Worship in the Modern World

Praising God with the Best of the Past and the Present

New Tools

I’m a bit of a tech junkie. I love cool tools and gadgets, but the only thing better than a cool tool is a cool tool that’s actually useful! I’ve come across a couple of new tools lately that I thought I’d share.

Dial2Do is a cool free online tool that is basically a personal assistant. I use my cell phone and bluetooth headset all the time, so this is a great tool for me. Here’s how it works and what it does:

  • After you set up your account and connect it to your phone number, you call Dial2Do from your phone.
  • It asks what you want to do and you tell it. For example, you could say “Calendar” and it will ask for the details. It then records your voice and types up what you say and places it on your calendar. I use Gmail, so it adds the appointment to my Gmail calendar. (I also use Google Calendar Sync to sync my Google calendar and my Outlook calendar, so my appointments can be viewed anywhere. I’m almost to the point of ditching Outlook all together…)
  • You can do a whole host of things all from your phone by simply talking to it. You can record reminders (that are then typed up and emailed to you), you can send texts and emails by saying them (much safer than typing and driving!) and even Twitter without typing.

PingMe is another online program that works with your phone. (It also works with Dial2Do, making it a hands-free addition) It works as a reminder system, but you can set the reminders to happen at specific times. Ordinarily, if I wanted to remember something at a certain time, I’d create an event in my phone’s calendar. That works, but it has a tendency to clog up the calendar. And sometimes, I just need to remember something like “Wish so-and-so a Happy Birthday at rehearsal tonight.” Not really calendar worthy. But I can tell PingMe to send me a text at 6:55 p.m. Thursday to remind me. You can even tell it to “pester” you, where it will keep texting you in 10 minute intervals until you text back “Stop.”

The format for setting up pings on the go is a little complicated:

feb 19 15:00 Don’t Forget t:m tells it to text me on my mobile (t:m) at 3:00 p.m. (15:00) on Feb 19 with the message “Don’t Forget.” It takes some getting used to, but it’s already been very helpful!

While we’re at it, here’s a number of other tools I use:
Facebook – a great tool for connecting with people. No wonder it’s the worlds biggest social network. (Find me on Facebook)

Twitter – Another great way to connect with people. Twitter allows you to follow people or organizations and receive updates. You can even opt to have them sent to your phone as a text. You can follow me on Twitter (mlstarner) or Journey (JourneyWired).

Google Docs/Gmail – We use Gmail to host our JourneyWired.org emails and the ability to access calendar and emails from any computer is a HUGE bonus. I love outlook and how it keeps things tied together, but it’s all on one computer. Google makes it mobile – like me!

Google Reader – This keeps me connected to the over 100 blogs that I follow on a regular basis, bringing all the new posts to one place where I can read, save and categorize the ones I want to hang on to. (A big plus for an organizational nut like me)

And soon to come: WordPress. I’ve actually been messing with WordPress for a while. It’s a phenomenal tool for creating blogs and it’s the best one out there. Beyond the Noise will be moving to WordPress (from Blogger) in March. I’d do it today, but I purchased matthewstarner.com in January and to run WordPress from my own server I have to transfer the domain to a different registrar, which apparently you can only do after the domain name is 60 days old (who knew?!). Look for that change to happen mid-March.

Any other cool tools out there that you’re using?

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