Archives For Software 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.


Weekend Worship Review #3

Jon —  October 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Yesterday we wrapped up our 4 week series “How To Annoy Your Family.” I preached on making good choices from Psalm 1. We showed some hilarious videos, and had a student testimony about how God is teaching their family through adoption.

A Helpful Piece of Software:

A few years ago our youth ministry had a huge budget. In fact we had $20,000 budgeted just to spend on weekend worship services. This meant that we could spend close to $400 a week just on our weekly youth service. Since the fallout of 2008 our church had been weathering the storm pretty well. This past year has been tremendously difficult on our budget. However, the production value of our services has remained high, and our youth ministry is reaching more teens than ever! Since we can’t simply buy a new video to show in a service we have relied on creating our own, and using sites like YouTube. One of the handiest pieces of software out there is Youtube Downloader HD. This software allows us to rip videos that we have used in our services. For instance, each week we have music videos playing pre-service, and for the LEGO series we ripped 4-5 LEGO Stop Motion music videos and had them looping. Being able to rip videos has saved us loads of money. Just make sure you don’t rip videos that people sell as intellectual property.

If you would like a more detailed look at our service I have attached a copy of our cue sheet:

Cue Sheet 10/28/2012

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on student ministry service design/programming. Share your thoughts/ideas with us in the comments below.

The wait it over, all you video geeks (you know who you are) can go download Apple’s latest video editing software, Final Cut Pro,  from Mac App Store.

It’s only $299.99 which sounds like a lot, but considering it wasn’t that long ago that this product was $1000, it’s pretty good.

You can also pick up Motion and Compressor for an extra $50 each.

I can’t wait to try this out, I’ve been a Final Cut Express user, and I’m excited to give Pro a try.

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.

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.

I will be honest.  Today I took a longer than normal lunch so that I could watch live coverage of the Apple event on TWiT.  As a self-proclaimed fanboi, I was excited and intrigued by the latest thing I didn’t know I needed until Steve Jobs told me I did.

All joking aside, this is an interesting device.  Apple is positioning it as a media player, content creator, book reader, and TV.  It’s a lot to fit into something .5″ thick, but they seem to have done a pretty good job.  You can go to Apple’s iPad site for all the gory details and places like Engadget and TUAW for even more.  But here’s a brief overview:

  1. It has a pretty 9.5 x 7.5″ LCD screen with an iPhone-style capacitive touch interface (there is a pretty wide bezel, but the people who have played with it say that it makes sense because you have to have some place to hold it without touching the multi-touch screen).
  2. The screen is 1024 x 768 pixels which mean that HD movies are going to look pretty good on your lap.
  3. It will have a full browser, email app, photo app, notes app, etc (think iphone standard apps).
  4. They have totally revamped iWork’s UI to make it intuitive on a touch screen. Even keynote’s graphics-intensive elements seem to work without a strain.
  5. It will have a new app called iBooks that is a book reader as well as an iBook Store.  They have already secured major US publishers and are adding more.
  6. It has built in speakers (and 3.5mm headphone jack), mic and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR but no camera (there is no way this will be absent from the 2.0 release)
  7. It will output VGA and standard A/V cable.
  8. There will be models with 16, 32 and 64 GB of storage available.
  9. It will have wifi built in and an optional 3G modem.
  10. There will be a dock, keyboard dock, and case (with stand) available.
  11. Though they released an updated SDK today, almost all iPhone apps will work on the device and can be used in their native size or at 2x to come closer to filling the screen..
  12. Apple says it has 10 Hours of battery life (doesn’t seem like this is possible, but no one has them to test as of yet).
  13. It will ship in 60 days starting at an un-Apple price point: $499

What it doesn’t have:

  1. Multi-tasking
  2. Support for flash
  3. Across the board true GPS (only available in 3g model which is $130 more)
  4. USB ports
  5. Did I mention camera!??!

Now, that is a lot, but there are several things that are unclear:

  1. Will it have the ability for external storage?  There are adapters that allow you to connect  USB and SD to the 30-pin iPod connector, but Apple says they are for importing pictures.
  2. Will it sync with Mobile Me?  They say it will sync with a computer, but did not mention their “cloud” service.
  3. Will there be magazines?  It seems logical, but was not announced.
  4. The hands on experience.  This one is big, until people get to really sit down with it, we won’t know exactly how reality stacks up with apple’s claims

Overall, I am interested in the product, but I will probably not buy one for one simple reason: Apple’s second generation is usually far better than the first.  I did the same thing with the iPhone, and I got the 3G, and am not disappointed.

