Currently listening: David Crowder Band – Church Music

This new self produced album from David Crowder Band, sees the band reverse the ideals of their previous album Remedy.

Remedy took the music of the church and took it into a more mainstream setting. Church Music takes the combined sound of the mainstream clubs and the lyrics of a worshiper and brings it into a Church setting. Having played Frenzy 09 and Fuel 09, David Crowder Band are already booked to return to UK for more dates in May 2010.

Writer of ‘Oh Praise Him’, ‘He Is Our King’ and ‘Everything Glorious’, David Crowder*Band are part of the Passion Movement in the US.

Just got my hands on this CD recently and I have to say it does not dissapoint from 1st listen. 17 tracks cleverly mixed together without breaks and pauses. Highlight so far is track 10. How he loves.

Need to book rooms and resources?

mrbsIn today’s fast paced life, it is more important than ever to keep tabs on whats going. My church have recently undergone a refurb project and as a result has lots of activities taking place in different rooms throughout the building. Suddenly the paper diary that is keep by someones telephone was no longer an adequate system for us to use.

I looked for various solutions to this problem before settling on MRBS from sourceforge.net. The features that made this so attractive were:

  • The code is free!
  • It would run on our existing website, (although a MySQL database and PHP is required)
  • The layout is customisable
  • I will grow with our needs
  • Accessible by many people via the Internet.

I cannot express what a great sucess this has been for us so if you are needing to implement a similar system, I personally think MRBS is well worth a look.

Picasa 3.5 released – with face recognition.

When it comes to sorting out pics I’ve always been ademant that whatever program I use it needs to be easy and straight forward and after trying so many different programs I finally settled for Google’s Picasa. I have to say that right from the early stages of Picasa’s life the software did exactly what it was set out to do in a very straight forward kind of way and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the latest release comes with some very interesting features.

  • Name tags – scans all the photos in your collection, identifies the ones with faces, and groups photos with similar faces together.
  • Geotag your photos with Google Maps – Quickly add geotags using new integrated Google Maps
  • Import, upload, and share, all at once – improved the import process so that you can star your favorites, upload to Picasa Web Albums and share with Google contact groups at the same time
  • Tags — Better bulk tagging, quick tags & tag counts – improved the tagging experience.

I installed the new version 3.5 yesterday and I loved the new features. See below for a little video explaining the new features and you can download picasa from http://picasa.google.co.uk/

Xampp

For years, web developers have been creating the necessary html files on their local computers and once design and content have been finalised, uploading to their website. This is an efficient way of working but is not possible with php based sites such as WordPress or MRBS that reply on a database that creates the html files, ‘on the fly’.

One little program I have found indispensable is Xampp. This sets up a web-server with php and MySQL facilities on your local machine allowing development and fine tuning of your website without the hassle of constantly uploading files via FTP. Once the site is ready with a little tweak and an upload, you can make it live with an upload.

I’m currently running this from a USB stick which means I can use this from any computer, take it into meetings and have access to my latest developments even when no Internet connection is available.

The developers of Xampp openly admit there are security issues if you try and use this to make your site publicly available but it not intended for that. They have kindly made versions available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris operating systems. The only little problem I have found with this is when also having skype installed, there is a conflict but a work around can be found here.

Currently listening: Matt Redman – We Shall Not Be Shaken

It was about 2 months ago that I read this review on LouderThanTheMusic.com and after they gave it a 5/5 for this CD I decided that I should pre-order it. It finally arrived this week and my initial opinion after a listen is that it’s a good CD but it didn’t blow me away to deserve a 5/5. Here’s the blurb (take from Cross Rhythms website):

Matt Redman’s songs are sung in congregations every Sunday across the world, with songs such as ‘Blessed Be Your Name’, ‘Facedown’, ‘Never Let Go’ and more recently ‘You Alone Can Rescue’ amongst many others.

This September sees the release of Matt’s brand new studio album ‘We Shall Not Be Shaken’ produced by Robert Marvin who produced Matt’s previous album ‘Beautiful News’. The new album features co-writes with Jonas Myrin (Hillsongs) and is a collection of congregational songs that will inspire the local church across the world.

Matt now resides in Atlanta USA where he is part of the Passion Church plant alongside Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin. This year Matt received ASCAP Awards for Christian songwriter of the year and for the most played songs on Christian radio in the USA for ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ and ‘Never Let Go’.

This is the 3rd CD I’m listening to at the moment, so who knows which review will be done 1st 🙂

Blogging

Weblogs, (or blogs) have already taken the internet by storm and are constantly changing the way we share and digest information across the web. For this, (and MANY other) reasons an increasing number of churches are adopting blogs as their main website.

Due to it’s flexible and versatile nature, WordPress is a very widely used blogging platform, (in fact IpraiseYou is currently running on this platform). Once set up WordPress is a very efficient way of keeping your site fresh and up to date. WordPress will host the site for you but to unleash the full power of WordPress, you will probably want to install this on your own website. The greatest benefit of WordPress to my mind is that you can expand your site to include many pages other than just your blog.

If you are interested exploring this solution, for your site, check out this site as an example.

If you just want a personal blog perhaps for your church leader to share their thoughts, you might want to turn to Blogger. Run by the Google empire, Blogger offers a no nonsense ready to go solution giving users the ability to share their thoughts online. Blogger will also host the website for you which makes blogging as simple as surfing the web!

Currently listening: Ben Cantelon – Running After You

Another CD just arrived in the post today which I have to admit I’ve been looking forward to!

A worship album from this Soul Survivor and Holy Trinity Brompton worship leader.

Writer of ‘Love Came Down’, ‘You Are’ and co-writer of ‘Happy Day’ with Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon is the worship director for Soul Survivor, a role which takes him all over the world. But it’s not the physical miles that have inspired Running After You, his debut full length album due for release this coming August, Ben’s captivated by a deeper, more personal journey: one that takes us away from ‘business as usual’ and closer to God himself.

With producer Dwayne Larring (Sonic Flood, Tim Hughes), Ben on acoustic guitars and keyboards as well as other musicians including Michael Guy Chislet (Hillsong United) on electric guitars, Running After You has the breadth and force to inspire people and take their journey a few steps further.

‘Running After You links in with the idea of being desperate to follow and connect with God; wanting God to get closer but life getting in the way. So this is a real journey album – full of songs of total praise, lament and confusion, trial and hardship.’ – Ben Cantelon

Once again watch this space for a review!

SuperF4 kills the foreground program when you press Ctrl+Alt+F4

The number of times my machine hangs because I’ve either got too many tabs open in Firefox or too many programs open in Windows or a mixture of both is quite regular. My solution was too open up Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) and End the process there but for some reason it always used to take a little longer than expect. Then a few weeks ago I discovered “SuperF4” and it works like a treat.

What SuperF4 basically does, is kill the process of the foreground window when you press Ctrl+Alt+F4. You can also kill a process by pressing Win+F4 and then clicking the window with your mouse. You can press escape or the right mouse button to exit this mode without killing a program. SuperF4 should be able to kill all kinds of processes, whether they are hung or not. Beware though, SuperF4 effectively kills the program and doesn’t give it a chance to save unsaved work etc…

Download it here