Traction Handbook for Model Railroads

Traction Handbook for Model RailroadsTraction Handbook for Model Railroads by Paul Mallery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An excellent book on trolleys and traction. A must have for the traction modeler. My only complaint is that the explanations and illustrations can be a bit hard too follow at times. The thing that would have actually improved this is white space. The book should have been a few pages longer – just to allow for some better spacing of the illustrations with the text. But overall excellent reference, and fantastic pictures.

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"Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide" – Guest Review

Web Strategy GuideAt the Charleston Social Media Club panel on February 16th, one of the audience members asked for recommendations on good books for learning more about social media. We all know that technology-related books can be outdated pretty quickly. However, “Web 2.0: A strategy Guide” by Amy Shuen is a good introduction for users new to the Web 2.0 world and since it covers strategy; it is a very relevant book. It goes beyond just the latest and greatest tools.

Amy Shuen encourages the audience to ask relevant questions before embarking on a social media plan. How will we draw people to our site? Can we learn from users as they visit us? What is the target group? How will it change our business practices? How much input do we want?

Shuen gives an overview of well-known applications, such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, along with implications for their use. Web 2.0 tools make it difficult to control content, but more likely to generate interest from users because of its interactive nature. As I’ve mentioned to groups when introducing them to social media, people need to get past the idea of “control” and think more about influencing the audience. There are powerful multiplying effects of social media that people should tap into. After finishing this book, the reader should be able to begin implementation of a Web 2.0 plan and think strategically about maximizing online opportunities.

Guest post by Tina Arnoldi of the Coastal Community Foundation. Please be sure to check out her blog on technology for non-profit organizations. You can also find her on Twitter at @TinaArnoldi.

Review of Christian Civility in an Uncivil World

Note: This review was published in the November 29, 2009 issue of The Post & Courier. The reviewer the Rev. Robert M. Knight, pastor of First Christian Church of Charleston.

Christian Civility in an Uncivil WorldMitch Carnell, a lay leader at Charleston’s historic First Baptist Church, is concerned about a lack of civility in public affairs and church life. His concern has led him to edit an insightful book called “Christian Civility in an Uncivil World.”

The essays are written by notable church leaders representing various Christian traditions. John Gehring and Alexia Kelley are Roman Catholic laypersons who write about mediating and modulating too much inflammatory rhetoric and negotiating the politics of the church they know and love.

The Rev. Sally Dyck, bishop of the United Methodist Church, Minnesota Conference, draws on a distinctive Wesleyan tradition she terms “Holy Conferencing.” Dyck outlines an approach to negotiating and problem-solving designed to minimize the unfortunate consequences of a church life reduced to “winners” and “losers.” She has adapted this approach from Methodism’s founder John Wesley.

Another bishop, the Rev. Stacy Sauls of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, Ky., who is also an attorney, writes with notable pastoral sensitivity concerning the conflict in the church he loves and serves surrounding the matter of one’s sexual orientation.
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Review: The Hole In The Gospel

The Hole in Our Gospel: What does God expect of Us? The Answer that Changed my Life and Might Just Change the Worldir?t=palmettobugdigit&l=as2&o=1&a=0785229183 is not so much about a hole in the gospel or the Bible as it is about a hole in the way people live their lives. People today are caught up in the trappings and appearances of being good. They worry about what other people are doing and what modern entertainment might be doing to the morality of our youth. But what these people aren’t doing is letting their lives serve as their example.

hole_in_the_gospelRichard Stearns was a man who seemingly had it all. He was a successful businessman, community leader and family man. He had the big house, the Jaguar, and the country club membership. But just at the time he was at the peak of his career, he was called upon to do something more. Something much harder. He had to face the real evil in the world – he had to face the hunger, need, and want of the forgotten.

Too many of us would rather concentrate on our lives, write the occasional check to charity, and forget about the real calling of all moral people – Christian or otherwise. What Stearns calls our attention to in this book is that we are all called upon to lift up each other. We do not succeed in making the world a better place by memorizing verses, patting ourselves on the backs, or isolating ourselves from problems. It is only by putting our lives, not just our money, where our mouths are that we can perform the duties that we were put on this earth to perform.

To fill the hole in the gospel, we must fill the hole in our hearts and in our world. We must go out and make the world a better place. This is the message that has often been missing and the message that Stearns delivers powerfully through this book. Whether you are a Christian, member of another religion, or a member of no religion, this book is important and moving. The hole exists for us all, no matter what gospel we follow, and it is our duty and privilege to work on filling in that hole.

Note: The publisher gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of. There were no strings attached, and that gratis review copy in no way swayed my opinions towards this work.

Building A WordPress Blog People Want To Read

building_a_wordpress_blogBuilding A WordPress Blog People Want To Read by Scott McNulty is a new book on setting up and running a successful blog. McNulty has written an easy to understand and at times amusing introduction to getting started with what is currently one of the most popular social media platforms.

Both well written and well illustrated, the book covers everything from downloading and installing the software, to setting up the database, defining system parameters, and selecting a template. What is really excellent about these explanations is that McNulty tells you not only what are the best choices, but what impact those choices will have on your blog in the future. There are many selections you can make when setting up a new WordPress installation that can seriously affect how your blog operates in a year or two when it is getting lots of hits, and McNulty helps you to make well informed decisions.

While the book was written based on version 2.6 of the WordPress software and version 2.7 has now been released, there is very little other than administrative interface that does not apply. Most of the setup choices and database decisions are still the same. It would be great to see a physical or on-line update of the book for WordPress version 2.7, but I think that is just me being greedy.
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