Samsung-Chromebook-Plus

Your Questions: Theotek Podcast #097

We take questions from our viewers and listeners in this week’s episode of the Theotek Podcast. We won’t list them or anything, so just watch the video below to enjoy those.

Our Favorite Things

Samsung-Chromebook-Plus

I had two favorite things this week. The first is my new Samsung Chromebook Plus. I’ve got a full review over at GottaBeMobile.com. I love this Chromebook, partly for the great hardware quality and for the S Pen feature. You can use it as a tablet and take notes with a fine tip.

samson q2u recording and podcasting pack

The other favorite thing is a Mic I’m reviewing. It’s the Samson Q2U Recording and Podcasting Pack. It’s a nice USB and XLR microphone with a useful stand and other accessories.

digital libraries

Digital Libraries in Bible Software: Theotek Podcast #096

With the huge libraries of books available today in Bible software and eBook readers, some people now own massive libraries. Is this a good idea?

In this episode of the Theotek Podcast, we talked about that and shared reasons to avoid it as well as tips for what to do if you already own a lot of eBooks in Kindle or in your digital library of Bible software.

digital libraries

There’s also a few ways to convert eBooks so you don’t get stuck with books in a format you can’t use anymore because the program goes away like the old Pradis software. This includes making Kindle books from Bible software book and converting Kindle books to a less proprietary DRM-laden format. We even get a workflow for converting papers books to digital library books using a scanner and cutting the binding off books at Kinkos or other office supply stores.

Convert Digital Libraries – To and From

We mentioned a few things in the Podcast. First, here’s the link for exporting Logos books to Kindle using the Send to Kindle printer driver. You could adapt this to work with any books in any Bible software although it may not work as easily as this system found in the Logos user community forums.

Next, Wes talked about converting Kindle books to other formats. He uses a tool called Calibre to do this. Digital Trends hosts a useful tutorial on how to convert books using Calibre among other tools.

Favorite Things

kindle paperwhite

Speaking of Kindle, we shared our favorite things and Antoine picked the Kindle Paperwhite ($120) as his. He likes to use it for distraction free reading. He also mentioned using a paper Bible, something Rick agreed is a good way to do your devotions.

I shared the Christian Standard Bible or CSB translation as one of mine. You can buy paper copies of it or get the free CSBible app for iOS and Android. It’s also online. Accordance Bible Software published the digital book first, followed by Olive Tree. WORDsearch will offer it soon for free to all users. Logos will release it April 5. I’m not sure about other software companies plans.

Rick’s favorite thing was his new Logitech 922x Webcam, which he used to podcast with in this episode. Get it for under $90 at Amazon.

Fujitsu Scanner for Converting Paper Books to Digital Libraries

The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 does a great job of scanning books once the user cuts the spine off the book. Scan with any sheet fed double-sided scanner, like the Fujitsu. Here’s my review of this great scanner from Notebooks.com.

Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 Review: Powerful and Fast

mevo live streaming camera

Live Streaming Your Church: Theotek Podcast #095

We do a live streaming podcast each week at Theotek Podcast so we thought we’d talk about whether a church should stream their services live each week. Then, we got into the best reasons to live stream and where to do it. Finally, we looked at the Mevo from LiveStream, which streams in high quality to Facebook Live and LiveStream. The company just announced a service which will live stream to YouTube as well.

Live Stream with Mevo

The Mevo camera that I mentioned in the podcast offers a great way to stream to Facebook Live and other services. The free version of the service only works with Facebook Live and LiveStream, but a paid service that costs $10/month just opened up. It streams to the following:

  • Facebook Live
  • Livestream
  • YouTube Live
  • Periscope
  • Twitch

It claims to do this at the same time. I’ve not tried it out yet, so I can’t say how well it works streaming to all five sites. I have tested it on my Facebook page and it worked well considering I don’t yet fully get how to use the software.

