Tech notes

It’s been a while since we gave you a tech update and so we’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about a couple of things you might be interested in.  But before we do, we’d like to remind you about Everyclick.  It’s a search engine, which uses Yahoo technology.  Instead of a silly logo it has the advantage of an attractive photo on the homepage which changes every day, but the real benefit is that it donates half its profits to charity.  To date nearly £3,000,000 has been dispensed in this way.  Each of the 200,000 charities benefiting from it is allocated a share of the profits in proportion to the number of searches made by their registered supporters.  So if you nominate Syzygy, we get money every time you do a search!  So far we’ve received nearly £70 just by searching!

You can also give directly to Syzygy (as you can through Everyclick) via, a new initiative set up by Stewardship.  Just go to and follow the simple online instructions.  It’s easy for charities and individuals to donate, and it’s fully integrated with Stewardship’s existing systems so if you already have an account with them, they already know where to send the money.

Those of you who have a phone which enables you to download apps may be interested in The Examine App (, a useful new tool from the Headington Institute.  We have mentioned before the role of the daily Examen in developing spiritual awareness and managing stress, and this app is a simple way of bringing technology to bear on that centuries-old discipline.  It asks you a few simple questions about how you are feeling, and records your answers so that you can look back over time and observe your progress.  It also gives you opportunities for reflection and response.  We recommend you use it daily for best effect.

Nearly a year ago we told you about the benefits of using Dropbox to keep your files and photos on somebody else’s server and so facilitate sharing and backups.  However some people are worried that although the data encryption is of a standard that will prevent your files being hacked, the geeks at Dropbox can still look at your files, if they want to.  For some of us that is an unacceptable security risk.  If that’s you, you might want to take a look at Spideroak.  They claim that their ‘Zero-Knowledge’ privacy commitment means that they can’t see your files, even if they wanted to.  Neither can foreign governments.  While there are some chatroom grumbles about slow syncing speeds and even slower customer service, it’s had good reviews from some reputable PC mags, and for people with large networks there is no limit on the number of computers that can be linked to it.  You also get your first 2 gig of storage free for life.

If you come across any technological solutions that might be of use to mission workers, please let us know at


Continuing our series introducing you to technological solutions, this month I’d like to show you Dropbox.  This is a method of storing files online so that they can be easily shared and accessed from more than one computer (and your mobile phone) as long as you have an internet connection.  If you don’t have a reliable internet connection where you live, don’t stop reading, as it may be useful to you for sharing files.  If you’re a Mac user, you’ll already have access to iCloud, but you might find Dropbox helpful as well.

What is it? Dropbox is a very simple online storage facility which adds a new folder to your documents folders.  Into this you can drag any existing document, which is stored by dropbox independently of your computer.

How does it work? Whenever you update a file in your dropbox, the online master will automatically be updated.  When you log on with another computer, the copy on that one will be updated automatically by the one held on dropbox.  If you’re sharing files with someone else, the copy on their computer will automatically be updated almost instantaneously.

Why do you need it? Dropbox means that all your files are kept in one place, not on your computer.  So if your computer breaks down or is stolen, your documents are still safe.  You also never need to back them up again, as Dropbox takes care of this for you.  If you use more than one computer (for example, one at home and one at work) you no longer have the hassle of transferring files between them.  It also makes it easy to share files with colleagues.  You do this by inviting another person to share a folder with you.  They can then see, and amend, anything in your computer.  So in future there are no more problems copying files to one another, and being uncertain who has the latest version.

What are the drawbacks? If you don’t have reliable internet access, you may not have access to the cloud copies of your files.  You can still work on the copies stored on your computer, but if you have previously made changes to the dropbox copies, you will have to reconcile the two files.  This could become a significant problem if people sharing files are frequently offline, but if two modified files clash, dropbox informs you so that you can sort it out between you.

How do I share files? Create a folder and drag the files you want to share into it.  Then using my computer, right click on dropbox, and select ‘share this folder’.  Enter the email address of whoever you want to share this with, and hit send.  When they respond to an email they’re sent, they will be able to see (WARNING: and amend!) all the files in this folder.  They will, however, have no access to your other folders on dropbox.

Is it safe? My tech advisor tells me that the data encryption is of good standard and the risk of your documents being hacked is a low as it can be.

What do I do now? Go to and join up!  It’s simple and they’ll talk you through it.  WARNING: if you drag and drop all the files on your computer into dropbox, it can take a very long time to upload them, particularly if they’re photos.

If you have any problems, email for support!