Uses for Ward Computer Besides MLS

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
margiestroble
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Postby margiestroble » Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:09 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Additional logins for non-MLS users is OK and even suggested by the guidelines.


I've seen other references to non-MLS users in other postings and I've never heard of a reason why someone would need to use the church computer for a non-MLS function. Our computer at church has very limited programs on it and it is my understanding that's the only reason why someone should be on that computer is to do something that's available on MLS, like printing any reports, updating HT'ing and VT'ing, callings, ward clerk things, etc.

If you could explain what a non-MLS user might do on the computer, I would appreciate it.

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:19 pm

margiestroble wrote:If you could explain what a non-MLS user might do on the computer, I would appreciate it.


The Sunday Bulletin is a good start.

In some cases they may use the ward machine to help out with other tasks such as PAF for folks who don't have a computer. Ages and ages ago that was actually encouraged. I think that was back when a basic machine cost over $1000. A little rich for many people's pockets.

Nowadays, for many wards it may be all done on home machines.

margiestroble
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Postby margiestroble » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:49 am

RussellHltn wrote:The Sunday Bulletin is a good start.

In some cases they may use the ward machine to help out with other tasks such as PAF for folks who don't have a computer. Ages and ages ago that was actually encouraged. I think that was back when a basic machine cost over $1000. A little rich for many people's pockets.

Nowadays, for many wards it may be all done on home machines.


I had no idea that the church computers could be used for those purposes! In our ward, nobody gets on the computer unless they have a reason to be on there because of their calling.
Our Sunday Bulletin people do the bulletin at home.
We have a Family History Library in our building, so that's where people go to do anything PAF related.
Most of the time the computer is being used on Sunday by the Bishopric, the Ward Clerk or someone from an auxiliary is printing reports or entering ht'ing and vt'ing and it's almost like you have to wait in line to use it, so if it were open to other people to use for other reasons, I don't see how that would work. Maybe other wards are different than ours.
A lot of times, some of us even have to make a special trip to church during the week to get our information entered because we didn't get to use the computer on Sunday.

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:09 pm

Some examples from the Stake Offices
Printing out CD/DVD labels of the recent broadcast or Stake presentation.
Stake Clerk writing a mail merge doc for the stake president to give to the missionaries as they return home.
Quick budget planning for certain expenses. (Spreadsheets are quite powerful)
Leaders/Teachers create presentations.
Minesweeper ... Just kidding

Anyway these are a few I have seen actually happen (besides Minesweeper) and I am sure others have found a use for the ward/stake computer in their callings.
- David

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Postby greenwoodkl » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:11 pm

This may be telling a lot about me ;) - but as a full-time missionary I would often start in a new area by manually typing in a ward list into a spreadsheet (often on a Church or public computer). I would then sort by street and address number so as missionaries we could go down a street and hit everyone on that street. The alphabetically-sorted ward list was not in the format conducive to missionary work. However once this street-by-street list was created, we could insert referrals or investigators and really maximize our time and value in each area without bouncing all over town. This was done from MIS data from free-form text fields mind you, but hopefully if it is not currently available in MLS, a mix of the map API and new editions of MLS can have enough consistency in formatting street names, separating house numbers and directional indicators from the street name, etc... that perhaps a custom report could accomplish what often took me hours of manual work. :)

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Postby margiestroble » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:54 pm

kgthunder wrote:This may be telling a lot about me ;) - but as a full-time missionary I would often start in a new area by manually typing in a ward list into a spreadsheet (often on a Church or public computer). I would then sort by street and address number so as missionaries we could go down a street and hit everyone on that street. ... that perhaps a custom report could accomplish what often took me hours of manual work. :)


Several years ago when my husband was the Ward Clerk for about the 3rd or 4th time, Bishop gave him a file he'd had on his laptop. My husband then added everyone from the ward in it, name, street address, town, zip, the grid map coordinates and the missionary zone (we have 2 in our ward). You could sort it by last name, you could sort it by grid, you could sort it by missionary zone, whatever you need/wanted, you could do it. You have to keep it up to date though and he did a great job of keeping it updated.

When I became the RS President, I took that file, deleted the brethren (no offense to you guys) saved it as a different file so I still have the ward grid map, and used it for visiting teaching route purposes. That makes it a lot easier to plan a route by the grid map. I also then made up 2 other files that helps me and saves me time for different purposes. When there is a change to a route, I have a more simple file that I can copy and paste from it right into an email to send to the sisters with the new info about their route. If I copy and paste from the database, it's just too messy. Then I have another file that I keep the last 12 months of visiting teaching reports on. The District Leaders really like it! Some of the District Leaders can receive their file by email, enter their reports into the file and email it back to me. Some can't open the file, so they get a printout. Last month, I printed everyone out their lists from MLS and they were confused and said what is this? They didn't like it. Mine has a similar look to the old DOS printouts and really, it is easier to read and understand, especially for the older ladies. It's a 20 mile round trip for me to go to church just to print a visiting teaching printout, so I do it from home and it's much easier on me. But, everytime there is a change of any kind, I have to make sure I update all of my files. That's time consuming, but, it is a big help and I feel it is worth the effort. When it's time for me to be released and whoever takes over, she may not wish to do as I have done and that will be her choice. But in this day and age, you need to use the computer to your advantage!

I also have provided the ward grid map file on a disk to the missionaries and they got it onto a palm pilot and it was pretty helpful to them. One of our companionships have a cell phone. Palm Pilots and Cell Phones ... boy, they've come a long way! lol I've also printed it out, sorted by their areas and then by grid, and that has also been a big help to them. They can see who lives close to whom when they are out and about instead of doubling back and forth while they're trying to visit people and learn the areas.

These are just a few things I've done to help. But, I guess we've gotten away from the original title of this thread .... that does happen on here!

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Postby thedqs » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:29 pm

kgthunder wrote:However once this street-by-street list was created, we could insert referrals or investigators and really maximize our time and value in each area without bouncing all over town. This was done from MIS data from free-form text fields mind you, but hopefully if it is not currently available in MLS, a mix of the map API and new editions of MLS can have enough consistency in formatting street names, separating house numbers and directional indicators from the street name, etc... that perhaps a custom report could accomplish what often took me hours of manual work. :)


I know while I was in the field we could use MLS to print out a list sorted by street name and neighborhood. We then used that to plan out the daily activities. Very useful. The only problem was that Av and Avenida or R. and Rua would be placed separately so a lot of manual cutting and pasting to group them together had to happen. If MLS could resolve abbreviations and even expand them that would be a great feature.
- David

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Not really Windows system time anymore

Postby mkmurray » Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:54 pm

Hmmm...this thread has turned into uses for Ward Computers. Quite a deviation from the thread title. :rolleyes:

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Thread drift

Postby russellhltn » Fri Mar 02, 2007 12:51 am

mkmurray wrote:Hmmm...this thread has turned into uses for Ward Computers. Quite a deviation from the thread title. :rolleyes:


Drift happens. That's why I didn't volunteer to be a moderator - too much work. :D

So what happens if we help out by changing the title in our replies? Does it display in any useful way?

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Postby mkmurray » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:48 am

RussellHltn wrote:Drift happens. That's why I didn't volunteer to be a moderator - too much work. :D

So what happens if we help out by changing the title in our replies? Does it display in any useful way?

I notice most people don't use the Post Titles. And it doesn't affect the Thread Title at all.

However, I see your point. But we read every word of every post anyway, so I'm not sure it would really be that beneficial. Thanks though.


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