The Mevo streaming app runs only on iOS right now. They may come out with an Android version.

mevo live stream app

Our Favorite Things

For our favorite things this week, I talked about the Mevo camera.

mevo live streaming camera

Just a few more details about the camera:

  • Sony 4K Sensor.
  • 12.4 Megapixels.
  • 4K video resolution but streams at only 720p.
  • 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • 30fps streaming.
  • H.264 codec.
  • Dual analog mics with 65db signal to noise ratio.
  • Streams audio in 8kHz to 192kHz at 8/10/12 bits.
  • Inputs for audio via iPhone.
  • Only works with iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi in either Access Point mode, which then streams through the iPhone or iPad’s LTE network connection or over Wi-Fi through your local network’s connection to the Internet.
  • Bluetooth 4.0 used only for configuring the camera.
  • Up to 1 hour battery life.
  • 100Mbps over Ethernet if you get the Mevo Boost attachment which costs $249.99 and adds a USB charger and lifts the camera 6.18-inches and adds up to 10 hours of battery life.

mevo boost accerssory

There’s a bundle that buyers can get that includes the camera, the Mevo Boost and a case for carrying. It costs $699.97. You can get a $50 off coupon if you use this link.

BAGSMART Travel Universal Cable Organizer

BAGSMART Travel Universal Cable Organizer

Rick shared a slightly less expensive accessory. The BAGSMART Travel Universal Cable Organizer costs less than $19 and keeps all of your cables and adapters in order in a nice zipper pouch.

 

Theotek Extra: LaRosa Johnson Author and Bible Software Engineer

LaRosa Johnson works for Olive Tree Bible Software helping them publish content and working on making it one of the best Bible apps on Android and iOS. He’s also one of our Theotek Podcast co-hosts. We talked about his personal life, professional life and the projects he’s working on outside of his work in the Bible software industry, which focuses on teaching scripture in creative ways.

You can watch the video above and if you do, please subscribe to our Theotek Podcast YouTube Channel.

Here’s a list of links to things we talked about in the interview:

  • LaRosa’s website where you can find all of his online content.
  • Devos.hiphop the devotional podcast where he takes a hip hop song and makes a devotional out of it.
  • LaRosa’s author page at Urban Scholar Books where you can get his great book Raw Material.
wordpress blogging site

Blogging Tips and Tools: Theotek Podcast #094

Do you want to start a blog? Do you have something to say? Blogging offers a great outlet for ministers who want to share their ministry with the world or communicate directly with their church members outside of regular worship services or church meetings. No matter why you want to write on the Internet, we’ll share what we’ve learned after decades of combined blogging experience between our four co-hosts in this week’s episode of the Theotek Podcast. Watch it below or listen using the player at the bottom of this post.

In this week’s episode we mentioned a few tools. Here’s the list of places to put your blog online:

wordpress blogging site

Some of the tools we’ve used to post to our blogs include:

  • Mars Edit for Mac
  • Windows Live Writer – now defunct but an open source version called Open Live Writer now exists for Windows.
  • WordPress app on iOS and Android
  • Your browser

The following tips will help you to stay successful as a blogger.

Be Specific in Subject and Stay With It

Even if that topic is you and your ministry, stay with it. If you choose to blog about Bible verses you’re studying and build an audience of people who want to read your posts about Bible passages, then throwing in a post about your favorite football team or politics might turn people off.

Some bloggers start making it clear that they will post about all sorts of topics. Then the subject is their opinions. If that’s what you want, great! Make it clear from the start.

Blog consistently

painfullyhopeful
Wes Allen’s site PainfullyHopeful.me

On Theotek we put out about one post a week. Wes Allen posts almost every day on his blog PainfullyHopeful.me. Don’t go weeks or months without a post. People will lose interest and start ignoring when you finally do post.

Include Images

blogging
Photo credit: Unsplash on Pixabay.

Not everyone agrees with this, but most successful blogs include images or even embedded videos. Most of the blogging software we mentioned above works fine with these media forms including JPG, YouTube Videos, Vimeo Videos, GIF and animated GIF and more.

