Blogging

04 January 2008

Favourite software 2007 - Google Notepad


Having played around with Erudix, Wordperfect Lightening, and other note takers without any real satisfaction, I returned to the Google nest to explore Google Notepad which offers the facility to store notes in a variety of forms - links to websites, clips from websites, straight note taking, visuals etc

Since I last looked at Notepad last year Google have added full compatibility with Firefox, and most recently integration with bookmarks which can be dragged and dropped between the two and which are kept up-to-date by Foxmarks across any number of machines.

The plus points are that you can have any number of notebooks - so you choose and rename notebooks according to your needs, and then particularly entries can be dragged and dropped between notebooks and between bookmarks in Firefox etc.

So it genuinely replaces lots of scraps of paper or a bulging Bookmarks folder. With the integrated mode a link sits in the bottom right of Firefox so saved items are simply dropped on it, or saved in total by a single click. Best of all is that you can choose the insertion point for an entry in a long list so maintaining control over the sequence of notes.

IMHO the facilities and ease of use are so much more appropriate than the alternatives that I have tried.

Tis a boon

Google Reader


I have finally made "friends" with Google Reader as my main website reader. It is very accurate compared with any other reader that I have tried picking up all posts from my favourite blogs with great detail (only one missed post so far) which is a good contrast with Bloglines which was routinely (daily?) missing material.

The most useful feature is its ability to choose the "opening folder" - so mine now opens with the theological session. It is also accessible from any computer Mac or PC. The directory system is also as intuitive is possible using the full drag and drop which is missing from so many other readers.

I have also learnt how to use the directory system so that it list posts as I need them - perhaps it has too many option and alternatives it certainly takes some time to get the full picture. Among the best features is its suggestions of other blogs which I have found interesting even though I have occasional forays into StumbleUpon particularly for design and architectural stuff.

In the process of working around Google Reader, I have also discovered the value of Google Notebook which I have found the most useful bit of software - see separate post

03 January 2008

Mac Blogging software

Finally had to resort to using the trial version of Ecto as the blogging software on the Mac. It is much reduced in usability compared with Live Writer but is perhaps the best of a limited choice. In the meantime the Office 2008 specs released in front of the public launch on 16th January give little indication of whether Word 2008 will include the excellent blogging facilities of Word 2007. So it seems that the humble laptop running Windows XP will remain the blogging software of choice for the time being.

18 December 2007

Several great posts . . .

shallow.jpg

Jon Birch cartoon series of Asbo Jesus is always thought provoking, and today's produces that "ouch" response. Guess this is what is behind some the new direction at Willow Creek.

I always seem to identify with Rob Lord's thoughts at " A new and unending kind of life" as he writes on the missional agenda from within the formal Church - this post on Jesus as the centre point is a wonderful Advent reflection which challenged me to think what it is that I am "waiting" for during Advent.

Rob's brother Rick has written a thoughtful Advent series at his blog "World of your Making"

Pastor Rod writes very profoundly about issues of success and numbers here, and it is a profound challenge to those who would suggest simplistic "if only" formulaic approaches to missional orientation.

IX marks offers a challenging post from Michael Horton on whether the missional movement has already given into a modernist agenda - although written with evangelical churches in mind it raises wider questions. We need to hear more of Michael's writing and thoughts in the UK.

27 November 2007

UK Emerging / Missional Church forum

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Paul Walker has launched  a new forum called RETHINKING CHURCH - it will be really good if this can develop into a forum for some serious exchange of practice matched with considered exchange of theological thinking about this topic in the UK - there are others around of value but none at the moment focused on what it means here in the UK.

Some may think that Web 2 developments have made these irrelevant - I think that the written from still have immense descriptive value.

Paul himself will act as moderator- so you can offer your experience and insights without fear of flaming from the ill-informed.

See here for details of how to join.

Hope to hear of your experience.

Great stuff Paul!

10 November 2007

Updated Typelists

I have updated my Typelists for
'Books I am reading',
'Current listening'
and
'Great Texts',
so drop down the page and have a read of what is inspiring me at the moment.

Blogging Anniversary

Today, I am assured is the 6th anniversary of when I started blogging using a HTML based private-loop on occasional visits to Keighley Library since I did not have email at home at that stage - blogging has mercifully improved since then.

Lord God Almighty Blog

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At last he's tumbled to how easy it is to communicate with humans through a blog with interesting posts see here

09 November 2007

Mac blog writing software 3 - help please?

I am still on the hunt for a blog writer for Mac - the last bit of software to complete the transition to Mac.

I need something to match the capability of Microsoft Live Writer in terms of layout, WYSIWYG, drag and drop graphics, and speedy reliable downloading - but have yet to find it!

I have considered but rejected:

Ecto
Flock
Dravelltop

but without finding anything to match Live Writer for ease of use and stability

So is this the one area where Windows software is unassailably better than Mac stuff or am I missing something?

Does anyone know whether Word in Office 2008 for Mac will include the same blog posting facility that Word 2007 for Windows does?

20 October 2007

Blog reading trends

So Google has urged me to get on with "reading a book" - but Google reader also records what blogs I read and who is the most frequent blogger on my reading list choice.

I have never maintained a " blogs I read" category because they change so often that I cannot keep them up-to-date.

So here is brief insight into my favourite blogs of the last 30 days:

What is my highest percentage of blogs which I received and then read

Well as a good Anglican priest I was amused to see that I read:

92% of David Chillingworth's Thinking Aloud

he is closely followed by another episcopal uber-blogger

91% for Bishop Alan's blog

and their blogs give insights into the work of Anglican bishops and the faith that we share

but they are "out-read" by a cartoonist, a curate, and specialist music blog which says something about my Anglican perspectives

95% of The Ongoing adventures of ASBO Jesus

clever how cartoons say much more than words

97% of Nigel Wright

good to know what he is up to in his curacy

but top of the heap

100% is a subscription-only music site called Massive Music

My most frequent posters - (average posts per day over the last 30 days)

5.9 items goes to the prolific Mad priest

3.4 Harmony Central the excellent US music equipment site

2.3 Elizaphanian which is Sam Norton's fascinating mix of dog walking photos (see below) parish life and theology from good old Essex

So follow the links and perhaps discover some new blogging gems.

 

19 October 2007

Google Reader update

I have been working with Google Reader for a couple of weeks and people have asked for some feedback.

Generally I am impressed and may stay with it if I can solve two issues:

I haven't found anyway of selecting what feeds it picks up - so it repeats all the time picking up mutilple feeds - which is kind of the reverse of what I had before

It fails to clear a post when it is marked as read and move onto the next post - which irritating rather than a fault - but with a quick read it soon adds up to a lot of keypresses

Will update in due course

The Windows Live Writer update to v 3 is really excellent and much worth doing - much quicker to load and justify in formatting among the useful improvements.

16 October 2007

Hunting for a Mac based blog writer post Flock er . . . . .

Being trying FLOCK for the past two days in the search for a decent Mac based post writer for Typepad which need to meet the same standard as the excellent MS Livewriter ( recently updated again for current users) but sadly Flock seems to miss the mark.

Like many ubiquitous bits software it does lots of things within a single interface but none of them particularly well - so the browser is a visual mess compared with Safari or Firefox ( and very slow), the blog writer is  crude compared with Livewriter,

and it has masses of things which I will never use for the foreseeable future.

So any further suggestions for a single stand-alone coherent quality MAC blog writer software, which matches Livewriter in terms of WYSIWYG, drag and drop visuals and good text layout.

