Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Will Religion Be The Next Driving Force Of Technology?

For many years now (and when I say many, I mean ever since the dawn of religion) there has been an ongoing debate amongst religions and especially Christianity as to what role technology should play for Christians. There has been much resistance and in some cases, there is downright contempt for technology. But is that really fair?...

Let's face it, we live in a highly plugged-in world. Technology now is now a part of our every day life in practically every waking hour and non-waking hour for that matter. Our children have grown up in this world and now expect technology in everything they do from video games to cellphones.

It should be no surprise that since this is the case, it's inevitable that technology is going to be a very important component for many Christians decades into that future. Our youth of today have grown to expect technology and will most likely demand it even in their Religious and Christian worships.

Actually, let's not pretend that technology is a vision of the future for Christians, technology is here right now for Christians.

From Christian educational tools and games, to Sermons within our Churches, to missionaries for Christ, technology is with us and becoming a powerful tool. Special software is being used in a Church from everything including managing the Finances of our Churches to helping to prepare the ministries. Many churches are becoming wireless communication centers that would rival some of the most wired College Campuses. Software can be used to request prayers and assist and become involved in the actual ministries themselves.

These new technologies allow Churches to increase the effectiveness by providing an entertaining sermon while also allowing them the ability to post these sermons online.

Even on Missionaries, the use of technology is becoming an important asset. The task of keeping track of all the goods being donated and by whom had become an unmanageable task for those involved in the missionaries. The missionary on the ground had no way of managing the ability to not only provide the necessary materials for those in need, but they also had no way of gathering and storing the materials needed to teach the people. The use of databases and other laptop software has helped alleviate this gigantic task. Now databases can store and inventory the donations providing those on the ground with instant access to this information.

Even with this great increase in technology being used by Churches, is this still an untapped market that has great potential? I can see that for a long time into the future, Christians are going to be impressed with new tools for both education and entertainment. So, is this untapped market going to be the next "silicon valley"? With such great potential and so many opportunities, I can't imagine that many profit and non-profit companies won't be testing the water to see where this could go.

Again, we get back to the nagging question. Are Christians going to embrace this potentially new flood of technology and software, or are they going to shun it? Perhaps the more important question is, does God approve of its use? That not so simple question must be answered first. That question will be the deciding factor as Christians across the globe decide on a generally accepted answer to it with the help of God.

If we do decide that God approves of the technology becoming an integrated part of the Christian way of life, watch out Silicon Valley, because here comes the army of God!!!

John Mitchell is a contributing editor to Christianzine.com from which this article on Religion and Technology can be read.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Free Video Conference - Its Ups and Downs

Technology has given humans so much convenience -- telephones, cellphones, Internet, video conference. Wait! Video conference does not sound any familiar to you? Video conference is that seemingly unrealistic stuff you see on movies with people talking to each other through a TV or a computer. Video conferencing is that technological tool that allows people to have nose-to-nose meetings when they're actually miles apart. Now, isn't that cool?

But you know what's cooler? A video conference offered without shelling out a single penny! Yes, one can avail of a free video conference. Companies have long been waiting for this means of communication. I mean, who would choose sending out an employee for an out of the country conference when the meeting could take place in the cyberspace, right? What more if this service could be acquired for free?

Free video conferences are perfect venues to hold assemblies, conduct interviews, address employees, present proposals, give lectures, and several more activities that companies need to carry out. Oftentimes, medical, educational, and legal fields utilize these free video conferences. Distance learning programs offer these free video conferences to better address the problems that students that avail of these programs may have and consequently provide solutions. Business departments also take advantage of these free video conferences to convey overviews of the market. Medical concerns like learning novel prescription drug benefits may also be addressed through this medium.

To make the most out of a free video conference, here are some indispensable suggestions:

  • 1. Focus yourself into the camera. Look directly into it.

  • 2. Communicate clearly by avoiding mumbling. Say your statements slowly and audibly.

  • 3. Don't make any unnecessary movements.

  • 4. Before responding, it is wise to pause for a while. This will give the participants ample time to catch up with the topic and absorb the ideas well.

  • 5. Pay enough attention to the conference goings-on to avoid having to make people repeat themselves.

A free video conference does not mean that you can just do anything that pleases you during the meeting. Maximizing a free video conference relies on the etiquette you personally adhere to.

A word of precaution in using free video conference is that some dilemmas may arise. Expect poor resolution with freewares and when using webcams. Frame rate can suffer too. During exchanges, delays of a few seconds may also happen.

If you prefer to steer clear of those mentioned setbacks of a free video conference, you may opt to use the following types of video conferences.

There are three methods to set up a video conference. 1) The computer-based system that is considered the cheapest type uses a webcam and a free video conference software. This type is considered only good for a person-to-person conferencing because of the limitation with the field of vision. 2) A desktop system is a kind of video conference, which is more innovated than the computer-based system. The hardware installations on the computer make audio and video transmission aspect of the video conference a lot better. It's preferred when dealing with small groups. 3) The studio-based system is the best form of video conference but it comes with a hefty price tag. This consists of a room fully-furnished with control systems, overhead cameras, vision switchers, document viewers, and slide viewers. Universities and enormous companies use this kind of video conference.

For more information on conference calls, using your phones, or video conferencing, visit http://www.MyPhoneInfo.com now.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ways to Make More International Calls Without Splurging on Phone Cards

Absence makes the heart grow fonder -- Cliche? Yes. True? It depends.

Missing a person could be one hell of an ordeal. The stress it may bring is almost tantamount to mental torture. Distance is often the most fearsome test for relationships to withstand. What if a person has been away for too long? The tendency is that the person desserted or even both parties cope through looking for other activities with the attempt to make preoccupation forget the loneliness or homesickness a person feels.

But you know what? The rigors and melancholy that these trying times could bring may be alleviated. How? It's as easy as getting the phone, dialing the phone number of that person and talking to that person. Calling your loved one more often and a lot longer is a surefire way to surmount that "abandoned" feeling.

Now the real problem is what if you need to be tight on your budget? Phonecards used for international calls often come with a hefty price tag. How do you deal with that when there's some tuition, utilities and other bills waiting for you to act on.

Don't fret. There are some ways for you to save on international calls. Just read on.

One way for you to not pinch much from your wallet while making that awaited international call is to know what kind of phone will receive your call. Overseas calls to mobile devices such as pagers and cellphones can cost you much more than when you call to a land line phone. This is because of the system called "calling party pays" employed by several overseas carriers. Ask your honey if she can just look for a landline instead of calling her through her latest Nokia.

How about getting some help from your good old smooth operator? NOT. Unless your call is for an emergency, don't let the operator sweet talk you. You'll see that what you can pay for only a few cents per minute could cost you some precious dollars after asking an operator to assist you with your call.

Go PPC. No, it's not about your pubo-coccygeal muscles or those Internet marketing hype known as pay-per-click! It's about using prepaid phone cards. Enjoy the convenience of not having to think of your bills after making that international call through the use of prepaid phone cards. Just make sure that you don't fall for the mistake of buying expired cards or those that have high connection and maintenance fee.

Opt for pre-paid plans. If you're not a prepaid card person despising all the fuss on knowing first all the hidden charges, prepaid plans could be of great help for you to save your hard-earned bucks. Websites that especially cater to those who'd really like to save on their international calls abound.

Choose what will not burn much of your time and what you're most comfortable with. With these tips on how to save on your international calls, you don't have to look for other activities to just resist the temptation of making that international call. Just call!

http://www.MrLongdistance.com owner Bernard Pragides has been in the telecommunication business since 1997. Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries on phone cards or international call rates. You may email us at HelpMeSave@MrLongDistance.com

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Profiling the South African Mobile Phone User

A South African research company has profiled mobile phone subscribers and divided into six categories - the Grassroots, Lizards, Playas, Magpies, Sophisticates and Elephants. The Mobility 2006 research project aimed to determine the usage habits of South African mobile phone users to develop clear market segments, says Peter Searll, head of Dashboard Fast Forward Research. A sample of 1152 cellphone users from eight provinces excluding the Northern Cape from all income groups and races ensured that the population was representative, he says. "The size of the sample and he extent to which it was representative of all South Africans enable us for the first time to produce a clear distinction between different categories of user," Searll says.

Grassroots users

The most obvious difference between all the categories is in the amount of money they spend on their mobile phones every month, says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck.

The difference also lies in the likelihood that they have monthly contracts with a cellular service provider he says.The company conducted the research in partnership with Dashboard Fast Forward Research. Searlle says while the Grassroots mobile phone users account for 45% of the market in size, they only spend R109 per month and account for 24% of the total market spend.

The group is strong in rural areas, earn low income and have low levels of education. The majority of grassroots spend is on voice and SMS, with no data use, he says. “There is a clear need to develop voice application for grassroots users to deepen their cellphone usage,” Searle says.

The Lizards The Lizards almost fit the same profile as grassroots users, except for the fact that they are bargain hunters with no loyalty to their service provider, he says.

They are therefore likely to switch networks within the next couple of months, and are likely to buy a cellphone starter pack for the airtime, he says.


The research characterizes Playas as youthful, tech savvy and more urbanized than Grassroots and Lizards.

These users also download content at a high rate, with 11% of them joining a subscription service, Searll says.

This group would rather get a free gift than a free cellphone, and would love to get TV on their cellphones, he adds. The Magpies The Magpies, who are young and love anything that shines with bells and whistled on, spend the same as Playas, the report says.

At R158 spend they spend slightly less than Playas. However, a higher proportion of Magpies are on contract, and they love to use the gadgets on their phones such as camera and watching TV, Searll says.

The Sophisticats

Sophisticats, who are slightly older than Playas, are the highest Internet users, with 90% of them having Internet access at home or at work.

They also command a high demand for TV on the cellphone, he says.

The Elephants

The Elephants make up 9% of the cellphone population and account for 33% of market spend, Searll says. They have no patience to learn new applications and no interest in watching TV on their mobile phones, he says. He adds that 99% of Elephants have contracts, with 25% of these contracts likely to be paid for by the employer. Elephants have not made purchases on the cellphone, he notes. Please Note: $1 =about R7.00 at the time of publication.

Damaria Senne is a journalist and author based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She writes about the telecommunications industry in South Africa and Africa, including cellular, mobile and wireless technologies and messaging news and trends. She regularly interviews executives of multinational companies expanding their business into Africa, as well as government officials and regulators in the African communications market.

Read her business related articles at itweb.co.za

How To Submit Network News Video Clip Footage In 3 Steps

Has this ever happened to you? You're standing on a busy street corner, minding your own business, when all of a sudden a masked gunman comes running out of a nearby bank with the cops in hot pursuit. Luckily, you have your video cell phone and capture the whole scene on video. But how would you submit network news video clip footage like this to ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox?

Being in the right place at the right time armed with a video cellphone when something newsworthy occurs means you could potentially reap some financial rewards. Did you know that news organizations pay handsomely for exclusive video like this?

So what do you do now that you've captured some great video or picture with your cell phone? There are basically three steps to take if you want to get paid for the video footage you have shot. Edit, upload, and announce it to the media.

Most video cellphones come with movie editing software built-in (or packaged with the phone). Even if the bundled software is sub-par (which it usually is) there are many off-the-shelf software solutions that can enhance the quality and reduce the file size of the video you have captured.

Remember, you do not want to manipulate the video extensively, since this will jeopardize the 'man on the street' quality that the news networks are looking for. Besides, the news stations have much more sophisticated software than you could probably afford to massage your video into the desired format, length and content.

You probably don't need to do much to your raw video footage except reduce the length of the clip to the smallest size. This is important because you don't want to pay to upload your video and the free video hosting services only give you so much storage space that can quickly run out if you are uploading large files.

Next, you need to upload your video to an online video sharing service. There are bunch of these available, some offering a meager amount of free storage and charging extra for larger portions of space. Other services limit the amount of bandwidth your video can consume. This means the number of people that can watch your video at one time is limited.

After choosing a suitable place to host your newsworthy video, you need to tell the news broadcasters about it. In whatever city you live in, there are local news affiliates that are part of larger news organizations like Fox News or ABC. You can easily determine which news stations are in your area by turning on a TV and seeing what the call-letters are for your local broadcast news stations.

Once you have the call-letters (for example, WABC) then simply go online and do a search for those call-letters in your favorite search engine. Once you find the web site for that broadcaster, navigate to the page on the site that has a link for submitting breaking news and supply the basic information that applies to your video, such as a description and the URL of the video where you uploaded it.

Aaron Benbaruch knows the ins and outs of submitting breaking news captured by citizen journalists. To instantly submit newsworthy video and pictures to all the TV News Broadcasters for free, visit submit news clip

Mobile Devices, Which Devices Work Hard and Play Hard?

Devices that can access mobile broadband 2G or 3G type networks include laptops, PDAs, BlackBerrys, SmartPhones, and soon, the iPhone. But which ones can help you be productive and keep you entertained?


Laptops can access full webpages, display full screen and can work with your productivity, scheduling and email programs. They can also play music and video.

They are bigger and cost more than handhelds and they cannot fulfill cellphone duties.


They are designed for productivity and can sync up with popular programs like Outlook. They are kind of like mini laptops with an interactive screen, popular types include the Palm.

