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Applying Tomorrow’s Technology to Today’s Ministry Volume 18 December 2006 No 12 COVER STORY -

Applying Tomorrow’s Technology to Today’s Ministry

Applying Tomorrow’s Technology to Today’s Ministry Volume 18 December 2006 No 12 COVER STORY - Page

Volume 18

December 2006

No 12

COVER STORY - Page 9

Ministry Volume 18 December 2006 No 12 COVER STORY - Page 9 by Erin Kealy SPECIAL

by Erin Kealy

SPECIAL FEATURE, REVIEW - Page 16

Laridian’s PocketBible 3

 

by Ed Hansberry

EDITORIAL We need Your Help - Take Our Survey

Page 3 by Steve Hewitt

PRESS RELEASES

Page 4

FINDING GOD IN TODAY’S TECHNOLOGY Do You Spam God?

Page 8 by Steve Hewitt

CCMAG NEWSBRIEF

Page 12

NICK AT CHURCH Pastorial Use of Email, IM andText Messages

TECH TALK Tweaking the Windows XP Registry Part 7

Page 18 by Nick Nicholaou

Page 20 by Dr. J.D. “Doc” Watson

MINISTRY COMMUNICATIONS Designated giving,a biblical way to fund technology

Page 22 by Yvon Prehn

INFORMATION SECURITY BOTNETS, the new Scourg

HIGHER POWER WITH KEVIN Mobile Computing

HAND HELD DEVICES Electronic Books - Still Not Quite There

Page 26 by G. Will Milor

Page 29 by Kevin Purcell

Page 33 by Jim Vanduzer

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, G Will Milor, Jim Vanduzer Kevin A. Purcell, Ross Gile

Copy Editor

Gene Pearson

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Phone: (816) 331-8142

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Editorial

Steve Hewitt - steve@ccmag.com

We Need Your Help - Take Our Survey

- steve@ccmag.com We Need Your Help - Take Our Survey A s you know, two years

A s you know, two years ago Christian Computing Magazine ceased to print and mail our magazine after 16 years! January 2005 we went completely

digital. The good news for our readers is that we were able to do away with the cost of subscriptions and offer our magazine for free! January 2005 we had 10,000 readers, December 2006 we now have 50,000. How do we pay our bills? Our advertisers/sponsors provide the funds to keep this ministry going. I hope you appreciate these companies that have not only sought to provide the church and Christians fantastic computer programs and services, but also advertise in CCMag, enabling us the ability to pro- vide it to you for free.

enabling us the ability to pro- vide it to you for free. However, they would love

However, they would love to know who reads CCMag. While we know how many persons we send the magazine out to each month, what is the age of our average readership? How many of you serve as a pas- tor or staff member of a church or ministry? How many of you have pur- chased a service or product from one of our sponsors in the last year? These are the kind of questions we would like to ask you, in order to give our advertisers (and future advertisers) an idea about who they can reach when the advertise in our magazine. Please take just a few moments to fill out our survey. Almost all of the questions are simple multiple choice and take a quick click, and we kept the number of questions to just over a dozen. You will notice that we will be asking our readers to take the time to fill out our survey throughout the months ahead. It is very important that we gather this information. In addition, you will be give the opportunity to shape the future direc- tion of our magazine by letting us know what subjects you wish to see in the future.

and you will be taken to our survey page. Let me thank you in advance for taking the time to help us out!

Together We Serve Him,

for taking the time to help us out! Together We Serve Him, Steve Hewitt Editor-in-Chief Christian

Steve Hewitt

Editor-in-Chief

Press Releases

P ress Releases

New Christian PC Game - DELIVERANCE - Moses In The Pharaoh’s Courts

Winner of five Telly Awards in 2005,West Creek Studios announces the release of The Deliverance Game. Deliver- ance was conceived and designed as a principle-centered alternative to the current genre of computer games that in- clude extreme violence and sexual innuendo. Each game level features animation and text taken directly from the book of Exodus. Although there is a considerable amount of arcade-style confrontation, there is no blood and no gore. Upon be- ing defeated, characters simply dissolve and the player moves forward to the next challenge. This exciting Action-Adventure Game will challenge players again and again as they seek to improve their score and explore the full range of game playing options. Players seek to free God’s people from slavery and Pha-raoh, solve the puzzle of the tombs, recover the bones of Joseph from the pyramids, and unleash the ten plagues upon the land of Egypt. Although it offers a game playing experience that requires quick reflexes, problem solving skills, and an adventurous spirit, it can be played by players of all skill levels because there is no wrong way to play. The game’s unique one- handed “smart mouse” control puts all of the action at the player’s fin- gertips—the game can be played using only the mouse! “Gamers will understand that it was God who delivered His people through the Red Sea on dry ground – the same God who watches, cares and provides for them today.”— Don Triezenberg, President. For more information, or to purchase online visit www.thedeliverancegame.com. Take advantage of a special 10% discount if ordered by December 15, 2006 by using promotion code CCM1225.

by December 15 , 2006 by using promotion code CCM1225. Church Windows Software Now Includes a

Church Windows Software Now Includes a Scheduler Module

Several thousand of the nearly 10,000 current Church Windows software users are already enjoying the benefits of the new Scheduler module for assis- tance in managing their church calendars. One of the biggest headaches of the church office is making sure church events, meetings, services, rehearsals, and outside events go off without a scheduling hitch. This new module makes it easy! Church Windows, produced by Computer Helper in Columbus, Ohio, already included modules for tracking member- ship, attendance, visitation, contribution, financial, and payroll information. Current users of this software who received the new module have been very pleased with the addition of this powerful new tool. One of the benefits of using the Scheduler module is that it interfaces with the Membership module of Church Win- dows, allowing people already in your database to be selected as contact persons or persons with duties for an event on your calendar. Scheduler makes it easy to track events, building locations, rooms, equipment, services, leaders, partici- pants, and organizers. Scheduler can schedule recurring events such as rehearsals or meetings, and it also has a feature that automatically flags conflicts. These conflicts could be dates, equipment, locations, people, and more. Using color-coding, you can see immediately what the conflict is and either accept it or fix it. Arrange the calendar by categories – have a music calendar, a committee calendar, a staff calendar, a service cal-

endar, etc. Easily produce a calendar by category or include combined catego- ries.

You can print reports for people’s tasks, room assignments, etc. Church staff members can print daily, weekly, or monthly reports to email or post in the church lobby showing the events and as- signments of the day. Export the calen- dar for printing in the newsletter or post- ing on the church’s website. For additional information about Church Windows and the new Sched- uler module, visit the website at www.churchwindows.com or call 800.533.5227 to receive a free CD which contains a demo and full working trial copy of the program. About Computer Helper – Com- puter Helper, begun in 1986, is a com- pany dedicated solely to the design, de- velopment, and support of Church Win- dows software. Nearly 10,000 churches nationwide currently enjoy the many benefits of the program. Training is available in many forms. Information is available at www.churchwindows.com.

Industry Veteran Marianne Gelski Joins WORDsearch

WORDsearch has announced that Marianne Gelski, longtime key account executive at Findex.com, formerly Par- sons Technology, has joined the firm as V.P. of Retail Channels. Ms. Gelski will be responsible for distributing WORDsearch products through all CBA and internet reseller channels world- wide. “We’re blessed to be able to attract talent like Marianne Gelski. She has probably placed more units of Bible-re- lated software through Christian resellers over the years than anyone in our industry,” said Randy Beck, Presi- dent of WORDsearch. “Her years of experience will strengthen our ability to serve those who preach and teach to change lives.” “WORDsearch has the market’s

preach and teach to change lives.” “WORDsearch has the market’s Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 5

strongest combination of excellent programs and a large library of elec- tronic books selected for the pastor and teacher,” said Ms. Gelski. “I’m looking forward to expanding their presence in retail channels and help- ing to introduce new ways to serve our customers.” Ms. Gelski joined Parsons Tech- nology Church Division as one of its first employees in 1989 and grew with the company as it became the largest producer of Christian software prod- ucts. Parsons Technology and WORDsearch co-founded the STEP Consortium in 1995 and created an in- dustry standard format for Christian electronic books, used by QuickVerse and WORDsearch programs. Today WORDsearch is offering QuickVerse users who are less than satisfied with recent developments the opportunity to upgrade their programs and STEP electronic books. Users can down- load a free copy of Bible Explorer at www.bible-explorer.com that will scan their computer for STEP books and replace many at no cost and oth- ers for a nominal fee. Additionally, users can download a free robust STEP reader to access any books which are not replaced. WORDsearch has been produc- ing software and electronic books for the Christian market since 1987. Be- ginning in 1989, it operated as NavPress Software where it began its focus on serving the practical needs of everyday pastors and small group Bible teachers. It was the first elec- tronic publisher to introduce the process of unlocking electronic books from CD-ROM in 1995, and was a charter member, along with Parsons Technol- ogy, of the STEP consortium. In July 2002, the company was renamed for its flagship program product, WORDsearch. In June 2003, the WORDsearch merged with Epiphany, makers of Bible Explorer, and in April 2004, signed a long-term agreement to be the exclusive supplier of Bible software to LifeWay, the publishing ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. Products of the company include WORDsearch 7, a powerful professional tool for pastors, Bible Explorer 4, the easiest Bible Software available, LESSONmaker 8, a tool for small group Bible study leaders, InstaVerse, a tool that pops up Bible text when you point to a verse reference, and word- searchmedia.com, an online library of video clips for sermons and teaching.

