Monday, June 27, 2005

Street walking -Jesus style

When Pope Benedict XVI talked about taking Jesus to the street, I said " now we can have a patron for Streetwalkers, Jesus himself, just as he could be the leader for street smart guys like the salesians." I am sure JC would feel completely at home talking the lingo of the la strada, dropping in at the warrens of the street urchins and even supping with relish with floatsam that take over the streets with night fall.

I am sure JC would enjoy the freedom of the long road in the countryside, just as he would the down town streets that have become the canyon floors under the shadow of modern day concrete mountains. If the smell of asphalt road under the burning sun is mildly sophoric, JC would find the miasmic odours of the multitudinous activities of the city streets quietly reassuring.
What do you think?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

BIS goes RSS

Bosco Information Service goes RSS.
This RSS feed will help Salesians to keep track of many news updates from various provinces of South Asia and in particular that of INDIA.

Thanks to Fr.Julian Fox for inspiring Fr.Joseph Poruthur to take a chance !

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Why should BIS go RSS ?*

This is the trend of all Class A publishers online. BIS go RSS for the following reasons.

It's a ridiculously easy way to read the web.
So, how many bookmarks do you have in your browser? How many of them have new information? Does it make you sick to your stomach to think of clicking through all of those to discover whether or not the website owners have added new, interesting content? Via RSS, you can subscribe to www.donboscoindia.com and very easily find out whether there is new relevant content. My bookmarks no longer scare me. In fact, I rarely use them.

It's ridiculously easy to discover relevant information.
For people without a desire to spelunk on the web, finding things and checking back has been a chore. Many folks approach Google like it's a library card catalog. I want to find out about X and so I'll search on Google and then trust in its algorithm and click through the links on the first, oh, two, let's say, pages. RSS allows you to tap important, relevant, even mission-critical information by enabling the creation of feeds based on keywords. So, let's say you work for Youth at Risk that is following issues pertaining to Child Rights and/or Youth Rehabilitation. You can set up some keyword searches and then subscribe to those searches. This can allow relevant information to come to you.

It's ridiculously easy to share the information you get.
One of the nice things about RSS is that information comes to you in manageable chunks: a BIS headline with a sentence-long article summary; a complete description; the pointer to a news subcription; an email announcement list; events. You can push that information out to communities who may be interested -- simply send it via email or put it on your own blog.

It's ridiculously easy to participate in conversations.
Okay, RSS is just an enabler here. Why should you care what people are saying about the issues you're interested in? Knowing what they are saying -- and where they are saying it -- gives you the opportunity to participate in the conversation. You make a comment on someone's website or participate in a message board thread. This helps to further the conversation and distributes your content (you'll sign your comment right? and include your organization's web presence?) around the web. This makes the web a richer place but it also helps to generate attention to the issues you are working on.

It's ridiculously easy to control your own subscriptions.
Here's the truth: unsubscribing from some mailing lists, announcements, or other outreach is, how do you say, a chore. You have to click a link that, about half the time, merely confirms that you are a real, live body receiving email. You can't remember how it is that you elected to receive the information and, most critical to me, it ends up mixed in with the ebb-and-flow of your inbox and, hence, gets in the way of getting work done. RSS gives you complete control. You can easily segment your feed (it's hard to set up an email filter for something you don't know you are receiving) from your regular email. You can even use a non-email client aggregator.

It's ridiculously easy to allow people to trade your good content
It may sound like I'm being flip. I'm not; I swear. Hook yourself up with an RSS feed. It allows people to very easily trade your good relevant content and that's exactly what you want right? It happens at almost no cost to you.

It's ridiculously easy for other people to lend you a bit of their web real estate.
Okay, this one is a little harder. But RSS does offer up the possibility of allowing other organizations to display some of your content on their website. This is good. It gets your content out to a variety of audiences and it can greatly enhance relevant partnerships. The best part? They don't actually have to talk to you for this to happen. Painless content partnerships. What more could anyone want?

It's ridiculously easy to avoid being a spammer.
Opt-in, double opt-in. Allowing people to subscribe via RSS puts complete control into their hands and gets you completely off the spammer hook. Okay, so some email publishers hate that. It's hard to track traffic and click thrus, and it puts control completely in the hands of the subscriber and not the publisher. I just don't agree. If you are creating good content people will subscribe and they will stay subscribed. That means that, ultimately, the control is really in your hands. Compelling content works better than anything else. Oh yeah, not being a spammer isn't just an ethical (and increasingly legal issue) not being a spammer also means that you message will get to your intended audience and not dumped into a spam filter.

It's ridiculously easy to contribute to web-wide conversations.
Okay, if you're using RSS to track what people are saying about important issues and what people are saying about you, so are other folks. By making your content available via RSS, you're allowing other people to discover you. And they'll be commenting on your site, linking to it, and (here's the kicker) subscribing to your RSS feed and not just stumbling across you in their own keyword searches.

* Text adapted from http://ext337.blogspot.com/

How do I save my postings for future use?

Click Back up /Archive
This is meant for archiving or making back ups of items posted on the site by members.

Steps
Click Backup/Archive. “Backup Download Center” appears. A list of the items (such as share news, share album etc.) you have posted will appear.
Click the icon of the item that you want to make a back up of.
A zip icon will appear; when you click the zip icon you will be asked to save the zip file. This zip file will contain the backup of whatever you have posted. You can save it on your computer.

How do I announce the seminars I conduct/organize?

Click 'Share Seminars'
This is meant for sharing information regarding seminars that any member Salesian conducts or has information about.

