January 24th, 2007

Tech Talk

Last night I had the awesome privilege of attending the Provo LDS Tech Talk spearheaded by the Church’s CIO. It was a great opportunity to rub shoulders w/ some of the Church’s designers and developers. Among others, I was able to meet Joel Dehlin, Tadd Giles, Gilbert Lee, Jason Lynes, Randy Hall, and Aaron Barker.

The Church has an awesome group of interaction designers and I’ve been very pleased with the work they’ve produced (bonus points for using Macs and Textmate).

For those that weren’t able to attend, the following sessions were available:

  • CIO Presentation * Joel Dehlin, CIO
    Discussion of Church technology, mission, organization, systems and process with the CIO.
  • LDS Technology Community Tom Welch, Community Manager
    Learn how the Church is engaging with its technology community and how you can get involved with new products and services. Visit the new tech web site at beta.ldstech.lds.org.
  • Development & QA David Burggraaf, Director of Development
    Do you love working with cutting edge technology and tools to create complex applications? Come learn about the Java stack we use at the Church.
  • Infrastructure Dave Prestwich, Director of Infrastructure
    What infrastructure technologies (e.g., middleware, servers, databases, storage, networking, etc.) are we using and why? What key infrastructure projects are we planning or are underway? What challenges are we facing?
  • Solutions Delivery Rich Farr, Director of Program Management
    This session will touch on some of the unique challenges of developing and delivering applications for a global organization such as the Church. We will discuss some of the types of applications being delivered and the Church’s approach to managing development projects.
  • Family History * Gordon Clarke & Kevin Ward, FamilySearch
    Come learn about the web services, technologies, and content that will dramatically change the genealogy software industry.
  • Interaction Design * Tadd Giles, Director of User Experience
    Tadd will discuss how we have combined business analysis, interface design, visual design and HTML/CSS coding skills into one role with great results. He’ll also show some current design work and discuss some of the challenges the team faces.
  • Stake Conference Streaming Pete Whiting, Director of Architecture
    We’ll discuss the challenges of connecting buildings for Stake Conferences and other large events, the technologies we’ve looked at, and ask for feedback and suggestions.

It may sound trite, but I really wish I would have been able to attend all of them. They all sound highly interesting to me, but unfortunately we were only able to pick three. The ones tagged with red asterisks were the ones I chose to attend.

While the other two were interesting and very worthy of my time, I was most excited by what I heard in the family history session. Several products, features, and other goodies were announced in the lecture (per Brother Clarke’s prompting, mum’s the word… sorry!) and got me fired up. One of my callings is Stake Family History Extraction Worker (long title…) and I was a Family History Consultant in my previous ward, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting upcoming announcements, and tonight my thirst for an update was satiated. Needless to say, 2007 will be a good year for Family History junkies and “ordinary members”!

Many of us had some good discussion afterwards and enjoyed an overload of snackage. I was recognized by J. Max Wilson and somebody named Josh Lee, both of whom had seen my photos and hence could pick me out of a crowd, as they did. Many of the “virtual acquaintances” I have don’t post photos on their blogs and so while I know a bit about them, I’d walk right past them on the street. It was good to put a face to a name. Anywho.

Overall, the night was a big success. I hope they do more in the future! I understand the hesitancy of opening things up as they have, but I praise Joel and those who have supported him in the new initiatives to expose the Church’s processes and plans to keep us LDS nerds in the loop.

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6 Responses to “Tech Talk”

  1. Michelle
    January 24, 2007 at 12:26 pm #

    Bummer. I was gonna come! Too much going on at home to remember. Sigh. Thanks for the run-down.

  2. Josh Lee
    January 24, 2007 at 5:08 pm #

    Last night was great. Glad I was in town. Like you I wish I had time to attend all the sessions. But the ones I saw I enjoyed. It was a little different to finally see those behind many of the sites I frequently visit. Oh yeah, the cookies were good too! ha.


  3. Russ J
    January 24, 2007 at 6:54 pm #

    Man, I wish I had know about this. I definitely would have been there.

  4. Connor
    January 24, 2007 at 6:59 pm #

    Be sure to also check out J. Max Wilson’s summary of the tech talks. He gives a good summary of the sessions he attended.

  5. Aaron Barker
    January 24, 2007 at 11:45 pm #

    Was nice to meet you as well. Wish I’d come down to that end of the building a little earlier to talk some more. Hopefully they can make this a semi-regular event and we all can get together a little more formally next time.


  1. More Good Foundation Blog » Report on LDS Church Tech Talks - January 25, 2007

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