an online library of video clips for sermons and teaching. 6 December 2006 Christian Computing® Magazine
an online library of video clips for sermons and teaching. 6 December 2006 Christian Computing® Magazine

Shelby Systems Releases Contact Management Module

Shelby Systems has announced the release of a new module, Con- tact Management. As part of the Shelby suite of software solutions, this product helps churches and other faith-based organizations focus

and streamline interactions with their congregations. The innovative de- sign incorporates a key component for successful ministry – account- ability. Organizations often struggle to improve follow-up communication with members and visitors. The goal is to keep people from slipping through the cracks. Shelby’s new Contact Management module allows users to easily assign and manage tasks, effectively ensure staff and volunteer accountability, and effi- ciently track the progress of as- signed tasks. Task assignments are routed quickly via e-mail. From hos- pital visitation by pastoral staff to youth group projects, Shelby’s dash- board link keeps management pro- cesses one click away. Staff members and volunteers now have a clear understanding of what is needed to complete particu- lar processes. At each step, individu- als are assigned to move the task to the next person. Such built-in ac- countability assures that people not only are being served, but that they are also receiving personalized at- tention based on the particular minis- try needed. With Shelby Contact Manage- ment, organizing tasks and improving follow up communication just got easier. Make contact with Shelby Contact Management. For more in- formation visit www.shelbyinc.com/contact or call Shelby Systems at

800.877.0222.

www.shelbyinc.com/contact o r call Shelby Systems at 800.877.0222. Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 7
www.shelbyinc.com/contact o r call Shelby Systems at 800.877.0222. Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 7
www.shelbyinc.com/contact o r call Shelby Systems at 800.877.0222. Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 7

finding god in today’s technology

Steve Hewitt - steve@ccmag.com

Do You Spam God?

Matt 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. most of these are spam. A

most of these are spam.

A ccording to the Can Spam Act that our congress passed in 2004, if you send an email to someone and lie about who it is that sent the email, or lie

about the subject or real intent of the email, or do not pro- vide a real way to unsubscribe from future emails, then you have sent a spam. Emails have become one of the most popular methods to communicate with other people. Ac- cording to a report released during the first half of 2006, as many as 60 billion emails are being sent each day. However,

many as 60 billion emails are being sent each day. However, I wonder how many prayers

I wonder how many prayers God receives in a day. I hope it is more

than 60 billion. I also wonder how many of them are spam. I have to be honest, I believe I have spammed God before. I know I have been asked to pray publicly many times, and while I might have impressed those that were listening around me, I am sure God was wondering who

I thought I was fooling because it was not the “real me” that was ad-

dressing Him. I also know that even in my private prayer time, I have been convicted about being a bit dishonest about the real subject matter that had brought me to my knees. There have been times that I sought to fool myself as well as God, when I prayed that God would forgive my enemies for their trespasses upon me. Soon into my “spamming” of the Lord, God would begin to convict me that it was really me that needed to be forgiven because of my transgressions against Him, as well as others that I had failed.

There have also been times when the pressures and problems of life began to wear me down. I have found myself stealing away to pray to

God, only to try to “spam” Him as my prayer tried to convince Him that

I was brave and faithful and knew He would see me through the prob-

lems. Normally, if I would stay in an attitude of prayer, it wouldn’t take

the Lord long to break through the false image I was trying to convey

and I would find myself crying out to the Lord, afraid, aware of my weaknesses and overwhelmed by my failures. However, I have discovered that when you stop trying to “spam” God, and instead allow yourself to be human, weak and afraid, he is there for you, ready to lift you up, sustain, and see you through the troubles ahead. I don’t know about you, but I hate spam. It is an insult to me that people think I would believe the lies that are in many of these fu- tile marketing promotions. I wonder how many spams God receives each day. The next time you get ready to pray, be honest with God about who you really are, and what it is you really need of Him. He honors those that are truthful when they pray, and he knows our hearts anyway. When we try to spam God we are only fooling ourselves.

hearts anyway. When we try to spam God we are only fooling ourselves. 8 December 2006
by Erin Kealy I t seems like everyone is doing small groups these days. Whether

by Erin Kealy

I t seems like everyone is doing small groups these days. Whether it’s free mar

ket, principle of 12, or a Sunday school program, growing churches see the

need for small groups. The question becomes - what makes a church’s small

group system successful? Many churches have discovered that it boils down

to excellence in tracking your groups and members. How do you do that?

in tracking your groups and members. How do you do that? Over 1000 churches think they’ve

Over 1000 churches think they’ve found the answer

“Excellerate has been helping small group churches around the world operate more efficiently for over nine years,” says Pete Sciacchetano, Leader Developer of Excellerate. So what exactly is Excellerate? It is a complete church management solution designed specifically for churches with small groups. Excellerate tracks ev- erything from member information, visitors and follow-up, classes, teams, to contributions, plus it has advanced tools to help churches’ small groups succeed.

Many small group structures – One customizable program

“We’ve seen all kinds of small group struc- tures - everything from Sunday school classes, free market groups to more structured models like 5 x 5 and principle of 12. We’ve seen com- binations of different structures and totally origi- nal concepts,” Sciacchetano says. “That’s why Excellerate must be customizable to support all the different implementations of small groups. We want to support the vision God has given to each church. Churches no longer have to con- form to rigid church management software.”

From two systems to one

Many churches track their small groups in a spreadsheet or da-

tabase apart from their main membership system, and inevitably ex- perience frustration as they try to

keep two systems up-to-date. Churches also face challenges when generating reports that need data from separate sources. Having everything in one system allows

church leaders to save time, no longer updating information in two places. With Excellerate, reports such as “Small Group Members Who Have Completed Leadership Class,” can easily be generated, since class and small group infor- mation are in the same system. Church leaders have seen the value of small groups as an effec- tive tool to connect with and minister to people, but they are often unable to effectively keep up with the health and progress of their small groups. Knowing who is in each group is not enough. Measur- ing success in all aspects of your church’s vision increases your ef- fectiveness at reaching people.

“Church leaders have seen the value of small groups as an effective tool to connect with and minister to people, but they are often unable to effectively keep up with the health and progress of their small groups.”

This philosophy extends to all areas of the sys- tem, not just small groups. Users can create new reports, add their own fields to the data- base, and customize online group reporting and visitor follow-up. “Our technical support team understands this, and is available to customize reports, screens, or online forms for our custom- ers as part of their technical support plan, so they can have what they need to fulfill their vi- sion,” adds Jude Horn, Lead Support Analyst for Excellerate.

Top 6 things every small group church should track From Joel Comiskey, (www.cellchurchsolutions.com), an internationally recognized small group church consultant

1. Small group attendance

2. Visitors to the groups

3. Visitation - did the leader visit group members and group newcomers?

4. Group multiplication goal date

5. Each group members’ progress in the training track.

6. Prayer requests

More tracking in less time – Internet Integration

Tracking all of this information would normally be an administrative nightmare, but with Excellerate’s Internet inte- gration, small group leaders can access their groups online and enter their weekly meeting reports, eliminating paper forms and wasted time manually entering information. Excellerate easily integrates with church websites providing new pages for visitor follow-up tracking, small group reporting, and member information updating. Leaders can also review various reports online, which allows them to easily monitor their success. Internet integration gives you the best of both worlds – a fast, in-house church management system that’s not dependant on the status of your internet connection, plus web-based access that empowers your leaders with the information they need, as well as the ability to submit informa- tion that helps ensure successful groups.

Mercy Church – Getting down to business

Jason Weatherred from Mercy Church in California explains how accurate tracking opened their eyes - “The goal for us, as a church, is to be able to measure our progress as we work toward the goals that God has given us. Just as any successful business must consistently analyze and consider the state of its operations, we are determined to look at the true condition of our church. Excellerate has enabled us to look at the reality of our successes and our failures. For instance, using Excellerate’s web integration and cell leader reports, we saw that we were really struggling to win people to Jesus, especially men. Our church was growing, but we were under a bit of a false impression that many of these new people were new believers. Now we can see plainly whether or not our growth is coming from new believ- ers, or only from Christians moving into town or coming from other churches. We started praying for a breakthrough in this area.” “The other benefit is that we can celebrate when we see a breakthrough! It used to be very hard to know what was happening in all of the cell groups. Are they growing? How many people are in our cells? Do they have first time visi- tors? Are the cells winning people to Christ?”

More time with people not paper – The goal

Les Lamb, Associate Pastor of Oshawa Community Church in Canada sums it up this way – “What a difference Excellerate has made in our church! I have more time to be with people, because I spend so much less time manually entering attendance for our training track (with a barcode scanner) and our cell groups (importing online reports) each week. Visitor follow-up is a snap, and we know exactly what’s going on in our cells. It’s great to have one program for everything from finances to counseling to contact info to attendance, so that our staff can access the information they need to fulfill our mission to advance the Kingdom!”

