Best of online tools

Posted by Chad Lemon | 6:44 PM | | 2 comments »

Over the months we've written about a range of online tools for office productivity tasks including word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, presentation software and a bunch of other semi-randomness. All of these options are great for freeing yourself from the lack of portability and unnecessary cost of traditional desktop apps as well as introducing a few new tools more unique to the web.

Josh Catone at ReadWriteWeb has compiled a handy list of "10 Must Have Online Office Apps". This list includes several categories and apps that we've covered before and a handful that we will probably address in the future. As is evidenced by the comments on that post (Don't forget..., I recommend..., I would include...), this list isn't exhaustive, but provides a good cross-sampling of the options.

What apps do you use? Are you pretty well tied to the desktop, working using completely online app, or blending the best of both worlds?

Firefox Add-on: Cell Phone Minutes Used

Posted by Kevin Rush | 2:57 AM | | 0 comments »

Ever go over on your cell phone minutes? I know I have! I remember one time when my wife and I had to pay double my already outrageous cell phone bill. Most pastors are accountable for keeping an eye on even the smallest budget item, whether for home or work. And a cell phone can do huge damage to your finances, if you go over your allowed minutes.

Luckily there is a way to keep an eye on it, as long as your cell phone provider is Verizon Wireless or T-Moble and you use Firefox as your web browser.

First go to and download the newest version of the TMobile Minutes Used Firefox Extensio - OR - Verizon Minutes Used Firefox Extension.

Follow the directions to install the add-on to Firefox then restart Firefox. When you restart you will notice the picture to the right at the bottom of your Firefox window. Under options, make sure you enter your Username and password (that you registered at VZW or T-Mobile) and wallah! All your Cell phone info including cell mins, txts, pix/flix and it even does family plans up to date in the bottom of your browser! No logging on to check my mins ever again.

It's pretty sweet and it has kept me from going over my mins many times.

Google Mobile

Posted by Chad Lemon | 7:22 PM | 2 comments »

Google Mobile allows you to search for several different types of information using only the text messaging (SMS) feature of your cell phone. This is incredibly helpful when you're out and need to know an address and phone number, the weather forecast, where to get a pizza or flowers, measurement conversions, scores, movies time or any one of several other bits of small, but important information.

To use the service, just address a text message to GOOGLE (466543), enter your search query, and send. Usually the form of the query is either the type of information, followed by your request (e.g., "define aquarium" or "score browns") or the subject followed by the zip code ("pizza 44691" or "movies 44805" or "park street brethren ashland oh").

You can play around with the search process and the type of results produced on a virtual phone at the Google Mobile site before trying it on your phone.

The odds are pretty good that your cell phone and carrier support text messaging on a pay-per-use basis, usually $0.10 to $0.15 per message, even if you don't have web access or a text messaging package with your plan. A typical interaction with Google Mobile will involve 1 outgoing message to ask the question and 1-2 incoming messages with your answer. Not free, but still better than a call to information.

When you're out doing visits and need a phone number and address or need to get the name of pizza place where you can pick up pizza on the way home from a late meeting, this is an invaluable tool.

Vote: Browser

Posted by Kevin Rush | 10:24 AM | | 0 comments »

Firefox Add-on: Bible Fox

Posted by Chad Lemon | 4:25 PM | 0 comments »

Just in case the chrome fish adhered to the back of your car isn't enough to remind you and your friends of your religious affiliation, there's a Firefox Add-on called Bible Fox to change your Firefox toolbar into a gallery of religious symbolism.

True, it's not the most productive and efficient tech tool we've ever written about, but it's not the least either - I still find myself working the Church 2.0 image puzzle kez posted back in May.

Social Bookmarking

Posted by Chad Lemon | 7:40 PM | , | 0 comments »

Common Craft has tackled yet another [InsertNoun]2.0 topic in "Plain English." This time it's social bookmarking.

Chances are pretty good you already use some kind of bookmarking system, whether crude or sophisticated. Bookmarks are just handy things.

I switched from saving bookmarks in my browser (Internet Explorer calls them "Favorites") to online bookmarking tools a couple years ago - except for a couple key links I use everyday. This is primarily because of the portability of online bookmarks and that they are easily shared.

Social bookmarks take the advantages of online bookmarks and build in the collective interests of others like yourself to help you discover that which you might have missed otherwise. I could explain further, but the video does a pretty good job.

How you could use these is pretty endless. You could share your collection with colleagues and your congregation or just enjoy the benefits of gathering good sites through the recommendations of others with similar interests and needs as yourself. It all gets back to better ministry with less effort and expense.