Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tech and Me

I was asked by some clergy colleagues recently what software-apps-computer-smart I was currently using. Such things change too regularly, but as of today here is my list (in no particular order):

(1) Rite Stuff. I was a Beta tester for Rite Stuff and despite the fact that they ignored all my suggestions, it is still a "work horse" for me. I run it on my MacBook using the "snow leopard" operating system (Rite Stuff does not yet have a "Lion" update).

(2) iCal (now called "Calendar"). Of all the programs/apps I use, none gets more work than iCal. My life is organized in iCal. As forgetful as I am, I would never be anywhere I was supposed to be if I didn't have iCal. It runs on all my electronic devises: MacBook, iPhone, and iPad (via "mobile me"--I haven't yet updated to iCloud, but soon I must).

(3) Pages. Pages is the Apple equivalent of MicroSoft Word. Once I create liturgy in Rite Stuff, I edit in Pages. I write my sermons in Pages. I write letters in Pages. You get the idea. It gets lots of work.

(4) Mail. Along with iCal above, I couldn't survive without email these days. Apple's email program named "Mail" syncs across all my devices (see iCal above) and keeps me in contact with tons of people that need to let me know something. The great thing about email vs. phone is that with email, I get to respond on my schedule. With the phone, I have to answer when the call comes in, or...

(5) Voice Mail. Old School, not an app, but still a techno marvel. The modern equivalent of the "Answering Machine," Voice Mail with your "smart phone" is wonderful. When you can't answer, it answers for you and lets you take a message. When I am with someone, I can turn off my ringer and know that as soon as I am free, I'll be able to return calls.

(6) Notes. I take "Notes" on my iPad with "Notes." Simple. Exactly what I need for staff meetings, vestry meetings, clergy conferences, etc., "Notes" is an app that comes with your iPad (already installed).

(7) Maps. Google's "Maps" comes already installed on your iPad and iPhone. When making pastoral calls, it is indispensable for getting me from wherever I am to wherever I need to be. In the old days I used a Garmin manufactured devise for navigation. I still have a "Tom Tom" app for my iPad and iPhone, but I find myself almost always using "Maps." (Which is odd, because, in all honesty, "Tom Tom" is a better app.)

(8) Twitter, Hootsuite, and Tweetie. I tweet. The parish has a twitter account for happenings, news, etc. The parish also has an "devotional" or "inspirational" twitter account. I have a personal twitter account. With all that "tweeting" I find myself using the app built by Twitter for my iPhone. I use Hootsuite on my iPad and I use Tweetie on my MacBook. I do the "heavy lifting" with Hootsuite on my iPad.

(9) Facebook has become a means for information dissemination and pastoral care updates, etc. Just as the advent of the telephone made possible a quick call to "check-in" as a tool for pastoral care, Facebook has likewise become such a tool for me. I know so much more now than I did before about what is going on with those who Facebook by watching my "news feed." To "Facebook" I use the apps provided by Facebook. I also have my "tweets" repost on my "wall" on Facebook. The parish has both a "group" page and a "Fan" page. The "Fan" page is also integrated with the parish's twitter account, so that what gets posted on Facebook automatically is reposted on Twitter.

(10) iBCP. iBCP is an app for the Book of Common Prayer. I keep the app on both my iPhone and my iPad. It is amazing how often I turn to it. Now, I have my Prayerbook with me everywhere I go.

(11) BizXpensTrkr. Business Expense Tracker is how I log my mileage and other reimbursable expenses. It is an app for both iPhone and iPad.

(12) I do a great deal of news reading on my iPad. My favorite way to do so is to use an app called "Flipboard." I really enjoy "Flipboard" and highly recommend it. I am convinced that "Flipboard" is representative of magazines of the future. I read "The Economist," "The New Yorker," "The Atlantic," "Time," "Salon," "Wired," "Mashable," "Newsweek" (called "The Daily Beast), and "Slate" from Flipboard. I can also read Facebook and Twitter with Flipboard for a change of pace.

(13) Contacts. I could not function without my "Address Book." Names, phone numbers, email addresses, street addresses. Everything I have, all in one place. When I think back to the days of paper address books, I wonder at how inefficient it was!

(14) iBooks. I carry my library with me now. Its like Hermione Granger's purse. If I have my iPad with me (and I always do), I have a good book to read (or reference).

(15) Things. "Things" is my electronic to-do list. It helps keep me focused and on task, aiding in my prioritizing and scheduling projects and tracking their development. Much better than my scribbled "to do list" on the back of a napkin.

(16) Evernote. Whether I am collecting material for my next sermon or the book I will never actually write or the diocesan project upon which I am presently working, "Evernote" helps me keep it all organized and sync'd across my various devices. Whether I am on my laptop or smartphone or tablet, I can add to or retrieve from my virtual "filing cabinet."

(17) Logos Bible. Ministers, on rare occasions, actually get to read or at least reference Holy Scripture. When I need to do so on the go, I have found "Logos Bible" to be useful. Whenever feasible, however, I tend to use the Oremus Bible Reader online.

(18) Dropbox. All my documents, backed up and in one place and sync'd across all my devices. Way cool. Colleague called me at 9 at night for a document they needed first thing in the morning. It was one of those: "Do you remember three years ago when we were working on...." Yes, I remembered it, but no I had no idea where it was now. I figured it was probably on my desktop at work. I could have gotten dressed, gone to the office, etc. But, thanks to "Dropbox" I didn't have to leave me seat. I searched my documents in "Dropbox" quickly located the document in question (a document that I had not touched in three years), and emailed it to my colleague. I could have just given her a link to it and she could have gotten it herself. Dropbox--way cool.

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