Archive for 'Technology'
Posted on 03. Oct, 2013 by Kenny.
Earlier this week I wrote about using TV’s in lobby spaces to communicate and to create a better environment… because environments matter. I got a couple of good ideas to run with, I’m still seeking some more solutions though.
However, I need to move on to the next topic. Audio in your environment. We do have a CD player in our main lobby that we use to play music of speakers in the ceiling which is great. However, it’s old tech. When the CD ends, the music stops and someone has to remember to start it over or change disks. How long have mp3 players been out? Trust me, I know it wouldn’t be hard or cost much to swap out the CD player with an mp3 player, but I’m thinking bigger than that. Here’s what I mean.
Posted on 01. Oct, 2013 by Kenny.
Environments matter. Anyone who tells you otherwise… probably has a crappy environment. Ha! I couldn’t resist.
I’m actually doing what I can to improve our current environments. Last year we were hoping to do a 1-1.5 million dollar remodel, but things didn’t play out the way we wanted to. I had a little extra money I didn’t use on some staff positions, so I’m doing some work on our environments because they are in need of attention. Our building is 8 years old and it’s starting to look a little tired. I’ll write more about some of the things we’ve done later, but I had to throw a question out to the audience. I’m in need of some help from those who have some experience in this area.
I had a good friend come visit last may and I asked him for an honest evaluation. Standing in the middle of my ministry lobby he spread his arms around indicating his surroundings and said, “You live in a high tech digital city, yet you’re doing ministry in an analog building.” Wow, so true. So many at our church work at Dell, Apple, Google and about every other tech start-up you can imagine. It seems that if that is a part of our audience, a somewhat digital environment would appeal to this part of our community.
So, I’m 5-6 months out from this project, but I’m trying to do the research now.
Posted on 26. Aug, 2013 by Kenny.
It’s been a crazy busy month, I totally missed the Chromecast announcement. Earlier this month, Google announced a new product called Chromecast. It’s less than revolutionary, but there are several compelling reasons to keep your eye… or even purchase this little device.
Let’s be clear though, the Chromcast is no Apple TV. In it’s current state, it will not replace your Apple TV. However, you might want one of these things for other reasons. Let’s take a look at what it does.
Posted on 23. Aug, 2013 by Kenny.
Okay, in the next week or so, I’m going to write a little bit about moving to self check-in. For the past 4 years, I have been wanting to upgrade to self check-in at Gateway, but we’ve not had the resources to do it all at once. So, I’ve been working on it all summer and we’re launching self check-in a week.
We went the barcode route and started distributing them last week. Here’s my big question though.
Do any of you recommend a good barcode app for your smartphone? We spent a little extra money to get the nice barcode readers, like the ones they have at Starbucks and airports. It was important to me that we had another option for people who forgot to bring their barcode.
The only app I know is the keyring app. It’s a great app with lots of options, but a little more complicated than I’d like. I want to make it super simple for parents to create a digital copy of their assigned barcode. Keyring makes you walk through 2-3 steps I’d prefer to avoid for simplicity. So, does anyone know of a simple app that stores your barcodes for future scanning?
Your help would be much appreciated!
Posted on 15. Jul, 2013 by Kenny.
My friend Jonathan Cliff introduced me to this little app and I must say, it’s beyond fantastic.
I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m a tab addict. At any given time, I could have as many as 20-30 tabs open in my browser. Currently I have 13 open, but that’s only because I restarted my computer yesterday and lost the tabs that were open. Oops. Good thing I have a browser plugin that saves my tabs (I’m telling you, I have a serious problem).
On a daily basis, I’ll have a dozen tabs that I’m actively working out of, tabs with multiple email accounts, google drive account and document, my calendar, facebook, twitter an many more. However, things used to get far more complicated when I’d come across a page or article that I wanted to read but just didn’t have the time at the moment. In the past, I’d simply leave the tab open with plans to come back and read it when I had time. Yes, sometimes that tab would remain open for weeks.
I know, some people suggested bookmarks… but I’m just not the bookmark kind of guy. They take more time to organize or clean up than they’re worth messing with. Plus, many of these tabs are just pages I want to glance at, nothing more.
Well, then came pocket.
Pocket solved my little problem and provided several additional solutions.
Posted on 12. May, 2013 by Kenny.
