PHNO SCIENCE & INFOTECH NEWS
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports)

IN PARAGUAY VIDEO GAME: POPE FRANCIS TACKLES OBSTACLE COURSE


Photo courtesy of Miguel Angel Gůmez' YouTube video When he rides in the real thing, the pope just smiles and waves. In this video game, the holy father dodges killer potholes and other obstacles as he drives the popemobile.
ďPapa RoadĒ ó Papa means pope in Spanish ó is the brainchild of young Paraguayans who got the idea as their capital city prepares to host the pontiff starting Friday as part of a tour of South America. Back in June, crews started fixing up streets that were along the route the popeís transparent, bulletproof buggy will follow, said Jose Manuel Gonzalez, producer of the video game. But they ignored others that are still an absolute mess, he added. ďPotholes that are like lunar craters, people offering to wash windshields, roving vendors and motorcycles that appear out of nowhere are just some of the obstacles you have to confront,Ē Gonzalez said. The game works with cartoon figures and is free on the Internet. READ MORE...

ALSO FLASHBACK REPORT: What a Techie Pope Weíve Got


We share with you a graffiti found in a Roman street near the #Vatican / pic.twitter.com/bncQHGEUd3 via @CCCB_CECC - Pope's rockin Twitter today 2:49 PM - 28 Jan 2014 Retweets favorites 
I realize Pope Francis is 77, and a Catholic  Priest/Bishop/Cardinal, not necessarily things that make us think Techie (although there are many that are), but in the last couple of weeks Iíve been super impressed how Pope Francis has ended up in many of my social feeds... and I realize itís not really him, but his staff posting, but still, itís generally positive and totally shows an embracing of technology. Some of this has been kinda silly stuff as you can see in this Tweet: This became even more evident a couple of weeks ago when I ran across this on Google+ :  READ MORE...

ALSO: How Would Jesus Use Social Media?


Jesus' timeline in Facebook --as seen by chutchandtechnology/com The question of how Jesus would use social media is not a new one. Iíve read more than a couple of posts referencing this topic, but I still feel like itís worth giving my two cents on the matter. This might be because I read a couple of posts last week that brought this to my attention once again. One post I read questioned whether or not un-friending was un-Christian . Itís an interesting proposition. And while I sort of understand why people might un-friend someone, it doesnít really make a lot of sense to me. Itís true I do have more Facebook friends that are really mainly acquaintances or people Iíve met once, then I have actual friends, but this doesnít really bother me much. I know many people complain that their news feed is too full with updates from people they donít really have a relationship with, but if you use Facebookís lists feature then you can prioritize who you see updates from and who you donít. There are also different methods you can use to prioritize how often posts from people show up in your news feed. All that said, the question remains unanswered, just avoided. READ MORE...

ALSO: Facebook for Churches, A Rethink


This post has been in the back of my mind for a while now. I keep reading more and more about how Facebook is reducing the number of people that see your page posts, unless your paying of course. If youíre paying, your church Facebook Page posts can reach all kinds of people, and you can even specify the demographics of the people youíd like to reach. This can be really cool, and in the grand scheme of things itís not a lot of money weíre talking about. The principal however is isnít something I like. And Iím not the only one. I was reading a post on Christian Media Magazine about The Problem With Facebook, that really hit on a lot of my points, but also included this great video that goes more in depth about whatís going on and some of the problems with Facebook for Churches.
The Problem with Facebook for Churches Many churches have started using Facebook as a main communications vehicle for reaching people in the congregation. This makes sense, with over 14 million Canadians checking into Facebook every day, thatís like half the population. READ MORE...

ALSO: Why You Shouldnít Have A Church Internet Policy


Church Internet Policy image (pen on paper)
I was reading an article recently about how a New Study Finds High Clergy Internet Use, [but that] Guidelines [are] Lacking. I wasnít really surprised by this fact. Most demographics are now showing high internet use, so it makes sense that clergy are as well. This is especially true when you remember that clergy deal a lot with congregants, who are you and me, so therefore also online.
The second part of the title of the article that references a lack of guidelines also doesnít really surprise me. The rate of adoption has been pretty quick for online activities like social media and churches want to be there, and want their clergy to be there as well. This often means that people start blogging and using Facebook and Pinterest before their congregation or denomination has time to decide it should have a policy regarding these things never mind having the time to write and adopt the policies. As I was reading through the article and seeing some of the references to things that are lacking policies it struck me that most of these actions are already likely governed by other policies that churches have in place. Still others are likely governed by the current moral code that may not currently be in policy for offline or online behaviour. As an example, the study found that ďless than 10% of congregations had a policy around online interactions between clergy and staff with congregantsĒ. READ MORE...

