Sat 13 Nov 2010
The Greatest Gift
Sat 13 Nov 2010
The Greatest Gift
Mon 8 Nov 2010
Guest post by John Youssef.
Recently, Ustream has changed the way they do advertisements. We were blessed enough to be able to use them for the amount of time we did, but this new changed prompted us to look for a more reliable and professional streaming provider. When considering a new provider we had several criteria in mind:
After considering several options, it was an easy decision to agree on Mediaserve as our new streaming provider. They offered several options that many other streaming providers do not offer, and they do it at an extremely affordable price. Their biggest advantage is that their streaming service is built on Wowza Media Server. This allows us to run a flash stream, and an iPhone stream simultaneously, as wowza automatically encodes into iPhone format in real time. Wowza also has the ability to encode using Microsoft Silverlight technology, but it is not something we are currently implementing at the moment.
At the time of registration, we were required to register a domain with Mediaserve, to use as our streaming hostname. We decided to go with the .net version of our current domain name for simplicity’s sake. The registration process was very simple and straightforward. Within a couple hours of registration they had everything setup for us, and had emailed us very detailed step by step instructions to get everything setup and running.
Everything is done through Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE). Once you download it and install, you simply need to follow the instructions emailed to you to get it properly configured. With Mediaserve’s setup, streaming is as fast as clicking start in FMLE. No more pesky browser windows to open like in Ustream’s setup. In order to get the iPhone streaming working properly, you need to purchase a third-party plugin to encode the sound in AAC format. We purchased ours from Mainconcept for a one-time fee of $249.
To setup the embedded stream window on your website, you need to download Flowplayer from Mediaserve’s download page. The free version of flowplayer has a small watermark in the top right hand corner and does not have any functionality in terms of customizing how the player window looks. Since we were changing everything around, we decided to purchase a commercial license for a one-time fee of $95. This allows you to remove the watermark, add one of your own, and completely customize how the player window looks and feels.
The iPhone streaming is done through your Ipod’s/iPhone’s built in video player. The only thing needed is to setup a piece of embedded code using the instructions Mediaserve provides in order to get it working properly.
I have to say, Mediaserve’s support was amazing through the whole setup process. They respond in an extremely timely manner, even on weekends, and their responses were always very polite and helpful. They made the setup process a breeze, and answered any questions I threw their way.
Now I know the last thing you all want to know is the price. They offer two payment options. You can choose to pay a monthly fee of $39.95, or if you pay annually, the monthly fee is reduced to $30.95 a month. We decided to go the annual route since it was a savings of over $100 annually. This price includes 30gb of storage space, and 300gb of monthly bandwidth. This price also comes standard with 100 simultaneous connections. You do have the option to upgrade the number of connections on a per-need basis, but the only time we feel that we would need to do that would be during Holy Week when our number of viewers more than doubles. Other than that 100 is more than sufficient for our needs (for now anyway!) All in all, for the amount of features they include, and their price, and level of service, I would highly recommend checking out what they have to offer. We’ve gotten nothing but compliments since we made the switch.
Sat 6 Nov 2010
The Lord says to the church that if only two or three gather together and pray in agreement according to His commands, they will receive what they ask from God’s sovereign power. “Wheresoever two or three are gathered in My name, I am with them,” He says. That is, He is with the simple and peaceable, with those who fear God and keep His commandments. Although only two or three, God will treat them in the same way that He treated the three youths in the fiery furnace. Because they lived for God unconditionally and in unity, He gave them life with breath of dew in the midst of the surrounding flames. In the same way, He was present with the two apostles shut up in prison, because they were devoted and of one mind. Having loosened the bolts of the dungeon, He placed them in the marketplace to declare the Word they had faithfully preached. Therefore, when he sys in His commandments, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am with them.” He rebukes the faithless for their disagreements and entrusts peace to the faithful by His word. He shows that He is with two or three who pray with one mind, rather that with a large number who differ. More can be obtained by the unified prayer of a few than by the disunited supplication of many.
Taken from Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, page 155.
Thu 4 Nov 2010
While debating pros and cons of giving users local admin right at the DC CITRT last week, I brought up slick setup that one of our volunteers had ported over from his day job.
David Mikhail, one of Fairfax County Public Schools’ top Windows engineers had put together a master list of software to blacklist via GPO. This gives us the flexibility to allow users local admin right with some comfort that known bad software can’t be installed.
David has graciously provided an export (backup) of the GPO so that you can use it as well. You should be able to restore the following into Group Policy: