In evaluating 101 websites, I had to pick qualities that were directly connected to website effectiveness, yet for time’s sake were easy to check. The simplest of these were the no-brainers, what I’m calling “Basic Content.” This is the stuff you’d expect to find in any tri-fold brochure, if your church still does that sort of thing.
It would have been nice if all 101 websites I had sampled would have been beautiful examples of working technology. Sadly, as I mentioned before the weak and sick URLs had to be culled out of the herd.
Of the 101 websites, 84 were working. The 17 that were excluded fell victim to:
Special thanks to Dr. Marty Smith, a Senior Research Analyst at ELCA Research and Evaluation. His help was invaluable in deciding on a sampling strategy and collecting the congregational demographic data, and I really appreciated his help all the way through this phase of the project.
As I discussed in the last article, I needed a good mix of small, medium, and mega-sized congregations, and I needed them across rural, suburban, and urban settings. Dr. Smith and I decided to go for a stratified sample. To do this, he filtered the 10,000+ ELCA congregations to give just the ones with websites, then sorted by congregational setting (rural, suburban, etc.) and then within those categories by average worship attendance. Then he took every 23rd record all the way down the list to give me 101 congregations.
One of the advantages of being part of a large congregation is that it’s easy to gather good statistics for this kind of research. The ELCA is a large, nationwide denomination with over 10,000 congregations, and with that kind of size comes a great deal of complexity. I identified the two biggest factors as being congregation size and community setting.
For years, I’ve been telling people that good church website design will directly translate into more visitors coming in the door. Anecdotal evidence from my work with several different congregations as their webmaster has borne this out. After taking over decrepit old designs and replacing them with dynamic, well-designed sites, my pastors reported to me that visitors were mentioning the website as one of the big reasons they decided to visit.
But could I prove it?
I’m proud to announce my first WordPress plugin, “jQuery Table of Contents,” which inserts the lovely little table of contents you see on many of the pages of my website. It uses jQuery to inspect the content of your post or page and generate table of contents links based on the header tags. It’s easy, SEO friendly, and highly customizable.
Recently I’ve become interested in my family history, particularly as it relates to Lutheran pastors in the family.
My great-great grandfather was Friederich Wilhelm Gotthilf Matuschka. He was born on July 9, 1838 in Berlin, the son of Gotthilf Matthes Matuschka, a Wendish tailor. They had little money, and Wilhelm left home when he was sixteen years old.
A Setting of Morning Prayer for the season of Easter
In the Spring semester of 2009, I was invited by Thomas Schattauer, Dean of Loehe Chapel at Wartburg Theological Seminary, to work on a setting of matins (i.e. morning prayer) for the season of Easter. The result is Morning Light.
Ideaworks edits most of its Perl using Emacs and stores that code in a Subversion repository. As the resident Emacs guru, I was recently asked by a coworker to write up some tips on using the Emacs psvn mode for doing integrated work on Subversion repositories and Trac.
I just got back from a 18 day trip to Israel and Palestine, and my classmate Dave’s SD card for his digital camera gave out right at the end of the trip. He gave me the card to try to recover the pictures, and I was pretty successful. Here’s what I did.
I needed to grab a pristine copy of the SD card’s data without hardware errors getting in the way. So I used
dd to take a snapshot of the card:
sudo dd if=/dev/mmcblk0 of=sdcard.img bs=512b skip=1 conv=noerror
/dev/mmcblk0 should be replaced with the location of your SD card reader. The magic sauce is
conv=noerror, which prevented me from getting an error with Dave’s card about 40% into a 1G card.
First I tried
recoverjpeg, available from your friendly local ubuntu repository. Run this program like so:
recoverjpeg -v sdcard.img
Simple and straightforward. This program recovered 108 pictures, all with EXIF data intact (except for no date/timestamps – oh well).
I also tried
photorec, which is part of the
testdisk package in Ubuntu. Photorec is more complicated, but it recovers more kinds of data too. Fortunately, it’s menu driven and pretty self explanatory. Invoke that program with:
Not only did this program recover most of the pictures (106), but it also grabbed all sorts of interesting metadata in the form of txt and xml files. It also did a good job with the EXIF data, except for the date/timestamps.
Altogether, I got slightly better results with recoverjpeg, and it was easier to use. Your Mileage May Vary. I was surprised at how easy it was to recover these images!
Special thanks to Cédric Blancher, whose article “Digital Photos Recovery” was very useful as I prepared this article.