Archives For Chris

I was working on a project recently and decided I really needed to find some new fonts for it.  I came across a few collections that I thought would be fun to share:

1. 40 Free Comic and Cartoon Fonts: These have youth ministry written all over them.  Lots of fun ones to play with.

One of my favorites:

2. 40 Free Hand Drawn Fonts: I’m a big fan of the hand drawn look.  I’ve seen some of these before, but there were some great new ones also.

I love this look:

3. 100 Abstract and Grunge Fonts: I really like a lot of these, very current and a lot of fun for ministry.

Check these out:

Maybe these will be just what you need for your next project.  Enjoy!

My Favorites from 2009

Chris —  December 31, 2009 — Leave a comment

Well 2009 is officially over, and I was thinking about some of the tech that made it’s way into my world during the year. Here’s some of my favorites:

Software:
Mozy – I committed to online backup this year having deciding that my time machine wasn’t enough.  Mostly because if something happened at my house the chances of losing both were pretty high.  I went with Mozy, and after having a harddrive crash while on a trip and I was still able to access my data, I’m sold.  It’s definitely worth the $5 a month it costs.

Dropbox – This has become a tool I use daily.  Great for online storage and sharing.  And it’s FREE!

Teleport – This little bit of software allows you to share one keyboard and mouse between 2 macs without any extra hardware.  It’s really cleaned up my desk and I love the way it works.  Price: FREE

Hardware:
iPhone 3gs – This is so much more than a phone to me. It allows me to be away from the office but still take care of quite a bit of my daily tasks.  I love it.

MacBook Pro Uni-body – My old Macbook Pro was great for almost 3 years, but my recent upgrade to one of the new Uni-body models has been a great one.  The power is awesome.  To compare, my old machine took 90 minutes to export the SYM podcast that I produce each week, and the new laptop does the same video in 35.  I love it.  Although if you are thinking about upgrading, I would wait to see if there are any upgrades early in the year.

Flip MinoHD Camcorder – This is such a great little camera.  So easy to use and a great picture for what it costs.  You aren’t going to produce a major motion picture with this, but to capture camp memory, quick event highlights, and fun family moments, I love it.  Read my full review here: review-flip-minohd.

Kindle 2 -I upgraded my ebook reader to the Kindle this year.  I really enjoy reading on it.  A few things that make it great:

  1. Battery life
  2. Amazon Store – so many titles, and great prices.
  3. Always connected – I can download books where ever I am, and it doesn’t cost any extra

Web:
Gdgt.com: Great new gadget site.  I do a lot of my gadget research here.  I also really enjoy their podcast.

LIVE Curriculum: I think most of you know, I am the web manager for Simply Youth Ministry, and one of the big projects I worked on this year was this online curriculum. I am really proud of what we put together, and when I think of 2009 it was a huge part of it.

New Product - Live Curriculum - Doug Fields' 4-Yea

Now on to 2010.

Win a Website Makeover

Chris —  November 10, 2009 — Leave a comment

site_contest_snapshot

Let’s face it, a lot of our church websites need help.  Most of the time they aren’t up to the design and functionality we would like.  Well, the guys over at Snapshot Web would like to help fix that.  They are giving away a year worth of hosting, plus a custom design just for you.  Just follow the link and take their quick survey to be entered.  Who knows, a new church website could be in your future.

Just for fun.  It’s such a great look to make it look like David was just carrying around his laptop filming with his webcam.  I also loved the effect of it being sped up, but the singing regular time.  Enjoy.

YouTube – David CrowderBand – “How He Loves” OFFICIAL Music Video.

Should I Buy That Gadget?

Chris —  October 30, 2009 — Leave a comment

Have you ever asked your self that question?  I know I have.  In fact I keep asking myself about it every time I see a netbook.  Here’s a little flow chart to help with the decision:

shouldyougetgadget
(Click to see full size.)

Source: Scordit.com

If you are anything like me, every time you go on a camp or retreat, you come back with tons of photos (about ten of which are usually any good) and maybe even some video.  Of course you want to do something cool with them, and every once in a while, you take the time to create a video that is a mashup of your pictures, videos, and some recent Christian Music.  Most of the time, your schedule rules out doing anything of the sort.

That is where Animoto comes in.  This snazzy little web tool allows you to upload photos and video, and then creates a really slick looking video of them.