Apple generally sacrifices features for stability and user experience on the 1.0.  After they work out all the bugs, they release a product that seems complete.  The iPhone 3g added GPS, third party apps, streaming audio over 3g, push e-mail, and other niceties.  I fully expect the iPad 2.0 to have a camera, (maybe even two) some form of external storage (if that is not part of this version), higher quality screen (OLED?), and a couple more pieces of glory that I can’t forsee right now.

Bottom line: should you seriously consider buying it?

  • If you were considering a netbook because of it’s size: yes.
  • If you wanted a netbook because of its price and storage capacity: no.
  • If you were considering a new laptop and do not need video editing or large amounts of storage (in other words you primarily use it for email and word processing): yes.
  • If you have a church administrator who loves Apple and will let you play with $500: yes
  • If you use keynote for your talks and cant afford a macbook but want something more portable than a mac mini: yes.
  • If you need to run any traditional apps like Photoshop, Final Cut, etc.: no.
  • If you were considering an ebook reader but couldn’t justify almost $300 on something for that single purpose: yes.
  • If you are secretly in love with Steve Jobs and want to show him your undying devotion: yes.

There you have it.  Let us know what you think!  Although I said I was not buying one for myself, you are more than welcome to send me one in the mail, I would not even come close to turning it down… I am a fanboi after all.

I’ve seen many little utilities/preference panes I could install that would show me extra details on memory usage, cpu temeprature, hard disk availability, and everything else under the sun. iStatMenus puts it all into one nice package and displays all of them in your menubar. Though it has far more that would be interesting to get into here, here’s a list of what I like best about it:

  1. You can view multiple CPU cores as one item or multiple graphs.
  2. The memory usage meter will display your top five processes.
  3. HD USage will monitor your mobile me space as well.
  4. Network drop down shows peak as well as current bandwidth.
  5. Every sensor from temperature to exhaust fans is available for monitoring.
  6. The best date and time display.  It drops down a full month calendar with user defined alternate times as well.
  7. Every item is configured via one preference pane in system preferences.

The best part?  It’s free!!  So, if you need to monitor your stats or just change your date and time display to a more helpful configuration, go to and download iStatMenus.  Available for Macs only.

I have had an idea/problem that I have been percolating on for a while now.  The basic idea was that I wanted to have copies of several specific folders on specific, different external storage solutions so that I could have them with me when I needed them.  Complicating this problem is the fact that I am lazy.

Of course, I could copy my documents folder the the thumb drive every couple of days, my video clips to my external HDD every time I added a new clip, and my seminary files to the small thumb drive each night before I went to bed, but that would take both time and discipline. The only thing I have less of right now than time is backup discipline.

That is how I ran across what is hands down the best Mac sync utility I have found: ChronoSync.  It does the standard things like let you schedule a sync or backup with a drive every X number of hours/days/weeks/etc.  But it has one incredible function that sealed the deal for me.  I can schedule a sync to happen whenever the target drive is mounted.  Now, whenever I plug in one of the aforementioned devices, the specific files on my computer I want synced with that device automatically get updated and update the external storage.  This, of course, reinforces my confidence in the idea that if I wait long enough, I will find a way to allow my computer to make up for my laziness.

But that is far from all the features of ChronoSync.  It will make bootable backups, lets you specify a range of methods for the sync process including ignoring deletions so that an accidental deletion in one location does not eliminate the file across all your storage.  It will create archives (think time machine) and connect to almost anything you can think of from webdav servers to all the computers you can “see” in the finder.  For those of you who really want to geek out, it has incredibly detailed filtering that will let you specify exactly what you want to backup.

The only con I could find is that the interface is not as intuitive as it could be.  For instance, several of the options at the top of the screen (trial sync, schedule, etc.) are grayed out until you save the sync you are creating. Similarly, several of the terms they use to describe the options are unclear (mirror, sync, blind) but explained well in the documentation.  All that being said, the program’s power and overall ease more than make up for the UI, and ChronoSync is well worth the $40.  There is a demo downloadable here.

Have you ever needed to get something accomplished, known the application you needed, but been short of the cash needed to buy said necessary app?  Lament no longer, AlternativeTo is here!  A quick surf over to the simple website gives you more options than you need.  Looking for a cheaper Photoshop?  Why not try Gimp, Pixelmator, Photoshop Elements, Acorn, Pixel…  you get the point.  Not only is it a great place to find alternative software, but its homepage allows you to browse by OS and number of views, likes, recent, or no alternatives.  Hopefully this will save you some cash and make your search for the right app a bit shorter.  Check it out: