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30 July 2010

I Have Moved!!!

I recently started blogging with WordPress at darylmcmullen.com. So here are the important things you should know:

  • Content: I moved all WDC content from WebDrivenChurch.com to the new blog. In essence I'm starting over without the "brand." However, I wanted the old stuff to still be searchable if need be. I'm letting this blog continue to exist mainly because there is content (images) that the new site will still access rather than me going post by post and updating each image. Thank you Blogger for being free!
  • Your Subscription: There is a good chance you'll need to subscribe again if you want to continue to follow my blog. Simply hit the RSS button on either blog and you'll be subscribed to darylmcmullen.com. Here is the feed URL if that makes it easier: http://feeds.feedburner.com/darylmcmullen
  • Thanks: Thank you for going on this journey with me - hopefully you will continue to find it helpful and engaging.



21 July 2010

The Office | Lessons in Organization and Productivity

I was in my bosses office today (that would be Kem Meyer) for an impromptu meeting when I came to the stunning realization that the planets were in alignment and everything felt right in the universe.

Why?

It's simple...her office was laid out in such a way that productivity was almost mandatory. It reeked of organization and I had this strange urge to bust out my laptop and knock out multiple projects simultaneously.

So I thought I'd detail the office for you so that you can replicate it where it makes sense:
  1. The chair: The stuff you need to come and go: purse, backpack and most likely coat during the winter - all ready to grab on the way out.
  2. Resource Rack: Slightly out of the way - yet handy in case you need a quick quote for a blog post or you're bored and want to do some heavy research.
  3. Long-Term Organization: Color coded calendars for each summer month - detailing what projects will launch at what time. Wooden basket below holds things that are important but NOT urgent.
  4. Reality Check: A drawing of mom by one of the kiddos - keeps you humble and connected to your family. "Keep first things first." Right?
  5. AND Conference: Our biggest WiredChurches.com event of the year. It is placed higher than most things since it is not urgent, but yet not out of reach either. Conference is in November 2010.
  6. Inspiration: On the wall are scriptures, quotes, quips and sayings to help her maintain focus, productivity, boundaries, etc.
  7. The Work Station: Laptop for portability. Extra monitor for meetings and increased productivity. Binder/notepad on the left (partially hidden) with the bulk of notes, handouts and outlines for ongoing projects.
  8. Short-Term Organization: The outline for the day - including the items that Trump all others, items to be completed Today and items that are On Deck.
  9. Beverage: One has to remain hydrated when getting so much done.
  10. Most Recent Project: As you knock out pieces of larger projects, it helps to set them on the desk just to your right in plain view. This helps reinforce the fact that you are checking things off the list and being productive. The stapler is just there because she forgot to put it back in it's designated spot.
  11. Keys: Always keep your keys in plain view - this way they're easy to grab when leaving and you won't have to search for them in the case of a fire, tornado or when warned that there is a mad man in the building screaming "Less Clutter. Less Noise!"
Obviously some of this was meant to be funny. But that wasn't my motivation for this post. You see I aspire to this level of organization. I resonate with it and it just feels right. I know that if I don't have the majority of my "stuff" in order, my productivity goes out the window. In fact there are days when I spend an hour organizing my Inbox and hand writing a to do list before ever touching Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks or a browser for that matter.

It's like that whole "dress for success" thing. Or the "everything has it's place" thing. Or could it be the "cleanliness is next to godliness" thing?

I don't know - but it works.

The next time you're sitting in your messy office feeling overwhelmed, call up this post and try to replicate the zen, fung shui bliss going on here and you might find yourself solving world peace that afternoon.



17 July 2010

Remembering Cindy

Today would have been my Mother-in-law's birthday. Cindy was taken WAY too early - especially considering the vibrant life she lived, the energy she had and the way she loved her family.

I can go months without thinking about it, but then something will trigger me and it all comes flooding back.

One of the biggest triggers for me is my daughter Rachel - who looks like, talks like and acts like Cindy the majority of the time. I consider that a good thing - it has helped me remember Cindy more often.

Here are just a few of the things that I recall about Cindy:
  1. The sweet tooth
  2. Afternoon coffee runs
  3. Drinking leftover (reheated) coffee in the mornings
  4. All her track/tennis/running outfits that matched from head to toe
  5. Weekends at the lake - pulling us behind the boat
  6. Refusing to wear a "real" life jacket
  7. Riding the original wake/surf board
  8. Never standing still
  9. Family gatherings she coordinated
  10. Nana



12 July 2010

Where Are All the Good Designers?



Apparently still in school!

I saw this today and was amazed by the level of quality and forward thinking that this guy (Andrew Kim) displayed in a recent design project called HTC 1.

I think HTC needs to look this guy up and offer him a job - or at least an internship so they can steal his designs :)

If you like a good design presentation, take some time to look through his concepts and the rationale behind some of his design choices. I'm not saying it all makes sense, but there are some pretty cool ideas - and I love his artwork/sketches.

As for the phone - I'd buy it!



09 July 2010

My HTC Evo 4G Review (Finally)

Sorry this took so long. I've had the new phone for over a month now and have had friends email me asking for the review. But with everything going on and the Fourth of July weekend, I'm just now in a good place to let it rip. So here it goes...

Sprint Service
My wife and I have been with almost every carrier there is. Sprint is as good or better than most. We pay around $120.00 total for two smart phones and unlimited everything (Except for voice. We share 1500 minutes and never come close). I do have to pay an extra $10.00/month for 4G which I can use if we travel to cities that have it...

Hardware
I have held HTC phones in the past which were small, light, had little screens and felt very cheap (Touch Diamond, Touch Pro, etc.) but HTC has definitely taken a turn in quality. The Evo is big, heavy and solid (which all appeal to me). I want something that has a nice large screen (since it takes such large pictures and 720p video) and something that feels well built. The Snapdragon processor is stinking fast - no lag time like I was used to on the Palm Pre. My only irritation is the screen - still sub par compared to the iPhone and requires protection with a BodyGuardz shield. However, I have been putting these on every device I purchase so I would probably even put one on the iPhone...

Camera
Amazing pictures - large, good color and lots of options to choose from. Quick operation with no "sit and wait" like I had on the Palm Pre. Easy picture management and easy share functionality with a menu of over 14 options.

Video
720p. HD video on a phone. Wow. But let's be honest - what phone is going to take crystal clear HD video? As for the quality I call it amazing for a phone - but definitely requires good lighting and moderate movement. For an interview in broad daylight you might have a hard time telling it was from a phone. But a soccer game at night and you're out of luck my friend. Again, good features, quick operation. The phone came set up to use Qik for all the video stuff but I haven't got it to work yet. Probably user error - just haven't really messed with it yet. Also - haven't tested out the video conferencing.

Android 2.1 OS
I'll admit I was a bit leery of switching to a Droid phone. I really like the stuff Google puts out, but had a hard time believing they could put out an amazing OS for a phone - something Microsoft still hasn't perfected. But I'm pleasantly surprised at the level of complexity, the simple UI and the available options (Apps typically available at the same time as they are for the iPhone). The other cool thing is that most newer Android phones will be upgraded to Froyo (Android OS 2.2) in the next few months. I've already read some articles on the speed and increased functionality with Froyo (including flash support) and I'm stoked.

HTC Sense
Basically - when you buy a phone (like a computer) the company that built it likes to put a few finishing touches on it - typically small software programs and UI upgrades that they feel will be helpful. In this case, HTC has built what is called HTC Sense - a UI that sits on top of the stock Android OS and makes it easier for the user to access content and use the phone. For those that love to tweak their OS and flash it every week or so - probably not necessary - but for the average user this is a nice touch and makes the phone that much more simple and straightforward. You basically get seven screens that you can edit to death. Add shortcuts, small widgets or full screen widgets. Mix and match - make it yours. You also have a nice shortcut that shows you all seven screens at one time for easy access.

Battery Life
I'm not going to lie - big smart phones require daily charging. However, I haven't seen a huge difference from my Palm Pre and on days when I use the phone on an "as needed" basis I can almost get 2 days of use out of one charge.

Cutting Edge Stuff
The Evo is revolutionary for reasons that I probably won't even take advantage of:
  • 4G: I don't live in an area that has 4G so I have no idea what it can do. Looking forward to a trip to Chicago so I can test it out though...
  • Wireless Hotspot: In a 4G zone the Evo can provide Internet access to up to 8 devices. Again - not in a 4G area and don't want to pay the price to access this functionality.
All together an amazing phone. I'm glad I bought it and can't wait to see what Froyo does to the speed and functionality.



06 July 2010

Who Invented the Internet Again?

Most of us can remember Al Gore saying:

I took the initiative to create the Internet...
If you don't remember it, or think that for some reason I'm making it up go here.

I don't know how many of us knew for sure that Al Gore didn't have a hand in it. But we certainly had a good laugh when the story broke that the Internet was really a tool created by the military. This tool grew to become a platform on which networks, businesses and people could build and interact. But no one person could really take credit for it.

So it was with great interest that I read the following article: The 10 Founding Fathers of the Web on mashable.com.

I love the twist the writer takes in not attributing the "invention" of it to a person or people, but instead the creation of ideas that greatly enhanced the use of the Internet.

Read it for yourself, but here are some highlights:
  • Tim Berners-Lee: Created the World Wide Web (not the Internet). The use of web servers and HTML in the first browser. Currently works with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to oversee web standards and future of the web.
  • Rasmus Lerdorf, Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski: The development of PHP - the open source programming language that allows for dynamic web content.
  • Brendan Eich: Creator of javascript and currently the CTO at Mozilla.
  • John Resig: Creator of jQuery - a javascript library that has opened up the power of javascript to countless designers with little programming knowledge.



23 June 2010

An End to Technology?

I got to thinking about technology this morning and came up with the following observations:

  • Technology is only considered "advanced" by human standards. We come up with new things and we think that we're so intelligent. When in fact, God is the Creator of the universe and doesn't need a smart phone to stay connected.
  • Technology is NOT a bad thing. Some may say because of my first point, there is no need to advance technology. But I suggest technology is from God. When you break it down, God created us, and we're attempting to create things. In essence, God gave us the ability to create advances in technology - suggesting He knew all along we'd wind up where we are. It's up to us whether we use the things we create for good or evil.
  • Someday I'll be out of a job. Think about it like this: When we arrive in Heaven, all of our technological advancements will remain on Earth. God doesn't need our technology and we won't either.
  • God has His own "technology." We don't begin to understand what is possible with God. For all we know our bodies will be capable of flight, we'll be able to communicate via thought transfer in the collective conscious or maybe we'll be able to transport ourselves to a place by simply picturing that place in our mind. Whatever the case - we're in for a real eye opener when we leave this Earth.



14 June 2010

Coffee + Uppity = Irritating

I was in an "uppity" restaurant the other day. When I asked for coffee, the response was, "Would you prefer the Ethiopian or Guatemalan blend?"

I stood there for a second and then answered as if I had a strong opinion, when in truth I could have cared less.

Why? As long as my coffee isn't Folgers, Maxwell House or McDonald's "blend," I'm typically good.

I think what really made me laugh (inside) was that the coffee they were brewing probably cost $6 a pound even though they were making it out to be expensive "gourmet" coffee.

What I should have said was,
Actually, I was hoping you had Blue Mountain Coffee from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica.
If he knew what I was talking about, I would have been really impressed. You see there is good coffee, and then there is amazing coffee. And if they really wanted to impress me (in a genuine way) - they would have Blue Mountain Coffee flown in weekly for my drinking pleasure...

Please Make Your Point!
A bit over the top, I know. But it made me think about our websites - or more specifically our "digital footprint" as churches.

Are we offering people a little of this or a little of that because it sounds impressive? Because it's the latest thing? Because we were able to find an amazing plugin that didn't cost much but makes us look really innovative?

Or are we giving people what they need? What their souls are craving?

Are we stripping it all down and offering them the gospel in digital form?

Are we giving them "uppity fluff" or the stuff straight from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica?

I'm as determined as ever to figure out what we're doing well and what we're putting out there to look cool. Hopefully this year we'll strip away all the fluff and help people truly see God through our digital presence.



05 June 2010

Sprint. Customer Service. Lessons Learned.

I wasn't going to write this post at first because I knew the negativity, frustration and anger would come shining through.

But I think I'm finally over it, and capable of learning from it.

I'm part of a team that oversees an eCommerce site that provides customer service during the week. So I've been trying to apply some of the things I learned in this recent episode toward making our customer service for WiredChurches.com that much better.

My Scenario
As a Premier Level Sprint customer I'm allowed to upgrade my phone yearly with no penalties. However, due to my wife being listed as head (accidentally based on a Sprint error) neither of us were allowed to upgrade this year. This was corrected, but due to the error I wouldn't be able to get my upgrade for close to two weeks after the phone (HTC Evo 4G) came out. Since it was a Sprint error (and because it would kill me to wait an extra two weeks to get my phone) I began the process of having the "one billing cycle" problem corrected.