You start by uploading pictures (no larger than 5MB each) and videos (no larger than 200MB each).  You can then set what portion of the videos you uploaded you want to include.  Once you have all your files uploaded, it’s time to select your music.  You can upload your own track or select from their collection.  If you are looking for Christian music, they have 27 selections ranging from Toby Mac to Christ Tomlin (who should be on your playlist).  All that’s left at that time is to determine your speed and cover image at which point their servers take over rendering an impressive video with a cool soundtrack.

The finished video is ready for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, email, and even exporting to YouTube and Smugmug.

Sounds too good to be free right?  Well that’s where you’re wrong and right.  This is a freemium service.  You get all the photos and videos you can cram into 30 seconds for free, and if you want to make a longer video (up to the length of your song), the cost is $30 (the All-Access Pass) for all you can eat for an entire year… seems like a steal to me!  In addition to making longer videos, the All-Access Pass allows you to download the videos though they will only be 432×240 h.264 mp4s.  If you want dvd quality, you can pay $5 per video for the upgrade.

This site focuses on speed and ease of use.  Which means that you do not get a whole lot in the way of editing control.  As a matter of fact, you get NO control.  If you don’t like the transitions or timing, your only option is their “one-Click Remix” that sends it through their randomizer again to hopefully spit out something you’ll like.

However, if you want to be able to make a quick video about last week’s trip for this week’s worship service and have less than zero time, Animoto is a great choice, and an incredible value.  Check it out!

spooky_hero
The Spooky Awesome Bundle is new from Simply Youth Ministry and is a amazing deal for anyone looking to stock up on Youth Ministry resources. It includes 13 resources with a $280 value for only $69, plus when they sell 200 and 400 bundles they will add more resources too it. It has stuff from Doug Fields, Kurt Johnston, Chuck Bomar, Josh Griffin, and Megan Hutchinson.

Here’s what it includes:

  • The $5 Youth Ministry
  • ER Handbook for Youth Ministry
  • Power Play Vol. 4
  • 99 Thoughts about Girls: For Guys’ Eyes Only
  • 99 Thoughts about Guys: For Girls’ Eyes Only
  • 99 Thoughts for Youth Workers
  • 99 Thoughts for College Age People
  • 10 Minute Moments – Red Stuff
  • 10 Minute Moments – God’s Story
  • Love Out Loud
  • Who Am I?
  • Plugged In
  • Life Hurts God Heals

Hurry, it’s only good until Oct 30, or until they run out, and I bet it will only take a few days, so if you’re interested, I would buy soon.

I was reading this article over at PC world: Windows 7? Don’t Upgrade, Buy A New PC – Business Center – PC World:

Here is the very best advice for Windows XP users considering an upgrade to Windows 7: Don’t do it.

Windows 7’s biggest failing is that upgrading from XP requires reinstalling applications and moving personal data around. And who looks forward to doing that?

There are good technical reasons why Microsoft chose this path. However, for average XP users and many businesses, such a difficult upgrade makes Windows 7 a non-starter. Users that are more proficient will make the upgrade at their own peril, just make sure you have application install disks handy.

Yes, you can upgrade from XP to Windows 7, but is it really worth it?

No!

I totally agree that Microsoft really missed the boat by making it so difficult to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.  I have an old XP machine I’d love to upgrade, but maybe I should just start looking at netbooks.

Do you plan on upgrading to Windows 7?

free_gift_hero

Thought I’d pass this along for anyone needing some resources, a great chance to get some Free stuff, but only till Oct 20, 2009.

LINK: SimplyYouthMinistry.com

I am constantly amazed at the tools that lifechurch.tv produces.  This morning I found out about what is quite possibly the most useful of them all: Open.  What is it?  It’s thousands of top-quality resources for churches available for free download.  It’s not just youth resources!  Everyone can find something from adults to children and youth to pet ministry (I may have gone a little overboard on the pet ministry).

To begin, you simply sign up for an account and voila, the world of Open resources is at your fingertips.  Browse through the files to find videos of messages, background loops, small group curriculum, skits and video illustrations.

Don’t have a great worship band?  No problem, you can download worship sets to project on a screen with a band, lyrics, the whole deal.  There’s even forms and training.  Like I said, it’s awesome!  The only problem I could find with the well-designed site is that some of the video files require you to burn them on a dvd to play them which for a novice (especially one using a pc) could get a little hairy.

That being said, it’s all there, and it’s all free.  Next time you need help on a message or small group your first stop simply has to be Open.