Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sonic Wall Fiasco

My Sonic Wall TZ190 went south. When it went down the first time it lost some settings. Our connection went down 2 hours later, and I reset the Sonic Wall by power cycling, and again it worked. But the third time was a charm. They are sending a new one overnight, but in the mean time we're using a little linksys router...

Ya, very hinkey, but I specialize in hinkey. At least we can get to Google Docs


Sunday, November 23, 2008

I recently found a site that has fascinates me:

It's part of the phenomena. TwitScoop is an application that creates word 'clouds' based on the words used most frequently in public 'twits'. And the best part is that you can mouse over the words and see the actual tweets.

I like TwitScoop because it feels like you're putting your finger on the pulse of the world - at least the part of the world that twits.

And this morning I was /very/ pleased to see the words Church, Prayer, Worship included in the mix. Those who Tweet also pray. That's good news.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Internet Ministry VS Real Life

I have in the past been against the idea of an Internet Church Campus, but a recent experience changed my mind with one POWERFUL caveat:

The Internet can not and should never replace RL.

(Real Life for those non geeks amongst us)

I had the very good fortune of attending a webinar hosted by DJ Chung of the Multi Site Director Leadership Network which featured Internet Campus Pastors Brandon Donaldson from and Brian Vasil from Flamingo Road Church. The testimony of these two anointed men showed me that the Internet can be an incredibly powerful tool for reaching the lost. Many people who are lost and disconnected from God and society turn to the Internet for solace. I was one of them.

Because I was one of 'those people' I understand how important it is to encourage those who find salvation through their Internet Church Experience to connect face to face with those of like mind in their location if possible. Accepting Jesus into your life is just the beginning. Living life as a brand new creature in Christ becomes a powerful adventure that can only be realized by and through interaction with real live human beings face to face.

Mr. Donaldson and Mr. Vasil - who both maintain a vibrant, worthwhile online ministry - expressed that while they celebrated when their members and Internet friends chose to seek out a Face to Face relationship with a group or church nearby, they did not encourage their Internet Campus Members to do so. I do not agree with this decision based on my own personal experience. Our Church is exploring the idea of an Internet Campus, but I can only endorse an Internet Campus ministry that always encouraged a Real Life component to those who are seeking.

I became an Internet addict because I wanted to hide from a world in which I found no hope. I wanted to hide away from the pain of every day life, and the atrocities that happen in the world. During that last decade of my dark depression, the Internet became my /only/ source of socialization, my /only/ way to interact with others. I was literally afraid to leave my own home. I was searching online for a Truth that I had not found in 'RL' and an Internet Ministry would have been a welcome haven for me. But quite frankly it would have been just one more place to hide.

Salvation r0x0rs! But that's where the adventure should begin.

I know now that the Internet is ripe for the harvest! There are millions, perhaps billions more people who just like me are hiding there. So now I fully advocate Internet Ministry - if and only if a real life component is highly encouraged.

I needed arms to hug me. I needed to see a real life smile. The Internet can not and should never replace RL.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wisdom from my Network Cable Tester

These words of wisdom were found on the cardboard backing of my new Network Cable Tester. I knew I just had to share them with the world:


Do not use it beyond usage
Do not change it on your mind


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jeff Deyo

Jeff Deyo - one of the pioneers of modern worship music is going to perform a concert at Allison Park Church tomorrow night: Thursday November 6, 2008, and everyone is invited! The as if this weren't enough to get everyone excited, the concert is also FREE.

I am thrilled for the chance to see Jeff Deyo live and in concert in our own Sanctuary! Jeff was formerly the singer/songwriter for SONICFLOOd on their first two albums. But I didn't know very much about this blessed and talented man until I heard that he was coming to our Church. I would encourage everyone to read this interview with Jeff, as it clearly shows his heart for worship. His music is God-centric, and that's what makes it so powerful and intense.

He speaks about how being a part of a worship band changed his life. How he began to go to work, close the door and sing songs to the Lord - something I can very clearly identify with. Singing to the Lord helps me to remember - as I apply surgery to the days computer - that I do it for God. This gentleman has a heart for the worship of our Lord and Savior, and he gladly shares that with all who will listen! I can't wait to share that with him tomorrow night.

And you're all invite to the concert to help us kick off Harvest Cry!!!

Oh, and please pronounce it DEEyo. *grin*

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Exciting Times

I am SO excited about how our Church is taking action, and moving forward boldly not only to proclaim the word of the Lord and the salvation of Jesus Christ, but also to raise up a generation of warriors for Jesus who live life the way that the early Church did.

Allison Park Church has partnered with Mission SOS in Sweden not only to open a Ministry School in association with our Multi Church Movement here in the U.S., but we're also going to host the first Harvest Cry Festival in the States.

I am so grateful to be living here in a time when God is moving in such a powerful way, and I will praise him forever for making me a part of it.

Logistically, this kind of action packed weekend at the Church will keep all of the OPS team moving! But every single moment will be well worth it. There is no greater satisfaction than to work for the glory of the Kingdom.

You can also read more about Harvest Cry here on Pastor Jeff's Blog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do not get Scammed by an 'Astroturf Movement'

I've heard so many people say that the internet is inherently evil. But it's exactly as evil as the real world that we live in, and conversely just as good. You have to be careful in the real world, so be careful on the internet.

I'm always trying to demystify the internet and educate my friends and family about Internet safety, so when I read a very good post in PC Magazine stating that 'grass roots' looking sites were the next big thing in phishing I knew I had to make a quick post. My friends and the people where I work are just the kind of people who might get scammed by these kinds of sites because they all have hearts for God.

An article in PC Magazine by maven John C. Dvorak introduced me to the notion of 'Astroturf campaigns' that target good hearted people who want to help try and change the world. I urge everyone to read the article here.

I do not advocate Mr. Dvorak's call to be suspicious of everything on the internet, but I do recommend caution in everything you do there.

NOTE: And this next section is for my Parents. My mother has begun to utilize her first internet connection and email account:

"I promise, Dad, no one can steal Mom's identity on the Internet unless she puts her name and credit card out there, honest!!! I love you and am proud of you both!!!"

"For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of sound mind"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pittsburgh puts a Dent in Cyber Crime!!!

Check out this article in Wired Magazine about how the FBI in Pittsburgh is helping to foil Cyber Crime in a very clever way.

Read the article here!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Seeking Security Advice.

People around here have very good intentions. But we all know where the road to good intentions leads...

Let me just preface this by saying that I love my Pastors, the staff here, and every single person that walks through the door of our Church.

But I want to address a growing problem here that's causing me a great deal distress and extra work.

I'm wrestling with the issue of security for our tech hardware - and I'm now imagining the sighs of understanding that I'm hearing from techies reading this.

The problem that occurred this morning was with our Wireless Access Point. It is kept in the Concourse of our Church to facilitate access to the internet for our Cafe our Sanctuary, and at times the prayer chapel upstairs. This morning I discovered that the config file has been reset so it's no longer accepting connections.

Let me just state that getting to the Wireless Access Point is not easy. It requires a ladder, or perhaps a sturdy person on whose shoulders you can ride. Or maybe they just climb up above our coat room like a monkey. I don't know how they are doing it but someone has pressed that reset button twice in several months.

I don't know how to keep them from doing it. I can't put the WAP in a cage or box, as I fear the metal will interfere with the signal.

Any suggestions? Is there any kind of security 'box' for a wireless access point? I honestly am at a loss as to how to proceed.

... And again I love everyone here. Especially Jesus. BOY I feel guilty for complaining... ugh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Father

When you stop and realize just how often and how powerfully God has had a hand on your life, it's astounding. It's humbling. And it makes you realize just how grateful you are to have Jesus in your life.

