David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

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April 30th, 2008 at 8:46 pm Print This Post Print This Post

My First “Indy Christian Geeks” Lunch

This past Friday I attended my first Indy Christian Geeks lunch, where I was invited a couple of weeks ago by Dr. Thomas Ho from IUPUI’s Computer Information Department (where I’m currently a half-time student). I hear the group is bigger, but there were six plus me last week, and we ate at the food court of an ethnic grocery store where food was available from three countries (we all ate Korean), and I had the Fried Rice with Chicken, which was very good. The Geeks lunch is always on the last Friday of the month, so it’s easy to remember.

The basic idea I gather is that the group is a way for Christian geeks to fellowship and share, similar to the Church IT Roundtable concept only smaller and not focused specifically on “church IT” and more on a shared love of Christ and electronic gadgets. I didn’t take my laptop, but without it I felt in the minority, although I think it might have been split 50/50! My Nokia N800 was charging or I would have taken that at least!

I’m sure I’m leaving someone or something out, and it was great meeting everyone, but I met a few people at lunch that were particularly relevant to my present activities. One was Neil Cox, aka IndyChristian. Neil is a local Indianapolis blogger who has been using social media extensively to help his life and with Christian outreach. I have been accumulating del.icio.us bookmarks for a while and have over 1,700 links saved, but Neil has several times that! I like Web 2.0 technology and social networking and it’s nice to meet someone else in town who shares a similar interest! Of course, Dr. Ho is also quite into social media, but is currently using Twitter the most (granted, I have been too!).

Eldon Kibbey was the first person I saw when I showed up for lunch. He was at a table by himself, but as he had a laptop open I figured it was a safe bet to head over and introduce myself. The bet was as safe as I thought! Eldon’s the Director of the Christian BusinessMen’s Connection (CBMC) Indiana and is also the Transform Indiana Moderator.

I also met Tom Buckley, who works for Exacq, a company I was only vaguely familiar with before that I’m taking a much stronger interest in now! They make security camera software that I can’t wait to get my hands on and try, both because it’s cool and because we’ve been having some security camera issues that I may get around to blogging about. (Exacq is pronounced just like the word “exact” without the “t” at the end, by the way.) Because they run a demo system in their offices that records 24/7, Exacq managed to get some footage from their office cameras of the recent earthquake in Illinois that they put on their blog and it was picked up by several news stations. Ironically, the company that installed our current security system was Vigilcorp, whose offices are in the same building as Exacq and who now sells primarily Exacq systems, which was not the case when they put ours in. We really like the guys at Vigilcorp and I really like Tom at Exacq, which is a good combination!

Alex Connor, an IUPUI student and programmer/web developer who also maintains the IndyChristianGeeks.com website, was also at the meeting banging away on some code, along with a woman who stopped in a little bit later whose name I have unfortunately temporarily forgotten.

This seems to be a great group to get to know, and an excellent way to get into the local Christian IT community and not just the online one, not that there’s anything wrong with either. But I think this may help (even though most of the Geeks aren’t necessarily “church IT” geeks in the same sense that I am, or many of the CITRT folks are) with my eventual goal of bringing together a Central Indiana Church IT Roundtable as a regional extension of the national CITRT. I’m already making contacts in that direction, but I don’t have any firm plans. If you do IT at a local church here in or around Indy, in a paid or volunteer capacity, why not get in touch with me and start a relationship? We can work towards a Roundtable, which I think would be beneficial to everyone. I’m not the most outgoing person I’ll be the first to admit (which makes meeting new people and sometimes even working with people I don’t know very well a challenge outside of my comfort zone), but if you get me started talking tech you’ll have a friend you may not be able to shut up once in a while! I’m definitely planning to be at next month’s Indy Christian Geeks lunch barring last-minute schedule conflicts!