Don’t just throw up a picture. Give it an ALT tag. A post from Yoast Search Engine Optimization explains what an ALT image tag is and why it’s important.

Posts with images and videos show up better in searches. So try to include them.

raw material ebook

How to Create and Publish an eBook: Theotek Podcast #093

Pastors and ministers can make use of their sermon series’ and bible studies by turning those into an eBook. They might have a devotional book they want to use to disciple their congregation or a small group. Whatever you want to put out there in digital written format you can do with an eBook. We discussed how to make an eBook in this podcast with special guest Kathy Mansfield, wife of our co-host Rick Mansfield and a talented children’s eBook publisher and author.

In the podcast we referred to Kathy Mansfield’s author page on Amazon. Be sure to check it out and get some of her books, especially if you work with young kids or have some in the home. You can also find Kathy at her website And a Poem, which she explained in the podcast, so be sure to listen below or watch it above. That’s also her official Twitter author account.

Kathy was a school librarian for 26 years and now serves as the state library consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education.

Tools for Making an eBook

We discussed a bunch of tools that help people make eBooks. Here’s the list…

pixabay.com photos for your ebooks

  • Pixabay – a great site for free, public creative commons photos you can use in your projects.
  • Create Space – the site used by handling eBook publishing via Amazon’s website and eBook store.
  • DIY Book Formats – a great site to help you learn how to create eBooks and how to format them for publishing.
  • APE by Guy Kawasaki – I mentioned this book by former Apple Computer evangelist Guy Kawasaki who has published a bunch of eBooks.
  • Sigil – a tool for creating eBooks.
  • Creative Book Builder – another tool for creating eBooks mentioned by Wes Allen
  • Press Books – yet another site dedicated to helping you create your eBooks mentioned by Wes.
  • Smashwords – a place to distribute your eBook instead of using Amazon
  • Creative Penn – another site dedicated to helping you create your eBook.

If you use any of these or any of our suggestions to publish your book, please be sure to let us know and we’ll publicize it on our show.

raw material ebook

Get LaRosa Johnson’s book RAW Material to help in your own discipleship or someone else’s as a gift.

wes allen painfullyhopeful

Theotek Extra: Wes Allen Pastor and Tech Consultant

Wes Allen is one of our regulars on the Theotek Podcast. In this Theotek Extra I go one on one with Wes. We talked about his entry into tech, his church ministry and his work with the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey as their Communications Consultant.

Wes blogs at Painfullyhopeful.me where he posts frequently.

wes allen painfullyhopeful

Wes talked about his Smugmug portfolio of photos.

yeti-desktop-large

How to Start a Podcast: Theotek Podcast #092

This week we talk about how to start a podcast with tips for getting started, where to host it and how to handle the workflow. We used LaRosa Johnson’s Devos.hiphop podcast as our case study. Make sure you check it out.

devos.hiphop podcast

Would you like to post your sermons online or maybe create a weekly show to tell members of your church about upcoming news. Maybe you’ve got something you want to say the Christian world or just want to give tips for how to make mac and cheese. An audio podcast can bring your message to the greater world in a fun and interesting way. Watch the video below to learn more about how LaRosa creates and Devos.hiphop podcast. And make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel as well.

Podcast Recording Hardware

In the video we talked first about the tools needed for recording a podcast. You can record on your computer with a mic hooked up to it. That’s how LaRosa records his podcast. He and Rick Mansfield both use the Blue Yeti microphone.

yeti-desktop-large

The mic will plug into your computer’s USB port. It’s got a number of modes great for using solo, with 2 people on either side of the mic, or with a group of users. It’s noise cancelling too, so you get a pretty good recording.

zoom recorder

Some people record their podcast using their iPhone or Android phone. Others use a tablet like an iPad or Android tablet. We also talked about using the Zoom Recorder, which records to flash storage. Then you can copy it over to a computer or mobile device.

