Cool Tools

3) Special Feature: Cool Tools for Offline Use

By popular request (Thanks for asking, Mike!), this week’s Brigada is featuring, among other items, Cool Tools for use in low-bandwidth situations. Maybe you’re a worker in a creative-access field with slow internet. We want to help you maximize your effectiveness in spite of bandwidth restrictions. In case we don’t mention a tool that you love, please tell us about it! Just click “Comment” under the web version of this item. Let’s find the best offline tools for Mike and everyone else plagued by small pipes!

9) Next Week: Special Cool Tools for Offline Use

cool toolsBy popular request (Thanks for asking, Mike!), next week’s Brigada will feature Cool Tools for use in low-bandwidth situations. Are you a worker in a creative-access field with slow internet? What tools have helped you maximize your effectiveness in spite of bandwidth restrictions? That’s what we’ll want to know. Please see “Submit” an item at www.brigada.org or just email your item to Doug at DLucasatTeamExpansiondotorg

3) In Your Ideal World, What would a “Brigada App” Do?

Suppose we were going to create a Brigada ‘app’ for IOS and Android. What should it ‘do’? Think outside the box, please. If you get a moment, open our normal website in your iPhone, iPad or Android browser. How would you prefer that a specialized app would improve on your Brigada experience. We’re considering building one — and your ideas could help us a LOT in putting together something that really “scratches an itch” that matters. Thanks in advance for any help. Just click on “Comment” following the online version of this item.

7) VSee Adds Ipad App

We first learned about VSee from MAF, the airplane and technology folks. Now, VSee has released a new version of its app for iPad. This update supports receiving shared screens and annotations from PCs during group video calls. You can use group chat during video calls, view auxiliary camera feeds, and invite contacts from your iPad address book. It’s reportedly the first video chat app that’s FDA-registered and HIPAA compliant making it great for telehealth. And, in addition to being simple and secure, it’s absolutely free.

http://www.vsee.com

In fact, now, with the $49/month version, you get unlimited screen share for you and for your meeting participants. This is starting to look like competition even for GoToWebinar.

3) We’re Going to Send You Packing (There’s an App for that)

quinn_packingOK, here’s the deal: If you haven’t tried Quinn Genzel’s “Packing” app, you’ll want to. With Version 9.0 that was just released this past week, the app added multi-person, multi-bag list support (great for family trips), the ability to filter lists by bag and/or person, and the ability to create pre-trip “to do” lists with your packing checklists. This app will set you back 99 cents, but you’ll pay that off the first time you don’t have to buy something that you would have otherwise forgotten. The easiest way to find it is to search the app store or marketplace for your smartphone for the term, “Quinn packing” — That should get you to the right place. But to confirm, learn more about the app here:

http://quinnscape.com/Packing.asp

If you’re an industrial-strength user, check out Packing Pro at

http://quinnscape.com/PackingPro.asp

(Wade, I really owe you for this one. This is a fantastic find. Thanks from all of us who will feel — and be — more prepared for our next trip, and the one after that, and the one after that. :-) )

6) Don’t Let Power Failures Threaten your USB’s Survival

Thanks to the cool camp stove at…

http://www.biolitestove.com/

You can now warm up those Vienna sausages AND recharge your USB-powered device all at once! :-) It’s a unique solution that is described as earth-friendly and practical all at the same time. We’d love some real feedback from an experienced user. (Just click “comment” below this item on the web.) (Thanks Caleb!)

3) Free Faithlife Bible App WITH NIV if you Download by April 8

This is one of those dated items. If you’re seeing this after April 8, it’s too late. Faithlife Study Bible (by Logos Software) is offering their app for FREE, as in no cost whatsoever. It’s available in IOS, Android and Kindle Fire. I can’t figure out why you WOULDN’T want to download this — unless you’re out of memory? Use it offline when your favorite online Bible isn’t available. I had been using Olive Tree, then I tried Bible Gateway. Just installed this and it’s INSTANTLY better. Search for it in your online marketplace or app store. Awesome. And now with the NIV. Free. You heard it on Brigada. :-)

3) Thuraya to Release a “SatSleeve” for iPhones

Perhaps you first saw it here, at PC Magazine’s website:

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2416920,00.asp

Or maybe you were actually scanning Thuraya’s own website. (“How do you know if you’re a real rugged cross-cultural worker?” You regularly scan satphone websites, right? Just kidding.)

http://www.thuraya.com/products/voice/thuraya-satsleeve

Either way, it’s coming — if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S. Take a look at the Thuraya page. It’s basically a satellite adaptor for an iPhone. Download the brochure, get the factsheet, and start dreaming. Once it’s launched, it should provide your iPhone with virtually uninterrupted coverage throughout Europe, Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Australia. It’ll probably set you back $500 or so, with the average outgoing voice call running $1.25 per minute. Many feel that incoming text messages will be free. Those with an iPhone 5 will have to wait for the wi-fi version, which will run upwards of $700. Of course, those of us who believe in a CASE for our iPhone will have to struggle to get our unit in and out of the case before sleeving up. hassle. :-) But if you’re hiking that five-day trip out to the foothills of the Himalayas to visit that outlying tribe in Arunachal Pradesh, this would be worth its weight in gold. No cell towers out there. :-)

(Keith, thanks for taking time to submit this item from the Balkans!)

