Getting Started with YouTube Live

Disclaimer: This is one of those Ministry Resources posts where we are going to learn together!

I’ve seen the option and heard of some who are using the live streaming feature on YouTube, but I had never tried it myself. This brought me to the logical (??) decision to give it a test run as a WELSTech Ministry Resource. If you are interested in kicking the tires a bit, my plan was for this post to give enough information to get started. You’ll have to let me know if I succeeded!

A bit of background regarding my live streaming experience to date … For our weekly WELSTech recordings we use Google Hangouts, also integrated into the YouTube live streaming arsenal. They are managed on the YouTube Live Streaming Events page at I am familiar with it and little has changed since the days when it was part of Google Plus. And I know enough to understand the two-way conversational Hangout experience is very different than traditional one-way live streaming.

As for live streaming, I’ve used the FinalWeb live streaming tool in the past. From that I had learned that live streaming isn’t handled in the browser alone. There is “encoder” software which is installed on the local computer to capture the video and send it to the streaming provider in the appropriate format. YouTube supplies live stream users with a list of potential encoding software solutions. For my test run, I chose to install Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), and had a great experience with it. Check out the video below to see me set up and stream with OBS for the first time.

After doing that one-time installation and setup of encoder software, live streaming on YouTube is super simple. Just visit the live streaming page at, name your live stream and set security options, and start streaming in your encoder software. When you are done, you’ll stop your stream in the encoder software as well. Then YouTube will automatically add the recording of your stream to your YouTube videos listing at

Boom! Just like that, you’re officially a live streamer!!


There are many possibilities for live streaming in church and school settings. Consider event streaming, including worship, Bible class, school sports and drama, meetings, etc. Live streaming is also a good way to share prepared lessons of any type – daily devotions, special speakers, etc.

Related resources

Of course, the world of live streaming offers many more options than those covered in this getting started overview. Check out these YouTube Help resources to learn about all the possibilities.

And finally, there’s my Getting Started with YouTube Live Streaming video where I demo the setup of my first live stream.

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OneNote for Meeting Management

Meeting management is a blend of art and science. You need mad “people skills” to bring polar opposites together sometimes. Soft touches. Tough love. And a whole host of other soft skills are an important part of making meetings go. Fortunately the “science” side of meetings is a picture that gets brighter and brighter as technology finds it’s groove in this space. For me an important technical resource for keeping things straight and everybody engaged in a meeting is a tool called OneNote. It’s been around a long time and has just recently been getting the credit it deserves. This Microsoft product comes as a free app on all Windows 10 installations now. I think that has helped. But it is available in a fuller version with Office 365 subscriptions (both pc and mac). It has an online web version, which is pretty good. Microsoft has even created iOS and Android mobile app versions.

Because you can not only create local copies of your OneNote Notebooks, but also store them in a free OneDrive cloud account, it’s utility is somewhat endless. In the screencast at the bottom of the page I walk through an example of using the free OneNote version along with OneDrive to build a nice meeting management solution for collecting and sharing meeting content like agendas, action items and meeting assets.


For those who attend or management meetings for ministry purposes, a digital meeting management tool is a welcome addition to your tool belt. I can see many uses for this approach in situations where staff and volunteers come together to plan, report and just get stuff done. Church councils, boards, school faculties are all groups that meet and could benefit from an online, full featured tool like OneNote. I’d probably even go as far as saying even a better tool than Google’s Docs and other G-Suite products. For church/school leadership teams one of the best features might be OneNote’s ability to embed assets like images, audio files and documents. You can craft one page that could include every imaginable resource that would just be there whenever anybody opens the page. No confusing subfolder names, permissioning issues, or broken links. Literally a one-stop-shop for all your meeting stuff. Super easy!


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5 Ways To Let Your Light Shine Online

The appeal of social media in the 21st century is undeniable. The various platforms for sharing, from Facebook to Instagram to WeChat to Pinterest to {insert your favorite here}, offer connection to those we care about, and a channel for self-publication. But do we consciously consider how our social media use fits with our Christian walk?

