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June, 2018
Feature Preview: Preview Display

May, 2018
Feature Preview: Slide Show Sub-themes

April, 2018
Feature Preview: Image Rotation Meta Data

March, 2018
Feature Preview: Image Rotation

November, 2017
Feature Preview: Slide Show Artisan

July, 2017
Feature Review: Audio Chain

February, 2017
Feature Preview: SongShow Drive

June, 2016
Feature Review: Slide Scheduling

December, 2015
Feature Preview: SongShow Synchronization

September, 2015
Feature Review: SongShow Signage

August, 2015
Slide Show on the Run

July, 2015
From Full Screen to Lower Thirds

June, 2015
Using JavaScript in a Presentation

January, 2015
Feature Preview: Slide Builder Toolbar Update

December, 2014
Feature Preview: Tree of Life Version Bible

November, 2014
Feature Preview: Timers Enhanced

October, 2014
Feature Preview: Multiple Control Window Layouts

September, 2014
Feature Review: Replicate Effect

August, 2014
Feature Preview: Display Masks

July, 2014
Feature Preview: Mirrored Content to the Stage Display

June, 2014
Feature Preview: Environmental Projection

May, 2014
Feature Preview: Customize Stage Display

November, 2013
Using Text Styles on Non-text Objects

October, 2013
Using Text A, B, and C to Position Text

September, 2013
Enhancement: Pan / Zoom Multiple Paths

August, 2013
Enhancement: Using a Machine-local Access Point

Feature Preview: Authentication for Mobile Apps

July, 2013
Feature Preview: Control Window Panel Arrangements

June, 2013
Feature Preview: Other Song Importer Enhancements

Feature Preview: Microsoft Word Import

Feature preview: PDF Import

May, 2013
Feature Preview: Even More Displays

April, 2013
Feature Preview: Shift Worship Import

Feature Preview: Planning Center Online Import

Feature Preview: SongSelect Import

March, 2013
Feature Preview: Video and Image Properties in Themes

Feature Preview: Slide Properties Themes

Feature Preview: Media-specific Slide Properties

February, 2013
Dropbox, Google Drive, and Sky Drive

January, 2013
Feature Preview: Background Layers

December, 2012
Feature Preview: Fill in the Blank Animation

November, 2012
Feature Preview: Grid Line Enhancements

October, 2012
Feature Preview: Color Selection Enhancements

September, 2012
Feature Preview: Secondary Display now a First Class Feature

GoFishMedia ProKey Systems: HD Ready, but SD while you wait.

August, 2012
Feature Review: Media Uploader App

July, 2012
Remote Control of the iPad App

June, 2012
DeckLink Support Enhancements

May, 2012
Video Device Support Enhancements

April, 2012
Feature Preview: Audio Track per Slide

March, 2012
Feature Preview: Transport Control for Slide Shows

February, 2012
Feature Preview: Video Fade In/Out

January, 2012
Feaure Review: SongShow Plus Control iPad App

December, 2011
Feature Review: Quick List

November, 2011
Feature Review: Slide Previews

October, 2011
Feature Review: Keep Display Windows Visible

September, 2011
Feature Review: Secondary Display

August, 2011
Feature Review: Keyboard Navigation Mode

Feature Review: Tablet Stage Monitor

July, 2011
Feature Review: Multi-language Support

June, 2011
Feature Review: Undo/Redo, Auto Save

May, 2011
Feature Preview: Unicode Support

April, 2011
Postmortem: October 2010 Edition

March, 2011
Feature Review: Mobile Control, Color Improv

Feature Review: Mobile Control, Background Improv

February, 2011
Feature Review: Mobile Control

January, 2011
Feature Review: Presenting Slide Steps

December, 2010
Feature Review: Metadata Search

November, 2010
Feature Review: Color Search

October, 2010
Feature Preview: Video Chain Enhancements

September, 2010
Some Nice Fonts

Live Presentation Tips

August, 2010
In Action: Send The Fire Background

PhotoShop: Content Aware Scaling and Fill

July, 2010
Feature Review: YouTube and Vimeo support

Feature Review: Color Key

Pictures from the God and Country Festival

June, 2010
Feature Review: Transparent Color Tolerance Setting

Feature Review: Split Monitors

Dana Key

May, 2010
Feature Review: Blink/Scroll

April, 2010
Feature Review: Control Panel Tabs Arrangement

March, 2010
Feature Review: Audio Improv

Feature Review: Instant Message/Stage Message

Feature Review: Overlay Improv

Feature Review: Color Improv

February, 2010
The Live Video plug-in Still Has Life at CFN

January, 2010
Reflection Effect, PhotoShop vs. SongShow Plus

Feature Review: Reflection Effect

December, 2009
5 Minutes With Doug Reece

The December 2009 Edition

November, 2009
Tips & Tricks: Have a D: drive

October, 2009
Frio Suite

Feature Review: Pasting from Zip Files

Photos from the United Pentecostal Church International Convention

Photos from FUEL Event

September, 2009
Feature Preview: Basic Global Display Properties

A Better Alternative to Anti-virus Software for Projection Machines

Feature Preview: PowerPoint Import

Feature Preview: Re-running Slide Show Builders

Test Your Video Files!

