David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

October 3rd, 2007 at 1:22 pm Print This Post Print This Post

Room B Morning Discussion Notes

I’m a part of Room B at the Church IT Roundtable, one of four individual rooms of discussion. So far, the first video sharing between the four rooms hasn’t worked yet, but we’ve had some good discussion within our room. The topics we’ve discussed so far are:

  • Storage and backups
    • Mozy and MozyPro for offsite backup of some critical data (Shelby, Exchange) and is doing Shelby offsite backups on encrypted hard drives as well
    • SANs
    • NAS
  • Email spam filtering
    • DefenderSoft is used by Lakeview Church, which is an MX Logic reseller
    • Symantec Barracuda in use by several churches
  • Phone systems (VoIP vs. traditional) discussion I was not able to take notes on.
  • Digital signage for internal church display
    • Jason Wilson (Indian Creek) mentioned that they are using Axis TV that lets them run an in-house TV network. The system is used to display announcements, splitting an LCD screen into multiple frames (a PowerPoint on one half and other feeds or announcements on the other half, like the auditorium feeds). Content can be assigned to individual areas so video can be targeted. It’s IP-based but feeds standard def RF to the TVs (HD capable but not doing it). Axis allows scheduling of upcoming events so announcements can be set up via it’s web-based administration area to display and turn off at particular times. Ballpark cost for the software is around $25k.
    • PowerPoint is being used by a couple of churches, including one church that pipes PowerPoint through EasyWorship.
  • WiFi
    • Lakeview is doing public and private WiFi on separate SSIDs and separate VLANs throughout their building. Nomadix is being used to limit guest access with a well-known password, bandwidth limits, and content filtering via OpenDNS.
    • Seacoast is also doing WiFi through a separate public network at several of their locations.
  • Network Monitoring
    • What’s up Gold is being used at COR
    • Nagios open source was mentioned by Matt Bradshaw from COR
  • Websites and division of labor between IT and Communications
    • Mary Walton said it is difficult to get each pastor in different areas to create or update content for their website.
    • Steve Hewitt attending a church of 3,000 that is using a flash site that can’t be updated easily so they’ve had to create a separate site for their ministry area (as lay users).
    • Asbury United Methodist posts their sermons online
  • Sermons online and podcasting
    • Most churches represented in this room that are doing online sermons are also posting the feed in iTunes.
    • Steve Hewitt said churches should make sure to post sermons with keywords and good descriptions in the titles, to make sure people around the world can find them rather than just using the date and church name for the system
  • Email blasts
    • Room A asked about email blasting experience and options:
      • Steve Hewitt highly recommends Constant Contact for email blasts (50,000 addresses, 20 different groups) because they have relationships with AOL to get the emails through. Cost for his level of use is about $350 per month but it depends on the number of addresses.
      • Asbury uses ACS to blast out directly to 5,000 twice a week and hasn’t had any problems with blocking.
  • We also dicsussed multi-site service streaming a bit but I was unable to capture notes on that.
  • Mac integration
    • Asbury just got two Macs in their Communications department and they have had a lot of trouble integrating them.
    • Indian Creek hasn’t had a push to use Macs but they have some high-powered PCs.
    • COR does not backup the default storage on their Macs but they give them a UNC path they can store documents to be backed up. But they can’t integrate with Active Directory for free.
    • Lakeview integrates Mac OS X 10.4 with Active Directory using the Directory Access utility in Utilities. It does authentication including to (non-DFS) network shares but does not apply any policies. ADmitMac software supposedly can do a lot more including DFS operations but is expensive and Lakeview has not used or tried it.
  • Patch management
    • Indian Creek is doing patch management through the Windows Software Update Server.
  • User software testing
    • TotalTesting.com is recommended by Rod Cadenhead to test user’s ability to use Office products
  • Service Planning and Music software
    • Lakeview uses PlanningCenterOnline.com to organize their weekend worship and music
    • A couple of churches use software called Music Manager
  • Donations
    • Seacoast generally does not accept computer donations because they’re old and generally don’t work
    • Indian Creek takes donations and has a volunteer who eBays the items and the money goes back into the IT budget

Lunch time!