I recently read the new eBook The Social Christian. It served as a good reminder of why we do everything we do in this world – to share the Gospel message of the redemptive work of Jesus with everyone. With the reach of social media, many doors are now open to us which didn’t exist a decade ago. Rather than hide the saving Gospel, we can share it via social media in all we do and say.

As you consider how best to use social media, consider these five guidelines for how and what you share:

  1. Be in the Word – If only we had an instruction book for letting our light shine in the digital world. But wait … we do! God’s holy, inerrant Word found on the pages of the Bible is our all-encompassing instruction book. If we struggle with what to say or whether to say anything on social media, we can find the answer in prayerful study of his Word. With the Word nurtured in our hearts, our words and actions – both face-to-face and online – will reflect the joy of salvation we have received freely from Jesus Christ. Consider the amount of time you spend in the Word compared to using social media. Would your postings have a different flavor (perhaps including more “salt” ~ Colossians 4:6) if those times were reversed?

    “Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
    ~ Colossians 3:16-17 CSB

  2. Decrease self/Increase God – Often I consider whether my posts on social media are narcissistic or self-absorbed or vain. It’s an easy trap to fall into when my own personal pedestal awaits on my favorite social media platform. Look what I did … Look how adorable my kids are … Look at how lovely my home is …To avoid that trap, consider that most people predominantly post the “highs” of their life on social media. Do we normally see posts about their failures, the times they have to discipline their children, their messy house? Those aren’t the norm. I’ve found it best to just be real. And reality for me is I’m a sinner who needs a savior. My normal is definitely not pedestal worthy. Instead I can elevate Christ alone in the good and bad of my normal life. He is my sure hope in times of sorrow and of blessing.

    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
    ~ 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

  3. Lift up others – Make it your mission to share your joy in Jesus with your social media contacts. Where there is sorrow, share compassion and strength. Pray for those in need. Share a special verse or song (like the I Will Rise video shared below) that offers comfort. Let them know you care and, more importantly, that your savior Jesus cares.

    “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
    ~ Ephesians 4:2

  4. Share wisely – Perhaps you enjoy sharing things via social media. This tip is here to encourage you to be careful of what you share. Many links today can lead others who may not have faith or whose faith isn’t deeply rooted to explore associated content that isn’t God-pleasing. Satan would like nothing better than to use a Christian to lead someone away from salvation.

    “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
    ~ 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

  5. Give God the glory – I’ll say it again … In all things (including social media posts) give God glory!  One of my favorite ways to do this is through the popular practice of hashtaging posts. Oddly, this running together of words to convey what you are thinking has added another creative layer to our communication. Everyone enjoys coming up with and reading clever hashtags. When I close my post with what I’ve termed #hashtags4Him, I have turned not only my eyes and heart toward Jesus, but also those who read my posts. #salvationthroughJesusiswhatmattersmost

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
    ~ 1 Peter 1:3 NIV

Martin Luther College – I Will Rise.

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Called Worker Compensation Bible Study

If you are a called worker or church leader responsible for called worker compensation, you’ve probably heard about the newly released Called Worker Compensation Calculator. In fact, last month I wrote a brief ministry resource blog post on the topic. What maybe wasn’t clear are the great resources that have been created around the whole topic of compensating those who have dedicated their lives to full time ministry. The most recent offering is a brief video Bible study that can be used by calling bodies to think properly and biblically about the entire process of support called workers. The video is embedded at the bottom of this post.

A summary of the Bible study reads:

This brief Bible study on called worker compensation focuses on a few key passages, reminding calling bodies of God’s grace in providing public ministers of the gospel and their God-given responsibilities toward those who minister to and with them. The study offers guidance to congregations and schools regarding a process to follow and tools available to assist them in a careful, prayerful, and thoughtful approach to compensation.

The PowerPoint slides that Professor Treptow shared with the study is also available. Used together the video and PowerPoint slides would be a great tool for a church council and/or school board to work through before the budgeting season begins. What a great way to prayerfully approach the important work of called worker care.

Related resources


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Computer Science Fundamentals For Grades K-5

In today’s education space, it’s hard to have a discussion without the acronym STEM or STEAM being injected. And whichever side of the debate you fall on – including Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics grouping, or not – all would agree that an emphasis on teaching students the basics of programming across all grade levels is moving toward broad adoption by schools. Challenges to adoption are introduced, particularly at lower elementary levels, where teachers already span multiple disciplines and may not have confidence to teach areas with heavy technical emphasis. recently released a new K-5 Computer Science curriculum to help with this need. The Computer Science Fundamentals Courses A-F includes interactive graphical lessons in the Blocky coding environment, an offshoot of MIT’s popular Scratch environment. Lessons start with pre-readers manipulating arrow icons to build a set of commands which moves a popular Angry Bird character to pounce on the enemy Pig character. In the process, kids are improving critical thinking skills and learning coding concepts such as algorithms (a fancy word for instructions), sequencing, conditionals, and functions.

But the curriculum is not all about online lessons. There are a long list of “unplugged” activities for teaching these same concepts. From planting a seed to binary bracelets to songwriting, the unplugged activities are geared to get students out of their seats and using coding skills in concrete ways. The entire curriculum, included detailed lesson plans for the unplugged activities, is available in this 350 page PDF document. doesn’t stop there, however. The most exciting piece of the puzzle for teachers is the excellent professional development resources available for those who want to learn to teach computer science with this curriculum. They offer free one day workshops for K-5 teachers which …

‘provide an intro to computer science, pedagogy, overview of the online curriculum, teacher dashboard, and strategies for teaching “unplugged” classroom activities’

If you cannot make it to a workshop, they offer the same concepts in an online self-paced course. Teachers not only learn the basics of Computer Science, but they also get to test drive the online programming modules that the students will experience. And, if your enquiring mind is wondering, yes, there are Angry Birds for teachers too!!

What better way to STEAM into the new school year than with the free resources from

Code Studio: Kid tested, teacher approved

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Portable Presentation Toolkit

Many of us do more than a few “presentations” both where we work and at times in situations where we don’t have a lot of control over the presentation technology available to us. That could be at a conference we are asked to speak at, perhaps a workshop or Bible study. Over the years I’ve found that the stress of giving a presentation shouldn’t be heightened by the unknowns of projectors, cables, internet and audio capabilities, especially if you prefer to use your own computer for the presentation. So I have developed a presentation “toolkit” that I never leave the office without.


Perhaps the most important component of my portable presentation toolkit is cables. Depending on what kind of computer you are using, your cable requirements may be a bit different, but there is still an element of the unknown because you don’t know what kind of cable is needed for the projector you will be asked to use. You also don’t know if the place where you have to connect to the cable is optimal for your presentation. For instance, I’ve been in classrooms where the cable hookup is in the back of the room where the teacher’s desk is, but I want to present from the front. That’s a problem. So cables are something I pay a lot of attention to. For my Surface Pro 4 computer I carry along:

  1. VGA Adapter
  2. HDMI Adapter
  3. VGA 15 Foot Extender Cable
  4. HDMI 15 Foot Extender Cable

The extender cables really come in handy if the plug you need to hook into is not in the front of the room. This gives you a lot of positional flexibility. Cables To Go and Monoprice are great places to find these adapters and cables that will work with your setup. A nice accessory to carry around all those adapters and cables without having them float around in your bag is a Grid-It board. They come in different sizes. I love mine.


If you are lucky, you may have access to either an Apple TV or a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. These devices, when hooked up to the projector, allow you to float around the room without any wires. You just hook up to either of those two and stream your screen/presentation. Apple TV can receive the stream from your Mac or iPad, and with a software program like AirParrot 2 you can even stream from your Windows laptop. Keep in mind that to stream to an Apple TV (depending on which model it is) you have to be connected to the same network. Beware, this could be another source of stress.

One thing I do take with me is a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter (MWDA). This is a USB flash drive sized device that plugs into any HDMI input. Most projectors have those these days. It does require a USB power source, which could come from an available USB port on the projector, or you could bring along your own portable USB charger (battery or wall outlet based). I like MWDAs because they don’t rely on wifi, but can connect directly to your computer. Warning, not all computers support connecting to MWDAs. They need to support the Intel WiDi standard, sometimes called Miracast. Many modern computers support this though.

Audio and Video

Not knowing what might be available in the room I’ve been given for the presentation, I always try to bring along my own speakers. Even when there is an audio cable provided, I sometimes prefer my own since I know how it will sound. Again, one less stresser. The one I use is the JBL Charge. It’s bluetooth and also has an audio-in jack. It’s small, and it has a nice size battery in it that can power your MWDA too…a great bonus!

The projector is the real wildcard in any remote presentation situations. It could be of poor quality. The bulb could go out. The connector could be bad. You know those times when you plug in and the whole screen has a green cast to it…or red…or blue. This has happened more than a couple times to me. So this may be overkill, but I always bring my own projector. If I don’t want to bring a larger one from our pool, I pack a P300 MicroProjector from AAXA Technologies. It’s only 400 lumens, but in a pinch it can be used in a dark room and project a 120 inch image. It runs on both DC or battery power. I’ve used it only a handful of times, but worth carrying along.


Often you will want to show internet web pages, apps, video or other things that require you to have a good internet connection. Don’t count on it! Countless times I’ve presented at conferences with the promise of internet and it either wasn’t available or so slow that it was unusable. Often there is internet but all the attendees are on it as well and the connection is often overwhelmed. I do always bring my cell phone to which I can “tether” my computer, but that isn’t full proof either as your phone may not have a good signal depending on the presentation room location within the building, or the area in general. ALWAYS have a plan B, which is my case is to take screen shots of any web site or app I need, and download in advance any video I’d like to play. One service I use a lot is YouTube Red, which allows you to download video to any mobile device for offline playback. So I bring my iPad along with any video I’d like to play, just in case I can’t get online or have sufficient speeds to play a video. Then I just hook up my iPad to the projector with either an html or vga dongle, or I do it wirelessly if an Apple TV is available.

One other gotcha, especially on school wifi is their content filtering software. They may have it setup to block YouTube and many other sites including social networking services. Depending on what you had hoped to share in your presentation via the internet, you may find your content blocked. Best to ask ahead of time if their network blocks certain sites critical to your presentation.


There are always going to be challenges with presenting technologies. Our job as presenters is to remove the unknowns and be able to focus on the message. Take matters into your own hands. So peace of mind is the driver here. Bringing along things like your own extension cord or multiplug might be a pain, but there will be times you’ll regret it if you don’t. The tools that I’ve mentioned above have been added to my bag over time, and there are rarely moments of panic anymore about the audio/visual technologies needed to present the materials I spent hours creating.


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Announcement screen photo courtesy of Joshua Schoeneck, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School

Digital Signage + Google

Announcement screen photo courtesy of Joshua Schoeneck, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School

Announcement screen photo courtesy of Joshua Schoeneck, Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School

Digital signage provides many communication benefits in church and school settings, displaying traditional paper-based announcements on scrolling screens with visually appealing graphics. Google hardware and software solutions now provide an affordable and easily manageable option for digital signage.

System requirements

Hardware required to implement the Google solution includes some type of video display with HDMI input. The video display could be a digital television or LCD monitor. You’ll also need a Chromebox or newer Chromebit. You can watch Martin unbox a Chromebit on WELSTech episode 499. Finally, to interface with the Chrome device you’ll need some type of wireless Keyboard and mouse device, such as the Logitech Illuminated Living-Room Keyboard K830 v.2.

On the software side, Google Apps Administrators will enroll and set up the Chrome device in the Google Administration panel using Chrome Sign Builder which is available in the Chrome Web Store. Watch the video below for a demonstration of the setup process, and reference this detailed help for Chrome Sign Builder.