The computer used doesn’t need to break the bank. Most basic machines work great. Any Mac or Windows computer made in the last five years will work. It’s the same for phones or tablets.

Podcast Recording Software

Audacity

A great piece of software called Audacity records audio and makes for easy editing. It’s free and open source, has a great community of users supporting it and is both easy to learn and powerful enough for complex multi-track recording.

Other recording options include the high-end tools like Pro Tools or Adobe Audition. On a Mac, use Garage Band. Most phones or tablets have an audio recording app either pre-installed or available in the app stores. We talked about Ferrite Recording Studio, a great iOS app.

Hosting Your Podcast

Lybsyn is a great service for hosting your podcast. It costs $5/month to upload up to 50mb/month. If that’s not enough, you can pay $15/month for 250mb. Our podcast runs about an hour and takes up about 20-25mb each file. Since we do more than 2/month we’d need the 250mb/month tier.

seriously simple podcasting

Theotek uses a host and WordPress to run our site. I upload the file to our host and link to it in WordPress using a plugin called Seriously Simple Podcasting. It puts a section at the bottom of your WordPress screen where you can either upload the MP3 file or past the link, if you use something like Lybsin. Then add other information. Notice in the screenshot above you can add the following info:

  • Episode Type – click audio or video.
  • Podcast file – either paste the link here or click on Upload File and choose the MP3 file on your hard drive and it uploads it for you.
  • Duration – this will fill in automatically when you save the page or publish it.
  • File size – this also will fill in automatically like the duration.
  • Date recorded – click the box and a calendar pop lets you choose the date you recorded the podcast.
  • Explicit – hopefully churches or ministers won’t need to check this.
  • Block – if you don’t want this one to show up in iTunes for some reason check this.

You could upload the files to the Internet Archive or to YouTube. The first will host your files. LaRosa used to use that for his Blaizin’ Faith podcast. With YouTube, you’re really creating a video, but the focus will be on audio. Just use your album cover art as the image.

Tips for Podcasting

Finally, we’ve got a few tips for a successful podcast.

  • Pick a topic that’s interesting and that you’re passionate about so you can keep going.
  • Edit your ID3 Tags, so your podcast has the details embedded in the MP3 files (title, artist, description, copyright, etc).
  • Share your podcast on iTunes and Google Play Store podcasts (follow Libsyn’s How To).
  • Make an attractive cover art, which shows up in your podcast app or the podcast service like iTunes.
  • Use Google’s Feedburner to make a good RSS feed that will work with iTunes and the other services.

Favorite Things

Rick Mansfield shared his Favorite Things – the KDLinks Dash Cam. Find out more about it at their website. Here’s a couple of samples of the video you get from the camera.

Antoine Wright joined us at the tail end of the podcast because he was travelling. His favorite thing was more of a tip. He suggested using something like Impact Hub, a coworking space. This is an office for those who don’t have one. It provides a workspace with Internet, a mailbox and address for deliveries, and camaraderie of being with others even if you work alone. This might offer a nice option for solo pastors or those who are planting a church and don’t own property yet.

Stop Killing Dead Trees: Theotek Podcast #091

The church uses a lot of paper to share its message, whether that message tells members and attendees what’s happening this week, the order of worship that day, or asks them to sign up for activities. In this episode of the Theotek Podcast we talk about using digital alternatives to paper bulletins, newsletters and even sign-up sheets.

Watch the podcast below from our YouTube Channel. The end includes a review of my Apple AirPods.

Digital Alternatives to Bulletins or Newsletters

In the episode above we talked about a few options for digital alternatives to paper communication tools. For example, if you want to text your entire congregation or even send up a voice mail over the Internet consider a service like CallEmAll.

callemall
Use a service like CallEmAll to send mass text messages.

