Apr 152014
 

Not every version of the Amazon Kindle has the text-to-speech function. These are the current Kindles listed at amazon.com that can read text aloud, so you can consume content with your eyes closed! (I just wanted to find a short list like this, is that too much to ask? This list is up-to-date as of 04/15/14)

These 4 Amazon Kindle Fires have Screen Reader, featuring “IVONA’s award-winning natural language text-to-speech voice” ::

And, this Amazon Kindle DX has “Read-to-Me: Kindle DX reads select books out loud with this text-to-speech feature” ::

Mar 292014
 

Yes there is hope and help for people that struggle with mental illness, but it is not easy to get help when there is so much social stigma about someone needing psychiatric help. Plus, even if stigma weren’t in the way, there isn’t enough professionals and resources to meet the overwhelming need–approximately 61.5 million (1 in 4 US adults) experience mental illness in a given year and only a third receive help!

The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church yesterday was a powerful time of exhortation for how churches around the world must take more of its part to better help people that struggle with mental illness. Here’s why: the church is statistically and anecdotally the first place people go for help with mental illness. 3,200 were in attendance at the sold-out event and many thousands more watching online via the free webcast. Tommy Hilliker announced that the plenary videos and all workshop audios will be posted online for free – what a great & generous resource! 

/ [update] Watch/listen to the recordings from The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church /

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[photo credit: Explorations Media, L.L.C.]

2 Christian ministries equipping people to run peer-based support groups were featured:

fresh_hopeGrace-Alliance

Fresh Hope -  a peer-to-peer Christ-centered wellness approach to mental health recovery that empowers people to connect both their faith and recovery principles

The Grace Alliance - provides personal assistance to navigate professional care and improve personal life management through its Mental Illness Recovery Program (THRIVE) and support groups. Also helps the church understand the biblical and clinical perspective of mental health difficulties and disorders.

I missed hearing about church-based support groups. When I searched for them on the Internet during the past hour, I found no popular church programs to care for people struggling with mental illness, though there are a handful of local examples here and there.

Maybe a few churches will be prompted to develop church-based programs after yesterday’s event and make their curriculum available to churches everywhere. If history is an indicator, maybe Saddleback Church will be one of those curriculum-makers, like its past roll-outs: Purpose-Driven Church, Purpose-Driven Life, Celebrate Recovery, and Daniel Plan.

Millions are suffering and struggling with mental disorders (cf. NIMH): Mood Disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Anxiety Disorders, Panic Disorder. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobia, Eating Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Personality Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder. And I think we/they can use all the help they can possibly get. Will the church arise?

[update] One OC Christian support group, Families and Friends of those with Mental Illness, meets on alternating Monday nights 7:00pm-8:30pm at Saddleback Church (1 Saddleback Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA 92630) in Room 310, nearby Tent 3. About this group::

To provide an informative, supportive and safe experience for families and friends with loved ones suffering from severe or chonic mental illness. This support group provides an environment where you can share your burdens, glean from others experience and find strength being with people who also have a loved one battling mental illness. You don’t have to go through it alone. Come and be with people who can relate to what you are going through.

Mar 082014
 

Though I’m not at SXSW 2014 in person, I can peek in with the lively conversations there all over social media. This gathering is the largest convergence of cultural-shaping streams of film (movies, videos) + interactive (digital, social media, online, mobile) + music (soundtrack, poetry, arts) and still the place-to-be for connecting into the currents of the latest vibe in today’s popular culture.

Faith is very much a part of the human condition, though not at the center of pop culture, it is featured at 2 #sxsw sessions and embedded in the bio’s of several speakers:

Is Facebook Making Houses of Worship Go Extinct? @ Monday 3/10 11:00am CT #sxsw #faithbook

  • Rebecca Saidlower (Dir of Mktg & Communications, The Jewish Education Project) @RSaidlower
  • Susanne Goldstone Rosenhouse (Social Media Coordinator, NJOP – National Jewish Outreach program) @susqhb + @JewishTweets

#sxsw #MLK2BAKER

Black Church Activism in the Digital Era @ Tuesday 3/11 9:30am CT #sxsw #MLK2BAKER
“As social media begins to democratize communication and give voice to the voiceless; What will be the impact of social media on the future Black Church activism in the digital era?”

