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Stopped Writing and Kept Working, Accumulated Miscellaneous Stuff

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve not posted much recently. Chalk it up to being busy at work and at home. Actually, part of it is that using and reading Twitter and the #citrt chat channel on IRC has sapped a lot of what I’ve had to say, and I haven’t used any extra time for writing. I’ve been moving from one thing to the next, keeping busy and thinking “oh yeah, I should blog about this,” only to forget that completely and move on to the next thing! But enough about that…don’t you hate it when people ramble on about why they haven’t been blogging? :-) (Twitter’s limit of 140 characters does help to tweak writing efficiency!) Here’s some random stuff:

I’m trying to get a 90-day trial of Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007 [1] (SCE) installed. The non-profit charity pricing is under $400, so if I like it I’m hoping to buy it this Fall. Right now, I’d be happy to get it installed! After attempting to install the software (at Service Pack 1) on a virtual Server 2008 machine and failing (you have to install SQL Server Express 2005 with SP2 manually first, which I did, but it kept complaining that I needed to run the Configuration for SQL Reporting Server…which I did! The best I could, at least, but it kept complaining I hadn’t!), I finally switched to a Server 2003 virtual server. 3/4ths of the way through the install it failed saying it couldn’t contact the SQL server (that it installed) so it rolled everything back (the install and the rollback both took an hour!). I’m spending the time installing all the Windows Updates that are available for Server 2003 before trying again, which are a lot! Was trying to try it out quickly and update later, but obviously that’s not going to work! The concept of SCE is very cool but if it’s this hard to install, it better be a whole lot easier to use!

I’m probably the last person to post this, but the Fall 2008 Church IT Roundtable has an official website now! Visit (and subscribe to!) citrt2008.com [2] for updates, details, and links to other update methods like Twitter [3]! It’s being held at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, SC on October 8-10. Be there or be…there streaming online or in the chat or something :-)

I’m getting ready to switch over to Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 Premium from a non-SBS, non-Exchange network at the Assemblies of God Indiana District Office where I work one day per week. It’s been in the works for a long time, but the official switchover is scheduled to happen June 6th and 7th (Friday and Saturday) with the 8th available if spare time is needed and some on-site support on Monday morning the 9th to work through any kinks. I’m confident in things going smoothly, but that could just be a lack of knowledge on my part (see the Dunning-Kruger effect [4] :-) My plan is to get Postini installed in front of Exchange at the same time or shortly thereafter. I may get around to broadcasting some of the switch via webcam, but there will be some internet downtime while ISA 2004 is brought up and configured so we’ll see how that works.

In still other news, I’m going to be trialing FeedBlitz [5] for sending out email newsletters for our Worship and Creative Ministries [6] team in the next few weeks. I’m curious to see how that goes; I know Constant Contact [7] is the well-known name in that space and we’re open to going with them as well. Pricing is the same for our subscriber levels, but FeedBlitz seems to have the corner on social features including publishing email from an RSS feed and now sending out messages via Twitter as well so we’re going to try it first I think.

It gets harder to blog stuff the longer I go without doing so. I seem to pressure myself to “write long, big post with a ton of juicy technical information” as the first post back from an absence. I also seem to subconciously want to post only big, important stuff to avoid wasting time with any smaller things. This contributes to not posting at all! Thus, I will attempt to be less picky about what I’m posting or the length of posts in order to keep going, while still providing some good, solid information! I may also kick up the number of shorter posts with links to other content, or republish the occasional funny comic, but will try to keep the “noise” down. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments about what you’d like to see, one way or another!

One more thing: I have Woopra [8] set up for statistics tracking on this blog now. I don’t run the client often right now, but when I do it allows me to chat with visitors in real time! So if you’re reading this on the website and not via Contact Me [9] page) if it’s that important! Blog comments are preferred if it’s a public topic or question, though!

6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "Stopped Writing and Kept Working, Accumulated Miscellaneous Stuff"

#1 Comment By foxnomad On May 28, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

Although not the most popular with everyone, a list format helps to keep thoughts concise but the creativity flowing.

That said, a break from time to time can be refreshing and help you stock up on new ideas!

#2 Comment By David Szpunar On May 28, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

Thanks foxnomad, that’s a good idea! I tend to break up my items into paragraphs rather than lists, but I should try lists sometime. I use them in other writing, might as well move them over to the blogging world :-)

#3 Comment By Matthew Irvine On May 29, 2008 @ 2:05 am

I wondered where you had been! Welcome back. You gave me some real thoughts on newsletters. Why not just make a church news blog and let people sign up with FeedBurner’s e-mail delivery. There’s a good free way to manage a subscriber list. I’ll have to think through all the possibilities there.

#4 Comment By David Szpunar On May 29, 2008 @ 11:23 am

Thanks Matthew! That’s not a bad idea; in fact I’m contemplating adding FeedBurner email subscriptions to the news/podcast area of the Lakeview website. However, at this point we have some preexisting mailing lists that we need to mail, even though we are also posting that info to the Lakeview Worship blog at the same time. I think FeedBlitz has a lot more management features compared to the limited FeedBurner email subscription option (which I do use for my blog). If I remember correctly, FeedBurner will integrate with FeedBlitz too, though! Feedblitz is free if you don’t mind ads in your emails (and missing a few features like Twitter broadcasting). But I think the paid version is going to be well worth it for us. Or so I think now; we’ll see if after we try it my opinion stays the same!

#5 Comment By foxnomad On May 29, 2008 @ 11:25 am

The only thing I don’t like about the Feedburner emails is that they can only be sent daily. A weekly version would be nice.

#6 Comment By David Szpunar On May 29, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

For use as a newsletter, I can see the frequency being OK since you would want the email to go out when you posted a new blog entry (although I think FeedBurner batches emails daily, so it may not go out right away and you don’t have scheduling control). Scheduling control is another reason to use a paid service if you need it. But if you don’t care, a weekly version could be sent by just posting a blog entry weekly with FeedBurner. But you are correct if you’re saying that no “digest” version is available. I’m not sure if FeedBlitz has a digest version either. Plus, FeedBurner has extremely limited design control. More reasons to mess with it soon!