I use CallEmAll at my church, High Peak Baptist Church. We only use it for emergencies, but it’s reliable and easy to use. You could send weekly reminders about events, activities or worship times. You can also categorize members into groups like your choir, youth group, parents, seniors, or Sunday school teachers. Only contact them. The service isn’t free, but it’s also not expensive. It costs 9 cents for credits and a text message is a single credit while voicemail counts as two credits.

Wes Allen said he used to create an eBook for his weekly church bulletin. People could download it from the website. They also put announcements on their WordPress Blog. Another alternative is SquareSpace, a web hosting and content management solution that a lot of people are using instead of WordPress.

Two other services that include digital bulletin alternatives are YouVersion’s Bible app and Logos/Proclaim from Faithlife. We’ve talked about this before on Theotek. You can put your bulletin, order or service, scriptures and more in these apps. If people install the mobile version, they can use open the bulletin on the phone. Some of the things these services handle include:

  • Bible readings in the service
  • Announcements
  • Images
  • Links to the website or other sites
  • YouTube videos
  • Giving
  • Surveys
  • Sign-ups
  • And more

YouVersion’s Bible app offers YouVersion events to the church. The church signs up and then someone from the church creates a weekly event for your worship service. The above video explains more about how it works.

The Faithlife Bulletins service works with Proclaim and Logos. Users can join an online social media group at Faithlife’s website where they’re receive the bulletins. Also, Proclaim offers live signals which get sent to the mobile Logos app on a phone or tablet. See my recent review of Proclaim 2.0 at Church Tech Today.

Don’t forget services like Mail Chimp for sending out email newsletters. Also, consider using a Facebook Group as your primary way of getting news out about your church.

Digital Sign-ups

As mentioned above people can sign up for events or to volunteer in the mobile apps from YouVersion and Faithlife. We also talked about using a kiosk system where people sign up at a computer or tablet in the church. Set up a Google Form to do this and it sends the list to you automatically in a spreadsheet.

WordPress and SquareSpace offer online forms for sign-ups. Search for a form plugin in WordPress or SquareSpace.

What About People Without Computers, Smartphones or Tablets?

The question arose in our discussion. What do you do for those in your congregation who don’t use or own a computer, a tablet or a smartphone? Maybe they do, but don’t feel comfortable using them for the above solutions. This is where community comes in.

Announce occasionally that such people should pair up with someone who does use these tools. Maybe a senior adult can have their son or daughter or a good friend print the digital email newsletter or bulletin. Those with these tools can look out for things their non-technical friends or family would find interesting. They can share it when appropriate.

Try to make a limited number of paper version available if possible. For example, you’ve already got the graphics and copy for a newsletter in email form or on a website. Why not just copy/paste to a document and print off just enough for this group?

Apple AirPods Review

airpods

At the end of the show, I reviewed my Apple AirPods. Here’s my bullet list review:

  • They sound great.
  • Pairing with an iPhone is awesome and easy; just open the lid and a dialog box offers to pair.
  • Once you pair with one Apple device iCloud syncs the pairing with others so you don’t have to pair again to an iPad or Mac.
  • They fit my ears better than the Apple earbuds in the iPhone box.
  • The battery life is good.
  • You can use one AirPod at a time to double your battery life if you don’t mind forgoing stereo sound.
  • Open the lid on the AirPods and a window pops up showing battery life.
  • They’re way too expensive at $159, but I’m sure glad I bought them.
antoine wright

Antoine Wright from the Future: Theotek Extra

I interviewed Antoine Wright, one of the co-hosts of the Theotek Podcast. Antoine’s a mobile tech and mobile ministry expert. He’s a consultant to believers and churches in using mobile tech to communicate the Gospel. He also helps people and companies with their user-interface design and other general tech topics.

This is the first in a 5-part interview series with our co-hosts on the Theotek Podcast.

Be sure to listen or watch all the way to the end since we ended with our Theotek Quiz, a 7-part questionnaire meant to help people learn more about the subject being interviewed. It’s a fun way to get to know our guests.

Follow Antoine on Twitter at @arjwright.