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Friday
May292015

Theotek Podcast #26: Make Yourself Presentable

On today's Theotek podcast, we began with a quick discussion of Google Now on Tap, announced yesterday at Google I/O 2015. Then we moved on to our primary discussion about worship presentation software with our guest, Paul Clifford of TrinityDigitalMedia.com. Paul showed us some new features in ProPresenter 6 for the Mac
      
Personally, I found this to be one of the most stimulating discussions on Theotek since I've been involved. We moved well beyond the topic of worship technology as we discussed the worship experience in general, including the ongoing concern about worship as only passive entertainment vs. worship as a full multi-sensory, participatory experience. 
     
     

If you want to join us live each Friday at 9 AM EST, or if you want to know where you can subscribe and download episodes, head on over to the Theotek website for more information. 

Feel free to add questions, thoughts comments, or rebuttals here in my comments section or in the comments for today's episode on YouTube.

Wednesday
May272015

Traveling with the Apple Watch: A Journey in Four Apps

I'm writing this (or at least the beginning of it) on Tuesday, May 26, from the Sleep Inn outside of the Atlanta Airport, where Kathy and I are spending the night because our connecting flight between New Orleans and Louisville was cancelled due to inclement weather. 

We made a quick trip to New Orleans over Memorial Day Weekend to claim a two-night stay at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in the French Quarter, which was part of the Grand Prize for my winning the Louisiana Peach Festival Cookery Contest last summer. It was a nice quick getaway until our flight home was cancelled at the halfway point. But this unanticipated waypoint along the way gives me a chance to write about an aspect of this trip that was different from others made in the past: the addition of the Apple Watch.

Here is our visit to the Crescent City as seen through the use of four Apple Watch apps.

Fly Delta
I had not flown Delta any time in recent memory, and in fact, I didn't even have the Fly Delta app on my iPhone. Knowing that the Apple Watch can be used as a boarding pass, I definitely wanted to try this out, but didn't actually begin setting it up until Sunday morning when we were waiting at the airport. 

I installed the Fly Delta app to my iPhone a couple of days earlier, and the corresponding Apple Watch app was immediately added to my watch. The app on my phone sent me a notification reminder the day before and even suggested I go ahead and check in. I opted not to do this because Kathy and I didn't have seats together, and I wanted to see someone at the ticket counter to make certain we were sitting next to each other on all legs of our journey. 

After getting our seats squared away, I opened the Fly Delta app on my Apple Watch to see if I could see my boarding pass QR code. No such luck--it wasn't there. In fact, the Fly Delta app on the watch is pretty limited. It will show you your flight number, gate and offer a countdown until boarding time; but that's about it. Then, I remembered from using similar apps in the past from other airlines, that the boarding pass is both accessible in the iPhone app and can be added to the Apple Passbook. So, I added it to my Passbook from the Fly Delta app on my iPhone, and voila! It was now on my Apple Watch. In fact, a Fly Delta notification appeared on my Apple Watch, allowing a shortcut to the Passbook for quick access.
My Delta boarding pass.Most use of the Apple Watch is only for a few seconds. And if you lower your arm, or move it into a position not optimal for personal viewing, whatever is on the screen usually disappears. However, once I opened the QR code for my boarding pass from the Passbook, my watch stayed on, even if I changed the position of my arm. I didn't time it to know how long it stays on, and discovered it will eventually go off, but it stayed on long enough that I could set it when there were still a half dozen or so passengers ahead of me, and it stayed on long enough for me to stick my arm under Delta's scanner when it was my turn. 

From what I could tell, Delta's scanners had no more trouble reading my watch than they would a boarding pass on the phone. Is there any really advantage? Maybe. At the very least, my phone could stay in my pocket, but I still had to have my hand free regardless. 

As is the norm right now (I can't imagine it will be for very long), the Apple Watch does create attention. The Delta employee at the Louisville gate told me that my Apple Watch was her "first." And a security agent, after seeing my unsuccessful try to scan my watch in Chattanooga (more about this in a second) when reboarding our diverted plane, told me he was going to have to confiscate my Apple Watch. He was just kidding but was very interested in hearing details from me as to my experience using it. 

About that re-board in Chattanooga: I guess paper boarding passes will remain a good backup. On our way home, our flight got rerouted to Chattanooga where we waited about two hours for the Atlanta Airport to re-open after closing due to thunderstorms on Tuesday afternoon. While we were in Chattanooga, we were allowed to disembark from the plan with the admonition from the flight crew to stay close. 