I have written this in Flock to give other people an idea of its output - and I just know once again trying to work out how I get it to post!

( Had to resort to the PC and Livewriter to sort this post out - it takes an age to load from Flock and I cannot find anyway of reloading material - once it is posted it is gone - and it keeps randomly adding paragraphs for no apparent reason)

So please suggestions for a Mac match for:

15 October 2007

GOOGLE HUMOUR

On Friday while housekeeping my blogs I actually cleared all my feeds and got this message from Google:

The End of the Internet

 

Congratulations! This is the last page.

  Thank you for visiting the End of the Internet. There are no more links.  

You must now turn off your computer and go do something productive.  

Go read a book, for pete's sake.

13 October 2007

Mac OS Blog Writer

Can anyone recommend a Apple Mac equivalent to the excellent Windows only Live Writer - I need WYSIWYG and particularly drag and drop for images?

10 October 2007

That Facebook song

OK - just to prevent another 10 people sending me the Facebook Song - I have seen it - and wholly agree with the lyrical sentiment . . .

04 October 2007

Bloglines anti-clerical tendencies?

Several weeks of poor performance from Bloglines have been the last straw. It is wonderfully fast and easy to use BUT I have realised that its actual performance on notifying or even registering changes was becoming more erratic by the day - possibly since the launch of the Beta version 3.

Google Reader

So Mark and Sue have been checking out the alternatives - and in the end I have chosen Google reader - and so far it seems to meet my relatively simple requirements.

Bloglines incidentally had developed a definite anti-clerical streak refusing to connect with any reliability with several of my favourite clergy bloggers.

Storytellers World was among the first to face this unwarranted discrimination, with

Rev Ruth's Rantings new Wordpress blog following closely a few days later,

The last straw came when it refused to pick up on Bishop David Chillingworth's at Thinking Aloud - it should have known not to be choosy about Bishops.

For fellow sufferers the switch was easily achieved - using the export function on Bloglines and then import the OMPH file to Google Reader so none of my connections were lost and numerous are now working properly for the first time in a while.

03 October 2007

Blogging angst?

There has been angst on Christian blogging about blogs not offering not offering "interactive conversations", and some well known bloggers have noted their dissatisfaction and need to move to Web 2 approaches.

I have indicated that this is mistake the "nature" of the medium - I blog to complement personal and email communication - and it offers an writing outlet to a much wider group of people who I would not otherwise be in contact with - or more creatively have the opportunity of reading their thoughts and experiences.

While I welcome comments, I have always made specifically clear that I do not regard my blog as an appropriate forum for conversation ( ie no spiritual direction on line), and quickly revert to personal meetings, the phone, email, or simply " sorry I can't help you" when that line is crossed.

I have had times when the response to particular posts has been so large that I have had to close email links since I do not have time to do justice/respond to the emails. My "comments - post ratio" is about 1-1 so I am not blogging to produce comments.

For similar reasons I never write about people/situations who do not have an opportunity to respond  personally (or given me permission to do so) - and actually get fairly nervous of some bloggers (clergy in particular) who blog about things which are personal and parochial which I think cross  that line.

In short blogging is a writer's media and its success or fruitfulness becomes apparent in personal links rather than on the blog itself. 

Maggi Dawn has offered an excellent post today which suggests that blogging has always been a writing media rather than a conversational media.

01 October 2007

Blogging/emerging conversations?

Paul Walker at Out of the Cocoon asks some important questions about what sort of "conversation" is happening in the blogging world if people do not actively respond in " comments".

I am more optimistic than Paul - suggesting in his comments that it is the description that is at fault rather than the activity.

The conversation takes a different form ( perhaps more individual than we would normallyl prefer) but it is nevertheless a "conversation" because experiences, ideas and inspirations are shared in a way that would have been quite impossible pre-blogging.

So the process may not be the same as getting together for a chat, but the scope and power of the blogging conversation is much greater and more diverse.

For example just this evening I have read these two posts

First read Nigel Wright's experience as a man going to Church with his children here

Then read Ben Edson's experience as a man going to Church with his children here

Now there is a conversation point here - if they were in the same room chatting then they might get around to talking about these experiences - and that Ben's dilemma might be illuminated by Nigel's experience.

more importantly lots of other men and hopefully clergy have been offered new insights into how we exclude/exclude men from aspects of church life.

That I think is a blogging "conversation" and in wider context it is an "emerging" church conversation which uses contemporary media to share "experiences" - just as we might through email or text.

18 September 2007

Typepad Training Videos

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Discovered today that Typepad are starting to build a collection of "How to" videos" for key aspects of Typepad's facilities.

I will find the domain mapping with Go Daddy video particularly helpful as I develop various web-sites using this combination.

Link here

05 August 2007

Home briefly

So a wonderful family holiday in beloved Scotland has ended - and in the end I decided not to blog or attend to emails during the holiday.

I am at home for two days for practical things (washing admin etc) before moving down south to Guildford for the next stage of my sabbatical.

Lismore was simply beautiful and sooooo quiet - a hidden place set in an area with so many better known attractions - but the simple island life at its best with wonderfully welcoming locals ( and very positive mix of indigenous and immigrant).

The Cowal was very different and I think I have fallen in love with Isle of Bute.

I have 300+ emails to filter and no doubt some to answer which might not all get done before I am away again so please be patient.

Unlike last year it seems to have been a particularly productive time on my favourite blogs so I intend to provide some links in due course.

03 July 2007

Odd postings

Apologies for some odd postings - something amiss again with Typepad's processing of posts - so posts appear in Bloglines and the RSS feed but not on the original site!

It now appears that Live Writer is having difficulty with the dating of postings in Typepad.

12 June 2007

Posting problems

There have been problems with posting on BBA over the past few days, hopefully now resolved and the back copy should appear. Impressed with Typepad's support.

02 June 2007

Windows Live Writer 2 arrives

I have been using Windows Live Writer Beta for some months - now the latest version is downloadable from the Live Writer blog - with lots of improvements for people who have been using Live Writer beta - and great Word like layout features for people who have only experienced Typepad's very limited post writer.

Really helpful is the ability to manage the blog-site from within the Live Writer including stats and comments etc,the much requested ability to split posts, the ability to add tables and control the posting date all within Live Writer

I think that it has improved posting and made it much more instinctive - with the exception of setting categories which has moved to the bottom of the post page

25 May 2007

Missional Church - the stats gone mad . . .

Referrals are strange and unpredictable things - and the number hits are equally unpredictable.

I tend not to bother too much about the number and more interested in the links and who is linking and reading.

Mike and Sue however like to look at trends ( God bless these techy people that keep me on the straight and narrow blogging wise).

So what was behind a sudden surge mid-week - was it the reference to Jerry Falwell as they suspected (no) - perhaps the reference to children in worship which has been picked up on a number of other blogs (no) - maybe even a heading including Typepad (no) 

With a bit of URL-delving it became apparent that many of the links were coming via the States and eventually we tracked it down to this:

see the heading here and then later down in the article

So for some reason a reference to me by a Canadian pastor on the US based inter-denominational Allelon site by Baptist Kiwi Steve Taylor and had led back to an Anglican priest in the Pennines - says something about the worldwide work of the Spirit hey?

22 May 2007

Jerry Falwell succeeded by Rob Bell!!?

It never ceases to amaze me how poorly the British press cover Christianity, and its American forms in particular. Common misconceptions are confusing "evangelical" with "evangelism" - but The First Post the normally reliable and interesting internet media paper got it seriously wrong when it tried to write an article about Jerry Falwell - among other seriously daft suggestions is that Rob Bell is somehow his successor.

