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LDSTech Newsletter Archive

September 2009

LDSTech Talk 2009

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2009 LDSTech Talk. We enjoyed organizing the event and look forward to holding more in the future. We would love to hear what you  thought about the event. Submit any feedback to the LDSTech Forum.

The entire session will be available for download soon in .wmv, .mp4, and .mp3 formats at the LDSTech Talk page.


2009 LDSTech Awards


We are grateful for all those who dedicate so much time to helping the Church on various projects and for helping other members find answers to problems. The winners of the 2009 LDSTech Awards that were awarded during the LDSTech Talk were:

Helping Hand Award: Alan Brown

Alan Brown has been a long-time member of our online LDSTech community and has spent countless hours moderating the LDSTech forums, answering questions other users have asked, and offering advice. He has been instrumental in organizing, administrating, and contributing to the LDSTech Clerks Wiki. His deep knowledge of many of the subjects on both the forums and wiki has blessed countless individuals in search of technical help. We are grateful to have Alan as an administrator, moderator, and member within the LDSTech community.

Coding Guru Award: Bill Wilcox

The Local Unit Web Site Project is a community project to replace the existing Local Unit Web Site. Bill Wilcox has contributed many hours of work to the project on a volunteer basis. He has been an integral and innovative part of the team, and without him, could not have progressed as far as it has. Many will be happy to hear that the ward calendar will have the ability to sync automatically with Microsoft Outlook and Apple iCal thanks to Bill’s contributions.

Top Tester Award: Pete Arnett

Pete has been a great asset to the testing efforts of the Local Unit Calendaring (a sub-project of the Local Unit Web Site Project). He is consistent in his work and stays on top of the defects that he logs as well as user stories that need to be closed. Pete's hard work will be a valuable aid in releasing a high quality application that our wards and stakes can use reliably. His great attitude and willingness to help exemplifies the community collaboration mentality. Lifetime Achievement Award: Lynn Rosenvall and David Rosenvall

Before many of the resources we need became available on the Internet, Lynn Rosenvall and his son David wanted to make the scriptures available electronically. When David returned from his mission in 1987, they began to work on the task for their own use. They continued to work on the project throughout the years, eventually making the scriptures available on the Internet in 2000. They donated the entire project to the Church and we now know this project as the Online Scriptures available at scriptures.lds.org. David continues to work on the project as a volunteer. The online scriptures are now available in 14 languages to date, and the Online Scriptures Resource Committee is continually working on more. We would like to thank Lynn and David for their work and generosity in helping to make the scriptures available online for us all to benefit from.


From the Archives

The Local Unit Support Group
by Chris Lund

It’s Tuesday night and you are the ward finance clerk. The bishop has asked you to provide him with some information pertaining to the most recent tithes and offerings batch that was just deposited last Sunday. You log in to MLS and try to get the information, but you get a system error that will not let you complete your assigned task. You’ve never seen this error before, and it will not let you proceed until you resolve the problem.

The second counselor who is there doesn’t know what to do, and you’re unable to reach the stake clerk or stake technology specialist for help with your problem. Does this sound familiar? Anyone who has served in the bishopric, stake presidency, or mission office has at one time or another felt frustrated by a membership, finance, or computer system malfunction.

Read full article.


Getting Involved

Has concise information about getting involved with LDSTech community projects been hard to find? Well, we have made it a little easier. Follow these three easy steps to get involved.

  1. Follow all of the steps found in the Requirements for Participation wiki page.
  2. Pick a project you are interested in. There are many projects currently in development. You can get a list of the various projects by visiting the LDSTech wiki projects page.
  3. Find tasks associated with the project of your choice and get to work.

Each project has different tasks that need to be completed. We invite you to get started and look forward to working with you.


Community Projects Status

We have a lot of projects being developed with the help of the community. Some of the more active ones are:

  • Local Unit Web Site Project: A community project to replace the existing local unit Web site.
  • Child Protection Act System: A special project to help build a certification system for the Church in Australia.
  • Mormon Channel Project: With the successful launch of the Mormon Channel iPhone application, people have been requesting a similar service for many other devices.
  • Mobile Scriptures for the Palm Pre Platform: A team is already working on bringing the scriptures to the Palm Pre. Join the effort in designing, developing, and testing this product.
  • CODA: A project to create a fictional membership database with an accompanying application to maintain and change that database to be used in developing and testing other LDSTech community projects.

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 Getting Involved with Projects wiki page.


Community Spotlight

Alan Brown (username Alan_Brown), the winner of the 2009 Helping Hand LDSTech Award, has been a huge contributor to the LDSTech Community. We would like to spotlight him this month and extend our gratitude for the work that he does.

LDSTech: What is your technical background?

Alan_Brown: My first love is mathematics, and I still do math for fun. But as a teenager I began to enjoy working with computers. Computer science can’t quite match the beauty of mathematics, but it has provided me with some great jobs.

While I was attending BYU studying both math and computer science, I began working for a small 12-person company that later became WordPerfect Corporation. I was the first programmer to work on WordPerfect for DOS, developed on one of the first IBM PCs delivered to the state of Utah. For more than a dozen years I developed primarily in assembly language.

After my time with WordPerfect, I have worked for four other companies, using Delphi, C#, and Java, along with quite a bit of SQL and a variety of other technologies. I have been a stake technology specialist for 12 years, and have had several other ward and stake positions as a clerk and auditor.

LDSTech: How did you find LDSTech?

Alan_Brown: In November 2007 I heard about the new Clerk and Technology Support site (clerk.lds.org), and when I visited that site, it linked to LDSTech, which led me to the forums. I quickly found a lot of helpful information there, and was also able to answer a few questions. Visiting the forums soon became a regular part of my day. In March 2008 I was asked to serve as a forum moderator.

LDSTech: What do you enjoy most about LDSTech?

Alan_Brown: I appreciate all the talented and experienced people who are willing to share their insights on the forum. I have learned many things on LDSTech that have helped me in my calling, both for my personal responsibilities, and as I help people in my stake. When something new happens that affects my calling as a clerk, I almost always hear about it first on LDSTech, and when I have a question, there's always someone willing to take the time to respond and help me out.

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

Alan_Brown: The LDSTech wiki is still young, but it already has a wealth of useful information. I believe that it has the potential to pull together into one place all the information that clerks need to do their callings. Much of it can actually be stored in the wiki and could thus eventually replace sites such as clerk.lds.org; the remainder of the information could at least be linked to from the wiki so that clerks would no longer have to search in many different places to find the information they need to fulfill their callings.

I'd love to see many more people get involved in contributing to the wiki. Everyone can contribute in some way; some people are good at writing articles, others may be able to help by copyediting, organizing, categorizing, reviewing changes, or simply making suggestions for helpful new content.

The Local Unit Support team provides wonderful service, but their resources do have limits, and they are not available every hour of every day. As the worldwide community of members works together on the forum and the wiki, we can create a resource where clerks, leaders, and other members can find answers to their questions at any time.

 

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