When it came time to re-board the plane so we could again attempt to make it to Atlanta, I got in line and attempted to stick my wrist under the scanner again. I quickly got fussed at by the Delta employee at the gate: "No, we're not doing it that way right now!" she scolded in a manner that gave me a flashback to getting in trouble for not following the rules in elementary school. For the reboard, they wanted to see either a Photo ID or our original paper boarding pass. I had my paper boarding pass somewhere, but I had no idea which pocket it was in. Since Kathy had already gone through with her paper boarding pass, they let me in just on the basis of my name (not the greatest level of security, mind you).
           
I should also point out that I used the paper boarding pass at TSA checkpoints. I figured it was best not to do anything out of the ordinary.

Maps
Kathy and I have been to New Orleans multiple times over the years--both individually and together--but I'm not there enough to remember how to get around very easily. This sometimes surprises people because I spent the first half of my life in Louisiana, but that was at the northern end of the state; and people outside Louisiana assume that the state and its most famous city are one and the same.

Although I'm not certain of the immediate benefit of it, I've kept the Map app in the Glances section of the Apple Watch. The shot to the left shows where we were staying at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in relation to our surroundings. 

But the real benefit was using turn-by-turn directions on my wrist instead of having my face in my phone as we walked. I found it amazing how many people were walking around the French Quarter with their noses stuck into their phones, oblivious to their surroundings. You see this kind of practice everywhere these days, but it's dangerous on many counts, and I would suggest even more dangerous in the French Quarter. 
On most days, Kathy and I would select our location ahead of time--restaurants such as Tujagues, The Original Pierre Maspero's, Mother's Restaurant, to name a few we visited--and I would run the search for it on my iPhone. For what it's worth, this can be done straight from the Apple Watch with voice commands. However, I preferred to see the entire route first on the larger screen of my iPhone 6 Plus.
   
Once the route was started, I let the Apple Watch takeover. This allowed us to simply walk down the streets and enjoy the sites on our way. When I approached a corner where I needed to turn, the Apple Watch alerted me with the sound of a turn signal from what sounded like an older model car, and a series of taps on my wrist. By lifting my wrist, I could see directions telling me which way to turn.
    
My only complaint in this procedure has to do with my own impatience. After I made a turn, I wanted to know immediately which turn would be next. I don't know if the Apple Watch doesn't update that fast by design or if it's just a bit slow in this process, but it usually took getting about a quarter up the block before I could see the next direction on my wrist.
   
Once we arrived at our destination, the Apple Watch alerted me that we had arrived--I suppose in case we couldn't see that for ourselves.
   
Again, the great advantage to this is the primary benefit of the Apple Watch itself: I can be free from the drudgery of having my face in my phone all the time. Not only is this safer (no YouTube videos of me falling into a fountain, thank you), but it also allows me to enjoy the world around me while I walk.
   
I would not have thought of Dark Sky as a travel app, but it came in very handy on our trip. If you're not familiar with Dark Sky, it is a wonderful weather app that has the uncanny ability to tell you when it's about to start raining within a very accurate specified number of minutes. And in my experience, it's nearly always right.
   
The timing for our trip to New Orleans was either perfect or no-so-perfect according to how one looks at it. New Orleans can be miserably hot and muggy at certain times of the year, but during our stay this week, we experienced regular rain showers. Fortunately, these weren't the all-day rains I remember as a child growing up in Louisiana; instead, it would rain for short periods of time, followed by mostly cloudy skies. So, although we had to work around rain, it was not a constant hindrance; and we kept fairly cool most of our time there. 
   
This is the only screenshot on this page not from my Apple Watch. I borrowed this one from the Dark Sky iTunes page.Dark Sky came in quite handy because of this. Again, I had not thought about depending on Dark Sky while we were in New Orleans, but with the constant on again/off again rain, we were regularly kept up to date about whether we needed to be under cover or if it was safe to walk out in the open. Dark Sky would tell us that rain was beginning in x number of minutes, so we knew how much time we had to get to our next destination. Or for Sunday morning's swim in the Bourbon Orleans' saltwater pool, we knew we had about 50 minutes before rain would temporarily spoil our fun. 
   