Related resources

If you are looking for content to display on your digital sign, WELS Communication Services regularly updates a collection of images designed for digital signage display.

This half-hour webinar walks through the complete process of setting up the Chromebit in the Google Administration area as well as configuring a Google Slides file for display on the screen – Google Chrome Signage Webinar presented by Cloudbakers.

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WELS Called Worker Compensation Calculator

For years churches, schools and their called workers have struggled to make sense of the official WELS salary matrix. At this year’s synod convention that all changed. The delegates approved the use of a new tool called the Called Worker Compensation Calculator. It’s really rather simple…which is the whole point. Someone can visit the calculator site at

and after entering information, see the recommended salary range for any given called worker. The calculator fields include: Name, Sex, Years of Service, Position, Year, COLA, Housing Allowance, Health Insurance, Sec 105 Employer Contribution, Long Term Disability, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Education, Responsibilities, and Other (where you can add your own components in). Once the data has been entered it provides a nicely formatted print out of the total compensation for a called worker. This can be used as a guideline, or a worksheet from which to begin compensation discussions.

In an effort to make it even easier to use, most fields have an information icon that can clicked on to learn more about that compensation component. “Smart fields” are also built into the form to give warnings when numbers entered don’t seem to make sense…for instance entering a monthly housing allowance number rather than an annual one. The calculator does all the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division for you, but “shows it’s work” so you know how all the numbers were arrived at. Finally there is an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section that gives some of the rational for some of the recommendations and calculations. It should be a great tool for anybody responsible for or interested in the compensation process.

This mobile-friendly calculator will be improved upon over time based on feedback. Give it a try and tell us what you think! See a demo video below for a quick walk through.


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Print My Cal

Many churches and schools have adopted Google Calendar to maintain schedules for worship, events, team practice and games, parent teacher conferences, and much more. The web-based, user friendly calendaring tool is powerful enough to take on your most challenging recurring events. Plus it handles shared permissioning and calendar collaboration with ease. And it can be embedded on your web site so that calendar updates automatically display to website visitors.

There’s just one small shortcoming of Google Calendar – its print capabilities. Because churches and schools often want to share printed copies of the calendar in newsletters and on bulletin boards, the quality of the printed calendar is important.

From this need to print well formatted Google Calendars, Print My Cal was born. Print My Cal connects to your Google Calendar, allows you to format and save your print layout, and creates a downloadable PDF and/or RTF version of the calendar for editing and sharing. It does all this through your browser on any device – desktop, laptop, Chromebook, tablet, or smartphone. There’s no software to install.

If you are looking for a printing solution that lives up to all of the other great features of Google Calendar, check out the Print My Cal utility. The overview video below walks through the basics of using the site.

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Let’s Be Safe Out There…In Three Easy Steps

Back in the 80’s the crime drama Hill Street Blues popularized the phrase “Let’s Be Safe Out There.” As is common in most police departments, the officers of Hill Street attended a squad meeting prior to starting the next shift. The show regularly began at this briefing where their gruff, no-nonsense Sergeant, Phil Esterhaus, would give them their daily instruction. It ended with “Let’s be safe out there.” That’s a fitting title for this Ministry Resource post as each and every day in this internet age you embark on a “shift” that could see untold disasters — computer viruses, data corruption, ransomware, identity theft. You need to be ever vigilant. Fortunately it isn’t that hard to “stay safe out there.” I’ve condensed it down to three easy steps to protect yourself and your ministry activities.

Step One: Use a cloud backup service.

The absolute best way to protect yourself from many of the data disasters that can strike your computer is by having an up-to-the-minute backup of all your data. A couple of weeks ago I talked about cloud services like Google Drive and OneDrive that can sync your data between a local copy on your computer and one in the cloud. This is a great productivity approach, but it is not protection against data loss or corruption. You need a bonafide backup solution.

