Technology I’m not following

I’ve been an advocate for pushing Unitarian Universalists in technology for more than a decade now, going back to the use of Gopher and mailing lists, through the web, to PDAs and blogs, and now wikis and who-knows-what. A bunch of us did: Unitarian Universalists are relatively early-acquirers of new technology, so I write on, keeping the pulse as much or more than suggesting anything new.

That said, I’m not that much of a wonk. I don’t have a cell phone, PDA (lost one, another stolen) or an MP3 player (also lost) – I don’t even have a watch. I use a paper calendar for the most part. I’m going back and looking at how established technologies — say, spreadsheet applications — can be pressed into more service. So I need to drop some projects: they just don’t pay. These are:

  • The use of XML to re-purpose data by web and print publications. I’ll wait to see how the Bible markup language projects make out first.
  • The use of TeX/LaTeX for print publications. Too esoteric for most, and those who are interested can learn it easily enough.
  • Greenstone Digital Libraries. An interesting way to get libraries on a CD out, but good internet access will reduce its usefulness (better still for its core demographic in the developing world) and I just can’t get the publisher side to work. Maybe when version three comes out.
  • OCR. Optical Character Recognition is still too crude, even after all these years. I’d make better use of my time making image-based PDFs and learning to type faster!

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 45, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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