Online

Improved discussion boards

Several months ago, we were forced to have all new *cino discussion board registrations approved by a board administrator in order to keep malicious users from posting spam and wreaking havoc on the site. Then we were overwhelmed by bogus registrations–at least 25 a day–until we were no longer approving any registrations, which obviously runs contrary to the kind of invitational community we’re trying to foster here.
Well, we have made a significant breakthrough today by adding Akismet authorization to everything posted on the board, from new registrations to discussion posts. Akismet is a service that checks information submitted against a vast database of confirmed spam criteria, returning either a positive or negative value back to our site that it can use to confirm or reject a user or a post automatically.
Users can once again register without a moderator’s approval simply by confirming an e-mail address after registration.
We apologize to many of you who tried to register over the last several months and were unable to have your account activated for use. We tried to find and activate legitimate registrations in the 900 or so unactivated accounts we recently deleted from our database. If we missed your account, we hope you’ll see this message and register again to participate in the *cino community!

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Event

^camping is not optional 2007!

^camping is not optional 2007 is once again being brought to you by *culture is not optional and Russet House Farm. Unlike Practicing Resurrection, the conference we organized last year, this summer's events will be much more informal. From outings to local farms and businesses to discussions and jam sessions on the farm, this year's event will remind ^camping veterans of outings past. From August 6-12 you are invited to come to Cameron, Ontario for a week (or as much time as you'd like) of camping, exploring the Kawarthas, campfires, communal worship, reflection, play, swimming, and farm activities. While we are not organizing a full scale conference for this year, we will facilitate a potluck dinner in the camping area on Saturday night and communal worship on Sunday morning. Other activities like bible study, evening prayer, yoga, interpretive dance, capture the flag, metaphysical support groups, group therapy, poetry readings, salon-style conversations on whatever people want to talk about, and other crazy ideas will emerge from the midst of the camping community. Register now!

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Online

New server

Well … it’s happened again, a little earlier than expected. After a number of utilities on which we rely–our web sites, e-mail lists and others–started failing a little too regularly on our old server, we decided to move to a new, more reliable server. Wouldn’t you know it? The day we initiated the move, all of our sites went down on the old server–making our move a little less graceful than we had hoped.
Anyway, we almost have everything back to normal here at *cino central, barring a few tests. In fact, this blog post is serving two purposes: letting you all know what’s going on and testing our blogging capabilities on the new server.
Thank you for your continued patience and for your participation in the *cino community.

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Online

#100

catapult published its 100th issue last Friday with “Busy is Good,” which, while only a number in the middle of two others, is still pretty neat.

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Event

Announcing Practicing Resurrection 2006!

Hello, past and potential campers! As many of you know, *culture is not optional has sponsored yearly camping trips (with the exception of last year) since before its inception. In fact, it was our first camping trip that was the catalyst for officially launching *cino.
This year, *cino is partnering with the folks at Russet House Farm to bring you a new and improved camping conference called Practicing Resurrection in Cameron, Ontario from August 7 through August 13. The basic format is this: campers will gather at the farm informally August 7-10 for local outings, storytelling, networking and relaxation. August 11-13 will feature more formal presentations on a variety of topics (including kids’ activities), artistic presentations, a shared meal and opportunities for worship. Workshops and discussions will cover a wide range of subjects, from fashion to travel, industrial design to canning, all with eyes and ears tuned in to how we as a community might living into the Kingdom here and now. Participants will be able to register for the entire week or select days.
Because this is our first conference of this sort, space is limited (100 conference registrants, 50 campers on the farm itself)–so register soon! To find out more details and register, visit the complete Practicing Resurrection web site. Please feel free to ask any questions. We hope to see you there for all or part of the week!

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Online

Ditching Google

Well, we’ve decided to finish our test of Google AdSense a little prematurely because it’s proving ineffective, both as a tool for generating revenue and networking online resources.

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Event

Calvin Festival of Faith & Writing

*cino will have a display at this year’s Festival of Faith & Writing. If you’re attending or in the neighborhood, please drop by the Prince Conference Center to visit with us. We’d love to meet new folks and re-acquaint ourselves with the many we’ve met at previous conferences!

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Online

50 free songs

We’ve added a new music affiliate to our roster–you may have noticed the eMusic logo on the catapult home page. eMusic has a trial offer that allows you to download 50 free songs–from artists like Neko Case, Cat Power, Johnny Cash, Arcade Fire, The Decembrists and more–to see if you’d be interested in subscribing. And *cino will earn $6 per person who signs up for the trial (even if you don’t subscribe)!
eMusic is an online music retailer that sells independent music through subscription plans starting at $9.99 per month. But unlike other subscription models (Real Rhapsody, Napster, etc.), eMusic allows you to download tracks into your music library. For example, the $9.99 plan gives you 40 downloads per month.

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Online

New site

We’ve published a new home page for *culture is not optional and will be adding sections to the site as we’re able. We’re hoping to have a much friendlier and more useful site in the near future. Updates to follow …

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Online

Google AdSense

If you’ve visited catapult recently, you may have noticed the Google text ads on the issue and article pages. While we’ve resisted advertising to this point for practical and aesthetic reasons, we’re running a two month test with Google to see what kind of ads are served to our pages and what the possibility for revenue might be.
We’ll let you know in a few months what our verdict is; in the meantime, please feel free to give us your feedback on this venture.

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