This morning on my drive to work I was blessed with the gift of clearly seeing the hand that he's had on my daughter and me through a rather difficult season in our lives. From simple event to event it became so obvious to me that he was not only guiding us but making our path straight. And when I realized just how perfectly he's been orchestrating each turn of event to not only protect us but to insure our growth and prosperity I was reduced to tears. Grateful happy tears.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for being with us every single breath that we take. Thank you for the way you have moved mountains in my life, and thank you for the way you always keep us safe, really safe. Thank you for your undying grace and love.

You're so BIG, your love is so GREAT. You created the entire universe and hold it together, but you STILL have time to watch over someone as insignificant as me. That's nothing short of utterly astounding.

I know I'm not worthy of it. I know I don't deserve it. But I am and ever will be grateful for it. There are no words to express how immense and wonderful you are, and I want to live my life as a testimony to the glory that is you.

Thank you for letting me be aware of your hand on my life because I realize that there are so many times I don't see it. So many times you make my path straight and I am unaware. I never EVER want to take you for granted. Keep my eyes seeing, keep my ears open. Keep my heart faithful, for while I struggle to stay close to you, without your help I won't make it.

I tried life that way. I NEVER want to go back. I love you Lord. And I always will. Thank you for this morning and every second of my life. It's yours.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Email from the Past

When I first became a Christian I sent myself an email scheduled to arrive 1 year down the road. I wrote about how I was feeling, told myself about about my typical day which brought into focus exactly what my reality was back then. And I encouraged myself not to give up, because God had never give up on me. When I received that email I celebrated just how far I'd come on my walk with the Lord in that short period of time.

I sent myself another on that day scheduled to arrive 1 year later, and I just received that email yesterday.

It's amazing to receive email from your former self. It's encouraging to see how far you've come. And it's great to know that God was with you then, and he's with you now.

I surprisingly found that I was proud of past myself. Proud of how I've been working so hard to draw closer to our Creator. And so happy that every single day he draws me even closer.

Before I knew Christ I honestly hated myself. God has changed me so much, and these emails and words of encouragement from my past self have become precious to me.

Give it a try. It's rather amazing:

Thursday, August 14, 2008


While I'm on the subject of free stuff, I thought that I would mention OpenOffice.

I am completely sold on OpenOffice. So sold, in fact, that our Church will no longer be purchasing MS Office. We use Google Apps and OpenOffice now. I haven't used Microsoft Word or Excel for over a year now because I've been using the OpenOffice versions.

It's brought to you by the same people (Sun Microsystems) that write and give away Java - a program that you most likely use seamlessly every day as you browse the web.

The Church will save a tremendous amount of money over the next three years because we're going to use these free products.

I will admit that it's been difficult to get Staff to wrap their heads around the fact that we don't need Word, and Excel - we can use Write and Calc and the transition is nearly seamless because their functionality is nearly as identical as their user interface. Indeed there are small differences, but they are few.

The transition to Google Apps was done whole hat. Everyone made the switch at the same time. It was a bit chaotic.

But the switch to Open Office is being done slowly, and sometimes clandestinely. I have put the WRITE icon on desktops renamed to: WORD/Write and the difference was not discovered for some time.

The biggest issue everyone naturally worried about was whether or not Write would open Word files and conversly if others could open their OpenOffice Files. OpenOffice has been built to open MS Documents, and I have found this to be true for the most part. The one problem we've had on occasion is getting DRAW to open some Publisher documents. Other than that OpenOffice opens all MS Documents, no matter the version.

What I've done to insure that MS products will open our documents is to change the default file format.

To do that with OpenOffice:

1) First open a file in Write. (It doesn't matter which OpenOffice product you use, you can change the document format for all with any product open.)

2) Click on TOOLS on the toolbar across the top.

3) Move down to OPTIONS which is at the bottom or close to it.

4) Another Options window opens.

5) Click the plus sign (+) beside Load/Save

6) Click on GENERAL below that.

7) To the left find DEFAULT FILE FORMAT. There are two drop down boxes, the first to choose the Document Type, the second to choose the default file format.