5) Revolting Soccer Balls: Do They Really Work?

soccketball[Note: We have just learned that Soccket balls have sold out of the current generation. Check their website soon, however, for a new generation that promises to be even more efficient.]

Anyone done any kick-arounds with these “Soccket” electrical generators? I’m serious: These are soccer balls that make electricity. Finally, my critics will see that there is a PURPOSE in soccer (more than me just enjoying it). Learn more at…

http://us.soccket.org/

(By the way, read the cool story about their creation here…

http://www.levoleague.com/lifestyle/tech/friday-future-leaders-jessica-matthews-julia-silverman-creators-soccket/

Pretty awesome. These weren’t techies. They weren’t even engineers. This was a single Harvard class on science and the arts. Love it. Imagine the 13-year-old kid whose mother says, “Raul, will you go make some more electricity please? Your sister has to finish this book about Simon Bolivar.” “Ohhhhh all right Mama. [sigh] If that’s what you want.” He tries to hide his enthusiasm and play the part of a martyr. Then proceeds to go find 5 other guys for a fast 3-on-3 small-sided game. He comes back in 45 minutes and little Carmelita now has another 3 hours of reading time with her history book. “Anything to help the family,” he sighs. :-) Gotta love it. How can YOU and your teams use these pelotas? :-)

4) Like a “Thompson Chain Reference Bible” on Steroids

Remember the good ole days, when we turned to our “Thompson Chain Reference Bibles” to look up everything related to a particular verse or topic? Another approach was to use Nave’s Topical Bible, or a Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia. Nowadays, those who own a good piece of Bible software might find that their Bible software becomes a “Thompson’s” on steroids. For example, Logos 5 features a new Topic Guide that connects to the Logos system (if Internet is available) to find every single nugget of related knowledge about a particular theme or issue, and it does it in seconds rather than minutes. You can find related media, lists of verses, profiles of related people, places, things or events. Learn more about Logos at

http://www.logos.com/brigada

I think if you buy using that link, in fact, they give you a 15% discount off the standard pricing (and they make a gift to Brigada too; not sure how that math works, but it apparently does).

9) Loved my New International Phone Sim Card

Last week while traveling in Europe, I packed an upgraded sim card from Go-Sim…

http://www.gosim.com

The “new” capabilities deal with making it easier to deal with the call-back concepts used by Go-Sim and other vendors like them. The assigned number they gave me this time was a British number (rather than the Estonian number that I’ve been using with them for a number of years.) It was, in a word, EASY. The rates were great, coverage was wide (both voice and text), and the customer service (and infrastructure) was excellent. Highly recommended, affordable, and practical in scores of lands. Watch for the term “ekit” — because that’s a sign that they’ve shipped you one of the new sim cards.

12) I’m Not Color-Sophisticated

By the time I was 9, I was so color deficient, Indiana University used me in a nationwide study on color blindness. So I’m probably the last person you want developing your color templates for the web. But thankfully, Brigada reader, Eric, has pointed us to…

http://www.DOT.lighthouse.org/accessibility/design/accessible-print-design/effective-color-contrast

Web designers there, who can detect color combinations much more effectively than I, tell us basically what works and what doesn’t. I like it. And by the way, if you have trouble seeing any of the colors or combinations you see on Brigada’s online web version, please tell us. If you like, just use the comments below this item to point out our mismatch(es).

9) Cool Tools: The Best Voice-over-Internet Telephony Solution?

The one we all use is, of course.

http://www.skype.com

 

It’s essentially free, good quality, easy to grasp. You can put money on account then call into the local grid. And they continue to innovate. (Of course, they were purchased not long ago by Microsoft, so who knows where they’ll go in the future.) You can pay a premium fee ($15 per month?) for conference-calling over the Internet (up to 10 or 15 people). But there are other solutions. We have recommended, in the past

http://www.oovoo.com (essentially a knock-off of Skype)

Haven’t heard much from them lately. There are other such companies. What’s your favorite? MagicJack? Vonage? What was that one that we highlighted in Brigada a while back that MAF recommended? PC-see or something like that? Please use the comment boxes below to tell your own favorite and why.

10) Cool Tools: The Best Solution for RoboCalling

It’s a great concept. You call one number and record a brief prayer request or other comment, then, automatically, the service robo-dials (or texts) dozens or hundreds of others. The one we’ve been recommending is

http://www.onecallnow.com

These services will run you about $20/month for approximately 100 participants. You’ll have something like 45 seconds to briefly give your quick prayer request. But the great part is — you get unlimited calling (and, as a bonus, unlimited emailing) to your group. But there are others. What’s your favorite?

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