The author of the article somehow thinks it novel for Christians to be using internet and one flinches at what Falwell would have thought of the idea that a liberal like Bell might be his successor.

Guess it makes me appreciate more that our quality papers retain genuine religious affairs correspondents such as Ruth Gledhill at The Times who know what they are writing about from the inside.

Typepad's new web page era

Typepad have added a new feature to the software which could transform how individuals, churches and community groups manage their web-sites and internet presence - see Jonny Baker's summary here.

The potential of this is tremendous. If you find that you website is days out of date or that the webmaster actually acts as a block to a creative and up-to-date website then you could replace it all with typepad, which anyone with the password could update from any computer at any time. So you could mix daily posts, with links to categories, and straightforward fixed web-pages.

I have put aside three days at the end of my sabbatical to work a parish site and this will make the task so much easier.

But I wonder if Typepad have realised the potential of what they are offering - its just had a low key mention on their blog on the 16th May.If I were Typepad I would be emailing details to every customer and offering more detailed walk-throughs on how to do it and offering to every community group I could contact.

If you want to see an example this web page link took two minutes to create

08 May 2007

Religious bloggers awards

The Bloggers choice award is up and running again and the religious category gives an insight into what's happening in the world of Godly blogging.

The American and catholic bias is interesting, but there are some great blogs too.

07 May 2007

Bishop's Blogs

BishopWith nearly 30 years to draw on former youth worker/officer colleagues turn up in various roles and guises.

David Chillingworth who was Church of Ireland Youth Officer when I began my youth work ministry is now Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane and by far the best of the Anglican bishop bloggers with his wry commentary on life episcopal and personal and feline.

The mix of his Irish  background, with his Ulster ministry experience and Scottish Episcopal Church life add to the richness of the context.

One cannot help think that not only his nationality but his technological awareness offer some challenge to Church life as his post today illustrates:

One of the problems about using a PDA thingy is that it doesn’t tell you about important things like Bank Holidays - or Christmas and Easter for that matter.  So they jump out and surprise one.

Anyway, we’ve been celebrating with Charles Severs at All Saints, St Andrews, his 50 years as a Lay Reader.  That time has included a period as Port Chaplain for Mission to Seafarers and all sorts of other things - what Charles calls a ‘journey of grace’.   All Saints - with its rich tradition of worship - is a great place for a celebration.  But I something think that the boat girl has a rather better idea of what is happening than I do.  I take what is handed to me, do with it what I am told and hand it back with a good grace.  Last weekend, I succeeded in leaving behind in two different places mitre [1] and cope [1].  My score was better this weekend but I am still short of a cope.

Tomorrow morning it’s the red eye to Glasgow by 8 am for a Daily Service Broadcast on Radio 4 Long Wave - real echoes of the Home Service there.  Got to get my Number 2 accent into gear.

I identify with the diary bank holiday problem cos I use a computer generated diary for my Filofax - so I missed today as a Bank Holiday planning various things locally which fell apart as people realised their Bank Holiday commitments - but too late to plan any alternative personally.

26 April 2007

Thinking Blogger award!

Thinkingblogger_2Just catching up on blogging comments and emails to find that I have been nominated for Thinking Blogger Award by Maggi Dawn read here.

What with the huge volume of emails (and despite a dip in posting recently) and this nomination its good to know that my thoughts are helpful.

The downside of the award is having to think of five other people to nominate - some of my regular reads have already been nominated - so I can't guarantee to be quick off the mark to nominate.

But thank you for the emails, comments, and for the nomination.

Computer gear and Dell's XP retreat

Computer prices seem to be at an all-time low. I have been been busy replacing old computers at home and advising a local youth work charity on an admin upgrade to support their growing success.

Their are some great Dell official refurbish deals with Sterling here. Note that the prices include a three year on-site support deal and they are much cheaper than Dells own reselling site.. Sterling have been one of my best suppliers for the past few years - efficient and helpful when the occasional problems arise. What is really great is how they pitch their advice to the skill of the caller - so finance introductions for the informed or patronising nonsense for the less informed.

Notepads running versions of XP are at quite daft prices - Music Youth have picked up three really decent HP portables for £239+ VAT.here ( they wangled a bulk charity price so the display is higher) By chance I had an old Computer Shopper from November 2006 when they were being offered at the bargain price of £599 + VAT

They have also bought Samsung ML-2550 Duplex lasers for the office from Morgan for the crazy price of £98 for a big memoried duplex printer. I have fitted one on my study system and it is quick quiet and very intelligent - so if it jams (very rare) it notes that a print was not complete and repeats the missing process. The duplex printing (auto doubled sided printing) is an absolute joy, and the seems not to be any quality deficit for the toner saver mode except for photo printing. Refills are cheap compared with HP etc.

 

Had to chuckle at the weekend to read that Dell have been forced by customer demand into offering their machines with XP again having completely switched to Vista in its confusing options.

07 April 2007

Word 2007 direct posts

Microsoft have introduced a blog posting feature into Word 2007, which means that all the post including pick and drop pictures can done within Word and then posted to Typepad which is the default blogging software.

Details here

06 March 2007

Asbo Jesus

Jon Birch (he of many things intriguing and creatively artistic, and altar ego of Jonny Baker in many collaborations) has started a wonderful new blog called asbo Jesus which has already included some superb visuals of which this one really set me chuckling and I am tempted to seek permission to include it in the next parish magazine!

05 March 2007

New sites

Picking back through a mountain of emails (sorry if you are waiting for a response) and have had a quick look at these sites which could be worth watching.

Spirited exchanges the New Zealand site which has attracted so much attention in the UK now has a UK format - the site is still a bit thin and some of the design leaves a lot to be desired with some fairly illegible white text - but with sponsorship from Greenbelt it promises much.

Also from New Zealand but from the Anglican Church is Liturgy which is about " helping your worship to be vital, transforming and faithful. There are lots of ideas and links with a principle focus on the Eucharist but with access to Bosco Peters book on Celebrating the Eucharist.

While fairly traditional compared with the flexibility and developments within the English Common worship developments there is much that clergy in particular could find helpful.

I am often asked why I do not list favourite blogs and sites - and the answer is simply while others have impressively long lists there nearly always contain blank links and I prefer to commend as I go - you can pick up previous suggestions by following the categories.

Now I must return to preparing some confirmation material on the devil with a link to Jesus in the desert and a connection with what do you do with your rubbish?

26 February 2007

Rowan and Widgets

Interested to read Rowan Williams Presidential Address to General Synod - and I am grateful to be able to read it rather than just listen to it since I think it would have been hard work as a speech.

Hard work as it can be I (nearly) always find that the hard work understanding what RW has to say is worthwhile in the end.

By complete contrast I have been recommended personally and somewhat plagued by reminders that I have not yet widgetized my blog - everyone seems to think it a thoroughly good idea - but so far I haven't found an explanation as to what it actually does, or how it works or why I should really bother.

 

The Widgetbox site ( recommended by Typepad) which claims to make all clear, is a classic of the computer world's incestuous self-deception when it comes to explanation. I have read it very carefully and followed every link on the site in search of the answer to the question "why does it do what it claims it does and how?"

So I can readily forgive Rowan's occasional mountains of language which only lead to a steep ascent and fog when I come across explanations such as "Widgetbox widgets can respond to your blog posts and website content." . . .  and . . .

Live Lent suggested today that pilgrims should offer someone an apple - the delivery man was a little surprised but departed The Vicarage graciously not only with his required signature but a good red apple.

