Archive for July, 2008

iphone tips, part 2

I figured I would just report on what applications I have enjoyed the most on the iphone. So, here’s my list…

Pandora- This program really is amazing. Jackie and I used to have satellite radio, and she really misses it. But with this program, we just plug the iphone into our car, and it plays streams songs for us over the 3G network based on our music tastes. Best of all, it’s commercial free.

AIM- I haven’t used this a whole lot yet, but I love the ability to be able to IM with my phone. It will also come in handy if I run low on text messages one month because you can text people for free with it.

Bible- Lifechurch.tv has done a great job with this. There are several great versions, and it is easy to navigate. The only drawback is that you do have to be in cell coverage to use it, so it won’t work on a plane or any other time you don’t get a reception.

Break- fun, free game

Labyrinth Light- same: fun, free game

Midomi- This program can listen music off the radio or you can just hum something, and it will tell you the song and artist. It will also link you to related youtube videos. Amazing technology.

Remote- allows you to control itunes on your computer from your iphone. If you plug your computer into a home theater system, this is very useful. It also claims to work with apple tv, but I don’t have that.

Twittelator- allows me to update my twitter feed and follow others on Twitter

WordPress- allows me make blog posts from my phone

Air Me- automatically uploads pictures I take to my Flickr account

ipint- a very funny program

I’m sure I will find more in coming months, but that’s my list as of now. Have you found any others that you really like?

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iphone tips part 1

Over the weekend, I got an iphone.  It really is an amazing piece of technology.  I am loving it. Hopefully it will make me more productive rather than less so because I’m playing with it so much.  I thought it might be helpful for other iphone owners for me to post some tips that I discover from time to time.  The first is about ringtones.  It was pretty frustrating to realize that Apple wanted me to pay another $1 for each song I already own to use it as a ringtone.  I knew there had to be a workaround, and there is.  I would say you will need at least intermediate computer skills to do this, so if you are a novice, you may be better off just shelling out the dollar.  But, I am way to cheap for that.  So, here are the steps to taking a song you already own and turning it into a ringtone for the iphone…

1. Choose an unprotected song in your library (you cannot do this with a protected AAC file)
2. drag the song onto your desktop (this will create a copy of the file on your desktop)
3. Open it in an audio editor (I use audacity)  
4. Trim the song to the portion you want to play when your phone rings (it must be less than 40 sec.)
5. Export it as a .wav file to your desktop (I had to export it at -9db so that it wouldn’t be too loud)
6. Drag this .wav file back into itunes
7. ctrl-click on the .wav file and choose “convert selection to AAC”
8. drag the new .AAC file onto the desktop (this will create a copy of the file on your desktop)
9. delete both the .wav file and the .AAC file from itunes (this is very important- it will not work if these files are still in itunes)
10. The .AAC file on your desktop will have a .m4a extension.  Change the extension to .m4r (this effectively converts the file to a ringtone).
11. Copy the new .m4r file back into itunes (it will show up in the “ringtones” area of itunes)

I know that sounds complicated, but after I figured it out, it only takes me a couple of minutes to make a ringtone from one of my songs.  Have fun bothering everyone with your annoying ringtones.

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I uploaded some video from our 2006 Disney World trip to Vimeo.  It’s a little long, and I don’t know who would want to watch it, but I enjoyed seeing it again.

A Day at the Magic Kingdom 2006 from Josh Jones on Vimeo.

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Customer Service

I had a terrible experience at Jackie’s doctor today.  She woke up with a terrible headache and couldn’t get out of bed.  They think it’s a viral infection, and they gave her some Lortab, so hopefully it will run it’s course soon.  The doctor is a really good doctor, but their office is run terribly.  So much so that I want Jackie to switch doctors after this experience.  When we walked up to the window, we were greeted with this…

I have never seen so many unprofessional signs and rules in my life.  Then I had to go to the bathroom and saw this…

Just in case we missed them at the front window, I guess.  And then when I left the bathroom on the other side of the door…

OK- I’m sure that all of these signs are a result of something that a patient did that created a problem for them.  But, is that really the best way to communicate all these things?  I felt on the defensive before I even talked to anyone.  On top of that, we got there at 10:30AM for an 11:00AM appointment because Jackie was in so much pain.  We waited until 12:00PM to see the doctor.  Not good.

Anyway, it was a good reminder to me about how you treat your “customers.”  I’m sure they feel that we are a captive audience and they don’t need to worry about it, but they are really underestimating the importance of treating people with respect and care.  I would not be surprised if their office is in decline.  We’ve often said that our volunteers at Athens Church are our most important “customers.”  They deserve to be treated, not with rules and unprofessional print outs, but with the level of respect and care that help them be the best that they can be.

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Every year, we have a mini-conference at North Point for all the Strategic Partners called n*rich.  It is a time of encouragement, training and idea sharing for all of our churches spread throughout the country.  I had a really great time catching up with everyone.  I always try to have a few “takeaways” when I attend things like this, so here’s mine…

1. The last session was done my Carlos Whittaker.  He runs the blog Ragamuffin Soul.  He casted some vision for how we as ministers can utilize the technologies of web 2.0 in ministry.  In fact, it’s the very reason I’m posting right now.  My goals are to keep up with 3 things…

He talked with us about how we can “cheat time” by using these tools because when we actually meet face to face with people we can have deeper conversations since we have been keeping up with each other through these tools. We don’t have to waste time with “what have you been up to.”  He also showed us how they can be used to connect with and appreciate our volunteers, teach people what we are learning and share our lives with people.  It was very compelling, and I’m going to give it a try.
2. Andy Stanley did our very first session on assumptions.  He said that our churches operate on a series of assumptions- some that we are aware of and some that we aren’t.  The example he gave for groups was that we assume “closed groups are more effective than open groups.”  It challenged me to spend some time thinking about my assumptions of Group Life and evaluate if they are correct or not.

3. In one of our round table discussions, Bryson Davis and Scott Mawdsley (married groups directors from North Point) joined us to share how they shepherd their leaders.  They mentioned that they use a free tool called Jott to make notes of their leader meetings.  I’m really excited about implementing this so that I can better document and keep track of what’s going on in our groups.

I’m really glad we went, and I think Group Life will be better at Athens Church because of it.

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