ALSO a welcome news for FB users: Facebook makes it easier to tweak what you see in your feed


This product image provided by Facebook shows the News Feed Preferences setting within the Facebook app for iPhone.Facebook via AP
NEW YORK ó Facebook wants you to see more of what you want to see. New tools will help you weed through the clutter of boring, unwanted information, often from long-forgotten acquaintances, and surface the gems from close friends and interesting pages. You'll now be able to choose the friends and pages you want to see on your news feed first each time you log on. To do this, go to the friend's profile. Click on the box that says "following" and select "see first." Facebook's computer software uses a wide range of information you provide to decide what to show. This includes what friends you interact with and how often, or whether you tend to like photos, videos or text updates more. READ MORE...

ALSO and finally: Deepening dependency on technology raises risk of breakdowns


"The problem is humans can't keep up with all the technology they have created," said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner, an information technology research firm. "It's becoming unmanageable by the human brain. Our best hope may be that computers eventually will become smart enough to maintain themselves."  READ REPORT FROM BEGINNING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Pope tackles obstacle course in Paraguay video game


Photo courtesy of Miguel Angel Gůmez' YouTube video

CYBERSPACE, JULY 13, 2015  (MANILA BULLETIN) by AFP - When he rides in the real thing, the pope just smiles and waves. In this video game, the holy father dodges killer potholes and other obstacles as he drives the popemobile.

ďPapa RoadĒ ó Papa means pope in Spanish ó is the brainchild of young Paraguayans who got the idea as their capital city prepares to host the pontiff starting Friday as part of a tour of South America.

Back in June, crews started fixing up streets that were along the route the popeís transparent, bulletproof buggy will follow, said Jose Manuel Gonzalez, producer of the video game.

But they ignored others that are still an absolute mess, he added.

ďPotholes that are like lunar craters, people offering to wash windshields, roving vendors and motorcycles that appear out of nowhere are just some of the obstacles you have to confront,Ē Gonzalez said.

The game works with cartoon figures and is free on the Internet.

READ MORE...

Itís all just a way to poke fun at the government as the city prepares to host the pope.

In the game, the pope drives past city landmarks like the government palace, the Pantheon of Heroes and the cathedral, just as he will in person starting Friday.

When the pontiff hits something, the face of Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes appears on the right of the screen, squealing and holding out a sign that says, ďkeep going.Ē

The pope will arrive in Paraguay after visits to Ecuador and Bolivia. He leaves Asuncion Sunday to return home to the Vatican.


CHURCHANDTECHNOLOGY.CA

What a Techie Pope Weíve Got by ALLAN BUCKINGHAM


We share with you a graffiti found in a Roman street near the #Vatican / pic.twitter.com/bncQHGEUd3 via @CCCB_CECC - Pope's rockin Twitter today 2:49 PM - 28 Jan 2014 Retweets favorites

I realize Pope Francis is 77, and a Catholic Priest/Bishop/Cardinal, not necessarily things that make us think Techie (although there are many that are), but in the last couple of weeks Iíve been super impressed how Pope Francis has ended up in many of my social feeds... and I realize itís not really him, but his staff posting, but still, itís generally positive and totally shows an embracing of technology.

Some of this has been kinda silly stuff as you can see in this Tweet:

This became even more evident a couple of weeks ago when I ran across this on Google+ :

READ MORE...

There are lots of good quotes in the Popes 2014 message for World Communications Day and Iíll highlight some of my favourites in a minute, but first I need to mention that I love the overall tone of the message.

It doesnít just blindly praise technology or modern communications, nor does it blindly condemn it.

It carefully examines how things have changed recently due to technological advances, highlights some of the deficiencies, and goes into ways we can still do better. Hereís a great example:

Iím fond of:

The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgment, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression. The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests. Ö We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen. We need also to be patient if we want to understand those who are different from us.

I can get on board with this. Hereís another couple quotes

Personal engagement is the basis of the trustworthiness of a communicator. Christian witness, thanks to the internet, can thereby reach the peripheries of human existence. Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world. The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ.

The whole thing is worth a read, it shouldnít take that long, and I think youíll end up thinking more about communication, which Iíd say is a good thing.

You may also end up thinking a bit differently about the Pope, which may also be a good thing.


