Over the past few weeks, my business partner at Five Espressos and I have launched a new service called ymLaunch. ymLaunch is a WordPress multisite that is built to help youth ministries have their own website. I was a youth pastor for 12 years or so, and I always wanted my own web site. I never had the time or the know-how to pull it off. When it was time for me to be done as a full time youth pastor, I started learning and working as a WordPress developer. About a year into that, I realized that the perfect service for me to build would be one that was for youth ministries. So we built it.
So far, this has been a much larger undertaking than I ever imagined. Don’t think for a moment, that just because a large percentage of sites today are being built on WordPress… it is easy work. To do things right, it takes time, patience, development skill, amazing people that are willing to help (quite possibly the biggest upside of WordPress), and the willingness to dig deep and learn.
This is all extremely exciting, and a little scary all at the same time. The product is not quite where I want it to be just yet, but we focused on getting the basics set for Launch. We will be continuing to make it better, prettier, and easier to use for youth pastors.
ymLaunch is definitely a niche within a niche. There are plenty of services out there for church websites. What I found in my years as a youth pastor, though… is that it is really more ideal for youth ministries to have their own site. They will certainly still want a page on the church site, with basic info and a link to the youth ministry site. On their own site, though, they can have (and edit) their own calendar, downloads, pictures, and content. This should make life easier, as there can be ONE place to keep all the content and info people need with regards to the youth ministry. There are some other major benefits as well, but I’ll save those for another time. Ultimately, I want to make this as easy as possible (and reasonably inexpensive) for youth pastors, so that they can continue to focus on what is really important: ministering to students.
I’ll be moving cell phone carriers some time in the next month. I ordered 2 Motorola Moto-x’s, and signed up for a Republic Wireless $10 / month plan for each phone. Yep, that’s right, $10 a month. Crazy. Right now, I pay significantly more than that for each of my phones, and I don’t even have a smartphone. Of course, with the $10 plan, I won’t get any data unless I am on wifi, but I can live with that for awhile. I’ve never had data anyway. I figure the savings can pay for the phone first, and then I’ll upgrade to a data plan.
I’ve been on Verizon for a long, long time. And while their coverage is great, their plans (especially for smart phones) are just ridiculous. I added up the total cost for 2 years on a smart phone with Verizon, and my thought was… no phone is worth that much $$. Since most of my digital world is on Apple devices, I would have preferred an iPhone, but in the end, it’s just not worth it. I also use Google a ton, so my guess is Android won’t be too hard to get used to.
If your in the market for cheaper wireless, I’d suggest you check out Republic. They use Sprint’s network, which isn’t the best, but I’ll be saving $50 / month compared to what I was spending with Verizon. They use an interesting system that prioritizes wifi, so I’ll post again with a review once I’ve been using it for awhile.
I recently made the switch to the Gmail web-app. I have had a Gmail address (or two) for a long time. However, I have always used a local application to access my email. For years, I used the standard mail app that comes with OSX. Recently, I had switched to Sparrow. However, after Sparrow was acquired by Google, I knew it was a matter of time before I needed to find something else. In the last few months, Sparrow was having some glitches that bothered me enough to start looking around and make a switch once again.
I looked for a few weeks, and where I ended surprised even me. I really don’t like the web interface for Gmail. But in the end… functionality was what won the day. The biggest gain for me, was that once I get the Gmail interface set up the way I want it, I can access my email in that EXACT interface from anywhere. First, I forwarded ALL of my emails to my Gmail account, and then I set each email up to send from there as well. Gmail can automatically respond from the same address that a message was sent to me on… so now I don’t even need to know what address a message comes in on. If I respond, Gmail responds from the correct address (you do have to select this setting). Still, I set up labels for each of my emails, just so I can keep track of where conversations are happening.
Over all, it has taken me a few weeks to get things the way I like them. Now I have my labels and filters set up in a way that works for me, and I am slowly getting accustomed to Gmail shortcuts. The final step for me, was to clean things up. I turned to Gmelius for that. Gmelius allows you to take out adds and clean the interface up a bit (but only in Chrome). Of course, If I access my Gmail from someone else’s computer, it won’t have the final touches that Gmelius adds. The functionality will be the same, though, and I can live with that.
Now that I am on the flip-side of having made the switch… I can hardly imagine going back to a stand-alone email app. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Google (and all super-huge mega companies that are trying to rule the world), but the functionality they offer for email is fantastic for my usage.
After a bit of work with a new theme, and moving all my content over, it’s time to get started on the new site. I began this blog at embracerefrain.com. When I started that site, it was for writing and reflecting about a year long project of fasting and embracing new habits. That year has long since past, and though I still blogged occasionally, I never really kept up after the first year. I wanted a fresh start, and more generic domain name to post about whatever it is I am thinking about / reading / etc. So workysworld.com it is. I wanted to keep all of my content from the previous blog, just in case one of my 10 readers ever wanted to refer back to it! So here is to a fresh start!