Inexpensive Live Streaming For Your Church

Note: This article is from early 2012 and most of the information is now outdated. For an up-to-date look at this issue checkout the updated article I wrote for

Last winter (2010-2011), from January through March, our church attendance was down nearly 30%. Between a few vacations and an intense RSV and Flu season the congregation was knocked down pretty hard. Knocked down and out (of the service), but not completely out of participation thanks to our live stream.

We’ve been livestreaming video of our service since we started 2.5 years ago. When we planted, I couldn’t find any helpful information about livestreaming that wasn’t aimed at large churches with much larger budgets than we were working with. Looking around recently for some equipment I still couldn’t find a good reference. So, here’s a bit of a history of what we’ve done at Grace Church. Hopefully it can be of help!

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How To Get Free Topo Maps

I really like a good map. A GPS + Laptop is great, but nothing works like a piece of paper when the batteries go dead or your laptop falls into the lake. Unfortunately, finding high quality topo maps for free is a chore.

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How My Wallet Destroyed 4 Hard Drives

(And how yours could too)

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Geodesic Distance Function in PHP

I was working on some code to process some GPS track logs and I wanted to be able to accurately calculate the distance between 2 points in the log. I did some searches, but there were no obvious solutions written in PHP. However, I did run across Chris Veness’ version in javascript. I worked through his function and mashed it up as PHP. The result seems to work, but for me with slightly less accuracy than the javascript version. At this point the problems seems to be the limit on the number of significant digits that PHP is using vs. JavaScript. If anyone finds any other problems, definitely let me know.

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Build Yourself An iPod Shuffle Charger


The iPod Suffle is a really cool piece of hardware. One of the drawbacks, however, is that it has an internal battery that is recharged via USB power when it is plugged into your computer. This is all good and well except that it requires a good 4 hours to charge the Shuffle from completely dead to completely full. If you’re on the road this can be rather impractical. Thus, there was a need for a batterypack/charger device that can extend the usefulness of the Shuffle. Apple sells such a device but it is rather expensive for what it does. Granted it looks very nice, but I knew I could make the same product for less. And who can give up a chance to solder?

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