Case Study from New Zealand

Robert Cooper was responsible for purchase and installation of Excellerate at Christian Life Centre Auckland, New Zealand. He has since moved to another role within that organization. He shares here his personal experience in work- ing with Excellerate. “I don’t know how it happened for you, but I was employed as “New People’s Pastor” and ended up looking after our database. I’m no expert, not even what you’d describe as a computer whiz, but I was asked to take it on because I showed some aptitude for being able to extract information that was useful! The database we had been using was not very user friendly, so I started looking at alternatives. We got on to Excellerate through an unexpected reference from another local church. I downloaded the demo version and started

playing around with it – making extensive use of the Help menu. Within days I was able to find my way around and ex- tracting more information than I could with our previous system. This led to further discussions (this time introducing some technical experts) and before long we were installing Excellerate as our new database. Introducing Excellerate to our staff (around 50 of them at the time) was incredibly easy. I was able to do the train- ing from a user’s perspective, unlike our previous database that required us to employ a technician who had to be trained in the USA. It would be true to say that 90% of what we wanted from a database was achievable by all staff from day one. Realistically, most users’ requirements are pretty straightforward – “Give me Joe Public’s phone num- ber,” “I want to email all my team members,” “How many 18 – 25 year olds do we have?”, “Who hasn’t been to our Friends of the Vision Course?”; or “How many people are in a small group?” We could do all of that immediately. Then we received a request to speed up the registration process for our kids’ programs. With Excellerate’s barcode system, we could achieve this, even in our extension services that did not have direct access to our database. Next we received a request from our volunteer pastoral care team. They wanted to enter records of their visits/ counseling appointments from home – via a web interface. This was not a standard part of the Excellerate package, but for a reasonable fee, the Excellerate team was able to open up this possibility for us, using individualized password ac- cess to only those records they had been assigned to. We now have over 10,000 active records in our database and our goal is to ensure that each of those people is “known” (not just a number). We have 9 services and 4 locations operating every weekend, and do not keep individual attendance records at these services. We strongly en- courage all our people to belong to a small group, but we still have a significant number who do not. This is requiring us to make full use of the Visits/Counsel features of that database, in conjunction with the small group reporting. This enables us to find out who has not been contacted recently – and to do something about it.” Excellerate offers solutions for churches of all sizes. For more information see their website at www.excellerate.com

Erin Kealy is the Office Adminis- trator at The Life Church of Memphis, and can be contacted at ekealy@thelifechurch.com

of Memphis, and can be contacted at ekealy@thelifechurch.com Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 11
of Memphis, and can be contacted at ekealy@thelifechurch.com Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 11
NOW you can listen to the CCMa g NewsBrie f s directly from the CCMag

NOW you can listen to the CCMag NewsBriefs directly from the CCMag Website (www.ccmag.com)

Posters on Blog Sites Get Immunity from Defamatory Comments

Who is responsible for false, defamatory, insulting comments posted on a Website? In the past, those hurt by such comments have sought to not only hold the person making the comments responsible, but the site owner, and even the server. The California Supreme Court has ruled that blog sites’ owners, and the servers that provide them, are not re- sponsible for defamatory comments. It raises some interesting questions. Two doctors that were part of the suit feel the

ruling is unfair. If an unjust statement is printed in a real newspaper, you can take them to court for damages. But if the same statement is allowed on a blog site, it is legal. It appears that even if a statement on a blog site is picked up and published on other sites, there is still no recourse for the damaged. For more information, visit http://

Universal Music Sues MySpace For Copyright Infringement

In a related story, Universal Music, the world’s largest recording company has launched a lawsuit against MySpace because MySpace allows their users the ability to play music, and of course, many users stream their favorite song or songs from their site. MySpace makes it clear in their user agreement that their sites are designed to allow their users the ability to share their original materials (text, photos, videos and music) and discourages users from uses copyrighted materials. With millions using their site to set up their personal blogs, can a server site such as MySpace be accountable for all of their users? If so, how does this compare with the courts decision that blog sites are not responsible for malice when it comes to untrue statements that are designed to attack and hurt others? For more information, visit http://

Does Baseball Have Too Much Lull Between The Excitement? Software to the Rescue

If you like baseball, but feel that the small segments of excitement are surrounded by slow boredom, a new program can help. The software can analyze the game for you and remove the slow spots (and commercials.) You can rate the items you wish to see, such as a strikeout and have the program remove foul balls. However, there is a catch, the soft- ware only works on games that have been recorded on a Windows based PC with a TV tuner card. However, most multimedia computers sold today would fit the bill. The software takes about 10 minutes to work on the file and will present you with a shorter, more exciting, highlighted version of the game. The cost is around $50. For more information, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/16/technology/16cyber.html?ref=technology

Online Banking? Old School! Cell Phone Banking is Coming in 2007

Cingular is working with several banking organizations to prepare to offer a new service next year, banking via your cell phone. The wireless banking application it is testing would let customers of participating banks view account bal- ances, transfer funds and pay bills on their cell phones. It is one more attempt to expand the use of cell phone beyond voice communications. My personal reaction is that this means one more password I will have to remember. In addition, I wonder how many more car wrecks we will see down the road due to people distracted by trying to read their account information on those little cell phone screens while trying to type in numbers. For more information, visit http://

Video iPod May Soon Link With Airplanes

Apple has revealed that they are communicating with several airlines, including Delta, United and Continental, to work out a plan for iPods to have a direct connection to the planes entertainment system. This means that the units could plug into the power system, allowing continual use on long flights. There is also talk of the video iPod being able to

Read the Review of our LogosGiving Service (Cover Story in CCMag, February 2004)! CLICK HERE
Read the Review of our LogosGiving Service
(Cover Story in CCMag, February 2004)!
CLICK HERE (for our PDF readers) or visit
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Christian Computing® Magazine
December 2006
13

transmit its signal from the tiny screen on the iPod to a screen on the seatback, allowing passengers to view their videos in comfort. From what I am reading, it appears that United is moving the fastest, and hopes to have connections and video screens avail- able on their long international flights for first class and business class cus- tomers. For more information, visit http://www.sciam.com/

Zune! Microsoft’s Answer to the iPod

What is Zune? It is a digital music and video player, priced at $250, with a slightly larger screen than that of many competitors, an FM radio tuner and a

30-gigabyte hard drive that can store thousands of songs and pictures and hours of video. It comes in three colors and, except for being produced by Microsoft would be like any other MP3 player that is seeking to compete with the iPod EXCEPT for one cool fea- ture. The Zune has the ability to seek out other Zunes in the area and ex- change songs and videos with each other wirelessly! What about copy- righted materials? Whenever you share a song with someone they can only play it three times and it disappears. Pictures can be shared and they will not self-destruct. MS is also releasing Zune software to run on your computer to help maintain your database of songs and videos. You must name your Zune which uses WiFi to detect and connect with others within range. You will see the names of other Zunes in the area and can offer up a song, video or pic- ture. People can accept or reject the offers, and can block people if they de- sire. Will Microsoft be able to break into iPods domain? I didn’t think the Xbox could break into Sony’s Playstation market, but they did! For more information, visit http://

nology/13zune.html?pagewanted= 2&_r=1&ref=technology 14 December 2006 Christian Computing® Magazine

Voice Analysis Service from Nemesis, Some New And Possibly Scary Applications

An Israeli company, Nemesis, has developed software to analysis voice transmissions, detecting when a person is lying. It was created for security and military interest, and the Moscow airport uses it when they do a pre-flight inter- view for boarding passengers. The software is being used in Australia for a “love connection” type of television program, and now, a version to analyze indi- vidual phone conversations with users given a report after the conversation to determine not only if you were lying, but if you were feigning interest or really paying attention. One example of using such technology for testing for love or lying can be found at www.love-detector.com

Need To Share Large Files, Pando To The Rescue

You just got your pictures back from your vacation and you would like to share them with your family across the nation. However your e-mail service has a limit on the size of the attachments that they will allow (or the person you wish to send the pictures to has a limit). There are several online services that allow you to exchange files for free. You upload them to a site and send the download link to your family. A new player on the field, Pando, has just offered the largest file size available. They will allow you to send files as large as 1 gigabyte, 10 times larger than YouSendIt.com, one of the leaders in such services. The ser- vice is free. Your file will be available for 14 days before it will be removed from their server. For more information, visit www.Pando.com

from their server. For more information, vi sit www.Pando.com Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 15
from their server. For more information, vi sit www.Pando.com Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 15
from their server. For more information, vi sit www.Pando.com Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006 15

Special Feature - Review

Laridian’s PocketBible 3

by Ed Hansberry

J ust a few years ago the must have gadget was the Personal Digital Assistant,

or PDA, which was a little computer that freed you from paper calendars,

note pads, address books and more. Today, the PDAs are likely to be pur

chased from your cell phone provider in the form of a phone that combines all

of the benefits of a portable computing device with online access. Microsoft’s Win- dows Mobile for Pocket PC platform is one of the more popular mobile computing devices and as of the mid-2006, it can be purchased from all major US cell providers as well as over 85 other carriers around the world in over 40 different phone models.

carriers around the world in over 40 different phone models. PocketBible by Laridian has long been

