My Top Ten Most Popular Posts, July-September 2010

Here’s a quick look at the posts that got the most traffic on my blog, along with a few thoughts about each.

  1. Goodbye DirecTV, Hello FiOS TV! Even though I wrote this post over 4.5 years ago, it still remains my most popular post by far. About 17% of the traffic to my blog is to this post. My idea was to write the review that didn’t exist at the time of what FiOS TV was really like. It was really in-depth and based on both the traffic it gets (still) and the number of comments it has received most people agree. It’s definitely out of date now, but still gets a bunch of hits.
  2. How I Pack and Ship Books (It’s Easy, Cheap, and Keeps Them Safe). This post was a step-by-step guide on what I do when I sell books. It’s dirt cheap and super simple. If you sell or trade books you should check it out!
  3. Countdown Timer for Church. A few years back at my last church we were trying to be better at keeping our services from running too long. One of the things that our preacher wanted was a countdown timer. I did some investigation and discovered they weren’t cheap, so I decided to figure out how to make one myself. We ended up with a very usable system and I decided to give it away for free to anyone who wanted it. So if your church needs a free stage countdown timer you can download it, too.
  4. The iPad Commercial Apple Doesn’t Want You to See. I have an iPad and I really thought this video from Newsday was clever and funny. The original video I linked to was taken down pretty quickly, but I found another that’s up and you can still see it.
  5. Pitch Your Tent Guy. Being a minister, I know it’s easy to make mistakes while your teaching. But it’s pretty unusual to make this big of a flub in a room full of teenagers. Blake‘s a great guy and continues to do great ministry now in Nashville, TN at Cross Point Church.
  6. What Should a Pastor’s Salary Be? I got the idea for this post from the news making a big deal about Ed Young’s salary and perks. This was just some simple thoughts on different perspectives on how to pay a pastor.
  7. Five Easy Ways to Listen to the ESV Audio Bible for Free Anytime, Anywhere. I have a feeling that this post is going to rise in popularity in the coming months. It was one of my favorite posts of all time.
  8. Two Mega-church Pastors in Dallas, Two Completely Different Views from the Media. Similar to #7, but less about money and more about how our culture views pastors.
  9. The Biggest Flaw in John Hollinger’s ESPN NBA Power Rankings. I probably was just venting my frustration living as a Mavericks fan on this one, but still pretty good thoughts over all.
  10. Smart Add Cheat Sheet. I like making things simple and this little cheat sheet makes my life simpler many days.

Those were my most popular posts according to the stats. Was there a post that you really liked that didn’t make the list? Share in the comments.

How to Add the Catalyst 2010 Schedule to Your iPhone’s Calendar

In a week, Brea and I will be in Atlanta with 10,000 of our closest friends for the Catalyst Conference. I went for the first time last year and had a blast and I’m really excited to be able to go again this year. In preparation for the conference, I decided I wanted to have the schedule on my iPhone to keep track of things easier than fumbling with the printed calendar in the booklet.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, it’s fairly easy for you to do this, too. I use Google Calendar as my primary calendar, which makes it easy to create new calendars to share with others. Here’s how you can get the schedule added to your iPhone, too.

1. Make sure you’re setup right to sync with Google Calendar

Michael Hyatt has a great post on how to do this, so I’m not going into detail here. Check out his post and you’ll be setup in no time.

2. Add the Catalyst 2010 Calendar to your Google Calendar

Look under Other calendars for  Add. Click that, then click Add by URL.

3. Copy and paste the URL for the calendar

Next, copy and paste this link into the box that pops up.

4. Add the Catalyst Atlanta 2010 Calendar to your iPhone calendars

You might need to go through the steps outlined again in Michael Hyatt’s blog to make the Catalyst Atlanta 2010 calendar appear in the list of calendars on your iPhone (I did). Once it’s visible on your iPhone just make sure it’s selected and you should be good to go. If you’re not currently in the Eastern Time Zone the times will probably be listed early. Don’t worry. It should adjust the times when you arrive in Atlanta.

If you use iCal, Outlook, or some other software to manage your calendars you can download the ics file and add it to your device, too.

Any questions or comments? Let me know in the comments.

The iPad Commercial Apple Doesn’t Want You to See

Apple can be a bit sensitive at times. Apparently they’ve told Newsday to pull a commercial from their website or else they would pull their app from the app store. The video is embedded below (at least until Apple makes Google pull it from YouTube). I guess they don’t like the idea of people smashing their iPad to pieces. I think the video is really funny and actually doesn’t hurt the iPad brand at all, but I’m not Steve Jobs.

Thanks to Consumerist for the story.

If the ad happens to get pulled before you get a chance to see it contact me and I might be able to help you find it using other means.

See also: my review of the iPad.


UPDATE [5:34 PM CDT]: Apparently Newsday asked YouTube to pull the original video for copyright infringement, so I updated the video to another one. Let’s see how long this one stays up.

Logos 4 Mac Official Release Coming October 1

I’ve been a Logos Bible Software user for a long, long time (since the mid-90s), but I’ve just recently jumped into the Mac world last summer. One of the things that was keeping me from making the switch was Logos being Windows only. I knew I could do parallels, Boot Camp, or something similar, but I didn’t like the idea of not having full access to the computer resources to run the software (that’s showing my geek card right there).

But I took the jump last summer to Mac mainly because they announced a Mac version for their software. But the first attempt at the Mac version was a miss. So bad in fact I asked for a refund and they gave it to me. Logos has some of the best customer service I’ve ever dealt with. When they gave me the refund they told me they were working on a new version, which made me happy.

That new version made its appearance unofficially last fall in alpha/beta testing stages. I’ve been using these versions and I can tell you from experience that it’s incredible. They’ve added some incredibly useful tools to make it easier to study your Bible and take your study as deep as you want to go. It’s amazing what you can find out with just a couple mouse clicks.

Well, the official release of Logos 4 Mac is coming October 1 and they’re giving away some really nice prizes to celebrate. If you’re a Mac user and love the Bible you should really consider purchasing a copy of the software. A cool part of the software is that the license lets you use both the Mac and Windows versions of the software in addition to the cool Logos App for the iPhone/iPad.

Check out the info below from Logos.

Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes!

They’re also having a special limited-time sale on their Mac and PC base packages and upgrades. Check it out!

PolyTune: A Guitar Tuner That Will Make Your Brain Explode With its Awesomeness

This is my third post in my Favorite iPhone Apps series.

I recently had the unfortunate displeasure of having my Larrivee Acoustic Guitar stolen out of my office at church. It’s never fun having something stolen from you, but the church has insurance so I was able to replace it with a new guitar. So it all worked out.

One of the things inside the case was my guitar tuner, so I had to replace it too. I had planned on just buying the same brand of tuner, but thankfully the clerk at Guitar Center suggested I check out the TC Electronic PolyTune stage tuner. I’ll never be the same. It was the most incredible tuner I had ever seen . . . until I realized they had an iPhone app that did the same thing at 1/10 the price.

I had no idea what a Poly-Chromatic tuner was (I can barely grasp the concept of what chromatic means), but the best description I can think of is it’s a tuner that will make your brain explode with its awesomeness. I can not even possibly explain how mind-blowing it is to me that a phone I carry around in my pocket can do this. Instead of trying to explain the technicalities of it, all you need to know is how to use it. It’s Simple. Strum all six strings at the same time and the tuner will show you which strings are out of tune. Seriously. That’s it. I never even dreamed that this was possible, but now I can do it with my phone.

Maybe the best way to understand it is through a video. Check out the little demonstration I put together below.

I’ll label this app as a MUST-HAVE for all guitar playing iPhone owners. It’s a little more expensive than most iPhone apps at $9.99, but it was a bargain compared to the stage tuner version of it than I bought (then returned when I found out about the app), or most any other tuner you’ll find out there.

Pick up your copy from the App Store.

Got any other guitar apps you like? Share them in the comments!

YouVersion & Logos Bible Apps (Favorite iPhone Apps)

This is the second post in my series on my favorite iPhone apps. See my other review on Angry Birds.

Since you’re probably going to be feeling guilty about playing Angry Birds on your iPhone WAY TOO MUCH, you might be looking for some spiritual encouragement. The cool thing is that there are two Bible apps that will blow you away: YouVersion and Logos Bible Software.