Dark Sky also really helped us out on Monday afternoon when we visited St. Louis Cemetery #3 (more about that in a moment). Dark Sky told us exactly how much time we had to look for Aunt Gertrude's grave (yes, I had a real Aunt Gertrude, though I never met her). Thanks to Dark Sky, we knew we had about an hour to search for Gertrude's final resting spot before the rain hit. And Dark Sky gave me a gentle reminder on my watch when the rain was getting close. That allowed me to contact Uber, and our ride appeared right before the rain came down in buckets.
   
Uber
As anyone who has tried it out knows, Uber is an excellent service for those travel spots where you don't have a vehicle of your own, and it is usually less expensive than a taxi cab ride. Due to regulations in New Orleans, a taxi cab was cheaper from the airport to our hotel, but once we were checked in, Uber became our go-to service for a couple of trips we needed to make that were a bit beyond walking distance.
   
The Uber app on my Apple Watch allowed me to request a ride directly from my wrist, but I preferred to make the initial request from my iPhone. This allowed me to get an estimate for the fare ahead of time (the two rides we made were both around $11 each). Once I had made my request through the Uber app, though, I could let the Apple Watch take over. 
   
With the Apple Watch I could monitor the amount of time left before the driver reached us. This has the same advantage as using the watch for turn-by-turn directions: it keeps my face out of a phone and keeps me aware of my surroundings. The app on my watch would give me a snippet of a map displaying my location as well as an approximated time for our driver's arrival. 
   
My great grandfather, William Porter Mansfield, had a brother, Thomas Mansfield. This great grand uncle of mine fell in love with the New Orleans culture and moved his family there in the 1930s. I know that he died in 1940 (from complications of diabetes--I have his death certificate), but I don't know for certain where he was buried. His wife, Ursula Gertrude Woodward Mansfield, died in 1962; and according to her obituary, she was buried in St. Louis Cemetery #3.
    
I wanted to find her grave, and ultimately I hoped to discover that old Uncle Thomas was buried with her.
I figured that once we were in New Orleans, I would check in with the office that held the cemetery records, and they could tell me where in St. Louis Cemetery Aunt Gertrude was buried. Unfortunately, I forgot that Monday was Memorial Day--our only real day to look--and the office was closed for the holiday. Kathy and I decided to go out to St. Louis Cemetery #3 anyway, even though it was the metaphorical needle in a haystack. 
    
St. Louis Cemetery #3 is quite large. We looked around for 45 minutes to an hour and never even saw one Mansfield on a tombstone. There were, of course, lots of French names. Okay, technically, there weren’t the traditional tombstones either. New Orleans cemeteries are above ground because of the high water table. We don’t want Aunt Gertrude to float away after all. 
   
A family (not mine!) entombment at St. Louis Cemetery #3
While at the cemetery, I don’t believe I pulled my phone out of my pocket even once because of my Apple Watch. At one point, Kathy and I went in two different directions to try to cover more ground at the same time. She and I would text back and forth every now and then, but I strictly used my Apple Watch for text, dictating my messages to her through the watch. 
   
After a while, Dark Sky warned us of impending rain, so I called our Uber ride to pick us up. The first time I tried to find an Uber car in the area, none were to be found, but I waited a couple of minutes, tried again, and one was available.
    
A few incidentals and final thoughts. 
On Tuesday morning, after going through security at the New Orleans Airport, my Apple Watch alerted me to the fact that it had only 10% battery left. It had not been down that low since my 72 hours of use. Evidently, I did not have the charger, which only connects via a magnet, properly in place the previous night. As soon as we got to our gate, I found an empty outlet and plugged it in. In about an hour’s time, it charged to 60% which was more than good for the rest of the day. But this was a good reminder that it might be best not to depend on the watch as the sole solution for one’s boarding pass. I did have a paper copy inside my vest. 
   
While en route to Atlanta, storms closed the airport, and our flight was temporarily rerouted to Chattanooga. By the time we finally got back to Atlanta, our flight had been cancelled, and we had to spend the night in a nearby hotel. For dinner, the Yelp app came in quite handy. We did not use this app in New Orleans because we essentially knew what restaurants we wanted to visit while there. However, I’ve discovered that the simple interface for Yelp on the Apple Watch is fantastic. Tapping on Restaurants brings up a list of available dining establishments in proximity order from those within a certain number of feet (really) to miles. Tapping on the restaurant will bring up more details including a map, which will give you turn-by-turn directions. 
   
