12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory

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If there is one thing that churches (that aren’t mega churches – and sometimes even the megas…) frequently fail at doing, is creating layers of communication that actually communicate.

The one thing you communicate is whether or not you know what you are doing and most churches scream, “We’re oblivious!”

Interested in improving?  Check out 50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphics Design Theory.

The lessons are fairly simple and easy to browse.

Can Social Networks be Missional?

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I was asked the other day if I thought a Social Network, specifically Facebook, could be Missional.  This is my response:

Not really. Core Missional values are relational and incarnational. You begin relationships living incarnationally in order to reach those who never previously had a connection to the Kingdom.

That doesn’t happen on Facebook.

To the extent that Facebook can help you foster and nurture those relationships you already have, then it enhances the relational aspect of your life on mission.

Am I wrong?  What do you think?

If you disagree, how do you think you can live missionally within Social Networks?


Creating a Color through Black and White Picture

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christmas-parade-08-25I featured some pictures last week during Phriday Foto that had everything Black and White except the only important person in the picture, my daughter.  Turns out this is pretty easy and can be done with a free program, so I thought you might be interested in learning how to do it.

First, you need GimpGimp is a FREE graphics program like Photoshop, which is expensive.  Gimp is not quite Photoshop, but for free, it rocks.  Also, it works on either Mac or Windows.  I first learned about it from Frank Turk who has a Gimp University blog with loads of tutorials.

Simple directions are first, followed by detailed directions and screenshots.

Simple Directions

  1. Create a duplicate layer:  Layer->Duplicate Layer
  2. Desaturate the top layer:  Color->Desaturate (pop up window->desaturate)
  3. Erase the top layer where you want color to shine through:  Tool->Eraser
  4. Save As your picture in the format of your choice.

Detailed Directions

I’m going to post pictures of the progress as we go through.  Click on the pictures you see in the article for a full sized picture.

For this process, I picked a Christmas Parade picture in which a very colorful lady presented a profile, but she blended somewhat with the other spectators in the original picture.

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For well done graphic work, everything is done in layers, so get used to adding multiple layers to an image.  To create a duplicate layer, you need to select the layers menu and then duplicate layer from that menu.

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This is going to give you two layers in the layer menu toolbar.

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Next, you want to take all the color out of the top layer, which is called desaturatization.  The easiest way to do that is to drop down the color menu and choose “desaturate.”

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You’ll get a pop up with several options.  Just click the big desaturate button.

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This will give you a Black and White layer over the color layer.

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Then select the eraser tool from the tool tray, select the brush size you want and erase where you want the color to bleed through.  (The more precise way to do this is to create a mask that will create a selection around the place you want to erase, but this is the quick, easy and dirty way to do it.)

(Click for Larger Pic)

When you are done, from the file menu, click “Save As” and save the image.  I created this by naming it “color through BW.jpg” and it automatically took me through the process of exporting it as a jpeg image.

(Click for Larger Pic)

Mac in Black|Phriday foto 07-04-08

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Sorry, no patriotic pictures of flags, kids or picnics.  Not even fireworks.

Some of you have noted that I was having trouble with my laptop over the last couple of weeks.  Turns out, the motherboard fried.  I took it in to a local Nerd Herd to confirm the suspicions and found out that, as expected, all was without hope.

I had backed up my information on an external hard drive I had purchased for our home, so there was no loss of data.  Just the grind of having to restore everything from a backup.

With the added pain of a whole new system.  :)

Yep.  I’ve done it.  I went over to the “dark side.”

Glowing AppleYours truly is now sporting a brand new Macbook Black.  No, not the Pro Series laptops, but I’m happy with the one I have.  I know some are getting those high end laptops, but I have no idea how they have the money for it.  Here’s a picture of the glowing white Apple on the back in the darkness of my home office as I take a break from working on my sermon.

I haven’t completely grasped the organizational structure, but they tell me it makes more sense when you do “get it.”  I pray I “get it” soon.

I will say, though, that it is fast.  Much faster than my old XP machine and light years ahead of my wife’s Vista machine.  Yikes.  That looks like a complete waste of money now.  She waits and waits for it to do ANYTHING, but this Macbook just flies through whatever you tell it to do.

Also, shutting down and booting up is AWESOME.  It’s almost NO TIME!

I still have to convert my iPod over to mac sync now.  I have no idea how well that will go, but I hope it goes as easily and quickly as importing all of my music from the external hard drive into iTunes.  Drag, drop and wait 20 mins to convert tons of audio, video and everything else.  Done.

Oh.  And it is light.  It’s not the “Macbook Air,” but it is probably half the weight of my former laptop.

Finally, thanks to the advice of David Phillips, we got the extended warranty, which takes the 1 yr hardware and 90 phone support to 3 years each.  David said that you should always do this with a laptop, because the manufacturers don’t allow you to simply buy and replace broken parts.  If you break something, particularly something important, you have to send it in.  Pretty soon, it is cheaper to simply buy a new computer.

Of course, that is how we got to where we are now, so we learned our lesson.

I’ve set up Firefox already and imported all my bookmarks with the Foxmarks Add-On.  It syncs your bookmarks, personal structure and all, to the net and allows you to log on and bring them to another computer using Firefox.

Final thing:  The whole “it just works” thing that mac users always throw around to pc users when their stuff is grinding and glitching…  they don’t seem to be lying.

There you have it, boys and girls.  Another one goes over…

As for the foto, I know it’s not much, but it is my first effort with the mac and using iPhoto with my Canon DSLR.  I like the program.  It looks promising.  I’ll reserve judgement to see if it is as good as Adobe Lightroom, which is what I have been using.

You can check out my pre-Mac pics at the ol’ photoblog.

Segway inventor Kamen with new invention for wounded veterans

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Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway, has a new invention that is amazing. He developed it at the request of the US Government in order to help wounded Iraq Veterans who are coming home without arms. It is a prosthetic arm that has highly sensitive tactile ability.

Follow the link, watch the video. It is amazing.

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