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From the Archives
An Introduction to the Clerk Wiki
by Robert Lindsay
The job of a quality assurance engineer is to constantly be looking for ways to improve quality, including setting targets for metrics or setting criteria that must be met before we consider it a quality product.
At a recent gathering of Church quality assurance employees we discussed the idea of how truth affects the quality of our work processes and lives.
We may be really good at setting goals and envisioning the future. However, our ability to achieve those goals depends on having a true understanding of our current state of being— how we’re doing right now. This is the point: often we are not truthful with ourselves about the reality of what our current state actually is. We think (or believe) we know where we are, but in reality we may be far off.
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LDSTech Developers Conference
We are planning an LDSTech Developer Conference in Utah this spring and are considering options for the date of the conference, what topics will be covered, and more.
We need your input. Please visit the LDSTech Developer Conference poll and answer a few questions. This will help us gather information that will help us put on the best inagaural LDSTech Developers Conference.
More information is forthcoming.
Community Projects Status
We have a lot of projects being developed with the help of the community. Some of the more active ones are:
- The Church needs employer training assistance with MySQL and Apache administration. If you are interested in helping out, e-mail email@example.com.
- Local Unit Web Site Project: A community project to replace the existing local unit Web site.
- Mormon Channel Project: With the successful launch of the Mormon Channel iPhone application, people have been requesting a similar service for many other devices.
- Church Historical Timeline Project: The Church Historical Timeline Application is intended to present personal, church, and world history in a visual chronology and enable the user to scroll through time and click on individual events to get more information, links to scriptures and wiki pages to learn more about a given historical event.
- 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.
Dennis Maynes (dmaynes) is an active member of our LDSTech community. He has been engaging in discussion and support in the forums since November 2008 and is the spotlight for the month of November.
LDSTech: What is your technical background?
dmaynes: I first started programming computers in college when my course of study required a FORTRAN class. Shortly after that, I began working as a part-time student programmer. That was in 1976. I have a master’s degree in statistics and primarily program in C, working on statistical and mathematical problems. I have worked on various software teams, including assessment by computer, speech recognition, and workstation management. Currently, I analyze and process test data (e.g., multiple-choice tests) to determine whether anyone has cheated on the exams or whether the exam questions have been compromised.
LDSTech: How did you find LDSTech?
dmaynes: I volunteered to update our ward’s Web site about a year ago, and I began searching for Internet resources that the Church has provided. In the process of following links, I encountered tech.lds.org. I browsed the forum and decided to sign up.
LDSTech: What do you enjoy most about LDSTech?
dmaynes: LDSTech provides a community of knowledgeable Church members who have a vision of how technology can be used to further the work of the Church. Additionally, I have learned a lot from others who participate on the forum. The wiki provides some great information that is not available anywhere else. I remember finding a few idiosyncracies with the search capability with the online scriptures. I was able to post the information of what I saw and by interacting with others on the forum, we were able to provide some good feedback for improving the search capability. I see that the feedback was used because the inconsistencies that we found and documented have been fixed.
LDSTech: What potential do you think LDSTech has? Do you have any ideas for the site?
dmaynes: I am excited to see LDSTech embrace the concept of community. LDSTech has the potential to provide a collaborative environment where members can work together to foster ideas and technologies which can help church members in their callings and which can help the Church bless lives. I remember when I was an Elder’s Quorum president, I needed some way to keep track of home teaching. At that time the MIS system was just being introduced into the wards. It didn’t provide what I needed, so I wrote simple programs in PASCAL to produce lists and reports. That work is gone. I believe that many members have had similar experiences to mine. LDSTech has the potential to allow members to work together and share ideas and create long-term projects for information management. LDSTech combines the power of the Internet and the potential for sharing together in a way that information needs of Church members (such as home storage, financial management, and emergency response) and Church leaders (such as organizing relief society, home teaching, and emergency preparedness) can be addressed.
My first suggestion is that LDSTech needs to become more visible to members of the Church. I believe my experience in finding LDSTech has been shared by others. I did not find LDSTech easily. I didn’t even know that the site existed, until I stumbled upon it. I am sure that word-of-mouth will spread and help members find LDSTech, but some form of advertising could be useful. My second suggestion is that LDSTech consider how to interact more directly with members of the Church. Many members are using the Internet daily for e-mail, communicating and sharing information. If members were more involved in the ward and stake Web sites, there would be a greater opportunity to help members find the information on LDSTech.