Archives For Mac

Todoist Review

Chris —  February 24, 2017 — Leave a comment


It’s been awhile since I wrote about productivity, but I recently I had a big ramp up in my project load and needed something more than reminders on my iPhone as a todo list. I don’t remember which podcast I was listening to, but when they were talking about goals for 2017 Todoist came up and I thought I’d give it a try.

There are a few things that are requirements for me in a ToDo manager.

  1. Native apps everywhere. Some of these platforms are great, but may not have a Mac app, or no iPad app. It’s really important to me to not have to jump between apps and web views depending on which device I’m working on. Todoist has me covered here. In fact all the apps are great and take advantage of the platform they are on.
  2. Easy to add new tasks. If I can’t easily add new tasks from where I’m at, and what app I’m in I know that I won’t use it. With Todoist, I can add tasks from the task bar on my computer, the today screen on my phone, an extension in my browser, and even via voice with my Amazon Echo. If you pay for the premium level you can also email tasks in.
  3. Scheduling Tasks. One thing that has always bugged me about many ToDo managers that I’ve tried is that you have to phrase everything just right for it to do what you want. I love that ToDoist uses natural language that for the most part works really well. I can type “Write blog post next Tuesday at 3” and it knows to set the schedule next Tuesday at 3. It sounds simple, but very few do it well.

If you could use a little ramp up in this area, give ToDoist a try.

Mac OS X Yosemite Now Available

Chris —  October 16, 2014 — 10 Comments

OSX Yosemite

All you Mac users out there you can now update to the latest version of OS X.  Just like the last few Apple is making this available for free. Go to the Mac App Store to download it. I’ve been running the beta and I’ve really enjoyed some of the changes and updates.  My favorite is the revamped notifications, the addition of widgets makes it useful.

Free Mac App Software Bundle

Chris —  May 30, 2014 — 4 Comments

Mac Bundle v3

For all my Mac using friends out there, I wanted to let you know about a great bundle of FREE software that will only be available for a few more days.  There’s a ton of bundles out there, but this one included one in particular that I thought could be fun for Youth Ministry.  It’s called X-Mirage and it lets you mirror your iOS screen (iPhone or iPad) to your Mac.


This is great if you want to make demo videos of an app to share, but I think it has great potential for a youth group stage game.  Since it will let you mirror multiple iOS devices at one time you could have two students playing the same game up on the big screen and the crowd could cheer them.  So many fun possibilities, post your ideas in the comments below.

In addition to X-Mirage, you also get:

  • Elmedia Player Pro – a utility to help download streaming video from the internet.  A great way to save those youtube videos to use in a talk or in your presentation software.
  • ClipBuddy – a utility to organize your cut / paste selections
  • cf/x Mosaic – turns your photos into mosaic art
  • Plus a few more

The bundle is free, so what do you have to loose.  Have fun!

Get the Bundle Now Easy Mac Setup

Chris —  March 17, 2014 — 1 Comment


Have you ever gotten a new Mac or needed to install a new hard drive and was starting from scratch with software installs? I recently heard about this great we site that will make it easier. allows you to select from a list of apps and then it will create a script for the install.  Just pop open terminal and run the script and it will download and install the apps you selected and even delete the install files.  Most of the biggies are on the list (Dropbox, Chrome, Evernote, Google Drive & many more), and maybe you’ll find some great software you didn’t even know about.  So next time you are setting up a Mac, give it a try.


Everyone hates the spinning beach ball of death.  Imagine if it took over your presentation while speaking to a group of people.  Watch as Improv Everywhere brings this to life.  Have you ever thought about doing something unexpected like this during a talk?  Could be a great memory maker for your students.

RIP Steve Jobs

Chris —  October 5, 2011 — 1 Comment

It’s a sad day in the tech world.  Steve Jobs has passed away at the age of 56.

His impact on the world of technology  is undeniable, and the products (Macs, iPods, iPhones, Pixar) he championed have helped shaped the world we live in.

I had the opportunity to go to his keynote address introducing the iPhone in 2007.  It was an experience I’ll never forget.  In his honor, here’s a video of that presentation:

Part 2

Steve, you’re vison and innovation will be missed.

Audio Podcasting 101 (Part 2)

Jeremy —  November 30, 2010 — Leave a comment

… Continued from Part One.  As I mentioned, I have been working on a youth ministry training podcast, 10-Minute Training, and after publishing about a dozen, feel ready to share the process here.  This post wil look at the recording process itself, and the final post in the series will cover editing and publishing.

Now that you’ve got your gear set and scheduled some recording time, you’re ready to go!  I am a mac guy, so I use the great multi-track recording software that comes bundled with every mac: GarageBand.  If you aren’t a mac fanboy, you can opt for a great free open source option:  Audacity.

The way it works with my setup is I open wiretap and select my inputs: Shure X2u to record my voice and Skype audio to record its audio.  It then creates a virtual audio card with four channels that can be selected in the audio preferences of GarageBand.  After doing that, I select which audio goes to which track and I’m ready to test the audio levels.  The one thing that I dislike about GarageBand is its audio meters.  They are small and not extremely accurate.  Instead of trusting them, I test record audio from both sources a couple of times until they are as loud as possible without distorting.