When we were waiting in line to board our rescheduled flight Wednesday morning, the Delta agent began going over directions for scanning boarding passes. Paper boarding passes were obviously assumed for most travelers, but the agent also mentioned boarding passes on phones and gave instructions to hold the phone a couple of inches above the scanner as opposed to laying them down on it. No mention was made of proper procedure for the Apple Watch. I try to be nonchalant when using my Apple Watch in situations like this, but I admit my inner geek is performing cartwheels inside. As I turned over my wrist and passed my watch over the scanner, the Delta Agent said in a quieted tone, “Now that’s what I’m talking about."
   
I readily admit that using the watch for some of the situations described above is pretty geeky, and I simply like such things. However, it should not be missed that the Apple Watch gets my face out of my phone’s screen. Look around you in a a crowded setting. It’s nose to glass everywhere you look. This is not only dangerous; it’s also a bit…well, antisocial is stronger than I mean as it communicates intent. At the very least, so much public phone gazing is less than social. The Apple Watch, which is designed for quick glances, helps me be safe and more plugged into what’s going on around me. That’s not too bad. 
   
   
   
Questions, thoughts, comments, rebuttals? Leave them in the comments section below!

 

Saturday
May232015

This Week in Accordance (2015.05.23)

Another busy week in the world of Bible software, and here's my "unofficial/off-the-clock" rundown of what's new with Accordance. 
   
Commentators' Bible (Michael Carasik, ed.)

Released this past Monday for the Accordance Library, The Commentators' Bible is in the rabbinic tradition of Miqra'ot Gedolot/מקראות גדולות, AKA "Great Scriptures," or "Rabbinic Bible." This involves surrounding the biblical text with comments from various medieval rabbinic sources. Each section starts with questions raised about the passage, followed by answers from the likes of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval commentators. 
As of this writing, there are about two and a half days left to get introductory pricing on volumes for Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and an even greater cut for all four together. The obvious question is "What about Genesis?" Carasik is still working on that one, and it's slated for around 2018.

   
The Bible's Many Voices (Michael Carasik)

Also from Carasik this week is his book The Bible's Many Voices, which is a literary analysis of sorts focusing on the diversity of the human element involved in the origins of the Bible. Carasik writes from a Jewish perspective, but there is a good bit of interaction with the Christian New Testament as well. 
             
Here is part of the publisher's description:
     
The most common English translations of the Bible often sound like a single, somewhat archaic voice. In fact, the Bible is made up of many separate books composed by multiple writers in a wide range of styles and perspectives. It is, as Michael Carasik demonstrates, not a remote text reserved for churches and synagogues but rather a human document full of history, poetry, politics, theology, and spirituality.



"Jewish Perspective" Sale
We placed a number of titles on sale that look at the Bible from a Jewish perspective. 

Again, as with the other titles from Carasik, there are about two and a half days left for this sale before these titles go back up to regular pricing.



Two Endorsement Videos Released

Brandon Crowe, Associate Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia:

Anthony Abell, Provost of Clearwater Christian College:


 

Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #123: Change Focus and Tie/Untie Panes

This six-minute video shows off two new features of Accordance 11.0.6 for Macintosh and Windows.

 



Upcoming Training Seminars

 

There are a number of upcoming free training seminars, and we've got all four hemispheres covered! 

  • Chattanooga, TN (June 12)
  • Sydney, Australia (June 13)
  • Buenos Aires (July 20-24)
  • Atlanta, GA (Nov 20--between ETS & SBL meetings)

Go to our Training Seminars page to get more information and sign up for these seminars and others.


 

Upcoming Free Webinars for the Coming Week

We have a number of free webinars on schedule for the coming week. The webinars use GoToMeeting and allow participants to directly interact with the instructor. 

  • Learning Greek (Tues May 26, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • User Tools & Notes (Tues May 26, 6-7 PM, EDT)
  • Beginners Basics, Part 5: Linking (Wed May 27, 1-2 PM EDT)

Sign up for these or other sessions at our Webinars page. Also check out recordings of past webinars on our Webinar Archives page

 

If you have questions about anything above, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Friday
May222015

Theotek Podcast #25: A Germ-Infested Group of Guys

In this morning's Theotek podcast, Christian entrepreneur, Tuan Dam, joined us. He not only told us his amazing story, but he also talked about his company, Cleanint, which has some amazing products for the less-than-sanitary world in which we live. If you want to support a company run by Christians who are using their vocation to advance the Kingdom of God in innovative ways, I strongly urge you to support Cleanint. 

