Communications

12) Tech-Tactics: Redundant Communications Pathways

world_pluggedWhat if one of your core communications pathways were suddenly yanked? Would you have options? This past week, I was following a discussion between the I.T. guy for our org (May God bless his name — and his wife and kids; thank you Greg) and one of our field workers in a sensitive land. Our I.T. guy was discussing “redudant mediums.” Now at first, I thought maybe they were talking about extra mind-readers, but very shortly, I realized Greg was actually recommending having communications options in case the bottom fell out of one pathway. For example, he recommended one pathway for an “alert” level message, and another pathway for the ‘main’ message. He gave several options, breaking down the security of each:

iMessage – Relatively high security for content (Apple potentially can read), Only Apple products, Only 9 participants in a group, medium metadata security to keep from linking people together, high traceback since everyone gets everything, difficult to see a summary, based on running conversation of IM style, high reliability of receipt with read notices
Skype – Medium to low security for content (MS can definitely read content, may give access to others), Wide availability of devices, high number of participants in a group, metadata security is expected to be low, high traceback since everyone gets everything, difficult to see a summary, based on running conversation of IM style, relatively high reliability of receipt
VSee – Pretty similar to Skype, with a touch higher security, since it only uses servers to establish contact, then goes device to device.
Threema – High security for content (encrypted inside app), Threema is only on mobile devices, IM platform, high metadata security, IM traceback, high reliability of receipt. Threema is here:

https://threema.ch/en

E-Mail – High to Low content security, high availability, high number of participants in a group, metadata security can be all over the board, high traceback, low conversation mode, summary reports are relatively easy
Hushmail – Relatively high content security, mobile can be tricky, high number of group participants, metadata security is fairly high, high traceback since everyone gets everything, low conversation mode, summary reports are relatively easy
Phone calls – Low security for content, Only phones, low participant group size, no metadata security, no traceback, summary consistency is difficult, high receipt reliability

One of my take-aways from all of this discussion was to make sure our workers have options. A laptop for email, Skype and VSee, a phone for texts and Skype, and in some cases in which the situation is particularly volatile, a third channel such as a satellite beacon (like the “Spot Messenger” service). As a result of all the above, if you’re a local church or agency, why not do an assessment of your workers’ options? If you’re a worker, maybe put a Spot Messenger on your Christmas list? : )

9) Cool Tools: The Best Voice-over-Internet Telephony Solution?

The one we all use is, of course.

http://www.skype.com

 

It’s essentially free, good quality, easy to grasp. You can put money on account then call into the local grid. And they continue to innovate. (Of course, they were purchased not long ago by Microsoft, so who knows where they’ll go in the future.) You can pay a premium fee ($15 per month?) for conference-calling over the Internet (up to 10 or 15 people). But there are other solutions. We have recommended, in the past

http://www.oovoo.com (essentially a knock-off of Skype)

Haven’t heard much from them lately. There are other such companies. What’s your favorite? MagicJack? Vonage? What was that one that we highlighted in Brigada a while back that MAF recommended? PC-see or something like that? Please use the comment boxes below to tell your own favorite and why.

1) Learn to Use Visual Arts to Communicate the Gospel —

The School of Frontier Media [SFM] is a six-month, second-level YWAM school, devoted to training individuals in using visual arts to communicate the Gospel in ways that are both innovative and culturally relevant. They equip you in your endeavor to make Christ known through means that not only allow the least reached to hear, but see and experience the truth. Learn more at…

 

http://www.createthailand.com/en/training/school-of-frontier-media

 

They have a course coming up June 29 through Dec. 14 2012. It begins with 3 months of training in Chiang Mai, Thailand, then takes off internationally on a 4-week media safari.