PocketBible by Laridian has long been one of the fa- vorite add-on programs by Christians with PDAs, enabling them to have a Bible in their pocket at all times. Recently, Laridian released their latest version, PocketBible 3, and they have kept up nicely with the advances Microsoft has made with the mobile device platform, currently called Windows Mobile 5 for Pocket PC. PocketBible 3 sports a new interface that blends in well with the new one- handed interface, meaning you can use a stylus if you like, but for basic reading and navigation, your thumb on the menu buttons and navigation pad are all you need. Those of you that have tried to balance a cup of coffee on your knee in Sunday School while using one hand to hold your PDA and with your other hand manipulate the stylus knows how useful the new interface will be. First and foremost, PocketBible 3 is a bible-reading program. Laridian has over 20 translations currently avail- able, including one in Spanish. They also have around 25 commentaries and dictionaries as well as over 20 daily reading plans. With a library like that, you should be able to carry around the books you like to use most often. On the surface, not a whole lot appears to have changed from version 2, so if you are upgrading you will instantly feel right at home. If you have a Pocket PC with a version prior to Windows Mobile 5 on it, the menus will

look different than the screenshots here. The first thing you might notice is the scroll bar on the right is gone, meaning PocketBible 3 behaves a bit more like an ebook reader than the previous version did. You can configure the navi- gation pad to behave just about any way you like to move around from your current page. I’ve configured mine to page up and down when I press up and down on the pad, and to move forward to the next chapter when pressing right and back to the previous chapter when pressing left. You can have it move a single line or an entire book at a time if you desire. You can also navigate by tapping on the screen, which comes in handy. I will often read in bed and I can tap lightly on the bottom of the screen to advance a page rather than using my navigation pad which tends to click when pressed, potentially waking up my wife. Moving around the Bible has also been

waking up my wife. Moving around the Bible has also been 16 December 2006 Christian Computing®

made easier. You can still use the old method of pressing the Goto button and selecting a book from a list then tap- ping out the chapter and verse numbers, but I prefer to use a new method called 3-Tap. When enabled, the Goto but- ton brings up a page showing all of the books of the bible, with the current book highlighted. Using your thumb on the navigation pad, you simply move to the book you want to navigate to, press down on the navigation pad, select the chapter and finally the verse. You can also use the stylus if desired. You could also bypass the Goto dialog box en- tirely. If your device has a built in keyboard, you can sim- ply key in your destination. For example, just type Jn 4:12 and you will be taken to John 4:12. Typing out “John” will work too, but knowing some of the shorthand makes navi- gation that much faster. It gets even better though. Say you are now at John 4:12 and want to navigate to John 1:8. Just type 1:8. Since you did not enter a book, it assumes you want the current book. Now that you are at John 1:8, you can type “20” and you will be taken to John 1:20. Again, since you did not type a book or chapter, it assumes you want to go to verse 20 of the current chapter. This works with any input method, like the pop-up keyboard, an external full sized Bluetooth keyboard, or even the hand- writing recognition program called Transcriber. Just writing “Heb 4:4” on the screen will take you there. One of the best new features of PocketBible 3 is the ability to highlight just about anything you like. This has ob- vious benefits when you want to call out particu- lar passages, but it also helps me in my daily reading. I have found since using PocketBible for reading, I can get bogged down in re- searching a passage that gives me pause in- stead of just reading His Word. It is easy to do when looking up defini- tions, seeing what the original Greek or He- brew word is or pursu- ing more detail in various commentaries. It is not uncom- mon for me to be reading something like the Sermon on the Mount, get to Matt 5:38 where Jesus talks about going the second mile, and through a few taps, definitions and analysis find myself deep in Leviticus. With PocketBible 3, I just quickly highlight the verse in question with a particu- lar color (I happen to use Salmon) for follow-up later and continue with my reading. I then reserve time during the weekend for more detailed study of verses I have high- lighted. This brings me to searching for things in PocketBible

This brings me to searching for things in PocketBible 3. There are several ways to do

3. There are several ways to do this. In my example above, to find all salmon highlights, I would select the View menu, then List, Color and select Salmon. PocketBible will bring up a second window showing all text I have highlighted with that color. This can be useful if you designate other colors for particular purposes. For ex- ample, I use Yellow for anything of special interest, but I reserve Lime Green for creation passages outside of Gen- esis 1 and 2, and Pale Green is used to highlight any pas- sage where Jesus makes a direct or indi- rect reference to his di- vinity.

PocketBible also supports looking for words or phrases. As you can see by the find dialog box, you just en- ter the word or words you want to look for. You can restrict your search to either the Old or New Testament if desired, or you could further restrict it to a single book, or words that you had highlighted previously, or any combination of these. If you have one of the trans- lations installed that supports Strong’s Numbers, you can even look for Greek and Hebrew words. Just to give you a taste of the power the search tool has, searching for “love:-g26” in the New Testament will show you all 76 in- stances the word “love” shows up that isn’t a translation of the word agape, which in Strong’s Greek dictionary is number 26. In some of the screenshots, you will notice some words in the text that have a faint blue highlight. Those are notes that come with a given translation. I primarily use Holman’s Chris- tian Standard Bible and the paper transla- tion includes a number of footnotes on each page as well as a cen- ter column of related verses. PocketBible gives you three ways to handle these. First, you can turn them off completely if you like. Second, you can have the text hidden but flagged with a hyperlinked asterisk. Tap- ping on the asterisk reveals the notes. Finally, you can

Tap- ping on the asterisk reveals the notes. Finally, you can Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006
Tap- ping on the asterisk reveals the notes. Finally, you can Christian Computing® Magazine December 2006

have PocketBible show you everything inline if you like. This is a considerable improvement over the previous ver- sion where everything was at the bottom of each chapter and involved a lot of tapping to see the notes. You can also add your own notes if you like, just tap- and-hold on a verse and select the Add Note command. You can add as much text as you like. If you are not afraid of a little HTML, you can add formatting to your notes, like bold or italics, as well as numbered lists, bullet points, colored text, tables and more. Making these personal notes more useful than ever, PocketBible 3 now supports searching through them. To help me with this, I have started adding keywords at the end of my notes. For ex- ample, I might add “messianic prophecy” at the end of any note I make in the Old Testament where I comment on a prophecy of the coming of Christ. As long as I am consis- tent in the keywords used, I can find any OT passage foretelling of Christ’s first coming that I have added my own thoughts to. Those of you that have used PocketBible in the past may have also purchased a program from Laridian called Daily Reader, which is a program that works with a num- ber of annual reading plans available from Laridian to help you track your progress throughout the year on reading the Bible or through a devotional like Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. This daily reading feature is now fully integrated into PocketBible 3, which is beneficial for

at least two reasons. First of all, you do not have to buy a second program to do this. Secondly, all of the features of PocketBible are available to you while reading through the plan, like highlights, searching, notes, etc. I have really just scratched the surface of the improvements and new fea- tures in PocketBible 3. I recommend you go to Laridian’s Website and down- load the demo version (www.laridian.com). It works with the King James Ver- sion, Easton’s Bible Dictionary and Mathew Henry’s Concise Commentary. If you like what you see, you can buy the full program and use it with the dozens of other books from Laridian’s offering.

www.caaministries.org or call toll free 1-888-598-8934 Ed Hansberry has been a Microsoft MVP for Mobile Devices

Ed Hansberry has been a Microsoft MVP for Mobile Devices since 2000 and is involved in the online community keeping Pocket PC enthusiasts up to date with the latest news, tips and tricks on the platform. He uses his Pocket PC con- stantly in church and has just about convinced everyone around him that he re- ally is not playing games in church, but is instead using PocketBible, following along and taking notes.

but is instead using PocketBible, following along and taking notes. 18 December 2006 Christian Computing® Magazine

nick at church

Nick Nicholaou - nick@mbsinc.com

Pastoral Use of Email, Instant Messages, & Text Messages

Pastoral Use of Email, Instant Messages, & Text Messages A pastor’s time is one of his

A pastor’s time is one of his or her most valu- able resources. Because it is finite (even pastors only get twenty-four hours in their day),

it is important to choose a communication strategy that helps balance the demands of email, instant messages, and text messages with the demands of personal time with God, family, staff, and message preparation.

time with God, family, staff, and message preparation. Some Context lic, and one for staff and

Some Context

lic, and one for staff and those with whom he or she works closely. The public ad- dress is usually screened by a secretary or administrative assistant who does the re- directing – including re-directing some emails to the pastor’s hidden address. This makes the pastor appropriately available to those on his or her team while also being appropriately available to the congregation and community. And it al- lows the pastor to focus on that which needs his or her attention.

Instant Messages

Instant message (IM) access can be very disruptive. Yet, there are some whom the pastor wants to have instant access. Team members who directly report to the pastor and some close relationships in church leadership are good candidates for this higher level of access. These are trusted individuals who understand the de- mands of the pastor’s time. One innovative pastor uses IM to be- gin his day in a virtual pastoral staff meet-

Many pastors try to take steps to protect their family time. Some of these include not answering the phone during meal time or family time, small breaks and vacations away from the demands of church ministry with their family, and taking sabbaticals. These are wise methods that help protect the time a pastor needs for personal and family time. They also communicate to the family their im- portance, and to the congregation the importance of balancing work and personal time. This discipline of balance is also important in digital communications. There will occasionally be members of the congregation or church board that don’t understand this important discipline. A good teaching is Jesus’ example! He regularly pulled away from the crowd for time with those closest to him, his disciples. He also prioritized personal time during which he could pray and hear God’s voice.

Email

Email has flattened organizational communication. Because it pro- vides easy access to anyone in the organization, it often means those in leadership receive emails that are more appropriately sent to other team members, requiring re-direction of those emails. That re-directing process takes time. Left uncontrolled, a pastor can easily lose their days to this and other digital communication processes. Most pastors today have at least one email account. Many manage the re-direction of emails by having two email addresses: one for the pub-

ing! By agreeing to be available for a brief time every day, this allows his staff to ask quick questions they need answered or to set up meetings with him they need to have. It also helps give him a sense of what is happening in the church and among the team in a very time-efficient way. It efficiently increases everyone’s productivity.

