December 26th, 2010 by bigjim
As we near the end of the calendar year, technologists are often called upon to make some predictions as to what will be the big technology areas in the New Year. It’s always a daunting prospect to make such predictions when the industry moves as fast as it does. The last thing you want to do is make some wild forecasts that will seem like those ‘city of the future’ models from the 1950′s which, if accurate, would have us all living on the Moon by now!
That being said, it is a little easier to look a few months into the future and guess which trends that developed this year will still be strong next year. In that vein, arguably the biggest technology trend in hardware for 2011 is that of mobile alternative form-factor computing. That’s not the catchiest name in the world, so, depending who you listen to, next year is going to be the ‘year of the tablet’ or the ‘year of the smartphone’…or both!
The move to having increased computing power available on the go, wrapped in a touch-friendly user interface, is definitely a trend that has taken hold. Some analysts are even predicting that smartphones (i.e. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7 etc.) will outsell desktop PCs in 2011. PC shipment forecasts have only been cut further with the iPad/tablet market- the Apple offering alone expecting to sell 18-25 million units worldwide, or more.
The growth of these devices is changing the demands put on those who produce websites and other media, such as the Church. Being able to read the Sunday Missal on your phone is just the beginning: what will those in digital ministry need to do next year to ensure God’s message is still heard over the sound of text message ring tones?
Posted in General musings | No Comments »
December 19th, 2010 by fastmikey
The traditional portrayal of gamers in the popular press is not a positive one. Gamers are often portrayed as dark, dangerous denziens of this world who are a menace to society. While modern gaming technologies like the Kinect and Wii are making great strides in normalising gaming as a popular pasttime, at the same time groups of gamers are working hard to change the public perception of ‘hardcore’ gamers. An excellent example of this is Child’s Play.
Child’s Play (www.childsplaycharity.org) was started in 2003 by two gamers, Jerry Hoskins and Mike Krahulik, partly in direct response to an article in a Seattle newspaper about how video games were warping a whole generation of children, and to mobilise the gaming community to give something back to their fellow man. Child’s Play facilitates the donation of video games, toys, and movies to children’s hospitals around the globe, including Starship Hospital in Auckland. In its first year, US $200,000 was raised, and in 2009, that amount had risen to $1.78 million with the total raised over the 6 years a staggering $6.8 million dollars.
Money is raised by direct donations to the cause, a large charity auction and dinner held in Seattle every December, and by a number of community organised events – the most successful being Desert Bus for Hope (www.desertbus.org). This is organised by a group of Canadian gamers who play a terribly boring game live on the internet to raise funds. While this sounds rather futile, it’s been remarkably successful – this year in 2010 over $200,000 was raised by this event alone!
So, this year, when thinking of those less fortunate then you, Catholic Geek would like you to consider thinking of the children, and check out the Child’s Play charity – giving is child’s play!
Posted in Community, General musings, Link commentary, News commentary | 1 Comment »
December 5th, 2010 by bigjim
The humble parish website doesn’t always get a lot of love. Too often it’s the domain of an already overworked parish secretary, or someone trying to fit in updating the website with a full-time job…or two, or three. This is a shame since web technology has moved on substantially in the last few years to a point where you don’t have to be that geeky to help run and maintain a website.
So, a couple of questions to those reading this to begin: first of all, do you know if your parish has a website? If not, have you thought to offer to make one for them? Before you respond with protests due to your lack of HTML-coding ability, can we suggest that you no longer require any such skill to build a great site? Whether through local projects (such as The Spoke project) or international content management systems and blog hosting (such as WordPress and Blogger) setting up a website for your parish is not as hard as you might think.
Nowadays, the chances are that you already have one, so the other question is how relevant is the content on there to you as a parishioner? Or to someone simply visiting the site? Are Mass times easy to find and up to date? Is the latest parish bulletin available for download? Can you quickly find the location of the church? All of these are basics, but sometimes overlooked when it comes to a parish website.
If you would like some inspiration for content and how to give your parish website a makeover, check out the Catholic Media Guild for some great ideas. And if you need some more technical advice and/or assistance, post a comment and we’ll be glad to help.
Posted in Technology overview | No Comments »