Here's a recording of today's podcast:
   

   
If you want to join us live each Friday at 9 AM EST, or if you want to know where you can subscribe and download episodes, head on over to the Theotek website for more information. 

Feel free to add questions, thoughts comments, or rebuttals here in my comments section or in the comments for today's episode on YouTube.

Thursday
May212015

Review: The Ancient Faith Prayer Book

The Ancient Faith Prayer Book
Vassilios Papavassiliou, ed.
2014, Ancient Faith Publishing

O Lord our God, if I have sinned in anything this day, in word, or deed, or thought, forgive me all, for You are good, and You love mankind. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep, and deliver me from the assault and attack of the evil one. Rouse me at the proper time to glorify You, for blessed are You, together with Your Only-begotten Son and Your All-holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

A Prayer for Forgiveness, p. 53.

Yes, I am still Baptist; but over the years, I have found myself in an increasing appreciation for the beauty of the teaching and traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found greater joy in finding commonalities among varying expressions of Christianity as opposed to emphasizing differences. I appreciate the Orthodox Church for its commitment to ancient expressions of the Christian faith as well as offering a perspective on familiar categories that is sometimes very different from my own.

Moreover, I’ve collected a number of prayer books over the years. It may seem odd to some, but I enjoy reading them and incorporating some prayers as my own when appropriate. If you’ve never tried it, I’ve often found that reading, reflecting and praying written prayers is the best kind of devotional.

The prayers are grouped by the following categories as represented from the Table of Contents:

  • Morning Prayers
  • Afternoon Prayers
  • Prayers for Mealtimes
  • Early Evening Prayers
  • Late Evening Prayers
  • Canon for Holy Communion
  • Prayers Before Holy Communion
  • Prayers for the Departed
  • Prayers for Confession
  • Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions
  • Prayers of the Saints 

In addition to these groups of prayers, there is an introduction on to how to use the book (which include instructions from St. Theophan the Recluse) as well as a Calendar of Great Feasts and Fasts.

The prayers include many traditional Orthodox prayers, biblical psalms, prayers of the Saints, and a number of modern occasional prayers. This last kind of prayers are most interesting to me. Some of them are basic such as prayers for Before a Journey, Before and After Work, and Before Study. There’s also some very modern needs addressed by these prayers such as a prayer Before Using the Internet: 

Be the helper of my soul, O God, for I walk in the midst of many snares. Deliver me from them and save me, for You are good, and You love mankind. (p. 124)

There is another aspect to this collection of prayers that intrigued me. I’ve only attended two Orthodox services in two different churches, but in both one particular aspect of the liturgy stood out to me as unusual (as in more unusual than a lifelong Baptist experiencing an Orthodox service). Now, let me say up front that I do not mean any disrespect, I realize that I am a total outsider, and I’m willing to say that perhaps I just don’t get it. However, it struck me odd to hear so much Elizabethan, King James-ish language in the liturgy. I’m referring to use of archaic words such as Thou, Thee, and Thy and the like in reference to God.

I understand that the Orthodox Church embraces traditions and liturgies going back to the first centuries of the church—but those liturgies were not in Elizabethan English. In fact, I would guess that in the 17th century, there may not have been any Orthodox services being conducted in English (someone can correct me if I'm wrong). I understand that this type of language is often used for sake of formality and respect, but to me it’s a bit artificial. There’s a difference between traditional or even ancient and archaic. I don’t want the church (as expressed in any tradition) to come across as archaic.

All that to say, The Ancient Faith Prayer Book purposefully avoids this kind of language. There are no Elizabethan forms used, and (again, speaking as an outsider), I believe this is for the better. Thus, this volume is a collection of prayers—both ancient and modern—based on timeless truths, and written for a contemporary audience.

At 6.9 x 4.5 x 0.5 inches, this 176-page volume fits easily into the hand and is easy to carry. My copy is a paperback with a nice-looking grained green cover that sells for $14.95; however, there is also a deluxe leather edition for a fairly reasonable $39.95 directly from Ancient Faith Publishing. Physical copies have pages of a very decent quality with red ink for headings and drop cap letters. A Kindle edition sells for $9.99, and to my knowledge, the title is not offered on any Bible software platforms, although it would make a worthy addition.

I don’t believe I could, in good faith, pray every prayer in this book. Some of the prayers would not square with my own beliefs. However, for those who are like me and willing to focus on common elements of faith rather than differences, I would not have any problem in recommending this book to a wide audience beyond just Orthodox believers.

