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LDSTech Newsletter Archive

October 2009

LDSTech Talk 2009

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the 2009 LDSTech Talk. Submit any feedback to the LDSTech Forum.

The entire session is currently being reviewed internally and will be available for download in .wmv, .mp4, and .mp3 formats at the LDSTech Talk page as soon as possible.

ICS Goals

The Information and Communications Systems (ICS) department has recently set some new goals that will more fully embrace the LDSTech community. One of the goals for the second half of 2009 is to build new tools and enhance existing tools which will make it much simpler for volunteers to help work on Church projects. One new tool, for example, will allow you to download, install, and configure the development environment with a few simple clicks so you can help us work on any of our Java Stack projects. Other services we are creating and enhancing will allow better access to sample member data, single sign-on, and authentication services. We will announce these new tools and services on the LDSTech Web site as they become available.

Please visit the Current Needs wiki page to see some of the ways you can help contribute.

From the Archives

Quality and Truth
by Jeff Crow

The job of a quality assurance engineer is to constantly be looking for ways to improve quality, including setting targets for metrics or setting criteria that must be met before we consider it a quality product.

At a recent gathering of Church quality assurance employees we discussed the idea of how truth affects the quality of our work processes and lives.

We may be really good at setting goals and envisioning the future. However, our ability to achieve those goals depends on having a true understanding of our current state of being— how we’re doing right now. This is the point: often we are not truthful with ourselves about the reality of what our current state actually is. We think (or believe) we know where we are, but in reality we may be far off.

Read full article.

LDS Account

LDS Account is a single user name and password for any person who interacts with online LDS Church resources. LDS Account will become the primary account authentication credentials for most Church sites and applications.

The LDSTech Forum has used its own sign in system since it started in January 2009. The LDSTech forums will be switching to LDS Account in the near future. Please be aware that this change is on the horizon. More details are forthcoming.

Community Projects Status

We have a lot of projects being developed with the help of the community. Some of the more active ones are:

  • Local Unit Web Site Project: A community project to replace the existing local unit Web site.
  • Mormon Channel Project: With the successful launch of the Mormon Channel iPhone application, people have been requesting a similar service for many other devices.
  • Church Historical Timeline Project: The Church Historical Timeline Application is intended to present personal, church, and world history in a visual chronology and enable the user to scroll through time and click on individual events to get more information, links to scriptures and wiki pages to learn more about a given historical event.
  • CODA: A project to create a fictional membership database with an accompanying application to maintain and change that database to be used in developing and testing other LDSTech community projects.

If you have a desire to collaborate with the Church on technology solutions, your help is needed and appreciated. Visit our Current Needs wiki page to see a list of projects we are seeking help with. If you would like to help on any projects, please follow the instructions found on our Getting Involved with Projects wiki page.

Community Spotlight

Nathan Woodhouse is a community developer currently working on the Mormon Channel BlackBerry Application. He is a valuable asset to the project and we are excited to spotlight him this month.

LDSTech: What is your technical background?

Nathan: I think I think I've always been something of a geek! I was hooked as a child after somehow convincing my parents that it was a good idea for them to buy me a Commodore C64 for my birthday. It would boot right into a command line where you could just start programming in basic and I would spend hours trying to copy out code from the back of magazines—which invariably ended in a fail of some description.

After studying Computer Science at university, I managed to get a job teaching software engineers at telecommunications companies how to write SIP applications in Java. I've been doing that since 2004 and have been lucky enough that it's taken me to the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia!

LDSTech: How did you find LDSTech?

Nathan: I had recently been called as the Elders Quorum President of my ward (Cardiff, UK) and so was starting to get to grips with MLS. My ward meets at a building used during the week as a college, so we don't have a permanent place to have MLS available—instead we have a laptop that gets shared around. I was finding this arrangement difficult and wondered if there was any way to report home teaching via the Web—a Google search took me to the LDSTech project that was creating exactly that! I thought that it sounded like something that would make the lives of EQPs everywhere easier, so I signed on! I wasn't on that project for very long before moving over to work on some of the Blackberry development that is hapening.

LDSTech: What do you enjoy most about LDSTech?

Nathan: Easy—I love the idea that there is a community of talented individuals who want to use their gifts to try and move the Lords' work forward.

LDSTech: What potential do you think LDSTech has? Do you have any ideas for the site?

Nathan: I think there is huge potential in the site and love the idea that the Church would foster a community approach to provide for its software requirements! I believe that self sufficiency is one of the great principals of the Church, and see LDSTech as one way in which the needs of the Church can be met by the saints themselves. I also get excited about the opportunity that the Church has to create innovative software and services that facilitate real spiritual growth.

My parents were baptised into the Church at a time when it was common for the membership of a ward to literally labor with their hands to erect the chapel. I see the LDSTech community as doing an analagous work of faith.



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