Vestry tidying at St Edward’s

The vestry has been transformed (and massively de-cluttered). Thanks to the hard work of one of the Churchwardens. Inheriting a sacristy filled with the detritus of centuries can be a real drag, but the good people of EKM have put their backs into it and removed the sideboard (!) which never opened and a filing cabinet which was loooong past its use-by date. We now have space. Even if we have no storage. Packing crates are essential to prevent mice and bird damage.

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The next thing we need is a big table to vest on and then this (interim) stage will be done!

Prayers before the Blessed Sacrament: Palm Sunday

Blessed, Praised, Hallowed and Adored, be Our Lord Jesus Christ on his Throne of Glory.
And in the most holy sacrament of the altar

Hail to thee, true body born
From Virgin Mary’s womb!
The same that on the cross was nailed
And bore for man the bitter doom.

Thou, whose side was pierced and flowed
Both with water and with blood;
Suffer us to taste of thee,
In our life’s last agony.

O kind, O loving one!
O sweet Jesus, Mary’s Son!

Ave Verum Corpus

O most sacred redeemer,
Give us wisdom to recognise you,
Intelligence to understand you,
Diligence to seek you,
Patience to wait for you,
Eyes to see you,
Hearts to meditate on you
And lives to proclaim you,
Through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Benedict of Nursia 6th C

“Do grant, oh my God,
that when my lips approach Yours to kiss You,
I may taste the gall that was given to You;
when my shoulders lean against Yours,
make me feel Your scourging;
when my flesh is united with Yours, in the Holy Eucharist,
make me feel Your passion;
when my head comes near Yours,
make me feel Your thorns;
when my heart is close to Yours,
make me feel Your spear.”

St. Gemma Galgani

A few more verses of a wedding hymn set to ‘Lord of the Dance’

We come together to witness love
These two people joined by Above
We see in them
a spring of care
Spreading wide, both here and there

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows
When two people care
The love of God is always there.

We wish them joy throughout the years
Ups and downs,  joy and tears
Support each other
Through both sickness and health
Good times,  bad times,  poverty and wealth

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows
When two people care
The love of God is always there.

Marriage is a journey which you now both share
Marriage is a mystery which leads you God knows where
But with God in your union
You’ll do no wrong
Reflect his love and it will be strong

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows
When two people care
The love of God is always there.

Make it better.  Collaborate.  Creative Commons and all that…

Parish Document Management using Evernote

One thing is clear: a lot of paperwork comes into the Vicarage; from letters to faculty applications for gravestones; from missives from the diocese to all kinds of sketches I make on the back of envelopes about genius liturgical ideas. Filing physical paper is hard, and you can never find the bit you need…

I have tried document management in the past and the problem has been one of cataloguing… giving it a title and an indication of contents; so I quickly abandoned that a few years ago. But things have got so much better recently…

Evernote Web

However, for over a year I have been using Evernote to collate, well, everything: from making a note of the food order at Wetherspoons to quickly writing down the name of the person who needs to be prayed for. You can import pdfs and images as well as sound files into Evernote and they can be indexed.

So now, when a letter comes in, I scan it into Evernote. The complete search facility means that items can be found really quickly. I then file the paperwork knowing that I can quickly look it up, cross reference it and (most importantly) find it again.

You can share folders with others, so you can create places to brainstorm ideas. That’s going to be a major collaborative tool in the future.

I have a paid account, but the free one works very well. The difference is in how much you can import each month. A free account is plenty…

 

Prezi Repository for Worship

As you know I love Prezi the new and exciting presentation tool that blows Powerpoint out of the water…

However, as much of my work is in school, Youtube is routinely blocked, so I am forced to embed the whole video into my presentation. This makes them considerably larger, and uses up my account faster. I have therefore archived my presentations onto the Agnus Dei website. You can import these pez files into your own (free) Prezi account and use at will.

Download Video Resources   Agnus Dei

Check out http://www.agnusdei.org.uk/download/?txtRootPage=L3d3dy93cF9hZ251c2RlaS92aWRlby9QcmV6aS8= 

Use freely…

 

 

Multi-Platform Remote Control Software – Splashtop 2

I’ve been using Splashtop since last Summer, and most especially since LogMeIn dropped their free service but was surprised that I never got round to speaking of it. This is (to date) the best Remote Control app available, and is completely multiplatform, so that Macs and PCs (and Ubuntu Linux Machines, which is a pity as I use Debian) can be connected to over the network (Wired or WiFi) for free.

I did spend £2.99 on their Access Anywhere Pack which means that I can connect to machines over the Internet, but this is a good low (annual) cost, I reckon and nothing like the £20 a month that LogMeIn wanted to charge for (frankly) less.

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Once you have the Streamer Client on your Mac/PC, it shows up on the list and you can control it remotely from another PC or from a tablet/phone. You can then do whatever you want to as if you were at that machine. In most circumstances, that means dropping a file off the sever onto dropbox so you can pick it up at a meeting. This has been my main use of it, either that or fixing my Mother’s computer remotely.

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On a tablet, there are a number of display modes which make use easier – you can tap around it like a little mouse, or use like I do usually and go into “trackpad” mode, which has a couple of soft mouse buttons overlaid as you can see above. You can easily call up an android keyboard for text input and even swap the screen you are viewing – this is the laptop screen, but you can just swap it to the “projector” screen and see what is there, which is excellent to use as a wireless remote monitor when I am celebrating at the altar and want to see what is behind me…

There is a very small timelag, but I don’t really find this a problem. For most display purposes, even over 3g,, this is fine. They claim you can stream movies to your tablet with it, and I certainly have done with little lag or problem; I have also streamed audio files from the machine  downstairs to my tablet upstairs very effectively.

I tried to illustrate this here:

This is their promo video:

Have a go – the personal version is free, or a small cost for the Access Anywhere pack greatly helps when you are anywhere where you need remote access.

 

Real-Life Product Review: Fujitsu Stylistic M532 Android Tablet

Whenever I search for product reviews, I find a deluge of sites which parrot the manufacturers press releases and are filled with statistics and specifications but no context: information arrives from data + context and usually all you get is data. It is therefore my desire to write honest reviews about the products I use based on what I use them for. Some of these uses and applications might be highly individual to me, others more common; but I am a power user of some technical ability and this review should provide you with some insight into the key question “will this product do what I want it to do?”

I managed to get hold of this 10.1 inch Fujitsu tablet secondhand, although it was a recent tablet; thus saving a considerable amount of money. It is billed as a business  level tablet running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. I can only guess that it wasn’t suitable for the first owner, as the box was complete so it clearly wasn’t stolen! It originally came with 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but the upgrade via a PC was very straightforward and pretty much the first thing I did with it. It wasn’t an OTA (over the air) upgrade so you had to restart it pressing the volume and power buttons which can be fiddly and then select the upgrade option. This doesn’t faze me at all, but I couldn’t imagine my mother doing it.

I can’t really tell the difference between Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean to be honest, but maybe that is because my other (and main use tablet) is the 7 inch Google Nexus 7 which now runs 4.2 KitKat and has possibly the best user interface available (far nicer than any fruit-based products that might be available). Jelly Bean lags behind this curve but is functional. As a 10.1 inch tablet, this machine is slightly smaller than an A4 sheet of paper but is large enough to make pleasant reading. The screen is quite clear, although not as high definition as the Nexus 7, which boasts a Retina-level display and a ludicrous amount of pixels per inch. This is adequate and movies, text and images are very clear.

The weight of the tablet is very fair, and holding it in my left hand for extended periods of time as I preach or lead worship was not a problem.

Battery life appears good, but the very worst feature of the tablet is the charger: although there is a mini-USB port on the side, you cannot charge from it – there is a dedicated charger using a nonstandard connector. This is a pain and means that the charger has to come away with me on day trips to London as I cannot just rely on charging from the same charger that I am forced to carry for my phone. Why on earth should they do this? Everything is micro-USB these days! The position of this interface on the bottom is a pain as well, as I am not going to shell out £70 on a custom docking station (even if it does provide an HDMI port) so to charge it I put the tablet on my (poundland) tablet stand (and how much did that cost you, I hear you ask..)  upside down.

Built into this quad-core tablet is 32gb of memory, and it has a micro-SHDC card slot, so you can stick plenty of distracting movies on the card for the journey home. Performance is great, although slightly lower than the outstanding Nexus 7. I can play both simple and graphically complex games (Carmageddon is an old-skool favourite) and it performs well using core (for me) applications: Kingsoft Office, Twitter, Facebook and the like.

My workflow involves extensive use of Evernote, and Dropbox: liturgies and homilies are created on a PC, sometimes collaboratively and saved to common Dropbox folders. I pick these up on my tablet and lead worship from them. In my part of Plymouth, internet connectivity is intermittent and so I often save these to a local folder before use, but occasionally, other texts and the like need to be accessed live and this is both efficient and effective using this tablet.

The M532 comes with 3G capabilities, although I don’t really need this as I have an unlimited data contract and can tether on my phone. I have tried my full size SIM in the tablet and have got speeds of up to HSDPA  which is as fast as you can get before 4G becomes realistic. If this was a key factor for you, then a payg sim with GiffGaff would sort you out: £7.50 for 1Gb which is very good. You can text from the tablet, although I have not found a way for the dialler to work so you cannot use it as a phone, which is a pity. Skype works pretty well on it, but I worry that providers like GiffGaff would get shirty if you bought one of their £12 goody bags which provide unlimited data and don’t use the phone part – I wonder if they could tell?

The Camera is good: this is the rear camera (excuse the reflection from the train window)

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And this is the front one – lower resolution but you only really want it for Skype as I don’t want to do (many) Selfies…

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There is no case supplied, and as it isn’t as popular as those fruit-based tablets, there isn’t many cases designed just for the M532. I tried a generic one and didn’t like it, but as it only cost me a fiver from eBay, i wasn’t that upset. Currently I am using a Poundland neoprene case which works very well and using the tablet naked. It has a Gorilla Glass screen and apparently has some Military grade rating so it would appear to be quite tough. Fingermarks are however, very visible.

I like the red edging to the tablet and it matches my red Fujitsu laptop, so for once I have something stylish and integrated. It is a quality build and feels professional.

One of the main things I needed a 10 inch tablet for was as an altar monitor: to be able to see what was on the projector screen which is usually behind me. For this, I use Splashtop: a remote control app which streams a PC (or Mac) screen to your tablet or other PC – it is great for dialling into my Mum’s to remotely fix her problems and also to show the second screen of an easy worship presentation. This means that wirelessly, I can put this on the altar and see what is being me. I can also run a Prezi directly from the tablet and control the laptop (usually at the back of the assembly) from my hand. Its not quite so good as a proper remote but you get to see what is on screen and don’t have to keep turning round, which looks less professional. The performance of the tablet in this is excellent and I have even connected to a PC at home over 3G, put a file into Dropbox and picked it up on my tablet for almost immediate use! Brilliant!

So, is it a good tabletyes: it meets my needs and might meet yours.

What’s good about it – performance, storage, 3G, quality build.

What isn’t so good – charger and connector, no KitKat yet so OS needs improvement