Creative Tools for Ministry: Theotek Podcast #103

If you work on a website for your church or ministry or if you create images, videos or art for worship, then this podcast is for you. We talked about the creative tools that we use and what we think of Adobe’s recent update to their Creative Cloud suite. Plus watch the podcast to find out about alternatives if you don’t like the subscription model of paying for your creative apps.

If you’re interested in the new tools from Adobe, check out their website to learn more. We talked mainly about photography programs Lightroom and Photoshop since that’s what we use most. But the other apps got some love and they added a new subscription storage option.

Alternatives to Adobe Creative Tools for Ministry

luminar 2018

MacPhun does a great job with some of their new apps. They now offers something called Luminar 2018 and it works on both Mac and Windows. Luminar does Raw photo file editing. It has the advanced features of Photoshop and Lightroom built into Luminar. Pre-order for $60 or upgrade from $40. And for HDR tools check out MacPhun’s Aurora package. These are both great creative tools for ministry.

For iPad and Mac users Pixelmator does a nice job. They also will offer Pixelmator Pro which give you a single window interface and it does what it does really fast. It’s not as good at text and Lightroom may do a better job with some adjustments, but the app on iPad and on Mac is a great option.

apple final cut pro
Apple Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro from Apple is an expensive alternative. It’s a one time only fee, but the price is $300. However, that’s 6 months of the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. It only runs on a Mac.

lumafusion for ipad
LumaFusion brings professional editing to the iPad and iPhone.

LumaFusion on iPad gives the user a great user interface, a powerful video editor and lets you edit with a finger. That gives me precision editing that I can’t get with my mouse. It includes a multi-track editing interface. You can have 3 tracks for video, audio and images. Then add 3 more audio tracks for things like voice overs or music.

Most people think of Camtasia as a screen recorder. It is, but it also allows for simple video editing with simple titles and call-outs. It’s great for creating videos of software.

On the audio editing side of things Adobe offers Adobe Audition. However, Ferrite is in iOS audio editor that we can use for some great audio projects.

For Windows and Mac, use the free and open source program called Audacity. It’s powerful and simple at the same time. The supporting community makes a lot of plug-ins.

On the Mac there’s Sound Studio by Felt Tip Software. It’s an excellent option for sound creative tools users.

Those who need to create websites might user Dreamweaver form Adobe. However, we mentioned a few alternatives for web design.

  • WordPress is a content management system and a web host, although you can self host using the files from WordPress.org.
  • Rapid Weaver for Mac is the most like Dreamweaver. It’s a piece of software on your Mac that creates websites.
  • Squarespace is like WordPress because it’s a content management system. You’ll have to use their servers as your host and it costs a little.

Our Favorite Things

We’ve got a few more recommendations. We always offer “Our Favorite Things” which are recommendations from the Theotek team. Here’s the list of Our Favorite Things.

Antoine visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. Here’s their own description of the museum.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

bbedit

People who need a great text editor for Mac will love BBedit. Mark Allison recommends it for text editing and for programming.

Rick didn’t recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 he got to test out Accordance Bible on Android because he hates the limitations of Android tablets and Samsung’s launcher. Samsung puts an overlay on top of Android called TouchWiz on his tablet and now it’s called Samsung Experience on their latest phones. Since he does a lot of the training for Accordance, he wanted to share his screen to record help videos for their new Accordance Android app. Samsung doesn’t let you connect an HDMI adapter like other devices. So he found a tool called AirServer Connect in the Google Play Store that lets him share the screen to Reflector. It tricks Reflector into thinking the Android device is an iPad or iPhone. Reflector tricks the device into thinking your computer’s an Apple TV. There’s also a version for iOS and on the Amazon App Store.

Wes decided to “waste time” with his pic. He chose the Stranger Things video game based on the hit Netflix Original series that recently released in season two. It’s a fun time waster on Android and iOS.

kindle fire 10

My pick this week was the new Kindle Fire. I got the 10-inch version, but they offer an 7 and 8 inch mode. It’s faster than the earlier version and seriously fun. You can also install the Google Play Store with some tricks found here. The 10-inch starts at $150 but you can get the 7-inch for only $50 and the 8-inch for $80. They have a durable 7-inch version for kids that starts at $100 and comes with a 2-year warranty that lets you replace it even if the kid drops and breaks the screen. I really love mine.

google pixel 2 phone

Made by Google: Theotek Podcast #102

Google took to the state and announced a slew of new gadgets for geeks like us to drool over. In this episode of the Theotek Podcast, we talked about the new Google tools. We had some strong opinions about them so watch below or listen at the bottom of this post.

In all Google announced some phones, a new Chromebook, a few new Google Home devices and other accessories. Here’s the list of the products with links to the Google device store pages for each item.

google pixel 2 phone

New Google Products

In the podcast we talked about the above products. Most of us agreed that the new Pixel 2 phone looks like a great new edition of the pure Android experience. It has a great camera with nice form factor. The Home Mini voice activated speaker seems like a nice lower price option for those who are heavily invested in the Google ecosystem. The Home Max competes with Apple’s Homepod for a high-end music listening experience that also includes the Google Assistant like the Google Home and Home Mini.

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We weren’t as excited about the Pixelbook because of the price. At $999 for the baseline model, that’s a high price for a Chromebook. My Samsung Chromebook Plus looks and feels like a premium Chromebook at less than half the price. However, people who love ChromeOS will love this Chromebook. It seems like a very nice piece of hardware.

We agreed that they announced a coolest new product called Google Pixelbuds. They offer a high-end music listening in Bluetooth form. The wireless earbuds look a little wired but include a great translation feature. You can talk to people speaking another language, like Chinese or Spanish. The Pixel Buds will listen and then translate. If it works like the demo showed, it will make a great option for people who travel or deal with people who speak another language.

Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X Announced: Theotek Podcast #101

Apple announced all their new gear a couple of weeks ago. Our team talked about the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. We’ll also talked about Apple TV and Apple Watch. Watch below or listen at the bottom of this post.

Apple Products Pricing and Availability

The new Apple products made it to store shelves and you can order most of these now or will be able to some time soon. Here’s a list of links to Apple’s site to get them.

 Should You Upgrade?

Should you upgrade? That’s the big question that people should answer. Here what our team recommends.

From LaRosa Johnson…

Upgrade only if you can afford to buy it outright and your current phone is no longer working.

From Wes Allen…

If your phone is still functioning and allowing your workflow without getting in the way then, there is no need to upgrade. If you want to push the limits and want to pass on an older phone to someone while it’s still useful, then an upgrade can be a good idea.

I have a 4K tv and am not getting the new unit. Also, I’m very happy with my 6s plus

From Rick Mansfield…

I can only speak for myself. I won’t upgrade to the new AppleTV because I don’t have a 4K television. If my current gen 1 Apple Watch ever gets lost or if the battery does not last the full day for multiple days in a week, I will get the new one with LTE. I’m getting the iPhone X because I’m in the Apple Upgrade program (so why not?), and I can legitimately write it off on my taxes because I use it for work extensively.

From Mark Allison (the new guy) …

I had an Apple Watch Series 1 and liked it a lot, but sold it to buy a Garmin Fenix 3, that was a more capable watch for the things I like to do – hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. The new Apple Watch includes an altimeter, which means it can record elevation accurately. It’s also water-resistant, a feature added in the last version of the watch, which makes it a more compelling upgrade for outdoor enthusiasts. I’m not happy about paying $10/month for the LTE version. Paying $120 a year for a watch adds up. Still, it’s nice to be able to make a call without a phone, and the call quality is supposed to be excellent.

I have an iPhone 7, and I’m not planning on upgrading. iPhone 8 doesn’t have enough compelling features (in my mind). The iPhone X looks nice, but I’m more inclined to wait a year until they have all the kinks worked out. That’s saying a lot, because I typically get any new phone that Apple introduces. I guess I’m just happy with the iPhone 7 and don’t feel a strong compulsion to spend the money for features I’m not excited about.

I have the original AppleTV and the newer one too (not the 4K version). I don’t have a 4K television, so it wouldn’t make much sense for me. If I had a 4K TV (and when I purchase one, it will have HDR, which I’m more excited about than 4K) I’d certainly get the latest version of the AppleTV.

apple iphone x notch

Here’s my take. I love the latest greatest and am often upgrading faster than I ever need to, but the iPhone 8 is so boring an upgrade that I have no interest in it. I’ll stick with my iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone X is a terrible design. I hate the “notch” and think it’s a ridiculous mistake. It’s a rip off of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ with the Apple logo and all the cachet that goes with that. For some, they want the latest greatest Apple phone and can afford it. That’s Rick’s stance above. For most of us we should probably not upgrade if we’re being frugal and good money managers. LaRosa said only get it if you can pay outright for it. At $1,000 for the X and $700 or higher for the 8, that’s few people.

