I know you've been checking you email late and night and early in the morning. I know you are sleepless from hitting refresh just hoping it would arrive. So, now you can relax - it's here! The reason all minster's wives hate me - my annual guide to gadgets you may want. Forward this to your elders, your spouse, your parents - maybe you'll get one of these. On today's MinistryGeek Michael Hite and I listed our fav devices and gadgets for 2012 (Caleb wasn't with us - he hates mornings). To listen click here or here. The show is 1 hour and 3 minutes - so here is the condensed version - with a few extras that we didn't discuss - our Bakers Dozen for 2012!
1. First off you can give a little fun: http://www.thisiswhyimbroke.com/ - no cost to give them a sheet of paper with a website URL (Earl) on it! This is a semi-crazy and other part interesting place to find … stuff. (Cost: Varies by product)
2. Next up a little help from your friends at Fiverr. Fiverr is a very unusual and helpful site. It starts like this "for $5 I will…" Now realize this is not a Christian site so it can be a little risqué but it is also SUPER helpful. You can get logos designed, graphics drawn, your picture pencil or color drawn into a jpeg, powerpoint slides, banners, business cards designed, videos produced, tech questions answered. They are quick (some offer the service within 24 hours), they are fun, silly, productive…and all for $5 each. I often need a logo for an event or something and sometimes I get tired of begging friends - for $5 I can get what I need! (Cost $5)
3. One of the best yet most frustrating things I've dealt with are GPS devices! The screen is too small or it gets in the way, or the suction cup holding it gives out, or you fear it may be stolen, or… Well, a couple of years ago I had an Alpine GPS and radio installed in my car. This is a big ticket item but for someone who is constantly visiting in homes of people you've never been to before or for traveling to speak at camps or churches or events that you don't know how to get to this is a grand thing - http://www.alpine-usa.com/product/category/navigation (Cost $100-1400)
4. So, I was able to hold off this long without mentioning it but I can't any longer - OUR #1 must have gadget is the iPad Mini. I'm seriously addicted to this thing. I have loved the concept of a table since they started coming out and I have bought then sold or given away either 7 or 8 of them trying to find one that I like (Dale's table graveyard - Aristech, off brand 9 inch, Kindle Fire-It died tow of them, iPad, iPad 2, Nexus 7, The Samsung Note and the Mini). They were either too large, so made obsolete by my 11 inch Air or too heavy to hold comfortably for long periods of time or to obvious to not look like you were trying to look cool. I am an Apple fan - and the Mini is the very best device I have ever bought from Apple. Maybe my favorite device I own. http://store.apple.com/us/buy/home/shop_ipad/family/ipad_mini (Cost $325-500 neighborhood). And all you apps will port over free.
5. Michael introduced me to this helpful little device. The GRID-IT by Cocoon. It's an awesome little product to keep all the stuff you carry with you and need handy: earbuds, chargers, adaptors, business cards, gum, keys, glasses - the possibilities seem limitless. You'll have to check it out to understand what my words fall short in describing: http://www.cocooninnovations.com/product_info.php?cat_id=72&product_id=229 or http://www.cocooninnovations.com/product_info.php?cat_id=72&product_id=227 (Cost $9-25)
6. Next up? The Mophie. Mophie is a company that started a few years ago as a battery extender for the iPhone. But since they have become the go-to source for "juice." If your phone, table, computer is low on power and you are traveling, or away from an outlet to recharge the Mophie is what you need. Some of the connect directly to the device other through a cable. You can recharge unbelievably fast and you might get multiple recharges before you need to recharge the Mophie itself. This seems to be a must have if you find your phone or other device constantly dying on you because of battery life: http://www.mophie.com/default.asp (Cost $35-150 depending on device).
7. This is so simple it seems like anyone could do it but Zagg is the way to go! I don't know how often I see people with broken phone screens! The Invisable shield by Zagg takes care of both that, glare and smudges from fingers on your phone or tablet. They are a great company to use. You can buy it online, over the phone or at Best Buy. If you buy it over the phone Best Buy will put it on for a cost of about $5 (Well worth it in my opinion). They come with a lifetime guarantee. Zagg does other products well like cover/keyboards for tablets, designer protecting backs (you can upload your own logo). http://www.zagg.com/ ($29-59 for Invisible Shields) TIP: I called and got an extra discount!
8. I must confess - I like Kickstarter projects (through Kickstarter you help fund and bring to market new ideas and products). Of all that I have been a part of I like Pebble the most! Pebble is a watch that will alert you to incoming Caller ID's, allow you to read Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account) on your watch, give you Calendar Alerts, Facebook Messages, Twitter, Weather Alerts - And more. It is not yet to market but is at the doorway. You can preorder one or learn more at http://getpebble.com/. (Cost: $150).
9. Tired of carrying multiple USB chargers? Look at the 3 in 1 USB cable - http://www.myinnergie.com/MCT/Default.aspx (Cost: $20).
10. Evernote: If you don't use Evernote…what's wrong with you? Evernote is amazing. I use it continually to keep up with any list (new babies, baptisms, sermons, past lists for iPreach, future projects, etc). It is amazingly easy to search for past notes and the ability to share and collaborate on files is fabulous. Give the preacher in your life a perimum account. http://evernote.com/premium/ (Cost: $45 for a year). Tip: I use it for sermon notes when preaching from my Mini.
10-b. Evernote has recently launched a project with Moleskin. A notebook that you can write notes in that are readable/searchable in Evernote with stickers that are "tag-able" - don't know what all that means? Check it out here: http://www.moleskineus.com/evernote-smart-notebooks.html?gclid=CKrszdOJ8rMCFQu0nQod2yoAQw (Cost $25-30).
11. Why is every stylus so styleless? Why do they all have to have tops that come off if they have a pen associated with them? No longer. I found a great twist pen that looks professional and doesn't cost an arm and a leg and is stylish to boot! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005KSS5VI/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00 (Cost: $4.73!!!)
12. I have long hated wallets. Not sure why but I do. I stopped carrying a wallet in my back pocket about 15 years ago. Here is a neat iPhone case that is very durable, will protect your device and also serve to carry cash, cards, etc. It is in the aforementioned moleskin design: http://www.padandquill.com/cases-for-iphone-ipod-touch.html (Cost $59).
13. Smart phone: If you don't have one and can afford one - welcome to the 21st Century. These are so helpful for the minister on the go - and what minister isn't? I love my iPhone but if you are snit-apple I recommend one of the following: Samsung Galaxy III, Galaxy Note 2.0 or, Windows HTC 8X). You can buy the iPhone 4S for $99 now.
I always lie a little extra so here are some "also rans" that interest me: Microsoft Surface…if you are opposed to apple products this looks to be a very sweet table with a good keyboard in a great design. http://surface.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/Content/pbpage.Surface?ESICaching=off&WT.mc_id=FY13WinHH (Cost: $500-700). And for a smaller non-Apple table device I recommend the Nexus 7 - https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_7_16gb&feature=ha-text-sem_bk-n7&utm_source=ha&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=sem_bk&utm_content=n7 (Cost: $199).
So there you have it. What devices/gadgets would you add?
And don't forget that none of these things are more valuable than the people in your life - they are just things...enjoy them, use them - but don't forget they are just objects! Love people!