LDSTech Newsletter Archive

May 2009

LDSTech has been upgraded from Joomla 1.0 to Joomla 1.5. The changes apply to all pages except for the wiki and the forums. If you see any bugs, please let us know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Twitter

You can now receive updates about featured articles, opportunities to help with Church projects, Church technical jobs, and hot topics in the forums through Twitter. Twitter is a free service that allows users to share text-based messages. Start following LDSTech today.


LDSClerks

Content from LDSClerks.org can now be found at the LDSTech Wiki. For many years, Kent Larsen of New York has funded and maintained a mailing list, discussion forum, and wiki for LDS clerks. We wish to extend our gratitude to this pioneer of clerk training and to the other long-time contributors of LDSClerks. Thank you all for generously donating all of the wiki content, more than 120 pages, to the LDSTech Wiki. This content is a great blessing to clerks around the world.


Family Safety with Technology

There is a new sub forum at LDSTech called Family Safety with Technology. Please join us in discussing and sharing ideas to help keep our families safe using all that technology has to offer.


Community Projects Status

We have several projects that we need your help with. You can always see which projects we are seeking help with by visiting our Current Needs wiki page. If you would like to help on any projects, please follow the instructions found on our Requirements for Participation wiki page.


Community Spotlight

We would like to spotlight boomerbubba, an active member of the LDSTech forums since June 2008. We asked the following questions of boomerbubba and here are his replies:

LDSTech: What is your technical background?

boomerbubba: I came to computing first as a hobby, self-taught by immersion and an early adopter of personal computers before the IBM PC was released. I taught myself Basic, assembler, C, and a smattering of other languages. Later, the publishing company I worked for wanted to start an online database venture, and wanted an editor to run it. Since I was the only editor there with a technical background, I got tapped for the job, and built two generations of the online service: first in an outsourced mainframe environment, then in-house on VAXes. That required us to grow an IT department from scratch. I was a manager, designer, and architect, and did a lot of hands-on work with text-filter conversion tools and relational DBs. We were quite proud, around 1990, to build one of the first commercial online services using the new paradigm of relevance-ranked full-text retrieval instead of structured Boolean searching.

I thought of myself as an editor in a new medium, with a product that was half content and half software. Over time I found that the software challenges were running my life, and I morphed into a more pure techie. I now work for the state of Texas as a DBA and applications generalist, also doing Windows sysadmin tasks when I absolutely have to. (I know what skills real sysadmins have, and I am not one of them.) In my day job I also dabble in GIS, which I discovered years ago as a fascinating solution in search of a problem.

For a time I was a UNIX aficionado, but never worked in a *nix shop. Today my life is quite Windows-centric. My attitude is that software is a tool, not a religion.

LDSTech: How did you find LDSTech?

boomerbubba: I found LDSTech via Google searching with "site:lds.org." I was called about a year ago as a ward financial clerk and was trying to research some question about MLS. (I had served as a ward clerk about 10 years prior in the days of MIS and FIS, but was looking for help on the newer system.) I joined the LDSTech forum immediately.

LDSTech: What do you enjoy most about LDSTech?

boomerbubba: I marvel at the openness. Some large IT organizations, unfortunately, tend to be closed to their users and stakeholders. Having seen how large and small IT organizations work, having served internal and external customers, and having been served as such a customer, I know that a more open culture aligned with customer needs works best.

In any event, I have to applaud the management in Salt Lake for sponsoring the LDSTech site, its forum and the new wiki.

In particular I recall one case where a beta of an MLS release dropped some popular functionality, and some of us in the user community immediately raised that as an issue on the forum. MLS developers were quite responsive in correcting the problem.

Similarly, the related efforts to build community-based software are interesting with developers who are volunteers rather than employees or members called by ecclesiastical authority. I hope this can work, but I know it won't be easy.

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

boomerbubba: An idea I entertained briefly was that there might be some specific place on the forum where individuals might publish their own applications. But upon reflection, I decided that the simple method of posting attachments works well enough. If some project gains enough interest to solicit cooperative contributions from multiple developers, the wiki format you already have adopted seems a better venue.

One area where I think we all could benefit would be in exposition of policy answers. Perhaps there could be a central interactive repository where particular cases could get an authoritative response.

 

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