When you start looking for a product review, especially for a laptop or somesuch, usually what you get is just a copy-and-paste job of the technical specifications: no-one actually tells you what the machine is like and whether it is actually worth the money.
I want to give you a real-life user review for my new(ish) laptop which might help you. I have had the Fujitsu AH532 for a couple of months now and I think it is utterly fabulous.
I spent under £400 at Staples on this bright red thing of beauty, and it features an Intel i5 processor: easily the best price I have encountered for a processor at this level of performance, it has 6Gb of RAM and a 500Gb Hard disk, running Windows 8
Now I am a fairly intensive PC user – this isn’t a laptop for simply reading emails and watching pornography, but rather a machine on which I create and edit a large amount of video using Sony Vegas and Adobe After Effects, extensive document work and creative writing on Office 2013 and Desktop Publishing. I need a cheap, but powerful machine and I am never going to be able to afford a fruit-based product nor an ultrabook.
The AH532 is fast and powerful. Where other PCs go into a sulk when you try to run After Effects, this one just gets on with it. Vegas doesn’t hang and I can swap between browser, Evernote and Word in the middle of it. The 15.6″ screen is bright and clear and the second screen output (to HDMI or VGA) is fast and responsive. It has a full width keyboard and with three USB 3.0 ports and 1 x USB 2.0 it has great connectivity. The videocam is good and the sound output is pretty loud and clear.
Battery life is good and it looks great in Ruby Red
When I got the machine I kept an older machine in order to connect to a firewire port, because according to the specifications, it doesn’t have a cardbus port: but it does! So it is possible to put in the thin cardbus card and use it to import video directly from my video camera. This is a majorly brilliant feature, but I don’t know why it is undocumented.
However, what are the annoyances? I have two real issues with it:
firstly: the dodgy optical drive – it is inconsistant and errors – it is poor at reading DVDs and very bad at bruning CDs and DVDs. I am not sure if it is just this particular drive which is dodgy or it is a general fault with this model. I ought to get it looked at, but I need the machine constantly.
secondly: Windows 8. This is not a touchscreen machine, and Windows 8 is just a minor annoyance. It is a poorly thought out OS and its one or two good points (the copy UI which shows progress as a bar is excellent, and some of the contextual options in a window is brilliant) but the non-multitasking tile screens are the most awful thing: I hate it. The lack of START button, the odd way of shutting down and other minor annoyances make it a right pain. I am seriously considering reinstalling Windows 7 but it would invalidate my license.
The Hard Disk is partitioned with a really small C drive and a large D drive, which means that I had to move my default dropbox folder to the D drive which was… less than successful. In the end I modified the partitions and made a single large C drive but not every user will be happy to do that (it’s not difficult and the tools are quite straightforward but it’s a bit scary).
I think this is an excellent PC for the money. I have found it to be more than up to the job in hand. For video editing and other major data crunching, this is possible with this machine at a very low cost. If only there was a Windows 7 option it would be world-beating. If you can cope with the oddities of Windows 8 (or they have installed Windows 8.1/Blue by the time you read this) then I would recommend it. Highly.
Although I have a reputation as an early adopter, and a willingness to use any technology to support the liturgy and witness of the Church, I have been careful in my use of electronics as a paper substitute for the priest. I have over time preached from a Kindle device and nowadays almost exclusively say my Daily Office from a Smartphone (extremely useful for Home Communions!) but this season, I exclusively celebrated the liturgy using my Android Tablet. Here is how it all fits together…
Daily Office: Universalis Email
The excellent Universalis website (http://www.universalis.com/) provides web, desktop and email versions of the Readings for Mass and the Texts of the Divine Office each day. You can have this for free, but for a small subscription, you can get the whole package sent as one convenient email. No more losing ribbons, no more forgetting that obscure Saints day or getting the antiphon wrong because you have forgotten what day of the week it is. Perfect for prayer on the move, you can have the text whereever you have your smartphone. This is what I use for Home Communions now, and it is very convenient.
Kindle (for the benefit for those still using one)
I don’t use my Kindle as much as I used to, which is an indicator of how fast the technology has moved on. Two years ago, I took my Kindle to the Holy Land and thanks to its Whispernet, used it to email home, update FB and Twitter all for free – no expensive data charges!
The brilliant Fr Edward Green worked out the ideal word document for displaying a homily on a Kindle. Here it is: kindleblank
If you were to save that docx document as a dotx template and put it in your Microsoft Word Teemplates folder, then you can have a new template which you can then email to your Kindle and preach from it. Create your texts in Microsoft Word as if it were paper, but using this special size and there you are!
This is the where I am at the moment. The power and flexibility of a tablet is amazing: they have come on so far recently. My tablet is the Google Nexus 7: a powerful 7 inch tablet. I highly recommend this one to you all, and at under £200 it is a real bargain. I prefer the 7 inch size because it will fit in my cassock or my hoodie pocket.
I create all my liturgy as I have always done, on a PC on Microsoft Word (service sheets and posters tend to be done in Microsoft Publisher, but for my use at the altar, it remains in Word).
