This is the third of four online training webinars that I am working on at work. We are starting this new emphasis on empowering our clergy using the Google+ Hangout system. We suffered a glitch in the webinar today where it didn’t seem to be recording the first few minutes to the archive. I noticed that it had glitched during the presentation and started it up at somewhere around the 12-14 minute mark. The archive missed the introduction as well as a description of the major browsers. The main part of the discussion was preserved.
In case you are wondering, you should use Google Chrome for everything. Period.
We are experimenting at work with technology webinars delivered over the Google+ Hangout system. This was the first of four that I am working on this week. It’s a very basic discussion of the history of technology, where are are now and a brief overview of social networks and hardware options. The class is designed for our clergy that want more of an overview of various technology topics. It was well received when I went on a recent training trip so I thought I would repackage it here for online viewing. You can find out more about the webinar schedule here: http://nccumc.org/it/webinars/.
I have narrowed down my Google Reader replacement choice to either Feedly or The Old Reader. I have set up accounts with both services and tried using each for a few days. Here’s what I’ve found:
Feedly has a nice looking interface that takes some time to adjust to.
Feedly was the first service that I tried to use. After being used to the Google Reader interface for several years this was quite an adjustment to make. I was looking for a concise presentation of headlines with perhaps a small snippet of the article itself. Feedly’s interface concentrates more on the presentation of the data instead. It took me awhile to get used to this interface. The mobile apps for this service mirror the website closely. I was able to use it on my smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computer.
The Old Reader has the closest interface to Google Reader. Mobile support isn’t that great though.
The Old Reader had the closest interface to Google Reader. The layout felt familiar and was the easiest to adjust to. The biggest problem with this service was the lack of good support for mobile devices. There is no corresponding app for smart phones or tablets. The website interface didn’t seem to work well in the mobile browser. I kept accidentally clicking the wrong links as I was using it.
At the end of the day I decided to stick with Feedly. Both sites were very easy to configure and start using. After I imported my Google Reader feed list they picked right up where Google dropped me. Even though Google Reader is still going for a few more months I’ve already switched. The key factor in my decision was mobile support. You just can’t beat a solid mobile app.
Google announced today that one of my favorite web services will be shut down:
We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.
I don’t think they feel as sad about it as I do. I have used this service nearly every day since it launched way back in 2005. I manage literally hundreds of feeds and scan through thousands of posts every week. I access it via the website and all of my mobile devices. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’m going to do to replace this service.
So, what’s a good replacement service that offers the same (or similar) feature set?
Last week the United Methodist Church met globally for a Leadership Summit. With membership declining steadily over the last several years the denominational leadership hosted a global brainstorming session. Video from the main session was broadcast globally as United Methodists gathered around the world to discuss the issues facing the church today.
Conference Staff Attending The Leadership Summit
The event was nicely done from a technology standpoint. It was an interesting experience to know that we were participating in the same event with United Methodists in the Congo, Germany, Zimbabwe, Liberia and elsewhere all over the world. We all sang the same hymn and prayed the same prayer, regardless of timezones. It was a great experience. I hope we do more presentations like this in the future.
This is one of the reasons why I think that all of our churches should create a technology budget for their leadership. All of our pastors need access to modern computer equipment and smart phones. These devices will help our clergy become more connected with each other, the annual conferences and the general boards and agencies.