About a month ago, I started seeing tweets and facebook updates about people waiting in virtual lines for the new Mailbox App for iPhone. I was intrigued, so I jumped in line. It took almost 2 weeks before I got access. Within minutes I was saying, “Wow, this is a pretty cool app.” However, or the past several weeks, I’ve simply been “playing” with Mailbox. I use it as my primary email client, but I didn’t really use it the way it is intended to be used.
You see, the creators of Mailbox realized that mobile email is kind of broken. People read their emails and often mark them as unread or flag/star so they can do stuff with it later instead of really working their inbox from the phone. Mailbox was designed to push your toward inbox zero. Inbox zero is pretty much the goal of getting rid of every email in your inbox on a daily basis. It’s the idea of working a system so that every email is either answered quickly, deleted, archived (searchable for later), delegated to someone else, pushed back for later or put on a list to be done. If you can apply this system quickly to every email that comes in, there isn’t any reason why you can’t get to inbox zero every day. Then when you have some extra time (on your determined time), you can work on the emails on your to do list.
I saw I’ve been playing with Mailbox because I have four emails connected to Mailbox and for the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve had a little over 3000 unprocessed, read or starred emails in the combined inbox. Then today, something happened.
Posted on 25. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.
Orange released a new app yesterday. It’s both frightening, amazing and depressing all at the same time. Whatever emotion you feel, it’s a truth that no parent should ignore. We have limited time. Below I have put in both of my kids. Wow! Time is ticking away!
This app allows you to put in a child’s birthdate and it estimates the time left until their graduation. It is a visual representation of the time we have left to influence a child before they leave home.
You can also add in specific events and see the countdown until that day.
When you see the time you have left, you get serious about the time you have now.
Posted on 11. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.
Hey, check it out. Orange just released a new app just in time for the Conference a little less than 2 weeks away. It does exactly what you want in a conference app.
Schedule and Map
Probably the two most important parts of an app. What breakout are happening and where can I find them. The app gives you a macro level view of the entire campus and then a micro level of each building. No more fumbling for paper maps and schedules. You’ll look like a pro as you navigate your way around Orange with your iPhone.
Oh, and what could be even cooler than this? Log in and all the breakouts you already signed up for show up. Change your mind and you want to attend another breakout? You can do it right there in the app. Make the change and it updates your account with Orange. Awesome!
Speaker bios and Live Streaming
Want to know more about that guy who is leading the breakout that is so freaking awesome? There’s a great section where you can find those speakers, read their bio and then send them a tweet or visit their blog.
Lastly, there’s a section for live streaming. Let’s be real, if you’re at Orange, what’s the point of live streaming… and we know how stellar internet performance is when there are 5000 people all tweeting, facebooking and instagraming at the event, but if you’re not at Orange… how perfect is this?
Last but not least
You Android or Windows Phone users aren’t going to be happy. This is an iPhone only app. Sorry.
Posted on 10. Apr, 2013 by Kenny.
It was recently announced that Austin, TX is going to get Google Fiber. Yes, Google Fiber!
Most of you are probably asking, what the heck is Google Fiber. You can read the wiki page here.
Essentially, Google Fiber is an experimental broadband network that will offer internet at a rate of 100 times faster than what most people have coming into their house. 100 times faster, that’s crazy!
Over a year ago, Google announced a competition with more than 1000 cities of who was going to get it first. Well, Kansas City, KS is on the top of the list, followed by Austin, TX. As of now, Google hasn’t revealed plans to bring fiber anywhere else.
This article explains why Google may not bring it anywhere else. The thought is that Google has no intention of getting into the broadband delivery market, but by doing this experiment, it pushes the other internet providers to innovate and compete. Essentially, Google wants everyone to have faster internt. The faster interent we have, the more YouTube videos we watch, the more ads we see and the more money Google makes.
Google will be offering 3 options for internet:
- Free broadband
- A 1 Gigabit up and 1 Gigabit down plan for $70
- A 1 Gigabit up and 1 Gigabit down plan that includes TV for $120
Not too shabby. There’s no guarantee that Google Fiber will come to my neighborhood, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.
I liked this Q & A answer on the Google Fiber page:
Question: Why is Google Fiber coming to Austin?
Answer: Austin is known globally as a mecca for creative and entrepreneurial people, including musicians, artists, tech companies, and the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital to name a few. High-speed ubiquitous connectivity can make an immediate impact on the work of all of these groups. When we were originally choosing where to bring Fiber in 2010, Austin had one of the most enthusiastic responses. Austin city leaders have worked hard to make this possible, and we’re excited to be here.
I love this town for so many reason, here’s to one more!