social media

Your Smartphone, Your Kids, and Their Safety

Dear Universe,

We’re out on a date for the night and our kids are home alone. Here’s our address and a map to our house.


Mom and Dad

That’s ridiculous. No parent would ever say that.

I would never say that.

Except we do it all the time. Sure, we don’t do it intentionally, but the fingerprints we leave on social media do indeed tell the world where we are, what we are doing, how long we’ll be doing it, and how to find the people we care about.

social media

Seven iOS 7 Hacks for Parents

Seven iOS 7 Hacks for Parents

According to the Washington Post, Apple sold 9 million iPhone devices over the weekend. We even jumped in on the fun by getting Megan (12) her very first phone.

Last week, Apple introduced iOS 7, a brand new operating system for every iPhone, iPad, and some iPods. Meanwhile, also last week Blackberry fired half it’s worldwide employees and Microsoft finally admitted that they didn’t take mobile seriously early enough.

Despite it taking nearly 2 days to update my iPhone 5 I really like iOS 7.

I won’t bore you with what I like about it but I will point out some features that I think will really help your life as a parent.

Seven iOS 7 Hacks for Parents

Here’s how I make my iPhone work for me instead of the other way around!

hmm... thoughts

14 Must-Have Gadgets for the Geek in Your Life


Here’s a link to my 2012 list

Let’s face it. For many of my readers I am the geek in their life.

I’m the nerdy friend you tell your IT guy about when you don’t know what else to talk about because you want to talk about the latest political news about Herman Cain or what happened on SNL and all he is knowledgeable about is Leo Laporte’s ugly shirt in his last episode of This Week in Tech.

You don’t even know who Leo Laporte is. And that’s OK.

So what do geeks want for Christmas? What are the things that will make us shout “sleigh ride” on December 25th? I’m glad you asked. Here’s my list of 14 geek toys that I will happily tweet about when the UPS man drops them off.

For super smooth panning on my YouTube videos…

buy the Camera Table Dolly for Adam at the Photojojo Store!

For capturing my every moment of adventure…

buy the GoPro Camera HD Hero 2 Outdoor Edition for Adam at

So I look cool at the water cooler…

buy the Fail Whale Coffee Mug for Adam at Zazzle

For making me look just a little bit thug on the trolley…

buy the Custom Comic Headphones for Adam at Etsy

So I don’t get lost finding a coffee shop on my bike…

buy the Perfect Fit Handlebar Mount for iPhone 4 for Adam at

For keeping my desk organized…

buy the Metal Cordies for Adam at Quirky

For posting the perfect fish eye Instagram…

buy the The iPhone Lens Dial for Adam at the Photojojo Store!

For making stop motion movies of my web design process…

buy the Neewer shutter release for Canon DSLRs for Adam at

For getting that nod at the bar from fellow addicts…

buy the Angry Birds Triple Threat t-shirt for Adam from

For making people smile more than making them jealous…

buy the iPad Cover Made from a Real Book for Adam from Etsy

So I’m using space wisely and keeping my USB options open…

buy the Space Bar for Adam at Quirky

For tweeting while walking and keeping the digits toasty…

buy Texting Friendly Gloves for Adam at Etsy

For street-level citizen journalism at Occupy San Diego…

buy the Groundbot for Adam at Rotundus

For sharing time with Kristen that’s better than updating my status…

buy the Rocking Chair for Two for Adam at Sway

What would you add to the list? Leave a comment with a link, maybe I’ll add it!

Posts like this:
5 Socially Conscious Christmas Gifts
Good News Idea: Ring That Bell


Christian Living

If Your Phone Could Talk

We used to say you could tell a person’s priorities by looking at his checkbook. I’d submit to you that today you can tell a person’s priorities by how he uses his phone.

If your phone could talk… what would it say about you?

  • Who is he talking to?
  • Who is he texting?
  • How is he talking about people?
  • How does he talk about people via text?
  • What is he looking at when no one else is looking?
  • When is he using his phone?
  • Does his phone fill his hand more than the hand of the one he loves?