After numerous calls (some lasting close to an hour), multiple trips in to the local Sprint store and promises that turned out to NOT be true - I still don't have the phone.

Now I know some of you are saying, "Dude, chill out! It's just a phone and it's only one day past it coming out. Aren't you making a mountain out of a mole hill?"

To that I would agree - not that big of a deal. But it's the time and energy put into it (all the while being told it would be a simple process) that has me worked up.

Lessons Learned
So, after dealing with the massive and slow moving engine that Sprint is; I think I've learned the following things about customer service:
  • Don't die by the process: I was originally told it would take a full billing cycle for the changes to be made - because this was the process in the "system." However, with it being a Sprint mistake - there should be an immediate fix that can happen outside that system. A supervisor or department head should have the power to go into a customers account and change whatever they want to change in order to fix problems that arise. It appears to be possible - but the journey to find this person and get them to make the change is much more difficult than it should be.
  • Don't complicate the calling center: A calling center needs to work together as a team. Don't have multiple departments in multiple locations - each not understanding what the other does. I told my story at least 6 times throughout this process.
  • Hire intelligent employees and train them well: Your front line employees need to be awesome trouble-shooters. In my case, the minute they understood the problem they should have been able to transfer the call to the department and person capable of clicking one button to fix the problem. In my case I had numerous front-line employees tell me nothing could be done - only to find out later that things could be done if you had the right person in the right department.
  • Maintain a smooth-running business plan: A business needs a well designed business model with strict guidelines as to how their product, retail stores and corporate call centers network and interact. In this case the call center told me I had to go to the retail store to have the over-ride done on my account. In the store they said they didn't have the ability to do over-rides and that I would have to go through the corporate call center. All the while leaving me feeling lost and incapable of moving forward. Make sure you have things like this planned for and that there is a simple and documented process so that things like this can be quickly fixed.
I feel like I could add a few more - but they deal with things like being nice, assuming the best in your customers and stuff like that so I better leave them alone :)

Hopefully these observations will keep customer service at WiredChurches.com running smoothly as well as your efforts in providing support to your customers.

I'll let you know if I ever get to upgrade my phone!



04 June 2010

I've Had It Up to Here!

I've been silent for over a week now, but not because I want to be. Truth is, we're in the middle of a very large project - one that will change the face of our team and how we do what we do.

Sounds pretty ominous eh?

Actually, it's just different than anything we've done before. Instead of it being a project where something gets created or redesigned, we're actually attempting to remove or combine.

Why?

Because it seems like this is the typical pattern with most teams:
Each team member starts with a few regular tasks and has the margin to go above and beyond in their sphere of influence. But over time - we keep adding tasks until that is all the team member does - no more above and beyond. They simply become a clock puncher...getting their stuff done and going home.
And this has become true of us. We're all so tied down to tasks that we can't pick our heads up to dream again. So we're doing something about it.

In every setting this might look different, but in ours it looks something like this:
  • Stop: There are things we have done for years that just don't need to be done anymore. Identify and cut.
  • Combine: There are countless tasks that live independently of each other - but what if they could be combined? Identify and combine.
  • Move: There are thing we do that take HUGE amounts of time and energy. But it is only because of the process. If there were a simpler way to do it wouldn't that be better? Identify and move.
  • Grow: There are things we are doing that are "old school." We simply haven't grown into the technology that is available in that area. Identify and grow.
  • Simplify: And in all things ask if there is a more simple way of presenting the content. Are our websites still too bloated? Have we let our media players get too full? Etc. Identify and simplify.
I've been pretty vague - partly because we haven't completely finalized our plan of attack. But when we do I'll post again and offer specific examples of each area.

Sound like fun? Give it a try in your environment.



25 May 2010

The Fight! Pre versus HTC Evo 4G


Definitely not rocket science. But thought it was a fun comparison. Especially since I own the Palm Pre and just pre-ordered the HTC Evo 4G.

Enjoy :)

By the way, the problems he has with WebOS are not because he doesn't use WebOS very often. I have the same issues after using it as my primary device for close to a year. A little frustrating that the hardware can't keep up with an OS that has so much potential.



19 May 2010

Android Official

As of 1:00 p.m. today I became Android official by pre-ordering the HTC Evo 4G from Sprint.

Call it drinking the Kool-aid, jumping on the band wagon or jumping ship. I haven't really decided how I want to look at it so it doesn't matter to me.

But the truth of the matter is this: I'm joining a movement of sorts. What Google has done with the Droid mobile platform in the past two years is staggering to me. They've been able to develop a mobile OS that rivals the best on the market. They have a cloud computing and SaaS structure already in place to power Apps on their phones. And they intelligently offer them on a variety of devices with most carriers - thereby making it available to the widest possible spectrum of users.

All this and they keep moving forward with the speed of a company that has serious goals to meet. When I see that, I can't help but want to be part of it.

If it were all a flash in the pan - you'd expect to see the Droid market rise, level off and then either remain stagnant or actually drop. But instead it keeps moving off the charts. Here are just two stories from the past month or two:
I fully expect there to be bugs with the HTC Evo 4G just as there have been with every other mobile device I've owned. But I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do, and I feel like the sky is the limit based on the almost mind-boggling stuff Google has unveiled for the future of their mobile platform.

Can't wait until June 4th!



18 May 2010

SEO Tactics to Avoid

Search Engine Optimization is the buzzword of the day. And while there are valid expressions of SEO in good web design - there is also the possibility of going too far and becoming something of a jerk in the web world.

Remember the scene in Crocodile Dundee II where Paul Hogan was fishing with dynamite in New York Harbor? Absurd you say? Yes, but this is what many of the popular SEO tactics are like today. Rather than "helping" people find your site, you "force" them upon your site. This is a monumental difference to the visitor. It's the difference between them saying, "Sweet - that wasn't so bad" and, "What the heck is all this crap cluttering up my search?"

LINE25 recently posted on 5 tactics that will make you look bad. They are:
  1. Stuffing your titles with keywords
  2. Littering your body text with keywords
  3. Not using your real name on comments
  4. Excessive interlinking of words and phrases
  5. Sending link exchange request emails
In my opinion these are just 5 of many.

To read more about each of the above check out the full article here.



13 May 2010

HTML5 & CSS3 Are Coming!

Advances in web design and web strategy are often limited by the modern browser's ability to accurately render what we've created. Of course that's why we use hacks and a little elbow grease to make sure our sites look relatively the same in all of them.


HTML5 and CSS3 are nothing more than progress - the next version of that thing we're already using. But as it is with most things - you need the majority of the people to accept them before they can be widely used.

In this case - we need the majority of the browsers (if not all) to get on the same page and honor the web standards that will allow for true innovation and progress to occur in the area of web design.

Because of this I love it when I find little articles and/or tools that make it clear just how far we are along that journey.

This site built by the Asylum helps you to quickly and visually see what browsers support some of the new and fun stuff HTML5 and CSS3 offer: html5readiness.com

Have fun!



06 May 2010

Palm Pre: Failure to Launch

Those of you that have read this blog before probably know that I obsessed over the Palm Pre for close to 6 months before its arrival. I stood in line to get it and have now had it for close to a year. So here is my final review of the Palm Pre on the Sprint Network:

  • Sprint plans: Awesome
  • Sprint coverage: Awesome
  • Sprint customer service: Used to be the worst but is getting much better
  • Palm Pre hardware: Not great at all. Plastic that cracks easily, hard to protect, slider is easily damaged, battery is easily jarred which restarts the phone, screen is highly finger-print sensitive, on/off button sticks on my phone, have to use Palm certified recharging products or recharging won't start immediately.
  • Palm WebOS: Great idea. The future is: Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS). Hopefully HP will squeeze every ounce of usefulness out of this genuinely innovative concept and make it useful on a variety of platforms (like a tablet perhaps?)
  • Palm WebOS functionally: My Pre has never felt fast. There has always been a lag in the responsiveness of the tough screen and the ease with which programs will start and run well. Games take relatively long to load and I've had a few that won't start due to their size. I routinely see the "Too many cards open" warning which basically means a restart.
  • Palm Follow-through: Very poor. When I bought the phone it came with the promise of any number of things like flash compatibility, video recording, mobile document creation, etc. We just received video recording in the last OS update but the other two are still MIA.
  • Palm Touchstone: Awesome idea and works well. I'm assuming this will be a feature accessory for many new phones in the future.
  • Connection troubles: I've noticed that the Pre has a problem figuring out whether or not to use the Sprint Network or the Wi-fi at times. If the Wi-fi is available but hasn't been authenticated (like at a hotel or restaurant) certain Apps (like Tweed) stop working. You have to either authenticate or turn off the Wi-fi in order to refresh Twitter. Seems like the phone should know that and force the App to use the Sprint Network.
  • Over the Air (OTA) OS Updates: Awesome - works well - can't complain.
  • OTA OS Updates (actual content): Nothing to write home about. Palm has the perfect scenario - the ability to fix bugs immediately and push it to every Pre out there. But instead they wait months to roll out updates that on my Pre seem to do nothing. Small tweaks and slightly different functionality, but nothing major. AND! Half the time I have problems after the updates! Decreased battery life, camera takes 3x longer to take the picture and locks up the phone after the shot, Google Maps takes a lot longer to open and rarely works correctly now, etc.
In Summary
Palm was failing big time so they stepped out of the box and went for it all with WebOS and the Palm Pre. On the one hand they hit it big. New technology that made Apple, RIM and Google go, "Oh my word...we better get on that..." But I just don't think Palm had the time and money to completely knock it out of the park - which became even more evident this past month when HP bought them out.

In this day and age, you have to offer a product with the latest technology out of the box. Chances are the consumer will only have your product for 24 months. In my case I feel like upgrading in 10-12 months. So you can't put out a product that is lagging and say, "We'll roll that out in Q2 next year." That business plan just doesn't cut it any more.

So I want to commend Palm for their effort. And I wish them well in the future as they partner with HP and look for new innovative ways to use WebOS.

But for me, I think I'm ready to try something new. I've held off on the whole Android craze because just like everything else Google does, it starts in the roughest of beta and remains there for a while until all the kinks are worked out. But once they get the kinks worked out - they seem to be able to use the latest technology and stay at the top of the game.

Because of this I feel like the most recent Android phones to hit the market have the perfect combination of a stable/consistent Android OS coupled with hardware that takes it to the next level.

The HTC Incredible and HTC Evo 4G have caught my eye and in June I just might pull that trigger.

This in part because I don't think I have the patience to wait until December to see what Microsoft Windows Phone 7 phones will look like and be capable of. So for now I'll leave you with the HTC Evo 4G and it's rich feature set...



04 May 2010

It's a Slow Decline. But it's a Decline...

There's just something in me that wants to root for the underdog. I'll find myself watching a sporting event where I could care less about either team. And yet, before long I'm hoping that the losing team will stage a comeback so it will be a good game.

So it's no surprise to me that I feel the same way about browsers.

For years it has been an Internet Explorer (IE) world. But not for long. As newer browsers emerge, IE has slowly been losing ground. According to this Engadget article, they have finally dipped below the 60% mark in terms of browser market shares.

Now this may not seem significant, but for a browser that had been in the 90% range for years, it IS a big deal.

And to bring it closer to home, here are the browser stats for gccwired.com for the month of April 2010:
  • IE: 44.78%
  • Safari: 24.75%
  • Firefox: 21.71%
  • Chrome: 5.33%
Not sure what this says about the visitors to our site - but our IE usage is about 15% less than the reported numbers!

In Summary
One important thing to note: I'm not just rooting for Firefox and Chrome because they are underdogs. This truly comes down to the philosophy behind the products: Standards compliance, use of the latest technologies (html5 and css3), speed and the ability to adapt quickly to the changing tech landscape.

Looks like good days are ahead!



28 April 2010

Universal Impact (If it's True)

So apparently Noah's Ark was found in Turkey.

This according to The Sun (Noah's Ark Found in Turkey, published April 27, 2010).

Now I'm fairly skeptical and waiting for the official report that the article is a hoax. Partly due to the fact that no other reputable news agency has ran this story and partly due to the fact that The Sun's home page looks like the home page for the National Inquirer...

But it did catch my interest and made me read the story.

Think about this: What would it mean for the world if the actual Ark was found?

Is this something God would allow? Would He let physical evidence on this level be found - and in essence make the Bible almost irrefutable?

Or would people in this life rationalize and science-ize it to death so that even a true find of this magnitude wouldn't make it to Prime Time News?

I just love to think of the possibilities. What if Noah's Ark was found? What if the Ark of the Covenant was found?

Would people start believing then? Or would we as a materialistic, consumer-driven and reality TV loving people not even blink?

Wow...now that's something to think about...

If this is truly Noah's Ark - how soon until the end of all things?



Technology Suggests Connectivity

Think about it. Each new gadget does more and more - which means you are connected to more and more. Early phones allowed you to talk on the phone - which happened once or twice a day (unless you were a middle school girl). But today's devices allow you to monitor things like Twitter which update every few seconds.

So what does that mean for us as users? Well it probably depends on what type of person you are. I've decided there are two big (and messy) buckets that we fall into as Uber-device users:

The Type-A User
This user keeps up with everything. After all, it would be a sin to miss a tweet from a friend or fail to respond to an email within 24 hours. Tweets are monitored ongoing, the Indox is under 50 and Facebook is an App you're in more often than you're in the restroom... (By the way - the "A" stands for "Attempting to be responsible").

The Type-O User
You own the latest and greatest device(s) that can take pictures and video, surf the Net, social network and run Productivity Apps like email and a word processor. But you don't really care. In fact you check Twitter and Facebook once and a while - usually if you see others checking it. Your Inbox is at 200 because you look at the subject line when it comes in and fail to do anything with it at the time - or later. You don't respond to texts or emails but if you see someone in the hallway you magically start spitting out answers to questions that you remember reading in texts and emails... (By the way - the "O" stands for "Oblivious").

Of course a lot of this is driven by our personalities - so it can't be wrong...right?
The truth of the matter is:
Technology does NOT suggest connectivity. People are the filter through which connectivity happens or fails to happen.
Just talking out loud :)

Can you figure out which category I typically fall into?



22 April 2010

What the Shell, Dell?!

"Shell!" Like that? My son watches the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles religiously so I couldn't resist...

But seriously! What's up with Dell lately?

Wasn't it just a year or two ago that they were having legal problems, losing money and putting bad versions of their products into national superstore chains like Walmart and Best Buy?

Yet here they are playing with the big dogs - acting like they can keep up with the best out there today in computer, mobile and even tablet technology.

Last night I saw no less than 6 articles on new Dell products being released soon. Most are mobile phones. But there was also an article or two on their tablets called the Streak5 and the Looking Glass.

Here are just a couple of the articles on the mobile phones they unveiled yesterday:

Needless to say I was a bit surprised last night with the flurry of activity.

Dell definitely wants back into the game - so should we let them? :)



Enabling the Love-Hate Relationship

It amazes me how many things in life invoke the love-hate relationship quandary. You know how it works, but I'll give you a couple examples just in case:

First, are the snowplows that come by during the winter months. I LOVE the fact that our streets stay plowed. But HATE the fact that they can't drive and typically scrape sod off my lawn...

Second is the street sweeper that comes through in the spring. I LOVE that all the dirt, sand and pebbles are gone from the long winter. But I HATE the fact that the sweeper breaks up the asphalt along our curb and makes an even bigger mess.

And I could go on and on (automatic sprinkler heads, electronic devices, technology, etc.) but I don't want to bore you.
So what are we doing with our websites and our web strategy to keep from enabling a love-hate relationship with those that visit us?
I won't lie, we can't please all the people all the time. But for the most part, do we give people a sense of "zen" when they visit? Or do we so frustrate them, that the good our sites do end up being hated at the same time?

At Granger, we have a short list of things we know have the potential to provoke this response in people. We try to knock things off the list as soon as possible, but aren't always successful.

I guess the most important thing is to recognize them for what they are and work toward minimizing their impact on our visitors.

Do you struggle with this as well?



07 April 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

I have access to an iPod Touch for testing purposes since I own a Zune HD and need to see how development projects look on Apple platforms.

I don't typically use it that often, so when I went to the App Store to look for the new PayPal App I was greeted with an upgrade message like the following:



The Terms of Use have changed since your last purchase. Please review and accept them before proceeding.
Then I noticed this at the bottom of the screen: Read more: Page 1 of 92.

What?! 92 pages of legal mumbo jumbo in order to use a service?

Wow...I find it amazing that someone could actually come up with 92 pages of legaleze to begin with (granted - this was on the iPod - so there are probably fewer pages if viewed on a laptop).

And (for all of my Apple loving friends) I'm not saying this is specific to Apple - I'm sure I've seen the same thing when activating other software.

But seriously, I find it interesting that the Terms of Service or Terms of Use can actually be more detailed than the application or software we are using...

So do we do the same thing? When building websites do we have more help documents and "required for this website" requirements than we do web pages?

If so - I think we need to pull back and ask ourselves if we like visiting websites with 10 different requirements just to view their content.

Maybe it would change the way we design and develop...



26 March 2010

What Were They Thinking #6: Jury Duty Process

Or maybe I should say, "What are they thinking?" since this isn't a past problem I had - it will be an ongoing issue until it is fixed...
I received a summons for jury duty. Not a big deal except for the fact that I'm going to be out of town at a conference at the same time.

So I started the process of getting an exemption.

The Problem: Not taking advantage of available technology to ease the pain of interacting with the court.

I called the courthouse and left a message. Next I had to wait for the Bailiff to return the call and let me know what I needed to do. Next she FAXed me an official court document - you know the kind - hard to read, copied 1000 times, written in legaleze so I had to spend the next 30 minutes trying to figure out which parts to fill out. Then I had to print off my supporting documents (conference registration and flight confirmation) and FAX everything back to the courthouse.

Needless to say - I'm not sure if it was right - and won't know if it was until I get picked up by the police for contempt of court. This, because they don't notify you UNLESS the deferral is denied.

The Solution: Catch up with the rest of society. Even the License Branch has started this process and you know that's progress!

We live in a new reality - people are connected and want to be able to take advantage of this option if at all possible. We'd much rather fill out a form online or submit paperwork via email than picking up a phone and using a FAX machine.

This gives me the opportunity to pimp an amazing online tool that we use at Granger. It has saved us hours of work and more than pays for itself.

It's called FormAssembly and allows you to create, implement and manage forms online. It has a sweet form creation tool and allows your submissions to be held in data so you can easily manage, archive or export them as needed.

When stuff like this is available - why wouldn't you take advantage of it?!



25 March 2010

Controversy Theory: Resurrection

Prior to becoming a web geek - I went to school for and worked as a therapist in the mental health field. It was both rewarding and stressful at the same time. But it was definitely a part of my life that helped mold me and make me a better person.

During that time I was plagued with questions about counseling, treatment modalities, spirituality, God versus Satan, our problems, diagnoses, the human condition, secular humanism, pop psychology, the self help movement and how all of these meshed together.

Eventually I began making headway and decided to write down some of the answers I was finding to these questions.

Long story short: I ended up with a fairly large manuscript titled Controversy Theory that I assumed would become a book.

Long story even shorter: It didn't become a book. Instead it has sat collecting dust on my hard drive since 2001.

So the other day I decided to dust off the files, create a blog and start dumping small doses of it out there for people to react to.

Many of you will click the link, look it over and never return. I feel ya...

