Archive for the ‘technology’ category

A Wonderful Tool; TextExpander

September 19, 2014

icon_textexpanderMany of us who lead worship are ministers or have a second job. Typing text is a great big part of my work: blogging, writing bulletin articles, email and a thousand other jobs that require typing on my computer or phone.
I discovered a cool app for my Mac computer and my iOS devices. It is called TextExander by Smile Software. smilesoftware.com
This tool will expand various keystrokes on your computer or iOS device to words, blocks of text, even entire boilerplate letters and forms.

One of the ways that it is saving me time is in sending out the weekly church bulletin. I always blind carbon copy the email address of the 100 or so people that I send our bulletin to. I copied all of those addresses pasted them into TextExpander, assigned a key stroke combination and voila no more opening up old emails to copy and past the email list.

I also send out an introduction letter to all my Truth for the World Bible students. It takes several mouse clicks to open up a text document copy the text, paste it in the new document, date it, add the new name and contact info. Now I just type “xinto” and the 2 page document expands into the new email pausing to ask for the students name and adds the date. That saved a good 2 minutes, times 5 or six times per week, times 52 weeks in a years time that is 520 minutes I could be doing something else.

Another big help that TextExander gives is inserting accented letters, various symbols like ™or © instead of having to find the symbols or remember the hexidecimal code I just made a “snippet” assigned “xtm” for trademark and another for “xcw” for copy right.

Add to that the amount of times I have to type the date now all I have to do is type “ddate.” Thanks to Chad Landman, I have a library of snippets that spell out the names of the books of the Bible.  Instead of Revelation, I just type “xre”. Any text can become a snippet and assigned to a keystroke combination.  I am thrilled with this new tool. I believe that with the new expanded keyboard in iOS 8 the TextExander Touch will work on many more apps than before. So goodbye fumbling fingers and hello fast typest.

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My Smartphone Can Hurt Me Spiritually

December 2, 2011

Sometimes even good things turn bad. My smartphone is a wonderful tool for ministry. It goes with me everywhere. I can email, text and talk on the phone almost anywhere.

All those hours sitting in the hospital waiting room are still productive hours. Travel time can be filled with useful work. But, that constant connection to my inbox can steal family time, sleep and sabbatical rests. Nothing can ruin your day off like a message from the hyper critical fault-finder.

I’ve learned to turn off my phone for certain periods of the day. My daily prayer time and sermon prep time are two segments of my day where my phone is on silent. I know that my voicemail will work and texts will record for later when I am able to deal with them.

I quit reading email in bed. This helps avoid sleepless nights brooding over problems and news I can’t deal with until morning anyway. My wife appreciates me leaving work out of our family time.

I love twitter, texting and Facebook. They are great tools to share ministry information, keep in touch with people and news sites. But, they can rob time and attention from more important duties. I don’t check Facebook until lunch, twitter is not allowed to scroll or tweet freely on my phone or desktop computer.

I also use hootsuite to schedule most of my tweets and Facebook status updates. This way I only have to run them a few times per week. I try to automate posting of blog updates so that keeps me from having to visit FB, twitter, Google+ etc. several times per week. My ADD does not allow me to just read necessary posts I know I’ll chase cyber rabbits for 30 minutes for every perusal of Facebook or twitter read.

We need to learn to use our phones for God’s glory and not just work.