FROM CHURCHANDTECHNOLOGY.COM

How Would Jesus Use Social Media? by ALLAN BUCKINGHAM


Jesus on Twitter as seen by Church And Technology.ca

The question of how Jesus would use social media is not a new one. Iíve read more than a couple of posts referencing this topic, but I still feel like itís worth giving my two cents on the matter. This might be because I read a couple of posts last week that brought this to my attention once again.

One post I read questioned whether or not un-friending was un-Christian . Itís an interesting proposition. And while I sort of understand why people might un-friend someone, it doesnít really make a lot of sense to me.

Itís true I do have more Facebook friends that are really mainly acquaintances or people Iíve met once, then I have actual friends, but this doesnít really bother me much. I know many people complain that their news feed is too full with updates from people they donít really have a relationship with, but if you use Facebookís lists feature then you can prioritize who you see updates from and who you donít.

There are also different methods you can use to prioritize how often posts from people show up in your news feed.

All that said, the question remains unanswered, just avoided.

READ MORE...

Reading the comments to the un-friending post got me thinking about whether using lists, or choosing not to have updates from people showing up in your news feed etc. is un-Christian, and thus unlike how Jesus would use social media.

After reflecting on it for a while, Iíve decided that using various sorts of lists is no different than calling the people you care about most. I see it like only calling your friends to catch up and not calling acquaintances as well.

Youíre still open to hearing from others you just arenít going out of your way all the time to do so. Un-friending however I see like intentionally avoiding people, something Jesus would definitely not do.


Jesus' timeline in Facebook --as seen by chutchandtechnology.ca

Which brings me back to my original question, how would Jesus use social media? I say how and not would because Jesus was pretty apt at using the media of his time to get his message across.

This included speaking in the temples where some people hung out and speaking in the streets where others did. So while Iím sure Jesus would use social media, Iím less confident with the how.

One of Jesusí main goals as I see it was to give hope and justice to the outcasts, and the people on the edge of society. In my view, today, at least in Canada, many of those on the edges of society are not those using social media.

So what does that mean for us? How does that answer my original question? Of course thereís no way to know for sure how Jesus would use social media, but here are a couple of my thoughts.

Iím pretty sure Jesus would have used social media to raise the profile of the marginalized somehow. I also think he would have tried to increase access to technology so that there are fewer people marginalized by technology.

I also think Jesus would have accepted every friend request, even from that annoying kid from high school, and been happy to do so.

I also donít think Jesus would have been into un-friending. He was all about loving you neighbour no matter who that is, or how often they play Farmville. I also donít think heíd be huge on Facebook lists that let you pay less attention to those you donít like as much.

It seems to me he would also dislike the competition that can go on for the most friends/followers and the desire for klout, that is all about influence and power.

Thatís a few of my thoughts anyway, but what do I know.

Do you agree that Jesus would use social media? If not, how come? If yes, how do you think heíd use it?


ALSO

Facebook for Churches, A Rethink by ALLAN BUCKINGHAM


FACEBOOK BUYS CATHOLICISM: The Pope said, ďWhile it may come as a shock to many that the Catholic Church is still operating in many civilised western societies, we are pleased to align ourselves with Facebook and extend our influence through social media.Ē ďAnd if you ignore all the sodomy, San Francisco has many benefits over Rome,Ē he added. Facebook has announced it is to spend $780bn (£467bn) acquiring the Catholic Church in a surprise move that will see the Papal office relocated to California. SOURCE CLICK HERE   
 
This post has been in the back of my mind for a while now. I keep reading more and more about how Facebook is reducing the number of people that see your page posts, unless your paying of course.

If youíre paying, your church Facebook Page posts can reach all kinds of people, and you can even specify the demographics of the people youíd like to reach.

This can be really cool, and in the grand scheme of things itís not a lot of money weíre talking about. The principal however is isnít something I like. And Iím not the only one.

I was reading a post on Christian Media Magazine about The Problem With Facebook, that really hit on a lot of my points, but also included this great video that goes more in depth about whatís going on and some of the problems with Facebook for Churches.

The Problem with Facebook for Churches

Many churches have started using Facebook as a main communications vehicle for reaching people in the congregation. This makes sense, with over 14 million Canadians checking into Facebook every day, thatís like half the population.

READ MORE...

Facebook is where people are. The problem is that youíre lucky if you reach 5% of them. Facebook wants to make money, which I understand, and they want to reward good content, which I also understand, but for churches, especially small ones, thereís no money to give and itís hard to make the kind of quality content Facebook requires these days.

Plus, unlike when people like a brand, theyíre generally liking a church Facebook page because they want to stay up to date with whatís going on. The question then becomes, how to do we fix this?

