Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his soj
ourn in Northern Ireland'

Technology frustrations
and ministry opportunities

Jon Kennedy  

JONAL ENTRY 1287 | May 15 2013

Leaders of the Temple called Peter and John, "and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.'"

— from Acts 4,
from today's Orthodox
lectionary readings

Diary: My apologies about the eleven-day gap since my last entry. I have been in new-technology mode, always a time sink, and too much has been happening to keep track of it all.

I had been sold a used flip-style mobile phone here a month or so back for £5, thinking my need for a phone will be minimal, but using it was so complicated that I almost never used it and people were not getting through. So I started wanting a new smart phone and by last weekend I had talked myself into taking the plunge. Kevin—my son the Google engineer—assured me that the best new smart phone is the Samsung Galaxy S4, so I started shopping that model.

Phone services seem to be one of the few things more economically priced here than in the States. The wireless provider, "3" (yes, that's the name of the company), was advertising Galaxy S4s for a two-year contract that includes 500 call minues monthly, unlimited texting and, the deal-breaker, unlimited data with tethering allowed. "Unlimited data" means you can use the phone to connect with the Internet without limits, for email, browsing-researching, and, in my case, uploading web pages, photographs, and videos to the Nanty Glo site, YouTube, and Google+. Free tethering, when I signed up for it in San Jose with Sprint well over two years ago, meant I could plug a cable to my phone and into my tablet computer and use the phone's wireless as the computer's Internet connection. That worked satisfactorily, but being able to use the phone as a mobile hotspot would have been even better, but Sprint wanted an additional $30 a month to let me use that feature, which I was too frugal to add. But with "3," doing it via the hotspot is allowed with no extra charge, and the best thing of all, the monthly contract costs £37, considerably less than Sprint's monthly charge contract price of $81 (£37 is $56.33 at today's exchange rate) on my previous smart phone.

So on Saturday evening I signed the contract and took delivery on my new smart phone. It has a 14-megapixel camera (the highest HD camera on any phone now on sale, I believe), and it is so smart it will pause a video you're watching when you move your eyes off the screen for a minute to attend to a distraction. It can also automatically scroll text up according to the movement of your eyes on the screen. I figured that as the main competition to the top-selling iPhones, despite these features and considering Samsung gets the operating system from Google free, it would be priced at £299 to £399. But when I finally gave in to my curiosity and looked up the noncontract price, I was astounded to learn that it is priced at £529! Though £37 a month seems reasonable, if I drop it and break it, I may have to declare bankruptcy!

Part of my technology frustration (apart from the time spent in considering making such an important commitment) is that such high definition videos take considerably longer to edit and assemble into publishable videos than the older videos did.

Click the > on the video above to play it. After the video launches, you can double-click the screen to enlarge it to full-screen. If your browser cannot open the video in Windows Media format, you can try it on YouTube, here.

This first video to come from the new toy is an approximately nine-and-a-half minute pastiche of clips taken at a Sunday afternoon ministry I have been supporting in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast. Each week participants in various cross-community ministries come together on the dock on which the Titanic was manufactured and launched in 1912, to pray for each other, the evangelization of the city, and the peace of the communities that have so often fallen into violence. Church of Ireland minister Chris Bennett, the pastor of the "dock church"—a cafe in the new condominium community on the dock that ministers through conversation, prayer, and friendship to residents of the community, students in the community college that has its campus there, and an endless stream of tourists wanting to see where the most famous ocean liner in history began—led the small group this Sunday, commenting on the sites, using his iPhone and a portable speaker to share a podcast Bible study, and lead prayers at several points. The video ends with a few seconds showing a group of tourists cruising past the cafe on Segway scooters, a sight I found cool in an eerily futuristic way. I hope to increase my support of this ministry with a weekly block of volunteer time at the cafe as soon as I can arrange it.

Note: In the video I say that there seems to be no charge for the museum tours. I was wrong in that assumption.

Scripture: To those who are in Christ, sharing the Good News is not an option but an essential, a necessity of life. What God has given us is too good to not share. Jesus charged us to go to all people and share the news that makes all things new with all people everywhere, and we must not be dissuaded by any who try to hinder that calling.

§     §     §

Please support my mission to Northern Ireland in your prayers, especially for my second talk this Sunday on C.S. Lewis and his impact on the world through his Christian writing.

You can read my overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. NEW Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


related pages

The Nanty Glo Home Page

Previous blog:
Pascha, beautiful Pascha

Report on latest NTAMHS Meeting

Glotube videos



Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.

John Quinton


Life here below is so shortwhich, I suppose, is why you and I are made for eternity.

— Russell Kirk

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