Text Messages

Cellular text messages can be re- ceived almost anywhere, making them a disruption factor that is much higher than email or IM. It is unlikely that a pastor would be at a son’s or daughter’s soccer game with a note- book computer connected to the Internet and communicating via email or IM. But text messages, delivered by cell phones, can interrupt any setting! Because anyone who knows the pastor’s cellular phone number can send him or her text messages, it is im- portant to protect those numbers! A pastor should consider:

1. Turning on the feature that shields his or her cellular number from those they call. When desired, this set- ting can usually be over-ridden by pre- ceding a dialed number with “*82”. (For those I call often, I add this prefix to their entry in my address book.) 2. Only share cellular phone num- bers with family, close friends, and key members of staff and church leader- ship who will guard the pastor’s time and not abuse this higher level of avail- ability. Time is always in short supply. There are few positions where this is felt as strongly as it is by pastors. By strategizing their digital communication options, pastors can be appropriately available to family, key staff, and key church leaders while also protecting the balance of family and personal time.

leaders while also protecting the balance of family and personal time. 20 December 2006 Christian Computing®
leaders while also protecting the balance of family and personal time. 20 December 2006 Christian Computing®

tech talk

Dr. J.D. (Doc) Watson - docwatson@nctelecom.net

Tweaking the Windows XP Registry - Part 7

Tweaking the Windows XP Registry - Part 7 T his is the final part in our

T his is the final part in our Registry series. Whenever I find another cool tweak, however, I will throw it into a regular “Hot Tips” installment. We will end

with a few more cool tweaks: how to remove the Content Advisor password in Internet Explorer, remove The “Short- cut To” prefix, refresh Explorer automatically, turn off the Outlook Express splash screen, and use anything as our Outlook Express Start Page.

screen, and use anything as our Outlook Express Start Page. Removing the Content Advisor Password in

Removing the Content Advisor Password in Internet Explorer

A friend of mine recently lost the password for Internet Explorer’s “Content Advisor” that he had set for his kids and consequently could not go much of anywhere in IE. Here is how to reset the password to its original state. First, launch RegEdit and navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Ratings.” Second, in the right pane click on the key called “Key” and press Delete. You just deleted your original “Content Advisor” password. Third, close the Editor and reboot. Fourth, open IE, select “Tools > Internet Options” for IE 5 or greater (or “View > Internet Options” for an earlier version), click on the “Content” tab and click “Disable.” When asked for a password, don’t enter anything; just click “OK.” This disables “Content Advisor” because there’s no longer a password.

Removing The “Shortcut To” Prefix

Do you find the “Shortcut to” text prefix on your shortcuts annoying? Here’s the way to prevent this prefix from appearing when you create a new shortcut. First, launch RegEdit and navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Soft ware\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.” Second, locate the “link” label in the right pane; if it is there, go to step 3. If it is not there (un- likely), right-click in the right pane, select “New > Binary Value” from the context menu, type link, and press Enter. Third, double-click on the “link”

label and either edit or type the value data to read 00 00 00 00 (ignore the four zeros at the far left), click “OK,” and then reboot. (Note: while some tip- sters say that existing instances of the text will also be gone, this was not the case on my XP PC. Let me know if it is different on yours.)

Refreshing Explorer Automatically

When you add a new folder or file to an existing folder, you sometimes have to refresh Explorer to see the changes by pressing F5. You can make this automatic, however, with a simple Registry edit. First, launch RegEdit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Current ControlSet\Control\Update.” Second, in the right pane double-click on “UpdateMode” and change the “Value Data” entry to 0. Third, close the Editor and reboot.

Turning Off the Outlook Express Splash Screen

While there’s no option in Outlook Express to turn off it splash screen, a little tweak of the Registry will do it and speed up its loading by a nanosecond or two (maybe even three). First, launch RegEdit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\-Identities\-{Your Identity in curly brackets}\-Software\-Microsoft\-Outlook Express\5.0.” Sec- ond, right-click on the “5.0” key, select “New > DWORD Value” from the context menu, type NoSplash, and press Enter. Third, double-click the new “NoSplash” label, type 1 for the “Value Data” and press Enter. Fourth, close the Editor and restart Outlook Express.

Using Anything as Your Outlook Express Start Page

Speaking of Outlook Express, did you know that you can set its “Start Page” to display any local or remote HTML page you wish? I didn’t think so. Here’s how to do this cool Registry edit.

First, close Outlook Express, and then, like the previous tip, got to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\-Identities\ {Your Identity in curly brackets}\-Software\-Microsoft\-Outlook Express\-5.0.” Sec- ond, if the label “FrontPagePath” does not exist in the right pane (and it probably doesn’t), just create it. Right-click on the “5.0” key, select “New > String Value” from the context menu, type FrontPagePath, and press Enter. Third, double-click “FrontPagePath,” type the full address of a web page and press Enter. If you want just decoration, you could create your

own HTML page (in Word, for example) and just type the path to it (e.g., C:\My Documents\OEStartPage.html). If you want something more utilitarian, you could enter your favorite search engine (e,g., “http://www.google.com); and you can actually enter a search string from inside Outlook Ex- press (Fig. 1). Fourth, close the Editor and start Outlook Express. This tweak, of course, is on a user level. It won’t affect other users. Also, if you want to restore the default, either delete the “FrontPagePath” key or delete its value.

delete the “FrontPagePath” key or delete its value. Figure 1 - Creating your own HTML Start

Figure 1 - Creating your own HTML Start Page in

Outlook Express.

Doc’s Booklets and CD

There are now four booklets in my series: Windows Hot Tips, The Wonder of Word, PowerPoint for the PowerUser, and the latest, Win- dows Hot Tips 2 (WHT3 will be complete with my next column). A single copy of each is $5.00 ($4.50 for 2-9 copies of the same title and $4.00 for 10 or more copies). If you would like to help with costs (not required), add 50 cents for any number of booklets you order. Doc’s Giant Utility Collection on CD is postage paid at $14 (2-5 copies $13 each, and 6 or more copies $12 each). Send orders to:

MicroManuals; PO Box 235; Meeker, CO; 81641. Thanks again, and God bless.

; PO Box 235; Meeker, CO; 81641. Thanks again, and God bless. 22 December 2006 Christian
; PO Box 235; Meeker, CO; 81641. Thanks again, and God bless. 22 December 2006 Christian

Ministry communication

Yvon Prehn - yvonprehn@aol.com

Designated donations, a biblical way to fund needed technology

donations, a biblical way to fund needed technology A s the year draws to a close,

A s the year draws to a close, many people consider giving year-end donations to a church or ministry, in part, as a wise way to reduce their tax liability.

Most churches strongly support this practice. Where ques- tions and concerns enter, is in the area of “designated giv-

ing” where the giver specifies to what area he or she wants the money to be spent. Since much giving for technology and communication ministries can fall into this area, let’s look at the Biblical basis for special, designated gifts.

look at the Biblical basis for special, designated gifts. The Biblical context of giving Be assured

The Biblical context of giving

Be assured it is not the intent of this article to in any way to dis- tract from or to take away from regular giving to churches. Most churches have fairly clear teaching and expectations on giving and tith- ing to the church – taught on a consistent basis to their membership.

But where does designated giving fit in? Is it Biblical to give to special projects? All of us doing communications or other work with technol- ogy are doing it first and foremost to please our Lord, and we don’t want to do anything that would go against what the Bible teaches. For you to be able to raise money for technology projects with proper Bibli- cal support is the purpose of this article.

In both the Old and New Testaments there are clear precedents

for special giving projects for special needs. In the sections below, I’ll first give the Biblical citations that apply and then follow it up with sug- gested practical applications.

A preliminary note: in case some of my readers may wonder why

the desktop publishing and church communications lady is teaching on Biblical giving and what background or authority does she have to do it. To answer, let me share: I have been for many years, (and still am) a regular Bible teacher in our church ministries. I have an MA degree in Church History; I have attended seminary; in the past I taught Church History at a Jesuit university. Bible teaching is my first love and what got me into computers initially was that they were a better way to do the writing and study I needed to do for my Bible teaching and ministry,

which is what I still consider the more impor- tant thing I do. In everything I do in church communica- tions, I work very hard to have a solid Biblical basis for it. My latest book, The Heart of Church Communications, (available at my online bookstore: www.lulu.com/yvonprehn) goes into and teaches a Biblical basis for church communications and I strongly en- courage church leaders to read it. To continue with our topic:

Old Testament Giving

The Jews in the Old Testament lived in a theocracy where the civil and religious law and economics were combined. The tithe (Lev. 27:30) was not the only offering re- quired. Additional offerings were required for sacrifices, both for sins and for joyful times (see Lev. 6, 7). In addition, the tithe was used to care for the Levites (the priests received their income from a percentage of offerings for sacrifices) and to care for “the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may

24 December 2006 Christian Computing® Magazine
24
December 2006
Christian Computing® Magazine

eat in your towns and be satisfied” ( Deut. 26:12). The tithe in this way was part of the social care system. In ad- dition, part of the tithe was to be used for celebration (Deut. 14:22-29). In addition to these regular and expected offerings to God, at numerous times the Israelites were asked to give over and above them, for special projects. Most often these special projects had to do with the building or resto- ration of the tabernacle or temple. Some passages that talk about this includes: Ex. 35:4- 9, offering asked for the building of the tabernacle; 2 Chron. 29:1-9, David and the people’s gifts for the building of the temple; 2 Kings 12, Josiah’s repair of the temple; Ezra 2:68, when the families who returned from exile gave freewill offerings to build the temple. Lots more examples could be given, but these show a pattern of extra giving when a need is there.

these show a pattern of extra giving when a need is there. Current day application The
these show a pattern of extra giving when a need is there. Current day application The

Current day application

The tools of technology are some of our most effec- tive tools we can use to build the church. Whether it is new computers, programs, training, networking, web de- velopment—if churches gave resources to make these things possible many churches could be significantly built up.

In addition to the building materials themselves, you notice from the passages above, that special giving was also used to pay the workers. This is a good precedent to follow. Many times people doing technology work in the church do it as vol- unteers. They may love what they are doing, but a technology minister is just as worthy of his or her hire as is the music minister. Many churches honestly can’t afford to pay technology workers, but far more churches don’t be- cause they do not seek the funding to do it. It is biblical to pay people for the work they do to build the church.

New Testament giving

If we read the New Testament without preconceived notions, we find some rather interesting things. First of all, one of the few records we have of how the early church actually gave is in Acts 4:34, 35, but there are few churches today that follow the example of giving to the point so that “there were no needy among them.” That aside, it is interesting that most of the other examples of giving in the New Testament had to do with special, designated offerings. The pri- mary example of this has to do with the special offering taken up at a num- ber of places in Paul’s journeys to help the saints in Jerusalem. Many of the passages used to guide giving in the church today, do not and were not written in the context of how giving should be done as a continuing pattern. That is not to say that the example followed isn’t a good one, but to be historically, textually and Biblically honest, the following verses were written on how to conduct a special needs giving campaign, not how to support the church on an ongoing basis. Verses included are: 1 Cor. 16: 1 Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.; 2 Cor. 9: 1 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. 2 For I know your eagerness to help…5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised….6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what

he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (Read all of 2 Cor. 8, 9 for the entire context).

Current day application

As the passages above show, if read in context and true to their original meaning, special designated giving campaigns are not only acceptable, but projects to be undertaken with great care. Again, this is not in any way to take away from regular giving to the church, but in addition to that, I trust the study above can help put your heart at peace if you need to raise funds for your ministries in technology.

More resources:

A great site about giving with an extensive list of links about every imagin- able related topic: http://www.guide-to-funding-ministry.net/

IRS charitable contributions PDF:

NACBA article on new legislation on charitable giving:

ECFA, a key organization for giving guidelines for churches and Christian orga- nizations:

My website for information about communication training, my seminars and many other resources: www.thelionsvoice.com

My online bookstore, source of free and for sale resources for church communi- cators: www.lulu.com/yvonprehn

Phone 908-537-4642 Email: vian@vian.com Web site: www.vian.com 26 December 2006 Christian Computing® Magazine
Phone 908-537-4642 Email: vian@vian.com Web site: www.vian.com 26 December 2006 Christian Computing® Magazine

Information security

G. Will Milor - blackisle@tampabay.rr.com

BOTNETS the New Scourg

Milor - blackisle@tampabay.rr.com BOTNETS the New Scourg I n January 2005 I wrote my first article

I n January 2005 I wrote my first article for Christian Computing on the Ten Immutable Rules of Security. It was all about keeping “your” computer yours. This will

be my last article, for a while, as I take a break to write a book and I am still on the same track. How is it we are still willing, even un-wittedly willing, to turn over our systems for the purpose of promoting what we now call SPAM? Not only do the spammers devise programs that take over vulnerable machines to promote their “work” but then find a willing computing base to install and run their insidious software.

computing base to install and run their insidious software. Some of you are saying, “I’m not

Some of you are saying, “I’m not a willing participant!” “What are you talking about?” You may not be willing, but if you have taken the at- titude that the diligence necessary to ensure your computing environment is free from malicious software is either; too hard, too complicated, too menial, too whatever, then you have become a willing participant. You cannot ignore regular system maintenance. As a corollary, the only people that ignore regular maintenance on their cars (like checking the oil) are folks that are riding in the passenger seat of the tow truck. The only people that ignore regular patching of the operating system and up- dated malware systems are participants or potential participants in spam bot networks. I am now teaching the Information Security Fundamentals class at a local graduate school. I am so convinced that this is the next wave in malware that I have changed the segment I teach on malware for the class. It used to be all about worms and viruses with a dash of spyware thrown in for good measure. Now I am making “botnets” the central theme of that segment of the class. We will probably always have the odd worm and the attack of the automated buffer overflow. That is just the way malicious programming runs. But botnets will grow for one im- portant reason, there is money behind it. Spambots make money for their controllers and that will keep the skids greased. Let me explain what I am talking about when I say spambot. Re-

cently, there have been articles about the rise in spam on the internet. I am pretty sure you have noticed it, I know I have. The problem, in part, has been tied to a group of individuals that work out of a country to our east. These people have de- veloped software that goes out on the “Big I” and finds systems susceptible to being controlled and then installs their software. This installation process starts by cleaning any malware it might find (usually with a pi- rated copy of a virus scanner) off the target machine and then it installs itself and starts working secretly as a background process. So what is this “work” it is doing and how is it controlled? That is a great ques- tion. Let’s start with control. The software is controlled by a command and control module (CCM). In its infancy, the CCM was a machine that knew where all the controlled machines were and could send out commands to do a myriad of things.

Knock out the CCM and you knocked out the botnet. Now this CCM function has

Knock out the CCM and you knocked out the botnet. Now this CCM function has evolved into a matrixed program which can reside on any of the bots, it no longer needs a stand alone machine from which to work. The controller (that would be the human) can tap any number of CCMs that are aware of the other CCMs and are replicating information between them. It’s a system, not just a ma- chine. So the controller has a pri- mary CCM to control the botnet and if that CCM is found and de- stroyed it signals another CCM that it will be going out of service and the new CCM takes over. Scary? This is nothing new; it’s basi- cally how Microsoft’s Active Di- rectory is set up. You don’t really need a primary domain controller any more (technically this isn’t true, but all you “techsters” out there just pretend with me for a minute). It seems a natural pro- gression that the bad guys would start to use the same architecture for their badware. So what about the network of bots? The reports I am hearing are staggering. One article I read, talked about a botnet of 75,000 machines. Others in- crease the number. If I have 75,000 drones doing my bidding what kind of mischief can I achieve? One bit of mischief is to go out and look for e-mail addresses. This is the building block of SPAM. Then you can sell these lists (remember, these people are not philanthropic) and make some cash. They run systems like emailsiphon and other programs which “harvest” e-mail addresses off of web sites. This is some good reading in itself, just go out and do some research on spiders and e-mail address harvesting. There are many web sites which are taking action against these processes and blocking them, clearing the way for the next wave of malicious software to bypass the blocking mechanisms. The other mischief they get into is selling their services to a company that might want to harass their competition. There are articles about bots being used to click on internet advertisements. Not just “click” on them, but multiple clicks per second, to the tune of thousands upon thousands. Internet advertising is sometimes charged to the customer by the “click”. A company will pay Google, for example, so much for every time their ad is clicked on. What a great way (I’m being facetious here) to drive up the competitions advertising costs. Not very ethical but, after all, this is the 21 st cen- tury. Get with the program. There was an interesting lawsuit about this issue against Google. There are other things you can do with a botnet, but the thing that we’re concerned about here is SPAM. Sending out spam with a botnet is pretty efficient. You can cover millions of e-mail addresses very quickly with a botnet of 75,000 machines, and this is becoming a growing issue. I don’t have to go into what they’re selling or what I think of these folks, that would be redundant and calling them names only gives me temporary relief from the frustration they cause. So are you a participant? How would you know?

There is some great stuff being written on this subject and I wish I had a good answer for you. I’m go- ing to stay with the party line here and sound like a broken record. Patch systems, run malware detec- tion and hope something good comes down the line to remove this scourge. Sophos and Simplicita have come together to offer Internet Service Providers (ISP) a way to detect and segregate the

bot. Unfortunately for us this is too “much” too late. People won’t know why they can’t get mail from the Grandkids and may not under- stand how to make this go away when they’re trapped by this new software control. The good news is there will be lots of answers soon, once again because there is money in it. The bad guys make money creating the problems and the good guys make money removing the problem (at least that’s the way it seems to work). But right now I’ll stay with the party line.

to work). But right now I’ll stay with the party line. I was listening to Steve

I was listening to Steve Hewitt

on Prime Time America when he was talking about the issue and he was asked how to stop it. I love his answer. One of the reasons this works, he said, is because people are buying these products. Yes, people buy things from the

spammers (I can’t figure it out ei- ther). If they send out a million e-mails and only a few percent respond, they win! There’s very little overhead, it’s al- most all profit. Steve made what I think is the obvious statement, that if people didn’t buy this stuff the spammers would go away. The botnets might not, but the spam would. I’d like to take this a step further and suggest that if we were all diligent in taking care of our systems the botnets might go away too.

I realize systems are complicated and we don’t all have a computer science degree, but I am not a mechanic either.

