Archives For apps

mileiqDo you ever have to turn in your mileage for reimbursement?  I don’t know about you, but I often forget to start tracking when i leave somewhere and then have to look things up on google maps after the fact to see how many miles I’ve driven.  That works OK, but I found this great app that will track it for you and you don’t have to think about it: MileIQ.

It’s easy, start the app, and it will track all your drives and you can classify them as personal or business in case you are mixing your trips in a day.  Then you log onto your account to download your activity or send it to yourself right from the app.  It’s super easy and it’s free if you have less than 40 drives a month.  I will I’ve noticed a faster battery drain when using it, so I would recommend keeping your phone plugged in while in the car so you don’t find yourself with no battery at the end of the day. Right now it’s iOS only, but they say an android version is on the way.

This could be a great way to track your mileage this summer to make getting reimbursed easier while you are out and about driving students to events or picking up supplies.

A few weeks back I was visiting my friends at Download Youth Ministry and Doug asked if I would film an episode of 5-Minute Youth Ministry with him about my favorite apps.  I decided to go with the tried and true because I’m constantly surprised how many people still haven’t heard of them.  Enjoy the show:

Links to what we talk about:

What are your favorite apps right now?

I don’t know about you but managing all my social media accounts can be a pain. If you are like me you have personal accounts, ministry accounts, work accounts, and fun accounts that all need to be kept up to date so your followers can know what’s going on.  I’ve tried many ways to keep them all in check, and a few months ago I discovered the easiest and most powerful yet — Buffer.

The first step in getting your Buffer going, is connecting your accounts.  In the free version you can connect 1 Twitter, 1 Facebook, and 1 Google + account which is great for personal use.  If you want to connect more, you can upgrade to their Awesome plan that allows up to 12 accounts, 2 users and unlimited posts for as little as $8.50 a month. This would be great if you wanted to manage your own accounts, plus those of your ministry.

Once you get your accounts connected, you can setup your schedule for posting.  On the free plan they allow up to 4 posting times a day that you can set to be what works best for you.  Once your schedule is set you can start loading your posts and can choose to post immediately or put it in your “buffer” to go out at the next scheduled time.  They also have a ton of pluggins and app hooks that make it easy to share articles and posts that you might be reading on your laptop, phone or tablet.

If you have been looking for a better way to manage your social media, give Buffer a try.

Find out more at


This was super cool seeing this kid talk about what he loves. It was a great reminder to me to encourage kids in their interests, you’ll never know where it will take them.

Here’s part 2 of my favorite iPhone / iPad apps for ministry and everyday life.

1. Bible – – This is my go to Bible reader on the iOS platform.  I’ve tried others, but I always come back to this one.  The team at LifeChurch just keeps making it better and better.

2. AppShopper – As a app junkie, I’m always looking for new apps and AppShopper is a great way to find out what’s new.  One of my favorite things about this app, is creating a wish list, and you’ll receive and email when the app is updated or on sale.  I’ve saved a ton just waiting till the app I wanted was on sale or even free.

3. Kindle – This is my go to book reader.  I think iBooks is prettier, but I love Amazon’s pricing and I love being able to access my books on all my devices.  I always look to kindle first for ebooks.

4.GarageBand – This one is iPad only but if you are interested in making music, this is an amazing app.  It’s the touch version of the popular app on OS X.  You can play piano, drums, or guitar and record them.  It’s also been so fun watching my kids make music of their own and get into it.  I love this app.

5. iMovie – This is my favorite quick video editor for iOS.  Again, the touch version of another of Apple’s desktop iLife apps, but it works so well on iOS.  It’s great for simple videos on the go that you can upload directly to YouTube or Flickr.  Easy to use and fast.

6. OmniOutliner for iPad – Another iPad app here, but it’s so useful. I often organize my thoughts in Outlines, and this is a great tool for that.  I use it for projects, teaching, writing, and just organizing.  It also works with the desktop version which I also really like.  Like all Omni apps, it’s a little on the expensive side, but I always feel it’s worth it in the end.