As for the Apple Watch, only get one if you’re an iPhone user and want a smartwatch and don’t already own the earlier generations of Apple Watch. Same for the Apple TV.

Remember that if you have an old device, sell it yourself on eBay, Craigslist or Facebook. Don’t sell to the device trade-in services like Gazelle. Selling yourself is a pain, but you’ll get more money. You’ll often get enough to buy the new phone for half or even one-third the cost using the money from the sale of your old device.

ipad pro 10.5 from WWDC 2017

WWJD at Apple WWDC 2017: Theotek Podcast #100

Our team talked about the Apple WWDC 2017 in our 100th episode of the Theotek Podcast. WWDC stands for  World Wide Developer Conference and at this event Apple reveals their new plans for iOS and macOS as well as other interesting tidbits. It’s for developers, but a lot consumer-focused information often hits the newswire after the keynote event that opens the conference.

ios 11 on ipad and iphone

In this episode we talk about tvOS, which powers the Apple TV, as well as watchOS 4 for the Apple Watch. Then we discussed macOS High Sierra and MacBook Pros, iMacs and iMac Pros powered by the new updated operating system. Next, we discussed iOS 11, the new operating system that will run iPhones and iPads. Apple revealed a new iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch screen so we all discussed that as well. Finally, we covered the new HomePod Sierra speaker coming out this year just in time for Christmas.

ipad pro 10.5 from WWDC 2017

Watch the video from YouTube and of course, subscribe to your YouTube channel if that’s your preferred way to enjoy Theotek Podcast. You can also scroll to the bottom of this post to listen to the audio version or click on our link in the menu to find out how to subscribe to the audio version.

Also, if you want to watch the full Apple WWDC 2017 Keynote address, here it is.

Summer Hiatus

We’re taking a summer hiatus. We might do some Theotek Extra Podcasts, but there won’t be a regular Theotek Podcast with Wes, Rick, LaRosa, Antoine or Kevin until August. Our relaunch will likely take place in August or September.

Bible Software Training: Theotek Podcast #099

If you’re a Bible software user, then you’ll want world-class training on how to use your software like a master. We’ll give you advice on how to best improve your skills and learn to use whatever program you prefer whether it’s a Bible software program on Windows, Mac or an app on your smartphone or tablet.

We started out talking about getting training direct from the software maker’s website. For example, head over to the Accordance Bible Software website to find their large college of podcast, visual training offerings and even webinars or live seminars in your area. Other sites have them as well so go to your program’s website and look for a support link or training link.

Your next stop should be the company’s support forums, if they have one. For example, one of the most active forums for a Bible software company comes from the Logos Community. You’ll find an active collection of users ready to help out quickly. They get a little prickly if you complain about Logos, but they do like to help new users. Accordance has a good community too. Many of the others offer one as well.

olive tree bible software help menu
Look for the Help menu in your Bible Software.

If you can’t find the help you need or just want to learn more, then check out the in-software help files. They will open a great set of help files in most of the packages. Rick bragged that Accordance won an award for their in-app help system.

logos help
Go to the Logos Home page in the program and click the Question Mark in the upper right corner.

It’s not as easy to find the in-software help in Logos. If you click the Help menu button on a Mac, you’ll find nothing. It’s only there to conform to macOS menu standards. They should make it link to their help online or something. Instead click on the Home button in the upper left and then click on the Question Mark in the upper right. See the screenshot above.

Another good place to look for help on Bible software is third-party sites like Udemy, which has a great set of Logos Help videos for a low price. If you use Logos, look into the Logos official trainer’s Morris Proctor Seminars for help. They’re not cheap, but he’s talented. There’s also LearnLogos.com.

Finally, ask us. We like to help viewers and listeners. We’re busy guys, but enjoy helping out when we can so send us an email using the contact info in our page about the Theotek Contributors.

Getting Fitness with Tech: Theotek Podcast #098

Our team all uses tech of some kind to track fitness and such. We’ll talk about what we use to get fit, stay fit and track our health from fitness tracking watches to apps for calorie counters and devices we connect to our phones for keeping diabetes in check, at least for two of us.

Sorry, no show notes with links. Just had to get this one up and it’s been really busy as ministry happens!

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.