But there may be a few of you that resonate with it. If so, subscribe to the rss feed and join me on the journey. It'll almost be like getting a book for free :)

Whatever the case - thanks for indulging me in this little experiment...



Reality Bites!

I've come to the sad realization that life is short and opportunities will NOT always be there for you.

I grew up with hockey as far back as I can remember. From having various family members either play or coach in the NHL to skating on ponds and frozen tennis courts - it's always been there.

I used to watch it and play it religiously. Then I got married, had kids, began the career and it all stopped. Until recently...

It started back up when my son (age 5) entered a "Learn to Skate" program and I was again faced with the realization that hockey can be as foundational to your life as your religion, ethnicity or political views.

So here's the problem: No matter how much I love the game and want to start playing again, I no longer have the guarantee that it's even possible. My back problems come and go whenever they want, so one minute I feel like taking on the world and the next I'm trying to figure out how to tie my shoes without pain. Go figure - what was once viewed as fun and exciting with limitless potential is now partially unattainable.

My plan: However, I think my frustration with the whole thing might just be the thing to make it a reality. I'm going to try and play this summer no matter how I'm feeling. If I need to do back exercises daily or work out more than normal to keep up - that's what I'll do.

Wish me luck and maybe I'll report "back" on it at some point...



23 March 2010

The WordPress Migration Has Begun

Well, it has officially begun here at Granger. Our Executive Pastor, Tim Stevens was the first of many to move his blog to WordPress. And there are at least 5 more in line to do the same.


The majority of these are moving from TypePad, due to the cost and poor feature-set that exists there. But there are also two moving from Blogger to WordPress (me being one of them).

I have mixed feelings. Blogger has been nothing but good to me, and I still feel like it is a solid platform for the majority of the people out there. If you need a great little blog platform that simply gets it done - by all means use Blogger.

But if you are ready to take it to the next level, I would definitely suggest WordPress. Not the online hosted version - but the self-hosted version found at WordPress.org.

Here are just a few reasons why I'm finally making the switch:
  • Complete Control: You get the raw files used to generate your blog. If you're a designer or developer - you have complete control over the look and feel of the site along with functionality as well.
  • Themes: Too numerous to count with easy installation process. Both free and purchased themes available.
  • Plugins: Too numerous to count with easy installation process. Have an idea as to how you want your blog to act? Chances are - there is a plugin that will make it happen for you.
  • Website Capable: Want your blog to resemble a website rather than just a blog? Simple with WordPress. Add pages, and use plugins to control what pages are seen, how they are seen and what shows up on each page. You can potentially have an entire website using WordPress as the CMS (Content Management System). This is huge for designers that need to create sites for clients and then hand them off with no lingering contract for site management.
  • Feature Rich: I'm just scratching the surface though - you'll also get SEO optimized pages, easy and powerful post interface, media upload library, threaded commenting, comment management, theme controls (come with many installed themes), widgets and easy widget management panel, etc.
I guess what I'm saying is, "Why didn't I make the switch years ago?"



17 March 2010

Small Change. Big Impact.

The other day I was caught completely off guard. I was driving down Douglas - a road I was familiar with, but hadn't been on in a while.

I came to the stoplight, turned left and quickly realized I was entering the newly opened campus of Brown Mackie College. That's great! Except I wasn't planning on going there. I was supposed to turn left onto SR 23.

I then had to dodge busy college students, miss poorly parked cars and try to get back out onto Douglas.

Small Change. Big Impact.

You see when you're familiar with something your mind tends to go on auto pilot. I knew Douglas went for a couple blocks and then had a light at SR 23. The problem was - a new light had been added to Douglas since I had been there last.

Website Changes
So how do we impact our "auto pilot" visitors on our websites when we make small changes? Do we do a good job of explaining? Do we make sure the transition will be seamless? Or do we just make the change and assume they'll figure it out?

In my opinion, the best way to keep a small website change from causing a problem is to make sure it is designed well. In other words, make sure the new page, element or feature is designed in such a way that the visitor feels comfortable using it. As long as your navigation is clean and simple, it shouldn't be difficult for people to assimilate.

Making changes people don't understand, and trying to recreate the wheel when people know how to use the wheel, will simply get you nowhere.

Small change is good - just make sure the impact is going to be a positive thing.



11 March 2010

There's Only One Ranch Dressing

There are many things in life that suffice for the original. In other words, I'm not a "brand man" when it comes to every little thing.

I can eat any brand of pasta - all tastes the same to me.

I can wear clothes from basically anywhere as long as I like the look of them (although I do have my favorites: The North Face, Keen and Under Armour to name a few...).

I am even pretty neutral when it comes to pizza. It's just good no matter where I go.

But when it comes to certain things - there is no alternate - nothing can compare to the original.

For me this applies to ranch dressing. Hidden Valley Ranch is amazing. Others are not. Simple as that.

Another is my HTML editor and web graphics program. Adobe Dreamweaver and Fireworks in combination wins hands down over anything else I've tried.

Making the Web Application
When it comes to our websites, we could ask ourselves the same question:
Are we simply being the alternate to something people already use - or are we the original - giving people something they just have to have from us?
I know this gets sticky at times - because we (specifically church websites) are promoting the gospel - which is not original to any of us.

But what is it about your church (and in turn your website) that fills a need in the people of your community?

If you closed shop tomorrow - what would people say, "Wow, I really miss that..." about?

If you can identify this thing (or things) - you'll be one giant step in the right direction. You'll be able to strengthen the identified strengths in your church and make them available online through your website.

In other words, if you're going to do it right, be Hidden Valley Ranch!



09 March 2010

Coolest Thing Since "Sliced Corners"

I just love cool tools that are free and useful. Meet CSS Border Radius

This is one cutting edge tool. Now not all browsers can take advantage of it, but if you're like me you aren't going to allow IE to keep us in the Dark Ages...

Simply enter the radius of the corners you'd like on your object and viola - there's your code!



The New Dork


It's a Tuesday morning and I'm cranking through 200 emails and checking things off my to do list. But when I came across this I just had to share...

Everyone needs a good laugh from time to time - even if it's at the expense of technology and "dorks" like us :)

Enjoy!



08 March 2010

Net Growth of Internet Usage 1998-2008

I'm not a HUGE stat lover, but I definitely understand the power behind numbers.

This interactive graphic from the BBC website made me take another look. It shows the use of the Internet over time. And it was just plain cool to see the increased usage as you moved from 1989 through to 2008.

Play around with it and see what interesting stats you come up with.



27 February 2010

I'm Looking For Someone

Leave it to Google to take their incredible search capabilities and put it to good use.


When the earthquake occurred in Chile, Google leveraged the capabilities they have in order to provide a platform to find people and make sure people who are OK could let people know that they are alive.

