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Using technology to God’s glory

The Didache, P45, Washingtonianus, and More!

Did a jumbo edition today covering a wide variety of topics but eventually focusing on the BBC clip played in our debate in South Africa about the Didache.  Read the entire work, and then in the last thirty minutes did some manuscript/papyri stuff that only geeks will enjoy!  As I mentioned at the end of the program, I have no idea what next week is going to look like as far as the program is concerned.  It could be bad.  We will see!

Here is the YouTube link:

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I Really TRIED to Talk About Other Stuff, But…Eventually…

I seriously did start off with the Calvin College story on gay marriage and tried to address a few other topics, but look—when you have folks accusing me of going “soft” on Islam, and have folks saying I’ve gotten too “friendly,” what did you expect?  I addressed the topic.  For about an hour of today’s 90 minute program—and I still had more to say!  Be prepared to be challenged!  By the way, scroll down below the program box for a video that I mentioned on the program that had been tweeted to me but I didn’t get a chance to view until after the program was over.  Thought it was well done and useful.

Here is the YouTube link:



Catching Up With Technology

We all know most things we buy in the tech world are planned to become obsolete in a relatively short period of time.  It’s a built-in aspect of the market, it seems, but it is also a function of the fact that thankfully, at least in many areas, technology continues to advance and progress.

This is a very small ministry, and hence I am personally dependent—very dependent—upon my computer.  I study on it, correspond on it, communicate on it, video record on it, manage all my debate audio and reading materials on it, do all my trip planning on it—suffice it to say, it’s a daily tool, my electronic secretary (since I do not have one), etc.

For a number of years a single individual has been such an encouragement in providing me with my ministry computer.  “We can’t let the bad guys have all the good toys!” he’d say.  I can’t tell you how encouraging it has been to have that kind of support behind me.

With the changes we have made recently (as you have probably seen on the DL, the new technology we are using, the ScreenFlow videos I’m doing, etc.), we turned our attention, finally, to my desk.  Yes, my desk.  It is so old it was designed only to have a single CRT on it (remember those?).  The legs have clear tape on them to hold the surface to the core.  We bought it last century, literally, and it has seen its age pass.  Further, the external monitor box we’ve been using to give me access to external monitors has likewise gone on to the great bit bucket in the sky.  So, we started looking into how to replace the aged with something that will last a while.

In the process we discovered something.  My current MacBook Pro has served me well.  It’s still got the old style hard drive, but I’ve never had any problems (though I do have to carry an external HD as well).  But we’ve run into a roadblock that only an upgraded unit can fix: its video capabilities.  I thought this thing was maybe 18 months old, seriously.  But when Rich asked me to get its technical specifications, I was shocked to see it identified as “Early 2011.”  How did that happen?  I know I’m getting old, but I really, really thought it was like late 2012.  Well, it’s video innards simply lack the umph to handle what we are asking it to do these days.  And since it is a laptop, we can’t upgrade individual components like you can a desktop unit.

So, we have put the various parts of a replacement unit on the MRL.  Now, the MRL used to be an Amazon wish list.  We had to replace that with something that gives us more control over the flow of funds so that we can cross our t’s and dot our i’s as far as donation credit is concerned.  Here is the current MRL, and you can see the various components of the new unit.  If you’d like to have a part in equipping yours truly with the single computer unit I traipse about the world with, write my books on, record videos on, use in debates, etc. and etc., well, I’ll be most thankful.

Technology Can Be a Blessing!

Intro to Apologetics class in Charlotte

Intro to Apologetics class in Charlotte

We had better be using these avenues while we still can.  Tuesday afternoon I had the privilege of teaching an introduction to apologetics class for Michael Brown’s ministry.  Now aside from the kidding I got for being a Calvinist (fully expected!), what made it pretty unusual for me was that I was sitting in the Dividing Line studio and the students were in a classroom across the nation.  Yet, most of the time, I could see them with HD clarity, and we were able to communicate clearly.  So I was able to take questions and interact with the students, use my Keynote presentations, Accordance, etc.  It was great!  We used Google+ Hangouts to get it done.

This is an avenue I want to pursue.  I would like to find a “geeky” church—that is, a church with geeks in leadership—to schedule a live seminar and q&a session in the near future, to be done via the same technology.  If you’d be interested, used the contact link to let us know.

The Single Most Often Asked Question (FAQmaximus) Geekfest

I have been putting off writing this out for way too long.  I have promised to do it over and over again, but finally I am getting to it (ironically, from a hotel room in London of all places).

It is without a doubt the most commonly asked question I receive via Twitter, email, etc.  “How do you listen to books while cycling?”  I’ve done videos on it, covered it on the DL, etc., but alas, if Google doesn’t show it to you, nobody knows how to find it anymore!  So, here we go:

First, let me put a unique phrase here so folks can always find this blog article:  geekfest.  There you go.  Now, whenever someone asks me this while I am walking out of a church or something, I can just go, “Search my blog for the term geekfest.”  How’s that for cheating?

OK, two ways I do it.  First is obvious:  Kindle.  Kindle keyboard units will read books to you.  So, you get a free audio recording program (like Audacity, Audio Recorder, whatever—there are dozens of them out there), plug the output of the Kindle into the input of your computer, fire up the reading portion of the Kindle, and record it.  Voila.  I put mine on “faster” to get it done quicker.  Of course, this requires real-time recording, so, I set it up to record over night (depending on how long the book is).  Load the resultant file onto your iPod and away you go.

Second, for all other materials I cannot get on Kindle, I use TextSpeech Pro with the voices from Cepstral.  Dump PDFs, html, docs, rtf, etc., into the program, choose to export, and voila, much faster than the Kindle, you have an mp3 of the article, book, etc.  I will cut and paste portions out of books in my Logos library to read this way as well (sermon prep, for example).

I normally listen at 2x speed on an iPod Nano (the little square touch-screen ones).  I use sound-isolating earbuds to cut down on the wind noise so you can hear.  The main pair I use is not made anymore, but there are lots available.

So there you go.  That’s how I read books while cycling.  I have no idea how many I have read that way (it is also how I listen to debates, sermons, etc.), but it’s probably over 100.  Ultimate Multi-Tasking!