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LDSTech Newsletter Archive

July 2009

Twitter Challenge

Last month we initiated the Twitter Challenge, in which we asked each @LDSTech follower to get two more people to follow. We didn't quite reach our goal, but we did gain 248 followers, for a grand total of 669! Thanks to everyone who recommended us. We haven't forgotten about our goal and we still want to reach 1000 followers. Feature us in your #followfriday tweets — just suggest the users you think other people should follow along with the #followfriday tag — and we'll feature you back in the upcoming months! Remember, we will update you about new featured articles, opportunities to help with Church projects, hot topics in the forums, and technical job positions.


2009 LDSTech Online Tech Talk

Last August we held the inaugural LDSTech Online Tech Talk, a webcast in which the CIO of the Information and Communications Systems department presented and answered questions. We are pleased to announce that we'll be repeating the event this year! Because this event is for you, we try to involve you in our brainstorming. Visit the LDSTech forum to give your input into branding. Also, download last year's tech talk (in .wav, .mp4, and .mp3). More information is forthcoming.


From the Archives

Finding Creative Inspiration from the Creation
by Richard Moore

Looking to the work of the Master can help enhance our own creativity.

Everything Was Created Spiritually Before It Was Created Physically 

I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word. (Moses 3:7)

There are many scriptural sources of the initial spiritual creation of all things. The importance of a plan is apparent in this fact. Nothing was thrown together haphazardly. Every blade of grass, every insect, every tree and flower, and every one of us were fully realized first in spirit and then in flesh.

In our own creative works, taking the time to plan allows us to test ideas, work out the kinks, and define the best solution before we begin the actual creation. We save time, energy, and money—and end up with a better product. Planning allows us to make mistakes without fear and to refine the best ideas while letting the weak ones fade away.

Read full article.


Mormons in Technology

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always been active contributors to the advancement of technology. Look for a new series at LDSTech called Mormons in Technology, spotlighting innovators. If you have an idea or a suggestion for an installment, send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Community Projects Status

This month we would like to highlight our Local Unit Calendar Project, a project intended to replace the existing Local Unit Calendar. We have need for:

  • Individuals with Java expertise to help work on new features and to fix bugs.
  • Individuals willing to browse and test the application at tech.lds.org/luc. Default usernames and passwords are available on the login page. There is currently no real data being used at this time. Please do not enter real data into the application.  
If you want to learn more about the Local Calendar project, visit the Local Calendar Project wiki page. You can see a list of open tasks by visiting the Local Calendaring Jira project.

Work on the Mormon Channel iPhone Application continues. We need more people who are willing to work on adding features.

We need people of all technical backgrounds to help with documentation, development, design, testing, and implementation. If you have a desire to collaborate with the Church on technology solutions, your help is needed and appreciated. Visit our Current Needs wiki page to see a list of projects we are seeking help with . If you would like to help on any projects, please follow the instructions found on our Requirements for Particiaption wiki page.


Community Spotlight

This month we would like to spotlight mkmurray. He has been a member of LDSTech since the site launched in January 2007 and has served as a community moderator and administrator.

LDSTech: What is your technical background?

mkmurray: I gained interest in programming while in high school, learning that I could write code for Texas Instruments' graphing calculators. After playing a little in BASIC, I took a new class at our high school that taught C++. In the summer before going to college, I found a project called TIGCC, which was a C compiler into the TI assembly language. I graduated from BYU studying Computer Science, where there was mainly a focus on Java and Linux.

While going to school (and for a little while after) I was hired by MyFamily.com, Inc. AKA The Generations Network AKA Ancestry.com (They have changed their name a lot in the past few years ) where I developed back end fulfillment systems in .NET.

Currently I am working at a small consulting development shop named Knowlysis. As a company we are serving ecommerce and content management needs in Java and .NET for such corporations as Boeing, AT&T, PayPal, American Medical Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and more.

I am currently investigating a somewhat new movement called Alt.NET, which focuses on true Object-Oriented design principles (like those taught by the Gang of Four's "Design Patterns" book) and Test Driven Design using the .NET Frameworks and languages. I am also exploring Ruby and Rails in my free time.

LDSTech:
How did you find LDSTech?

mkmurray:
I attended the inaugural Tech Talk that was held locally here in Utah and attended Tom Welch's session where he announced the new Web site. I joined the forum and a few weeks later, volunteered to be a moderator. I have been participating in the community for 2 1/2 years now.

LDSTech:
What do you enjoy most about LDSTech?

mkmurray:
I think we're really starting to see a presence and involvement from Church employees, which is really enlarging the conversation that is going on in the community. I think important feedback is getting right back to the developer's hands more quickly than ever before. I think that community members are helping one other with their own questions as well, easing the burdens of support representatives. It really is neat to see so many technically inclined members of the Church worldwide.

I also think the Wiki is a terrific idea and will serve as an incredible resource to clerks worldwide as it continues to evolve. Community development is beginning to take off as many different project ideas are starting to materialize.

Lastly, I really enjoy the Tech Talks and the insight we get into what Church developers are currently working on and what directions they see the Church heading, technologically.

LDSTech: What potential do you think LDSTech has? Do you have any ideas for the site?

mkmurray:
I think the Church has a limited set of resources in which to hire talented developers to build software for the needs of Zion. However, there seems to be an infinite amount of enthusiasm, ideas, and talent available in the form of volunteer community members. I think the conversation that currently exists will continue to evolve into a healthy relationship where the community will ease the burdens of developers and support representatives in Salt Lake in supporting a global Church.

I'd like to see the online Tech Talks held on a more regular basis (at least every 6 months, maybe even every quarter). I hope we can find a set of cost-effective and reliable technologies in which to broadcast so that everyone can watch and participate.

 

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