Archives For iOS

Apple has their big announcement tomorrow, but while we wait, here’s a hilarious video to keep you entertained.  Star Wars and Justin Beiber, who could ask for more.

I have written about the square card reader before which is the easiest way for you to begin swiping cards at your next parent meeting or fundraiser, but they have taken it to a whole new level with Square Register.

Designed to operate as a cash register for a business, Register transforms the iPad into just that, but better! After you download the app, you input your items (think summer trip costs or fundraiser items) choosing or taking a picture that represents them. Then, you decide where you want those images to appear, and you are ready to rock and roll. Pass the iPad to the volunteer and they simply touch the items someone needs to pay for, swipe the card, let the buyer sign on the iPad and the program texts or emails a receipt!

Incredible, I know. AND square’s fee is simple. The app is free, the card reader is free, and they take a simple 2.75% off the top of each transaction and direct deposit it at the end of each day. Yeah. You probably have already left to download the app, but if you haven’t… go get it!

Guest Post: My Switch to iOS

Chris —  October 20, 2011 — 1 Comment

A self-avowed Apple hater, I would never have thought I would be writing this post. Just this past week I gave up on Android, and went to iOS. I had owned a 1st generation iPod Touch in college, but ever since I have not used Apple technology (other than the iPod). For the past year I have carried the Android based Galaxy Tablet, and have truly enjoyed it as a close companion, but having made the switch back I wanted to point out a few differences between the two platforms, and a few reasons why iOS is such a great software.

  1. Keyboard– Say what you want, but this is my favorite thing about the iPhone. Whe you think about it, your digital keyboard is the most used input device on your phone/tablet. This means that the keyboard has to be stellar, because you will use it more than anything else (unless Siri takes over the world).  I remember Steve Jobs bragging about the keyboard on the iPhone back in his 2007 unveiling speech. Every word he said was true. Having used an iPod Touch, then Android devices, then back to iOS I can confirm that Apple makes the best darn keyboard in the business. It truly is a dream to type on.
  2. Consistency– Although I do believe that Apple is anal about what gets on their devices and what doesn’t there’s no denying the consistency of user experience across the many apps available. With Apple, if you have used one app, you can figure out the rest of the 200,000+. Android apps each had their own unique feel, personality, and idiosyncrasies. Apple apps feel like one giant loving family.
  3. Flash-I originally bought the Android tablet because of its Flash capabilities. But, now with HTML 5, and newer language development, Flash will not be as crucial an element in web browsing. Boy, how I loved the times when I could view Flash intense pages while my buddies with iPads could not!

These are just a few reasons why I am falling in love with iOS again. I haven’t even mentioned the sheer volume of apps, the quality of the Retina display, or the the trinity of iMessage/Facetime/Twitter integration. The bottom line is that everyone wants to develop for Apple right now, and it is showing in the quality of their products.

Jon Homesley

Jon grew up around Charlotte, NC. He graduated from The College at Southeastern in 2010 with a BA doubling majoring in The History of Ideas and Biblical Studies. In 2008 he married his wife Chelsea.  They currently live just north of Charlotte where Jon serves as the College Pastor, and Youth Ministry Geek (not his real title) at Christ Community Church. He prefers Windows 7 to OSX, Android to iOS, and Walkmans to iPods.

Jon’s church- www.ccchuntersville.com
Jon’s personal site- www.jonhomesley.com

One of the most intriguing features of the new iPhone 4s is undoubtedly Siri, and here’s a fun video that plays off the fun you can have with Siri’s responses.  Enjoy!

Have you ever hunted for just the perfect movie clip to use as an illustration for your teaching?  There’s brand new iPhone app to help with that: Clips ~ Teach the Bible; Use scenes from movies.  I love that it’s made by a Youth Pastor that’s also a developer, RJ Grunewald.

Description from iTunes:

Have you ever noticed that a scene from a popular movie can often teach better than any great lesson from a pastor or small group leader?  Clips is all about helping people engage with the Bible by using scenes from great films. Pastors, small group leaders, and youth ministers can all benefit with the tools provided. Clips tells you exactly what scenes to use, what topics to teach, the verses you could use, and even some possible discussion questions.  It gives you everything you need to easily find the scene you are teaching from, even linking to it in iTunes.

Open the app and you are free to browse the movie library, look up topics you’d like to teach, or even search for a scene based on a particular verse.  Once you’ve found the movie you want to use, Clips makes it easy for you to have exactly what you need to lead a discussion on that scene.

Features:
– Library of 50 movies (and growing…)
– Over 80 topics
– Search by title, topic, or verse
– Share scene details via email
– Save your favorite clips and add used clips to history
– Easily find movies in iTunes through download links

Looks like a great youth ministry resource, go grab it on the app store now!
Clips ~ Teach the Bible; Use scenes from movies - GrunewaldDev

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

1. Bible – LifeChurch.tv – 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.

Every time we have been gearing up for some fundraiser or another, I think (at the last minute), “It sure would be convenient if we could take credit card donations/payments easily. A couple weeks later I have the same thought about registrations for camp. Each time I remember my research into the cost of machine with the receipt paper, the percentage off each sale it takes as well as the per transaction fee and decide it is not worth the hassle.

Then I stumbled upon Square.

Square is simple. From the little one inch by one inch plastic reader that plugs into the headphone jack on your phone (iOS or android) to the flat 2.75% fee per swipe to the super-straightforward, free app there is one word to describe it: simple.

Did I mention cheap? All you have to do to get the reader is give them basic accounting information and they mail it, at no charge, to your home or office a couple days later. How do they make money? Most places charge variable rate fee from 2.5%-5% per transaction and a $0.15 per transaction fee. Some level the percentage to three or three and a half, but square is cheap and simple. 2.75% per card swipe transaction.

The Square app is super easy to use. All you do is download the app, plug in the dongle, log in and you are ready to take a payment. To do that, you enter the amount and an optional description (we put the budget line item and the event) and swipe their card. They are then taken to a signature screen where they can sign with a finger or stylus if you have one. When they press the continue button, they are prompted to enter a cell number or email address where the app immediately sends a link to a receipt for the transaction. The money is then deposited (one lump sum deposit per day) into whichever account you provide.

You then have access to all that data (minus the full card number) in their clean, user friendly site which will allow you to download it in excel format with a ton of data attached to each transaction.

A couple of weeks ago I was stopped on Sunday morning on my way to the youth area by a member who said that he was sorry that he had not yet brought me his donation for a fundraiser.  He never has his checkbook at church.  I told him that I could take a credit card, and he was relieved.  I plugged in the square dongle, opened the app, swiped his card and it was done.  Brilliant.

Simple, cheap and brilliant, but not perfect. If you want to use this for multiple ministries, it may get difficult. You will have to sort through all the transactions to figure out which one went to which ministry. It would be nice if they could have sub-accounts to break things out easily.

Overall, I am telling everyone I meet to stop whatever they are doing, go to the Square website and start making life easier for them and their members.

At SYM we are in the midst of app development, so I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.  Why are there so many apps out there?  Do we really need another one?  The answer to these questions for me is: 1) Apps make people’s life easy, that’s why there are so many, and 2) Yes, see answer 1.

There’s a great post over at YouthMinistry.com from Matt McKee about mobile apps and why your church or ministry may need one.  The article points out that these mobile devices are not just for the geek anymore, but they are part of everyone’s life from age 2 to 90.

Here’s his list of why you may need one:

  1. It gives you another access point that your local community can access.
  2. It allows you to be location sensitive. You can send messages to a certain zip code if you want.
  3. It can integrate social media so that people can help spread your message across the Internet.
  4. It helps you get past a Sunday or Wednesday only mentality, and let’s people interact with content on a daily basis.
  5. It makes your message 1 or 2 clicks away.
  6. It makes your content more convenient, and the more convenient the more it is used.
  7. It makes your message more broad-reaching than just your local community.
  8. It can help drive people to your church building for special events or weekend services.
  9. It can make special announcements such as community wide prayer requests.
  10. It can stream your message in audio or video format.
  11. It makes reaching a new demographic even easier.
  12. It will differentiate your vision and values from others.
  13. It will create different engagement than your Web site.
  14. It drives loyalty.
  15. It puts your branding in front of potential guests before they walk in the door.
  16. It provides a new way to collect feedback.
  17. It can be a new place for people to contribute to your church or ministry.
  18. It encourages people to share your message with the people around them.
  19. It can reduce the cost of mailings and the frequency of mailings.
  20. It can highlight new books or resources that go along with current teaching series.
  21. It creates a buzz that you message is relevant in today’s culture.

Read the entire post here: 21 Reasons Your Church or Ministry Needs a Mobile App | YouthMinistry.com.

Do you think your ministry needs an app?

Zumocast is focused on helping you play/display the media you have on your computer to your iOS device.  After installing the app on your computer and iOS device and registering with Zumocast, you are able to do some incredible things.

You can watch any video you have on your computer on your iOS device.  When I say any, I mean ANY;  it even transcodes formats that are not viewable into viewable formats/resolutions.  It works over 3G or WiFi (though beware of your caps).  If you are about to get on a plane, don’t worry, all you have to do is click a download button and the item begins downloading in that appropriate format! (subject to the 10MB 3G cap)

More of a music person than a movie person?  Music works much the same way though for some reason it will not download.

Then, of course, you can view photos.  But that is not where the viewing stops.  I tried Word, Pages, Excel, PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF, RTF and all opened perfectly for viewing.

As far as I can see there are only a couple of disappointments.  Why it doesn’t allow you to download the music is beyond me, but I understand having a healthy fear of the RIAA.  It is also irritating that the desktop utility installs with a default to prevent your computer from going to sleep.  While I am sure that is the best thing for ZumoCast to operate, I am glad I looked before I walked out the door tomorrow morning with a dead laptop.  It would also be incredible if you could make some simple changes to text documents.

The best part of this incredible app is that it’s FREE and cross-platform.  Zumocast supports windows, mac, and iOS.  They are working on an android version as well.