Archives April 2014

New life from old netbooks

Netbooks at one popint were going to be the next big thing: using small and low-power consuming Intel Atom or equivilent processors, small footprints and cut-down versions of Windows 7, these A5-and-a-bit sized PCs looked a good low cost solution, that you could pick up for about 150 quid.

But they were quickly surpassed by Tablet PCs. If you now want something portable, the keyboard is entirely optional, and the ARM-type processors which power the iPads and the Nexus 7s are much more capable. So, you might have an old netbook lying around gathering dust and by now the Atom-powered Windows 7 Starter must be annoyingly slow…

But there is a use for them… you just have to change the Operating System.

There are a number of solutions and recently, I have tried a number of them…

1. Linux

Most netbooks don’t have a CD Drive so you need to download a CD image and transfer it to a USB stick and boot it (as though it was a CD)

If you download UNetBootIn you can download various different flavours of Linux directly, or download an ISO image from another site and use the program to create a linux installation. There are lots of variations (or distros as they are known) and some work better than others on a netbook. The main problem is getting a version which works with the wifi and the sound and which doesn’t place too high a demand on the small processor.

Luckily there are several which are pitched at netbooks specifically, using light installations and fast graphical front ends like LXFE; but many of these are although a little MS Windows-like, they are a bit more complex to use. Some are highly customised and therefore easier to run.

One of the most successful was JoliCloud OS which worked out of the box: wifi and sound and everything else. The interface is largely the Chromium Browser, as let’s face it, that’s all you’ll use for the most part, and if the wifi works then you are sorted…

2. Chrome OS

Using the same technique, I tried the Chromium OS, but couldn’t get the wifi to work at all, so it wouldn’t get beyond the initial setup, because a Chromebook is so internet-dependent, you can’t do anything; so on my netbook, a complete failure. You might have better luck.

3. Android

The Android-x86 Project is porting Android, the Open Source OS for Tablets and Phones and is right on the button with the latest version: 4.4.2 Kitkat. Using the same technique, downloading Android from here, it worked really really well. KitKat on a Netbook is really fast, has massive storage capacity, wifi worked immediately and on my Samsung netbook (N210 Plus) it was all great. On an HP 110 Mini, everything worked except the sound which is really low, but I am working on that. On both I was able to install everything from Google Play. The iPlayer and Netflix aren’t great at the moment on the netbook, but it works brilliantly, excellently with Chromecast – no sound problems at all, high video framerates; so I reckon with a better video driver as well, all will be well.

Early days yet, but very promising… have a go with whatever you have lying around and see where it takes you…


Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn with Recording

Get the MP3 here
Tune: LOURDES (Catholic Hymns Old & New 256)

All glory to God in his mercy and grace Who
hath established His Home in this wonderful place.

Ave Ave Ave Maria! Ave Ave Ave Maria!

All glory to Jesus our Saviour and Lord
Whose image within us by grace is restored.

All glory to God in his Spirit Divine.
Who hath fixed His abode in this poor soul of mine.

Sing the praises of Mary, the Mother of God,
Whose “Walsingham Way” countless pilgrims have trod.

Then lift high your voices, rehearse the glad tale
Of Our Lady’s appearing in Stiffkey’s fair vale.

When Edward Confessor ruled over the land
The Faverches’ Manor stood here nigh at hand.

The Lady Richeldis devoted her care
To good works and penance and worship and prayer.

One day as she prayed and looked up to the skies,
A vision of splendour delighted her eyes.

Our Lady, God’s Mother, in glory arrayed,
Held a House in her arms which was clearly displayed.

“Take note, my dear daughter, and build here
a Shrine As Nazareth’s home in this country of thine.”

“And the spot that I choose where the house
shall arise By a sign shall be plainly revealed to your eyes.”

The vision passed slowly away from her sight,
But her mind held the House in its length, breadth and height.

Bewildered she pondered this message so sweet,
When a clear spring of water burst forth at her feet.

Bewildered no longer for this was the sign,
She vowed on this spot she would build such a shrine.

The finest materials her workmen could find
She employed for this House she had fixed in her mind

But though she had given both timbers and lands,
The power of the work lay in Mary’s own hands.

And this was made clear when the work was complete
By the answers to prayers poured out at her feet.

And soon mighty wonders by grace were revealed,
For the sick who made use of the waters were healed.

So Walsingham then came a place of great fame
And Our Lady herself was called by this name.

And many a pilgrim to the day of his death
Took the road once a year to “England’s Nazareth.”

So crowded were roads that the stars, people say,
That shine in the heavens were called “Walsingham Way.”

And many the favours and graces bestowed
On those who in faith took the pilgrimage road.

The Image of Mary with her Holy Son
Was honoured and feted by everyone.

The Canons and Friars built houses around
And the praises of God were a regular sound.

And Kings, Lords and commons their homage would pay
And the burning tapers turned night into day.

But at last came a King who had greed in his eyes
And he lusted for treasure with fraud and with lies.

The order went forth; and with horror ’twas learned
That the Shrine was destroyed and the Image was burned.