Should Churches Stop Using Facebook?

Part of my feels that Facebook isnít worth the effort for churches any more, especially smaller ones, but itís still where youíre going to find half of Canadians.

Daily Facebook usage in Canada is higher than both the global and U.S. averages Ė The Financial Post This to me says churches need to continue to be on Facebook.

Itís also important to have a presence there so that people looking for you find you there and know youíre working in this century. I would say though, it might not be worth putting lots of effort into it.

For sure you shouldnít COUNT on people getting the message if you post it to your church Facebook Page.

Now, I donít know that this is the best answer. Part of me feels that this isnít the right answer, but I also know that spending lots of time, effort, and money trying to get your Facebook reach up may not be the best option for churches either.

So what do we do? Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, some other social network I havenít heard of yet?

Oddly perhaps, if your main goal is to reach current people involved in your ministry the best way to reach people is still good old fashioned email.

I know, some of you are thinking ďemail, really, thatís so not coolĒ.

Cool or not, itís effective. If it wasnít, why would Twitter, Facebook, and the other social networks send you emails when there are new posts you might be interested in?

If however youíre looking to get the word out to your local community. Take a look at where the people youíre trying to reach spend their time online.

Maybe itís Facebook, in which case itís time to put together a good strategy, and start thinking about paying. If itís somewhere else though, put your focus there and spend less time on Facebook.

Donít Give Up

I know more complication is not what youíre after, but thereís no point wasting time on things that arenít going to work as well as you hope either.

And donít give up hope for Facebook. The world of social media is changing all the time, maybe Facebook will realize the damage they are doing churches and non-profits and treat them differently then companies. Iím not expecting it, but we can always hope.

What do you think, should churches stop focusing on Facebook?

CHECK THIS WEBSITE: http://www.goingdigitalforgod.com/


RELATED

Why You Shouldnít Have A Church Internet Policy by ALLAN BUCKINGHAM


Church Internet Policy image (pen on paper)

I was reading an article recently about how a New Study Finds High Clergy Internet Use, [but that] Guidelines [are] Lacking.

I wasnít really surprised by this fact. Most demographics are now showing high internet use, so it makes sense that clergy are as well. This is especially true when you remember that clergy deal a lot with congregants, who are you and me, so therefore also online.

The second part of the title of the article that references a lack of guidelines also doesnít really surprise me. The rate of adoption has been pretty quick for online activities like social media and churches want to be there, and want their clergy to be there as well.

This often means that people start blogging and using Facebook and Pinterest before their congregation or denomination has time to decide it should have a policy regarding these things never mind having the time to write and adopt the policies.

As I was reading through the article and seeing some of the references to things that are lacking policies it struck me that most of these actions are already likely governed by other policies that churches have in place. Still others are likely governed by the current moral code that may not currently be in policy for offline or online behaviour.

As an example, the study found that ďless than 10% of congregations had a policy around online interactions between clergy and staff with congregantsĒ.

READ MORE...

Iím curious how many congregations have a policy around offline interactions between clergy and staff with congregants. If they do, would this policy not apply to online behaviour as well?

Iím guessing this kind of policy probably doesnít say it applies everywhere but Twitter, so, likely itís relevant to online behaviour as well. So then, why the need for a new church internet policy or new online guidelines?

In case youíre starting to think that I just donít like policies, let me assure you that quite the opposite is the case. I have and do sit on many organizational boards. This includes a 5 year stint on the national Executive Committee for my denomination. I also read policy and governance books for fun. I donít dislike policies. What I dislike is excessive use of policies.

I feel that the excessive use of policies is becoming more and more common, and I link it to a lack of trust amongst each other.

I find this lack of trust is gradually becoming stronger, and is entering more and more parts of our lives. This is a bigger issue then Iím going to tackle here, but what I will say is that I think we should trust each other more and not create policies that tell us what we already know we should or shouldnít do, especially when we already have a similar policy on the books.

We should be treating our online lives just like our offline lives; theyíre becoming less and less separate every day after all.