I save all of my key documents in the cloud using Dropbox . This is a free service and if you sign up for you free 2Gb of storage using this link, I get a little bit of extra space for a referral (please!). The advantage of saving documents in the cloud is that they are available across all your devices (in my case, a couple of laptops, my tablet and a smartphone). Update the document and the update is automatically replicated across all your devices very quickly. I also use this to share key documents securely between the staff team: you can create folders which named accounts have access to and so rotas, liturgy and other such essential admin can be properly shared: no more “oh, I didn’t get that version” because as a document is edited, all versions are updated. This is therefore a seemless way to transfer documents to your device.
I have Dropbox installed on my tablet, so can easily access ALL my Word documents (and Excel Spreadsheets etc) as and when I need them. Anywhere.
I simply select the document I want, and Android asks me with what I wish to view the document in. There are lots of apps on the Market, and some of them may be bundled with your tablet. However, I have found that the best reader is not necessarily the best editor. I have used my tablet to write quite a lot (on the train usually) and to blog and for that OfficeSuite Pro is by far the best, but an app designed to write has the annoying habit of going into edit mode if you accidentally touch the screen. For writing and editing documents, I wholeheartedly recommend it. See here (currently only £6.20). As you will realise, if you edit a file from Dropbox on your Tablet, it becomes available everywhere – perfect!
However to view the document, ie to just read from it, I recommend the wholly free version of OfficeSuite: the OfficeSuite Viewer (download here)
This also will view PDF files for you so is even more useful. There is no problem having both on your system, because it will ask you how you want to use it. I always select “Just Once” so I can choose whether I am viewing or editing a document.
Once you have the document open in the Office Viewer, you can look at it two ways: as it looks on the page or as a web page. At the top, select the Menu (three dots to the right of Word Count) and select View
The Page View is exactly as the Word Document is. If you pinch-zoom the document to make it more readable, it will not wrap around. This keeps the format.
The Web View is even more useful for this purpose, because it fills the whole screen and wraps according to the size. I can therefore pinch-zoom the page to a convenient size for reading (and to fit a decent amount on screen so I am not scrolling in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer) and it wraps!
The Reader will cope with a lot of Word formatting, including TextBoxes, which can be quite useful. In my wedding liturgy, the bride and groom’s response “I WILL” is in big letters in a box upside down. This means that I just have to tilt the tablet towards the couple to prompt them for their response.
With Marriage, Baptism and Funerals, I create a bespoke document with all the names and prompts in place of N and M so avoiding little bits of paper getting in the way – so elegant.
If you don’t have an MC, then you can hold your tablet yourself, place it on a legillium or on the altar. Missal Stands are perfect for a Tablet, but I have also used a cushion on the altar (as some Churches do) and have also simply put the Tablet on the altar by the Corporal. At Midnight Mass the MC held my Tablet for me whilst I proclaimed the Gospel. I must admit, I was a little worried I might clonk the tablet with the thurible, but it was fine (and I am so skilled with the thurible anyway!) We both reflected afterwards how the signing and kissing of the Gospel was affected by a touch-sensitive device, but it was fine.
My Tablet has a Wake-Sleep Cover, which turns the screen off when you close it. This does mean you have to hold it carefully but practice sorts this out. I don’t set a password so if my device does accidentally sleep, then it wakes instantly into action. I did try it without a cover, and it was okay, but I was a little anxious about dropping it (and dropping it into the font).
In summary, I can’t see me ever going back. You don’t need a torch during the Easter Vigil or Nine Lessons and Carols because it is backlit. It wastes no paper, it can be totally personalised to the service and changes can be incorporated really quickly.
I have been working from this template (with appropriate seasonal variations) for most Sundays, cutting and pasting in the collects, introductions etc Download: Sunday Mass Template for Tablet
I have always said that Blesséd was the last truly radical and subversive alt.worship group simply because we use PCs instead of Macs. I am not (as you will tell if you read this blog or follow my tweets at @frsimon) an Apple Fanboy, although I have had an iPhone (ugh!) and a Mac Mini and a Macbook, so I know how beautiful and utterly useless they are: noddy machines with expensive pricetags. If you can afford one of these things, then quite a lot of this is directly transferrable. You can still use Dropbox, (or indeed any cloud software – there is Google Drive and Microsoft Skydrive and I am sure Apple has an equivalent). I am also sure that the iPad will have a viewer that will expertly read a Word or Pages document. Take these principles and apply them as appropriate for your system.
I’m delighted with how my setup works, and I hope it works for you.
There are lot of videos in my presentations, and these do not export well from Powerpoint, but I hope the sense comes out. Please forgive also, the bizarre formatting resulting from importing my script into WordPress.
Exeter FCP Study Day: 29th October 2012
|We gather in the name of the +Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.||TITLE|
|I have been asked to come and speak to you, my brothers and sisters about Sacramental Mission and Catholic Evangelism. This is probably best explored through the telling of our story, the story of Blessed (so far in its many and varied guises) and the story of the development of a missional approach which places an encounter with the sacraments at the heart of the outreach of the Church.||PUSHING PIXELS
|The problem is, I’ve never been conventional: always been in trouble, always been at the back of class irritating the authorities who tell us how it should be done, and why it has to be like it is.|
|Blesséd (the Fresh Expression, the alt.worship community I speak of) is, I suppose a reflection of this: a loose collection of individuals and their charisms that almost on purpose seeks to take what we know and love and do it differently.