And here where God’s Mother had once been enthroned
The souls that stayed faithful ‘neath tyranny groaned.

And this realm which had once been Our Lady’s own Dower
Had its Church now enslaved by the secular power.

And so dark night fell on this glorious place
Where of all former glories there hardly was trace.

Yet a thin stream of pilgrims still walked the old way
And hearts longed to see this night turned into day.

Till at last, when full measure of penance was poured,
In her Shrine see the honour of Mary restored:

Again ‘neath her Image the tapers shine fair,
In her children’s endeavours past wrongs to repair.

Again in her House her due honour is taught:
Her name is invoked, her fair graces besought:

And the sick and the maimed seek the pilgrimage way,
And miraculous healing their bodies display.

Oh Mother, give heed to the prayer of our heart,
That your glory from here never more may depart.

Now to God the All-Father and Son, with due praise,
And life-giving Spirit, thanksgiving we raise.

Ave Ave Ave Maria! Ave Ave Ave Maria!

Source: Unknown (reproduced from the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham Pilgrim Manual)

Vestry tidying at St Edward's

The vestry has been transformed (and massively de-cluttered). Thanks to the hard work of one of the Churchwardens. Inheriting a sacristy filled with the detritus of centuries can be a real drag, but the good people of EKM have put their backs into it and removed the sideboard (!) which never opened and a filing cabinet which was loooong past its use-by date. We now have space. Even if we have no storage. Packing crates are essential to prevent mice and bird damage.

IMG_0144 IMG_0146

The next thing we need is a big table to vest on and then this (interim) stage will be done!

Prayers before the Blessed Sacrament: Palm Sunday

Blessed, Praised, Hallowed and Adored, be Our Lord Jesus Christ on his Throne of Glory.
And in the most holy sacrament of the altar

Hail to thee, true body born
From Virgin Mary’s womb!
The same that on the cross was nailed
And bore for man the bitter doom.

Thou, whose side was pierced and flowed
Both with water and with blood;
Suffer us to taste of thee,
In our life’s last agony.

O kind, O loving one!
O sweet Jesus, Mary’s Son!

Ave Verum Corpus

O most sacred redeemer,
Give us wisdom to recognise you,
Intelligence to understand you,
Diligence to seek you,
Patience to wait for you,
Eyes to see you,
Hearts to meditate on you
And lives to proclaim you,
Through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Benedict of Nursia 6th C

“Do grant, oh my God,
that when my lips approach Yours to kiss You,
I may taste the gall that was given to You;
when my shoulders lean against Yours,
make me feel Your scourging;
when my flesh is united with Yours, in the Holy Eucharist,
make me feel Your passion;
when my head comes near Yours,
make me feel Your thorns;
when my heart is close to Yours,
make me feel Your spear.”

St. Gemma Galgani

A few more verses of a wedding hymn set to 'Lord of the Dance'

We come together to witness love
These two people joined by Above
We see in them
a spring of care
Spreading wide, both here and there

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows
When two people care
The love of God is always there.

We wish them joy throughout the years
Ups and downs,  joy and tears
Support each other
Through both sickness and health
Good times,  bad times,  poverty and wealth

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows
When two people care
The love of God is always there.

Marriage is a journey which you now both share
Marriage is a mystery which leads you God knows where
But with God in your union
You’ll do no wrong
Reflect his love and it will be strong

Love then, however it may be
Love will defeat the enemy
Marriage shows
When two people care
The love of God is always there.

Make it better.  Collaborate.  Creative Commons and all that…

Parish Document Management using Evernote

One thing is clear: a lot of paperwork comes into the Vicarage; from letters to faculty applications for gravestones; from missives from the diocese to all kinds of sketches I make on the back of envelopes about genius liturgical ideas. Filing physical paper is hard, and you can never find the bit you need…

I have tried document management in the past and the problem has been one of cataloguing… giving it a title and an indication of contents; so I quickly abandoned that a few years ago. But things have got so much better recently…

Evernote Web

However, for over a year I have been using Evernote to collate, well, everything: from making a note of the food order at Wetherspoons to quickly writing down the name of the person who needs to be prayed for. You can import pdfs and images as well as sound files into Evernote and they can be indexed.

So now, when a letter comes in, I scan it into Evernote. The complete search facility means that items can be found really quickly. I then file the paperwork knowing that I can quickly look it up, cross reference it and (most importantly) find it again.

You can share folders with others, so you can create places to brainstorm ideas. That’s going to be a major collaborative tool in the future.

I have a paid account, but the free one works very well. The difference is in how much you can import each month. A free account is plenty…


Prezi Repository for Worship

As you know I love Prezi the new and exciting presentation tool that blows Powerpoint out of the water…

However, as much of my work is in school, Youtube is routinely blocked, so I am forced to embed the whole video into my presentation. This makes them considerably larger, and uses up my account faster. I have therefore archived my presentations onto the Agnus Dei website. You can import these pez files into your own (free) Prezi account and use at will.

Download Video Resources   Agnus Dei

Check out 

Use freely…