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15 February 2007

Is the M&M in You?

One of my friends posted on M&Ms latest marketing ploy. It's a simple interface that allows you to create your own personal M&M character. Of course you try and make it look like you so that's what I did.

My guy is me for the following reasons:

  • He's green (not sure what that says about me...)
  • He has robot arms (yes...I have been working out - thanks for noticing)
  • He has gray in his black hair (sign of maturity right?)
  • He has scrawny legs (it has been a while since I exercised the lower body...)
  • He is wearing hiking boots (i would love to be in Colorado right now...)
  • He has squinty eyes (yes, it fits...)
  • He's holding a coffee mug (enough said...)

I know this isn't real work related, but we'll just label it under Real Life and Fun!

Try it - you'll like it - and it won't melt in your hands...

10 February 2007

Volunteer Night

Last year I attended the volunteer celebration as a volunteer. I was cheered for, clapped for and treated like royalty for the evening. It was a great night and it was nice to see how the church felt about those offering their time and talent to make the ministry move forward.

>> Fast forward to last night >>

As a newly hired staff member, I was honored to help others on staff serve our volunteers for an evening. I stocked beverage tables, welcomed people and helped tear things down when the party was over. It was a bit strange being on the other side of the table, but I thank God every day that I get to serve in this capacity.

I was also amazed to see the way the staff pulled together and helped with everything from the arts, to running cameras and audio to setting up and tearing down. At Granger team is everything - and what an incredible team it is.

02 February 2007


First off, allow me to give a brief history of streaming video at Granger:

  • Late 2005 | IT department began looking into online options for streaming both live and on-demand versions of services that were already being captured
  • Early 2006 | IT department finds fairly inexpensive solution that allowed us to do a live stream and on demand version of all Weekend Services and New Community services (our midweek service). The stream was 320x240 and was in Windows Media format (.wmv) (neither was available to the public)
  • Shortly thereafter | An on-demand version of one Weekend Service and the New Community service was linked to from the website allowing for public consumption. The link popped the 320x240 .wmv into Windows Media Player giving the user some control over the look and feel of the video
  • September 2006 | Introduced to LightCast Media as a possible vendor for streaming flash video online. Tested the streaming capabilities for the Granger Film Festival (warning: most links in this article do not work now) and found it incredibly simple and yet powerful in terms of the size and quality of the video delivered
  • January 2007 | Went live with LightCast Media as our primary streaming service for the on-demand version of the Weekend Service and the New Community Service
Now that you have the facts, I'll add a few words regarding the process.

Our IT department rocks! They began the process of acquiring the streaming service even before the leadership was banging down their door demanding it. They did the work to get us up and running with a solution that served us well for close to a year. From there they helped one of our go-to-guys maintain the process and keep it running well. And finally, they even helped walk and talk us through the transition to LightCast providing ongoing hardware and storage support in order to pull it off.

Next are the media guys that have gone out of their way to work with us on video formats and encoding solutions to make the process more automated and consistent from week to week.

So what's coming next? Well, High Definition (HD) is the next logical step. We do work with HD files for some things but it won't be long before everything captured at the church will be HD. Of course that means much larger files, 60 frames per second and longer encoding time. But I can't wait!