They are not that much fun, most don’t play music or video and they are not cellphones. They require a service contract to access mobile broadband on top of your regular cell phone service. Although, they are beginning to incorporate multimedia elements like photo organizers, mp3 and video players and display eBooks; however, they cannot replace your laptop. So, basically you have to carry both around and sync up from time to time.


Similar to a PDA, they can access email and webpages, have organizers, many can perform as a modem for a laptop. Some can play mp3’s and video and perform cell phone functions, like the BlackBerry Pearl. The traditional BlackBerrys have full keyboards, support attachment viewing and are quad band (which means they can connect to 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS and EDGE networks).

To access wireless services they require services beyond your regular cell service and they are not much fun. Most don’t play media content like video or music.


SmartPhones combine PDA and cell phone abilities. They support productivity activities like checking email; yet, also perform all cell phone functions.

They require service add–ons beyond your regular cell phone service to use its features and still cannot replace a laptop. They are nice for looking up simple information online or checking your schedule, but you will still have to sync up every so often.


This small device plays music, can check email, IM and performs cell phone functions.

Currently, a two year Cingular contract is required to use this device. Additionally, although the interactive screen is cool, it is hard to type on, which limits its productive abilities. The iPhone is also costly, much more than a PDA or BlackBerry, but designed to be more fun than productive.

So, all in all, your laptop is still the most productive and entertaining device you can use to access mobile broadband services, but far from pocket size. And the pocket size devices, offer limited functionality.

So what is the best combination of functionality and fun? I’m thinking a small multimedia laptop and a reasonably priced smartphone (to get you by until you can get back together with your laptop).

Pamela Stevens

Pamela Stevens writes for TopTenREVIEWS.com, a review site that publishes technology and entertainment reviews.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


With a smirk I have to admit I'm beginning to become the Old Fart that I've spent my life despising. You know who I'm talking about; the guy/person who says stuff like, "I just don't understand the things people do these days."

Well, I don't.

The other day I was doing my photography and in the midst of a particularly spectacular sunset (as if they're not all!), in one of the most remote parts of the world, some people came into frame. No sweat. I like people. They tend to add to my pictures, like little speckles of energy that dance on the body of this big ol' Mama.

And then, sitting down together side-by-side in perfect frame position for a shot of the sun enflaming the ocean just over their heads, they each shook a cell phone out of their respective pockets and dialed in to some moments somewhere else.

One of my life quests has been to learn to be more here, more present in each moment. As if to insult a lifetime of seeking, everywhere I go are people being THERE now! On the street, in their cars, in your driveway, next to you at the restaurant, coming out of the rest room, in the middle of a conversation even! Wherever you go, whatever you do you are surrounded by people whose bodies are in front of you, but their presence is elsewhere.

It's not like this was new to me. Somehow, though, this one just felt like a brand new insult. Right at the place where you surrender your cares to the richness of the moment-- one of the few places where you can actually share your solitude with another human being – lives the Intruder.

When this cell phone thing first started to leave the cities and get more rural I was living in an intentional community in Oregon. It was (a surprisingly eclectic group of) about 30 adults and 8 kids living on 87 acres and running conference and permaculture design centers along with hosting a personal growth workshop and publishing a magazine. We were known as a community that really seeks to work the interpersonal connection angle into the day-to-day (and formidable!) tasks of living as examples of sustainability.

As you may guess, although not on the radical "tree-sitter" side, even the former Navy Intelligence Officers in the community amongst us were clearly oriented toward a value system of relationship over action, presence over distance.

But then, in my fifth year there, more and more "guests" (people coming to a conference and spending the weekend living with us) were shaking out their cell phones and walking around (of course within the confines of "live" spots or whatever they're called) the property -- trails, creeks, meadows -- chatting away with the ethers.

Every week we had a business meeting. In one such meeting, where we decide policy and such, barely thinking twice about it, I put a motion up for consensus on setting aside a specific area for people to use their cell phones.

Hell, there was precedent. Years ago the community did the same thing with cigarette smokers. There was one little spot on the property, near the conference center classrooms where one could go to smoke. The truth is, it was a dismal lean-to type shed with one lousy chair and an ugly, open coffee can for butts sitting on the concrete walk. If I had come to that community a smoker, I would have quit out of sheer embarrassment. Since the area was in full view of the paths leading to the center, it always looked quite zoo-ish, the only thing missing being Dunce caps for the less-than 1%ers.

It was my fervent hope that the community would feel that such sequestration would help individuals face themselves much more directly. Hopefully, which seemed to be true for smokers, eventually enough people would feel uncomfortable enough so that word would get out that of course we’re tolerant, but if you smoke or use a cell phone on this chunk of nature, you’re gonna feel like an idiot.