August, 2009
VBS at EagleNaz: The Giving Slides

VBS at EagleNaz

July, 2009
Networking the Social Networks (attempting to anyway)

In Action: Capital Christian Center

Paul Baloche Live

Feature Review: Clipboard Paste Formatting Options

June, 2009
Chill Cafe

Feature Review: Title Slides for Songs

Revelation Song

Feature Review: Stage Monitor Output

Yet Another Blog

Feature Preview: Easier Hue Adjustment

Feature Preview: Hiding Objects on a Slide

Feature Preview: HTML Export: Custom XSL

Up

Feature Preview: Enabling/Disabling Effects Layers

May, 2009
Wall-E

Feature Preview: HTML Export, Custom CSS, Part 2

Feature Preview: HTML Export, Custom CSS

Have a Backup Plan

Feature Preview: HTML Export

Windows 7

April, 2009
In Action: The Transformed Life

My Church's Favorite: Paul Baloche Songs(?)

March, 2009
Feature Review: DeckLink Plug-in

February, 2009
Feature Preview: Importing External Media

Feature Preview: Enhanced Copy/Paste for Media Files

Feature Preview: Importing from Zip Files

Feature Preview: Invoking Slide Show Builders from AutoPlay

In Action: Margin Adjustment Saves the Day

Working with PhotoShop Artists

January, 2009
The Waiting Kind

So do we need keyboard certification?

Windows 7, or 6.1?

Windows Vista: 2nd Anniversary

December, 2008
In Action: Savor the Season, Part 2

The 2008 Christmas CDs

Two of my favorite hymns arrangements

Blu-ray won, but will it matter?

Micheal W. Smith Christmas Concert

In Action: Savor The Season

What not to do: CD Players

In Action: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

November, 2008
In Action: Praise His Holy Names

In Action: For All of Life

In Action: Using Stained Glass as a Background

Feature Preview: Gaussian Blur

October, 2008
Using Shake and Grain in a Promo Slide Show

The Grain Effect

Feature Review: Video Sequence Builder

A Weekend at Trinity Fellowship Church

September, 2008
Feature Review: Shake

Photo Slides Builder vs. PhotoStory

Feature Review: Pan / Zoom Effect

Review: Integrity Music's Flexx

Feature Preview: Edge Blend and Edge Blur

August, 2008
Further explanation of Hue Adjustment

Feature Preview: Huescale

Feature Preview: Hue Colorize and Hue Tint

July, 2008
Feature Preview: Import from SongSelect Download File

Explaining the difference between the Hue Adjustment and Color Filter effects.

Feature Preview: Hue Replacement

Feature Preview: Hue Adjustment

June, 2008
Farewell Tim

In Action: Father's Day

May, 2008
SSP at GMA

April, 2008
Roll your own Top Ten List

Photo Slides with Captions Builder

Improved scripture text support for slide shows

New and improved slide builders

March, 2008
Converting Songs to Slide Shows

Comming next: Slide show feature enhancements

Frosted windows

Video examples of CinFX 2

Using video files as a fill for text

February, 2008
Enhancements to the wish list

The History of Auto Cue

Adding three-year olds to the test team

Presentation Trifecta; Part 3

January, 2008
Presentation Trifecta; Part 2

Target aspect ratios

Enhanced spell checking

Happy New Year, January 2008 Edition

December, 2007
A year in the life of SSP: 2007

Merry Christmas and other tidbits

Rethinking the right-click

Presentation Trifecta; Part 1

The New Christmas Ornaments Tranistion

November, 2007
An oldie but goodie for the Christmas season

Hymnal give-away

Enhanced clipboard capabilities

Distinct Effects for Fills and Outlines

October, 2007
It is time to say "so long" to DirectX 8 hardware.

