Technology

My Favorite Apps on Sale for Black Friday

I love apps and I love finding a good deal. When those two things intersect, I can hardly resist.

Here’s a quick roundup of my favorite apps that are on sale for Black Friday first for iOS, then for the Mac.

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iOS

Due (an alert wizard with natural language input)

For tasks that have to be done at a certain time (putting out trash cans for weekly pick up, reminding someone of something at a certain date or time) and recurring reminders, there’s nothing better or simpler than Due.

I’ve spent a whole blog post convincing you of how amazing this app is, and with a 40% discount, it’s irresistible.

Universal app for iPhone and iPad, normally $4.99 on sale for $2.99.

Drafts (pushing anything you type wherever you want it to go)

One of my most used apps and so beloved that it resides in the dock of my iPhone. I use this app multiple times every single day, and the magic you can perform with text through this app is unreal.

I called it the point guard of my iPhone, and I can’t imagine not having this little Kyrie Irving on hand.

This isn’t a Black Friday deal, but the price has been lowered from $9.99 to $4.99 and is a universal app for iPhone and iPad.

LongScreen (the extended screenshot tool you need for iOS)

Have you ever wanted to screenshot an entire webpage but ended up snapping a dozen different photos and creating a mess on your iOS device?

LongScreen is here to save the day. It enables saving an entire webpage as a screenshot, all stitched together, panorama style.

I don’t use it often, but whenever I need it, I’m glad it’s there.

Normally $2.99, on sale for $0.99 as a universal app for iPhone and iPad.

Paprika (an amazing recipe manager)

I’m married to true kitchen maestro, and she saves all of our family favorite recipes in Paprika. If you ever cook (really, ever) and want to save recipes, this is the place where your best Pinterest finds belong. Tags, search, favoriting, rating and more comes along with this recipe manager.

We use the grocery feature daily, which syncs perfectly and quickly across devices, so when my wife adds to the list, it shows up on my phone. You can even choose a recipe and have it add whatever ingredients you’re missing to your list automagically.

I highly recommend the iPhone and iPad versions, but the Mac version is killer too 1.

iPhone version normally $4.99, on sale for $2.99, iPad version normally $4.99, on sale for $2.99 and the Mac version normally $19.99 on sale for $9.99.

PDF Expert (a PDF wrangling extraordinaire)

If you ever do anything with PDFs, you can’t go wrong with PDF Expert. You can highlight, reorder, sign, organize, sync to Dropbox and other cloud services and edit PDFs in a way iBooks simply can’t.

If you need a better way to organize and edit PDFs, this app is a lifesaver.

Universal app for iPhone and iPad, normally $9.99, on sale for $4.99.

Mac

DaisyDisk (the prettiest way to see what’s taking up your precious hard drive space)

Ever wonder what exactly is hogging all that space on your Mac? DaisyDisk is the app you’ve been searching for.

DaisyDisk scans your hard drive and tells you exactly what is sucking up space and where you need to go to remove it.

It’s beautifully designed and incredibly helpful, especially if you’ve got a tiny drive to manage.

Normally $9.99 on sale for $4.99 on the Mac App Store.

TextExpander (the fastest way to type a little and get a lot)

I’ve gushed about my love of text expanders in general in the past, and TextExpander (proper) is my favorite app of the bunch. It allows you to sync across devices and has, to date, saved me from typing over 120,000 characters and five hours of typing time. That makes my fingers very happy.

I’m not a fan of the subscription model, but you can snag 20% off a full license without subscription with the code MDM20.

TripMode (a tethering data saver)

If you ever use the hotspot on your phone to connect your computer to the internet, TripMode is absolutely clutch. It allows you to pick the apps that can connect to the internet so you’re not burning through your limited tethering data by backing up with Backblaze or syncing massive files to Dropbox.

Right now it’s 33% off with the code SAVEDATA. The $5.27 you’ll spend is nothing compared to an overpriced data charge on from your wireless provider.

Blockbuster Kit 2017

I snagged the precursor to this kit in 2016, and I can’t recommend these four apps highly enough. $60 is a chunk of change, but for these apps alone you’re saving $40 off of sticker price, and a few other apps are tossed in as well.

