October 30, 2007

Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac Sneak Peak

I have been meaning to make sure folks were aware of the sneak peaks that Microsoft has been making available of their upcoming release of Office. They are well done, and much is there to interest you in the possibilities of Word 2008 as one's word processor of choice. They've just released the 4th "peak" in the series: Office 2008 Sneak Peaks

I'm withholding final judgment, but I am impressed with several points of the upcoming software.

October 17, 2007

Mac OS X Leopard - 300+ New Features

Apple has announced that Oct. 26 they'll begin shipping the new Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) system software. I am excited about this release; and have been patiently waiting on its arrival to make some purchases.

Apple has a a nice list of new features on one page: Mac OS X Leopard - 300+ New Features

I am especially delighted about some Applescript enhancements. Unicode string improvements!!! Woo hoo!
• Scripting Bridge for integrating support for ObjC, Ruby and Python!
• Better Object models for referencing processes...
(I know none of this excites many of you, but we all have our own wish lists. :) And some of you will benefit from these additions down the road with better Quicksilver scripts and more.
I'm also looking forward to:

  • Automator Recordabilty to see how robust it is.
  • DVD Player's scratched disc recovery because I have little kids.
  • Instant screen sharing among Macs to be able to access my Macs.
  • Photo Booth Backdrops and Video record because, once again, I have little kids.
  • Preview's Instant Alpha removal for quick work on graphics.
  • CUPS 1.3 to improve use of printers at the office.
  • Location aware printer selection for my MacBook the moves around.
  • Guest Log-in Account that gets auto purged, which will be handy for the new iMac we're buying for our church library.
  • Hot corner for Sleep Display, which I'll use alot.
  • Automatic Backup of Time Machine, to improve my backup habits.
  • Alex, whom I've heard sounds great. I write alot of little applications that let my kids play with the computer speaking what they type or click on, etc.

You'll notice I'm not interested in alot of the eye candy that's coming... coverflow in finder, Quickview, stacks, etc. But, some of them may surprise me.

October 16, 2007

The Church's Use of Technology

The denomination in which I serve, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is not the largest in the U.S. In some areas of the country you get one of those "What kind of church did you say?" when involved in the sometimes unavoidable small talk of the airplane ride or line at the store. And yet we're not what could be considered small. Despite this fact, I think we're guilty of small thinking in some areas... one of these has to do with our capacity to make use of emerging online technologies in indigenous ways. For example, the denominational web portal has gone through many manifestations. It is a good thing that it stays in flux, but some new technologies remain absent. The news service page is a reprint of a regular news email, but the site has no RSS/XML feed. This fact is an embarrassment. Another example is that they offer some graphic resources for congregations to use, but the graphics are full of flat images. Why not provide some production quality, shadowed images of real use? The web site has many strong points, though I can think of several examples where there is just real missed opportunity when it comes to the Web 2.0 generation. And this of course translates into other areas for our church... you should see how we were doing our "Search and Call" until this year.

I suppose this General level is really a mirror of the congregational level. Our churches, my congregation included, is still so far behind in how it makes use of technology, online and otherwise. Someone came in from the street today asking if we had a typewriter they could use to fill out an application he had. He assumed that the church would be behind the times enough to have a typewriter ready to hand.
Our secretary told him there was one right in our library he could use. But hey... we're installing a new iMac lab this month in our education wing with 7 new iMacs!

Individual ministers and leaders in our denomination have tried to stay on the edge of communication technologies over the years. There was ecunet, and a Disciples List-serv. I see that there is a seemingly dormant Blog-ring for Disciples. I think I'll explore a few of the sites on it, and then maybe go back to reading a bit [from an old fashioned book, with pages and all].