  • Jamye Wooten (CEO/Publisher, Kinetics Communcations) @KineticsLive
  • Ralph Watkins (Assoc Prof of Evangelism and Church Growth, Columbia Theological Seminary) @ralphbasui

And here’s other people of faith in the #sxsw 2014 mix ::

  • Catherine Woodiwiss (Co-Founder, Trestles Creative Agency) @chwoodiwiss@trestlestweets
    Catherine is a journalist, start-up founder, musician, and community-accumulator… Catherine is also a columnist and editor at Sojourners, a leading faith-based social justice blog and advocacy group in DC. Presenter at session: Do It Together Is the New Do It Yourself #sxsw #DIYalive
  • Beth Katz (Founder & Exec Dir, Project Interfaith) @bethkatz + @ProjectIntrf8th
    Beth is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Interfaith (www.projectinterfaith.org). Her passion for creating a world where people of all faiths, beliefs, and cultures are valued…
  • Greg Stielstra (Engagement Strategist, Healthways) @GregStielstra
    Greg is a marketing professional with over 20 years of experience and special expertise in behavioral economics and how influence spreads through human social networks… He is the author of two books: PyroMarketing (HarperCollins, 2005) and Faith-Based Marketing (Wiley, 2009) and was the marketing director for The Purpose Driven Life, the fastest selling hardcover book in American history. Presenter at session: Transform Community Behavior with Digital Design #sxsw #LiveBetter
Feb 212014
 

As the Internet namespace expansion program continues its roll-out, I’m hearing this recurring question from pastors: “How do I get my .CHURCH domain name?” I talk with quite a number of people from churches regularly in person and over social media, partly because I host the Social Media Church podcast for conversations with church leaders about social media, and partly because I’m a regular church-goer (and morph into a fanatic multi-church-goer twice a year–for Christmas and Easter.)

According to early indicators (via the 1&1 pre-reservations count), these .CHURCH domain names are very popular and a lot of people want them. .CHURCH is in the top 30 of new gTLDs (generic top-level domains) out of an estimated 1,000+ suffixes!

.church-in-the-top30

The date when the public would be able to get these domain names ending in .CHURCH is not yet determined. Launch date is unknown. The process for how you register for a .CHURCH domain name is not yet open, but it will be similar to how anyone gets a domain name today. And, it will be, first come first serve. What is know so far is this: on February 6th, 2014, the .CHURCH Registry Agreement was signed; that means it’s officially on its way towards launch.

The best answer to the question at this time: stay tuned for more details here @ djchuang.com and I’ll keep you updated.

Is there a way to reserve a domain name ahead of time? Not exactly. There are registrar websites that have a “pre-reservation” or “pre-order” or “pre-registration” form to capture your contact info, but you’ll need to exercise discernment and read the fine print to see what you’re signing over.

However, if you have a trademark on your church name, there is a special process for registering your .CHURCH domain name early, before the proverbial doors open to the public. (Or could we say flood gates?) Say, for example, you’re Mars Hill Church, and you had a trademark for Mars Hill, you could have the option to get MarsHill.Church by registering with the Trademark Clearinghouse, and then it’s up to you to stay alert for the “Sunrise phase,” and then register your trademarked name ahead of the public. It’s sorta like priority access at the airport.

And there’s one more thing.

