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30 October 2007

Out of Circulation

Every once and a while you take a break from work in order to rest and relax - or paint your sons bedroom...

4 days off. 3 days painting. Job done.

But something strange happened while I was doing this project. I was locked in a small room for hours on end - to the point where I lost touch with what time it was, who was around, what was on TV and what the weather was like outside. I went inside myself (if that makes sense) and spent hours there with music in the background, thinking in depth about a variety of subjects, working through html/css problems in my head and feeling this overwhelming sense that I was trapped in a tunnel with no light at the end.

You could call it being in the "zone." And it does help you focus and finish stuff. But I'm not sure I like the feeling...

Finally, my brief how to:

  1. Paint your entire room with the main color in the pattern.
  2. Use a tape measure or pattern to go around the entire room and mark off the different lines. Make the mark about 6 inches off the floor.
  3. Use something like the Black&Decker Auto Leveling Laser to display your lines on the wall. Place the laser on the floor so it points at the ceiling and is directly in line with the mark you made at the 6 inch line. You will have to tweak the angle of the laser a bit to make sure the line displays all the way up the wall to the ceiling.
  4. Use 3M (Scotch) Delicate Surface Blue Painters Tape along the laser line from ceiling to floor on the outside of the color band you intend to paint. Do this for the left and right sides of each color band around the room. Make sure to push the tape down tight with a thumb, finger or plastic tool so the paint won't seep under it.
  5. Paint each color band with the second color (will probably require two coats). I used a smaller roller (3-5") to do the color bands.
  6. Remove the tape as soon as you are done with the second coat - starting with the first band painted. It will be dry to the touch by then and the tape should peel well.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 for each additional color band desired.
  8. To fix paint that bled under the tape: Place a razor blade on the line between colors and use a small paint brush to fix the bleed mark.
  9. It's up to you how to keep from getting paint on trim and on the ceiling :)
  10. Tip: To keep corners from getting to you simply tape off one centimeter away from the corer on whatever side looks best and allow the color to wrap around the corner and to your tape. You will have a very straight line and no one will care that it isn't actually in the corner...

Don't worry - I'll get back to posting about WEB stuff real soon. Just trying to clear my head of all the paint fumes...

15 October 2007

Online Media Player: Follow Up

Online Media PlayerI typically don't have time to respond to comments posted on my blog. I read them and often take suggestions from them, but can't get into the back and forth dialogue many of them require. However, there are times when a post generates a lot of comments/questions so I try to answer them all at one time in a follow up post.

In this case there were quite a few questions about the online media player and the subscription service that accompanies it. So here is are some extra details:

The Online Media Player:

  • Rivals cutting edge players like those used by VH1 and ABC in terms of player layout and features offered (including channels, categories, playlists and send to a friend feature.
  • Is totally dynamic and created completely in Flash with over 700 hours of development time invested.
  • Is fully supported with excellent customer service.
  • Has a simple Administration Panel allowing the user to add Channels, Categories and media items.
  • Comes with free upgrades: All ongoing upgrades and tweaks are offered free to subscribers.
  • Is designed to accept streaming video feeds directly from LightCastMedia (streaming packages sold separately) which allows larger and longer video clips to be used in the player. Adding a LCM streaming video is as simple as putting a video ID# from LCM into the Online Media Player Administration Panel.
  • Has a monthly subscription cost so you don't pay for upfront development, ongoing development, hosting or storage.
  • Allows you to present your created media in a cutting edge player in less than 24hrs.
  • Allows you to stream full length messages, services, trainings, etc. in a player capable of displaying content in full screen mode (additional streaming service required).

Hopefully this helped answer some of the questions I saw in the comments. If you have other questions feel free to email me (see link in footer of this page) and I'll try to reply or post again if there seems to be groups of similar questions.

11 October 2007

Serving Up Simplicity

Volunteer @ Granger Community ChurchWe're currently in a weekend message series where the focus is serving. And the church makes no apologies in this area - encouraging everyone to find their niche and plug in.

It should be no surprise that the website has always had a volunteer page - there to help people find that niche and get involved. However this page hasn't always worked well and wasn't always user-friendly. It has been worked and reworked over the years. But it wasn't until this series that we really took it to the next level.

Opportunity: Completely rework the volunteer structure from the back end (Fellowship One database) to the front end (website and print materials) in time for the weekend message series on serving.


  • Weekend Message Series: Serving focus
  • Information Architecture: all serving opportunities grouped into eight simple "buckets" named so they make sense to the person looking for the opportunity rather than the department providing the opportunity
  • Database Structure: Volunteer opportunities entered in Fellowship One to match the Information Architecture
  • Print piece: one handout created displaying the eight serving areas - capable of being used long term and also being printed during the serving series with a stub for submitting volunteer interest areas
  • Web: Volunteer page redesigned to match all of the above with new interface for quick viewing of the eight areas with two levels of information - bullet points upon rollover and more detailed information with "I'll Try It!" button after one click

This turned out to be one of my favorite projects. Not because it's flashy or cutting edge, but because it streamlined a process that means a lot to the church. It reduces barriers to serving and fixes a clunky part of the website. Good job team.

01 October 2007

Online Media Player Now Available!

Online Media Player Now Available!When your job requires you to develop or work with developers you will undoubtedly experience the "burden of knowledge." You will create things or know that things are being created, but must keep your mouth shut until they are fully completed.

And so it is for me much of the time. A bit frustrating, but with this comes the excitement of being able to reveal the new stuff and watch the process happen from beginning to end.

All this to say there is something very cool I get to reveal. After months of development and testing the Online Media Player went live last week during the Innovate 07 conference.

We have received numerous calls requesting the technology behind our media player. Unfortunately when people learn that the player was created from scratch by our web developers (Aspire!One) they sigh and thank us for our time.

But now I can point people to the Online Media Player which solves this problem and allows anyone to get a media player up and running quickly. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Professional look/feel and interface that can be popped up from any website.
  • Allows online video capability for those of all budgets.
  • Streaming capable/ready (separate streaming service required - but no additional setup fee).
  • More here...