Here’s what I know about technology. One day your phone will tell on you. One day everything you’ve posted on Facebook may become public. One day everything you’ve ever Googled may be public. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

One day… it will all tell the whole story of you. Every key stroke on that device could one day be exposed. Every text message, direct message, email, and Facebook message could one day become public.

I believe your smart phone is amoral. It’s can be used for noble or ignoble purposes. My hope is that as I use my phone,  (and technology like it) I use them as instruments of Good News in how I conduct my personal, family, and business affairs.

The story your phone tells is up to you.

iphone youth ministry

Clips, the newest app for youth ministry

One direction I think youth ministry resources need to go is mobile

In the latest edition of Immerse Journal I have an article called “Technology Swiss Army Knives” that’s all about apps that help you spend less time in your office and more time with students. I’d actually like to see apps for youth ministry get to the point where we could ditch our offices altogether. It’s not like any of us went into youth ministry hoping to maintain office hours. More on this concept later…

Clips is one of those apps that is a great resource for on-the-go youth workers, small group leaders… even parents.

About the creator – RJ Grunewald

It was created by one of my long-time youth ministry network guys from Detroit, RJ Grunewald. He’s a middle school pastor who fell in love with the iPhone and started dreaming about how to use his phone for ministry. Back in 2008, fiddling around after church, he created an app that farts. (Perfect for middle schoolers!) He submitted it to the iTunes store as the WhoopieCushion app and it blew up. (Get it, blew up?) I actually heard about it because RJ called me for some advice about starting a business. It was perfect timing because YS was just starting to think about apps for ministry, too. Long story short, RJ built the MyGuitar app and Tough Topics. (Both successful, but now retired.)

What is Clips all about?

It’s really simple. You’ll be mad you didn’t think of it. If you have a set of Videos that Teach in your office– this is an updated and mobile evolution of that. (I’ve bought at least five sets of Videos that Teach over the years, it’s my most stolen resource.)

The app has a library of popular movies with amazing and powerful clips. The app suggests a clip and provides Bible-based discussion questions and some suggested Bible verses. You can search by movie name or topic. You can save things as favorites so you can come back to it, stuff like that. In a future version he’s opening it up to the community a bit more by allowing users to suggest clips to include in the app. But there’s enough there to last you quite a while.

It’s a great idea. And for any youth worker who is an app junkie, it’s a must-have. It’s available now in the app store for $2.99.

It’s a resource you’ll want to make sure is in the hands of your small group leaders and parents, too. Help them turn movie time into worthwhile discussion. Tip: Use the iTunes “gift this” button and you can send it to the youth workers in your ministry. If you need a raise… gift it to your senior pastor.

Last thing, I love the fact that RJ owns Clips. So literally, buying this app is supporting RJ and encouraging him to not only make this app better, but to make more apps like it.

Question 1: What’s your favorite movie for teaching students?

Question 2: If you have the app, what do you think?

Full-disclosure — RJ is a client of The Youth Cartel. 

Culture iphone Web/Tech

iPhone, Your New Cigarettes

iPhone, Your New Cigarettes

The parallels between the iPhone in 2011 and cigarettes in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s are stunning.

  • It’s iconic.
  • It’s celebrated as the cool thing.
  • It’s a status symbol.
  • It’s celebrated in the media.
  • It’s manufacturer is getting rich.
  • There are cheap imitations. (Sorry Android users)
  • It’s addicting, but not viewed as a serious addiction.
  • The first thing you do in the morning is light up your iPhone.
  • The last thing you do before you go to bed is put your iPhone out.
  • People step out of meetings to check their iPhone.
  • People huddle around their iPhone while they walk around.
  • They do it in public, to the sneering glare of non-iPhone users.
  • After sex… well, some people light up their iPhone.
  • The price could go up at any minute, but you’d still need an iPhone.

I’m as much an addict as the other millions of regular users. Hopeless. Helpless. And happily satisfied in my addiction.

Just like cigarettes– users are left with the question:

Do you own your iPhone or does your iPhone own you?

Funny Stuff Travel

Off to Minneapolis

If going to Alabama is the dirty south, does that make Minnesota the “clean north?”

Regardless, I am missing church this morning as I begin my trip north (and east) to Minneapolis for a few days of meetings with the YouthWorks team.

