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544 – Awesome Apps: Utilities

The WELSTech month of “Awesome Apps” continues with a rundown of Martin and Sallie’s go-to mobile utilities! From weather to shopping to travel, there’s an app for that. Plus, we share news of a new program to address child abuse and neglect as well as a new online Bible study for women. And the community feedback bag holds lots of interesting tech in ministry goodies as well!

The discussion:

Utilities – We call those devices in our pockets “phones,” but that’s probably the understatement of the century. They have the ability to do so much more that connect to others for a voice conversation. This week Martin and Sallie focus on the plethora of utility apps that can enhance your ministry efforts, productivity, pocketbook, and life, in general.

News in tech:

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

WELS Women online Bible study

Community feedback:

Featured video:

If Sallie’s pick of the week intrigues you, learn more about Habitica and Task Management in this week’s featured video.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 545 – Next week Martin and Sallie talk awesome communication apps . Release date: Wednesday, April 18.

Get involved:

512 – De-Stressing Presentations

WELSTech concludes our summer long focus on Ministry Resources with a toolkit for all of you who do presentations. Who doesn’t anymore? Take the stress out of the technology and focus on your content with these helpful tools and tips. Plus, Martin shares his video creation tool of choice, and Sallie fumbles a title, yet again!

The discussion:

On the road with confidence – Presentations can be stressful enough without concerns of projection, sound, and internet access. Martin shares the contents of his Portable Presentation Toolkit in our final Ministry Resource of Summer 2017.

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Featured video:

New on the WELSTech Product Demos YouTube Playlist is Green Screen by DoInk App Enables Creation of Green Screen Effects on iPad & iPhone.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 513 – September is a month for meetings as WELSTech returns to our regular schedule. Release date: Wednesday, September 6.

Get involved:

Portable Presentation Toolkit

Many of us do more than a few “presentations” both where we work and at times in situations where we don’t have a lot of control over the presentation technology available to us. That could be at a conference we are asked to speak at, perhaps a workshop or Bible study. Over the years I’ve found that the stress of giving a presentation shouldn’t be heightened by the unknowns of projectors, cables, internet and audio capabilities, especially if you prefer to use your own computer for the presentation. So I have developed a presentation “toolkit” that I never leave the office without.

Cables

Perhaps the most important component of my portable presentation toolkit is cables. Depending on what kind of computer you are using, your cable requirements may be a bit different, but there is still an element of the unknown because you don’t know what kind of cable is needed for the projector you will be asked to use. You also don’t know if the place where you have to connect to the cable is optimal for your presentation. For instance, I’ve been in classrooms where the cable hookup is in the back of the room where the teacher’s desk is, but I want to present from the front. That’s a problem. So cables are something I pay a lot of attention to. For my Surface Pro 4 computer I carry along:

  1. VGA Adapter
  2. HDMI Adapter
  3. VGA 15 Foot Extender Cable
  4. HDMI 15 Foot Extender Cable

The extender cables really come in handy if the plug you need to hook into is not in the front of the room. This gives you a lot of positional flexibility. Cables To Go and Monoprice are great places to find these adapters and cables that will work with your setup. A nice accessory to carry around all those adapters and cables without having them float around in your bag is a Grid-It board. They come in different sizes. I love mine.

Wireless

If you are lucky, you may have access to either an Apple TV or a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. These devices, when hooked up to the projector, allow you to float around the room without any wires. You just hook up to either of those two and stream your screen/presentation. Apple TV can receive the stream from your Mac or iPad, and with a software program like AirParrot 2 you can even stream from your Windows laptop. Keep in mind that to stream to an Apple TV (depending on which model it is) you have to be connected to the same network. Beware, this could be another source of stress.

One thing I do take with me is a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter (MWDA). This is a USB flash drive sized device that plugs into any HDMI input. Most projectors have those these days. It does require a USB power source, which could come from an available USB port on the projector, or you could bring along your own portable USB charger (battery or wall outlet based). I like MWDAs because they don’t rely on wifi, but can connect directly to your computer. Warning, not all computers support connecting to MWDAs. They need to support the Intel WiDi standard, sometimes called Miracast. Many modern computers support this though.

Audio and Video

Not knowing what might be available in the room I’ve been given for the presentation, I always try to bring along my own speakers. Even when there is an audio cable provided, I sometimes prefer my own since I know how it will sound. Again, one less stresser. The one I use is the JBL Charge. It’s bluetooth and also has an audio-in jack. It’s small, and it has a nice size battery in it that can power your MWDA too…a great bonus!

The projector is the real wildcard in any remote presentation situations. It could be of poor quality. The bulb could go out. The connector could be bad. You know those times when you plug in and the whole screen has a green cast to it…or red…or blue. This has happened more than a couple times to me. So this may be overkill, but I always bring my own projector. If I don’t want to bring a larger one from our pool, I pack a P300 MicroProjector from AAXA Technologies. It’s only 400 lumens, but in a pinch it can be used in a dark room and project a 120 inch image. It runs on both DC or battery power. I’ve used it only a handful of times, but worth carrying along.