If you follow the steps above anyone using any Word Processing Software or Spreadsheet software should be able to open your documents just as they are.

The others are best left as .odf which is Open Document Format. This format, .oft. is now an international standard, though WORD and EXCEL still don't like to open them. I wonder why... *wink*

Check out OpenOffice here!

There is reference to a story about Tod Bentley's Florida's Lakeland Revival on a blog I read frequently. The story is entitled “Florida event causes rift in charismatic community”. And being a person who considers herself well grounded in science and technology I will admit that I have wondered about the goings on down there in the sunshine state.

In the blogsphere and elsewhere there are plenty of people who are coming out vehemently for and against this revival. Just do a Google search, you'll see what I mean!! And everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But the amount of overt bashing that I see going on between devout followers of Jesus is starting to break my heart.

We are exchanging blow for blow in the name of God and we are drawing blood. How ironic that our wish to defend the truth about our Lord ends up being a tremendous victory for darkness. The same people who struggle to see others through the eyes of grace are quick to take pot shots at people who should be considered allies.

Now please understand that I don't know much. I've only been saved for two years. And I fully admit that before I was saved I was one of those people who bashed Christians with great glee every chance I got. I often loudly accused the very Church that I now call home of being full of uneducated, obsessive, zealots. I referred to them as 'snake handlers'. And I could not have been more wrong.

I now realize that I behaved so badly towards those that follow Christ because somewhere deep within my heart I knew that they were right. And I will forever praise the God that forgave me for those grievous wrongs.

So when I see infighting between those of us who follow Christ it breaks my heart. Though I often fall short of the mark I honestly believe that every time we don't deal with things with love and the grace that God shows us that we're working for the wrong side.

I don't know much but there is one thing I do know beyond any doubt: Our God is big enough to take anything at all and turn it into gold. I'm going to trust that the Lord knows what he's doing, now and forever! Thanks Heavens!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Spicing up APC!

I have been setting up Spiceworks, and just sat through their intro webinar and...


We currently have no real network monitoring, or help desk tools. I do it all in my head, and by walking around from machine to machine.

I am praising God like crazy for Spiceworks!

Now I just have to learn to use it...


Monday, July 7, 2008

Creating a Life Plan

Pastor Jeff always has yearly goals that he is brave enough to put in his blog. But he mentioned way back near January that a fellow Pastor had put his LIFE goals on his blog. That blew my mind!

But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Just because you write down a Goal does not mean it can't morph and change into something entirely different as your life goes along. There was only one problem. I'm 48 years old, I figured that my life is most assuredly at least half over. Why bother now.

Well I decided to give the life's goal thing another look when I found this article by a Corporate CEO Michael S Hyatt who decided to live his life on purpose.

Since I found Jesus (Or he found me) living my life on purpose has become very important.

I'm going to work on some Life Goals, because my life isn't half over, I've still got half to live!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Jott and Remember the Milk

Oh how I love these two programs. I can sent voice messages via Jott to my Remember the Milk task list that's integrated with my Google Apps Email. I'm in heaven!

Did I mention that they are both free???

Jott alone is fantastic. And the best part is...

(Gratuitous self promotion alert)

I did research for the beginnings of that voice recognition software WAY back when at Carnegie Mellon University. It was called the Sphinx Project.

It's nice to see that it actually works, and very well too!

Below is a public service announcement for those products. Do yourself a favor and check them out.


Remember the Milk is a handy task list that goes together with GMail and Google Calandar. You will need to sign up to use Remember the Milk separately from your Google Account. It's fine to use the same user name and password if you wish. You can sign up for Remember the Milk here.

Firefox Plug In for Remember the Milk and Google Apps Email

This plug-in is a Firefox extension that allows you to manage your tasks in Gmail (complete, postpone, and edit tasks), add new tasks and connect them with your emails, contacts, and Google Calendar events, automatically add tasks for starred messages or specific labels, and much more!

You will need to install this for Firefox.

Video: Remember the Milk Plug-in in use

There is no sound, just follow along with the arrow mouse cursor.


Jott is a voice to text service, and it's free. It's like your own personal assistant. Find out more about Jott's many uses here.

At this link you can learn how to use your Phone to add things to Google Calendar.

You can also have your Gmail read to you by phone.

Or you can use Jott to add to your Remember the Milk Task list. There are two good articles here and here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Why I now love Church (when I used to hate it)

This article fills me with joy. It makes me know that there are other Churches out there with the same philosophy that I have found here at APC.

When I first started coming here I remember telling everyone "They don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk." And they do. We do. :-)

I used to hate 'The Church'. 'The Church' drove me away from Christianity. I saw it as a place full of hypocrites who loved to pat one another on the back and laud their holier-than-thou attitude over all the rest of us sinners down there in the muck.

Yep, I'm a sinner, but I'm no longer down in the muck. I've been raised, and cleansed, and reborn in Christ Jesus, not by my actions or my will but by his grace. My purchase was not cheap. It cost him no less than his life and his very blood.

And if we can all remember that, then we're happy to get back out there in the muck again. It won't stick to us any longer. It can't, because we have been saved.

I want to live like Jesus. I want to rub elbows with the unclean, because Jesus is for EVERYONE!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dell Problems, and Bashing

I've heard uber geeks complain about Dell before. But then they complain about any 'off the shelf' computer that wasn't put together by their own hands. I like Dell. I like that I can open up the boxes and work on them. I like that they are very reasonably priced. I like their warranties and the fact that they are quick to replace problem parts (if you can stand talking to their help desk people until you get one that understands and/or believes you.) But all in all I like Dell. I can live with Dell.

Until recently...

We were in the market for 2 laptops for 2 pastors who have been living with computers that I would have used as a frisbee long ago. I was watching the trade sites for a sale, and lo and behold Dell made me an offer that I couldn't refuse! Six hundred and forty eight dollars for this:

Intel Core 2 Duo T5270, 1.4GHz, 800Mhz, 2M L2 Cache
3GB, DDR2, 667MHz 2 DIMM (? but...)
128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
250GB Hard Drive, 5400RPM, SA160, for Dell Vostro 1500 Notebook
Windows XP Pro,SP2,Vista Business with Media,Notebook English,Vostro
And more...

Very good price. I ordered two on May 30, 2008. They offered delivery on June 6.

On June 6 I got an email saying that the order had been delayed until July 13, and on the 13th I got an email saying that it was delayed to the 20th. No biggie. I'm patient.

The 20th comes and goes, and on the Monday June 23, 2008 I got an email saying:

  • This email shows a specific Order Number within your purchase that has been impacted by the Federal Mail Order Rule. To view the status of the rest of the orders within your Dell Purchase ID, click here.
  • To obtain further information, please e-mail us at or call 1-877-868-3355.
  • Please include your Customer Number or Order Number with any correspondence you return to Dell.

I had to wonder what the heck the FEDERAL MAIL ORDER RULE was. I called, and was connected to one of their outsourced help centers. I was told that they tried to deliver the Dells, but no one was here, so they took them back and cancelled our order and no we can't have them resent.

I knew this was bogus because I had called Dell the Friday before and was told they were still in production. And we're a Church, we're here all weekend.

I insisted on talking to someone else, and by the grace of God was put through to a not only very efficient help desk employee but a very truthful one as well.

After some investigation, he told me that no, they had not mailed those computers, but there was a problem with getting the video cards that were to be placed in that computer, so someone from Dell had just cancelled them.

I plead my case in a gentle though firm fashion, and he did a work up on the same computers for me. The cost now: 978.00 dollars with Windows Vista, the XP upgrade would be extra. Again I plead my case in a gentle but even more firm fashion, and he put me through to the upper level customer care representive, whom I'm certain is reserved for only the most difficult of cases.

Her name was Venus, and while at first I was a bit worried about that, she made good on the entire deal. We're getting the two computers to spec XP and all, with a coupon for the difference in price.

So yes, it was a nightmare. My blood pressure suffered that day. But they did fix the problem. And that is really all you can ask from any company.

I still like Dell. I do.

Fabric Vehicles?

I love it when people think outside the box. That's when true innovation happens. This is am amazing example of that very thing:

BMW's Gina

I love how the headlights of the car can be exposed or hidden by the car's skin just like blinking eyes, and the hood opens from the center as the fabric parts to expose the engine.

I want one. Then I'd have a car with wrinkles too! It certainly bring quite a few questions to mind. When it rains does it get heavier, or does the cloth repel the rain completely? Do you have to wash it to get the salt off in the winter? Does dirt stick to it? What about road tar, which is awful on the metal of a car? Will I have to carry a gigantic Tide Laundry Stick?

It's weird but utterly amazing! I love stuff like this!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My kid sent ME a text message

CAUTION: Sappy post alert!

Okay this may not seem like much, but my daughter sent me a text message. Me. Not one of her bazillion friends. Me. And she sent it when she was very busy with her friends, having a great time helping out at APC's Kids Kaboom - our week of summer fun for kids age K-5.

She took the time to send me a text message. Just a little one. And she wasn't asking for money, or to be picked up. She didn't want anything at all, except to say hi to me.

And ya, it's a little thing. But it meant the world to me.

TIME SINK - Outlook Email Upload to Google Apps

I began the uploading of our users old email in Outlook 2003 to Google Apps.

They have a lovely little program called Google Email Uploader that works with Outlook 2003 and newer, Outlook Express and Thunderbird that will upload your mail and contacts from Outlook to Google Apps. They also have a users guide here.

The progam works fine, however I did not anticipate the time that it would take to upload all of that information correctly into Google Apps. :-)

I started with the worse case scenario, the pastor with 25, 542 emails and 3079 contacts to upload. The estimated time for this is 8 hours. :-)

I had 3059 emails and the estimated time was 1 hour and 14 minutes.

I am going to migrate the rest in the evening, after they have gone home. Live and learn!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hallelujah!! Successful Google Apps Migration

Today we went live with Google Apps! The transition went very smoothly, the MX records propagated instantly and there were no bounces.

I have been using Google Apps and I believe this is a good move for the Church. It's not only free, but it will allow us to have access to all our information from any computer at any time. I'm not certain how much everyone will use Google Docs, but Gmail, Calendar, and Sites will be used quite a bit.

And we get the high end Educational Package for free because we're a non-profit.

And I love 'Remember the Milk' and the Firefox plug-in that integrates the task list with Gmail! It's very useful. Combined that with the fact that you can call Jott to send messages to your task list, and also have your task list send text messages to your phone and you have a very versatile package.

The legacy system that was in place at the Church when I arrived was an internal MS Exchange server that housed all the internal mailing lists AND an external mail system with our domain name. There were plenty of problems with people in-house sending email via the exchange server,which the Pastors with Laptops could not receive until they physically plugged into our network, because VPN was disabled, and the Firewall Appliance was inadequate for our needs in general.

We're going to replace MS Office 2003 with open source OpenOffice on all our work stations. We were using 2003 on machines that don't have nearly enough Oomph for Office 2007, and we were running into compatibility issues already. We certainly could not afford to upgrade all the boxes. Even MS's non-profit pricing is high in my mind, especially when compared to FREE software. OpenOffice runs fine on our machines, and again, it's free, and totally compatible with just about everything, as long as you set the default save to .rtf.

I was very pleased with the way the change was received. The Lead Pastor had suggested it to me at the same time I was emailing him about the same subject, and I'm lucky that there are plenty of folks at the Church that are very tech savvy so I didn't have to 'sell' it.

The downside is that what is free today may not be free tomorrow and that putting all your data eggs in one Googley basket may not be wise. And I do wonder about the level of future support. But even if things go sour two years down the line we've still saved a bundle, still have OpenOffice, and we just jump back with another email provider like we did before. And I love Thunderbird.

Considering the ease of use, and the fact that Google Apps is very user friendly I'm positive that everyone will love it.

I'm just happy that the MX propagation went well!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Internet History Lesson

Here is a link to an article on Wired Magazine siting the first DNS (Domain Name System) test of the Internet in 1983.

Before that we simply used Arpanet and connected via IP address, or by dialing direct from computer to computer via the phone lines.

The article says that "DNS will lay the foundation for the massive expansion, popularization and commercialization of the internet."

Ugh. Now you know why we elder geeks are so cranky.

Submerged Computer

This is the coolest thing going!! It's a computer that utilizes a Fish Tank as the tower, then is submerged in liquid (Mineral Oil). I'll admit to being more than a little skeptical, but it works!

You can watch a video of them making it on YouTube here, and quite frankly it's astounding!

I'm going to make one of these someday for the Church Concourse!

Home Made Plastic

No kidding. Read about it here on Life Hacker.

The MYTH of Multi-tasking

I am as guilty of multi-tasking as the next guy, but recently I've become convinced that contrary to my intentions Multi-tasking has been cutting DOWN on my productivity. I've found my thoughts scattered when I should be concentrating on one thing. Phone calls, and email can derail me when I'm in the middle of something big.

Then yesterday, thanks to Slashdot, I came across an article in the New Atlantis Journal that addresses the issue of Multi-tasking. The evidence in the article against multi-tasking is rather shocking.

The article claims that "In 2005, the BBC reported on a research study, funded by Hewlett-Packard and conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, that found, “Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.” The psychologist who led the study called this new “infomania” a serious threat to workplace productivity."

Whoa! Twice that of a marijuana smoker??? Is all this information creating 'Info Zombies'? I don't do drugs for a reason, but I've been multi-tasking with the best of intentions!!!

We legislate against narcotics like Marijuana, but extol the benefits of something that has been proven to be worse than a drug? Ouch!

And considering that I've just been spearheading a migration away from desktop applications to Google Apps utilizing their widget heavy start page, I became doubly concerned with this next bit:

"One of the Harvard Business Review’s “Breakthrough Ideas” for 2007 was Linda Stone’s notion of “continuous partial attention,” which might be understood as a subspecies of multitasking: using mobile computing power and the Internet, we are “constantly scanning for opportunities and staying on top of contacts, events, and activities in an effort to miss nothing.”"

Yes that's /exactly/ what my Google Start Page does. It's riddled with news sites, RSS feeds, and task lists that thanks to Web 2.0 are change in real time! With all this information bombarding me constantly it seems like the Information Highway that was supposed to help speed me up has suddenly become one huge gridlocked traffic jam.

Then I remembered a book that I read way back in the 70's, ancient history by today's standards. The book was called “Future Shock” and it was authored by a visionary by the name of Alvin Toffler. I quickly became a fan of this learned man. While I consider myself a technophile I also am wary of Technology for Technology's sake. I credit Toffler for that dichotomy.

In his book Future Shock, Toffler claims that in the future change will happen faster and faster until it begins to overwhelm. The accelerated rate of technological and social change will inevitably leave people feeling disconnected from that which they are trying to claim, and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation". Future Shock. Toffler asserted that nearly every social problem of the day could be credited to future shock. Toffler coined the term "information overload".

Now I honestly don't want to be an alarmist but there is plenty of evidence, both theoretical and proven, that seems to point to the fact that we need to slow down. And given that I had been previously theorizing the same thing, I'm more apt to listen and heed the advice of the New Atlantean and Toffler himself.

You can read the New Atlantis Journal Article here:

Hello World

This blog is mostly for the passing of information from the IT department at Allison Park Church to staff and members who may be affected by it. However I may use this area to proseletize on occasion, and for that I apologize in advance.

The ideas and information within this blog belong only to me. They are not official and do not represent the views of Allison Park Church.