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Notes from TXCITRT will be posted here during the event.


First session notes (8:30 to 10:15)


What ways is your church leveraging digital printing technology for outreach in addition to Twitter and FB? To reach those who don’t know Christ? Spread Gospel?

Promo videos launched on specific FB pages. Some pastors starting to use Twitter.

Wireless to attract visitors to a gathering point where they can meet believers; groups link building service of technology users/pros to exchange ideas, serve externally. Use technology to foster relationships.

Social networking apps (e.g. Join the Journey for FB) that allow believers to start conversations about Christ.

Encouraging folks to put widgets on blogs to link back to church website. Facebook connect. Increasing Google rankings.



Anyone doing job retraining in view of economic downturn?

Job message boards as alternative to Monster.com. (But beware of passing up face-to-face relational opportunities.)



Video storage: If it’s not killing you, why not?

Moving away from silos of storage on individual pos system machines to centralized storage with view to setting up SAN.

Hi-def video is massive.

Lots of churches storing on TB drives and archiving.

Thecus – RAID5 array attached to network – not backed up but cost-effective solution.



Metrics for liability of storing hard drives in a vault? How long do they last?

Avg. life span is 5 years offline or online. Buying 2 drives for each drive you need.

If Seagate 1.5 TB drive – beware. High failure rate.

Optical media not ideal but longer shelf life than magnetic media.

Long-term storage on HD, get drives from different lots/manufacture date or  cassette player get from different mfg. Esp. when setting up RAID arrays.



Video storage:

Final Cut server – offline discs supported, proxy footage… For now, not ideal for keeping track of offline footage. About $1000/server.

American Media Services – offers a hosted solution. Chris Wood, AMS rep estimates $350/TB/mo ($.35/GB). Option for low-res library that’s easy to scan.



Who’s hosting streaming video in house or using hosting service?

Amazon S3 – really cheap. You pay for what you use.

What do you do when dating advice administrator is a control freak and doesn’t trust 3rd party?

EC2 – no flash media server running all the time. One company moved to EC2 and their costs are a 10th of hosting it themselves.

Some setup involved in EC2 – scripting, configuring. Their web based point of sale console is really helpful. S3 Organizer and Elastic Fox make it really cheap to bring up a server.

Wowza – streaming server on EC2 is located in Washington DC – can cause some problems. Buffer underruns possible.



Mobile resolution – saving different formats online is messy – video transcoding on the fly?

Adobe’s Flash Media Encoder can do this

Black Magic – just released H.264 real-time encoder. Most encoders optimized for quality rather than speed.



Desktop support: Most churches don’t have staff to support all users. Automated provisioning – images/templates when user logs in. Anyone looking at it?

What about laptop users who aren’t in the office?


Second session notes (10:30 to noon)



Tools that we love/can’t do without:


Kaseya for multi-site user support, push security, large format digital printing, software/hardware inventory, even mobile laptop can be supported; superior reporting – agent constantly monitoring machines; patch management; imaging/backups

Level Platforms – pricing more advantageous but only monitoring, some centralized admin.

HP’s integrated lights out management is great. Identifies failures, graphical console available thru Google web interface. (Dell and IBM have same thing.) All use IE but IBM’s works in Firefox.

Nagios – writes scripts to query servers, anticipate problems

Goundwork – management monitoring platform built on top of Nagios

PRTG and Cacti – trends, graphing, free

Servers Alive – small Windows app, very easy to configure for testing machines (pings first, checks for web requests, whether print queue is empty)

Orion – Also easy to set up, customized layered maps, color-coded status at a glance, great for multiple floors, email alerts, great support

Pingdom – not just ping checks but web requests, checks response times.

Virus scans

Sophos – on Symantec prior to that but Sophos’ automatic uninstall of Symantec is superior. Back-end file shares. Network-access control (option to lock down machines). Mac client available. Anti-spyware feature.

Vipre by Sunbelt – relatively new, pricing and performance are great

ESET Nod 32 – has firewall version, good for international users

Macafee EPO

Spyware defense suggestion?

Sort of a thin-client approach – keep files on the network. If you get spyware, we’re going to wipe your hard drive and install from image. (See Sophos)

Clonezilla – low-cost imaging app. One desktop model; two or three laptop images.

Windows Deployment System



VOIP? Telco vs. offsite sip determination

Bandwidth.com – sip provider, good experiences, ports numbers well, can be scheduled in advance





ADG – warning: will delete all attachments in mailbox store upon installation


Third session notes (2:30 - 3:30)



Best practices for deploying volunteers

Issue: How to find and recruit and retain?

Issue: How to use them in ways they’re gifted w/out giving them grunt or busy work? Have a regularly scheduled event, even if it’s labor-intensive or seemingly busy work. Community will form around that.

Anyone entrusted back office/SQL work to volunteers? Necessary to establish trust first. If you’ve got a background check process in place, use it for IT functions. Create subaccounts to protect passwords. Think of them as you would a consultant (access level set up, plan for changing passwords once the project’s over).

Jim Walton – www.churchtechmatters.com



Exchange 07

Upcoming version of Entourage syncs much better with Exchg 07.

Easy install going from 03 to 07 (wizard-driven)



Backup solutions

Crash Plan Pro.

One Safe Place – phenomenal agent stuff, all done thru web client, SQL backup. Hosted but worth it.

Microsoft DPM

Recommendations for comparing backup hardware vendors?

Justification of cost? Good exercise is to review third-party costs for restoring data; or consider procedure for restoring data if destroyed.



End-user training

Videos can be problematic - when apps are upgraded, videos obsolete.

Problem getting folks to show up – they don’t think they need it.

Get folks in the organization who are proficient to do the training.

Keep it under 1 hour. Dr. Lisa Alloju

Helpful acrostic for users to work through when having a problem: CRASH = Close app. Reboot. Ask a friend. Supervisor. Help desk.



Selecting CHMS – who has made recent changes, what influenced decision, why the change? (Breakout session)



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