Archives For Mac

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.

xmirage

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

 

GetMacApps.com: Easy Mac Setup

Chris —  March 17, 2014 — 1 Comment

getmacapps

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.  GetMacApps.com 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.

getmacapps.com

Try GetMacApps.com

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.
iMovie:
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.

Peter Krough has written an excellent article on backup in which he suggests the 321 system.  It says that you should have three copies (one primary and two backups) on two different media with one off-site.  Not only is this incredibly easy to remember, it really helps me sift through the myriad of backup solutions to get what I need and not a lot more.

For my on-site backup, I have mentioned before that I like to use Chronosync to automatically backup selected files whenever I mount a specific hard disc or thumb drive though Apple’s Backup (free with Mobile Me) or Time Machine will meet most mac user’s needs.  On the PC side of things, I have heard good things about Paragon Drive Backup and NovaBackup.

For offsite backup, I use and am really satisfied with Carbonite while Chris has written a bit about his preferred offsite backup service: Mozy.  Both are great and both support Mac and Windows.  The point is that you need to have your mission critical files and irreplaceable memories (photos, videos) stored somewhere that fire or flood will not cause you to lose money or memories.

I think Peter Krough said it best in his article, “There are two types of people, those who have experienced hard drive failure and those who will.”  Do yourself a favor and get your 321 system in place today.

It seems that although everyone makes their forms downloadable online as a PDF, almost no one formats the files as editable forms that can be filled out within acrobat reader. This means I have to download the form, print it out, fill it out by hand, and then either walk it over to whoever needs it or scan it, save it, and attach it to an email. Sounds like it would be easier to just stop by the registration table and fill it out on the spot.  Formulate Pro fixes that problem.

I should say, that if you have Acrobat Pro, there is a typewriter and annotation tool that works relatively well, but at $449 from Adobe’s site, or $378 from Amazon, it is a little pricey just for filling out forms. That is where Formulate Pro comes in. This tool does one thing, and does it well. It allows you to type, draw and make check marks on top of the PDF.  Then, you can save it with those edits as a PDF of print it out. And, it’s free!

After downloading and installing the app it is as simple as opening the PDF, clicking the “T” (text tool) for typing, the squiggle tool for drawing, or the checkmark to check a box, then save or print. Right now, it’s only for mac, but the source code is available at GitHub.