Blesséd is an alternative worship community, based originally in the Diocese of Portsmouth where I served my Title and my first Incumbency and now on the North-Eastern side of Plymouth: a community which gathers a dozen times a year in worship, almost always sacramental worship and usually as Mass, shaped by the liturgical seasons; and is continuing to seek (rather haphazardly) to become a more distinct non-parochial, non geographical ecclesial community as it tries to support itself through social networking and other media between gatherings for worship.
|On one level, Blesséd is solidly traditional – deeply sacramental, unashamedly Anglo-Catholic, soaked in gin and the cycle of the daily office, and on another it seeks to blow that world apart – to declare the whole of creation as sacramental, and our approach to God as immersive, multisensory and wildly, rabidly inclusive.|
|Blesséd is, as I am sure you are, steeped in values which have been passed down to us from the apostles and the saints, moulded by Holy Mother Church and shaped by the weight of theological consideration, liturgical practice and the pastoral needs of the pilgrim people of God.||TRAVERS|
|This seminar seeks to build on our shared anglocatholic heritage, to re-emphasise our mission and the proclamation of the Gospel, and for us to be reminded that we already have the principle tool of mission to hand: the mass.||EUCHARIST|
|It gives me the opportunity to speak on a number of subjects close to my heart: liturgy, mission and creativity and not what many of you were expecting: computers. I find myself in an odd position: much of my ministry, my missional work is in the practice of liturgy, its use as a missional tool, especially to young people and yet, what do most of my colleagues use me for?||LITURGY etc
MY LIFE IN MINISTRY
|I am simply a parish priest: Team Rector of a group of parishes on the North Eastern Edge of Plymouth “From the Airport to the Moor” sounds like a great strapline until you realise the Airport won’t be there for much longer. Prior to that I was Vicar of an urban parish in Gosport in the Diocese of Portsmouth for seven years where much of this work began, and now seeks to become established in this Diocese.
I am concerned with real-life Mission: the drawing of souls towards the heart of God, not because I am doing this as part of an academic process – which is why there won’t be many complex words (or much theology), simply because I don’t understand it. I gave up theology in my third week at Mirfield…
(I CALL THIS VIDEO THE REATEAT OF MY HAIRLINE)
MISSION WITHOUT COMPLEX WORDS
|So, I suppose the key questions you want to have answered in this session are:||REVEAL|
|One of the legacies of the Reformation was the rejection of the sensual and the sensuous. Our engagement with God is much more than simply what we say aloud, or even what we hear, but in sight (spectacle and ritual), smell, taste and touch and through these we are enabled to engage both our minds and hearts in worship: we are creatures created to worship.||TRINITY|
|Fundamentally, I believe that our primary encounter with God in worship is not an intellectual one, but an emotive one. Worship is one of the first ways that seekers of faith encounter Christ, and when asked about their first dip in the worship ocean, they do not reflect on worship in terms of reason or logic: whether they were convinced by the argument, but how it made them feel.||QUOTE|
|The experience of Blesséd firstly in Southsea, then in Gosport and now in a small mission-hut church just off the Airport shows how it is worship, and fundamentally sacramental worship is a key tool in breaking through the mundanity of everyday life. In urban Portsmouth, we stepped out in mission to an extremely mixed group of teenagers. Not having any money, resources or (quite frankly, any clue), my first solution was simply to introduce these largely unchurched young people to the Church: the Lady Chapel in particular. In the dark: lit only by candles and swathed in incense, around a cross, or an ikon, projecting some words on a blank wall or the altar frontal: something wonderful happened and these young people who only months before were the ones vying to knock out as many quarterlight windows as they could were able to grasp the presence of God in their midst.||VENERATION|
|It is a risky strategy of course, because it means opening ourselves out in vulnerability, but Church isn’t simply a building placed in aspic, and inviting a mob of the unruly, the untidy, the snotty and the messy into the sacred space is precisely what Christ told us about in the parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:15-24)||GREENBELT PARABLE|
|Truly effective mission simply allows people to encounter God, and the missioner simply turns up for the ride.|
|The last great swell of Anglocatholic Mission was in the 20’s and the 30’s and took place in poor, working class slums where the beauty and transcendence of worship lifted the people of God. It was through the sacraments that encounter took place. When we started to plan worship, a number of our young people involved all said independently “well, it has to be a mass doesn’t it?” “We wanna do that fing with the bead and the wine, Farv” [yes, they talked just like that in Portsmouth]
It is intriguing that they sought to define themselves in terms of their relationship to the sacrament and yet not to be constrained by the traditions of it. For them, each element of the mass was seen as being up for grabs, for a radical interpretation and a retelling of the story.
LAST SUPPER 1
LAST SUPPER 2
|So, in 2002 (long before the Fresh Expressions labels was applied to anything outside of Choral Evensong), Blesséd was born – Eucharist with funky backbeats, Gloria with dancing, Sacrament with Attitude. Blesséd sought to continue its sacramental heritage whilst proclaiming its ancient truths in new and creative ways. This has meant taking what we know and love and asking how its story may be told for new generations.||BLESSED AD
|I explored this in a chapter of the book published in 2009 on Ancient Future: Fresh Expressions in the Catholic and Contemplative Spiritualities
and in a book specifically on Creative Sacramental mission: Creative Ideas for Alternative Sacramental Worship (2010). Last year I produced a Creative Ideas for Sacramental Worship with Children - both of these are available for you here today from me – SHAMELESS PLUG and I am currently working on a book on Frontline Evangelism with Young People which should be published by Summer 2013.
|This is not the place for me to extensively explore the role of the sacramental life in mission suffice for me to leave you with the impression that for our community, it is the fount of all being: all life is sacramental and the sacramental life is the mechanism through which Almighty God and his creation encounter each other.||FONT|
|We could explore a lot of stuff about PostModernism and the role of sign and symbol: semiotics in mission, but I think that is better kept for a discussion over a coffee later!||AMEN|
|Blesséd therefore seeks to encourage creativity first and foremost: the Gloria is tap-danced. Bread is kneeded. New prefaces are said and wine is consecrated by the bottle-load in unspoken action. Blessings are scribbled on a rocket and exploded in the night sky over Plymouth. These creative, expressive ways are as real to these missional communities as were the first Eucharistic prayers of Hypolytus.||BLESSED EX|
|One of the things I repeatedly hear after Blesséd worship, especially from fellow Clergy is “oh, I couldn’t do anything like that – I am so untechnical” as if I am the holder of some kind of esoteric secrets. My friends, the key skills are the ones you already posess: your creativity|
|For I am convinced that the best multisensory worship does not have to plug into the mains and our key tools: incense, stones, flowing water, bread and wine transformed into the body and blood of Christ are the best tools, and dancing pixels are there to support them.||QUOTE|
|In the V&A Museum is this work by Jonathon Barnbrook.
|We should be constantly asking ourselves whether the technology we are using is appropriate or indeed is of any use. Ironically, this means any technology: how many people have been forced to wince through the murder of Shine Jesus Shrine played inappropriately on the Organ: a full trad choir butchering Taize and a badly set up projector emasculating a worship chorus. The use of a mic, a guitar, a video can enhance worship, but it can also be used to destroy that delicate moment where God and people come together.|
|We have to recognise that whilst created in God’s image, we are all different and have different learning styles and different approaches to God. Eneagram and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator have backed this up – what works for me, what works for the Blessed Community will not necessarily work for you. As I travel around to speak about mission and creativity, I am constantly surprised by how people are willing to accept something that comes off the shelf, to plug into your community, regardless of whether it is culturally, socially or theologically appropriate: Children=Messy Church, Evangelism=Alpha – just as no two churches (thank God) are the same, so nothing can or should be implemented without inculturation into your own community – start with Messy Church, or Alpha or Transcendence or Blessed and then use it to make something of your own…||Children=Messy Church, Evangelism=Alpha|
|We should be careful: I am not advocating the throwing away of our carefully honed heritage in favour of some spiritual supermarket of technical wizardry and gimmicky mass, but rather a creative and free-flowing use of the entire tradition of the church: tradition which is not static, but dynamic and as engaging as the Incarnation.
To the other extreme, this creative flow should not be restricted to just “youth services” or “children’s services”, but one finds, creativity starts to infuse and cross-fertilise: St Thomas in Gosport must be one of the few anglocatholic parishes to use a projector at each Parish Mass, and they benefit from the flexibility and cost-effectivness of projecting the entire liturgy and hymnody on screen each and every week.
|However, because we have lost our pre-reformation love of the visual and the ritual, the first thing I want to share is some good practice in the use of projectors or TVs.|
|My worst experience of projection occurred in a sacred space where one should have expected it to be slick and professional: the wildly successful St Aldates in Oxford. A rich evangelical parish in central Oxford (which I am not going to name, but you can work it out!)||ST ALDATES|
|There, amid impressive music, powerful testimony and the sight of dozens being baptised was the most second rate use of a projector I have ever seen. For successful use of a projector or a TV does not rely on how much money you spend on kit but the thought and the preparation of what is displayed and the training and liturgical awareness of the operator.||SUCCESS
|The major error is one of distraction: the worst thing about Powerpoint (more on that later) in business and especially in teaching (my wife is a teacher and the very worst powerpoints ever are made by educationalists) – the worst thing is the templates: they distract: fonts, backgrounds, animations (oh! Lord have mercy, animations!).||POWERPOINT
|You don’t need any of them. You don’t need a cross, a waterfall, a sunset behind your words. Use images where words are not needed, but if words are the important thing – use just words.||CROSS
|Similarly, you shouldn’t use too many words. Many Churches (St Aldates included) havn’t grown out of their days with an OHP and acetates with two whole verses and a chorus on screen in very very very small writing.||WORDS(BLACK)
|Here are some bad examples. DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE. WALK AWAY FROM THE SLIDES|
|My tendency is to put no more than 2 lines of a hymn on screen at anytime and to fill the screen with it, so that it may be seen without a distracting background and in a simple clear font. Given, the operator cannot fall asleep but this is a good spur for teenagers for whom the mass is otherwise the most boring thing ever – it keeps them alert because you have to change the [what I will call the ] slide before the end of the line, so you are up to speed with the text.||IMMORTAL…|
|An example: (to the tune of St Denio)||(Let’s sing)|
|Immortal, invisible, God only wise,|
|in light inaccessible hid (change) from our eyes,|
|most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,|
|almighty, victorious, thy great (change) name we praise.|
|Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,|
|nor wanting, nor wasting, thou (change) rulest in might;|
|thy justice like mountains high soaring above|
|thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.|
|I use simple visual clues:|
|The Lord be with you||GREETING|
|and also with you|
|We probably all do similar already with bold text in printed sheets, but instead throughout I always use yellow or red (depending on background colour) for congregation responses, and green for directions|
|(let us be seated)
Or translations: Miserere Nobis (have mercy on us)
|People unfamiliar with Church find this simple “say the bright colour” approach easy to pick up and therefore less intimidating that wading through a booklet. It encourages singing and works very well with traditional hymnody.|
|When it comes to the sighting of screens, I have to confess that the DAC can sometimes prove a challenge [although I am sure the Exeter DAC is lovely, I have not yet had the experience]. The solution lies in the moveable: In Gosport, they created an 8ft high tressel upon which a standard [and very cheap] projector screen is G-Clamped. No faculty is required. These days as good quality large screen TVs can cost less than £400, they are a good investment and a good solution where columns get in the way – the hint is to put them where the hymn boards currently are! TVs don’t have to be mounted either, and pulpits also make an excellent position for them.||SCREEN at STE
TVs in SMV (to do)
|The most effective position for projection is immediately behind the altar so that the screen does not distract from the focal liturgical activity, but rather encourages, points, focuses on the real liturgical action, as seen as Walsingham. This works well when you pull the altar into the Nave as you can back-project from the Chancel, but this does tend to annoy the Choir [as do most things, let’s face it]||BLESSED 1
(for this Advent worship we build a womb inside the church)
|Other solutions involving temporary hangings, banners, or even multiple projectors or LCD TVs but I would counsel care that they do not become the focus of worship away from what is taking place on the altar. In a big space such as Walsingham, everything points to the altar: we concentrate during the consecration of the elements on the priests hands and the elevation.|
|I have already spoken of Powerpoint and for many it would be the first choice of software for projecting words and even embedded videos in worship. One piece of advice: don’t.||DARTH VADER|
|It’s like using a bicycle in the Isle of Man TT Races: you would get round but after a lot of wasted energy. It doesn’t have the flexibility or the speed to display liturgy effectively. There are a number of applications which are available ranging from Open Source [ie Free] solutions such as OpenLP through to very effective commercial applications such as MediaShout or my personal choice Easyworship|
|a more detailed list can be found at|
|http://www.ebibleteacher.com/reviewworship.html||URL & QR Code|
|What they offer is a complete integrated system for scripture, images, video and even web pages with the ability to respond dynamically to the worship environment which a linear system such as Powerpoint, even using Presentation Mode cannot live up to.||EASYWORSHIP 1
|Beyond words, we should consider the use of video and image, both as a creative tool and as a supportive tool for liturgy. We could speak of all kinds of places for this kind of work, and today’s session has been littered with gatherings, penitential rites and even Eucharistic prayers, but for simplicity, I will speak only of the development of the Visual Intercession. It wasn’t my idea, but I believe that Blesséd has taken the concept further than many.
|Many years ago, my wife and I, as simple Sunday School teachers introduced a session of prayer (for a Harvest festival if I recall) using pictures photocopied onto OHP acetates as someone played piano (now that dates it, doesn’t it. I think it was the early 90’s).|
|Later we stuck some pictures together on a Powerpoint Slideshow and pressed play on a CD… and later still as a simple video made on a PC and at last we were able to pray with others rather than be tied up with the mechanism to help others to pray without words, guided by the images seen on screen. But you don’t have to use any technology at all… handing round postcards, or images cut from newspapers can be just as effective in a small group. Ten minutes played from Beraka or Koyannisqaatsi or Powasquatsi on a DVD can move souls…||POSTCARDS x 6
|Not everyone responds to visual intercessions as I have mentioned earlier, but it allows many more to explore intercessory prayer in a creative response as an image will guide two different people to have different foci of prayer. Pray as you feel called.|
|These days the tools of simple video making come shipped as Standard with every PC or Mac.||TABLE|
|But before we do that, I know that the issue of copyright might be lurking in the back of your mind. After all, it’s important that we uphold the law…||COPYRIGHT|
|Speaking personally, the Gospel is more important than any manmade law and honouring God comes before honouring financially any person. I inhabit a culture where intellectual property is seen not as an end product but as a tool for further enhancement: the growth of sampling or the mashup video and the development of the download as the key method of music distribution in the past 5 years has reflected modern youth’s disregard of copyright as a concept and the embracing of other forms of intellectual property which ensure proper attribution, reasonable recompense and creative freedom. Sharing files is not seen as a crime by young people.||QUOTE|
|Having said that, we should respect an individual’s creativity. Thankfully the performing rights society think the same as I do: they have stated that they will not pursue copyright on a creative work if it is being used in an act of divine worship for which no charge is being made||PRS|
|As we never charge for the Mass (which probably explains why Blesséd is constantly underfunded, starved little urchin of a group – no official or central FE funding for us, I must say!) we are safe. However, stick a video with a piece of copyrighted material on YouTube or on a DVD on a book or charge entry for an event (a collection doesn’t count, thankfully) and you’ll find yourself taken down or worse, sued. Thankfully more and more companies are seeing YouTube as a means for generating awareness of their music, linking to the option of downloading the music from iTunes and letting you keep it, with the notable exception of TimeWarner, who just remove it.|
|Luckily there is so much stuff available that the use of Copyrighted Material is seldom wholly necessary. Material can be found on the internet that is in the Public Domain – a work in the public domain is free for everyone to use without asking for permission or paying royalties.||PUBLIC DOMAIN|
|There is other material which is available freely for use but still remains the property of its creator. This is the marvellous Creative Commons works allows free use and reuse but asserts certain rights, ranging from requiring credit to be given to the originator (attribution) or restricting its use to non-commercial uses – such as worship. The Creative Commons website details this much more readily.
A good example of this would be the excellent Jamendo music site where unsigned artists and musicians make their music freely available for non-commercial (ie worship) use
|Of course, the best material for you to use is stuff you have made yourself. The quality of digital still and movie cameras is now amazing. £100 will buy you a camcorder which records onto a small memory card – no tape or disk anymore and an 8Gb card costing £10 can record six to 8 hours of high quality video on it.||YOUR OWN STUFF|
|A still camera can be used to take successive still images and a free program used to ‘stitch’ these together into a stop frame animation. I have the habit of ‘borrowing’ my daughter’s Barbie dolls to film bible stories with a Sacred Heart statue playing Jesus.||LITTLE CHILDREN|
|Google Images is a marvellous source for finding still images, but care must be taken to ensure that you don’t simply select the first image you come up with, and you choose carefully for image quality as a web image is often much poorer in quality than an image on screen and when put on a 6ft screen will look very blocky…|
|YouTube is a great source for video images, but the site (and many others) uses a compressed video format called FLV or Flash Video to stream the video. You need a converting tool. This can be done online at sites like SaveMedia (http://www.savemedia.com) or there are standalone programs such as the excellent Save2PC, all of which can convert to a variety of other useful formats, from which you can use your video editing software to shape and change, maybe removing the audio and replacing it with something else, or just chopping out a little bit that you want.||YouTube
|Whatever you are gathering, throw nothing away. 1Tb of Data Storage in an external drive can be got for £50, and you’ll always want to trawl back for something useful.|
|So, now: how to make a video using VideoPad…||DEMO|
|Look around you and the current thing is social media. If you’ve barely got to grips with eMail, Twitter and Facebook can appear daunting, but be not afraid… remember that scary moment when the printing press produced the first Scriptures and some said that monk-copied vellum would never fade away… social media is a range of tools for communicating with individuals and … and this is where it is truly innovative… providing them with a platform for communicating back.||TWITTER
|Facebook is not only useful for finding out what your teenagers are up to (I have two of my three children at University, so this has been our main form of communication for years, even whilst they lived with me), but enables the creation of an easy window on the life and witness of a community. A fully public page on Facebook at the very least is a necessary internet presence alongside an up-to-date entry on A Church Near You which for most people outside of the existing church is the first point of entry. Most of the initial contacts I receive are via email from ACNY or a phone call taken from that site, our FB or webpage||RTM FB PAGE
|The secret to an active Facebook page, or the next step up, a blog page (another easy, idiot proof mechanism for a web presence) is keeping it current:
The key is keeping it up to date. It doesn’t take long and ensures people will use it and often. Likewise, your ACNY data should be kept up to date.
|Twitter is an altogether different medium of communication: a 140 character message which can be broadcast to those who choose to receive (or follow) it: useful for the sending out of reminders, prayers, scriptures, rituals and meditations (the Blessed Texts are a good example of this), but the new innovation is that it encourages dialogue, response, reaction and sharing: good ideas, comments and other things can ripple out massively, welcoming responses, and the opportunity to dialogue, sometimes with people already committed in faith, but equally often with those who have little a priori faith background.
It is the dialogue which makes Twitter interesting: see @stephenfry or @amandapalmer but not @David_Cameron
|However, if you are not prepared to deal with such dialogue, then Twitter becomes just another dull one way broadcast medium and its potential is lost.
|So, after all that does what is produced enable us to tick the box marked “Fresh Expression”? I am not so sure, because so much has been given to the corporate branding of “fresh expressions” that I, and I am sure, many of you, now view it with little more than cynicism. But:||FE|
|The Mass is, let’s face it, the freshest of fresh expressions.||MASS|
|As Pete Ward discussed in his book Mass Culture the mass is an evangelistic opportunity and a missionary tool. It provides a unique opportunity for expressing the salvation story and the joy of the resurrection in word, song, action and ritual.||BOOK|
|The mass provides both fixed points of reference and an ever-changing cycle of encounter with God, and this mix of the familiar and the challenging provides a framework on which to hang new explorations of worship; rather than being a limit to fresh expressions of worship, it forms a skeleton upon which a new creation is formed. No community which seeks to be Christian can be said to be authentically so unless it gathers to break bread and pour wine and see that Christ is in their midst.||QUOTE|
|The Catholic spirituality might layer more over that and see much more (quite rightly) into that, but essentially each community, regardless of what it calls this engagement with Christ, regardless of its explicit sacramental theology, one thing all actually agree on is that Christ in some way is here amongst us.||GOD IS HERE
|So, my dear friends, what are we to make of a paper which seeks to say in new and radical ways “Go and carry on with what you are doing”, for all this messing around with pixels are only an extension of the central act of worship which it supports: the breaking of bread and the proclamation of the resurrection.|
|So often Catholics are prepared to beat themselves up about mission and their lack of activity in this area. But, to you I say, the tools of mission are in your very hands – broken bread and wine outpoured are far more effective tools than an expensive and limited missionary pack. The fan-the-flame missions are Eucharistically centred for a reason, and the message of freedom, challenge and radical hospitality of the altar has so much to say to a society which is broken and confused by messages which say little to their context.||MISSION IS MASS|
|The Mass cannot be simply set down in a place and expected to do the work itself The concept of priest as conduit of that sacrament has much to say about how we bring about that sacred encounter. Getting bodies over the door is not the end result, but the beginning, and the sacramental encounter is the source of transformation and the cradle of faith.||MASS IS MISSION|
|If all this workshop has done is make you consider how Mass can be retold in your community, and offer you a possibility to unleash your creative and missional juices to that end, then I will have done my work.||ITE MISSA EST|
|So, Go and make mission, and proclaim the Gospel afresh to each and for each generation! Thank you.||THANK YOU|
Blesséd is on tour this weekend, and as a part of the workshop you can learn how to create a Movie for worship on either your PC or Mac using these simple and free tools. If you want to take part in this part of the training, feel free to bring along your laptop (Mac or PC) and you can either download it from a CD/Stick, or you might like to download it in advance.
The resources for this movie can be downloaded from here:
The zip folder contains everything you need as resources for this walkthrough.
I have created these walkthroughs to remind you at a later stage, or if you can’t make the day.
a) Windows Live Movie Maker
b) Mac iMovie
iMovie or Movie maker is a start, but not a really useful video editing suite. These videos were captured from the screen using CamStudio an excellent Freeware screen capture program and edited in Sony Vegas Pro 9.0 for the PC version, and screen shots captured from my Mac Mini, stitched together in Pages and exported as a Quicktime Movie for the Mac version.
I hope this is useful, and as it proves – it’s not that difficult! Get out there and make some worship!
This recording only goes up to the start of the workshop and we didn’t do the formal latter part of the paper shown on the blog. Only a dozen people came to this, so by watching this, you have made my effort less wasted. Thank you.
Grabbing video from the web is a fraught business, as the default format of the streaming video sites, flv, is not very usable and so you need a downloader.
My preferred solution is Save2PC (www.save2pc.com)
The latest version also supports Vimeo (www.vimeo.com) (where my videos can be found at http://www.vimeo.com/frsimon )
This makes it brilliant for downloading everything, from YouTube to TeachersTV (for Lou) to Vimeo and Google and even (ahem) sites that you wouldn’t want to (which which I bet is a facility which makes this kind of program a money spinner).
Online, a free and okay version is at http://vixy.net/ but I personally prefer and recomend Save2PC, even though the Pro version costs $35, I reckon it’s worth it.
Twice in quick succession I have faced this issue, and last night at Fee and Dave’s, I fixed it!
The scenario is this: you have a PC with Windows XP on it, and you finally add a broadband or cable router to the network in order to connect it wirelessly to your new shiny laptop which of course runs Vista.
Internet access is fine; file sharing is fine; no matter what you try to do to get the printer to link will work – Vista keeps reporting “Access is denied”.
This is the solution:
a) On the XP Machine
- Open up the control panel and select PRINTERS
- Right click on the Printer you want to share and select “SHARING”
- Select the radio button for sharing and give the printer an easy name “EPSON” or “CANON” or “LASER“
- (If you have failed to get a connection and come here to find the solution, you will probably already have done the above several times)
- Make a note of the Machine’s Network name. You can find this by going to CONTROL PANEL / SYSTEM/ COMPUTER NAME. There you will find the PC’s name and Workgroup (the default is MSHOME). The default Network name might be a but scary PC-9876546 for example. You can change it to make it a little friendlier: DESKTOP might be a good one or STUDY. If you change either of these, then you will need to reboot.
- The UNC (Universal Naming Convention) name of the printer is (for example) \\DESKTOP\LASER You ought to remember this.
b) On the Vista Machine
- As we have seen already (which is why you’re here), just “Adding a Printer” / “Network Printer” doesn’t work, so here is the solution
- Go to CONTROL PANEL / PRINTERS and select “Add a Printer” but now select “LOCAL PRINTER” rather than Network
- Then select “Create a New Port” and select “Local Port” as the type of port you want
- Then enter the UNC name of the printer (see, I told you you needed it, and also why I encouraged simple names -preferably without spaces)
- You will then go through the selection of a printer driver. If the driver is not listed, and you have it on CD or have downloaded it from the web, this is what I did next…
- Without closing the dialog box we have just been working on, I ran the Printer Driver installation program for the printer (Epson is a good example of suppliers of self-contained printer drivers)
- When that program said something along the lines of (and it varies by manufacturer) “and where is this printer to be found?” I scrolled down the list of options to find the UNC name (above) listed as a port. I selected it and hey-presto! Sorted!
- You can then finish the manufacturers install program and CANCEL the add printer dialog we had been using to create this special “local” (ha ha) port.
Does that help? Let me know if it has been useful to you.
The solution was originally documented here. Respect to them.
The snow has been on and off all day, much as been my broadband. Roads too icy to visit anyone and with the Internet dropping connections (thanks, Pipex) every 3 minutesI have had to turn to my own servers and do something I had been meaning to do for some time: develop a typo3 plugin for the excellent 1PixelOut player designed for WordPress.
It features the ability to host multiple files on the same page and an optional download link (which is a useful implementation if the user is one of the 10% who hasn’t got flash on their system).
I plan to implement ID3 Tagging and to work around the annoying upload limit set by typo3 (currently 1Mb on my system).
If you want streaming audio in an attractive shell (maybe sermons, or choir pieces), then this might be for you.
If typo3 means nothing to you, then please ignore this particular posting, unless you want to think about it for your Church website. It’s Free, Open Source, Well Supported and even has the input of a project called Web Empowered Church which does very Church-related extensions for this powerful Content Management System.
To an extent, if you are reading this then you already are in some form of contact with the surreal world of parishLife, but this is a little summary for the casual visitor. This post was sparked off by the realisation that although I have had a Twitter account for quite some time, I hardly ever post to it (err.. 9 months ago was the last time <shamefaced look>), so I have resolved to do better…
It is my considered opinion that the best youthwork in the land can the mediated through Facebook. The Sunday’s Youth Group has it’s own page . The beauty of FB is that it is not centrally organised, and the discussions, photos, comments etc. can freewheel away. Young people do this best of all, and Lou and I just hang onto the coat tails and use FB to remind everyone of when we meet. FB enables true non-geographical encounters with people, almost real-time conversations and between the times that we meet together, I think it bridges the gape between the personal and the impersonal. Nothing beats a face2face (worship, mass, youth group, evening prayer or benediction) but until we meet again before the Lord…
If you know me properly, you can always be my fwend. I personally tend to use Facebook status updates like Twitter, and as I use the Flock browser, you can have a sidebar open which will continually update statuses (it also does it for Twitter as well)
(names blurred to protect the innocent)
Twitter has had a sudden upsurge in popularity recently, for reasons probably of celebrity (Stephen Fry on Jonathon Ross, I think) and all sorts of people have started “following” my previously non-existant Tweets. There will be more. My twitter name: frsimon
You can find most of my video work on Youtube at: http://uk.youtube.com/user/simonrundell
You can download them using a program like Save2PC which is quite cheap, or try and access AgnusDei (see below) for better quality websites
Sometimes I just need to share Powerpoints, and so I use Slideshare. Mine are grouped together at http://www.slideshare.net/simonrundell
There are a number of addresses for the S. Thomas Website but they all point to the same thing:
both works. This has a lot of stuff about us on it, as well as links back to the parishLife blog (which is here), lots of photos of recent events and all the stuff that’s fit to print/download.
The innovative sacramental alt.worship community that is Blesséd has a Facebook group and a website at http://www.blessed.org.uk
This is the sticky one for me, as this site hosts all of my production quality (which means MPG-1) videos, Bacuse of their huge size (100Gb or so), I have to host them on my broadband which so far has been a maximum of 1.5Mb aDSL (an upload speed of 288kbps) – sloooooww and increasingly unreliable – thanks Pipex. The server can simply disppear or I have to turn it off if we need the bandwidth for our own work (two teenagers, a wife teacher-traning and myself). I apologise for this. Later this week, I plan to move to cable, and hopefully this will provide better bandwidth and more consistancy. Although the interface is basic, and the videos huge (average size – 30Mb or so) you get the full videos we use in Blesséd worship and my teaching / children’s / youth work.
iPriest.org.uk / frsimon.org.uk / rundell.org.uk
These exist, but I don’t actually do anything public with them. Rundell handles our email (I have had that domain in 1998); iPriest handles much of my development work and testing
Is that all? If I find any others, I’ll let you know.
I need film of the 3dmaze screen saver that was in (I think, Windows 95).
Someone very kindly has posted it, and as there is somewhere a disk on w95 lying around somewhere, I don’t feel bad about sharing it with you. You can download it from here.
At present, I havn’t been able to get it to run as a Windows Vista screensaver, but I am working on that bit of nostalga, but even as a screen saver it would be hard to screen capture.
Imagine my delight therefore to find this snippet:
This hidden setting works in all versions and editions of Windows Vista. All that needs to be done is to execute a single command to execute the screensaver as the Vista wallpaper. The best method is to test run the feature with the default screensavers that are shipped with Windows Vista and use custom ones after making sure that everything is still working properly.
Open a command prompt by pressing Windows R and typing in cmd. Now execute the command (for example)
It can take a few seconds before the changes become apparent. What you should see is the screensaver as the new wallpaper in Windows Vista.
It takes quite a bit of processing power, so I don’t think I’d want it running all the time, but as the desktop it makes it easy to capture in CamStudio (my preferred screencap program). You kill the process by opening up task manager (right click on the menubar at the bottom and select it) and killing the process: a bit messy, but this is obviously an easter egg that was just there to delight and amuse Geeks like me.