This is why technology exists. Or at least I hope it is why...



26 February 2010

State of the Internet


Thank you to Jesse Thomas for this amazing media reviewing the State of the Internet. It might just knock your socks off!



25 February 2010

March WiredChurches.com Workshops | Not Too Late!

One-day workshops: Friday, March 19
Register your team now at WiredChurches.com.

First Impressions Workshop
Presenter: Mark Waltz, Granger’s Pastor of Connections

Learn how to make great first impressions that last. Discover ways to:

  • Keep things like announcements, communion and the offering from distracting your guests or making them feel like outsiders.
  • Determine the “rules” your church has, even if you don’t know them yet.
  • Experience hands-on training that will empower your volunteers.
Less Clutter. Less Noise. Workshop
Presenter: Kem Meyer, Granger’s Communications Director

This workshop is for pastors, creative professionals, ministry leaders or volunteers who want to find out:
  • New ways to encourage collaboration among ministry areas and minimize competitiveness.
  • How to find out what guests need and want—and then craft communications to meet those felt needs.
  • How to organize information effectively through bulletins, brochures, Web sites and other avenues that keep the end-user’s time, tastes and habits in mind.
Early Bird Rate: $99/person
After March 1: $119/person
Group Discount: $20 off each registration for groups of six or more

Workshops are held at Granger Community Church, 90 miles east of Chicago. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Friday, March 19.

The workshop price includes your materials and lunch.



We're Not as Fast as We Think We Are

Comcast pokes fun at those who still have dial-up connections and has even created a website dedicated to The Slowskys (those famous turtles that love the slow pace of their lives and Internet speed).

We joke about those who just haven't "graduated" yet, but do we really understand just how many there are out there?

Crunch Gear reports the following based various recent studies:
According to the FCC, about 93 million Americans don’t use fast, broadband Internet, citing cost and complexity as a factor in their refusal to enter the 20th century.
Are you kidding me? That's nearly one third of all Internet users!

I live in a world where television shows and movies can be streamed in high definition to your television! On dial-up you're lucky to bring up most modern websites in under 5 minutes.

With this gap between serving the dial-up community and making use of today's technology ever widening, what are we to do?

At Granger, we chose to push the envelope with our website. Those on dial-up will probably be disappointed if they visit and definitely won't be able to access the media player, on demand services and things like that.

We based our decision on evidence that broadband use in our area is a lot higher than the studies suggest. But when your influence spreads and you become available to the world (via Online Church), it makes you think a bit more about it. And 1/3 of all Internet users is a big number...

At this point I don't have an answer, but I do pray that someday soon hi-speed Internet will be cheap enough and available to everyone. If not by cable - through upcoming technologies like Wi|Max.



23 February 2010

I'm Definitely Surprised With JS-Kit Plugin

I'm typically NOT a fan of third party plugins that are pasted directly into your website with little customization. But this week we installed one that has changed my mind and made me reconsider my position.


The Need
A way for parents to exchange ideas and information on parenting. We thought through the use of Facebook, Forums and other online message boards, but decided against it for a variety of reasons.

The next thought was to generate a commenting component from scratch on our website (time intensive and never looks as good as what people are used to using).

So we landed on trying to find a plugin that would do comments well. And we did (hat tip to Keith at AspireOne.com).

The Solution
We embedded the code for Echo Commenting by JS-Kit.com and were impressed with how easy and professional it is.

Here is the page we installed it on: GCC Parent Exchange

The perks: Integrates social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Has an easy to use online comment moderation area. Filters for inappropriate language. Pagination. Etc.

Pretty sweet if you ask me.

I guess my thoughts have changed a bit on plug and play...



17 February 2010

Windows Phone 7 Looking Good So Far

I'm currently sporting the Palm Pre - and believe me, I obsessed about it for months before it's release. But that doesn't mean I'm a fanboy that will keep buying Palm products. I'm definitely not brand-centric when it comes to phones. I simply want the best possible mobile experience I can have no matter what platform. I'd even buy the iPhone if it wasn't through AT&T and if Apple didn't require you to use them for support and repairs...

So I was definitely interested when I saw that Windows Phone 7 (Engadget writeup here) was on the way.

Based on the Zune HD user interface, Windows Phone 7 will hopefully be a far cry from Windows Mobile 6.0 (the last version I was familiar with since it came on my Motorola Q9c).

I currently own a Zune HD, so when they talk about the interface and the new, innovative navigation, I'm chomping at the bit to see it in action.

Looks like we won't see it on phones until later in the year, and who knows what carriers will pick them up. But hopefully Sprint will be on the top of the list...

My 3 big concerns so far:

  • Hardware: Who's going to make the darn things? I want a solid phone that doesn't feel like plastic. Can you deal with that?
  • Multiple Applications: So far it doesn't look good - but maybe by December they'll reconsider and reconfigure.
  • Flash Support: I should be getting flash support on my Pre this month. To go backwards would not be fun... And for the record Microsoft - Silverlight is NOT a viable alternative to flash! I don't care that the phone has Silverlight on it. I want flash! How many streaming videos have you watched in Silverlight? How many have you watched in flash? Enough said...

I hope this year goes fast!



12 February 2010

I Love the Help

If you're like me - you love the fact that you can learn just about anything online.


With tutorials, editorials, tips and tricks, plugins, extensions, code libraries, etc. There is just no limit to what you can do in the world of web design/development.

Here are just a few of the great resources I use: 11 Outstanding Web Resources Online



08 February 2010

Do You Wireframe?

Anyone out there use wireframing consistently in the design process?

I don't - probably because my side jobs have been pretty small and possibly because I do what could be considered verbal wireframing with the client as we discuss what the site needs to do and how it could be laid out.

I typically sketch out my ideas as we talk and then use those sketches as I translate the ideas into mockups.

However, I love the concept of wireframing for a number of reasons:
  • It allows you to see structure without the design cluttering things up.
  • It keeps everyone on the same page.
  • It can save time because the client won't be surprised as often by designs that seem opposite of their expectations.
  • It helps you have the difficult conversations about information architecture and scaling back on content.
I might just look into this for future projects. But for those of you that are wireframing and looking for better resources, look no further.



Ubuntu: Welcome Home

Earlier this year I pre-ordered Windows 7 for a fairly good deal ($49.00). I installed it on my wife's laptop and then on the desktop the kids use to play games online.

See where this is going?

Sure enough - a few weeks later I get the message on the desktop that the product key is invalid (since it was on my wife's laptop first) and that I had 28 days to purchase a new key (for the low low price of $119.00 of course).

Needless to say, I was a bit irritated, but I got out the Win XP Pro disk and started a fresh install of that - only to remember the painful process it is to install XP and then have to hunt down drivers, Comcast Internet information and all that jazz...

So I threw up my hands and prayed for a way out of the mess. And when I opened my eyes my browser had changed to the Ubuntu website (no, not really...). But Ubuntu did pop into my head. So I got my friend Matt Metzger on the line and he walked me through the setup process.

I stand amazed at the fact that something can be so easy to install, so easy to use and free all at the same time. No 3 hour install process like Windows products. No searching for drivers. No nothing but load it up and go.

Now I know there are limitations to Ubuntu, but for the kids at home to jump on the Internet and play a few games it made all the sense in the world. And it looks incredible. The UI and menu structure are clean, well designed and straightforward.

Welcome home Ubuntu...



05 February 2010

What Were They Thinking #5: TypePad Survey

The Problem: I recently received an email from The TypePad Team asking me to fill out a survey. Here is what it said exactly:

Hello,

Yesterday you should have a received an email from me telling you about an upcoming survey for TypePad. This is your official invitation to participate in this survey.

We want to make TypePad better by understanding more about you, what you blog about, and your experience with TypePad. The survey should take about 5 minutes to complete and your answers will be treated with the utmost confidence.

I realize your time is valuable and your participation and feedback is extremely important to helping us improve TypePad. If you could complete the survey by Wednesday, February 10th, we would greatly appreciate it.

To take the survey, please click here: (I won't put you through the pain)

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at: (not necessary)

Sincerely,

The TypePad Team

Lack of Excellence: My problem with this was two-fold.

First, the survey itself is NOT a five minute survey. I thought I'd be nice, so I decided to fill it out (even though I'm not really using TypePad any more). But 8-10 minutes in I was so frustrated that I dropped out and never finished the survey. I suppose if you checked boxes wildly you could be done in 5 minutes, but I was trying to check the correct boxes and give explanations that would add value.

Second, (and maybe this was at the end) there was no real assessment of the negatives. Questions were more along the lines of, "How would you rate this totally excellent and awesome feature in TypePad?" instead of, "Do you feel TypePad does a good job by offering this feature?" or "Do you feel TypePad offers the right features?"

I've never been a big fan of TypePad in general and I'm in the process of moving at least three long time staff bloggers from TypePad to WordPress. But that doesn't mean I wish TypePad ill will. I simply don't understand the philosophy they operate under and hope that they course correct quickly for the sake of those that are still using their platform. I think they truly believe they have one of the best platforms out there - when from everything I've experienced, they charge a lot of money for something that is behind the times, poorly themed, and locked down so tight you'd have to move a mountain to try and customize it. All making me ask, What were they thinking?



04 February 2010

A Google Revolution

I'll be honest, aside from using Blogger for blogging and Google as my search engine, I typically overlooked Google as it grew - writing them off as a bunch of web junkies having fun cloning stuff that already existed in the marketplace.

But each year they grow, and add new SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings for people to use - most of which are free. And in the past six months I've really started paying attention. Here's why:

  • Google Apps: My hosting company is directly connected to Google Apps - making it simple to set up corporate email for clients using Gmail as the engine. More on the power of Google Apps here (specifically how churches can leverage Google Apps).
  • Google Voice: I recently added Google Voice to my life so I could manage voicemail visually on my Palm Pre.
  • Google Chrome: I recently switched over to Google Chrome as my default browser. Screaming fast and very light. It still have some glitches when it comes to functionality and extensions working like they did in Firefox but it can only get better.
  • Android / Nexus One: Are you kidding me? A mobile operating system and their own phone? Android came in like a lamb but is already roaring like a lion. I can't believe I'm actually looking forward to the Nexus One coming to Sprint. It could quite possibly replace my Palm Pre - which I AM happy with at the moment.
  • Google OS: I guess this was a no-brainer. If you offer a myriad of Saas tools online - why not make an OS that seamlessly integrates those on your computer and mobile devices?

I don't know exactly when the switch went off in my brain, but I'm suddenly a big Google advocate, and I watch my tech blogs closely to see what they'll think up next.

How about you? Anyone moved to Google for everything? Given up MS Exchange for Google Apps? Switched to an Android phone with success?

I'd love to hear stories.



02 February 2010

Browser Wars Continue

I must say, I never saw this coming...but Mashable reports the war between the standard browsers and the new guy is heating up.


In my head it was Firefox all the way. But then Chrome came out and is blazing a trail to the front quickly. With its speed and minimalist design - people have found that smaller is better and bloated means frustration.

Of course the other browsers are trying to get faster and Chrome is beginning to add features like bookmark sync and extension support so who knows what will happen in the future.

But there is also bad news. IE6 still carries 20% of the browser usage. Astounding considering IE is free and we're already up to IE8. Get with the program!



28 January 2010

Attempting Organization

I've been thinking a lot lately about productivity, task lists, project management and organizational competence.


Call it "responding to my environment" or simply trying to swim rather than sink in the new reality of the multi-tasking work atmosphere in this brave new technological world.

Either way, one has to learn quickly or move to keep from getting trampled.

I feel it every day. People are asked to keep multiple projects going while completing a myriad of tasks - all the while thinning the Inbox, following the Twitter action and connecting on Facebook. Oh, and don't forget to check your blogroll daily so you don't miss anything earth shattering!

But that's my world. That's reality for many of us.

So how do you keep all your ducks in a row? You know - the things you're responsible for - the things you could get fired for if you don't make them happen in the allotted time?

Probably by using project management software...

Given the glut of options it's quite obvious they understand the dilemmas we face. Otherwise people wouldn't take the time to reinvent the proverbial wheel.

If you're in the market - just take a look at some of the more common options here: Wikipedia: Project Management Software



06 January 2010

I Officially Made the Switch

Joshua Topolsky recently Tweeted:

"By the way, world. Please download Chrome or Safari and start using it. You're kidding yourself if you're sticking with IE or Firefox."

To which I replied:

"@joshuatopolsky Don't worry...I'll switch to Chrome once it offers the same dev tools Firefox has. Prob won't be long now..."

But later that day I thought about it and wondered how busy those Chrome developers had been over the last few months. So I installed the newer "beta" version of Chrome (required in order to install extensions) and began looking for developer extensions to match those offered by Firefox.

And amazingly there they were. Down to the color picker extension which I use non-stop.

So it's official - today is the day to make the move. I removed my Firefox icon from my toolbar and the shiny new Chrome icon has taken its place.

Main reasons for the switch: Speed and simplicity...