I have to go to someone competent to get my car fixed. Computing is now more prevalent than transportation and there is a lot of harm being done out there. We’ve got to start taking an interest in stopping some of this stuff. When I say we, I’m talking about the operating systems manufacturers (that would be Microsoft since we have a monopoly out there, sorry Linux fans, I know you will be e-mailing over this one), the end users, the ISPs and everyone involved. We need a huge neighborhood watch. Do not hold your breath on this one, but it is what we need. Well, this is goodbye for a while. I will truly miss getting e-mail now and then from readers, you’ve all been very supportive and I’m very grateful. I want to say a special thank you to Steve Hewitt who has allowed me to use this wonderful forum. Without his faith in my writing I wouldn’t have ventured out here. My plan is to write a book on adoption called “The Myth of the Disposable Child” and then come back to Christian Computing in 6 months. I’m currently looking for a publisher. This is a new chapter in my life and I can only hope that it is God doing the writing and not me (I’m way too flawed to listen to). We adopted a child 9 years ago and I am hop- ing I can encourage people wanting to (and thinking about) doing the same. We need to step out and save the children we can, there are so many good Christian homes with so much to offer. Maybe, all it takes is a little push.

homes with so much to offer. Maybe, all it takes is a little push. Christian Computing®

Higher Power With Kevin

Kevin A. Purcell - kevin@kevinpurcell.org

Purcell

Mobile Computing

Purcell - kevin@kevinpurcell.org Purcell Mobile Computing A ccording to Wikipedia.org, “ Mobile Computing is a

A ccording to Wikipedia.org, “Mobile Computing is a generic term describing your ability to use tech- nology ‘untethered’, that is not physically con-

nected, or in remote or mobile (non-static) environments.”

nected, or in remote or mobile (non-static) environments.” Are you a mobile user or a teth-

Are you a mobile user or a teth- ered user? This month we will look at a day in the life of one mobile user – me.

A growing number of people use mobile devices more than they use a desktop computer. According to Cur- rent Analysis, a research firm quoted on CNet, laptop sales outpaced desktop computers for the first time in May 2005, with 53.3 percent of all new computers purchased that month being laptops. The point is that to- day more people are going mobile than ever before. With pervasive Wifi access and cellular modems, it is not a surprise. But how does this affect us in the Christian Computing arena? It opens up new doors for us. In this month’s article I want to discuss how going mobile has helped me do my ministry as a pastor and a Christian. The most useful way I can do that is to share with you what a typical “mobile day” might look like in my life. This is not an actual day, but rather an amalgam of ways I have used mobile technology to help be more effective and efficient.

Once I enjoy the last few spoonfuls of cereal and the Living Word, I jump into the car to make the drive to the hospital. I’ve never been there before and think I know the way. I was wrong. I’m lost. So I open my Treo and go onto the Internet and look for the address of the hospital using the mo- bile version of Google over my cell provider’s high speed internet. The hospital has a map with driving directions, but it doesn’t open that well on my little 240x240 resolution screen. So I copy the address and paste it into Pocket Streets and connect my Bluetooth GPS device. It is a little fin-

icky at first, but I finally get a connection as

I wait in a parking lot of a store on the way

to the hospital. Finally I have the signal and know where I’m going. I arrive at the hospital parking deck re-

alize I forgot to enter the beginning mileage of my trip. My church pays me mileage re- imbursement, but I have to keep track of both beginning and ending mileage. I fire up Pocket Excel and it opens the church’s budget which was the last thing I had loaded during a finance committee meeting

a few days ago. I close it, find my mileage

report, enter the current mileage and make

a note that this was halfway point. I will

later trace the exact driving route to get the correct beginning mileage figure.

The Best Way to Start Your Day

At 6:30 am I groggily awake to a high pitched chirping sound. My wife punches me in the side. “Your phone,” she incoherently mumbles. That’s right! My Windows Mobile Treo 700w is also my alarm clock. I have to be up and at the hospital for Mrs. Smith’s hernia surgery. I reach up to find the Treo and push the center button to unlock the keypad and then I silence the alarm. By the time I’m out of the shower and have my bowl of Captain Crunch poured, I can open a devotion book in PocketBible and then my bible reading in DailyReader, both from Laridian. I am inspired by today’s reading and think this might be a good topic for a future sermon or bible study, so I copy a few lines into Pocket Word save the file to synch later with my laptop computer.

At the front desk of the hospital the nice lady asks for the name of the patient I’m visiting. I tell her Gerty Smith. There is no Gerty Smith and then I remember that Gerty is just a nickname. What is her real name? Thankfully I have

entered the church’s role into Outlook on my computer and it syncs with my phone’s contacts list. I fire it up and realize that her real name is Elizabeth Gertrude Smith. I give the lady the name and she tells me where to find the family. As I am riding the elevator, I remember that her son will probably be there and I cannot remember his name. Gerty remarried thirty years ago and her son now has a different name. Fortunately I have all of this in my contacts and I find it … Paul Rodriguez. I walk up to Paul and shake his hand and call him by his name. “You remembered. I’m im- pressed,” he glows. I will tell him later that this was all a trick of technology … maybe. We discuss the surgery and he takes me back to see her. I have prayer and read a verse from Pocket Bible. Paul makes mention of his mother’s techie preacher and that is when I admit how I remembered his name. “Well at least you cared enough to make note of

it in your little gadget.” Just then a nurse enters the room and sees us talking about my Treo. She is impressed and I let

her look at it. I had previously downloaded a copy of a tract Laridian produces just for such an occasion. I start it up and show her how it works and she reads the thing. I ask her what she thinks and she says it is interesting and I offer to pray for her. Again I fire up Pocket Word to write down her request and her name so I can tell the people at church to pray for her later tonight. Hopefully she will be working when I visit Mrs. Smith again. I can tell her about our church praying for her and invite her Sunday. After the visit I leave and run down to the ATM in the lobby. I don’t have cash and I cannot get out of the parking

deck without a few dollars. I haven’t signed up for a clergy pass at this hospital yet so I cannot get the free parking they offer pastors. I just got a new ATM card with a new number and I open up my PDA wallet program that holds this kind of information. I enter the security password and it gives me access to my PIN. After getting forty dollars cash I fire up my checking register program and enter the transaction. I will later sync it with my desktop version of the program. I drive back to the office where I put my phone in the cradle next to my secretary’s computer. She has entered a few new appointments for me into outlook and updated some addresses and phone numbers of church members. She also has finished making the changes to our church’s constitution and by-laws which will now sync to my device.

My Whole Library with Me at All Times

I unpack my laptop and set it on the desk and fire it up. The USB docking port is connected to my multi-function

printer/scanner/fax machine and my mouse and keyboard. All I have to do is plug in the power cord and the USB cable and I’m attached to all the devices that I would normally have attached to a desktop PC.

I open my bible study program, enter the passage into the search line and it finds all the books I have about that pas- sage. Within seconds I am doing some advanced language study. Tomorrow I will read the commentaries and dictio- naries and on Friday I will read some more devotional works and finish my sermons for Sunday morning and evening. The passage study that once took me 6-8 hours now takes half that time thanks to the advanced Bible software avail-

able today. And what would normally occupy half a dozen bookcases fits on a laptop the size of two bibles. If I was in

a real pinch, and Mrs. Smith was having more serious surgery, I could have sat in the waiting room with the family and

during a quiet moment I could open my Treo and did some of the bible study I am now doing on my computer. If I had access to a table I might open up a wireless keyboard that gives me more laptop like interface. It’s not like having a full keyboard, but it is better than the thumb keyboard on my Treo.

Multimedia Was Never So Easy

It is lunch time and I have planned to meet with a group of pastors. We are studying the bible together and preach- ing through the same book. So, I get all of my notes in a Word Document and put them on the Treo. My secretary says, “It sure would be nice if those Bible Software guys would let you sync your notes with a mobile version of their program.” “Yes it would. But I don’t think it will ever happen,” I reply. “I’ve been begging for that along with thousands of other users. I know that software would sell well, even if it was not the best package out there.” We give each other that “oh well” look and on my way out the door to the local sandwich shop. In my car I plug my iPod into the Auxiliary port on the car stereo and listen to Steve Hewitt’s latest podcast from CCMag.com. When it’s over I listen to Haddon Robinson on Discover the Word, which I downloaded from iTunes for free. I have about six different podcasts ranging in interest from the Green Bay Packers to one on Windows to my own sermons, just in case someone might ask about them. No one ever has. At the restaurant we find our usual booth in the back corner. After we’ve eaten, one of the other guys suggests we get started. He pulls out his bible and three other books and a notebook. His pen goes dry and doesn’t have a spare. I

have my Treo and the other pastor opens his small 12 inch laptop. We laugh at our Luddite friend trying to find room for all his books. While studying with just a few keystrokes or pen taps we have access to informa- tion in the same time it takes our friend to find just one passage in his concordance or one word in his lexi- con. He promises to save up for a laptop. After an hour, I remember a video I downloaded from SermonSpice.com. I put it on my iPod so the guys could see it. I plug the iPod into the mini external speaker that I carry just for this kind of thing. They are amazed and ask for the web site. Mr. 20 th century with his books bemoans the fact that his church doesn’t have a video projector yet. But we continue our study for another hour. Returning home, I stop at a deacon’s house. He wanted to talk to me about some complaints in the church. I pull out my Treo and find the database of our deacon family ministry plan in order to remind my- self which families are on his list. I’m sure it is the Jones family. They’ve been unhappy ever since we started using technology in worship. When he comes to the door he in- vites me in and offers a drink. Over a coke we discuss the Jones’ latest complaint and I suggest we visit them. I enter an appointment into my calen- dar and we talk about other things. After a prayer together, I excuse my- self. When in the car I make some notes to remind myself what the is- sues were that we talked about. Back at the office I again sync my Treo with the secretary’s com- puter. She will see the added appoint- ment and will call the Jones’ for me.

