Bad Computer Advice?

Discussion in 'Computers & Website Forum' started by Don, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. Don

    Don
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    Look, I'm not claiming to be a computer expert. I personally know three dozen people I can name off the top of my head that know WAY more than I do. A couple of them frequent this message board.

    That said, I keep running across church-going folks who keep getting what I personally consider bad computer advice from people trying to sell them computers and/or computer services; basically taking advantage of the less technologically-competent among us.

    For example, a couple I know has a ministry; they attended a seminar, where they were given a personal one-on-one with one of the seminar presenters, and he had them convinced they needed to start shelling out $750/month for a website, search engine optimization, advertising services, etc. I was able to dial them back, sit down and show them that their Facebook page was already showing up on the first page of Google search results, and determine that they were already using their Facebook page address on their business card and mailings. I asked them why they wanted to start putting themselves in debt for something that had a negligible--and most likley, negative--return on investment. Once they thought more about it, and had more information, they started telling more people about their Facebook page, and last I heard, things were picking up....

    A pastor friend was adamant that his church needed a website. I kept asking him why. He just had it in his head that it would be more professional to have a website. I asked him who was going to maintain it; if he understood the difference between domain name and hosting, and how much a domain name costs versus hosting costs; etc. I offered to educate him; but he started to understand the complexity of what he was asking for. Then I showed him that the Facebook page that one of his parishioners had started was actually the #1 result on Google; AND, it already had the capability of a calendar, allowing his parishioners to share things with each other, etc., etc.

    I'm not advocating Facebook. I'm hopefully advocating common sense, inexpensive solutions, and using computers as tools rather than seeing technology as "gee whiz gadgets" that we can point at and say "see what we have" (for instance, I'm thankful that no one has asked me about creating a mobile app for their church or ministry yet; but I'm also surprised it hasn't happened).

    Not really sure why I'm starting this thread. Maybe just venting. Does anyone else see what I'm seeing?
     
  2. exscentric

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    I suspect some fear the inferior. I have a friend - have offered to help him with his numerous computer problems yet he takes them to a business that soaks him for big bucks time after time, often for equipment/software he has no need of.

    I know in his mind he trusts the business much more than "a friend that knows computers." So, I constantly wonder in my mind why he likes spending money so much.

    Top notch is always better isn't it?
     
  3. Don

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    My father-in-law used to have Norton on his computer; I continually urged him to uninstall it. He kept insisting it was the best antivirus. I kept telling him it was the cause of most of his computer slow-downs.

    I'm still not sure what's happened in the recent past, but I've noticed that he finally uninstalled Norton. Problem is, I don't think he's using *any* antivirus at the moment....

    And don't get me started on MacAfee....
     
  4. InTheLight

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    Oh yeah, I know what you are talking about. The pastor at the church I previously attended was adamant about getting on Facebook, getting on Twitter. "Social media is where it's at." But then you look at the Facebook page and you look at the Twitter feed and it's a disaster. A bad website is worse than no website at all.

    I think a lot of pastors have this vague feeling that they aren't doing enough stuff online and that they've GOT TO DO SOMETHING! That leads to hurried and expensive decisions.

    The SEO people really bother me. "We guarantee you first page landing on Google searches!" Well, yeah, throw enough money at a problem and you can probably get there. Plus, Google's search criteria is constantly changing and the old strategies of putting up mirror sites and packing the meta descriptions with keywords doesn't work anymore.
     
  5. InTheLight

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    Ugh. MacAfee. What a terrible piece of garbage. Norton used to be good--about 10 years ago. Both of those programs are so bloated and resource hogs I'd never put them on my computers.

    My mom uses AOL because it's the simplest way for her to get online and their email interface is "elderly friendly". But she constantly clicks on "Speed up Your Computer" links and the result is that every time I visit her I spend a half an hour running Malware Bytes to get rid of the junk that's slowing down her computer.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    We use our website and facebook page adamantly. We are currently moving our website to a new server and we are getting 500 to 3000 hits a week on our facebook page. the key is to contain information relevant to what people are searching for and to keep it interesting. I make sure our pages are updated regularly with new info as often as is feasible. We change pics, posts, videos etc. We have a budget for boosting facebook posts of 60.00 a month and we pay 70 for our web site and that includes a phone app and online giving.

    It really isn't rocket science.
     
  7. Br. Dan

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  8. Revmitchell

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    I like malwarebytes but it is not always necessary. Ccleaner is a good tool also.
     
  9. InTheLight

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    Nope, it doesn't have to be. Looks like you've got a good handle on it. Way to go.
     
  10. InTheLight

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    I use the free version of Malware Bytes as needed. I use CCleaner as well. I use Microsoft Security Essentials as my antivirus.
     
  11. Don

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    I think the part about keeping it updated is the true key. Against my better judgment, I'm about to volunteer for our county Baptist Association, because we have a LOT of churches in this area that are using the free website provided through the Southern Baptist Association -- but no one's keeping them updated. From what I can tell, the churches are emailing or snail-mailing stuff to the county association office, and then expecting them to put it up on that website.
    For some of us, no. For others, well...I currently work with a woman who actually was employed at NASA. I do my best to not let her touch the computers if I can help it.... <grin>
     
  12. Don

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    My two favorites.
     