I work on the .BIBLE Registry launch team for my day job. We’re able to share much more about how the launch process is going for the .BIBLE gTLD and our team will be blogging about how .BIBLE domain names will open up a digital space for all things Bible. We would be thrilled to have church leaders be a part of it! All that’s happening over at the .BIBLE blog (BibleTLD.org/blog) and you can pre-register the .BIBLE domain names you’re interested in there for free and win an .BIBLE Digital Charger.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLD

p.s. LifeChurch.tv had been 1 of 2 applicants for to be the .CHURCH registry operator, but there’s only room for one operator.  This is the only remaining content on LifeChurch.tv’s DotChurch.org website:

Thank you for your interest in .church domain names. Donuts Inc. will be the registry for .church, and you can find out more about them on their site.

And there’s a copy of the email announcement from LifeChurch.tv posted on a January 2014 blog post .church Domain Update at ChurchMag. And, there’s this commentary from Brad Zimmerman @cmdtvNew .Church Domains Are On The Way From An Unlikely Source (churchmediadesign.tv 1/30/14)

Feb 202014
 

The Internet expansion program continues growing, with 7+ new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) becoming available every week for the public to register new domain names. The 2 most popular so far are .GURU and .PHOTOGRAPHY, with 35,000+ and 18,000+ registered domains, respectively, at the time of this blog post. I’ve found it much more understandable to see these new gTLD domain names in action, rather than merely hearing about the potential usage of new domain extensions.  So I searched for .PHOTOGRAPHY websites already launched, and I noticed these 6 patterns in these new domain names:

headshots.photography

(1) Get a domain name = FullName + .photography ::

(2) Replace the generic domain name (xyzwhatever.com) with one that clearly is about photography ::

(3) Or just shorten up a similar domain name to indicate you’re open to new ideas ::

(4) Get a name for a specific type or genre of photography ::

(5) Go short and meaningful ::

(6) Go geographical ::

As the general public sees more websites with new gTLDs in use, and they’re going to show up in marketing and advertising, people will get accustomed and acclimated to website addresses being about the DOT instead of the WWW or a .COM. (Notice I didn’t use any WWW in the above URLs)

Remember when people used to use Alta Vista as their search engine? Netscape as their browser? AOL or Juno as their email? Change is constantly happening on the Internet.

There’s no permanence with website URLs either. Every domain name has an expiration date, and when the landscape will look very different by 2015, that’s next year, companies and organizations have to be agile. Just as websites need a redesign every once in a while, so does its branding and logo design need a refresh occasionally. And add to that, its domain names. IMHO. YMMV.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLD. Oh, there’s 1 more thing I want to say about this. There will also be 2 other new gTLDs, .PHOTO and .PHOTOS, for new domain names. (They’re available for public registration on 4/15/14 and 3/05/14, respectively.) I recall reading somewhere that photography is the most popular hobby. With these very similar domain extensions, serious branding will be needing to register all 3 of these domains (.PHOTOGRAPHY/.PHOTO/.PHOTOS) the way many currently register the trifecta of .COM/.NET/.ORG for domain names.

[disclosure: my interest in this topic is informally related to my work as a member of the .BIBLE Registry launch team] 

Feb 192014
 

The Internet namespace is expanding faster than ever, with an estimated 1000+ new generic top-level domains (gTLD) launching in the next 2 years. At the time of this writing, there are 21 brand new gTLDs (aka domain extensions) publicly available in English. Technically, there are also 200+ 2-letter ccTLDs (country-code top-level domains) plus the previously available 20+ gTLDs (that include .COM, .NET, .ORG), plus new gTLDs with non-English characters like شبكة .游戏 .онлайн .сайт – so, technically, there are already hundreds of domain suffixes, with hundreds more launching in the weeks and months ahead. Today on 2/19/2014, registration for new domain names with these 7 new domain suffixes were made available to the public:illustration by JESS3

  • .construction
  • .contractors
  • .directory
  • .kitchen
  • .land
  • .technology
  • .today

In this blog series, I’ve been surveying first-mover websites using the newly-available gTLDs. Out of the first 7 that were launched public on 2/5/14, there are some good websites up-and-running on .BIKE + .CLOTHING + .GURU, and currently, websites with 1 of the remaining gTLDs, .HOLDINGS .PLUMBING .SINGLES .VENTURES, are harder to find::

What can we deduce from these early indicators? It’s taking more than 2 weeks for websites to get built and launched. And it’s going to take more time  for these new domain extensions to catch on with the public.