 Questions, thoughts, comments, rebuttals? Leave them below!

Monday
May182015

The Mystery of the Apple Watch's Improved Battery Life

I know that it can be chalked up to playing with the Apple Watch a bit more in the first few days I had it, but the improvement in battery life I've experienced over the last four days is downright bizarre. 

Anytime I've had a new mobile device, the battery drains pretty quickly the first day or two I have it because I'm spending time setting it up and just exploring it in general. After the initial newness wears off, I settle into more general usage and battery life becomes more reasonable. 

Of course, I'm not particular happy with battery life in general for any device. I realize you can't simply throw money at physics and instantly come up with super batteries--that such things take time for evolution and development--but I wish that Apple would make battery life a primary focus of their R&D. As I said the other day, if their devices could go days or even a week at a time without having to be recharged, the consumer world would beat a path to their door--not that they're actually hurting for business as things are. 

Anyway, on the first day I had my Apple Watch (Tuesday, last week), it was delivered around 11 AM, and it came charged at 75%. I had it in use by 11:30 AM, and by 8 PM, it was down to about 10%. Again, I chalked this up to first day above-average use. 

On the second day I had it, I put it on around 8 AM with a 100% charge, but by around 8 PM again, it was down to less than 10%. This didn't bother me for the same reason as the previous day. But then on Thursday of last week, my third day of use, the battery was down to 42% by 2 PM, and had I not put it back on its charger, I have no doubt it would have been dead by late afternoon. 

By that point, I was very frustrated. Having the watch only last for 12 hours or less was really not acceptable. In fact, I planned to write a post this week titled something like, "The Most Disappointing Aspect of the Apple Watch" and talk about its dismal battery life. I even bought an extra charging cable last Friday for use in my car. I didn't want to have to do it, but I thought that maybe I could at least charge it while I'm driving. In fact, while I was driving home Friday night, I was able to raise the charge by 20% in 30 minutes. However, I did that merely as a test because I noticed that by 4 PM on Friday, it was surprisingly only down to 57%. 

If I had written my complaint post, I was prepared to write what I had already told others, "The Apple Watch battery will certainly last for a traditional work day, but it won't last for my day." I want to be able to put the watch on in the morning and take it off at night without having to worry about charging it. I actually want that for all my devices. I don't want to have to plug them in during the day, but I have to anyway. Yet the Apple Watch is more personal. It's really of no use if it's not being worn. 

Saturday and Sunday, I was able to do exactly what I wanted to do--leave it on all day, and it maintained a healthy charge until I went to bed. The screenshot at the top of this post was taken at 1:30 AM today. Although I put on my Apple Watch this morning a bit later than normal, I really have no idea why I'm suddenly getting such good battery life. 

Again, it's easy to say that I was just using it more the first two or three days. But I've continued to use it all day long, every day since. I take calls on it if there's no one around whom I might annoy with a two-way conversation coming over my phone. I regulary reply to texts by voice dictation, check the time and weather; and of course, I've been monitoring battery life. Over the weekend on both Saturday and Sunday I was around people who wanted to see demonstrations of the watch. It got pretty heavy use over the weekend, and the Apple Watch lasted until I went to bed--late nights both--with battery to spare. 

So, right now, yes, in spite of my first three days experience, I'm getting at least the promised 18-hour day, if not more. I don't have brightness turned down, and I essentially have the same features turned on that I had at the end of my first day with the Apple Watch. I have no idea why my battery life has improved so much, but I'd be interested to hear if others have had the same experience. If you have, please let me know in the comments.

Sunday
May172015

My Preferred Apple Watch Face (At Least for Now)

Granted, it may not be as cool as expanding flowers and flapping butterfly wings, and it's certainly not as fun as Mickey tapping his foot to keep track of passing seconds, but I've found that for me, the watch face called "Modular" is the best suited for my uses. 

You can see the image to the left. Let me take you through its functions. Obviously, on the top row, you have date and time. Below that is the next event on my calendar. Tapping on either the date in the top left or on the calendar event will take me to the Calendar app on the watch where I can get more details about an individual event or my entire day.

On the bottom row at the far left is the current temperature. This automatically updates to my location. So no more asking of Siri, "What's the temperature outside?" on my iPhone." Funny, she's never been able to tell me what the temperature is inside. Tapping on the icon brings up the Weather app.

In the middle of the bottom row is an icon for the Fitness Tracker (move, exercise, and stand). Tapping on the icon launches the app on the watch where I can get more details. I'm actually paying attention to this, and hopefully that will result in better health. Don't judge me on so little progress so far for the day--it's early!

And then finally, on the far right is a work-related time zone of which it's helpful for me to keep track. Tapping on that icon brings up the World Clock app. 

I like the Modular face because it is extremely functional. Yes, it's not as cool or fun as other faces, but that's okay. And there are also some very nice faces that emulate moving hour, minute and second hands, but let's be honest--why do we really need hour and minute hands on a digital watch? I suppose some people will like them for the same reason they put old fashioned phone rings on their iPhones--it harkens back to those older interfaces--but to me emulating a traditional watch face is the ultimate in skeuomorphism. Hour and minute hands on a watch that has actual gears turning inside makes sense, but I don't really need it for a smartwatch. Even if it only takes milliseconds, the brain has to process the meaning of the minute and seconds hands, and this is not as efficient as simply looking at the time represented in numbers for hours and minutes. 

Nevertheless, there are choices here, so we don't all have to agree--and that's a good thing. What about you? If you have an Apple Watch, what's your favorite face to use as your primary display? Do you use other ones at other times of the day? Let me know in the comments. 

Saturday
May162015

This Week in Accordance (2015.05.16)

Here's a rundown of all things Accordance from the previous week!

 

Everyone needs good dictionaries, right? The link above will take you to the blog post and descriptions of each item on sale. These prices are good through Monday, May 18, Midnight EDT.

Here's a quick list of what's included:


Video: Creating a Combined Resource in Accordance

 

Learn how to create a combined resource to scroll in parallel with a biblical text. We recommend watching this video fullscreen.


Upcoming Training Seminars

 

There are two upcoming free training seminars, and we've got both northern and southern hemispheres covered! 

  • Chattanooga, TN (June 12)
  • Sydney, Australia (June 13)

Go to our Training Seminars page to get more information and sign up for these seminars and others.


Upcoming Free Webinars for the Coming Week

We have LOTS of free webinars on schedule for the coming week. The webinars use GoToMeeting and allow participants to directly interact with the instructor. 

  • Beginner Basics - Part 2 (Mon May 18, 4-5 PM, EDT)
  • Preparing Expository Sermons with Accordance (Tues May 19, 1-2 PM, EDT)
  • Creating an Accordance Slideshow (Tues May 19, 6-7 PM EDT)
  • Beginner Basics - Part 3 (Wed May 20, 2015, 1-2 PM EDT)
  • Sermon Preparation in Action (Thurs May 21, 12-1:15 PM EDT)
  • Using the Research Tool (Thurs May 21, 4-5 PM EDT)
  • Beginning Basics - Part 4 (Fri May 22, 1-2 PM)

Sign up for these or other sessions at our Webinars page. Also check out recordings of past webinars on our Webinar Archives page

 

If you have questions about anything above, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Friday
May152015

Theotek Podcast #24: BibleWorks 10 Update

In this morning's podcast, I gave a brief report about my experience with the Apple Watch, but the main attraction was a demonstration of the newly-released BibleWorks 10 by Dan Phillips of the Pyromaniacs website.

And I demonstrated that, yes, I can be courteous to reprepresentatives of other Bible software ;-)

Actually, I have all major Bible software platforms represented on my MacBook Pro.

So, here's this morning's podcast in all its YouTube glory:

If you want to join us live each Friday at 9 AM EST, or if you want to know where you can subscribe and download episodes, head on over to the Theotek webiste for more information. 

Feel free to add questions, thoughts comments, or rebuttals here in my comments section or on YouTube at https://youtu.be/WuxJNEh-HZA.

Thursday
May142015

Do You Use Evernote?

Note: this post is an expansion of an earlier comment I left in the Accordance forums last year. 

Do you use Evernote

Last night I ran by Best Buy to get some printer ink. I own two different printers and for the life of me, I can never remember the arcane model number assigned to either printer. And the even more arcane numbers on the printer ink boxes don't help. 

Fortunately, I knew I had the information I needed in Evernote. I pulled out my iPhone, tapped on the Evernote icon and then opened the note I had conveniently labeled "My Printers." This simple note I had created the last time I couldn't remember my printer model listed the names of both printers I own. After I located the particular ink for the printer that was out, I snapped a photo of the printer ink box and saved that in the same note. This will save me even more time the next time I go to get ink. 

