Starting project – blogging software

One of my tasks for getting the blog back up and going is to look at how software for the Mac, Windows and iOS has progressed over the past few years. I like using a client to write blog posts, rather than sitting in the WordPress editor in the web browser. It allows me to write offline, to organise content and to have tools on the device I’m writing on available to do things.

In the past I’ve depended upon Ecto (version 3) on the Mac (and version 2 on Windows). I’ve been using that since Kung-Log (pre-2004) evolved into Ecto and then changed owners since then. Ecto is still available (I think) over at and I’ve never had any problems with it with progressive OSX upgrades. That said, it’s starting to feel ‘clunky’ and is hard to get some of the media resources with it. One thing it does have is an Amazon ‘search and insert’ function that I use – especially for book art. For example, I’ve just finished the book below yesterday (not a bad read, and I’ll come back to it later).

“Rivers of London” (Ben Aaronovitch)

But once you’ve put an image etc. into a post it’s hard to reedit it without shifting into HTML mode (which is good to have, but the WYSWYG mode is feeling dated now).

So, if all else fails I’ll keep using it, but it’d be nice to see if the Lenovo Yoga I’ve just got might be a better blogging device than the trusty MacBook (or my iPhone at a pinch). [The Kindle Fire is not really in the running as it keeps getting ‘borrowed’ by people and the iPad is a version 1 iPad running iOS 5 only].

[Written with Ecto]

Religion, Pop Culture and Video Games

An eclectic bunch of links today, focusing upon biblical literacy, religion and video games, and video games as a way of creating wellbeing.

First up a new book from Heidi Campbell and Gregory Grieve

Quick review here: Religion Book Review: Playing with Religion in Digital Games by Heidi A. Campbell and Gregory P. Grieve.

Next a link to Bible literacy is going up, not down – thanks, Lady Gaga; The UK Bible Society survey mentioned can be found here.

And finally, Tapping Into the Emotional Side of Video Games: Developing Hope, Healing and Love.

Related links to this latter one include the use of the games mentioned here in church settings – See and

EasyBib Bibliography Creator – Google Docs add-on

With more students using web-based/cloud-based software to write their work up in, this looks like a useful addition for Google Docs – See EasyBib Bibliography Creator – Google Docs add-on.

PaperPile does something similar but it isn’t free, RefWorks (if you have access to that) can sort of fake doing it too.

Alban – Building Up Congregations and Their Leaders

Interesting article on using social media as a minister/pastor, including reflection on what to do when you leave a church.

Alban – Building Up Congregations and Their Leaders

Connects well with Lynne Baab’s book.

“Friending: Real Relationships in a Virtual World” (Lynne M. Baab)

The Big Bible Project

I’ve started following The Big Bible Project out of Durham in the UK (and not to be confused with Tim Bulkeley’s equally excellent and blog SansBlogue). It’s well worth a look.

Some recent things that I’ve looked at over there include:

Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart After All

One of my new colleagues forwarded this link to me today. Intriguing project comparing past and present activities in the same geographic location to see if mobile devices have changed the way people interact in that space. See Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart After All –

Mobile devices & Learning Management Systems – Random Thoughts

Over the past year or so I’ve been using an older model iPad in my tertiary education environment to access various information and learning management systems and have, on the whole, been disappointed. The iPad works well for consuming media (provided it comes from a ‘kosher’ source), for reading email (but less so for responding to it), for looking information up online and carrying the various documents I need at meetings. It does not work as well for content creation – I have various office suites and an external keyboard and wouldn’t replace my laptop with it – and often doesn’t ‘play nice’ with web systems that have been developed ‘in-house’. And in some cases, e.g. accessing course materials or web-based email systems, it can be a real pain.

In my next job I’ll be working much more with the Moodle LMS (which I haven’t used much since 2006-7 when I was installing and configuring it for distance courses), and I’m wondering with the plethora of mobile devices out there what is the best way to use them with Moodle and the other institutional IT systems. In the last year I’ve tended to start with the app for things like Moodle, Facebook and Endnote and then shifted to the web versions when the apps have begun to struggle or frustrate what I want to do. So this year, I’ll be tracking sites like the ones below and looking for examples of LMS to mobile device connections that work well, what works best for academic staff and what works best for students. (And hopefully getting to try out Android, Windows 8 RT/Phone and iPad/iPhone systems with what we do to see how it all works.) Stay tuned.

Double map-making

Two interesting articles on map-making – one in the fictional context and the other for the web with real world data. Both interesting reads.

New media, religion and the interaction between the two

Now that the semester has ended and I’m clearing my desk (virtual and otherwise) of things that have accumulated there, here’s a list of links on media, religion and often the intersection between the two that I found interesting.

The iPad and Professionals

Helpful series over on appstorm on tools and advice for iPad use by different professions. See:

Includes journalist, musicians, photographers and filmmakers so far.