13) myVU Seeking 1000 Citizen Journalists —

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. (Crossroads) are excited to announce a new partnership that will enhance the voice and message of Christians on the global stage.  The two organizations are collaborating on a new mechanism for communicating international stories from a Christian perspective – a citizen journalist initiative known as myVU. To kick start the initiative, the WEA and Canadian-based Crossroads are recruiting 1,000 citizen journalists who, once approved, will be able to submit video stories to Crossroads’ myVU site for broadcasting via television and the web. If you know of a prospective myVU citizen journalist, encourage them to apply online by:

 

http://www.crossroads.ca/myvu

 

Read more details at…

 

http://100huntley.com/video.php?id=5-C3FXWOI_8

2) Train Your Team How To Communicate Effectively

jimandsueEquip your people with fundamental, scripture-based skills to become more harmonious and efficient within your team. Reduce the incidence of missionary attrition caused by interpersonal conflict with other missionaries. Christar missionaries experienced in training missionary teams can travel to your location and train intact teams in three three-hour sessions. Call (USA) +1.703.378.7095 or Skype jimandsue2. Email

title="jimkeller2atgmaildotcom" src="http://wwwdotbrigadadotorg/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/jimkeller2atgmaildotcomdotbmp" alt="jimkeller2atgmaildotcom" />.

Details at

http://www.jimandsue.org

Learn fundamental talking skills to understand and explain yourself better. Learn effective listening skills to maximize understanding in routine or complex situations. Learn how to resolve issues as a team to – quell internal team tensions – optimize new opportunities – solve problems external to the team or with other teams – create new communication patterns to overcome cross-cultural conflicts.

And by the way, the same benefits apply to marriages for couples who take the team training.

1) Global (SIM Card) Cell Provider

Here’s a great service for anyone wanting to keep in touch while traveling abroad. They provide a Global SIM card that can be used with any GSM Tri or Quad band phone to travel just about anywhere in the world. You will save as much as 90% or more on cellular calls while traveling abroad. Best of all they will assign you a local U.S. number to take with you so that friends and family here in the U.S. can easily keep in touch with you without making an International Long Distance call. Find out more by visiting their website

http://www.globalairtime.com/

2) Home-Office Field Connection

Our organization is going through a 20 month reinvent and one of the things we hope to accomplish is strengthen the relationship and network that exists between “the home office” and “the field.” So we figured we’d ask… What kinds of processes, technology, etc. does your organization use that promote unity in this area? Just click “comment” on the web version of this query. Thanks for any fellow-helper sharing you can do.

12) The Backpage: Trouble In Vpn-City

I just returned tonight from a trip to the Middle East, primarily in a country that filters Internet access through a national proxy. None of the hotel rooms (that I stayed in) had in-room Internet… so it was Internet cafes for me in each stop. You’ve heard us say before on Brigada — the only way to safely access POP3 email at an Internet café is to shield your communication in a secure software tunnel referred to as a virtual private network (VPN). There *are* solutions for encrypted email (like Hushmail), but none of them allow you to use a simple POP3 box with a client like Outlook. For example, I *was* able to access my Hushmail account, but … it’s just not as quick and easy. Plus, it’s not very dependable off-line (I’ve had annoying glitches keeping the Outlook IMAP3 plug-in to stay in the running with Hushmail.) So… for convenient POP3 email *and* for secure web-browsing to the site of your choice, you really need a VPN in any country which would misunderstand your good intentions… or anytime you’re exchanging information about sensitive finances.

In the old days, a VPN might have raised your profile; not so any more. Every business man that passes financial information uses (or ought to use) a VPN. You usually wouldn’t have to carry around a hardware device to run a VPN. Many “software” versions are available, usually by running a “client-side” application on your laptop — which, in turn, talks to a VPN “server-side” mother-ship application, either on your own server back in your homeland, or, alternatively, via a server maintained by the company from which you buy or rent the VPN service. Some companies will offer a VPN for free (usually with other, more powerful services sold for pay), while other charge a nominal fee per month.

One thing I noticed was that it seemed there was no consistent result with the VPN that we hand out to our workers going to sensitive fields. We use Cisco and we oversee the “dashboard” for this VPN ourselves, so it’s really easy to maintain. But, not in this particular land. For example, at the first Internet café I visited on the opening day of this trip, every time I logged on to the VPN, the connectivity to the Internet would vanish. (Have you encountered something similar to that in other instances? If so, please click on “comment” below this item and give your testimony — completely anonymously if you desire.) That night, I tried Wytopia, HotSpotVPN, PublicVPN, and a handful of other VPN suppliers. *Hushmail* worked (without the VPN), but, as for my POP3 mail, I left empty-handed that night. I wasn’t willing to download it into the open. Now later in the week, I went back to that same café and tried again — and this time it worked! (Have you experienced that too?) I wondered later… if I had rebooted, would it have reset some routine that allowed it to connect? Either way, let’s start a list below of our favorite vendors for VPNs, along with anything to beat the problems. Here are the issues we seem to be battling, in the “real-world testing” department:

