Category: Creative


My favourite photos of 2009

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Over the past year I’ve been busily snapping away on my stimulus-package-supported Canon EOS 450 Enthusiast Kit.

I’ve compiled a collection of my favourite photos for you to enjoy.

Since Steve White inspired me to shoot RAW in October, I’ve been having a ball in the post-processing of the images.

Hopefully 2010 will bring more opportunities to release my shutter!

To view the album, click on the ‘Photos’ tab, or go to http://jodiemcneill.com/photos/?shashin_album_key=1 , or if you’re a FaceBook friend you can view it on my Photos page.

Big changes at jodiemcneill.com

Over the holidays I’ve been busily nerding away on a major overhaul of my website.

It’s been nearly three years since I updated my installation of WordPress from 2.0.5 to the latest 2.9 release, and it’s only months away from the ten-year anniversary of jodiemcneill.com.

However, with this major update to the core ‘engine’ of my website, it was necessary for me to change the appearance of the website, given the fact that the template I previously used was not compatible with some of the features of the latest version of WordPress.

So, one thing led to another, and the result is that many new features have been added, plus some nice improvements in appearance and functionality.

For those who get excited about these kinds of things, here are some of the changes:

  • Added an RSS feed of my weekly ‘Modern Ministry’ blog at sydneyanglicans.net in the sidebar
  • Added a funky Flash word cloud of my popular categories
  • Installed a new Twitter widget that displays my latest Tweets
  • Re-organised my categories into ten top-level categories
  • Removed the event calendar
  • Added a large option of icons to enable the easy sharing of my posts with social networking sites
  • Updated my list of links, including an ‘Affiliations’ list
  • Created a Picasa account, and have provided access to my albums from the ‘Photos’ page (and a fancy ‘Latest Photos’ sidebar widget)
  • Enabled automatic tweeting of new posts

If you’re reading this on a FaceBook note or by an RSS feed, then drop by jodiemcneill.com and check it out.

What do you think of the changes? Any other suggestions for improvements? Let me know in the comments.

It is remarkable to reflect on the way in which God chose to create his universe. Everywhere we turn there is evidence of his lavish love and creativity; the boldness of a sunset… the beauty of a tulip… the brightness of the sun.

One particular area in which we see his creativity is in music. Music has the power to move people in a way that words fail to achieve. It can lift us to new heights, and take us on a journey to places unexpected.

At the 2004 TWIST Music Conference, Mike Raiter spoke of the power of the song. In referring to the wonderful Colin Buchanan concert the night before, he said that because of his gift of music, Colin could have taken our crowd anywhere. “But”, he observed, “aren’t we thankful that he took us to God!”

We know the power of music. We use it every week to proclaim God’s praises. Yet, we want to make sure we use this powerful tool to achieve the best possible outcomes.

That’s why it’s important our musicians are well trained. That’s why the TWIST Music Conference is such an important event for our musicians.

Registrations close Monday night, and the conference begins the Saturday after. Don’t miss out on stimulating teaching from Mike Raiter, terrific congregational music from some of Australia’s most gifted musos, and invaluable hands-on training in many great workshops.

Full details at www.twist.org.au. Don’t miss out!

When does style overtake substance? This is one of the perennial issues in youth ministry–especially in music. Read my latest column at sydneyanglicans.net

Here’s an excerpt:

Now I recognise that speaking this way does little to give me youth ministry street-cred (or whatever it’s called these days). I am at great risk of being labelled out-of-touch, over-the-hill, geriatric, or whatever term of endearment the younger folk might care to give me. But I wonder whether or not there are certain tempos and vocal styles that are incompatible with congregational singing, even for a group of people who are regular listeners of heavy metal?

Today it is reported that EMI has decided to drop the DRM (digital rights management) of songs on iTunes. In other words, songs by EMI will soon be downloadable from the Apple iTunes Store without any copy protection.

It is true that this will be popular for consumers. I, for one, hate being locked into one format for my downloadable songs. I worry that by buying a U2 song from iTunes that I’ll never be able to play my full collection of music on Windows Media Player, should I decide to churn players. I also worry that the resolution is too low on the downloadable songs, and would instead prefer a CD. This new move from EMI solves both problems, as the new downloads will be at double the current quality.

However, is the move to remove protection based on an optimistic view of society? Does it assume that people are generally good? Does it presume that people will not illegally copy music and give it to others? The problem for the record companies is that CDs already are unprotected, and this practice already goes on everywhere in brazen disobedience to the law. So, my guess is that this move recognises that people will continue to copy music no matter what ‘protection’ they provide. So, rather than try and restrict people from breaking the law, they will need to try a different approach.

Some copying of music is legitimate, for example, for personal backups of the media. Removing this restriction will mean the honest people will gain freedoms. Yet, it will also mean that the already rife practice of illegally distributing material will continue, since the bad guys will always work out a way to copy things.

I think it’s a very clever move from Steve Jobs from Apple, and also from EMI. It rewards honest customers, provides an incentive to buy from iTunes (the higher resolution) and gives up trying to restrict the lawbreakers. It is a mixture of a retrieval ethic (seeking the most loving outcome within the environment of an evil world) and clever marketing.

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