A Little R and R

It is five and I am sitting at home on the couch watching some shows I recorded on Tivo last night which I was at visitation. It is so nice to now worry about what I’m missing on TV

visitation. It is so nice to now worry about what I’m missing on TV 32 December

anymore. And now that Tivo lets me download those shows to my iPod I have a few episodes of my favorite shows ready if I want to watch them during a break away from home. Yes- terday, at lunch I needed to clear my head and I watched an old rerun of the Any Griffith show. My son runs in from Basketball practice and hands me his brother’s Gameboy. “I’m almost to the last level on Joshua,” he yells. This is a new game we just got him yesterday based on the story of Joshua. I look at it and he asks if I want to play. I try it out and then remember why I don’t play Gameboy games. “I’ll stick to Bejeweled or Madden Football on my Treo, son,” I say hand- ing it back. He runs off to do some homework and my TV show ends. I have to get ready for church tonight, so I get up and pack my Treo and my SDIO (secure digital input output) to VGA adapter so I can plug the Treo into our video projector to display the presentation I created for tonight’s bible study.

the presentation I created for tonight’s bible study. Showing Off for the Crowd After plugging my

Showing Off for the Crowd

After plugging my Treo and my iPod into our video and audio system, I start playing some Christian music via the iPod as people arrive. I also have the first slide of my presentation up to get people interested in the study tonight. My music minister walks up to me and says, “Here is the list of music for next week.” He pulls out his Dell Axim and aims it at my Treo. He beams the Mobile Word file to me and it comes across fine. I then beam him the list of sermon topics for the next quarter and a list of visits that he needs to make while I’m on vacation next week. He informs me that he has a video for tonight’s worship portion of the service. He hands me a USB flash memory drive. How do I get that into my Treo? I unplug the iPod and take it back to the secretary’s office and plug it in. I then transfer it to the iPod us- ing the conversion software we have installed. Finally, I connect my projector to the iPod using the video and audio cables that my wife brings from home (I called her on my Treo to ask her to pick it up). We get through the service and after some dinner with the staff, we return home. “Let’s watch a movie dad,” my son asks. So I plug in my iPod to the TV and we watch Cars, which I downloaded off of iTunes.

Is Going Mobile The Best Way?

I love my Treo. It is an address book, a bible study library, a phone, and some even use them for entertainment like video games, movies and music. I read books on it with Microsoft Reader and Adobe’s Mobile version of Acrobat Reader. I keep my mileage and the database of my church and do simple word processing. When I need more, I fire up my laptop and have access to all the programs I use regularly including MS Office, Bible Study, and Adobe Premiere Elements for video editing and Photoshop for photo editing. I have games for fun and I use it as the base for all the other gadgets I use, like my iPod, my Treo and presentations. The only thing I use my desktop for anymore is some advanced video editing, storing files and serving my printers in my home network. The kids and wife use it for games and word processing and Internet. You sacrifice a little power and sometimes it is hard to get things done. But for 90 percent of what I do, my PDA and laptop are all I need.

But for 90 percent of what I do, my PDA and laptop are all I need.

handheld devices

Jim Vanduzer - jimv@laridian.com

Electronic Books – Still Not Quite “There”

Electronic Books – Still Not Quite “There” the version number. W hen I graduated from college

the version number.

W hen I graduated from college in 1991 I went to work for a small Christian publishing house in New Jersey. I became the business office man-

ager and was responsible for installing and maintaining the new computer system. Since I was the newest person in the company, I got the first of the new computers. It was a 386 running Windows 3.1. As we bought new computers for everyone else in the office, we were able to connect every- one to a server running Novell Network. I don’t remember

one to a server running Novell Network. I don’t remember The company had one “laptop.” It

The company had one “laptop.” It was what was lovingly referred to as a “luggable.” The keyboard clipped into the chassis, which was about the size of an average desktop computer today. There was a four-inch (green) screen on half of the face and two 5.25" floppy drives on the other half. It only ran DOS. Biblesoft and QuickVerse were the main Bible software programs that were available for DOS. Both were later ported to Windows. Logos came out a little later as a Windows product. Surprisingly there was a PDA. Some of you may remember, or even still have, the Apple Newton. It was a great device that for some unfor- tunate reason never really caught on. Some of you may remember these days. The company that I worked for primarily published commentaries. We saw the value of having the Bible on the computer and began looking at how we could turn our books into “electronic books.” We began talk- ing to more and more people who all said the same thing. The future of the book is electronic. Soon all books will be electronic and very few people will be buying paper books. I remember giving talks at various publishing houses saying basically the same thing. It’s now fifteen years later, and where are we? As I am typing this I am sitting in my office that has bookcases on

three of the four walls and I still have books stacked on the floor because I don’t have room on the bookcases. Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Borders and a number of other bookstores are all still doing pretty well. Yes, a lot of bookstores have closed over those 15 years, but those that have sur- vived are doing quite well. The electronic book has not replaced the print book – and yes, I know you’re reading this in an electronic magazine. So, were we visionaries just ahead of our time or were we just wrong? I no longer make predictions. (Some- thing in the Old Testament about stoning false prophets and all that.) Electronic books do exist and some of them are doing very well. But they have not, by and large, replaced print books. I still carry my print Bible with me to church along with my PocketPC. Sometimes I only

take my PocketPC, but usually they both go along. Several months ago I mentioned an electronic book device that had been announced from Sony. I got mine about

month ago. I love it! Mostly. The Sony Reader retails for $350 and comes with about 20 books and book excerpts already installed (most of them were books that I had no inter- est in reading). You can buy additional books from Sony Connect. Think iTunes for the iPod only with books in- stead of music and videos. The thing that sets the Sony Reader apart from a PocketPC or Palm with one of the electronic book programs is the screen. The screen is around 3.5" by 5" with a 6" diagonal. So it’s bigger than most of your PDAs and smaller than all but a few laptops. It’s also grayscale. But that’s actually a good thing. It is a flicker free screen! You don’t feel like you are looking at a screen. Your eyes really do feel as though they are looking at a page. When you touch the screen it doesn’t have the same sort of give and distor- tion that most laptop screens do and you can almost fool yourself into thinking that you’re touching paper. The device with its leather cover is ¾” thick. It weighs about 9 oz. It easily fits into a brief case, or if you carry

a

9 oz. It easily fits into a brief case, or if you carry a one, a

one, a purse. To give you an idea of its relative size, it has a larger footprint than a paper back book, but smaller than a thin line Bible. And it’s thinner than both. Since I’ve had the device I have read three books all the way through. One was about 700 “pages” and the other two were both around 900. (These translate to 550-700 pages per title in print.) All three books were fiction (hey…I was on vacation when I was reading them…give me a break!). It was easy for me to forget the medium through which

I was experiencing the story – the Sony Reader – and get caught up in the story. (Just ask my wife…I didn’t quite finish the books by the time our vacation was over.) There are two different ways to turn pages. For some reason, Sony designed them both to be used with your left hand. I did not bring my power source for the Reader on our vacation. I read on both plane rides, about six hours, in the afternoons by the pool, and every morning (since for some crazy reason I would wake up about three hours before ev-

eryone else). The battery lasted through the whole week. One of the reasons for such long battery life (and this is one of the things that I dislike about the device, but at this point the technology isn’t there to make this work) is that the screen is not back lit. You need an outside light source, which means that I need the light on next to the bed at night if I’m reading. You only need slightly more light than you would to read a print book, but you do need it. By far, my biggest complaint with the Sony Reader is the lack of any Bible. The Connect store has a Religion sec- tion which includes a subcategory called “Bible & Other Holy Texts.” Surprisingly there isn’t actually any translation of

a Bible available. I could get started on my conspiracy theory about Sony and Christianity, but I won’t. Not now any-

way. Closely related to that complaint is the fact that the Sony Reader is a closed system. The only place to purchase books is from Sony Connect and the only company that creates content for the Sony Reader is…Sony. While this worked for the iPod I’m not sure I see it working for Sony. The iPod will play other music formats, you just can’t play iTunes downloads on other devices - well you can, but they make it difficult. With the Reader you can’t read other

eBooks on the Reader and you cer- tainly can’t read Sony books on any other “reader” device. You can read the books using Sony Connect on your desktop, but that’s not very practical. You can load PDF files onto the Reader, but you need a magnifying glass to read any PDF created with

anything less than a 16-point font. This makes that “feature” not very practical. Here are some of the other things that have bothered me about the Reader.

• There’s no clock on the de-

vice. For something that has an oper- ating system it should have a clock. There have been a number of times that I’ve been reading and wondered what time it is. My first instinct is to check the system bar on the device.

All that tells me is my battery life and what page I’m on.

• The processor seems slow.

I’m not really a techie, more a gadget freak, but it doesn’t seem that in today’s computer economy that a de- vice that simply displays text should be as slow to turn a page or open a book as this device is.

• I already mentioned this in

passing, but both methods of turning the page are operated by the left hand. Sometimes I want to hold the device in my right hand, but then when I want to turn the page I have to switch back to the left hand.

• There is no way to make anno-

back to the left hand. • There is no way to make anno- tations in or

tations in or about the text. Not a big deal for fiction titles, but I am reading The Case for a Creator and there

are passages in there that I would like to mark. I can set a bookmark on the page, but cannot mark the specific text.

• It’s expensive. The electronic titles still cost the same as they would in print, plus you have to spend $350 just to read them. You are basically buying an expensive book bag, and your books can’t travel without this book bag. And if this book bag were to get stolen….

• My daughter loves it and sometimes I have to go looking for it if I want to use it.

What I’ve come to realize after having played with this device for a while is that if all you are looking for is a way to read fiction or Christian living titles in a portable electronic format then this is great. I have twenty books installed and still have room for more. I can add even more with the SD/Sony Memory stick slot. In my opinion, the electronic book has not arrived with the Sony Reader. But it is closer.

book has not arrived with the Sony Reader. But it is closer. 36 December 2006 Christian