  13. Don

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    We were good until you hit "Microsoft Security Essentials"....
     
  14. Don

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    BTW, folks, a suggestion for all of you helping out pastors, church staff, etc.: if at all possible, DON'T let them use personal accounts to set up Facebook, websites, etc. If they've already done it, so be it. If you can change it, I suggest you do so. This is primarily for the smaller churches, where they don't have a full-time staff.

    In an ideal world, that person will never leave, and you'll never have to worry about what email address or password they used to set up the account. In 90% of the cases I've come across, someone's left the church, people don't know how to get hold of them, and no one knows how to access the Facebook account or website control panel. Sometimes it's nice when you come across that sticky note or a scribble in a notepad that has the information. But most of the time, it's harder than dickens to recover that info. Half the time, when I do find the person, they can't remember what password they used.

    What I recommend to folks is to use Hotmail, Outlook.com, Google, Yahoo, Juno, whatever; and set up a "generic" account for the church. Sometimes (especially with Google), you have to use a personal email to set up a new email account; that's okay, no big deal. Once you've set up the new email account, you can forget whoever's "verification email" address you used (as long as the church group actually uses the generic account and doesn't forget about it!). Once you've got that account set up, make sure you annotate that email address and password, and store the information near the computer. Remember: this is an account that will be used by *anyone* associated with the church, not just a particular person; thus, an "organization account." Then you can use that information to create websites, Facebook accounts, etc.

    I suggest that when you create such an account, you ensure that at least two people have the information to access the account; thus ensuring that you don't have a "single point of failure."

    Just some thoughts that I've learned the hard way.
     
  15. InTheLight

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    Well, I've tried most of them. Norton and McAfee are out. I had Kaspersky for awhile but I didn't like it. I was using AVG but I know two people that had AVG fail on them and allow their computer to get infected, so I switched to MS Security Essentials. MSE has been working well and unobtrusively for me for about 4 years now. <Shrugs>

    What do you recommend?
     
  16. annsni

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    We don't even personally use virus software here. Hubby just set up all of the computers both here and at church so that no one can download anything. Only he can do it or one other guy. It's saved him countless days of cleaning things up!!

    We have a website and I think a church absolutely needs a website but they even more absolutely need to keep it up to date - updating it at least weekly. When I did our website, I updated it sometimes daily and would sweep it monthly. Now we have a company and a team that take care of it - way more money and people that we used to need when I was keeping it up! ;) Facebook is good but it's not a substitute for the website and I'd question how viable a church was if they counted on Facebook and not a website.
     
  17. Smyth

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    Sadly, all people selling something are liars, and if they're not liars, they're out of a job. Rule #1, don't take advice from a person selling you something.

    Every church should have a website. Facebook makes a minimally acceptable church website. But, there are numerous web hosting companies which will provide a website for free, or next to free. Just buy a domain name for a few dollars. Their software makes it easy for anyone to design a website, even for people with no technical skills.

    A big church can hire a professional service and pay good money for it.

    Here's possible example for a cheap and easy, but good website: servicehostnet.com. I've never used them. And, I hardly know the difference between big endian from little endian architechure, I mean a programming language from a hole in the ground.
     
  18. Don

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    First, I forgot to include the "cheesy grin" tag. Second, "recommend" is a strong word. About every 3-4 months I'll check the tech sites to see the latest rankings for the free antivirus programs. Bitdefender's done pretty well, as well as AntiVir; but what I recommend is what you're comfortable with. Some folks would swear by Kaspersky; but as you mentioned, you didn't like it.

    Even a mid-ranking antivirus is better than no antivirus.

    No offense to Ann's husband, but having things locked down so that they can't be installed won't prevent everything. We have the same settings where I work; and those dang Facebook games and people clicking on email links still get past us occasionally.
     
  19. Don

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    For those that say you HAVE to have a website - I tend to look at things from a different perspective. Customer service, to me, means looking at the customer's ability to use what I give them. It also has to meet their need.

    Rev, Ann, and Smyth have it under control. But would you advise a smaller church with no full time staff, limited funding, and no one with any serious computer experience, that they need to figure out a website?

    One such church had no one willing to volunteer to be the church website administrator. They had the free site, and someone had done an initial set-up; but it hadn't been maintained, and no one was willing to step up. However, when it was propositioned to use Facebook, several of the older ladies picked it up. They now post the weekly sermons, videos of services, announcements, etc., etc. They're really using their church Facebook page to help keep their church members connected.

    All I'm saying is, when it comes to the available tools, I'm not necessarily convinced any tool is better--or lesser--than another.

    Here's an idea for another thread: how is your church using social media?
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    Someone needs to do something. Doing nothing is a poor option. However, it is hard to say without being there and seeing what exactly you have.
     

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