Here’s something fun about heading to the clean north. I kind of like the cold. Don’t get me wrong– I love winters in San Diego where people wear ski jackets when it hits 50 and pull their kids out of school because of a rain storm. But I’m not one of those people who hates a hard, cold winter. In fact, there is a freshness to the cold air that invigorates the soul. (That could also be the freezing of ones lungs resulting in a shot of endorphins and adrenaline, but those are little details!) I’m looking forward to a little snowstorm tonight and it getting progressively chilly in my time there this week.

I plan on laughing and listening a lot this week. As we continue to mix our organizations together into a new organization we are finding that we share so much in common. And we definitely share the “we don’t take ourselves too seriously” quality that is a hallmark of YS. Al0ng the same lines, so much of why we are passionate about what we do lies in our story. So I am jazzed to listen and get to know people beyond the giggles and hear their hearts.

I’ll leave you with two pictures from my iPhone– the humor is all-the-more funny now that everyone is getting to know one another.

November 6th - I wore this to work to lighten the mood. The previous day we had been told to dress appropriately when YouthWorks came to town and to make a good first impression. This is about as opposite of YS attire as I could get. Is that enough Bibles? I love the Bibles.
November 23rd - The YouthWorks recruiting team hung this sign on the bulletin board next to convention headquarters in Atlanta. We were all glad they were hiring for something!
hmm... thoughts

Nine Things I Love on 09.09.09


I’m not into numerology, at all. But I’m smart enough to know that this is the only time in my lifetime the calendar will read straight nines.  With nine being the operative number of the day here are nine things I’m in love with.

1. Simple routines. Every day, every week basically looks the same.

2. Mega-family time. This has been a big change in our lives. At least once a week we all do something together. It’s not always big, but it’s a big deal and I’m pumped about it.

3. The job lottery. More than a year into my time at YS and I still get fired up and think… I work there? For real?

4. Church peeps. You can’t sell this short. We dig our church peeps. I love feeling like I need to step it up to keep up with their faithfulness.

5. Riding the trolley. (relates to #1) That simple discipline has taken so much stress out of our lives. Big ups to SDMTS.

6. Vietnamese food. This is the next craze to sweep across the nation.  I’m a big fan of the noodle soup, pho. (pronounced “fu.” Yes, like half of the f-word.) Best food on the planet.

7. iPhone. I know something will replace it as the coolest device in my world. But it is an amazing tool for me. I can now go on vacation laptop free.

8. Nikon D60. I never thought I’d really love photography. I am no artist, but thanks to this little camera I can now take pictures that don’t suck.

9. My baby’s mama. Seriously, Kristen is a rock star. 12+ years of marriage and she’s still my best friend. She still laughs (politely) at my jokes and likes my crazy dreams.

iphone Web/Tech

Two projects are now live!

It’s well documented that I like managing projects… but I love finishing and releasing projects more than anything. In the last 24 hours, two little babies were released into the wild. I hope they both flourish.


1. Myguitar iPhone app. This is the second application we’ve published from YS, with a few more deep in the process of testing and stuff. This one was fun for two reasons. First, it’s stinking fun to play guitar on your iPhone. My favorite feature is that I can play the guitar along to my favorite worship artist, David Crowder. My life would be complete if he would try it. Then again, my adoration for Mr. Crowder’s work is well-documented so that should be no surprise.


2. Love is in an Orientation. Speaking of adoration, I’ve also documented my admiration for Andrew Marin’s work in bridging evangelical and the GLBT cultures. More imporatantly, I’m lucky enough to count him as a friend. So when he asked me to help him get a “real blog site” I was happy to jump in and help out.

I don’t want to sound obnoxious. But this is turning into a whale of a year for me. Lots of great projects. Lots of nice things said. And lots, lots more where this stuff came from.


iPhone Apps

Since I spend so much time thinking about and managing iPhone apps getting developed, I thought it would only be fair if you saw the types of apps I use on my phone.

Sidenote: This is a repost. For some reason the post from 6/30/09 disappeared. It may looks as though I deleted 20+ comments from yesterday, but my server ate them. Sorry about that.