Theotek Podcast #033: Semper Paratus and Stuff

Church websites and their social media presence can have a positive or negative impact on the church. The Theotek Podcast #033 dealt with this subject.

The High Peak Baptist Church website doesn’t have any fresh content thanks to my busy schedule and no other volunteers but one.

Our team included Rick Mansfield of Thislamp.com and Antoine Wright from the Mobile Ministry Magazine and me, columnist with Ministry Tech Magazine (formerly Christian Computing Magazine). Hopefully this was the last week without Wes Allen, the tech director for the American Baptist Church of New Jersey.

In the first segment of the Theotek Podcast we talked about the problems with church websites, using my church’s woefully ignored website highpeakchurch.com as a bad example of letting a site flounder with little fresh content. We discussed tips for not letting that happen. Then we looked at the subject of social media and how it can help put a fresh face on the church’s online presence. And finally, don’t count out email newsletters. They can still give churches a useful way to communicate with the congregation.


We also talked about our 5 Commandments for Online Communication, which we discussed during our 15th episode.

You’ll find the Theotek Podcast on my YouTube channel. Please go their and subscribe. The audio version gets uploaded and you can listen using the player below or by subscribing to it on iTunes or Stitcher Radio, which also distributes it to almost all the major podcasting apps on mobile devices. Get the links on our the Theotek page of this website.

Theotek Podcast #032: Extending an Olive Tree

This week Olive Tree released its latest version for Windows bringing with it the ability to display the latest book files and we got a preview on this week’s Theotek Podcast.

Before, the Windows program used the old Palm Book format. They updated iOS, Mac and Android. The Windows code finally got that update and the company released it on July 20, 2015. We got an exclusive first look at Olive Tree Bible+ 6.0 for Windows as LaRosa Johnson, from Olive Tree and one of our regular guests, talked about it at the beginning of our show – Theotek Podcast #032: Extending an Olive Tree.

We also talked about Bible software in general on multiple platforms and the state of software user interface. Finally, we discussed a few new toys that I recently picked up like the Samsung Galaxy Gear S smartwatch that Antoine’s been using for some time as his sole phone.


Improvements in Olive Tree Bible for Windows

To learn more about Olive Tree Bible+ 6.0 for Windows head over to the company’s blog where they discuss all the new features.

The most significant thing users will notice is the new user-interface. It’s cleaning and more modern looking and matches the other platforms. They flattened the icons and gave it a color scheme that matches their new branding since Harper Collins bought the company.

The basic look and functionality didn’t change that much. It still shows the tree of available library books on the left, the Bible takes up the center and user can still find the powerful Resource Guide along the right. The toolbar still shows quick links to features used most.

olivetree display format

The new book display format lets the company format books so that things like tables will look better. Bible links inside the table show up as hyperlinks instead of a table that’s really an image. The student can interact with table content. Text flows around tables and images better as well.

Olive Tree Bible+ 6.0 for Windows performs faster too. The new book format makes scrolling quicker. The Resource Guide will show up in the right hand window faster.

New books will now become available on the Windows platform as they show up on Mac, iOS and Android since all four platforms use the same book display format.

Theotek Podcast

As always we record the Theotek Podcast every Friday morning via Google Hangouts. Follow me on Google+ to get the notice when we go live. Or subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch it after the fact. We also publish the audio version here, on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Find the links on our Theotek Page.

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5 Ways Accordance Mobile 2 is Vastly Improved

Accordance Bible Software released a new version of their mobile app awhile back. It includes a bunch of great new features that make it vastly improved over the earlier versions, which I never really used much due to the sub par quality. However, these new features entice me to open Accordance Mobile more than ever before. Here’s the 5 ways that Accordance Mobile 2 is vastly improved over the earlier version.

Here’s Accordance’s own video highlighting the update.

Quickly Link and Unlink Parallel Panes in Accordance Mobile

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In Accordance Mobile 2 there’s now a link/unlink button. Look for it at the top of the window above just right of the window divider. Tap it to unlink the second window.

It seems strange, but Accordance didn’t handle unlinking of window panes well until version 2. Now the app includes a button on the toolbar that quickly links or unlink the two open window panes.

Open two window panes as normal. Then tap on the link button to either link them or unlink them. When the user unlink the two, the second pane will not scroll along with the first. This makes it easier to deal with commentaries where a person wants to read an entry from a previous passage without moving the Bible text to the earlier verse.

Download All Option in Library Manager

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There’s two download buttons on the toolbar. One downloads just the selected books. The other downloads all of the books in the user’s account list.

When installing books in Accordance Mobile 2, there’s now a download all button that makes it easy to quickly install the entire Accordance Mobile library. Before we had to select each book and then download them.

Other mobile Bible apps need this feature. I’ve begged one app developer to add this feature since the iPad first came out.

Text Display Improvements

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The text display button looks like two A’s. Tap it to show the above box.

Accordance rewrote their text display engine for a more attractive and complex set of features. Now users can change the fonts and color of text. The font button opens a dialog box with the following customization:

  • Display brightness slider
  • Font larger/smaller buttons
  • Day and Night Theme selector
  • Font selection
  • Font color
  • Background color
  • Link to full display settings in the app

Awesome New Notes Features in Accordance Mobile

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The new text display engine makes notes better too.