*** Some internet cafes seem to have blocked the port that the VPN uses?
*** It seems inconsistent; it’ll work sometimes and not work other times.
*** The VPN would sometimes just drop… like… if the wireless radio in the coffee shop had a hiccup, the secure-conduit would drop. (Sometimes when I’d try to launch it again, it wouldn’t have exited cleanly, so I’d have to reboot first. Hassle. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind all the hassles in the world, if they help us do this stuff securely. I’m just wondering if there’s a better way out there.)

Maybe we’ll find an obvious lay-down best VPN in the world? :-) Or maybe a satellite solution has leap-frogged the old technology and now we don’t even need internet cafes anymore?

8) Is Skype Secure?

Hats off to Kathy, for helping us start a thread on Skype security — or the lack thereof. She drew our attention to…

http://missionarygeek.blogspot.com/2008/10/skype-monitored-in-china-intra-and.html

and from the NY Times, earlier this month …
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/technology/internet/02skype.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

These sites document that skype conversations are both censored AND archived in China…long suspected, but now confirmed.

1) Looking for a Global Cell Phone Solution?

Then would you at least try GlobalAirtime.com? First, please give them a look because they have committed to sponsoring Brigada on a regular basis. (They just sent a $50 gift this past week.) Second, they are creating innovative plans designed specifically with cross-cultural workers in mind. For example, check out their product called Celtrek Global SIM Card. It provides the latest in global communications technology by allowing users to travel practically anywhere around the world and use their own cellular phones to make and receive calls at a fraction of the rate their network carrier would normally charge. You simply replace your network carrier SIM card with the Global SIM Card and start saving up to 90% or more on mobile calls from overseas. Best of all, you have one U.S. based phone number assigned to you no matter how many different countries you travel to. If you happen to be from the USA, this allows for all calls from friends and family in the states to be local calls. If you’re from other countries, check with GlobalAirtime about other deals for your land. Learn more at

http://www.globalairtime.com/

or contact Andy at +1-314-640-0261.

20010930 Brigada Today

In this issue….

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MISSIONARY CRISIS MANAGEMENT MATERIALS

This is a horrific, but appropriate time to remind mission leaders and missionaries that if you don’t manage the crisis, it will manage you. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Many missionaries and missions have contributed to a fairly large amount of crisis management information that is available free for missionaries to use to develop their own crisis plans. Information is available that relates to kidnapping, car bombs, record keeping, evacuation, Rapid Kidnap, home security, a generic security manual and more. Contact Rich – rcwagneratcompuservedotcom  (rcwagneratcompuservedotcom)   or rcwagneratenlacedotnet  (rcwagneratenlacedotnet)  . He’ll verify that you are who you say you are, then send you some free crisis consulting materials. Now… I’ve told him he might get… literally… hundreds of requests… but hey… the guy has survived car bombs, kidnapping, and tons more. So what’s a flooded email inbox among friends! :-) He says he’ll do it for the Brigada family! Yahooo!Yahoo :-)
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OXFORD MA IN COMMUNICATION PRACTICE

graduation cap The MA in Communication offered by the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies has recently been revalidated and OCMS are now accepting applications for the MA in Communication Practice. Printed copies of the course brochure are available on request from the course manager, Geoff Morgan gmorganatocmsdotacdotuk  (gmorganatocmsdotacdotuk)   The brochure may also be downloaded from the ICTI web site http://www.icmc.org/icti/ma.pdf or the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies website.
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STRESS MANAGEMENT

book “Big Book” Stress Management is a new book by chr. author and counselor, Eva-Maria Woodruff. Originally written as a doctoral thesis, it is now available in book form. It seeks to warn “Family Members” about the deceptive and dangerous pseudo-scientific practices used in counseling, medicine (especially cancer treatment and pain management), business and education. It then offers sound “Big Book” alternatives compatible with true scientific findings. You may order it from any bookstore that has an account with Spring Arbor distributors or e-mail the author at evamwoodataoldotcom  (evamwoodataoldotcom)  . To open a new account with Spring Arbor (in case your area has no bookstore) you may call 800-937-0152. They require no minimum purchase.
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OPERATION WORLD CD CORRECTION