YouVersion is the product of one of the most innovative churches in the world, based out of Edmond, OK. It is one of the most convenient ways I have ever found to read the Bible. It has 16 different English translations available to read (along with a number of other languages). You can share inspirational verses with your friends through Facebook/Twitter/Email/SMS. You can follow one of many reading plans they have available that will help you stay consistent in your daily Bible reading and set it at the pace you want. And the greatest thing about this app is that it is FREE!!!

Really, if you’re a Christ-follower and you have an iPhone this app is a no-brainer. You need to get it. I’ve been using it for well over a year (started with it on my iPod Touch) and it’s my go to app for reading the Bible every day.


If you’re wanting to go a little deeper than just reading the Bible and jump into deeper studying then you need to check out Logos. I’ve been using Logos Bible Software on my computers for about 15 years. It’s the best Bibly Study Software available, but you’re going to need to slap down some cash to get started with it. I think I’ve invested close to $2,000 in my digital library.

This past fall, in tandem with their release of version 4 of their software, Logos released their free app for the iPhone. If you haven’t bought the software for your computer you’ll still be able to use it with some Bibles and other resources for free. But if you have purchased Logos, or if you’re planning on buying it soon, then you should get the iPhone app.

One of my favorite features of the app is the ability to do quick studies of Greek/Hebrew words or general topics right from my phone. It only takes a few seconds to do what used to take me a few hours. Seriously. If you’re a student of the Bible it’s awesome how deep you can go without getting bogged down flipping through the pages of a concordance or dictionary.

I love being able to tap and hold on an English word to quickly see the Greek/Hebrew word that it came from. I use this many Sundays when I’m curious about the text our preacher is going through that day (I promise, I’m NOT playing Angry Birds in church). I also like being able to quickly check out a few different commentaries whenever a thought comes to me. I really don’t have any excuses to not getting into the word.

If you’d like to see a more in-depth tutorial on what Logos Bible Software on the iPhone can do check out the video below:

YouVersion and Logos are both available for free in the App Store.

Those are my two favorite Bible apps for the iPhone. Do you have any other Bible apps you’ve found useful??? Share in the comments.

Angry Birds (Favorite iPhone Apps)

This is my first post in my new series on my favorite iPhone apps.

Any good series on iPhone apps MUST include Angry Birds in it. If you come across a list that doesn’t include you should ignore the the rest of that list and possibly never visit the site again. Angry Birds is without question the best game that I’ve ever played since Tetris and possibly more addictive.

The basic premise of the game is that you’re on the team of the birds, whose eggs have been stolen by some green swine of questionable character, and you’re not happy about. In order to get your eggs back you go after the pigs, knocking down their forts along the way. Check out the promo video below:

At first glance, Angry Birds might look like it’s a kids game. But don’t let the look deceive you. The game is definitely appropriate for kids of all ages. You can choose just to play to beat the levels and get through the game, but there’s also an online leader board that will let you see how your scores stack up against the rest of the world.

One of my favorite parts of Angry Birds is that you’re able to play it whether you have only 5 minute or 5 hours to play and you’ll be able to enjoy it! I’ve spent quite a few nights staying up WAY TOO LATE into the wee hours of the night trying to get past some of the more challenging levels.

If you’re an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad owner and you have not yet bought Angry Birds, what are you waiting for? It’s the best $0.99 you’ll spend in a long time.

Now that Rovio has released the newest levels as of Monday I can resume my quest of swine domination.

Order the app for $0.99 from the App Store.

New Series Coming Next Week: Favorite iPhone Apps

Starting next week I’ll be writing a series of posts on my favorite iPhone apps. I’ve tried out quite a few apps and have been able to do some really, really cool things with them that I would never have dreamed of being able to do with a cell phone five years ago. Even though I was a late-comer to the iPhone party I’m now all in. It’s one of the most useful, fun, and innovative products I’ve ever owned.

So, in preparation for this series, I’d like to hear from you. What are the apps that you’ve found that you love? What are some apps that you couldn’t imagine living without now? Which games do you love? Which apps do you hate?

Share your apps in the comments!

UPDATE: I’ll be updating this post with links below to all the reviews I’ve done.

Image by Yutaka Tsutano