Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best Twitter App for Windows Mobile 6.5

When I got my new Tilt 2 phone with Windows Mobile 6.5 on it one of the first things I had to do was get a Twitter app. A lot of folks recommended Twikini so I bought it and it didn't take me very long to realize it was lacking a few key features.

While researching I found out about TouchTwit. While Twikini and others have been around longer and seem to be more mature I have found the user interface and experience with TouchTwit to be superior. TouchTwit is only available through the Windows Marketplace for $4.99. Twikini is only $.99 however it is worth the extra cash to get the easier user experience.

I travel a lot and am often reading tweets in the car, on the plane, running between gates, and other times when I only have a single hand available. Being able to manipulate the entire program with my thumb is a huge plus. And yes, I know the dangers of walking, driving, and tweeting.

Other apps seem to still hold to the old Windows Mobile 6.1 design style where you have two menu buttons on soft keys and then need to use the stylus to access specific functions. Since I have had my Tilt 2 I have only used the stylus twice. Well designed apps won't have anything that even remotely requires you to use the stylus.

Despite all that there is still one key feature of TouchTwit that kills all other Twitter apps for Windows Mobile (at least those I have explored). TouchTwit displays the entire tweet, you don't have to click on it or tap on it to view the tweet. Twikini frustrated me because I constantly had to tap a tweet to read it all and then tab back to go back to the list of tweets. I can't figure out why - you would think it wouldn't be too much to display the entire 140 character message. TouchTwit displays the entire tweet in an easy to read fashion that has great touch feel navigational control. And did I mention it is able to show the entire tweet, all 140 characters.

So, if you want a fully developed Twitter app for Windows Mobile you will probably want to look somewhere else, at least for the time being while TouchTwit matures. However, if you are looking for a solid Twitter app that is easy to use on-the-go and can display the entire tweet in the list view then TouchTwit is a great place to start. You can try it out for 24 hours before you buy it.

Before you ask, I use TweetDeck on my PC. Until they come out with a Windows Mobile version I plan to stick with TouchTwit. If they do come out with a Windows Mobile version it will have to be as easy to navigate as TouchTwit while still bringing the TweetDeck experience to Windows Mobile.

You can follow TouchTwit on Twitter @touchtwitinfo.  If you purchase it through the Marketplace on your phone then updates are easy to install.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Faith Technology Tech Team List

If you want to follow the tech team at Faith then you are in luck!  Thanks to the new Lists feature on Twitter there is now a list of the professional geeks at Faith that you can follow.  Read our musings on many things, including a few relating to technology and technology in ministry.

Right now the list contains 4 members of the team, but may grow in the future.  Brian Nicholson, Donnie Payne and I are full time staff members at Faith.  Joe Willis, while working in IT at a local manufacturing firm, is a volunteer who helps with both IT as well as audio/visual support.  This is the best tech team in the business.

To learn more about Lists on Twitter -

What is God doing?

November is Stewardship month at Faith.  I think a great story of stewardship is on Donnie Payne's blog.  Check out his story - I know you will be encouraged that God is still in the business of helping us all grow.

All things do work out for our good and His glory.  That isn't just something trite we say, it is truth. It is the timing thing that is the hardest to understand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fire in the pulpit - not what you think

Many have asked about some issues we had during the first service at 8am this past Sunday, Nov. 8. Here are more details then you ever wanted to know.

We have an old lift mechanism that raises and lowers our pulpit up and down. It uses a motor attached to a gear block that turns a screw that raises or lowers a platform attached to a ball nut. It was installed in 1986 and has needed more and more maintenance as of late.

On Sunday during our morning sound check we raised and lowered the pulpit as we normally do to ensure everything was working properly. That was around 7:30am. The service started with the pulpit down. At 8:20am we attempted to raise the pulpit for a testimony and nothing happened. About that same time we smelled something burning. We cut the power to the motor and the testimony continued using another mic on stage. The problem with cutting the power was that it also cut out several of the stage outlets used for various instruments.

Meanwhile the burning smell was getting stronger for those of us in the sound booth at the back of the room. Those on the stage and in the front rows, including our pastor, thought something was really on fire. Once we got into the next worship set, minus a few instruments, the pastor came back to ask us if we were safe. By this point we had got the sound room fire extinguisher out and had a few backstage ready to go. We assumed that cutting power would prevent a fire but due to the smell we wanted to make sure. The safety of those in the auditorium was our first priority.

We setup a temporary podium for the preaching portion and the service continued as normal. While pastor was preaching we started coordinating our plan of attack for resolving whatever we could between services. Everyone had an assignment as we only had about 10 minutes to get power restored and try to raise the lift, or go to plan B. We had staged tools and extension cords and were ready to tackle whatever problem we found in the lift pit.

Once the service ended we opened up the stage and found the motor burned up, the smell horrible, and the mechanism blocked by the pulpit which was still stuck lowered into the floor. Plan B went quickly into effect with musicians and everyone pitching in to run extension cables and get power restored. The next 2 services probably didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

Later Sunday afternoon we tore the whole thing apart, go the pulpit out and found that the limit switch that is supposed to shut the motor off once the switch is tripped failed to operate so the motor was continuously running from 7:30am until we finally cut power 50 minutes later. We pulled the motor out of the pit and the paint on the housing was burned, and yes, it still stunk. We removed the power and from an appearance perspective all is back to normal on the stage at Faith. The pulpit lift is locked in the up position and plans are underway to either repair what we have or to start over from scratch, lift, pulpit, and all.

I remember thinking around 8:10am that things were going well and it was an easy morning. That’ll teach me. Who says ministry can get boring?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Daylight Shifting Time

Daylight Saving Time is one of the greatest scams of all time.  As though we are somehow able to manipulate the amount of time it takes the earth to spin on its axis to actually provide us with additional daylight. 

There are 2 books I have read in regads to the craziness that makes up Daylight Saving Time.  By the way, note that it is Daylight SAVING Time and not Daylight SAVINGS Time.  The word 'Saving' is singular and not plural although the vast majority get it wrong, as if we could somehow save time in the plural sense.

Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time and Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time are both great books explaining the history, myth and fact behind the instituation of fooling ourslves into thinking we have more daylight.

A more accurate name would be Daylight Shifting Time.  The act of 'saving' is actual an act of shifting daylight.  We shift daylight hours to be later during the summer and then we unshift them in the fall.  The reasons are vast and the books explain them all but from my perspective it is all a joke.  Why fall back at all? 

Coming soon - my political involvement and Indiana's history with DST.