LDSTech
LDS Tools App PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Duerden   
Monday, 25 November 2013

                                      

The LDS Tools app is available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry to get your directory information, event calendar for your ward, branch, stake or district.. Clerks and executive secretaries can download additional membership data and reports for their ward, branch, stake, or district.

This app is available in many languages. It is available in the Internet 10 languages for both iOS and Android, as well as in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for the Blackberry.  LDS Tools is currently only available in English on Windows phones.

LDS Tools is available on LDS.org and includes the following in the on-line drop-down menu:  Notes & Journal, Calendar, Maps, Directory, Patriarchal Blessing, Mobile Apps, All Tools, Newsletters, Lesson Schedules.

Clicking on Mobile Apps lists:  Gospel Library, LDS Tools, Mormon Channel, Bible Videos, Book of Mormon, LDS Music, LDS Youth, Scripture Mastery, Ensign.  Each app lists the phones (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Window phones, etc.) or platforms (Apple and/or PC) they are available on. There are also EPUB files of Church Publications for E-Readers.

The main languages availability for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, for all mobile apps are: Chinese,  English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

New releases are promised early next year (2014) for iOS and Android to include a new maps menu, allowing users to locate meetinghouses and temples; and the ability to update their household visibility settings. (Note: In some countries, due to privacy laws, members are opted out by default, and members will have to opt in to make their information visible in LDS Tools.)

 
LDSTech December Broadcast: Meetinghouse Copiers and Printers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Duerden   
Saturday, 23 November 2013

Chris Ricks, the product manager of the Church copier and printer program, will give the presentation for the December Web Broadcast, Friday Dec. 6, 2013,  12:00 Noon MST. 

Learn about the printer and copier equipment located in your local Church buildings (primarily US & Canada),including the different roles and responsibility for those who are involved with this equipment and the program that the Church has in place to manage this equipment.

LDSTech has skipped the last two months broadcasts, due to the prep and recovery from the highly successful LDSTech Conference, but we are back on schedule to close out the year with our final 2013 Broadcast.

How to Attend the Broadcast

To watch the LDSTech broadcast, click at the time of the broadcast. If you would like to attend the broadcast in person, you may join us in the Riverton Office Building (3740 West Market Center Drive, Riverton, UT, Ground Floor, Zion Room A).

Each broadcast is recorded, so if you miss one, you can re-watch the recording at any time. In fact, if you tune in late to the broadcast, you can rewind the broadcast and play it from the beginning. See the Broadcast Archiveto view previous broadcasts.

Asking Questions

Viewers can ask questions through Twitter during the broadcast. If you don’t already have a Twitter account, you can sign up for one at Twitter.com. When you ask a question, include the hashtag #ldstech in your tweet. For more information, see Twitter and LDSTech.

 
Updated Gospel Library app for iOS: Behind the Scenes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Emily Fairchild   
Wednesday, 28 August 2013

When the iOS Gospel Library team received the request for an upgraded app for iOS devices, they were eager to complete the task. It was time to do it. And it was time to develop and design it differently than it had been done before.

The app would need to be able to add new content, implement changes, and ship upgrades in a new way. Within 48 hours the team had drawn up plans for new development, design, and testing processes for the app’s structure, and came up with ten design principles to improve the app’s user interface.

The team posted a mission statement at their workstations as a reminder. The whole purpose for the Gospel Library app is to “deepen, broaden, and improve gospel learning and teaching by giving members mobile access to all published Church content in an easy and immediate offline experience.”

Most important was the platform redesign. To push out content updates without the app becoming unstable content is now added in a separate process; the user won’t need to install a new version of the app every time new content is published. For example, new issues of the Ensign, any corrections to content, other new additions to the library, etc., will appear the next time the user opens the app. When the next set of features or bug fixes is added, it will happen without interference.

The app’s platform also expands to fit new library content. Engineer David Weiss described how they mapped it all out. “We took actual note cards, one representing every publication the Church has ever produced, and made a place for each one in the system. If the Church were to make all of that material available, we’ve designed the app to fit it.” Mapping things in the real world helped the team create a better user experience.

This potential of the app is what excites developer Stephan Heilner. “When the app shipped,” he said, “my wife asked, ‘Well, now what are you going to work on?’ But we haven’t crossed the finish line. By shipping the app we’ve just crossed the starting line. Now we will keep working to improve the functions and features of the app.”

One of the feature details Heilner was particularly instrumental with was the content highlighting feature. After a concentrated effort on the highlighting feature, the app now highlights with a more realistic display of translucent colors, and the Bezier gradient style gives true scripture-marker authenticity. “It’s details like these that maybe not many users will notice, but they really make a difference.”


Weiss added, “We’ve found that people are annotating a third more than before. The designers on the team selected a more user-friendly typesetting that makes reading easier. They did a great job making the experience more realistic for users to study content.”

Throughout the development process there were over a thousand testers for the app. To help on such projects, volunteers should browse through and join projects on the LDSTech Projects page. When you join projects on LDSTech, you will receive notifications to participate in beta testing and other development. The testers for the iOS Gospel Library provided critical feedback for the app during the creation phase and they will be instrumental as the team keeps working.

Another great place to discuss the app is the LDSTech Forum. It receives almost-daily posts about various aspects of the upgrade and users are invited to go participate and learn from others about the app. To submit feedback for the Gospel Library app, send your comments and details about which device you’re using to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . On the other end of your email are Church-service missionaries Elder and Sister Gunn and Elder and Sister Smith, called to help manage and direct user feedback to all the right people and solutions. You can follow iOS Gospel Library pages on Facebook and Twitter for the latest app information and tips.

 
The Who, What, and How of Area Technical Senior Missionaries PDF Print E-mail
Written by Barbara Gardner   
Thursday, 15 August 2013

Howes sitting in front of Computers

After working for 13 years with the Church's Information and Communication Services (ICS) department, Ralph Howes was looking forward to turning the free time of retirement into full-time service. It wasn’t long before he began filling out papers for a full-time mission. At the same time the Africa Southeast Area Office in Johannesburg was asking for a replacement for their ICS technology specialist missionary. Because his skills were just what Johannesburg needed, a match was made. The Howes entered the MTC in August and were welcomed in Johannesburg by the beginning of September.

Elder Howes found himself in the middle of many ongoing projects including Internet connectivity in meetinghouses, rolling out opportunities to use webcasting, and identifying and supporting Stake Technology Specialists. But in Africa many areas are still too remote to connect to the Internet, and some members were too economically challenged to travel to a central location. Finding solutions to these needs required both high- and low-tech components and ingenuity.

First, media players were installed in remote locations. General conference sessions and other broadcasts were then recorded, downloaded onto thumb drives, copied, and distributed to meetinghouses on foot via “sneaker net” to the entire stake, allowing everyone to hear the voice of prophets and leaders.

Elder Howes helped in a pilot project to make computers more accessible to members in South Africa, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With training, members are now able to prepare lessons, do schoolwork, perform research, do temple and family history work, and search out employment. These computers also help overcome the challenge faced by many African families who have a missionary in the field. With no reliable postal service, weekly letters home are unheard of, but with meetinghouse computers and a few lessons on email, families are staying connected!

After eighteen months in Africa, Elder Howes is currently serving as a Church-service missionary in the Church’s Temple Department. Does he enjoy using his technical training in the service of the Lord? Yes. He is in the process of filling out papers looking for another full-time missionary opportunity.

For Africa to request an ICS missionary replacement at the exact same time that a 13-year information technology veteran is filling out mission papers can only testify of matches being made in heaven. To ensure that this process can happen again and again, Anna Butler, Field Communications Analyst in the ICS department, is willing to be another hand in the Lord’s work.

“Full-time senior missionaries serving technical missions is fairly new,” Sister Butler said. On the same day that Elder Howes was filling out paperwork for a new mission, Sister Butler was participating in a bi-monthly phone conference with the 14 worldwide area offices, requesting each office to define which ICS needs could be fulfilled by senior missionaries. These area offices are located in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, South Africa, Russia, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Japan.

Clarifying the role of full-time senior technical missionaries, Sister Butler said, “These missionaries will focus on serving as technology specialists. Just as any area in need uses welfare or family history missionaries, these areas will utilize the technology experience of retired professionals.”

It is one thing to have Church-wide technology needs identified and defined, and a totally separate thing to find qualified professionals to fill those needs as full-time missionaries. Brother Gary and Sister Marilyn Peterson are committed to fulfilling this effort. Having already served full-time missions in Denmark and Nauvoo, the Petersons were excited by the unique opportunity to be pioneers in the technology world of the Church.

Petersons standing side by side in front of their global map for senior missionaries

One of the first obstacles they addressed was a training program specific to each worldwide area office. Their solution involves a technical training that lasts between three and five days in addition to the traditional training the missionaries receive at the MTC in Provo. “We hope this specific training will help them feel confident as they do the work the Lord needs them to do,” Sister Peterson explained.

The Petersons will be instrumental in helping recruit missionaries. One effort to get the word out was during this summer’s Education Week on the BYU Provo Campus. As attendees discovered what full-time opportunities are available, Elder and Sister Peterson answered questions. Dozens of potential missionaries passed their contact information to the Petersons, and now the process begins for matching the right missionaries to the right corner of the vineyard!

The worldwide technology needs of the Church are varied and suggest exciting opportunities for couple missionaries. While Sister Butler gathers information on the "where" and "what" that needs to be done, and as the Petersons search out "who" is willing to do it, it is hundreds of "Elder Howes" that the Lord needs now.

Stay tuned for more information about these technical opportunities and more for senior missionaries.

LDSTech Missionary Form

 
LDSTech 2013 Conference Pre-Registration PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alan Smoot 技术   
Thursday, 15 August 2013

The LDSTech Conference registration site is currently open for pre-registration for those who plan to attend the conference this October. Only those who will be attending in person are invited to sign up at tech.lds.org/conf. Those unable to attend will be able to watch streaming video online after the event. They should not register for the conference. The schedule of presentations, projects, and speakers will be posted on the Conference Schedule wiki page when available.

To pre-register:

Note: You can change your personal profile or unregister at any time after you register.

You will receive a confirmation email to the address associated with your LDS Account. The Schedule view of the conference page automatically opens on screen. For now on your schedule you will only see the auto-filled lunch session for each day you registered to attend and a session showing a message that you have completed registration.

Because this is a call for pre-registration to attend the event, signing up for sessions and classes to fill your schedule is not yet available. Once the schedule of presentations and projects is available you may return to your conference schedule to sign up. We will announce when the schedule is posted.

The conference will be held all day Thursday and Friday October 17th and 18th. Attendance is free of cost and both breakfast and lunch are provided each day. To learn more about what to bring and how to prepare, visit the LDSTech Conference wiki where more details will be provided as the conference presentations, project sessions, speakers, and other details are finalized.

This year the conference isn't planned to be held at the Riverton Office Building as it has been in past years, but the conference will still be in Salt Lake City. Once finalized, the exact location will be announced on the blog and specifically to all who have registered through the conference web page.

The conference will host many exciting opportunities to meet with your teams and work on projects, share your own ideas and developments, and learn more about mobile applications, LDS.org tools, meetinghouse technology, and much much more. We look forward to seeing you in October!

 
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