All these new domain extensions have a lot at stake; these first domain extensions are just 28 of 307 gTLD registries being operated by Donuts, with an investment over $57 million. Also in the Donuts portfolio is… the .CHURCH gTLD.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLDAlso see list of .BIKE domain websites + .CLOTHING websites + .GURU websites

Feb 172014
 

The Internet namespace expansion is history in the making, with an estimated 1000+ new generic top-level domains (gTLD) launching in the next 2 years. At the time of this writing, there’s 14 new gTLDs (aka domain extensions) are publicly available and the most popular is the .GURU suffix, with over 30,000 .GURU domains registered to date. Domains in the .guru family that have already been registered by Apple and pointed to the company’s name servers include http://apple.guru http://iphone.guru http://ipad.guru http://mac.guru – if any company could reshape the Internet world, as it already has with all things digital, it’s Apple.

While 10k+ .GURU domains have been registered, there aren’t many that are live yet, and many (most?) were registered by people that make money buying and selling domain names. Here’s a list of websites with a .GURU domain name already running (that I could find)::

Generated by WebThumbnail.org Generated by WebThumbnail.org
Generated by WebThumbnail.org Generated by WebThumbnail.org

The name game: New web domain names hit the market explained this Internet expansion program well (Economist 2/08/14):

AFTER the dotcom boom of the 1990s, the world is about to experience a boom in dots. Over 1,000 new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) are set to join the 22 existing ones, such as .com and .org, and the 280 country-specific ones, such as .uk, that now grace the end of web addresses. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit organisation that manages the web’s address book, reckons this will boost competition and innovation. It will also increase the cost to businesses of protecting their brands. [emphasis added]

And, I would add, that it will make web addresses more meaningful and shorter, in the long-run, though it’ll stir up a little confusion in the short-term as people adjust to the changes in technology, but that’s how life is in the digital age, change is always coming, and sometimes disruptive, fast, and furious.

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLDAlso see this list of .BIKE domain sites and .CLOTHING websites

Namecheap.com - Cheap domain name registration, renewal and transfers - Free SSL Certificates - Web Hosting

Feb 152014
 

The Internet namespace expansion is history in the making, with an estimated 1000+ new generic top-level domains (gTLD) launching in the next 2 years. At the time of this writing, there’s 14 new gTLDs (aka domain extensions) available for registration by the general public at popular registrars like Namecheap, 101domain, Godaddy, etc.

What kind of a difference does a domain name make? See these new web addresses; here’s what I found re: websites using a .CLOTHING domain name ::

Generated by WebThumbnail.org calvinklein
Generated by WebThumbnail.org

This talkbusinessmagazine.co.uk article has words from a happy new gTLD domain owner:

Karl Brown, founder of Horse and Hoof, www.countrywear.clothing, said: ‘Our website address previously was www.horseandhoof.eu. Although a great name it wasn’t quite what we were looking for, and so as soon as I saw the new top level domains available I knew a .CLOTHING domain would be far more beneficial for us. I wanted something more appropriate, so that when customers searched for related terms our web address would come up immediately. That’s why I chose COUNTRYWEAR.CLOTHING and I was so pleased when we got it – I immediately redirected the domain! It supports our aim to simplify our customers online shopping experiences.”

What do you think? These new domain names are better than their predecessor, yes?

This post is part of a blog series tagged gTLD. Also see this list of .BIKE domain sites.

Namecheap.com - Cheap domain name registration, renewal and transfers - Free SSL Certificates - Web Hosting