The reason for doing all this work to get the different audio sources on different tracks is simple.  Though I want to be able to get a podcast that is pretty much ready to chop into 10-minute pieces and publish, I want to be able to go back and fix problems like if the audio levels are too different, the guest wants to edit something out , or if a cell phone goes off in the guest’s office, etc.

A cheaper, but more time consuming, solution for this is to buy Call Recorder from Ecamm.  With this method, you record the skype call in one file and your audio in another.  After it’s all over you import the two files into the editor and move them around until they are synced (tip:  make a loud noise at the beginning that can be heard in both audio files… then you match those sounds together… much faster!)

I generally shoot for recording about 30-45 minutes of audio in each interview that I can then chop down into three episodes after it’s all over.  While doing the interview, I watch the clock and when we come to a stopping point at about ten minutes, I make a break and start over as if it was a new episode (which it will be).

After it’s recorded, I go through the effects to get a good sound on the voices, I generally use male narrator for both the Skype audio and my own.  I save the file, open another and get my next guest on the line.  Over and over again until they are all recorded and saved!

Apple held an event today called “Back to the Mac”, I think they wanted to remind us they still make computers too.   There are 100 sites of blogs talking about what they announced, so I’ll leave that to those that were actually there.  But I thought I’d give you my take on the 3 big announcements they made.

1. iLife 2011

iPhoto: They enhanced the full screen view, which looks like it will be nicer to work in.  They also added new templates for slide shows and books.  These should be a welcome edition because I’m sure you’ve used the existing ones hundreds of times for those quick slide shows to show at the end of an event or in a service to show what the youth group is up to.  The news ones look really nice, I’m excited to get to play with them in real life.
One of the big improvements in iMovie is in the audio editing.  This has been my biggest complaint and frustration since Apple moved away from the timeline approach to editing.  This updated version allows for easier editing and volume control.  (I can’t wait).  They also added a new feature to make movie trailers.  They looked really fun.  I could totally see it as a fun way to make promo videos.  I bet there are going to be a lot of movie trailer winter camp promo videos this year.
Garage Band: They made some improvements here with beat matching and some of the training, but since I’m not a musician it’s hard for me to give much commentary, but the demo looked good.

2. OS 10.8 Lion

A couple big stories here.  While nothing that’s going to change the way you do ministry, there are a few things that may help you save some time as you work.  Too bad we have to wait till next summer to get our hands on it.
Mission Control, Launch Pad, Full Screen Apps: The story for me here was that is continuing to improve the way to switch windows, launch programs, and keep track of all the things we have open on our computers.  I appreciate anything that can help streamline and organize my computer.
App Store: Apple hopes to do for apps on the Mac what the app store did for the iphone and ipad.  I know some are concerned this will create a closed environment like on the iPhone, but I don’t think that apple will close out none app store apps, I think they are just trying to simplify it for a majority of it’s users.  Hopefully it will make it a lot easier to find apps without searching all over the internet.  Also I wonder if this will drive prices down just like in the mobile app store?  It will be interesting to see.
FaceTime: This one you don’t really have to wait for.  The beta is available HERE. It is what is sounds like.  Video FaceTime calling to other computer or phones.  I wonder if they’ll make a windows version someday.  This will be a great way to call all those students with iPhones now won’t it.

3. MacBook Air

They’ve updated the Macbook Air line.  They updated the existing 13.3 in model, plus added an 11.6.  The best thing in my book is they have high resolution screens.  I’ve also wanted a small computer with a super high res screen.  The new Macbook Air is the closest thing yet.  However I’m not sure they will fit in to many church budgets.  They start at $999, but after looking at the configurations, it seems like a realistic price is $1400 for a machine that I’d be happy with.

I often get asked what maintenance should be done for mac computers.  People coming from the PC world are used to defrags, virus scans, and other routine maintenance tasks on their computers, but once they move to the Mac they aren’t sure what’s best.

I saw this post over on TUAW today with an easy solution and it’s free, IceClean.  While you don’t need to do as much as on your PC, there are still some simple things you can do to keep your computer running it’s best.  It also includes some great utilities for making some little system tweaks.

If you have been looking for some help it’s definitely worth checking out.

TUAW LINK: IceClean does system maintenance and optimization for your Mac for free.

Last summer I signed my daughter up for one of the free day-camps they do at the Apple store and she learned all about photography.  She had a great time.  I was excited to get an email this morning about this summers program.  It’s all about making movies this year.  I’ve already signed her up because spaces go fast.  Did I mention it’s FREE?  I thought I’d pass it along to any of you who may have kids between 8-12 who would love a fun activity for a few days this summer. They are even having a film festival for all the films the kids make. Should be fun.

If you’re in San Diego we are doing the early session at Fashion Valley on July 19 – 20. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Find a location in your area.