Build your own gradients

Service elements for programs

Enhancements of the fills technologies

September, 2007
Selecting videos and images using thumbnail previews

The new search mechanism

The new Display Properties Window

No more font smoothing (option)

Detour: Amazon's Unboxed Service

August, 2007
Wrapping up work for the next edition

July, 2007
The influence of the Wish List

June, 2007
Re-using old motion backgrounds

May, 2007
Old Blur, New Blur

April, 2007
Feature Preview: Flare Effect

Feature Preview: Negative Effect

Feature Preview: Transparency

Feature Preview: Sepia Effect

March, 2007
Feature Preview: Image Mask

Feature Preview: Gradient Mask

Feature Preview: Color Adjustment

Feature Preview: Image and Text Rotation

Technology Preview: Background Effects

February, 2007
Technology Preview: Watermark Effect

Package-to-Go and external files

A slide editing enhancement

SSP and Windows Vista

January, 2007
Is it time to say "So long" to DirectX 8 hardware?

RipFX conversion nearly complete

A brief history of the SSP graphics engine

Giving Rhapsody a try

Four words:

December, 2006
It's been a good year, so -- thank you!

Performance testing

CountOfChildren++

Don't forget those Christmas Goodies!

November, 2006
One baby down, one to go

GIFs, PNGs, and RipFX

GoFishMedia

Microsoft Office and the new UI

Enhancing thumbnails and previews for slides

October, 2006
My own SSP/PowerPoint lock-up event

DVD Enhancements, Phase 1

DVDs and aspect ratios

September, 2006
Back into DVD code

What we're doing now: video playback enhancements

August, 2006
CinFX this week!

New Features and the role of the Wish List

New widescreen control panel layout

July, 2006
Releasing latent capabilities

(Don't) keep reminding me of this

Something else I didn't mention

A system-crash-free vacation

June, 2006
Working on the next evolution

The wish list is live

Hooray for PhotoShow Builder!

Let the evolution begin!

May, 2006
On track for the 31st!

The long-lost ProModule

April, 2006
Stock Hymns and Christmas Carols

Visualizations 5: Sparkle and Panorama

Recalling the barely-out-of-prototype debut once again

Visualizations 5: Kaleidoscope

Ease-of-use at men's retreat

March, 2006
User specific preferences

Audio file support in V7

Color adjusting background video using opacity

Final word on the unlock mechanism

February, 2006
In the Role of the End-user

Vista on the vista

Working Through the New Unlock Mechanism

Blog hiatus...and catch up

January, 2006
The Interactive Wish List!

I can see the light...

The New Year of DVD

December, 2005
End-of-year tidbits

Looking Ahead: 3D Animations

SongShow Plus at the GMA

Looking Back: The debut of SSP

November, 2005
Video clips: Fair use or not fair use?

Looking Ahead: What happend to the green diamond?

Looking Ahead: Background Improv

Pictures from Seacoast Church

Even I can learn something...

October, 2005
V7 Required System Configuration: A Tough Question to Answser

Pictures from Moody Church

Looking Ahead: Video Placement Properties

Looking Ahead: Video Effects

Pictures from The Rock Church Event

Another Day at NNU

Looking Ahead: Video Chains

SSP + SLI = don't go there yet

September, 2005
The Weekend at The Rock Church

Looking Ahead: Customizable Toolbars, part 2

Looking Back: An early skeptic turned early advocate!

Looking Ahead: Customizable Toolbars

August, 2005
Microsoft threw us for a loop

The other day at NNU

A few pictures...

July, 2005
Well, I can finally relax...

It's about to start!

So What Happened to Version 6?

A Week Ago Today...

June, 2005
Looking Back: In the beginning…

Welcome to my blog, or as I like to call it, a ssplog.

Blog Entry

A Better Alternative to Anti-virus Software for Projection Machines

Sep 18

Written by:
9/18/2009  RssIcon

I don't use antivirus software. Nor do I use spam filters. Why? Because the ones I've used, and I've used a lot of them, have all irritated me so much that I've given up on using them. These tools, which are designed to protect us from the myriad of threats around us in cyberspace, slow my machines down to a crawl and seem to interfere with every aspect of the systems. They have caused communication problems for network access and RDP. Some have even caused BSOD incidents in certain scenarios. They label some things as spam that shouldn't be, and miss stuff that shouldn't be missed. Because of these and other reasons, I came to the conclusion that the antivirus/antispam cure was worse than the disease.

I say all of this to demonstrate that I follow my own advise. If you were to ask me if you should install antivirus software on your presentation machines, my answer is NO! Anti-virus software is a performance killer. When it comes to presentation machines, performance is paramount. Having antivirus software meddling with every file download or import interferes with the overall process. System-wide scans suck life out of the CPU which creates problems when trying to build presentations or when presenting during a service.

