Brigada tools

2) Improvements at Brigada.org: Goodbye Captcha, and Old Server

no-more-captchaFor years now, the web version of Brigada has relied on CAPTCHA testing to prevent spammers from plastering our comment boxes with spam. (Captcha testing is the deal where you see a warped word and try to guess the letters. We’ve never liked it; but we figured it was necessary to prevent all those “bots” from filling in our comment boxes.) But we want to encourage all the more participants to comment on our items. So starting today, we’re trying only Akismet spam prevention. We’ve actually been using Akismet in the background for some time. In fact, Akismet has intercepted nearly 1/4 million attempted spam comments so far at Brigada.org alone. We’re thankful. We hope they can keep up now, without Captcha pitching in. We’ll see.

Another improvement this week: If you’ve tried to log on at Brigada during the past week or so, you might have noticed things were beginning to slow down a bit. As our user load increased (or maybe as we picked up some denial-of-service attacks from non-like-minded folks?), our site was beginning to experience incredible strain. So this week, we swallowed hard then moved the entire site to a new cluster-driven set of servers. Things are humming again. And you’ll note: the site remains ad-free: Never have we served up Google ads, and we hope to stay ad-free and clean for your reading convenience, for as long as we can. Haven’t seen a Google-ad-free site in a while? We encourage you to visit Brigada.org. (We think it’s quite a different experience to see a site that doesn’t flash or wave banner ads in your face.) Brigada is completely supported by gifts from people like you, and by churches and agencies like yours. We’re grateful for your help that makes our work possible. God be praised.

1) New at Brigada.org

Bucket Brigade

Bucket Brigade

Merry Christmas, from Brigada.org!
*** If you had lost your subscription to Brigada, the email version, we hope you’re restored with this email. Welcome back.
*** You can now subscribe to comments, either as you post a comment yourself, or even without posting. The prompts are fairly intuitive at the bottom of each comment box.
*** New Brigada email versions will now have the Table of Contents at the top, back by popular request.
*** Discerning readers might have noticed a slight difference in formatting in the last Brigada for Email version. We finally have a tool worked out which eliminates the need to hand-code the email version separately from the web version. It is literally saving us two hours/week. Lord willing, this will also help us stay a bit more on schedule as we turn the corner into the new year.
*** In the next edition (Dec. 30th), we’ll be updating our Cool Tools for Travelers and Global Christian Workers file. Find it at …
http://www.brigada.org/cooltools

If you have a Cool Tool you’d like to have included in this compilation, please enter it as a comment to that page. We hope to go to press with the Dec. 30th edition within 48 hours of your receiving this email. Thanks for updates you send our way!

9) Taylor Your Brigada To Your Tastes —

Did you know you could subscribe to Brigada via either GoogleGroups or YahooGroups? Either version is free… and there’s a tiny difference you might want to consider. GoogleGroups, in keeping with their plain and simple approach, does not convert the URL’s to clickable links. So if you want “plain and simple,” subscribe via GoogleGroups. YahooGroups, on the other hand, seems to prefer power over plain. They DO convert the URL’s to links in your email text. If you prefer the ease of clicking in your email, choose YahooGroups. It’s your choice and, once again, both versions are free. Get instructions (and even cool little subscribe forms) at…

http://www.brigada.org/subscribe

If you decide to unsubscribe from the version you’re getting currently, be sure to note the instructions in “Closing Stuff” at the end of any Brigada edition. Thanks.

7) Growing Brigada

We have a buddy from North African who wrote, this past week, “Let’s admit it. God has blesses this network we call Brigada. That’s why it kind of bothers me when I meet missionaries and missions enthusiasts who have never heard of it. Would you please share ideas (or even better yet, commitments!) about how we could expand our network?” Just click “Comment” on the web version of this query. Thanks!

11) How To Get Brigada Reprints

The thing is… they’re *always* available, 24/7. Just use the “tag cloud” (left margin) to search for the item you’re seeking. Or search by date using the unfolding date-edition listing at left, above the tag cloud. You can also search for needle-in-a-haystack words using the whole-text search box above that. Either way, back-issues are always available, always free, and always fruitful. For example, to find that item on those great home-made journals, created by using the covers of old missions books, just go to:

http://www.brigada.org/

then scan down the tag cloud to find the word, “journals”. Click on it, watch the wheels whirrr for a moment, then — bam — there’s your info. It’s free… and available any time you desire.

12) Seeking Your Opinion: Brigada On Facebook?

This past week, a worker in India wrote to inquire, “Might it be good to run Brigada off of Facebook?” He explained, “I am just experimenting with that for my India email group. I was able to upload my email list in Facebook and it automatically found existing members/friends. Plus, I can invite non members to join also who are on my email list. And I have an email group on Facebook that I use to email a newsletter to members/friends. Then they receive the email and it is also in Facebook. I will still probably use the regular email list too as a secondary system and for those who don’t sign up for Facebook. The possible advantages are interactions between members and less chance of losing track of members. If someone’s email changes then hopefully they will update it on Facebook and that would allow me to maintain contact with them. Whereas, many times in the past people who wanted my email forgot to tell me that their email changed, hence, they were removed from my list.” What do you think? Would such a version be helpful… or unnecessary… or weird? :-) We already send Brigada via GoogleGroups and YahooGroups (you get to choose which service you want), plus we archive it on the web. Should we add a fourth version? Please jot your opinion by clicking on “Comment” below the web version of this item.

6) Missionary-Types Love Their Tools

Some 200 items dealing with technology (VPNs, for example), Facebook, webinars, another couple of hundred on training, dozens more on software, … the list goes on. The missionary enterprise (and Brigada in particular) seem keen on “gearing up” for missions. In the end, however, we realize the entire process is a work of the Spirit. We just enjoy keeping in touch while He helps us carry it out.

2) Get Notified When there are New Comments Posted to an Item

Interested in keeping track of new comments to a particular Brigada item? (Peter was.) Say one of our items asks for input on recommended shippers. Just go to that item and click “Comment” below it. Enter a one-line comment like this: “Subscribing…” or “Notify me please”. You’ll notice you’re now given the choice of being notified by email each and every time a Brigada participant enters an additional new comment.(Note: You might have to register a Google ID, but it’s free and they guarantee no spam / never sell to their Google members.) Just fill out your complete email address and now, just like that, every new entry will trigger a notification email to you. (Peter, hope that helps!)
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