Accordance really improved the notes features in Accordance Mobile. For example, users can now format their notes with things like font, font size, the color and format of the font (bold, italics, underlining). Users can also copy their notes and share them with others via iOS share sheets. Define words in notes and search for selected text in notes. Accordance Mobile 2 now lets users change the background color of their notes as well.

iPhone 6 Plus Capability

The iPhone 6 Plus lets people use apps in landscape mode thanks to the large 6.5-inch screen with high-resolution retina display. Accordance uses all that screen real estate to show more content in a side-by-side parallel pane view.

Notifications Section Today Screen Shortcut to Accordance Mobile

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Accordance puts a shortcut widget in the Today section of the iOS Notifications pull down screen.

Thanks to the notifications section in iOS, Accordance Mobile can put a shortcut to the app in the Today section. Slide down from the top of the screen and tap on the Edit button at the bottom of the Today section. You’ll see a list of available Today section widgets. Tap the plus icon next to any one of them, including Accordance Mobile. This puts the widget in the list at the top of this screen. Rearrange the order of the notifications Today section widgets by dragging on the handle that looks like three horizontal lines to the right of the item.

In the above screenshot I’ve only got on link. However, all recently opened resources will show up. It could list many more than the one book like mine does above.

Expanded Action Menu

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A new fuller action menu pops up when a user selects text in Accordance Mobile.

Now when a user selects text in a book or Bible text, a new expanded action menu appears above the selected text with new features.

  • Copy
  • Highlight
  • Clear
  • Share
  • Search
  • Amplify
  • Define
  • Note
  • Bookmark

The Search and Amplify features won’t show up on the action bar that appears above selected text when there’s a Bible with Strong’s tags opened, like the ESV, HCSB or KJV. In that case a box opens up (called the Instant Details) below the word with a definition from Strong’s and two hyperlinks with Search and Amplify there instead.

Better and More Highlight Options

accordance mobile 2 highlighting symbols
Select text and tap highlighting in the new Action Menu to bring up the highlighting box. Tap on symbols to show the above screen.

In addition to the traditional color highlighting of text, Accordance Mobile 2 adds highlight symbols. Tap the symbols tab that shows up in the highlighting dialog box and choose a symbol. That symbol will show up below the text of the verse selected when the use added the highlight.

There’s also a Recents tab which shows the user’s recent highlight symbols or styles. Also, uses can add other highlight styles and choose them by tapping the Highlights title.

2 More Free Resources

Who doesn’t love free stuff. Accordance Mobile 2 will include 2 more free resources.

Accordance added the Dr. J’s Bible Study Methods tool, which teaches people who to study the Bible using Dr. J’s methods in Accordance. He’s the guy in the video above. Use this as a tutorial for Accordance like a quick start guide to studying the Bible with the program’s powerful features. They also added Bill Mounce’s Biblical Training course. There’s 17 of them available free.

Get more info at Accordance and download the app from the App Store.


Theotek Podcast #031: Heard It, Lived It, Reddit

This week on the Theotek Podcast we talked about the recent controversy over a Reddit person getting fire. What can we learn about how to talk about staff and volunteer conflict management from this story.

This past week Microsoft also released a new version of Microsoft Office for Mac 2016. Rick and I shared a little about our first impressions of the app.

You can listen below or watch it above. Check out our Podcast page for more info on where to listen or watch live.



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Theotek Podcast #030: Herodian Drone

Accordance Bible Software just released a cool new resource that looks like a drone flew over Israel during ancient times and gives users an aerial view. It also shows some 3D constructions of things like Herod’s temple. We got an exclusive first look on the Theotek Podcast.

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A 3D view of the temple in Accordance Virtual Bible

I was away in a hotel and had to drop out early, which ended up kicking the show off the air about 30 minutes after we started, so this is a shorter episode.

For those interested in getting Virtual Bible for Accordance, head over to Accordance Bible Software and buy it now for $29.90 until July 13. So hurry up!

If you want to listen, you can do so below.

video camera

Theotek Podcast #029: Moving Picture Show

We talked about using video in church on episode 29 of the Theotek Podcast. When is it a good idea and how can we do a better job.

Here’s the video from YouTube that you can watch and enjoy.

Below, please help us by posting your comments on great times to use video in church. For example, do you use it as a tool for announcements, sermon illustrations, for backgrounds to lyrics or text or as a way to present a theme?

video camera
Credit: jsawkins on Flickr

We also talked gave our audience some tips on how to do a better job.

Listen to the audio version below.

Theotek Podcast #027: Uncommon Men Under an Olive Tree

Olive Tree recently released a new version of their Android Bible by Olive Tree for Android with a brand new display engine and a few other great new features. We talked with our old friend and founding Theotek Podcast team member, LaRosa Johnson who works at Olive Tree. He shared all the cool new features.

If you want to download the new Android build, then update it from your Android device using the Google Play Store app or start new at the page in the Play Store.

olive tree book strongs

For more on what’s new in the app, see my post about it this week. My June Christian Computing Magazine column covers it as well. It’s not yet available, but will come sooner than normal since our editor will be pushing it out closer to the beginning or middle of the month instead of the end like we used to do.

Uncommen App and Strategy

Our other guest was Dee Lanier of Uncommen. That’s not spelled wrong. They named it that way to highlight that it’s for men. Dee told us about their app on iOS and Android that helps men keep each other accountable as fathers, husbands, and just men connecting with other men.

The app uses a strategy based on competition. He said it was kind of like a fantasy league pushing men to be real men for their wives, kids and at work. Watch the demo of the app below.