Many of you are gasping, "How do we protect our systems from viruses and malware without such tools?" Here are the system protection measures I recommend as a better alternative for projeciton machines:

1) Make regular image backups of your systems. This means complete copies of your hard drive on a regular basis. I recommend weekly backups for churches. If your system gets infected, simply restore the system drive to the most recent backup. If that backup is infected too, keep going back until you reach the point prior to infection. A good imaging tool (such as Acronis) makes it easy to schedule regular backups and to restore from a history of backups when necessary. Also, keep a copy of the original image just incase you need to quickly start over (GoFishMedia machines come with restore disk for this purpose.)

2) Use a separate drive for your data files (such as drive D:). In the event you need to restore your system disk (typically drive C:)  to a previous image to fix a virus or malware problem, having separate drives will let you restore the system drive without touching your data files. If you do put your data files on the same drive as your system, then at least use a separate backup process on a regular basis to back those files up as well. This will make it easier to restore your data files after re-imaging the system drive.

3) Do not use Administrator accounts. Make it a practice to log in to a limited user account. If your system happens to acquire a virus or malware while in a limited user account, the infection will be limited to that account only, but the system itself should remain uninfected. Eliminating an infection at this point simply involves deleting the user account on that machine, then re-adding it.* The infection associated with the user account has been removed, but the system itself is still clean. Using your machine with an administrator account, however, nearly guarantees that a virus or malware  infection will become system-wide.

Another good thing about implementing items 1 and 2 is that you'll be better protected against other potential system problems that may come along. These include problems associated with Windows Updates, driver updates, new software, and even a SongShow Plus updates (a very remote possibility, of course :-).

For our machines here at R-Technics, we make regular images of our system drives. Our data files are stored on servers so if a system drive needs to be restored, data files are not affected. The servers are also backed up daily onto external drives that include a rotation of disks stored off-site. When system infections occur, its simply a matter of restoring an image. In some cases, we decide that re-installing Windows and applications from scratch is the preferred approach. But in either case, blowing away a system drive is something we're comfortable with for any of our machines because of the backups we have in place.

For development machines, we've found it impractical to run in any user mode except Administrator. We've tried using non-Administrator accounts that have been granted a lot of privileges, only to eventually find some function we need to perform as a developer but is not permitted within that user account. As I mentioned above, running in an administrator mode incurs significantly more risk, since your entire system is vulnerable to viruses and malware. Even so, I still don't use anti-virus software on these machines because of how they interfere with various tools and system components.

The main risks for a machine getting infected by a virus or malware are browsing and installing tools and utilities, particularly from unfamiliar sources. I do both of these things on development machines on a regular basis, with some trepidation. There's an idea that I'm considering to deal with this problem. It is to deploy a virtual machine within a development machine. This virtual machine would then be used for web browsing and downloading. It would be equipped with anti-virus software for scanning file downloads prior to copying them to the development machine. If the system gets infected, the virtual machine files will be deleted and replaced with pristine copies of the originals. This approach has some downsides as well, but could be a workable approach. However, someone pointed out to me that using a virtual machine actually increases the surface area for a possible hacking attack, so I suppose this needs idea needs some more thought put to it.

For spam control, I have developed mailboxes and whitelist configurations so that potential spam mail is mostly isolated and can be quickly scanned visually. It's not perfect, but it works pretty well for me. 

To wrap this all up: From my perspective, anti-virus/anti-spam tools are a cure that is worse than the disease. Don't use them on your SongShow Plus machines. Instead, implement the system protection measures I outlined above. Having said that, I also acknowledge that doing so will increase the chance that your system will get infected at some point. Just this week I had to deal with a malware infection on a notebook computer that, as you might expect now, had no anti-virus/anti-malware protection. I've been willing to take the risk, but if using an anti-virus tool gives you peace of mind, then you should go with it. If you do, try to find a tool that doesn't interfere with the performance of your machine. Also, remember that anti-virus tools aren't perfect -- they don't guarantee that your system won't be infected. So even if you are using such a tool, I still recommend that you implement the system protection measures I discussed.

Important note: Despite everything I've said here, we do run the SongShow Plus executables and installers through a series of virus checkers before uploading them to the server for public download! Others here at the office are, also, not so anti-virus adverse and do have these tools on their systems.

*Caveat: One down-side to deleting an infected account on a SongShow Plus machine is that you will loose most of your User Preference settings. These settings are local to user accounts, not system-wide. So when a user account is deleted, so are the settings. We need to implement a backup module for User Preferences so that these settings can be easily restored -- I'll move that item up the to-do list.

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