18 February 2007

Back and blogging

An odd dimension about be a regular blog poster is that if the blog goes quiet for a few days then some people very charmingly assume that something is wrong - so among the email tray was some six emails asking if I was OK.

The answer is that I am on great form and have had a week away over half term visiting East London, and the Isle of Sheppey, Rochester, the "south coast"  and Guildford - and I have coped with being back for a full Sunday in the parish with only Saturday to catch up and prepare - and of course Lent starts during the coming week.

Among the blogs which have struck me while I have been away - portables and wi-fi means that I may not choose to write but I have the time to read are:

John O-Keefe's excellent reflection on how American evangelicals will only relate to a stereotype of the emerging Church

Jason Clark's mission framework for his forthcoming research which I have already offered a comment and in response to several emails have promised to write further on BBA about what I mean by suggested alternative Venn diagram.

Ian Mosby's article on the much misappropriated idea of "Cafe Church"

Paul Walker's brilliant piece on missional church, Nemo and aquaria (that should tempt you to follow the link)

The Book of Hours a collection of Thomas Merton's writings and prayers is now available in the UK in paperback - any one interested in the more contemplative aspects of missional liturgy and prayer should get a copy.

After Christmas I offered some models at a training day of new patterns of Church based upon television programmes - the most controversial of which turned out to be offering a Church based upon Top Gear and it seems I am not alone in this creative thought with Mark Berry writing about it too. PS Top Gear is a family favourite at the moment and the most compelling reason for banning evening Sunday worship!

31 January 2007

Vista exploitation

Interested that Bill Gates on Newsnight last night had no explanation for why Vista is 78% more expensive in the UK than in the States - actually if you factor in the exchange rate the Independent is suggesting that it is about 120% more expensive than in the States.

With the announcement of continued support for XP2 being extended until 2009 there seems little point in changing yet - well at least until version 2 of Vista is available without the bugs and problems. Having seen a demonstration it seems very pretty but not a "must-have" change.

29 January 2007

1 &1 Internet Ltd Customer Care email!

HOSTINGI have recently dropped the use of 1&1 Internet Ltd - yes those folk with the expansive adverts promising ease of use etc. My experience has been that once things go wrong they can't cope, and their communications and follow-up has been dire - so I have moved elsewhere.

In the classic incompetence from growing internet companies you get seriously frustrating replies to emails. In one I sent them I said that I had checked their FAQs section and that they had agree that it did not cover the problem and asked for additional help - back came the email " check our FAQs section at the following liunk". Apart from the bad spelling the author had clearly not read my email.

Later on when they claimed that I was trying to do something which was beyond the "technical remit" of domestic users I referred them to one of their adverts which claimed that the service would do the very thing which I was trying to do - the reply was that they had changed the package since!

A more recent email contained the following classic

"Should you not receive this e-mail message, you can request that it be
re-sent by accessing the contract tool at http://contract.1and1.co.uk."

I wonder how long it will take them to understand that I would have to received the email to understand how to ask for it to be re-sent!! ?

Success and Growth can seriously affect the ability of firms to keep up

24 January 2007

Testing Bloglines

"Read the bloody instructions dummy" - sums up my frustrating passage to getting bloglines working smoothly as a feed reader - but at last I am there.

It brings back memories of making Airfix models and then wondering why I had three pieces over at the end and my mothers frustation that I spent so much pocket money but not bothered to read the instructions.

Compared with the others that I have examined Bloglines seems by far the easiest to set up and most efficient in monitoring blog activity. In fact one of my previous failed attempts at setting it up had worked after all because when the eurika moment came last night it was apparent that I had 182 feeds from Storytellers world ready to read!

But I am amazed how many people still haven't set up a "feed" on their blogs - they are now in some kind of purgatory until I find the time to work my way down an ever increasing list of bookmarks called Blogs - because my daily reading will via bloglines from today.

09 January 2007

Apple news

Introducing iPhoneFor the first time I think I might be tempted by an over-priced, over-valued over-rated Apple product

see iphone

04 January 2007

2006 Post titles and visitor traffic

There has been some helpful advice on increasing the circulation of a blog, but with Mark and Sue's practical help I have been looking at what has happened at BBA over the past year and it offers some interesting insights into making connections.

Firstly some provisional statistics:

During 2006 BBA was visited each week by a hits which vary in number between 440 and a single high point of 1200 per week - but that the actual individual visitor figure is lower than this since some people visit more that once (and about 25% visit daily) and looks more a range of 51 to 740.

Whichever statistic you look at this is quite a large range, suggesting that there is something which is prompting people to view the site (or not).

Then the change/surge and the received wisdom

In late November / early December there was a marked increase (to 1200 hits and 740 visitors) which I (in my received wisdom) initially put down to cross references from some of other Christian blogs on posts and comments: coverage of the Covenanting Evangelicals post at Thinking Anglicans etc etc.

This did represent some new traffic to the BBA blog and it would be important not to undervalue such links for cross germination of ideas etc - it is surely one of the things which blogging has offered to the wider Christian community.

The detailed analysis

However more detailed analysis reveals that the growth of new visitors (as distinct from people following the links from the sites mentioned above) actually came via search engines and in response to a series of posts which I had co-incidentally (or serendipitously) given very simple post titles linked to key events and words such as " Moby", "Israel", "Jimmy Carter" " Virgin Birth" "Anglican" and in particular " Howies" and "Newsnight"

So the moral is that post titles need to be simple and connect with the wider agenda of the world, rather than feature the jargon or catch phrases - which in my case would tend to feature the theological and the musical.

There is something challenging about the apparent fact that it is the "title" which ultimately determines whether the much crafted words which follow will be read by 51 or 740 people.

21 December 2006

Moby's Christmas message

lightningMoby offers a message for Christmas which he heads as:

i think it is odd/funny when people come to moby.com or mysapce to tell me about christianty

go read here

5 things

So having been tagged here's 5 things which you might not know about me if you only know me through Bigbulkyanglican

1. Cars and driving - I have been mad about cars since I was a small boy - but realise that I have hardly ever blogged about it which is odd. Having been brought up in rural Shropshire I could drive a car at 12 and past my test after just 4 lessons ( basically learning how to take my test) and some would say that my driving still shows this!. Apart from various CMS company cars in my first job, and a rather natty Fiat Uno which was a turbo in disguise in my 20s and a Skoda for the three years of my curacy, I have been a Citroen owner ever-since owning a BX, a AX several ZXs, and most recently Berlingo multi-spaces. I think despite the state of the roads and the traffic that driving is still one of the things I most enjoy. She-who-is-most loved has owned her car since 1984 - an ex-RAF Morris Traveller which we bought for £2,500 and is now worth at least £6,000

2. My confession: as a theological graduate and lay theologian for 20 odd years before being ordained priest I have a dark secret - I failed O level RE! My only defence is that everyone else in the class bar two did as well - cos the teacher that taught us was much to inspiring and interesting to stick to the curriculum.

3. I have a thin skull - or more exactly patches of thin skull on my head which means that I am given to concussion etc ( 4 extended hospitalizations in my teens). If I hadn't damaged my eyesight with repeated concussion in my teens I would have joined The Navy and life would have been very different.This also had scary consequences for my time as a youth worker - on one occasion on a residential event I intervened in a pillow fight which had got a little out of hand - only to be flattened by a lass standing behind the doorway that I entered who decided to hit me on the head from a top bunk - I went out like a light for several rather alarming minutes - but I am told it stopped the pillow fight!

4. I am the 17(?) generation of "Thomas Allen" in my family. There is one in every generation back to the 17th century. One of the most surreal experiences of my life was to visit Highgate Cemetery to see my great- great-etc grandfathers name Thomas Allen on a gravestone in 17-something. Like many folk I changed my name to Tom in my teens (and after my Grandfather Tom had died), and now everyone calls me that - apart from my mum who died three years ago who stuck with my proper name throughout her life.

5. In my musical past I was once a member of Eric Clapton's backing band -  well for two songs anyway when he paid a guest visit to a Princes Trust music concert!

6. I am dyslexic which mainly affects me numerically makes it quite hard to keep track of numbers in lists and things.

And I am going to tag some of my favourite bloggers of the moment:

hopefulamphibian

Nigel Wright

Story Tellers World

Paul Walker

John Davies

19 December 2006

Five things you didn't know about me

Having been watching the meme virus spreading around christoblogland with a kind of detached interest, I have just realised that I have been tagged by Simon Barrow uberblogger at Faith in society - sorry about being so slow on the uptake.

In very much younger days Simon and I were the youngsters on the CMS HQ staff team when CMS was still in its post-colonial Auntie CMS mode.

Being the introvert that I am, I will have to give this some considered thought and reply in due course - Christmas preparation etc allowing.

17 December 2006

Blogging Episcopalians

I was reminded back in November that my link to Blogging Episcopalians had broken on my blog - I have today re-connected, and am interested to see how the netring has grown.

It seems that having been offline for sometime I have now entered a kind of netring "purgatory" where in due course my worth will be judged and full status in heaven may or may not be confirmed. I notice that there is a huge backlog for admission or re-admission but will refrain from theological analogy. Suffice to say that I have done what I said I would - I know wait for the judgement of others!

15 December 2006

Parish blog and domain link

Back in March 2006 I offered a somewhat optimistic post about the ease of linking a domain name to a typepad blog so that people could get easy access to a new Vicar of Oakworth post. In reality despite numerous attempts at getting the link to work properly I have now decided to try another approach. The link works fine until someone tries to post a comment via the link when because of compatibility in the DNS coding between 1&1 and Typepad the commentator inadvertently crashes the Typepad blog.

So am offering 1&1 one last chance to get the thing working ( they have been pretty useless in terms of support hiding behind a company policy of not touching customers sites as an excuse to avoid offering a real explanation for why it does not work) and switching my domain to one of the Typepad recommended domain holders.

All very frustrating in the way that only computer software and its suppliers can be.

01 November 2006

Broadband dependence

At 4.15pm yesterday BT Broadband went off line across undisclosed swathes of the country and it remained so until gone midnight - the first extensive outage that the UK's premier broadband had experienced.

It co-incided with my one night in this week - set aside by muggins for writing and planning ahead. But it quickly became clear just how broadband dependent I have become
- I couldn't work on Thursdays memorial service the draft of which was on email - nor send my thoughts to James or indeed speak to him cos he only has a broadband linked phone with BT latest bit of wizardary which integrates his phone computer and mobile
- I couldn't plan or PCC or Arts council agendas
- I couldn't finish off editing materials for the parish magazine since they had been sent by email
- I couldn't assess two youth work reports  - again stuck on email
- I couldn't access blogs or other sources that I needed for things I am writing
- I couldn't check finances or UCAS offers or . . . . .

Which makes me think (and a little scared) - how broadband dependent have I become . . . .?

17 October 2006

History matters - Bloggers make history today

Today is the day for the bloggers of the UK to make history - we are being invited to offer a post of up to 800 words about what we do today in all its exciting or ordinary detail, all of them will be compiled by the British Library to give future generations a snap shot of what life is like in 2006.

I have been trying to imagine what will the most interesting thing in my planned day-off (translated from Friday when I am speaking at a conference) which might interest/shock future generations. I guess it might be something to do with ecology - and especially the idea that I can " do a trip to the tip" - I doubt we will be so profligate in the future and much more will be recycled.

So go offer a blog with details here

13 October 2006

Ruth Gledhill and comments etiquette

Rg Among the most interesting forms of blogging which has developed is when skilled professional journalists develop a blog alongside their mainstream work.

Ruth Gledhill, the Religious Affairs Correspondent at The Times has been at the forefront of this development in the religious field with her superb blog  which has rightfully achieved a very high profile - and it has enabled her to post stories or nuances on existing stories which would never have made it into the main paper.

Most importantly it has enabled her to share personal and faith experiences which would not have been possible for a professional journalist in a mainstream British paper- most movingly in her response to the CAN Christmas Advert beer glass campaign when she detailed her own struggles with alcoholism - and posts of this nature have given a new depth to the blogging form see here

It has also enabled there to be a lively and intelligent debate between people of faith, and key figures in the Humanist Movement in the UK which has always been interesting.

But for most of the history of Ruth's blog there has been a 'cloud' which has affected most posts - and that cloud is a commenter named "James" who posted (often in the name of Christianity) some very peculiar posts often of a virulently homophobic or anti Islamic nature. These topics would arise even when the topic of the post was something completely different. If you hunt back through her previous posts you will see that "James" appears with comments within minutes of Ruth posting - prompting me among others to suggest that he was a "blog stalker"

This has represented a real dilemma for a journalist committed to freedom of speech - how to respond when your blog comments are being distorted by the particular perspectives of another individual?

Two days ago she took the brave decision to ban James - and there was an understandable response from some folk about freedom of speech. I defended her decision and have suggested that James starts his own blog, and that I would post the details on Ruth's comments for those who wished to read his views - so far I have heard nothing.

Ruth has now offered an explanation of the background to the decision here - I am sure she would welcome comments particularly from other bloggers.

For me personally while the number of comments may dip in the short term ( in some cases about 50 % of comments were challenges to "James" comments rather than on Ruth's posts) I am sure that her blog deserves better and will develop. Quality rather than quantity.

May I also say that no-one actually knows who "James" is - I have had my doubts throughout whether he is  the person he presents himself as (not that I doubt that such Christian bigots do exist in the US, I hasten to add) but there have been strange inconsistencies in his knowledge of the UK.

Anyway do go read and if Ruth's blog is not in favourites then it ought to be . . .

12 October 2006

Firefox

Littlefox screenshot Having been a relatively late convert to Mozilla Firefox, I continue to be unconvinced by the layout/themes of the standard programme - rather fussy with a lot of screen space taken up with cluttered graphics.

I am delighted with Littlefox 1.7 which is one of the officially recognised alternative themes which offers "optimal screen usage" - it seems to have no adverse qualities and is more instinctive to use - details on the Mozilla site here

10 October 2006

What are you doing on October 17th

October 17th has been chosen as a typical day in the year which a consortium of organisations including the National Trust are compiling a record of what happened that day to be stored in the British Library.

So help make history - get your diary blog of the day on the records for future generations see here

October 17th 2006 will be a significant day for future generations . . .

09 October 2006

Bye Bye Blogger days - hello new design BBA

Do you love or hate cancelled meetings - generally I feel quite annoyed for a short time and then the benefits emerge - so tonight with 1/2 hour's notice a meeting which I spent 1 hour preparing for was cancelled - so I have been able to dedicate time to two blogging things I had wanted to do for ages:

  • Sort through and finally dispose of BBA on Blogger which I know was just causing confusion when people searched the name in some less common search engines ( ie other than Google) - so BBA blogger days is no more. I heard recently of someone spending several hours deleting individual posts - there is a " delete this blog button" if you want to get rid of the whole blog
  • Before Blogger BBA went into limbo (or wherever the Pope now thinks that blogs go to) I saved some of the posts which attracted the most comments - and will offer them as a retrospective over the coming days .

