SharperIron

Blogroll is Back!

It’s unclear who first coined the term “blogroll.” Probably because of the sort of eating I’ve been doing lately, the term sounds to me like an interesting dessert. But around here we know it as a selection of blogs SI readers have found helpful, interesting, thought-provoking—perhaps sometimes infuriating (though hopefully not too often).

The SI blogroll was originally creaed by Austin Matzko back in our Wordpress & VBulletin days. If I’m remembering correctly, in it’s first iteration, the blogroll featured a block for each blog, and the blocks updated as the various blog-writers published new content. (If any of you have a screen shot from those days, I’d love to see it.) Later versions approximated that experience, but our last site update abandoned it completely. Instead, each new post from a blogger in the “roll” was added to a single flowing list of posts.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Given the site-building tools and talent on hand at the time, it was certainly easier to set up. But there were disadvantages. Some bloggers in the list cranked out multiple posts per day, while others posted once a week or once every month or so. The result was that infrequent posters got lost in the stream and the blogroll seemed to be all about whoever happened to crank out the most stuff that day or that week.

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Changes

Heraclitus is credited with observing that the only constant is change. He was almost right. The only constant is God. Perfect and immutable, He is the one fixed reality behind (and in) a universe where all is in continual motion, down to the smallest bits we can detect. “I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (ESV, Mal. 3:6).

In creation, the only constant is change.

Change in my life

About a month ago, I turned in my resignation at Grace Baptist Church, and for the time being, I am taking a break from pastoral ministry altogether.

People are often unsure what to think when they encounter a man who was a pastor but is no longer in ministry of that kind at all. I always used to wonder what happened. Did he have a really bad experience? Did he just run out of money (Acts 18:3 comes to mind, and maybe John 21:3)? Was he disciplined? Was there some scandal?

I don’t think there’s any wickedness in that kind of curiosity. And depending on what sort of view of “the call” someone has been taught, he can be forgiven for seeing “former pastor” as an inherently negative thing.

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Welcome to SharperIron 3.2

newAs you can see, the latest site redesign is online now. We hope you’ll enjoy it. A few things to check out.

  • New menu system
  • New editor for comments: now you can format your comments with a far more functional toolbar (or html code, if you like). Several common ctrl+ key combinations work in the editor as well.
  • Forum structure: we’ve simplified the Forum structure a good bit. It should be easier to see where to put the sort of conversation you want to have.
  • Tagging: this function is “in the rough,” but you can now tag your Forum opening posts.

It isn’t really completely “done,” but should be stable and functional—and we’ll work the bugs out over the next few days.

A good place to post questions or problems would be either the comments section below or in the forum thread: Known Issues in 3.2

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The SharperIron Forum Revamp - Some Why and What

In just a couple of weeks (hopefully), SharperIron will go offline for a day or so to install a set of facelifts and functionality improvements. This time around, a pretty major forum overhaul is also in the plan.

What does “major” mean? To some extent, that’s up to you. We’d like to hear your ideas. It’s true that big ideas will take more than two weeks to work into the redesign. But we’d like to hear big ones as well as small ones—and we can always incorporate something bigger later.

To give those ideas some direction and boundaries, let’s consider a couple of basic questions.

Why have a forum?

SI began as a forum with a blog, then became more of a blog with a forum, then a news and article site with a forum. Quite a few news and article sites (most) follow the content-plus-comments model and offer no forum at all. Nearly all blogs fit the content-plus-comments model. So why have a forum?

1. Less centrality

A blog flows entirely from the top down. Its writers determine what will post and when, then discussion occurs based on the agenda determined by the writers. Forums, on the other hand, encourage users to start their own conversations, resulting in a wider range of content, completely unscheduled content, and less dependence on the perspective of one or two individuals.

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A SharperIron App for Chrome

Google Chrome is now the world’s most widely used internet browser. And for those of us who have been using it for some time, this news comes as no surprise. It’s fast and efficient. And with the increasing popularity of the Chrome Web Store, apps are being developed to make common internet tasks more accessible.

But as with any good thing, it has its limitations. There is no easy way, for example, to add any old website to the “New Tab” page (the page that hosts all your web apps). So what do you if, for example, you want to have quicker, easier access to SharperIron? There is a fairly easy solution…make your own Chrome Web App! Here’s how:

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