7. Documents To Go® – Office Suite – I’m a big fan of Google Docs and do a lot of my writing there, and this is best Google docs editor I’ve used.  I can access all my google docs there so I can edit or write on the go.  It also can access microsoft office docs stored in dropbox so you can edit or access on the go.

Bonus Pick: Live Curriculum – OK this one is a little selfish, but I’m pretty proud of it.  It’s the first app I helped design and produce.  It’s the app to access Simply Youth Ministry’s LIVE Curriculum. Click here to learn more about it.

There are so many other apps I use all the time, but I’d love to hear about some of your favorites.  What ones did I miss?  Tell me in the comments.

This past tuesday I got an email that told me I would be one of the lucky few to receive my iPhone 4 the day before it was released. I was more than a little bit pumped about that fact and waited somewhat patiently for it to arrive. Now that I’ve had it for a week, I feel fairly prepared to answer the question of whether or not you should rush out and get one.

The Basics
The phone is a substantial upgrade from the 3G, but far less of an upgrade from the 3Gs than apple would have you believe.

Topping the list of upgrades is the phone’s camera. Not only is it now 5 megapixels for stills, it added an LED flash. Video taken with the camera is now HD quality and can be illuminated by that same LED in dark situations. I will say that the camera quality is by far the best phone camera I have ever seen. It is on par with any 5 megapixel point and shoot I have used, and the video coming off is just as good, if not better, than any of the Flip models. AND, there is a smaller, lower quality camera that is front facing which will enable you to do easy self-portraits, video chat and FaceTime.

FaceTime is Apple’s video chat service that is built into the phone app, but it only works on WiFi.  In my tests it is good, but nothing to run out and buy a phone over.   As you can expect, it all depends on the quality of your WiFi connection.

One of the biggest updates is the processor. The iPhone 4 now has the same processor in it as the iPad which makes a noticeable difference in app performance and load times. It also ensures that when apps are running in the background that the rest of the phone doesn’t slow to a crawl.

The other big update is the display. It will blow you away. With a pixel density higher than the human eye can perceive at a normal distance, Apple’s “retina” display looks like nothing you’ve ever seen. Perfect shading, incredible viewing radius, and brilliant colors make it the stand out feature for me. I can’t wait until my laptop has one!

Good, Bad, and Ugly
All of those improvements are welcome and follow along with the rest of Apple’s excellence in implementation.  When you combine the video features with the $5 iMovie app, it becomes incredibly compelling.  I have been shooting short clips at our youth events, editing them in about two minutes with iMovie and uploading them to faceboook immediately.  That will rock your face off!  It will also allow you to make parents really feel like they know what’s going on at camps and retreats.

Though the phone is very attractive, it is glass on both sides, and that is a problem.  It will crack if you drop it on the right place at the right speed.  Since the screen is fused to the front glass, replacing the iPhone’s front glass will probably mean replacing the whole glass, screen, digitizer combo.  Pretty, but expensive.

There have been tons of reports about the iPhone 4’s antennae being able to be messed up by holding it a certain way.  That is 100% true.  Ask anyone with an iPhone 4 to hold it by cupping the bottom (usually using your left hand) and you can watch the bars drop to little or nothing at all.  However, you can do this same trick with the 3G or the 3Gs if you hold them properly.  It seems to be more pronounced with the iPhone 4, but is remedied by using a case that covers the edges (which you will need because of the glass design mentioned in the previous paragraph).

Should I Buy One?

Assuming you’ve got the dough, I would say it depends on two factors: what you are using now, and how much you want to use video.  If you, like me, had and liked the 3G and it’s time to upgrade, do it.  You will notice an amazing performance boost along with the incredible new features we discussed here.  If you really want to use video to up the communication in your ministry, do it.  The tools this phone has video-wise are incredible and will be worth every cent if you utilize them to communicate with your kids/parents.

If you have a 3Gs, I’d caution you to be careful.  This is not as much of a performance boost as you might need to justify the expense.  You can probably just update to iOS4 and download the iMovie app.  If you have a 3Gs or an 3G and will have to pay full price because you are not eligible for an upgrade, PUT THE CREDIT CARD DOWN AND STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER!  If you are patient there will be another revision next year, and you can save yourself about $400.