Twelve hours from now, I’ll be headed to Dayton International enroute to Bogota. I’m excited about the opportunity to travel to work with congregations in Bogota, Manizales, and Ibague. Just gotta get my suitcase packed, and I’ll be good to go.
Five months ago, I was very excited to purchase the iPad 2 when it came out. During 2010, I hesitated buying an iPad 1 because I wasn’t sure how I could effectively use it in my work. But, as I did my research, I figured the iPad 2 would be worth a try. I travel frequently and wanted something small and portable. Plus, I wanted something that would become an asset in my weekly work routine. Over the last few months the iPad 2 has become a regular part of my day – from media consumption to email.
But, in order to be worth the money I invested, the iPad had to be far more than that. What could this do that justified the expense? Well as I began to explore, I came away with several things. For example, I find myself in meetings on a regular basis, so one of my first purchases on the app store was Note Taker HD. This app works best with a stylus and enables you to take written notes right on your screen. The app works well and you have the ability to save the notes you write as a PDF and archive directly into Evernote.
Speaking of Evernote, I am finding it to be an indispensable part of my work. It works on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms. I use it as the ultimate archiver. Inside Evernote I have multiple notebooks set up that are dedicated to various aspects of my work. One series of notebooks is devoted to my local work in Kettering – storing meeting notes, advertising plans, class notes, gospel meeting schedules, special series, and items related to our website and online ministries. Another series of notebooks contains quotations, ideas for sermon starters, writing and speaking projects. Everything that is stored in Evernote is available on the Mac, iPad, and my iPhone and syncs between devices. So, if I am out and create a new note or edit an existing note – it syncs automatically on all three of my devices. Evernote is available as a free download from evernote.com. While I’m away, Evernote will serve as my virtual file cabinet- with all the important information I need related to church work and as well as family information.
When I bought the iPad, one of my primary goals was to move away from using paper outlines in the pulpit. I have been able to accomplish this goal and haven’t used a paper outline since May – using the iPad exclusively. It’s been great. To do this effectively, I use Pages (Apple’s equivalent to MS Word) on my Mac for word processing. Once I’ve completed an outline, I export the file as an .epub and open the file on the iPad in iBooks. Once the file is in iBooks, it looks and feels just like an ebook – where I am able to flip each page of the outline seamlessly, etc. This has worked very well for me and if you are interested in adopting this process, email me and I’ll give you more details on how it works. While in Colombia over the next few weeks, I intend to have the iPad in the pulpit with me – using it to access and view my sermon notes, etc.
As I find myself on the go more and more, Dropbox has also become an important essential. Dropbox is a free file storing site that allows you to have up to 2 GB of files stored remotely for free. Dropbox works on various platforms – PC, Mac, and iOS. What is so neat about this service is that your files are available wherever you go. If I edit a file on the iPad, the changes will be made automatically on all the computers where my dropbox account is installed. So, as I travel this week, I’ll have access to every single sermon outline I’ve ever preached and every keynote/powerpoint I’ve ever presented – right on the iPad. If I make any changes in the files, they’ll be in sync when I get back to my Mac in Ohio.
When I type any outlines, emails, etc. while I’m away, I plan on using my portable bluetooth Apple keyboard to give me maximum the real estate on the screen as I work. I have found this to be a welcome addition – especially in situations where much typing is required.
With the iWork programs stored on my iPad and iPhone, I have the ability to pull up word processing documents on both devices and can also plug either device into a VGA connector and display/control a Keynote presentation. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll be using any presentations – since they’re all written in English and I’ll be speaking to a Spanish language audience through a translator.
While I’m away I plan on using the Skype app to communicate to family and friends back home. One of the neatest things about Skype is that it offers the ability to hold a video phone call to other Skype users for free: from anywhere else in the world. Going along with this, my iPad and iPhone have the FaceTime app installed – where I can place a video call for free to other iPhone/iPad users over wifi. The ability to communicate with family back home has come so far since my first overseas trip to Belize in 1998 and Ukraine in 2003. This part of technology is absolutely amazing to me and works amazingly well: if you have wifi. On my last trip to Ukraine, out hotel did not have wifi so we had to resort to other communication avenues. Once I arrived in Kiev, (where we had wifi) being able to video chat with Becky was absolutely the best. Hoping that wifi works better in Colombia than Ukraine.
Both of my mobile devices have cameras installed – and I plan on taking quite a few still pictures, as well as some video. One of the neatest features of Apples iOS 5 is photo stream. When I take a picture on the iPad or iPhone – it is automatically loaded into photo stream – which shares the pictures between my devices. And, when I get home, all the pictures I took while away will have been automatically delivered to my Mac wirelessly and will be ready for archiving in iPhoto.
Since switching over to a Mac in 2008, I have been using Accordance as my bible software. It is a great program, and it now has mobile programs written for the iOS platform. Perhaps the coolest thing about it, is its ability to sync between my Mac and portable devices. All the scripture notes, highlights, bible versions and reference materials on my Mac are also available on the iPad/iPhone through sync services. It is amazing at just how much of a virtual library you can carry with you these days.
This will be the first work related trip I’ve taken since 2001 without a full fledged laptop. And, it will be a real test to see just how far the iPad can go toward laptop replacement. While I know the iPad will not do everything a normal laptop will do – I think it will be more than capable to fill my needs while I’m away. Stay tuned.
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