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.