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"I am Jon Pierce, the crewNeckTech. I am employed full-time at Crossroads Community Church as the Technology Specialist. Fulfilling this title pretty much makes me in charge of anything with current flowing through it... This ranges from our 1 electronic stapler, to our 6 servers, to our 8 Rooftop HVAC units, and to our 64 input video switcher."


    KIA - Day of Service Promo Thursday, September 11, 2008 |

    So to shake things up here a bit, I also work on the mag side of things here at Crossroads. This involves things like Audio/Video/Lighting programming/editing/producing/running...

    This week it took the form of prepping a video promo to bring our announcement guy, Bill Hill to the stage. That's him... We have a great time with Bill, and he always makes our announcements more exciting than you would expect announcements to be...

    So anyway, back to the video.. I needed to put something together to:
    1. Fill Enough time to get Bill to the stage
    2. Get people ready to pay attention to Bill
    3. Give People a taste of what the announcement is, without boring them with details
    So here is what I came up with:

    Crossroads - KIA Day of Service for the Elderly from Jon Pierce on Vimeo.

    I started with the audio bed, and then that drove the rest of the piece. So, I laid my audio down and started chopping from there. I really liked the audio, and the way the titles cut in with the bass beat. I also liked the feel I got with the variable time remapping in Final Cut to emphasize some fun action, and hide some bumpy camera work. Speaking of camera work, it was all shot by a volunteer, talk about cost-effective... The one thing I didn't like is the opening video cuts... it felt too choppy/not thought out well enough. I wish I could have come up with a better concept for that audio section, but it passed the "approval process" with flying colors, and frankly, there's no shortage of work to do, so that's where it ended up. Feel free to comment on anything you liked/disliked, and if you have any suggestions for that cliche-too-fast-cuts section let me know!

    UPDATE: Guess what? It's running again this weekend, so any comments in the next 24 hours may make it into the video for this weekend...

    Computer Updates... x32 Monday, September 8, 2008 |

    Most of today was spent on updating computers... I updated 27 workstations to the most recent versions of Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, ClamWin AntiVirus, Microsoft Windows XP SP3, Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, various Microsoft Office Updates, and Mozilla Firefox 3. I've got about 5 more laptops to do still this week as they come trickling in from their respective users... And really these are just the basics, various machines also need iTunes, Rhapsody, Adobe Photoshop/Photoshop Elements/Illustrator/yada yada, MediaShout, SysAid, BB Desktop, Skype, WebCamMax, Yamaha Studio Manager, Google Desktop, Google Calendar Sync, Quicktime...

    After a day of jumping in and out from cubicle to cubicle, and office to office advancing everyone's updates 1 click at a time, I'm really starting to think about Microsoft SCE 2007... After today that $2,000 price tag is starting to look a lot smaller, and that feature list is looking mighty nice... A quick e-mail to my sales gal, Patti Lojeski @ Consistent Computer Bargains could hopefully make the price look a lot smaller with Microsoft's Non-Profit Pricing.

    Then there's the fact that I really don't have a server to put it on... unless I put it on my only Windows 2k3 box which is currently only handling our Primary DC, Front/Backend Exchange, DNS, DHCP, Primary File Services, SysAid Server, Shelby Archive, Backups for self, Backups for other servers, and Peachtree Database Server. Yeah, probably time to stop putting things on that server. So then you've got additional hardware, another Win2k3 license, and another thing to backup... Of course, it really is time for some additional hardware anyways, we just keep adding software and services to our lone win2k3 box.

    All this is coming to my mind with budget time right around corner, so with that in mind: we've got to look at at least some more hardware and software licensing, maybe some virtualization, probably some more storage...

    But the really glaring thing that made me leave today with a big smile: no more Shelby updates. Today was my first "computer updates" day with nothing to worry about on Shelby... Church Community builder takes care of all the "church database" system updates. Yay.

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    Continuing the CCB world takeov... errr.. implementation Saturday, September 6, 2008 |

    So, I'm a little behind on here, but last week we "completed" our database migration from Shelby to Church Community Builder. This basically involved:
    1. getting the data out of Shelby (by the way thanks Pam, who ended up keying in the child-work approved fields for me, and to Ron who got our member list 100% up to date prior to sending the final data!)
    2. checking the data in the newly created spreadsheet
    3. getting the data into CCB
    4. checking the data in CCB
    5. Susie fixing the data I sent wrong in CCB
    6. Susie fixing the data I didn't understand in CCB
    7. and Susie fixing the data I sent wrong in CCB
    Susie Fowler, our data import guru over at Church Community Builder, has really been a blessing as of late!

    Basically 2 things went "wrong" in getting data pushed to CCB:
    1. I didn't find some of the wrong items in the spreadsheet prior to sending
    2. I didn't fully understand the way new records would be imported into CCB en masse
    As to the wrong items, this really is a testament to why you should never, never use a spreadsheet to track your church's people information... Not that this is a good plan, but everything is laid out so nice in CCB that once your data is in the program, it is easy to find the things that are wrong. Don't get me wrong, I checked, fixed, rechecked, fixed, and rechecked those msSQL statements and final data output in the spreadsheet... but I missed a few, but they were really easy to see in CCB! In fact, so easy that within 5 minutes of assigning the exec pastor a login, he saw something I missed that was wrong. "Oh Susie....."

    As to the things I didn't understand, a question is worth the values in 5,175 individual people records... I thought that by setting the defaults for privacy for "new records" on the admin side of CCB would apply to all new records imported into the database as well. In fact, I thought it so hard, I was sure I read it somewhere or took notes on it from a conversation somewhere... Turns out I didn't, I just thought it, saw the "defaults for new records" on the privacy settings page, set those, and went about my business. In fact, the truth of the matter is almost 100% reverse, there is a FAQ in their data import guidelines that explicitly says what they will default those settings to. But for the "almost", it also says in the same document that you can setup your "privacy defaults" in the database prior to conversion, and then the Privacy Defaults page says that it will be applied to all new profiles. I think they win though. We needed 5,175 records changed, but we've already added new individuals and put in new contributions, i.e. this is already a living database. A quick call to Susie, a little discussion, and she'll have them all set and ready to go middle of next week after she writes code to handle it for us!

    So a couple of weeks after the import process got started, here we are really, really close to having everything ready to go in CCB. It's quite exciting, and even more exciting as I see people starting use the data, and starting to get some training.

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