Beamer 3

If you want to stream movies from your Mac to your AppleTV, using Airplay leaves you with laggy videos and out-of-sync audio.

I don’t know how it works, but Beamer is able to send perfectly synced videos across your Apple devices.

Should an app like this be necessary? Absolutely not. But it’s a beauty when it just works.

Let’s hope and pray Apple buys this app and integrates it into future versions of macOS.

Boom 2

If the sound coming out of your Mac speakers has disappointed you, Boom is the app you need.

Boom does some voodoo magic and allows your speakers to pump out significantly more sound. Be careful, because there’s a possibility of doing damage to your speakers if you crank them too high, but for increased sound, you Boom brings the noise.

WALTR 2

If you think iTunes on your Mac is more of a bloated mess than your stomach after Thanksgiving dinner, WALTR is the solution you’re looking for.

WALTR allows you to sync songs, music, PDFs and more wirelessly to your iPhone or iPad. It works so simply it’s unbelievable. And it loads instantly, so you’re not waiting for iTunes to boot up and then tell you an update is available.

If you ever wrestled with iTunes and lost, WALTR is the teammate you want to tag in.

YouTube Converter

Want to snag a YouTube video to use during a presentation? Want to save a video for on the go (and with the wonders of WALTR sling it into your iOS device)?

YouTube Converter beats the socks off any online option out there. I’m not advocating for stealing videos, but when you need to save videos for future Internet-lacking areas, this is the tool you should turn to.


  1. I just don’t like ingredients finding their way into the innards of my computer in the kitchen.

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Technology

Two Simple Resources for Tracking Bible Reading

Maybe you started the year with a plan to read through the Bible. By now, maybe you’ve fallen behind or you’re contemplating giving up.

Here are a couple resources to make things just a tiny bit easier to follow through on one of the most worthwhile things you can do this year.

1 – Tracking a Reading Plan Across Your iOS Devices

Reading Plan is a free, simple app for starting a bible reading plan. You can customize:

  • the plan you’re using
  • when you started your plan
  • which app the passage will open up in on your device
  • alerts and reminders for reading

 reading plan app 
It’s not the prettiest app, but it gets the job done. 

There are hundreds of plans available to download through the application.

My favorite features are:

  • the ability to mark all days before today as read (great if you’re using the app to track a plan you already started or have been reading but forgot to mark it complete)
  • auto scrolling to the last place you left off

The syncing across iOS devices isn’t speedy, but it works. I’ve used other trackers that have lost my progress and been a pain overall, but Reading Plan has been solid.

2 – Additional Ribbons for Marking Your Physical Bible

I’ve been using the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan for the last few years. It’s a 4-chapter per day plan, and each chapter is in a different part of the Bible. I love getting to spend time in different genres and sections of the Word, but it’s a hassle to always flip around in my paper Bible.

Fortunately, I have a smart friend named Big Al who googled “how to add extra ribbons to your bible” and made me an aftermarket ribbon marker and now my Bible looks like this.

 bible with ribbons 
Here’s what you need to make your own:

  • a Bible with a binding (i. e. leather is ideal, but basically not a paperback)
  • ribbon (3 colors, assuming your bible already has 1 ribbon)
  • scotch / clear tape
  • scissors
  • a business card or piece of cardstock paper
  • bonus: a lighter if you’re into fire
  1. Measure your ribbons against your Bible and make them at least 6 inches longer.
  2. Cut the business card to be about 2 inches tall and 1 inch wide.
  3. Tape the ribbons close together / overlapping and side by side, using about an inch worth of tape vertically for extra hold.
  4. Open your Bible and insert the card with ribbons in between the pages and the outer binding, at the spine of the book. You may need to trim your card to get it to fit. You’ll want it to be just smaller than the gap so it doesn’t slide too much.
  5. Stuff the card into that gap, pushing it down at least an inch or two
  6. Cut ribbons to length
  7. Use a lighter to burn the ends of the ribbons so they don’t fray. Use a wet rag to put out the flame if you don’t want to burn your fingers (don’t use the wet rag if you do want to burn your fingers). 

