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. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 154 ~ November 07
Monthly ISSN 471-0323

News this time...


"You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present" - Jan Glidewell


FRENCH OUTREACH WEBSITE FINED: On September 27, 2007, Top Chrétien, the largest French internet ministry in the world, was sentenced to pay $12,000 (8,500 Euros) to the Palestinian support organization Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians (CBSP) or Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens:

This growing multi-language outreach and discipleship ministry, based in France, is also about to launch a new English-language Christian portal. They write:

" is unique and really different from existing English Christian websites because of its dynamic features:

1. The search engine provided by the ever-impressive Google
2. The syndication of the best feeds from different Christian sources are easily accessible. Topc will be always up to date (like Google news).
3. The strong evangelistic portion using the content from our Knowing God website
4. The possibility for people to see real-time decisions for Jesus (using Google Earth) and to pray for those people
5. And many other web 2.0 features like voting, recommending, commenting …"

The site is still in beta at present awaiting a full launch next month, but is fully working so take a look:

The search element can be used as a stand-alone search page, and a Firefox add-on is available to add it to your search toolbar:


If you want to read about Pullman from a Christian analyst who both admires his writing while of course disagreeing with his atheism (and has written the only Christian book about Pullman), check out Tony Watkins' Damaris commentary: (book) (film commentary)
(UK-based culturewatch ministry Damaris are looking for a managing director, as well as media interns)

TERRY MATTINGLEY writes on Philip Pullman: with 'The Golden Compass' now screening, these children's novels are gaining a higher profile. Interesting that Pullman uses religious imagery to be, as he hopes, subversive!

HOLLYWOODJESUS has a range of articles, including Dr Marc Newman's item subtitled "We're Definitely Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto":

LEADERU has a number of in-depth articles on Pullman and the Compass - but seems to have no single entry page leading to them all, so best to enter 'golden compass' in their search box on the home page:


- non-techies look away now

FILE EXTENSIONS: just about every extension ever invented, and the applications linked to them:

EMBEDDED FLASH: This can irritatingly remain on top of drop-down menus and other flyout html. But there is a way of forcing it to stack properly:

IE7 CSS BUGS - a wearying list to learn how to fix:

The latest version of Internet Explorer has maintained its life membership of Browsers Weird (membership: 1). If you have not already tested your site in IE7, now is the time. Try resizing the page with CTRL + mousewheel. Among the many bugs it has, is a bizarre response to fixed font sizes. It does not technically resize pixel-sized fonts. Instead, it unleashes a strange zooming of the entire page:

GRAPHICS: Adding rays of light to an illustration is a simple, yet effective, Illustrator effect:

SYNERGY SOFTWARE allows a user to share one keyboard and one mouse with multiple computers. The computers don't even have to be running the same operating systems:

ICANN begins testing URLs with non-Roman characters:

PHOTOSHOP'S Blend If function:

CONVERT TO FLASH with mencoder:


USING PHP: you may want to run PHP scripts on a non-PHP page. Happily, it is often possible to do this:

STRIPE GENERATOR: make a background image with diagonal stripes, lots of customizing options. (seems to need IE to work):

HELP NEEDED: if you use IE5 on a MAC, or have experience of converting a webpage to PDF on the fly using PHP, please write:


HALF THE WORLD: last month, the number of mobile devices tipped past 3.3 billion - i.e. half the world's population. In Japan and several other countries, more people access the Web through mobile devices than fixed PCs, whose usage and sales are declining:

MOBILE PHONE THAT WORKS WORLDWIDE - the future is here, no enormous 'roaming' charges to use a phone in different countries:

BABIES CAN DISCERN MOTIVE AND BEHAVIOR: Babies are certainly fearfully and wonderfully made. I have long been impressed by the way a child too young to talk can imagine, and distinguish between imaginary activities, such as pretending to eat food from a picture, and eating real food. We are hard-wired for imagination and story.

Babies can also tell friend from foe long before they can talk, according to research published in NATURE. Use of puppets demonstrating 'moral' behaviour, by seemingly helping or hindering another puppet to climb a slope, were noted by babies of six months, who all afterwards reached out to hold the 'helpful' puppet and rejected the 'nasty' one. So - another behaviour that appears hard-wired rather than learned!

ONLINE COURSES FROM MIT: For those interested in self-directed education at no charge, there are a large number (1550!) of courses currently available online from MIT through their OCW (OpenCourseWare) program. Non-credit course offerings include extensive language and culture programs in Chinese, Japanese, German and French, as well as offerings in the fields of business, linguistics, engineering and many others. The courses are designed so that the needed materials (audio and text files) are downloaded and studied independently in a self-paced fashion. Some courses have also been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese. No registration is required as the materials are intended for self-study.

