With two upgrades launched over the weekend (one for the desktop (4.5) and one for iOS (2.0.1)) Logos Bible Software now allows you to take notes and highlight passages in your iPhone or iPad. It also allows you to synchronize the notes from your desktop into your mobile app. That means all of the note files you have created in your desktop version along with any highlighting will now be available on the go! This is a big feature and one I have been waiting for for a long time now. Now work you do in the office can show up on your mobile device and visa versa.
The new mobile app also comes with 41 free resources. This is a great deal for folks who are not already Logos users. Logos users have access to a vast majority of their electronic resources from their mobile app already. Some sources are not available yet due to copyright restrictions.
But all is not rosy just yet….
Logos announced that they had to disable note and highlight syncing FROM your mobile device temporarily due to a last minute problem. Your notes will sync from your desktop to your mobile app with no problem but any notes or highlighting added in your mobile app are stuck there until they provide ann update. I would expect that update very soon. Here is the “official” statement from the Logos blog:
NOTE: Uploading new notes and highlights from the iOS app is temporarily disabled. (Your notes and highlights will come down from the server, though.) We’re working to resolve this issue quickly and resubmit to the app store. If you have already installed the update, do not delete and reinstall the app; wait for the updated version to arrive in the app store. (This message will be removed then.) If you haven’t updated your iOS app yet, you may want to wait until this message is removed from this post. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Even with this current limitation this new feature is a great addition and makes the Logos app and software more interconnected. Check it out.
There are a couple of new MAC software bundles that I think you should know about. These bundles often offer 8-12 different applications for a bargain price. The best one I have seen lately is available at www.productivemacs.com. This bundle of 8 programs is a real deal at $39.99 and has some very strong apps. I already use 4 of the 8 on a daily basis and have for some time. I wish I had bought them in a bundle like this. I think they are all worth their full price – at the bundle price this is a no-brainer. Fantasical, Notebook, BusyCal, and Lanchbar are very strong apps. These 4 apps alone retail for $154.97 so getting all of them plus 4 more for $39.99 is a steal!
The second bundle is by MacUpdate and is available at www.mupromo.com. I don’t think this bundle is as strong as the one from Productive Macs, but it has some nice apps. There are 12 apps in this bundle for $49.99 with Tech Tools 6 being the biggest name. It regularly retails for $39.99 to you are getting the rest of the 11 apps for less than a dollar each. Not bad!
All of these bundles contain full versions, so you don’t have to worry about getting demos or feature restricted products here. Check them out – might make good gifts for the Mac user in the family.
I just read an article claiming that since 2009 the collective time spent playing Angry Birds totals over 200,000 YEARS! I was staggered by that number. I couldn’t help but think of all of that wasted time. Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number or days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” We must be good stewards of the time we have available.
But this idea of “collective time” I find very interesting. Here is an example: If each member of a congregation of 200 would commit themselves to doing 2 hours of work each week for the Lord, at the end of 5 years they could accomplish as much work as a full-time, 60 hour per week minister could in 33 YEARS! A preacher or minister would have to spend 66 years of his life, working 60 hours per week, 52 weeks a year, to accomplish the work this group could do in just 10 years!
So maybe we should learn to number our days, put down Angry Birds, put our hand to the Lord’s plow and leverage our “collective time” to serve the Lord. There is no telling what we will accomplish for the Kingdom!
I have to admit my prayer life struggles at times. I have a lot of things I mean to pray for, people with needs, family situations, the government, friends, this list is actually quite extensive. And that is my problem. Until recently I struggled with remembering everything I wanted to pray about when I pray. This is where my new iPhone 4S, Siri, and Reminders have changed everything. I have my phone set up now where I can simply tell Siri “Add John Smith’s surgery to my Prayer list.” Siri knows I have a list in my Reminders called Prayer and adds the item to that list. Throughout the day I simply tell Siri what I want added to my Prayer list and then when it is time for me to pray, I can bring up my Prayer list and I have a list of all the things I wanted to pray for right in front of me.
You can even set the phone to remind you to say a prayer at a certain time. As an example, a member is going in to surgery at 10 a.m. and you would like to say a prayer before they go in. You can have the phone remind you of that prayer at 9:45. I find this particularly useful.
One feature of Reminders in that you can create different Lists. In the Reminders app, touch the small icon in the upper left (the one with three short bars on it). This takes you to the Lists area where you will see all the different Reminder lists you currently have. Touch the Edit icon (upper right) and you can edit the list and you should see “Create New List…” at the bottom. While you are there, create a new List and call it Prayer. (Note: I have found it best to use one word when naming lists. Don’t Call it My Prayers, or Michael’s Prayers, that will confuse Siri later.) Once the Prayer list is created, press Done and then Done again you are ready to go.
Tell Siri to add an item to your Prayer List
Now, start Siri and say “Add Mary Smith’s surgery to my Prayer list.” The keyword here is “ADD” and “to my Prayer list.” everything you say between these phrases is what Siri will put on the list. Siri will ask you to confirm the item and add it to your Prayer list. When it is time to pray, go to the Reminders app, scroll to your Prayer list and you will see a list of everything that you have added. After you pray, you can click the checkbox next to the item to remove it from the list or leave it for the next to you pray as well.
If you want to be reminded to say a prayer at a specific time. Add the item to your Prayer list, then go into the Reminder app and edit the item by touching it. Select Remind Me, set On a Day to on, select a day and time and the phone will remind you on that day at that time.
Also note that these Reminder lists will appear in the Reminders app on your iPad too if you have one. Siri is not available on the iPad, but you can see your lists and update them by typing if you want to.
That’s it. Now you can use Siri to help you write down and organize things you want to pray about. This has been a big help to me and I hope it is for you too.
I wanted to share a website I just found out about, Bible Geocoding. This website has mapped “every identifiable place mentioned in the Bible” using Google Earth and/or Google Maps. The site is very straightforward and easy to use. Each book of the Bible is listed and within each book, each chapter is broken out. Click the preview link and all of the mentioned locations will load into Google Maps. Click the KML link and a Google Earth file will download to your computer and open Google Earth to show the locations mentioned. Zoom in, shown modern country borders, zoom out to see the entire region. All of the features of Google Earth and Google Maps can help you see and explore these wonderful places, just as they appear today. This could be a great tool for Bible classes and teaching situations. Check it out here.
Apple has released an update to iOS5. It’s primary purpose seems to be to deal with the dreaded battery drain issue that many people are experiencing. But another aspect of this update that is significant is that it is the first over-the-air iOS update available. If you go to Settings | General | Software Update you can download the update straight to your iPhone or iPad without connecting to iTunes. But, to be honest, it is not exactly wireless – the update wants you to connect to power during the download and update to prevent problems. This is standard stuff on laptop updates too so it is really no surprise and I suggest you heed the warning. But being able to update devices without connecting to iTunes will be a nice feature.
So go forth and update!
Evernote Peek is an interesting study tool that was designed to work with an iPad 2 and Apple’s Smart Cover. The idea is that you can flip a small part of the cover up to reveal a question and then flip up the next section of the cover to reveal the answer. You know, just like you used to study with index cards. Well the problem was if you had a first generation iPad you were out of luck because the Smart Cover doesn’t work on the iPad 1! Well that has been resolved. Evernote announced today that Evernote Peek is now compatible with all iPads. Check out the video to see how it all works.
The video shows the iPad 2 with a Smart Cover but the new version uses a virtual cover and works on the iPad 1 as well.
NOTE: While the applications for students seems obvious – what about the average person using it to study and memorize Scriptures? Fun huh?
I have been using my new iPhone 4S for a few weeks now and I must say that I have found it well worth the upgrade (I was using a 3GS before this). Siri, the new voice capable digital assistant has been a HUGE help to me! Here are some of the things that I am finding most useful:
Voice dictation for texts, emails, and general information from Siri – simply touching a button and speaking what I want to send in a text or emailed is great! I know some have said their Andriod as been able to do the for awhile, but they have not. I can say “Send a message to Bob that says I will email the information when I get to the office” and Siri will send Bob a text for me. Or even something like “text my wife and tell her I am on my way, but I am going to be a little late” will send a text to my wife (yes, Siri knows those relationships) telling her I will be a little late. Very powerful stuff.
Location based Reminders – Siri can create reminders based on location so you can be reminded to do something when you arrive or when you are leaving a specific location. “Remind me to tell my wife about the Ladies Bible class when I get home” creates a reminder that is triggered when I pull into my driveway. You can create shopping lists that automatically open when you arrive at the store or remind you to do something when you get to the office. I use these constantly.
There are many more things I like about the iPhone 4S, but these top my list. More later.
Again I find myself letting time slip by without updating my blog! I guess I could make lots of excuses (none really all that valid) about why, but maybe dealing with the issue might teach a lesson for others (and to myself if I will listen). I have a tendency to write long posts. Long posts take more time to write. Time is at a premium and so therefore – I tend not to write. I am going to try to resurrect this blog by “trying” to post smaller articles and tips more often.
We will see how it goes.
OK – so you have an event of some kind coming up and you want to promote it. Maybe it is a Gospel Meeting, or a Vacation Bible School, or a special sermon series and you want to create a flyer or brochure that you can hand out to promote it. Unfortunately, this task usually falls to the church secretary who opens Microsoft Publisher, finds the flyer she did last year for the same event, changes the date, the title, searches for a new clipart (from the $29 1,000,000 piece clipart collection CD purchased in 1990), prints it out, runs it through the Xerox machine and voila! Instant promo piece ready for distribution – right? But is this really the look you want to put out in the community? Does this flyer or brochure really attract people to come to the event or does it look outdated and out of touch?
Now, this post isn’t meant to insult any church secretaries out there, but the truth is they probably haven’t been trained to do this type of work to begin with. So how do you create better print materials for the church? Here are six tips that may help.
Tip #1: Get Rid of Microsoft Publisher
I know that I will get emails about being a MAC guy, but that is not why I don’t like MS Publisher. The biggest problem with Publisher is the it doesn’t play nice with any other software. The files created by Publisher are completely proprietary. You cannot convert them or open them in any other programs. Now I know you can try to convert them to MS Word, but if you have ever really tried that with anything beyond the most basic layout you know that it just doesn’t work. I will post more on other software options soon, but Publisher creates a lot of issues.
Tip #2: Don’t Use Prebuilt Templates
This is another reason to drop Publisher. The templates that are built in to the program for the most part look outdated and amateur. You need to learn how to create these materials from scratch when at all possible. The problem with templates is that there are only a few that people really like and everyone uses them. The result is everyone’s material looks the same – not a good option. This is really another reason to drop Publisher. The temptation is too great to just open an old file (probably built from a template), revise it and send it out again. Learn the basics of a good layout and keep things fresh.
Tip #3: Get Rid of Your Clipart Library
The age of clipart is over! It served it function 20 years ago (although it was still poor communication back then). Now it just looks outdated and cheap. I have talked about online stock photo sources before and you need to learn to use up to date visuals in your flyers and print material. Just say no to clipart.
Tip #4: Get Some Professional Help
This is really the best tip of the lot. Find members in your congregation that have graphic design training and talent. The graphic design field is exploding and there are people everywhere that have various levels of experience. Ask for volunteers from the congregation who know what they are doing. Get more people involved and using their talents for the Lord.
If you don’t have anyone in your congregation, contact the graphic design department of the local community college or trade school. Graphic design students are always looking for “real world” design projects to add to their portfolios and many will be eager to help. This gives them some much needed experience and may even open the door to teach them the Gospel.
Tip #5: Create a Morgue File
There are good examples of flyers, postcards, brochures and other print materials all around us. When you see one in a store or get one in the mail that looks good and communicates well, save it in a file for future reference. Notice the details. What is it that grabbed your attention? Was it some color they used (or didn’t use)? Was it a particular font and size of lettering that you noticed? Was it the visuals, photos or logos that caught your eye? Note those this on a sticky note and put the item in a file for later reference. Then when you need to create a new flyer, pull out your flyer file and look at the examples you have collected for ideas.
Tip #6: Don’t Be Afraid to Use Color
Adding color to a flyer or brochure is vital today and no I don’t mean putting canary yellow paper in the copy machine! Full color communications increase readership by as much as 65%. The problem for the church is that full color printing has always seemed out of our price range. Well, there are a number of full color printing options available today that can be very affordable. We’ll get a list together and dedicate a post on those soon.
Start with some of these basic tips and you’ll see a dramatic increase in the quality of your print materials.
This topic was covered in more detail this week on the MinistryGeek This Week podcast. You can listen to the show here or subscribe to the show through iTunes here. We will continue this conversation on next week’s podcast as well so stay tuned.