Connectivity

Often you will want to show internet web pages, apps, video or other things that require you to have a good internet connection. Don’t count on it! Countless times I’ve presented at conferences with the promise of internet and it either wasn’t available or so slow that it was unusable. Often there is internet but all the attendees are on it as well and the connection is often overwhelmed. I do always bring my cell phone to which I can “tether” my computer, but that isn’t full proof either as your phone may not have a good signal depending on the presentation room location within the building, or the area in general. ALWAYS have a plan B, which is my case is to take screen shots of any web site or app I need, and download in advance any video I’d like to play. One service I use a lot is YouTube Red, which allows you to download video to any mobile device for offline playback. So I bring my iPad along with any video I’d like to play, just in case I can’t get online or have sufficient speeds to play a video. Then I just hook up my iPad to the projector with either an html or vga dongle, or I do it wirelessly if an Apple TV is available.

One other gotcha, especially on school wifi is their content filtering software. They may have it setup to block YouTube and many other sites including social networking services. Depending on what you had hoped to share in your presentation via the internet, you may find your content blocked. Best to ask ahead of time if their network blocks certain sites critical to your presentation.

Conclusion

There are always going to be challenges with presenting technologies. Our job as presenters is to remove the unknowns and be able to focus on the message. Take matters into your own hands. So peace of mind is the driver here. Bringing along things like your own extension cord or multiplug might be a pain, but there will be times you’ll regret it if you don’t. The tools that I’ve mentioned above have been added to my bag over time, and there are rarely moments of panic anymore about the audio/visual technologies needed to present the materials I spent hours creating.

 

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387 – In The Bag

WELSTech is on the road this week as Martin vacations in warm Austin, TX and both he and Sallie did a worship tour of district president congregations over Easter. The topic for discussion is what to carry in your computer bag when traveling. Geek out with their gadget list, and stay tuned for more great ministry-tech ideas including Bible costumes, a meeting fable and QR code treasure hunts.

The discussion:

inTheBag145x125Pack Your Bag – Don’t get caught without the things you need when you are away from home and office. Martin and Sallie share the contents of their computer bags with the hope that their lists can serve as a checklist for future packing efforts.

Martin’s bag:

Sallie’s bag:

News in tech:

Google under fire for YouTube Kids app

WELS now:

Something to tweet about! The WELSTech Conference Early Bird registration price of $199 has been extended to April 15!

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Ministry resources:

Bible costume ideas on Pinterest

Featured videos:

This week we link to the Martin Luther College Concerts 2014-2015 Livestream archive for the College Choir Homecoming Concert 2015

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 388 – Martin and Sallie wrap up the discussion of Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next. Watch and participate on 04/14/15 @ 4 pm Central – welstechlive.wels.net.

Get involved:

313 – What’s In The Bag?

We’re talking tech-in-ministry as usual on WELSTech this week, but the conversation is extra special since Martin and Sallie are in the same location for today’s recording. Tune in for a multitude of tips and tricks as well as techie travel recommendations, a special flyover video, and a free music download from a new WELS artist.

The discussion:

Live from the CMM – It’s rare that the WELSTech Podcast team is together for recording in the same location, so today’s show is a real treat. Watch as Martin and Sallie dig through their travel bags to share their must-have techie gadgets for going on the road.

Ministry Resources:

Listener Reviews:

Tech tips:

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

 

Coming up on WELSTech:

(46:52) Episode 314 – It’s edtech week on WELSTech as Martin and Sallie are joined by our semi-regular guest host, Jason Schmidt, and we talk about alternatives to SMART Boards. (Release date – 11/05/13)

Music download:

(47:35) This week only, download a free music single from WELS artists Chris Driesbach (chrisdriesbach.com) and Stephen Bautista (www.stephenbautistamusic.com) – Just A Nobody

Get involved:

075 – On The Road With Sallie!

This week on WELSTech the topic is tech items to take along when you’re away from home.

The discussion:

On the roadPack your bags  – With conference and vacation season upon us, many people are “on the road”. Whether you’re leaving home for work or play, Martin and Sallie discuss all the techie items you need to pack to stay connected.

  • Pogoplug – Connect your external hard drive to the internet for remote access

New Technology Showcase:

  • (17:09) Bing – Microsoft search engine

Picks of the week:

Community feedback:

Coming up on WELSTech:

(39:34) Episode 076 – The discussion of chapter 8 of Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody titled “Solving Social Dilemmas” will look at the increasing difficulty of getting people together

The featured artist:

(41:05) This week we close with music of WELS instrumentalist In His Service (www.adagioconcepts.com) – Lost In The Night from their CD titled “In His Time”

Get involved: