David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

David's Church Information Technology

March 24th, 2008 at 6:08 pm Print This Post Print This Post

EasyWorship still good, even with Easter glitch; Shawn saves the day

We’ve been using Softouch EasyWorship at Lakeview for so long I’m not sure exactly what the date was when we first started using it. At the time (probably around the turn of the millennium or thereabouts), we’d been using version 1.0 of Presentation Manager for years after I had started volunteering on the tech team running words, and we’d been using it for years before I started! Presentation Manager 1.0 kind of, well, stunk. Or perhaps it was just still living in the ’80s. It was at least reasonably solid, always a plus in the middle of Sunday services! And most worship presentation software at the time was rather immature, anyway.

We eventually evaluated the newer version of Presentation Manager that came out once we found out about it (remember this was in place before I started volunteering, and at the time there wasn’t even a full time sound/tech guy, much less a full time IT person on staff!), and although it did make some improvements we did some searching and evaluating and settled on EasyWorship because of the unparalleled text quality, smooth transitions, video support, and of course, ease-of-use (the very liberal licensing policy was also a big factor). EasyWorship was definitely an excellent decision as the software has been very solid overall and is still very easy to use (I should know, while I was still on the tech team I trained many others to use it!). It’s had its bugs like any other software and there are certainly features we’d like to see added (some of our wish list has been addressed in the time we’ve been using it!), but we’ve been very happy with it for the most part.

Which brings me to this Easter weekend. Because we had so many things going on this weekend, including a big outreach at the local elementary school on Saturday where between one and two thousand people came for free groceries and to win one of 100 bikes in a giveaway, I pitched in on Friday and ordered the Message version of the Bible for use in EasyWorship (a module that was unavailable when we originally purchased EasyWorship with many of the then-available paid Bible translations), because some passages from the Message version were planned for use in the Easter services.

Within an hour of placing the order, I got the confirmation email and a temporary, 10-day license key for the Message version, with the final key to arrive after a manual order review. I forwarded this to Shawn, an awesome friend, fellow local one-man IT guy, and our lead tech team volunteer, and the report came back: it works! But, none of our previously purchased Bible work anymore! Shawn was able to roll back to the previous registration information so we at least had our old Bibles back. By the time all this transpired EasyWorship was closed for the weekend, and a Saturday phone call and email couldn’t rouse them. Shawn did what all good IT guys do in such a situation: he improvised and created a new song and pasted the necessary verses in manually.

Today, Monday, I received the final registration code from EasyWorship, which worked to unlock our new and old purchases, and I also received an apology for them being closed over the weekend and unable to help us in time. Still, the glitch still exists: temporary licenses lock you out of previous orders! If you use EasyWorship, keep this in mind (and order early if you need to, like we should have done). Otherwise, I hope you enjoy using this software as much as I used to and our tech team still does!

In related interesting timing, it appears that EasyWorship is the next class we’re focusing on at the Ministry Technology Institute. Just like my university pursuits, I’m happy for classes where my experience makes things much less difficult. Yes, being challenged is good and I like learning (usually things are only easy because I’ve spent the time and learned a lot already on my own!), but it feels good to get things finished and move on to other things demanding my time!

UPDATE: Within moments of publishing this post, I received a second email from another person at EasyWorship offering to help with our problem. I’m sure that the first reply I received was to my email and the second was from my voicemail (I had hoped one or the other would make it through before weekend services), rather than the second being in response to this post (the response time was too fast for this post to have existed long enough to read and reply!). But EasyWorship is very responsive during the week apparently!