lighting the way In the 2001/08/31 BRIGADA TODAY we said: “Patrick and the GMI folks have given you permission in advance to utilize these resources in your newsletter or website”. Those who followed our advice to “read the details on the CD” will have noticed that except for brief quotations, the permissions granted in advance are only for printed materials. Sorry about that!!!
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IMPROVED OPERATION WORLD WEB LINKS

WebWatch Michael Jaffarian, who researched most of the web links for the Operation World Book and CD- ROM, has provided his full research database (including star ratings and abstracts not included in the book or CD-ROM) for inclusion on the Operation World web site. These expanded listings may be reached from: http://operationworld.org/updates/website.html

or using the “For updated links, see . . .” links at the bottom of the Internet Links pages on the OW CD-ROM. From any country web site update page, click “Web Sites” on the Table of Contents to see the World and subject-related sites.

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OPERATION WORLD WANTS YOU!

WebWatch The new web site update pages have a form where you can suggest new web sites. Afghanistan, for example, has only one entry currently. Please add your favorite web sites for countries, regions, or topics of interest to you.
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WANNA’ HELP WITH AN INTERNET SECURITY SURVEY?

Here’s the chance you’ve been dreaming about! :-) Mike, an “Aussie”, is doing a survey from “down under”, and he’d love to get your input. Here are the questions:

  • What is your role in missions?
  • How important for you is internet security in missions?
  • What security measures do you take in getting information to your counterparts around the world?
  • What ways do you protect the sending and receiving of information?
  • How do you handle emails with those in secure countries/regions?
  • What and/or is your biggest security threat?
  • In what ways has your security been breached in the past?
  • How did you deal with that breech?
  • How is publicity of your organization done using the Internet? i.e. in regard to websites or other.
  • Are you concerned with the names of domains and/or email addresses associated with your organization?
  • Any other comments you have about internet security and missions.

If we participate, he’ll report about the outcome of the survey here on Brigada! Just email your response to: mikeallatworldviewdotedudotau  (mikeallatworldviewdotedudotau)   To qualify, make sure you email the response within 7 days of receiving this Brigada Today! Thanks!

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MUSIC TO REACH UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS

musical notes Would you like to help a group develop indigenous Christian songs? Consider taking a week-long course at CIT in N. Carolina (Oct. 29-Nov. 2, also end of April 2002). The focus is on empowering a community to make culturally-appropriate Christian music, and to use it effectively in evangelism, worship, and church planting. You do not need to be a musician to benefit from this course. Some attention will be given to music of each student’s geographical interest. See http://www.citi.org or write NeeleyPLatnetscapedotnet  (NeeleyPLatnetscapedotnet)   for information.
noteSorry the notice is short… but we’re hoping that if you can’t make the 10/29 class, maybe you can shoot for the April version!
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“COUNTRY NETWORK” MISSION DOMAINS

A Christian initiative to assist in promoting mission advocacy networking worldwide, is offering “network domains” for almost every country in the world. For example “TheAfganistanNetwork.com” or “ThePakistanNetwork.com” For inquiries on country availability and price email jacksonatdoctordotcom  (jacksonatdoctordotcom)  .
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BRIGADA TODAY IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE FOLLOWING TEAM OF REGULAR VOLUNTEERS:

*Global Glimpses: John Hanna, Caleb Project, jhannaatcprojectdotcom  (jhannaatcprojectdotcom)  
*Brigada Website: Bob Mayhew, WebServantatbrigadadotorg  (WebServantatbrigadadotorg)  
*Brigada Customer Service Manager: helpatbrigadadotorg  (helpatbrigadadotorg)  
*Brigada Coordinator: Doug Lucas, Team Expansion & Brigada, DLucasatteamexpansiondotorg  (DLucasatteamexpansiondotorg)  
*and many other occasional contributors too numerous to mention!
But thanks for working together! That’s the dream of Brigada!
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