I figured it would be a slam-dunk to get this one through but Boy, was I wrong! No sooner had the words, “I’m sick of seeing the ugly little glowing Bastards everywhere I turn,” come out of my mouth than I noticed three or four hands out of a table of about 18 people reflexively going to some part of their clothing or anatomy to make sure they had their cell phones with them.

It reminded me of when I was a paramedic and walked into a tough-ass bar on the other side of the tracks when we -- me and my partner being the only white guys around -- would catch little metal glints of knives and guns getting made ready out of the corner of our eyes.

And these were my fellow communitarians. It was then I knew life as I’ve known it is over.

Back to the beach. My first thought was, "What the hell am I gonna do with this shot?" But then I realized, "Crap, they’re all like this!!"

I've taken so many Primo-shots of deeply touching Nature with people and cell phones in them that I may as well gear my whole portfolio toward spinning Marlboro Man images into Cellular Phone-promoting spreads and foldouts and brochures and whatevers and at least make some money off the damn photos I end up chucking because this unnatural thing is occurring.

And now, it's exponentially getting worse because the cell phones take pictures.

On photographic projects on the beach, even as short a time ago as May (2005) I could work with sunset and shoot people celebrating it and not worry once about the result. Today (September) and in any shot with five or more people in it, one of them is pointing their phone either at their ear or at someone else. Some of my pictures look like the stand-off of multiple gunmen in one of (actually, many of!) Quentin Tarantino’s flicks.

How arrogant am I, though!

For being all of that balanced person who I claim to be, here I am negating the experience of other humans for nothing more than my own grasping need to die in a world that is familiar to me.

Probably ten years from now, it will be as common to have people pictures laden with cellular phones as it was to see handkerchiefs in the pockets (suit pockets, no less!) of men on the street in photos taken in the 1950’s.

Why does that sound terrifying to me?

Besides, if I had spent a little more time observing and less time bitching while up on the bluff, I may have found that, indeed, each of these people was beaming out photographs of that joyful sunset to their target callers. How Sweet -- sharing this glorious moment with friends in Louisiana under four feet of water!

It’s hard enough to be in a rotten mood and have to listen to that bubbly fool on the other end of any phone. But to be able to get the whole picture of that joy is torturous. The moment becomes a series of thumbscrews bleating, “See how Happy I am? What’s wrong with your miserable existence?”

You're so damn busy getting annoyed at the callers happiness you can't even appreciate the beauty that's around you, that's the soul that cellphones suck out of you.

What will happen to our anonymity and privacy? “C’mon, Dear, I know you’re miserable but turn on the camera so I can really see!”

No, I will not get a cell-phone. I don’t have to. The last time my motorcycle and I broke down on the road, for instance, I just jumped out in the middle of the highway, spread my fingers with my pinkie pointed to my mouth and my thumb to my ear and within four cars and a near side-swipe, some guy pulled over and let me use his cell phone to call for help.

Like any red-blooded American, of course I reserve the right to be a hypocrite. But still, because I am an American, I shouldn’t have to give up my inalienable right to hide. Places to hide are getting fewer and further between, and that, in the final analysis, is my bitch with cell phones and their spawn.

Now, the privileged drive SUV’s with those systems that put you in touch with Central Command immediately in the event of an emergency. Like if one of the kids in the back seat says “I gotta pee,” next thing you know a voice comes out of the heavens to say, “Just make the next left, go two blocks and turn into the McDonald’s…Oh, and while you’re there, don’t forget to Supersize the fries, the extra salt will help the kids hold their bladders longer, and Mr. Mandel, please don’t run the red light like you did that one three blocks ago.”

Though I have nothing against him personally, when Gary Coleman tells me (in commercials slathered over TV, Internet AND Movies!) “Somebody should” know where I am every minute of my life, I can’t help but wince and prepare for Armegeddon.

I know it starts with people like Gary appearing to me to prepare me for the way life will be. I know the same technology that will let you see and talk to me will let “them” see and listen to me, and frankly, I want no part of it.

Unless, of course, I get stranded.

Russ Reina shares over 35 years of experience in the healing arts through his web site http://mauihealingartist.com It is a potent resource for those wishing to deepen their abilities in connection and develop their powers as healers. For a powerful free tool to explore your inner world, please check out his adjunct site http://thestoryofthis.net

(Permission is granted to reprint this article, unedited, provided proper attribution is made and the signature line -- the above resource paragraph -- is kept intact)