One of the hardest things about backups is remembering to do them. That is why I prefer cloud backup solutions that just work in the background and normally don’t need any intervention by you. They just hum along waiting for files to be changed or added, then they copy them up to the cloud server. They automatically will keep different versions of those files, so you can go back in time to grab an older copy, or even the contents of your entire disk.

The service I almost always recommend is Backblaze. It just works. It is relatively inexpensive, about $60/year. And it is one of the only ones that will backup everything on your hard drive AND all connected drives like external hard drives or even flash drives.

Step Two: Encrypt your data.

While step one will allow you to restore your data should it become corrupt, your hard drive fails, or someone is holding your data hostage for a ransom fee (it happens more than you think), what if somebody steals the data on your disk, or your entire computer for that matter? In that data could be passwords, social security numbers, tax returns, etc. All information that could be sold and used for identity theft or other illegal activities that would be hard to recover from.

The best way to keep that data safe wherever it may go is to encrypt it. While that sounds hard and techy, today’s operating systems like Windows 10 and Mac OS make it surprisingly easy. Encryption is the conversion of electronic data into another form which cannot be easily understood by anyone except authorized parties with the encryption password or key. Normally the process requires you to provide a master password, then the operating system takes that password and creates “encoded” content, that only a system with your key or password can decode. If you want to learn more read the article “What is Encryption, and Why Are People Afraid of It.”

The best way to encrypt the contents of your hard drive is to use the built in encryption tools. For Windows it is called “Bitlocker.” On the Mac it is “FileVault.” Once you start the process, it should busy itself in the background for a while. It may take a while depending on how many files you have. When done you will probably never notice it unless you need to do some kind of recovery process. Don’t forget the key/password you set.

Step Three: Use a password manager.

We’ve discussed how to secure the data that is on your physical device. By the way most phones and tablets these days are already encrypted, so no worries on that front. But what about all those cloud services you use — your banking website, credit cards, your church or school information systems? That is stuff you don’t want to have any unauthorized access to. But if your username and password are stolen, the door is wide open.

To truly protect your online activities you should have a different password for every cloud-based service you use. That becomes very impractical very fast as almost everything is now online. That still does not justify having the same password for any two sites. Fortunately there are tools to help. In my opinion LastPass stands at the top of the heap. It is easy to use, cross platform (PC, Mac, Android, iOS), and has some great features like strong password generation, password sharing, local copy availability, and two factor authentication. To get the mobile version, which you should, will cost $12/year. If you want to have everybody in your organization use it, you might want to investigate the enterprise version, which costs about $17/person/year for non-profits (at least the last time we renewed our licenses). A worthy investment.

These kind of tools are easy to operate. They usually just sit as an extension or add on to your browser, and when you are creating new online accounts that require passwords, they spring into action and ask if you’d like to auto-generate a strong password. Say yes! Also, when you then visit a site that you have previously stored in LastPass, for instance, it will pre populate your username and password, and you’re in! Like the encryption password, you MUST remember your LastPass password. However, it’s a lot easier to remember one password than hundreds.

So for less than $100 per year you can experience all the benefits of the tools mentioned and have a higher level of confidence that your data will be safe and available. After all, you have better things to think about and do than spend more time fighting to keep your information safe. Let technology work for you. You go ahead and work for the Lord. And, oh yeah, let’s be safe out there!

Related resources

I gave you recommendations above for each of the three steps, however there are other equally capable tools in each category. If you’d like to comparison shop:

Cloud Backup Solutions: Carbonite, MozyHome, Google Backup & Sync

Encryption: There really is no reason to stray from encryption built into your computer, however older PC hardware may not have a TPM chip in it. You can still use BitLocker however, it’s just not as foolproof as those systems that do have this hardware encryption chip. You will be notified if you do or don’t during the BitLocker installation process. There are alternatives however. Last year I would have recommended TrueCrypt, but that is no longer supported. Here is a good article on similar free products.

Password Managers: 1Password, Keeper, Sticky Password

Google Backup and Sync is a relatively new service that holds promise. I’ve included a YouTube video that was recorded by that shows the differences between this new solution and the old Google Drive.

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