Allan Buckingham has been assisting churches with their technology needs and developing stratagies for churches and church organizations, in the area of Social Media. Allan has a background audio communications, working as a media producer, program director and producer for radio stations across Canada. As a business owner, consultant and coach, Allan has worked very hard to help churches learn the art of Social Media to become effective with this tool and associated tools. He has devoted his time and talents to teaching churches how to effectively use technology tools to reach their unique goals. Allan is passionate about his work and the technology. SOURCE CHRISTIAN MEDIA MAGAZINE ONLINE


PHILSTAR TECHNOLOGY GOOD NEWS

[PHNO THINKS THIS IS GOOD NEWS FROM THE FACEBOOK  PEOPLE]

Facebook makes it easier to tweak what you see in your feed By Barbara Ortutay (Associated Press) | Updated July 10, 2015 - 2:04am 0 0 googleplus0 0


This product image provided by Facebook shows the News Feed Preferences setting within the Facebook app for iPhone.Facebook via AP

NEW YORK ó Facebook wants you to see more of what you want to see.

New tools will help you weed through the clutter of boring, unwanted information, often from long-forgotten acquaintances, and surface the gems from close friends and interesting pages.

You'll now be able to choose the friends and pages you want to see on your news feed first each time you log on.

To do this, go to the friend's profile. Click on the box that says "following" and select "see first."

Facebook's computer software uses a wide range of information you provide to decide what to show. This includes what friends you interact with and how often, or whether you tend to like photos, videos or text updates more.

READ MORE...

In announcing the new tools Thursday, Facebook acknowledged that its automated system isn't perfect, so it wants to give users a way to set their own preferences.

In addition to selecting who or what page you will see first, you'll still to be able to "unfollow" friends so you won't see them at all. This option has been available before to people who don't want to take drastic step of unfriending someone but would rather not read about their lives.

For the rest, though, Facebook will continue to use its software to choose what to show you. So unless you want to see someone's posts all the time or not at all, you're stuck with what you've got.


Deepening dependency on technology raises risk of breakdowns By Michael Liedtke and Barbara Ortutay (Associated Press) | Updated July 9, 2015 - 8:59pm 0 12 googleplus0 0

SAN FRANCISCO ó When technology breaks down now, people's lives go haywire, too.

Wednesday's confounding confluence of computer outages in the United States ó at United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange and The Wall Street Journal ó delivered a jolting reminder about our deepening dependence on interconnected networks to get through each day.

For the most part, technology has worked smoothly while hatching innovations and conveniences that have made our lives easier and our jobs more productive.

Computers, though, could bring more frequent headaches as they link together with billions of other electronic devices and household appliancesó a phenomenon that has become known as the "Internet of things."

This technological daisy chain will increase the complexity of the systems and raise the risks of massive breakdowns, either through an inadvertent glitch or a malicious attack.

"The problem is humans can't keep up with all the technology they have created," said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner, an information technology research firm.

"It's becoming unmanageable by the human brain. Our best hope may be that computers eventually will become smart enough to maintain themselves."

Technology already is controlling critical systems such as airline routes, electricity grids, financial markets, military weapons, commuter trains, street traffic lights and our lines of communications.

Now, computers are taking other aspects of our lives as we depend on smartphones to wake us up in the morning before an app turns on the coffee pot in the kitchen for a caffeine fix that can be enjoyed in a the comfort of a home kept at an ideal temperature by an Internet-connected thermostat designed to learn the occupant's preferences.

Within the next few years, we may even be unlocking our doors with high-tech watches after being chauffeured home in robotic cars.

Technology's relentless march demands better security measures to prevent hackers from breaking into system and more rigid programming standards to reduce the chances of crippling outages, said Lillian Ablon, a technology researcher for the Rand Corp, a policy think tank.

"Instead of just letting the technology rush ahead of us and then trying to catch up in terms of privacy and security, we should be baking those things into the systems from the start," she said. "We need to be a little smarter on how we are coding things."

The sequence of Wednesday's outages appears to have been a fluke. Sabotage isn't suspected, FBI Director James Comey said during an appearance before Congress.

But a domino effect may have contributed to The Wall Street Journal's outage. Comey believes the newspaper's website buckled after the New York Stock Exchange's problems caused alarmed investors looking for information to swamp the Journal's website.

The length of Wednesday's outages also is disconcerting, Gartner's Litan said.

It took the New York Stock Exchange more than three-and-half hours to resume trading, slowing Wall Street's usually furious pace. A "router issue" at United Airlines grounded its plane's for nearly two hours, leading to 800 flight delays and 60 cancellations.

"Everyone needs to assume technology is going to go down sometimes, but you should be resilient enough to quickly recover from the outage within a half hour, if not a few minutes," Litan said.

Wednesday's breakdowns were minor inconveniences compared to what might happen if better security measures aren't imposed to keep out intruders bent on wreaking havoc, said Jeff Williams, chief technology officer for Contrast Security, a security technology company.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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