Customization Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Friday, 16 February 2007

My background is in software development so my first inclination in solving a business problem is to turn to custom software. I have to fight that urge as off-the-shelf applications are often more cost effective than custom-developed ones.

Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications are wonderful if they match your business process. Many of these applications incorporate process models which are based on industry best practices and thus if you can match your business processes to industry practices, you can benefit from an industry’s collective wisdom. Plus you have many more users testing “your” code for you. Your company may use a small percentage of the available features of a given solution, but the economies of scale a vendor leverages in creating a COTS application make a 10% value proposition worth the full investment in the product.

Note I said “if they match your business processes.” If they do not then you have two choices. You can change your business process to match the tool (much easier said than done) or you can customize the tool.

What Video People are Watching Online Print E-mail
Written by Larry Richman   
Friday, 23 February 2007

According to a January 2007 study of 500 adults ages 18 and older conducted by InsightExpress, the following are the types of content that U.S. consumers say they are likely to watch online:

Things I've Learned Print E-mail
Written by Tom Welch   
Monday, 26 February 2007

It is wonderful how a community can come together to share information and to assist people.  I thought that I would take a moment and share with you some of the things that I have learned since this Web site was launched.

FamilySearch Indexing

In a forum thread discussing genealogy transcription, I recently learned that the Church has a program in which volunteers from around the world extract family history information from digital images of historical documents to create indexes that will assist others in finding their ancestors. You can read more about it and even sign up to volunteer by visiting I'll be talking more about this program in the near future.

Formats for Audio and Video on Church Web Sites Print E-mail
Written by Larry Richman   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007

The following are the standards for all new audio and video we provide on Church sites. (Not all current media files meet these standards, but all new media we create will meet these standards.)

Goals for 2007 Print E-mail
Written by Tom Welch   
Thursday, 01 March 2007

It has often been said that "a goal not written is only a wish." To that end I'd like to share with you a couple of the goals that we have set for 2007 for this Web site and for the LDS technology community.

In an address given to the young adults on October 18, 1981,  Elder M. Russell Ballard said:

"I would suggest that if you want to have success in the goal-setting process, you learn to write your goals down. I would even put them in a prominent place—on your mirror or on the refrigerator door" ("Go for It!" New Era, Mar. 2004,4). 

I can't think of a more prominent place for me to put these goals than on this Web site. I realize that in order for us to achieve these goals, we will need everyone's help and support.

Interviewing Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Monday, 05 March 2007

Whatever you think about the book Good to Great it’s hard to argue one of its premises–that great companies don’t exist without great people. I’m a believer.

In my experience a great engineer can be equal to two, three or even more average engineers. They have good attitudes. They’re productive. They do things right and minimize re-work. They’re not defensive. They communicate with others effectively. They look for things to do when they’ve got spare capacity. They’re easy to talk with. And they inspire others. I just love them. People like this are easily worth what their skills and experience demand in the market.

So how do you find them?

A Peculiar I.T. Shop Print E-mail
Written by Joel Dehlin   
Wednesday, 07 March 2007

In many ways the Church’s I.T. operations resemble those of a normal company:

  • Network systems
  • Email systems
  • Workflow applications
  • Financial & HR applications
  • Trainin

The Church is peculiar in that each of these systems is enormously more complicated than it might be for a typical company because each of them potentially supports millions of members of the Church, people who aren’t considered “employees.”

Tommy's Tips: Volume 1 Print E-mail
Written by Tom Welch   
Friday, 09 March 2007
While I was working at Linspire, Inc., serving as the CTO, I came up with a monthly article called "Tommy's Tips". The purpose of this article was to teach people some of the lesser-known features of the Linspire operating system. I thought that I would start the same tradition here.

Tip 1: New Posts

The forums are getting very busy and it is harder to keep up with all of the threads that have new posts. However, there is an easy way for you to see every post that has not been read.  Once you have logged in to the forums, simply click on the "New Posts" link inside of the navigation bar towards the top of the screen. This link will show you all posts that you have not read.  his is how I get through reading each and every post on the forums.

A Technology Buffet Print E-mail
Written by Tom Welch   
Friday, 16 March 2007

Within the Church ICS Department, we have a menu of technologies that are available to a team when working on a project. I call this menu the "technology buffet." Here is how the menu works. 

There are three general categories that govern each of the product categories. Those general categories are as follows:


Items within this category are technologies that are currently in use at the Church but that we no longer wish to use to implement new solutions. We will continue to support these technologies as long as the products that depend on them are in use.

Managing Complexity Print E-mail
Written by Pete Whiting   
Friday, 16 March 2007

A few weeks ago Joel warned you that there would be occasional guest posts - I am the first volunteer. The brief bio on should provide you with some understanding of my experience and biases. In this post, I leverage those experiences and biases to offer some observations about complexity.

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