Steps
Click “Share Seminars”. List of seminars (if any), which he has posted earlier, appears.
Click ADD. “Add My Seminar” panel appears.
Choose your office, if you have more than one office by checking the button.
Type in the requested details such as Title of the Seminar, Description of the Seminar, Seminar By, Seminar Venue, Registration Fee, Information source, etc. You can also add a picture by Browsing. Enter the Starting Date of the Seminar (Date, Month and Year).
Click “Submit My Seminar”. The title of your seminar will appear on the List of Seminars in the Province. If posted by an ordinary member it will first go for approval by the Web Coordinator.

How do I share my files like power point, articles, notes, etc?

Click 'Share Resources'
This is to facilitate the sharing of resources such as Prayer Services, Animation Notes, Art, Music, Articles/Research papers, PowerPoint presentations, cartoons, software etc among selected groups of Salesians.

Steps
Log on to your virtual office through the “Reserved Area”.
Click “Share Resources” on the left panel. The List of Resources will appear.
Click any Resource Title to view it.
Click Add Resource to add more resources.
Click the Delete Icon to delete a resource.
Select the office from which you are working by checking the appropriate button.
Check (3) the type of Resource by checking the appropriate button.
Type in the Title and a brief Description of the Resource.
You can add an image by clicking “Browse”.
The Resource File is added from its source (Floppy, CD, Hard Disk) by Browsing.
Authorize which category or groups of persons may use your Resource by checking the appropriate boxes.
Click “Submit My Resource”.

Important
Resources posted by a member needs approval by the BIS Coordinator of his province, just like News items.Once a resource is approved by the BIS Coordinator, you cannot edit or delete it

How do I publish photos and create my album?

Click 'Share Album'
This is meant for all members to help them to create their albums and post their photos and images on the site.

Steps
Click “Share Album” link on the left panel. The Share Album List appears.
To create album click ADD. The Share Album Panel appears. Check your appropriate office button.
Type in the title of the new Album; type in the description of the Album. Then click “Save Album”. Click OK to confirm. The album is created. The “Add Photos to my Album” appears.
Click “Browse” in order to select the pictures from their sources (Floppy, CD, Hard Disk, etc).
Type in the photo caption. Type in the short description of the photo.
Click “Save Photos”. The Successfully Added” message appears along with the thumbnail preview of the pictures.
Go to “My Album List” to add more photos to any album.
Click ADD to add photos. Click View/Edit to view the picture or edit them.
Click the icon under “Add Photos” to add photos to the album.

Important
At a time, you can upload four photos to the album.
Albums posted by members require the approval of the BIS Coordinator, just like the News items.

How do I post news to BIS ?

Use 'Share News' link.

This facility is given to all Salesians of South Asia who are registered at this site to help them to place their news stories on the donboscoindia site.

Sign into your virtual office by clicking “Reserved Area” using your user name and password.

Steps
To place your news on the site, you need to do the following:

1. Click the “Share News” link on the left panel. The List of Shared News appears.

2. Click the link “ADD” shown on the right side of the panel. The “Share News Panel” appears. Check the button under “News Released By” which represents your status. (If you are an ordinary member, the panel will indicate only one office – namely, that of the “Registered Member”. If you are a Soc. Com. Delegate or BIS Coordinator at Province level or South Asia level, you will have several offices besides that of the Registered Member.) If you are the BIS Coordinator of your province you should select that office and not that of an ordinary registered member.

3. Type in the Headline of your news item in the text box. (Maximum 500 characters). Then type in or paste the Story Lead in the box indicated (Maximum 2500 characters). Finally, type in or paste the Story Description in the box indicated. Type in the name of the author or source of the news in the text box against “By”.

4. If you want to include a picture, click “Browse” and the “Open Dialogue Box” appears. Select the picture from its source (floppy disk, CD, hard disk).

5. Select the date and month, and type in the year. Note: Postdated news will appear only on the specified future date.

6. Finally, click “Submit My News”. You will be asked to confirm. Click OK. You will then receive the message “Your News Has Been Successfully Added”. At the same time the BIS Coordinator of your province will receive an e-mail asking him to approve your news (if you are not yourself the BIS coordinator of the province).

7. After approval by the Coordinator, your news will appear on the Home Page of donboscoindia site.


Important
Before approval by the BIS Coordinator you can view/edit/delete your news.
When you delete a news item, you will receive a message “Successfully deleted the News Item”.
After approval, news posted by a member will appear on the donboscoindia Home Page and in the respective Province BIS Home Page.
If you are a Social Communication Delegate or BIS Coordinator of your province, your news stories will not go for approval. Instead, they will immediately appear online.
If you are the BIS Coordinator at your province level, you can edit, suspend or delete news of any member of your province any time.
If you are the South Asian Delegate for Social Communications (SA Delegate), you can pull and then edit, suspend or delete news posted by the South Asian BIS Coordinator, as well as any Provincial Delegate.
If you are the South Asian BIS Coordinator, you can pull and edit, suspend or delete news posted by all province level BIS Coordinators.

Caution
Social Communication Delegates and BIS Coordinators should not post news as ordinary members. If they do so, it will come back to them for approval.

News posted here will not automatically go to ANS or other news agencies. The Social Communication Delegate or BIS Coordinator alone can select and dispatch news by e-mail to various groups through the “Dispatch News” facility available on the left panel.

News deleted before approval will be lost for ever; there is no way to retrieve them. However, items deleted after approval may be retrieved from the archive to the hard disk of your computer (but not to the site).