Evernote helped me "remember" what printer I had, but it's also partly the reason I can never remember my particular printer. I hardly ever print anything these days because I simply save everything to Evernote instead. So it's rare that I actually have to get printer ink in the first place. 

Evernote works so well for me because it is ubiquitous. There's an Evernote app for just about every computer and mobile platform, but I can also access my content from a web browser simply by logging into the Evernote site. I have the ability to access my information pretty much wherever I am--on my own devices or even on someone else's.

So what kind of stuff do I keep in Evernote? 

  1. MiscellanyEvernote is a repository of all the miscellaneous information that I might need access to: account numbers, login and password info, the name of my printer when I go to buy ink cartridges, my wife's favorite food orders if I'm picking up dinner, gift idea lists, a snapshot of my license plate for when I'm checking into a hotel so that I don't have to run back and look at it, prescriptions. You get the idea. It doesn't matter what device I'm using--I have access to all this stuff all the time. Good organization and keyword tagging are key, of course. 
  2. ResearchEvernote is wonderful for research notes for the same reasons described above. Little snippets of information can be clipped from just about anywhere. I can organize content and have it with me at all times. 
  3. Composition. I often start writing on one device and finish on another. Or sometimes inspiration hits, and I need to write something down immediately. Maybe I only have my iPhone with me at the time;but I can add my thoughts on it, and later I can pull up the same note on my laptop. Often I have jumped back and forth between two or three devices in writing something, easily grabbing whatever is closest to me. Evernote is not necessarily the final application for what I'm working on, but it's nearly always where I start.
  4. PDFs and clipped articles. Originally, I used DevonTHINK Pro for collecting PDFs, but as mobile access became more important to me, I abandoned DTP because I was not satisfied with their mobile solutions. I moved thousands of PDF files--mostly articles--into Evernote. Now I have access to them anywhere and anytime. I also clip articles straight from my web browser that I want to save directly to Evernote through the "Clip to Evernote" plug-in. 
  5. Meeting Notes. Usually in a meeting I will take notes in Evernote. But occasionally, I write out notes on a notepad with a pen. In the latter case, the iPhone version of Evernote has a great built-in document scanner that allows me to save my handwritten notes directly into Evernote. And there's even some kind of Evernote voodoo built in that allows me to search through handwritten notes--when I have taken the time to write halfway legibly.
  6. Read later content. I have a "*To Be Read" folder in Evernote that contains a lot of the web-clipped articles that I want to read later but may or may not save after I read them. I put the asterisk (*) in the title of this folder so that it will show up at the top of my notebook list, right under "*Inbox."
  7. Blog & newsletter subscriptions. Evernote will give you a specific email account tied to Evernote. This is not a regular email account--you can't reply to an email, for instance. But anything I send to Internet will automatically show up in my Evernote Inbox in the app. I use this to subscribe to blogs or online newsletters. After I read the content, I can delete it or file it elsewhere in Evernote. 
  8. On-the-fly webpages. The share feature in Evernote lets me instantly create a webpage with a unique evernote.com URL. I often do this if I need to share information quickly--perhaps something I need others to proofread or a PDF too large to email. Related to this there are also collaboration tools in Evernote that allow multiple people to access the same note from within the application. 
  9. Grocery lists. This is a pretty simple thing, but I often use Evernote to create a grocery list complete with checkboxes that I can check off as I shop. This also makes for great To-Do lists. 

Probably about 90% of Evernote's features are free to use. I've had the premium members (my debit card is charged $5/month) since 2010. Evernote recently updated their tiers, so I now have unlimited uploads of content each month--especially helpful when adding a lot of PDFs. If you're interested in trying out Premium and would be so kind, send me your email (which you can find on the About page of this website), and I'll send you a special Premium invite which will earn me Evernote "points."

By the way, I know that there are other services similar to Evernote out there. Microsoft's OneNote is the biggest competitor. I'm not interested in starting a platform war (and these tools really are platforms all of their own). My choice to use Evernote is not meant as a slam to OneNote. I began using Evernote around 5 years ago because it was on every device I had, and OneNote was not. I'm sure OneNote is fine, but I now have over 800 notes in Evernote, so I'm not going anywhere else. Plus, I'm perfectly satisfied with Evernote (except for the fact that the recently-updated Mac interface is now devoid of all Evernote-green accents--boo!).

What about you? Do you use Evernote? If so, how? Let me know if the comments section.