rich with history. If you enjoy these adventure and role playing games.dancepraise.com ) So what are the best Christian video games? According to Linder. but Christian parents might not be as aware of the impact done to their children. if you are buying for young children then go for any of the Veggie Tales games. He said it is appealing regardless of your age. Your character.” Some people might be a little uncomfortable with the idea of “adding to the scriptures” by creating “… an imaginative fantasy world where the truth of Scripture is our foundation and theme. For some online video of the game as well as kids enjoying the game go to http://www. shoot-em-up games of today do have an effect on kids. “I think that early attempts at Christian games were a complete disaster.” They produce the Veggie Tales games as well as Dance Praise. I asked Matt Linder of Game Praise to name the all stars of the Christian gaming industry and he mentioned Digital Praise. It has garnered some attention from non-believers. Throughout the game there are subtle moral messages relating to the Gospel as the player journeys along. I think you will find this to be a fun game. including the village. The graphics and game play is as good as many of the games found in the gaming industry.” And for young adults. which one should you get? Linder suggests Dance Praise. but only the minds‘ imagination our limit in telling the ancient tale of redemption and faith. He said. “They do a really great job of incorporating the bible into fun and interactive experiences. entertaining and hopefully informative. php?AR=VID&VID=3. Let’s hope Rebel Planet does just that with Orion. (see http://www. As mentioned previously. Besides the biblical message in their games the quality matches those in the secular market.” Check them out at www. I went through three of the areas.com. “…every game they release teaches something about Christianity. Rebel Planet is working on a game to be released in 2008 called Orion. They are not my favorite and I thought it was a little monotonous.” I like this idea. I asked Linder about the current Christian gaming scene.” He went on to say there are possibilities. He thinks they are one of the two best Christian gaming companies. What little knowledge that has come down to us through the early chapters of Genesis reveals a world very different than our own.” He added. “In my opinion I do not think that Christian video games have reached the quality and depth that would entice non-believers to play a Christian game.technologies discovered and lost.” So if you were going to buy a single Christian Video game. Other games in their arsenal are those based on the Hermie children’s books and Adventures In Odyssey radio dramas from Focus on the Family. Do Christians understand the impact that games have on culture today considering that the gaming industry today is comparable to the film industry in dollars? He said. But my boys loved it. they would do more good for children than most of the text book companies today. Every time a story about violence surfaces in the news. he says that The Axys Adventures by Rebel Planet Creations is a good bet. I asked Linder if any of the games he has reviewed would be appealing regardless of being “Christian” games. based on my experience with Axys. The Axys game is a “Zeldastyle game” which combines a role playing game with an adventure game that includes biblical content. The story is about “… Christians whose town is overrun with these evil weeds. and the farm. the gaming industry becomes a target. “Overall. My prejudice was that Christian companies do not get gamers. This may or may not be Christian Computing® Magazine November 2007 37 . For more information look at www. the violent. Give the demo a try.atomicdesignlab. Axys. I think that the Christian gaming industry understands the role video games play in our culture. The problem is that many games are appealing only because they are “Christian” games. It is a huge download at 199 megabytes. From their web site: “Before the Great Flood of Noah.com. Rebel Planet is producing a game for 2008 called Orion.rebelplanetcreations. A second possible breakthrough game is from Atomic Design Laboratory called Tribulation Knights. “These games are in the style of Dance.

the game play included killing people who do not convert to Christianity in a “Spanish inquisition” style of evangelism. was met with some controversy as many saw it as contradictory to the Christian message. From the games own website FAQ the developer says regarding the killing of non-believers. In the game you join the Tribulation force and combat the Antichrist’s forces. But even the Christian gaming industry can be the source of controversy. One way to do that is visit www. I was impressed with the games mentioned above and think this is a good development. Left Behind: Eternal Forces. on my slightly older system. But according to the same FAQ it is limited and only as a last resort. As the holiday season comes remember that Christian games can be a fun form of entertainment or education especially for your children. The company behind the game saw a need in the market for a high quality game that would appeal to the same audience that made films like The Passions of the Christ and the Christian Music industry so successful. You direct the main characters from the books. I will never let them play a T game unless I’ve played it first. This one is 316 MBs and took a long time on my very fast cable Internet connection. Christian games offer a good option for Christmas morning. it is unfair to say the game teaches a “convert or die” mentality. There are also games that are not marketed to Christians that are acceptable to Christians. If you’ve played any of those and enjoy them. Nicolae Carpathia and the Global Community Peacekeepers. be informed about the video game rating system.com. evangelistic game? You could buy a copy for yourself and inside there could be a second copy to give away as a 21st century tract. Be informed. I should have tested it on my newer system. you might enjoy this game. To learn more about these ratings to the ESRB site at http://www. I only wish that Christians would see this as a mission field and an opportunity to reach a segment of the population that are unlikely to set foot in a church. So if your system is not significantly more powerful than the minimum requirements you might have to wait between loads of the levels.jsp. We don’t have the funds the Army does for such things! Or do we? Tithe lately? 38 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . Thankfully. Buck Williams. a game based on the popular Left Behind series of books. It has a beautiful look and slick interface. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I downloaded the full demo available at www. “Their choice is to either join the AntiChrist – which is an imposturous one world government seeking peace for all of mankind.com) why can’t the church.” It is in the defense of themselves that they might be forced to kill. Then you train them to help the Tribulation Force defeat the Antichrist.fair. But be careful because there are still some really bad games that slap the name Christian on them and assume that gullible parents will buy them for their kids just because of the label. however. My kids own mostly E games or E10 games which stands for Everyone or Everyone 10 and Older. eternalforces. The Christian Gaming arena is far ahead of where it was years ago. The game’s release.gamepraise.org/ratings/ratings_guide. In the single player mission you acquire recruiter units used to help convert as many people to Christ as possible. You can learn not only what the ratings stand for but also what kinds of content they look for. Rayford Steele. However.americasarmy. or they may join the Tribulation Force – which seeks to expose the truth and defend themselves against the forces of the AntiChrist. They claimed it taught that we should kill in the name of Christ. And anything over T is off limits in our house.net. They have many ratings that range from EC – Early Childhood to AO – Adults Only. Like the other games above the Eternal Forces demo is a huge download.esrb. but the computer I was using will likely be like that of many of our readers. While the critique that the game is violent is true to a limited extent. and Bruce Barnes. the game is derivative of real time strategy games like Age of Empires. There are a few T games that I let my kids play but only if I’ve seen them first. For my own opinion. high quality. The Entertainment Software Rating Board is the rating group for video games. Wouldn’t it be great if a Christian company made a fun. the levels took forever to load. In the game unnecessary killing result in negative consequences. And be looking for next month’s article where I will give you my annual tech buying tips. If you are looking for good games for your kids. The people at Left Behind Games did not respond to a request for comment. You can usually be safe with these games. Chloe Steele. was released. Recently. According to these critics. If the Army can recruit people using a video game (see http://www.

what I remind myself from time to time is that His blessing of Salvation by Grace is far more important than all the luxuries in this world. I think it glorifies the Lord because we are helping the Church and should be focusing on Him when we work. Needless to say there is a lot of good information out there if you cipher through the not so good stuff. post your own video for others to watch and get involved in a particular group and chat.godtube.scott howard’s hotPics Scott Howard . I like to enjoy all the possessions and experiences that He provides us and I will continue to do so. One way to worship God is by sharing the awesome news of Jesus Christ with unbelievers and hopefully seeing them get saved. it is basically a Christian version of Youtube.com has become an awesome tool for people to learn and be uplifted by other Christians in a Web 2. But there is a primary reason why we are on the planet and that is to be used by God to fulfill his purpose. but. God wants to be praised and worshiped and He deserves all of it. They also include a Spanish section. Maybe you could take November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine the time to send one of these sites a thank you for what they do for our community. places. On the other hand.com Blog Sites and More hanksgiving is already here and we have so much to be thankful for.com is a very interesting site which includes a blog as well. This is why I love to interact with unbelievers because I want them to see what a wonderful life we can have as a follower of Jesus Christ. The gist of the site is that they sell a different bargain priced electronic gadget everyday. www. I think that we can minister to others because you can learn a lot of technical stuff from this magazine to apply in your church. I really feel like the readers and writers of Christian Computing Magazine have an awesome opportunity to use the magazine to show people one way that we choose to minister to others and glorify the Lord. You can watch numerous different categories of videos.scottdhoward@gmail. www. organization. The fact that the good information out there may be Christian related or it may not be is awesome because it gives us opportunities to interact with unbelievers and share with them who we are and what we believe.0 kind of way. I am sharing this with you all because I am going to be focusing primarily on this at a retreat to which we will soon be going.woot. I hope that we will all take the time to thank God for our Salvation and to share the love of God with EVERYONE. and things with which God has blessed me. You never know T 39 . Don’t get me wrong. If you have not heard about this yet. or home and it is just enjoyable for some of us to sit down and read. This Thanksgiving I want to choose to praise God for my Salvation through Him as much as possible because I believe that the joy from that far exceeds any temporary happiness. I could go on and on with all the people.

and they have a company index which you can use to research a particular company that you are interested in.smashingmagazine. Gotta love the free swag. This product is an office suite that has become a competitor of Microsoft Office®. And that really is about it.org is the site for a product that I have become very passionate about over the course of the last two years. have other works in this same industry that you can check out in the “About Us” page. This product can be extremely beneficial to many people who want a new and updated office suite that is free.openoffice.how many of that gadget they may have in stock and once the day is up you will not get a chance at that specific gadget ever again.com is a fantastic blog that covers internet sites and products. they have their own toolbar which you may want to download. Techcrunch has a job board section which is called “Cool Jobs”. Oh. I prefer Techcrunch over some of the other information sites because of their quality of posts. If you are interested and would like to get some resources from me comparing some of the features with other suites. Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman.com is a great blog for you web designers out there.techcrunch. The site is very easy on the eyes and has loads of information. Excel. If you go to the blog you can see the products that have been sold in the past but you will notice that they don’t post the prices on the blog. shoot me an email and I will definitely help you in any way that I can.ccmag2. able to open up files that are in Microsoft format as well as able to save files in other formats like Microsoft Word. Techcrunch has been around since 2005 and has been getting a lot of media attention for its large amount of traffic. www. Anyone can download the latest version of the suite from the site fairly quick if Read CCMag’s Review of our LogosGiving Service!Visit they have a high-speed connecwww. Access. www. It seems like I have been following Woot for a couple years now and you just never know what kind of cool gadgets you can get for a real bargain. The two guys that run this blog. And if you live in the Dallas area and your looking for a job you may want to check out their “Work for Woot” page. and it looks like they have been known to give away free swag from time to time for contests. www. 40 November 2007 Christian Computing® Magazine . and Powerpoint.com/logos/0205coverstory. It is a very simple concept but they have been very successful at the idea. Woot does have a nice fan club as you will notice if you check out their community.pdf tion and all of a sudden they have an office productivity suite that is very comparable to the other latest suites that are on the market that may not fit your budget. They cover everything from CSS and graphics to fonts and browsers. open-source.

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