Monday, December 17, 2007

TGIF - December 17

I do some of my best thinking and planning while I'm driving. Good (and some not-so-good) ideas pop into my head and I ponder them for a few miles, then lose them before I commit them to long term memory or write them down. It might be an item for my to-do list, a person who I need to contact, or a program idea, but most of the time it used to be lost because I didn't keep it in my head until I could actually use it. Enter Jott, a free service that transcribes voice to text and sends it to a variety of places. It's also useful to keep track of those pesky expenses!

I have Jott assigned to a quick-dial key on my cell phone. When I think of something, I just dial it, tell the name of the folder or service that I want the message to go to, and it shows up in that folder. There is a desktop application that you can use to manage the messages you've sent yourself or you can use the website. You can have Jotts sent via e-mail, text message, or carrier pigeon. (They're still working the last option out, but it may very well be coming.)

The real beauty of Jott is that the designers are working to interface with lots of other online entities. You can send a Jott to and you will get the top 5 search results for your request sent as an e-mail. You can send a Jott to your Google Calendar and have an appointment show up. You can send a Jott to Remember the Milk and add something to your to-do list. You can send a Jott to Twitter and update your status. You can Jott reminders to yourself and have them sent back to your phone or e-mail a few minutes prior to what you might forget. You can also send Jotts to other people on a contact list. I haven't used this feature myself, because I am more accustomed to using instant messages and e-mails, but some folks might find it useful.

You can find out even more about Jott and sign-up by visiting and clicking on the Learn More link.

God's blessings on the ministry you do each day,
Pastor Andy Arnold
ELCA Youth Ministry Network's Tech Geek

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The 12 Days of Christmas by Staight No Chaser

My brother sent me this video that shows about how generally muddled most of us are around the twelve days of Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vox on Fox

My brother Matthew is the Executive Director of the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus. Their audition group was recently on Columbus TV.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tech Geek - December 10, 2007

What are you up to? Whatcha doing? Busy? I was late to the whole blogging game and late to the mini-blog game as well. I've been playing with Twitter for just a short amount of time and I find it an interesting exercise in sharing what I'm up to throughout the day. Sometimes I only update it once a day and sometimes more frequently. Probably no one even cares! But maybe there are folks in your youth flock that do find it interesting.

Twitter is a service that lets you post mini updates about life from the web (, by e-mail to a special address, from your phone via SMS or mini-browser, from a Google Desktop Gadget, and probably a bunch of other ways that I have not yet figured out. Each update can only be 140 characters long, but you can post as many of them as you wish. You can also set up people that you want to follow and see their updates in a variety of ways. This is somewhat interesting, but what I was really interested in was ways to post a single update and have it show up in multiple places.

I only update my blog every once in awhile, when I have something I feel like updating about. But, by using the Twitter Badge for Blogger, my Twitter updates are shown right on the blog. So there is at least something new! To add that, I logged into my Twitter account, then went to and installed a badge on my Blogger page. You can also add badges for MySpace, Facebook, TypePad, and just about any other site.

I also added an application called TwitterSync to my Facebook page. This copies my most recent Twitter update to my Facebook status. The official Twitter/Facebook badge is supposed to do this, but I have heard people had problems and I've had better luck with TwitterSync, available at while you're logged into Facebook.

God's blessings on the ministry you do each day,
Pastor Andy Arnold
ELCA Youth Ministry Network's Tech Geek

P.S. Don't forget, if you have questions or topics you'd like me to address, e-mail at techgeek-at-elcaymnet-dot-org.

Monday, December 03, 2007

TGIF - Tech Geek's Informational Feature

Many of us know that Google has practically become a verb up there with Xerox, Band-Aid, and Kleenex. We use it to refer to searching for something even if we're using another site like GoodSearch to do the actual work. GoodSearch is a site that donates a penny or so for each search performed in its site to a charity of your choice, including Lutheran Disaster Response, the ELCA, or Lutheran World Relief.

Google has lots of other great features in addition to searching for web sites. I'm writing this very article on Google Docs, their online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program. I keep my calendar at Google Calendar, because it allows me to access it from any computer or even my cell phone. I use Picasa Web Albums and the desktop photo management software, Picasa (available for Windows, Macs, and Linux), because it lets me easily tag photos and use them in web albums, blog posts, or e-mails. I even use GMail for my e-mail, because of the sorting features, and my chat client.

I use all of these services from Google because they get how the web should be used. I can get into my stuff from different machines, even different technologies. They provide interfaces for other programers to use in developing tools that branch out from these services. I've also used Google to create web pages and, yes, even to search for things! As the ELCA Youth Ministry Network's new Tech Geek, I'd like to share with you, my youth ministry colleagues, some of the ways I've found to use technology to enable ministry and relationships. I'd also like to hear from you about the sites, widgets, and gadgets that you use in your daily life and ministry. E-mail me at techgeek-at-elcaymnet-dot-org with your suggestions and thoughts for use in a future TGIF.

God's blessings in your daily ministry,
Pastor Andy Arnold