Using Technology to Minister to the Elderly

iPad 2

I just got off the phone with one of the most special women I know. She and her husband have been serving the Lord for over 50 years together and both are an inspiration to me. Unfortunately Joan has been having some trouble over the past several months with her health, and it has been over a month since she has been able to make it out to our chapel.  We have missed her and I know she has deeply missed us and the fellowship of the saints.  I could hear it in her voice today as she told me how tough it has been to be “out of the loop” and not see everyone.  Thankfully she is feeling a bit better and some progress has been made. We pray that the Lord will have her healthy enough to come out soon.

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5 Thoughts: Preaching with an iPad

iPad 2
Some time ago I posted my First Impressions of my brand new iPad 2. Since then I have been using the iPad for many purposes, including preaching. During this time I have had several opportunities to experiment with different ways of implementing the iPad for this purpose. Along the way I’ve accumulated several (hopefully) helpful thoughts for anyone who might be considering the iPad as a preaching tool. Here are five of those thoughts…

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iPad 2 – First Impressions

Three weeks ago I purchased my first tablet computer, an Apple 16GB Black Wi-Fi 3G iPad 2.

Truth is, I have desired an iPad since the day Apple first announced their revolutionary product…. I can even remember posting “iWant iPad” as my Facebook status! However, I resisted the urge for one reason: the cost. The device is not cheap. So I decided to wait, as they say “time will tell”.

Over the almost two years from January 27, 2010 when Steve Jobs first announced the iPad I have kept my eyes on the reviews, testimonies of friends who use the iPad, and the competition. What became clear from the reviews and word of mouth, is that the iPad is in fact a fantastic device. And, while the competition is drastically less expensive the competition’s product doesn’t measure up. So, for the first time since 1983 (when I purchased an Apple IIe) I bought an Apple computer.

After working with the device for three weeks I can honesty say the iPad is worth every penny I paid for it — no buyer’s remorse here!


What I like:

  • Portability. I do a considerable amount of traveling, by road and by air, so having a lightweight easily portable computer is important for me. Lugging around my old Windows based Dell laptop had become a real pain. The laptop, plus the power pack and cords, is too heavy and bulky to travel with. With the iPad I can do just about everything I could with a laptop. No, I’m not going to type a ten page paper on the iPad, but I rarely have the need to do that much typing while I’m on the go.
  • Ease Of Use. Like most Apple products the iPad is dead simple to use right out of the box.
  • Great Reader. When I’m traveling I am doing a lot of reading, and regardless of what I’m reading (the Bible, RSS feeds, PDFs, ebooks, etc.) the iPad has proven to be a great tool. One great feature offered by many apps is the ability to “swipe” through a document instead of “scrolling”. Swiping is very much like turning the page of a “real” book, it is intuitive and feels natural. I find it much superior to scrolling up and down through a document.
  • Syncs Seamlessly With The Cloud. iOS 5 (the software that runs the iPad) works seamlessly with “the cloud” (think storage and even processing of data on the internet). The iPad easily connects with numerous cloud computing services such as Apple’s own iCloud, Google Docs, Dropbox, and many more. Through the magic of cloud computing you have access to endless and inexpensive (often free) online data storage. That is why I purchased the 16GB version. No reason to spend more on the 32GB or 64GB models.
  • Preaching. I have found the iPad to be a fantastic tool to preach with. I will save most of my thoughts on this point for a full post at another time. However, using an iPad is considerably less cumbersome than a traditional print Bible with folded notes (hopefully) tucked inside.
  • Presentations. I almost didn’t purchase an iPad because I thought it wasn’t possible to give a PowerPoint presentation from one. I was wrong. I’ll will write a full post about this soon, but all you need is Apple’s iPad VGA Adapter cable, and an app such as Quickoffice Pro HD.


A Few Gripes:

  • The Cost. As mentioned above the iPad is expensive. Because Apple consistently produces excellent products they are able to charge a premium for their products… I guess the old saying is true, “you get what you pay for”.
  • Minimal Customization. I’ve been using an Android powered phone for nearly two years, so I have grown accustom to the almost unlimited ways Android allows users to customize the look, feel, and functionality of the phone. Endless apps, widgets, “skins”, and live wallpapers allow me to create an entirely unique phone custom designed for me and the way I function. The ability to customize iOS is severely limited.
  • Juvenile Interruptions. “Hey dad, can I use your iPad”, “Hey dad, can I watch Dora on your iPad”, “Hey dad, can I play a game on your iPad”, “Hey dad…..” ok, ok ’nuff said.

The bottom line: The iPad 2 is a winner.

What do you think of the iPad? Lets us know in the comments… (click “Read More” and go to the bottom of the post).

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The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: Lay of the Land

The Hunt 3

Sun Tzu said “Know The Terrain” by which he meant that if you’re fighting you better know where you’re fighting. Nuclear devices changed all that. But it still applies when you’re traversing the battle field of e-bible shopping.

There are five territories you’ll be shopping in and they all have their pros and cons.

Mobile Devices. These devices are the smallest, lightest devices you can find and therefore the most portable option available. They often give you the benefit of making calls. Of course, if you don’t want to become the bondservant of a cellular contract, you could look at devices like the Apple Touch, the N810, or the Archos32 Palm-Sized Tablet.

Readers. This is every tablet on the marketplace. So products like the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and even the Kindle: same family but different skill-sets. The Kindle’s e-ink technology makes reading in-or-outdoors a breeze while the iPad’s shiny reflective sun mirror of death works great as a movie-screen inside. These devices are better for reading than the Cell phones but they suffer from the same input problems (e-keyboards, only one external storage slot like an SD card) and an operating system that doesn’t allow you to install full versions of programs (like Word or Logos).

Ultraportables. Which are netbooks, thinbooks (eg: Apple Air, Asus Zenbook) and the like. These devices usually have at least one usb port (which allows adding some sort of peripherals), a real keyboard, but their screens are usually as small as (or smaller than) readers without the auto-rotate capability that readers are known for. Ultraportables have more cranking power than a Reader and they come with a full Operating system so you can install your desktop programs at ease but you might have a problem using multiple programs at the same time—considering the screen size and RAM (I’ll get into that in a later post).

Laptops. These are the workhorses of mobile computing. They have a full Operating System like their smaller cousins the Ultraportables, but they have bigger and more powerful guts to let you do complex stuff on the go. These usually come with a CD-Rom drive (unlike all the previous categories I listed) although they have been slowly phasing them out. These devices are usually heavier than all the previous listed devices and their batteries might not last as long either, but their costs and cranking power is always better than the Ultraportables.

Desktops. The Non-Mobile beast that sits at your foot waiting at your beck and call. These have absolutely the most power, can do the most work, can process the most information, can install the most programs and should actually function as the center of all your computing needs. I always recommend people get a Desktop Computer before buying a mobile solution (especially since most mobile solutions except Ultraportables and laptops require a desktop) but if you own one already, then going mobile might be a viable option—especially if you want an E-Bible on the Go.

Now you know what’s out there and knowing is half the battle. Sun Tzu would be proud.

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To read the next installment in this series click here.

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