WEB AS MINISTRY: a summing up of the potential of web evangelism:


"Why the method of our communication might matter as much as its message", says writer Brett McCracken:

Brett's own index of related articles is very insightful - he writes for Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, and Faith Visuals:


Type your URL into Backlink Watch and get complete detailed information about the quality and quantity of backward links pointing to your website. It will show you anchor text, Google Toolbar PageRank, total outbound links on that page and nofollow flag for each of your inbound links available.

A collection of 17 SEO tools developed by Jim Boykin and his staff, including a cache analyzer, Backlink checker, keyword density tool and multiple inbound and outbound link checking tools.

SearchStatus is a toolbar extension for Firefox and Mozilla that allows you to see how any and every website in the world is performing in the search engines.

The XML Sitemap Generator trawls through all levels of your site to generate an XML sitemap. It also gives you a running count of pages, provides a text-based URL líst and a HTML sitemap you can import straight into your site. The online version of the generator is no-pay for sites of less than 500 pages, but there's also a low-cost script-based version for large sites that can be set up to automatically index your site, upload an updated XML file to your server and ping Google and Yahoo when done.

Search Engine Wiki is dedicated to search engines and search engine marketing. It's in beta:
"If you can get past the annoying librarian stereotype on the front page," writes Research Buzz's Tara Calishain, "you'll find several resources here, including a list of search engines for over 200 countries (admittedly many of the countries only have one engine - some engine descriptions here wouldn't come amiss), a glossary of terms used in SEO, PPM, and related fields and a list of search industry conferences and events."


Diane Karney was tired of being a short, overweight, 42-year-old whose chin-length brown locks revealed a few too many gray streaks. So, she turned herself into Jillian James - a thin, tall, 20 year old with long red hair. An extreme makeover? Radical plastic surgery? No, Diane simply logged onto Second Life, a three-dimensional virtual world created entirely by its residents. ...she stumbled onto one of Second Life’s Christian islands by accident. Now she is exploring the claims of Christ - anonymously - which, she says, is much more comfortable than being confronted by a zealous member of a real life church.

For more examples and ideas:


ADD YOUR PAGE TO FACEBOOK LINKS: You can encourage site visitors to add your site to their Facebook profile - or send it to a Facebook friend. Make a popup with code something like this. (replace the asterisks with opening and closing angle brackets):

*a href="" onclick=",'questions','width=750,height=450,scrollbars,resizable,left=0,top=0'); w.focus(); return false;" title=" Click to add this page to your Facebook profile or send to a Faceboook friend "* *img src="images/facebook.gif" style="border:0;vertical-align:text-bottom;" width="16" height="16"* */a*
See it working in the footer of It automatically draws down the page title description and a choice of graphics.

Even better, if your pages are able to handle PHP - add the coding to a site-wide footer include, and make it send the URL for the page it is on. Change the link to*?php echo $_SERVER['SCRIPT_NAME']; ?*

Similar page-specific code can be added for Del.ic.ious and other networking sites. In this case, PHP can insert the page title too - code is available to do this.

SOCIAL NETWORKING RESEARCH: Online social networking may not foster deeper friendships between users, but it does make relationships with casual friends and acquaintances easier to manage, according to research from Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom.

How 'word of mouth' works in the Facebook revolution:


IDEAS: The latest insights from BreakthroughChurch are as always very useful:

ADD A MAP: There are several online map systems available. Here are instructions on adding a Googlemap:

RESEARCH: Pskinny is an online resource that allows you to research a zip code’s demographics as well as compare it with up to 19 other zip codes. It is a great resource for learning more about your church’s community." says Church Relevance:

12 MISTAKES OF CHRISTMAS OUTREACH: You may be pretty far down the road on your church’s Christmas plans, but you may want to look through these mistakes to see if you can still avoid them.

E-CURB APPEAL: "People will visit your website before they visit your church - ­if they make it that far, " writes Thomas Dolan. "There is no special power in a website. But churches that are intentional about outreach recognize the necessity of developing a high-quality, inviting website. Those that are serious about their Internet presence will stick to it for at least a year.

"Research says congregations that started and maintained a website over any previous 12-month period are more likely to be growing," says Bill Nix, CEO of Axletree Media, provider of the E-zekiel website management system.

TEST YOUR CHURCH WEBSITE: Our self-assessment tool will give you a 15-page evaluation report:


- Christians had done something like these using the Bridge Strategy:

INNOVATION: if only we would do something like this - half a million downloads and counting - an individualistic and comedic take on 'I Will Survive (It's a 'director' extra-length YouTube video):

CRECHES: a ready-made starting point - 'creches' ie paper models including nativity scenes:


A new - well very old - take on "trojan hoax":

William Tell Overture for Moms:

"Save the earth. It's the only planet with chocolate."

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