While looking at my old Blogger site I realised that I rather liked its simplicity of design so as you will have noticed I have changed to simpler standard template.

I hope you find the new design helpful

Trackbacks + Kim Fabricus

Does anyone know where there is a simple introduction to trackbacks - I am asked for them - I suddenly notice on other sites that a trackback to BBA is listed - and I am getting increasing amounts of them sent to me - but although I have followed the Typepad guidelines ( I am never very good at the jargon contained in them)I cannot get them to work when I want to initiate one?

Also can anyone explain to me who Kim Fabricus is - I used something on sermons written by him/her and was told he/she is an American theologian - but now I am told Kim is an university chaplain in the UK -  is it one and the same person - I can't find a google link - confused - help

20 September 2006

Read the instructions first . . .

If you can remember making Airfix kits then you will have been saddened to see them in administration - but one thing I never did until my mother intervened to help me sort out why I had one piece left over at the end - was read the instructions first!


Childhood habits don't really change we just shift situations - so who was the clever clogs in a hurry as usual yesterady who tried to reset the new Parish blog to its domain name without following the instructions - and you've guessed I have mucked up the link which even with excellent help from Typepad and '1 and 1' means that I am now in that frustrating mode of having to wait for 48 hours for wrong settings to reset etc.

15 September 2006

MS Windows Live Writer goes live - brilliant!

One of the remaining irritants about Typepad is the clunky way of creating a post which never really allows you to see what the post will finally look like when it is published ( ie the preview doesn't really work)

Thanks to a tip off (from Mark and Sue via email via wi-fi from a travel-lodge in Nevada USA) I have installed the beta version of MS Windows Live Writer, which will connect to all the main blogger services and gives you fill WYSIWYG writing facilities.

You can down load it here and it took me about five minutes to download it and establish the connection with Typepad Blog which then loads you normal settings into Live Writer

I am writing this post in a full familiar WYSIWYG window, with all the familiar controls of say MIcrosoft Word - complete with full picture editing, categories and everything I currently use or would want to use but haven't done so cos I could not work out how to do it in Typepad.

So it is dead easy change to bold and back out again, and  the same applies with italic etc. You can amend and backtrack with familiar Word keypresses etc and drag and drop as usual.

You can choose whether to display the screen in normal (black on white as in say Word) or in Web mode which will be how it appears on the screen

The only rather ironic error that I have discovered so far is that the spell-checker did not have the word " blogger" in its existing dictionary

If it remains stable and reliable this really "ups the anti" for the blogger software companies - I cannot see why anyone would choose to write in their relatively crude formats anymore.

When comparing the speed of publishing in Typepad remember that they are currently (Friday 15th) experiencing speed problems themselves so the publish make take longer.

14 September 2006

Calling Geeks . .

There are two software things which are driving me nuts at the moment which I need Geek help with . . . . my usual support team are away in the States ( safe travel to Mike and Sue)

1. For some reason (or at least without my deliberate agreement) when I click on an email link in another blog instead of going straight to Fastmail as I used to write an email I end up in a MS LOgin net programme which demands that I provide a password which I don't have. How and where do I reset my computer to ensure that Fastmail resumes its rightful place
2. Is there any simple way of moving my Blogger posts of old on my site into Typepad so that appear in their chronological order - Typepad provides a rather complicated way which involves backing up Blogger etc and then rewriting the programme.

Feedback would be gratefully received in comments - detailed instructions by email

Thanks

05 September 2006

Greenbelt 12 - oddness of identity

Tom_vic_1 Quite the strangest thing about Greenbelt this year is that I discovered that I had a quite unintentional alter-ego in that Bigbulkyanglican is who I am to some people at the cost of being Tom Allen.

On two occasions I was introduced to people as "Tom Allen" without the person making the connection - one person compounding the confusion by politely asking what I did ecetera, but then when they made the connection talking with embarrasing enthuasiasm for the blog.

On another occasion I was talking with someone who knows me personally (but evidently hadn't read the blog), when we were joined by a stranger who proceeded to address to me as "Bigbulkyanglican" which was seriously weird ( no offence John!) until the orginal conversant intervened.

What started as a daft suggestion for a open blog (inspired I susequently discovered by the name Tall Skinny Kiwi  who I hadn't heard of at the time) has assumed a life of its own - which is compounded by the soon-to-be-rectified problem that there isn't a photo of me anywhere on the blog - so the growing numbers of readers who have not met or seen me don't know what I look like.

So for those who haven't realised I am Tom Allen who blogs as Bigbulkyanglican - and the really good thing is that since I started open blogging I still big and anglican but considerably (2 stone) less bulky with another 5 stones to go for my ideal clergy weight . . . now I must hunt out a flattering photo . . .

25 August 2006

Emergent No sees the light

I am sure that I was not the only one in the UK that thought that the US blog-site Emergent No - (which claimed to review things emergent in the light of Scripture ) - was some sought of wicked piss-take much in the vein of a theological blog version of The Office - so good and painful that you thought you had to be watching the real thing.

Well of course I was put right the first time I offered a comment, and became submerged under an email of responses from across the States most of which revealed a need for psychiatric help on the part of their authors and for the first time I had to block two people from commenting on my own Blog as they continued they vitriol there. Andrew at Tallskinnykiwi and others have received similar treatment.

Well it seems that one of the main contributers has seen the light and some of the odder and more unhelpful posts will be no more -here

09 August 2006

Typepad "improvements"

Blog I wonder sometime what it is about software companies and their inveterate "improvements" which actually reduce the usefulness of what they offer - and sadly Typepad seem to be increasingly infected with this disease - on their website and email update they proudly proclaim inprovements which include the following:

A new method of users logging on - using the ever more friendly "members signing in " which is all nice and friendly and we are assured means that it will be quicker - well of course it would if it worked but it doesn't and it now takes me two/three attempts with accompanying messages " invalid login attempt from user ". Furthermore my custom desktop way of directly accessing a post does not work anymore - so more work to sort that due to improvements.

Apparently as a result of this improvement it is not now possible to save the login on more that one computer - you have to enter all the information if you are not using your main computer - though Typepad are denying that this is a result of the home page - but can't explain why it has happened simultaneously on hundreds of second computers.

Then there is the "improvement" of being able to link catagories with Technorati tags - haven't really worked out what this means yet apart from your categories ending up loooking like a Church magazine editor has been let loose on the design - "a jumbled mixture of fonts, sizes, and an emphasis which you might not want" as Typeass sums it up quite wittly.

AND just when I was getting the hang of the menus and sub-menus in control panel etc - they set about redesigning the HOME PAGE so that things are not quite as they were before

I wouldn't mind all these improvements if they could get the basic service to work effectively - for the second time in three months I have lost several pre-programmed posts - and Typepad are not able to offer any explanation for the fault - except that they did have some "down time" while I was away on holiday.

Improvements - I think not

11 July 2006

Comments on BBA

Sorry for not responding to comments that have been placed - something is going wrong with the system - I am not being notified by email as I should - some comments appear in the main blog but do not show up in the numbers for that post - and about another 30 are listed in the main control point list but are not appearing in the blog - all of which is a bit of a mystery and I am awaiting further advice from Typepad.

So if you have commented but it has not appeared then it is not me being selective as I have removed all restrictions on blogs

29 June 2006

Comments

Apologies I have been experiencing some problems with the email notification and moderation of comments which means that I have not realised they have been made - I think I have now corrected the problem with Typepads help.

26 June 2006

Favourite Blogs

Apparently I'm a miserable so and so cos I don't have a blogroll of my favourite blogs - I have always been reluctant to add one since I find my taste changes over time - which is perhaps a bit selfish since most of the good ones I read have been picked up off other peoples sites. I have over 40 listed as favourites on my main computer - and I tend to pick and choose each day depending on how much time I can offer. Following problems with RSS which I have resolved since before Easter ( not that I have been trying since then just can't really be bothered!)

So for just for NOW here are my top five in the sense of the ones which I will check most days and which seem to resonate with me and my journey at the moment:

Alan Creech writes most days of a mix of theology and family - think I connect cos he values tradition but searches for new forms of Church
Jason Clark comes from a completely different background but seems to write things which resonate with my faith journey - is that one of the really great things about the whole emergent/missional church thing that people of such different backgrounds meet and connect - and perhaps the best designed blog site - seriously jealous of the layout and style!
John Davies writes such brilliant posts - and we share a youth worker turned priest background and a fascination with how the built environment affects people and faith - and I love when I don't understand some of his more arty posts about literature and have to consult BP as to what he is on about
Tony Price posts some of the best Anglican posts which help to keep me sane working in the weirdness which is the Church of England
Mark Berry posts from the godless heart (Telford) of my home county of Salop and nurturing Diocese of Lichfield which probably has the most missional Senior staff team - and covers music as well as missional Church
Rick Lord offers pure quality rather than a daily post - but offers great insights from ECUSA ( who says its dying!) perhaps my favourite blog of the moment.

Actually that's six - and I have just noticed its all blokes - and I have realised that I would have written something quite different 6 months ago

. . .  and yes I will get around to joining the God blogs and Anglican blogroll sometime . . . I am not a refusenick just short of time . . . I have only managed to right this cos a wedding couples are 35 minutes late . . . and they have just arrived looking tearful!

06 June 2006

Comments + stats

Apologies to the folk who have submitted creative comments, I am being overwhelmed still by spam comments, and a few from a Zionist lady who objects to my views on Israel/Palestine which makes vetting comments a real chore at the moment - and I promptly forgot over the last few days to approve the good ones!

In the meantime thanks to everyone who is visiting BBA - those who know me personally - I recognise many of the refereing sites and those who have stumbled upon BBA from goodness knows where - it is quite odd to think that some days over 500 people are reading what I write.

I am really learning a blogging discipline including using the post on a certain date facility as time relevant ideas occur. In the next few weeks there is more music posts coming, and I have nearly completed the series on being a progressive Catholic which has been a real challenge to my own thinking and emotions - what really is essential is a great discipline question for Anglo-catholics?

Blessings and thanks to you all.

21 May 2006

Typepad headings

_drane_1 For some time know there has been an irritating fault in typelists. If you add a book which Typepad is not able to supply a cover graphic it then also fails to highlight the title text in the appropriate colour. Has anyone found a solution? See Typelists for Books to see an illustration of the problem where the John Drane book remains in plain text.

20 May 2006

BBA changes

Reluctantly I have had to make some changes to "access" to BBA - I suppose as a result of the increasing number of hits each day I have become the victim of spam comments and trackbacks - so unfortunately I have had to introduce the validation of entries which Typepad offers. What is odd is what trigures these spams - a recent post on "Top Gear" seems to have triggured a spate of car related spams for spoilers etc.

More positively however I have re-introduced an ability to "email" me directly from the site - emails will  arrive among my "priestly" email which many people have access to anyway.

Suffice to say that I cannot offer any more response than I would offer to comments - but I know some people want to say things just a little more personally and privately. I will see how it goes.

08 April 2006

Moby

_moby I have always loved his music and now I am increasingly appreciating his blog which picks and chooses words and ideas in much the same way that his music uses sound images see here for main blog see here for example and offers alternative views onto the good old US of A. Interestingly there is relatively little about being a musician, in much the same way that BBA has relatively little about the day job of being a Vicar. For those interested in his creative side he has a great site here

29 March 2006

Back on track

Three days of the builders, ( which went very smoothly indeed)  followed by four days of low level work due to experiencing the flu bug which is doing the rounds in the Parish, mean that only today am I "back on track" and working as normal - among other things to catch up on are a mountain of emails so please bear with me.

For end of the financial year music purchases I will offer a couple of blogs - there are some excellent deals around on some of my recommended equipment. Remember that for tax purposes it is when you place the order that counts not when it is delivered so there is still time to make wise choices from the bargains around without panic!

22 March 2006

Blog heist?

Thanks for the emails which have pointed out that several so-called links posted as Bigbulkyanglican actually end up on the site of a woman in America. With a particularly busy few days I have not had time to attend to it, but Mark who has done a little detective work on my behalf has been assured by Typepad that the fault is the link rather than anyone starting to rip-off my site.

Apparently a group calling itself "Anglicans Online" has started the rot in attempting to provide an "incomplete collection" of Anglican clergy blogs which is full of inaccuracies, including a false link from BBA but some folk have copied the list.

As I don't really consider BBA to be a "clergy" blog - its simply my personal blog - I am not that concerned - but will in due course simply request that BBA is removed from the list when I have the time and energy to do so.

Thanks for the concern.

10 March 2006

Writely is Googled

_writely I know that there are mixed feelings about the expansion of Google - but I have only seen good things in terms of software development - so I am delighted that Google have bought up Writely - which is a natty bit of software that allows several people to write online together - but it hasn't somehow delivered what it promised - hopefully Googles expertise will resolve the problems - see here for details and an info sign up

06 March 2006

Cool Header

Bill Arnold has what must be the most seriously cool header for his blog go see here - guess that's what comes of being a creative type!

04 March 2006

Blogger Blues

_blogger If you have been catching up on your favourite blogs you might like to know that anything using Blogger free-software may not be accessible - the servers have been playing up for most of the day - as they say you pays your money and takes your . . . . or may be not.

28 February 2006

Geek help please

I am in the process of creating a blog-site for Parish affairs - relatively straighforward using a second site on my BBA account with typepad. Can anyone explain please how it is possible to create a shorter catchier version of site entry for publicity purposes. At the moment the URL looks like  http://bigbulkyanglican.typepad.com/no_church_oakworth/

I am sure that in the past I have used a piece of software which enable me to offer shorted URL but with a hard-drive change last year I no longer seem to have it or remember its name.

Ideas please . . .?

03 February 2006

Typepads Troubles

1tplogoapp Its a bit worrying that Typepad are having such a difficult technical time at the moment - no stats and I can't persuade it to add proper Typelists either see the recent entries which have appeared without visuals or proper text layout. The general service level is also very slow

Hope this does not mean that their service is going the way of Blogger. Perhaps they should concentrate on getting what they do to work properley before adding further features which are used by a minority

Continue reading "Typepads Troubles" »

02 February 2006

Nigel Wright

Some more Yorkshire based wisdom and insight is now available here in the eponymous new blog. Nigel is an ordinand and accountant ( as well as a real Yorkshireman) with a vocation to minister in the wordplace, and offers insights in contemporary theological education.

30 January 2006

Family Tradition

1dsc00796jpg_3 The Church of England use to have a great tradition of families who produced generations of priests and Bishops. While I would never want to return to the days when people kind of expected clergy sons ( and now of course daughters) to follow in their parents footsteps their is something both special and perhaps currently undervalued about multi- generational priesthood. I warmed to this post on one of my favourite USA anglican blogs World of your Making

22 January 2006

Blogon sense

Some wise words around the protocol of blogging see Ben Witherington's advice here. Of course part of the appeal of the medium is it started without clear rules - but for a mature form to develop which genuinely forwards corporate ideals of the Kingdom of God then we must develop a "framework" which enables and encourages rather than inhibits or disillusions.

20 January 2006

Blog

Intrigued by the various developments in the field of Christian blogging

with a number of blogs that have been part of my regular reading diet either deciding to "retire"

or as with Doug Paggitt questioning whether the blog is a suitable arena for serious writing

or thought cos the lack of agreed protocol  so one can find oneself burnt on the comments etc or people using well-known site's comments to present quite contradictory or provocative views

or asking whether the sheer temporary nature of the blog which disappears down the page amkes it a suitable place for serious thought

I have certainly attracted the attention of the incosiderate or inflamed comment making ( and have resorted to blocking three of the worst) - but the sheer temporary nature has its attraction since I can write what seems to be clear or right at this moment - and looking back over 4 years of blogging it is interesting to read how ideas change, develop and values and concerns change too.

I personally think that we have only just begun to explore the value and usefulness of the blog - see some other thoughts at Maggi Dawn's blog

29 November 2005

Broadband down

It was certainly a pain - but more worryingly it was actually felt quite scarey and panic inducing - and all that had happened was that Broadband was down in the village for 2+ hours and BT could not predict when normal service was going to resume.

What I guess was the pain is the practical things which people had planned to do - and the promised emails which didn't get tranmitted.

What makes it scarey is the sense of dependence particularly on sources of information on the Net and the fact that I tend to work to much tighter time scales now that I have access to Broadband

But should it really be like that - or does it indicate a cautionary level of dependence?

25 September 2005

Episcopalian Bloggers??

A couple of emails have pointed out that I have been removed from the "Episcopalian Bloggers ring" - and BBA is now listed in the "sites of interest" category. Is this promotion or have committed some unintentional sin which has led to BBA being removed from membership?

Not sure what this is about - but their link has also disappeared from BBA - will investigate when I get time - or would be grateful for clarification as to what has happened and why?

My main reason for joining was to encourage UK people to link into the many excellent Anglican blogs on the other side the pond - so you may want to see what it is all about here

23 September 2005

Blog updates

I have made a number of changes to the BBA blog:

1. I have committed to using catagories with posts to assist with finding other material later eg for the musicians to be able to track back the musical posts
2. On Donald's advice ( thanks for the wisdom from the North) I have changed the text of the sidebar items to Arial to assist with legibility - while retaining my beloved Georgia for the post items
3. With some reluctance I have removed my direct email item - particularly in the past few weeks I have been unable to keep up with the volume - and when I start getting reminders that I haven't responded it is getting a little too much. Obviously if you know me and have my email address then life continues as normal and you will appreciate that it might take time to reply.

16 September 2005

Blog clarity?

Started to create a new format for the blog - keeping music and books etc to the left column, and bloggy computer stuff to the right - with posts in the middle. Try doing a top 10 album which is really tough after the first two or three - work in progress at the moment on my desk pad.

How does the smaller text work on more modest screens and mobile computers? Balance needed between more content and being able to read it/

Would be grateful for feedback

13 May 2005

Sadness and frustration

Well I am back in something approaching the world of the Internet. After much brain scratching during the week I have established that the problem is corrupted Outlook express files ( so no proper email links yet) and that these are taking down Internet Explorer wheneever it attempts to access cache memory ( for graphics etc), so I am now writing to you courtesy of Firefox. Do I hear the sound of crowing Firefox fans?

For the real geeks there is a problem with javascript which I am attempting to trace back to my computer useage last week in order to take out the correct file which is opening a connection and then not closing ( as it should) therby refusing access to subsequent files.

All this hassle has happened in a week when Norman - my good friend and retired priestly colleague here in the Parish -  died on Monday - so just when email would be so helpful for organising potentially the biggest funeral in my time at Oakworth I not do have email but am utterley overloaded with answerphone messages half of which are from folk telling me I haven't replied to emails!

In short until Norman's Requiem Eucharist has taken place next Tuesday I shall be concentrating on the real tasks of being a parish priest and this ailing computer will have to be satisfied with running Word and other routine tasks.

19 April 2005

Comment dumps

My attempt to suggest ways forward for blogging comments has just produced a heap more long obscure comments and abusive emails from some of the offenders who I deliberately did not name so I have removed the post and comments

I content myself with simply saying that within Christian blogging there is a valued tradition of sticking to the topic of the post, disagreeing by all means - or developing the idea - or offering support.

If certain parties continue with their rants I shall add them to the list of people unable to comment at BBA.

If you want take off in a completely different direction or pursue personal hobby horses etc then get your own blog and see if anyone else is interested enough to read what you are saying - do not abuse the hospitality of other people's blogs.

Can I also say that I totally reject the suggestion that this has increased since some UK Anglican bloggers ( and I am one) joined the US group Episcopalian Bloggers. While inevitably there are sometimes cross-cultural misunderstandings these are sorted out with appropriate Christian charity. I would activeley encourage people to view the group at here, and if you are an Anglican ( lay or ordained) to join the ring as a way of expressing solidarity with ECUSA in these difficult times within the Anglican Communion.

Let's do all we can to develop blogging as means of Christian mission - and lets not let a small minority who choose to abuse this wonderful means of communication from discouraing the creative and gracious majority.

Here endeth the sermon - with blessings to all

03 December 2004

Switching to TypePad

Requests by email and comments for some begininers view of making the switch so here goes: ( could I add a health warning that what I have tried so far is very basic, but I am pleased with the results in design terms so far - you must judge for yourself)

1. First for those who like to know these things for comparison purposes my Blogging computer is a PC running a AMD 2500 Barton chip with 512K memory on ordinary BT broadband - so nothing spectacular. I have opted for the second level of Typepad, so after the 30 day free trial I paying $8.95 per month . This seems pretty cheap in real money.

2. Typepad is very much quicker than Blogger which I was finding was getting very slow to access, and was suffering from several crashes particularly on long blogs. I have very easily set up a desktop short-cut for the main site and one for direct access to Compose a new post. They both load in a few seconds. I have written as far as this in the time it was taking Blogger to load!

3. Blogger was great for the first few weeks - then the novelty started to wear off. The instability and slowness of loading graphics in the main blog was a personal frustration, and their reluctance to respond to requests for help and support. I personally found the language barrier in blogger quite high - I could not find the language for what I wanted to do in terms of design - despite the fact that some people have clearly created quite sophisticated designs. As I am mildly dyslexic particularly with numerals the use of extensive HTML is a bit of a no-no

4. I have found Typad has a different language - but I think its menus are most instinctive - they seem to think more the way I do. Most importantly there is a printable handbook available which I think is essential. Not only does it enable me to find the way to do things I want to do - but by dipping into it I can find new approaches to things which I had't thought of.

5. Getting better designs, adding lists, and importing graphics is a doddle in Typepad - some of which such as the music covers Typepad just does automatically.

I am assured ( but I haven't had to use it yet) that the support from Typepad is very good - you can send email questions.

So the initial assessment of a complete beginner is positive - I have no regrets so far in switching. With the 30 day free trial I would certainly suggest that people who frustrated with Blogger give it a go - but please not everyone since that might just slow Typepad down!?

01 December 2004

Made the switch

Welcome to the new Typepad driven blog - should have followed the advice and started out by paying in the first place - Blogger slowness and access problems just drove me mad. Haven't had much time to tart the site up yet - but the clear options system is great.