    Here’s a shot of the card sliding into the binding.

      
    Anything I can do to reduce the friction of actually opening up my Bible is worth that effort.

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    Technology

    The Simplest Way to Create a Graphic With Text Overlay on iOS

    At some point, nearly everyone needs to make a graphic. There are countless tools for adding text to an image. Photoshop and Pixelmator give you tons of options and range in difficulty of use, but for an on-the-go, simple app, Typorama is unbeatable.

    typorama logo

    In fact, I own multiple design programs but often reach for Typorama because it’s so fast and simple. It creates images as good or better than what I would on a computer in less time.

    When you open the app, you’re brought to the main screen which prompts you to choose a background and displays free-to-use images (using Pixabay as a database) along with a search bar. You can peruse the near-endless list of images by scrolling down, or you can search for an image type of your choice.

    typorama main screen

    If you aren’t looking for a specific image to put your text over, scrolling is a great start. These images seem to be curated based on the quality and popularity.

    You can also import your own images and slap some text on it.

    Here’s what I love about that app that sets it apart from others:

    • free-to-use, integrated image search
    • custom options for sizes optimized for Instagram, Facebook, iPhone wallpapers, and more
    • 30+ included text / font styles for overlaying on your image
    • fine tuning tools for image adjustments–filters, overlays, color enhancements and every color you’d hope for with a color picker for text
    • Text tools to easily 3D rotate the text to have it align with an object in the photo to create a multi-dimensioned look
    • An eraser feature to make it look like the text is behind a portion of the image

    Here’s an example of one of my favorite uses of Typorama, utilizing the eraser tool for added depth.

    berries

    Check out their Instagram feed to see the magic people are creating with Typorama.

    What makes Typorama special is that it’s simple, speedy, and makes a person without design skills look like a pro.

    With font options like Cutesy, the app doesn’t exactly scream masculinity, but there are plenty of options for whatever style of image you want to create.

    I sometimes use Typorama in conjunction with another design program. I’ll create the text overlay using the transparent option (the first option when you open the app), save it, and email it to myself to do more design work on my computer.

    My biggest gripe is that there isn’t a way to save images and go back and edit the text style later. Once you leave the image you’re working on to go to another, you can’t go back and tweak the text–you’re stuck recreating from scratch.

    A quick tip: each font or text style has multiple options for how it will display, so each time you click on the same font, you’ll get a slightly different design style.

    I’d love to be able to fine tune the styles more, but simplicity beats customization here.

    I most commonly use the app to create lock screens with verses on it. My wife designed the first image and the second I slapped together in less than a minute.
    vereses

    The app is free but displays a Typorama watermark without an in-app purchase of $2.99. That in-app purchase unlocks all text styles and the watermark designer.

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    Technology

    Faster, More Secure Web Searching on iOS

    Maybe online privacy isn’t something you think outside of keeping your credit cards and banking information out of the hands of hackers.

    iOS offers an option to change your search engine under Settings ? Safari ? Search Engine. There you can choose from:

    • Google
    • Yahoo
    • Bing
    • DuckDuckGo

    DuckDuckGo is the only search engine in the list that doesn’t track and store your search results. That means they aren’t targeting you with ads or trying to sell your data to marketers.

    duckduckgo logo

    I like having more control over who has my information and search history, but what sold me on DuckDuckGo is a unique feature called bangs.

    DuckDuckGo enables you to search certain sites directly by using an exclamation point followed directly by the website shortcut.  Continue reading

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    Technology

    Why The Internet Can’t Validate Me (But I Try to Let it Anyway)

    Writing an Internet post about how posting things on the Internet can strip away your joy is like writing a book about why people shouldn’t write books or singing a song about why we need to stop singing songs.

    I’m aware of the irony. Bear with me, please.


    I’ve shared that notifications can’t satisfy us. Unfortunately, that truth hasn’t sunk in yet.

    Nevertheless, I continue to internally yell “Validate me!” with each post to the Internet.

    computers

    I’d be lying if I didn’t have the same urge with this post. If I didn’t want you to tell me that you agree or that it was really inspiring.

    Most of the time when I share something online, I want to help people or be encouraging. But underneath that well-intentioned shell, I long to hear other things.

    Tell me my ideas are good.

    Tell me my picture is beautiful.

    Tell me my baby is adorable.

    Tell me my life is awesome.

    I hate that I don’t always share things to share joy or to be helpful, but instead to seek approval and find my sense of self-worth in likes and retweets and online praise.

    I forget so easily that thumbs up and shares can’t satisfy me. No statistic can make me happier. No amount of kind comments will give me joy that only Jesus can bring.


    Recently, I’ve been using Facebook and Twitter less often 1 . I still have an urge to open an app, check the notifications, and see who is mentioning or praising me.

    I once heard that checking Facebook is the modern-day equivalent of opening the refrigerator when you’re bored. Sometimes I check social media and forget why I went there in the first place. It’s like taking a bite of cold pizza from the fridge when you weren’t hungry to begin with.

    I don’t want to live for temporal status updates. I’m tired of unsatisfying nibbles at day-old deep dish.

    1. I don’t want to let a constant stream of non-vital information consume my life. The majority of posts will be completely irrelevant in a day or so and 99% will be irrelevant in a year, yet I return to it day in and day out because the habit is so ingrained.
    2. I don’t want want to let the amount of attention a post gets decide how proud or satisfied I am in that moment.

    At the same time, I want to celebrate with people, congratulate those I care about, and share in the joy of others.

    This is a tricky, fine line to walk. I’m grateful for people’s kind words. I’m thankful that people love me and my family and encourage our socks off regularly. But I don’t want those likes and comments to dictate my life or be the source of my joy, hope, or approval. I want to reserve that place for Jesus alone.


    I don’t know your motives. I don’t know why you post the articles you do or share pictures of your vacation or your lunch or your baby or your baby eating lunch on vacation.

    It’s totally possible that you have good intentions. Maybe you’ve never even considered why you post what you do.

    For me, I know that I don’t always have the best intentions.

    I know that I don’t always share things because I want other people to share in my joy but because instead because I want other people to bring me joy or to be jealous of my life.

    One more like. One more comment. One more favorite or retweet. That’ll do it. That’ll scratch my itch.

    It never does. It can’t.

    I don’t know what the solution to this is. For now, I’m spending less time on social networks. I don’t do much to promote blog posts and I’ve turned off comments from this blog because I let them turn into tiny altars of praise to me.

    I want to share ideas. I want to be helpful. I want others to share in my joy and see my gratitude. I just don’t want to share things as a means to a selfish end.

    I want to combat the lie,

    “If I share this and get enough attention for it, I will be happier.”

    I don’t want to use my baby as a prop for praise. I don’t want to publicly share my gratitude for my wife so that people will be amazed at my gratitude. I want use social media to be a good tool instead of an unruly master.

    I want my validation to flow from who Jesus is and his love for me, not from what other people think of me, whether it is incredibly kind and encouraging or rude and hurtful. Life isn’t more difficult in the digital age than in the thousands of years prior, but it sure has gotten more complicated.

    Human nature hasn’t changed. We’re always trying to turn things–good or amoral–into something to worship or as tools to be worshipped with. That’s a heart problem, not a technical issue.

    ___

    So what am I doing inlight of all of this? To start, when I have the urge to check social media, I (try to) do something else, like:

    1. writing down an idea or thought for a blog post2
    2. praying for something or someone
    3. texting a friend some encouragement.

    I haven’t perfected doing these three things by any stretch, but, wow, the ideas have been flowing much easier when I give myself space to think instead of pacifying a split-second of boredom with tweets and posts.

    I’ve also created a Workflow from the 39 things you can do instead of checking social media.

    This is a tough battle to fight because I am the enemy. My nature is the problem, not the platforms or tools or other people at the water cooler. I’m not ready to call it quits, but something has to change.


    1. Which is to say, still entirely too much

    2. That’s how this post started.

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