How Leveraging Technology To Resolve To Read The Bible This Year Can Help You Stay On Track With Other New Year’s Resolutions

Bible AppsLast year I posted New Year’s Resolution: Read The Bible and it ended up being the most read post of the year for ILikeTek.  To ring in the new year I’ve decided to offer a followup post.  As mentioned in the original post my app of choice was The Every Day Bible App however I ditched it midway through the year.  There was nothing wrong with the app, in fact it delivered daily on what it promised to do but I found myself longing for an actual Bible….in print.  I eventually filled this urge with the purchase of a study bible which came with free access to the study content in the publisher’s accompanying app (ESV Bible App).  Wanting to go deeper into Bible study turned out to be a precautionary tail of be careful what you ask for as I picked one of the most in depth study guides available which in turn took up all of my available daily reading time and eventually led me to falling behind on my reading plan on days I opted to read other things.  Since I’m not one to skip anything available to read in front of me I knew that if I was to get back on track and complete my New Year’s resolution I needed a straight forward approach for days when I just wanted to read the Bible and therefore it must exclude access to study material for those days.  It was around then that I stumbled on to the NeuBible App.
Herein the NeuBible App I found a beautifully polished app whose emphasis is solely on quick access to scripture with further emphasis on font.
I love a good font and it has a crisp selection.  I fell in love with the app’s straightforward approach with a simple swipe right gesture to select a book and swipe left gesture to select a chapter.  Best of all it always remembers precisely where I left off even if it was mid-chapter which came in quite handy as though I wasn’t using the Every Day Bible App anymore I was still following its year long reading plan.  Its plan was nice for its app where following from top to bottom every reading was laid out daily but trying to pick up outside the app was tedious since it jumped around to at least three different passages each day with some leaving off mid-chapter.
My next dilemma was knowing what each day’s reading consisted of.  This usually involved opening the Every Day Bible App to find out what it was and then opening whatever alternative app or print edition I chose to read from that day.  This just felt silly so I decided to improvise.  I would open the Every Day Bible App periodically and log ahead a few days’ readings into a list I created in my favorite to do list app – Wunderlist.  This allowed me to set reminders which I could access from my notification center at any time and check off complete as I read each passage.  It also helped me keep track of readings if I got behind easier than I was able to within the Every Day Bible App which reset each day.  In fact returning to the most popular Bible app the Youversion Bible App for an occasional reading plan didn’t even offer reading plan visibility from its notification center widget like I now could through my Wunderlist… eh list.
Now that I could get daily reminders and pick up my reading from any Bible app or print edition of choice I quickly got back on track and even finished my resolution to read the Bible in a year a few days early!  Besides as most experts will tell you the best way to complete New Year’s resolutions is to form habits.  For me daily checking off a year long goal and remaining mostly on track kept my other New Year’s resolutions fresh in my mind.  While I didn’t complete all of them it’s safe to say I completed more and made more progress on others than any other year in recent memory in large part due to the daily satisfaction of checking off each daily Bible reading in my to do list.  It’s no shock that good things really do come from reading the Bible every day!
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App Discovery | Timehop

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Welcome to my new series that I will called App Discovery.  I will provide posts like these periodically and they will differ from App Reviews by their depth.  In this series I will try to highlight apps I feel worthwhile for fellow Tekkies to check out so it is presumed that I offer at least a TekYa rating on apps showcased here.

To start I would like to showcase an app I’ve found to be at least novel if not timely.  Timehop available only on iOS serves one purpose and that is to serve you up daily doses of precisely what you did exactly one, two, three years ago and so on.  It does this by tapping into all of your social network feeds and regurgitating what you were doing, where you were doing it, what you were saying, and pictorially what you were sharing years past on the same date.  It can tap into all the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram.  It goes deep on the photo front by syncing with Dropbox Photos, Photo Sync, Flickr, and even your iPhone camera.  Syncing with all services is as simple as signing in and okaying the usual obligatory do-you-really-want-to-give-all-access questions and for me synced flawlessly.

I love the reminders of all things past.  A couple days ago I was reminded that my son started crawling for the first time three years ago which is fantastic considering next year on the same date it’ll be displaying this year’s Instagram reminder of my son taking his first jumps into the pool and swimming.  One of the toughest things for apps to do is to garner at least once daily usage.  This app’s formula is perfect for such success.  I look forward to finding out what surprises await me each day since there’s no way to either look forward or backwards in the app unless, of course, if you want to methodically dig down each individual social feed.  The last morsel of history the app gives you is a snippet of news from years past via USA Today such as the six year anniversary of the first iPhone launch.

I will say the app isn’t very old and thereby is a bit buggy in its infancy.  I’ve waited for an update before going ahead and recommending it.  The latest update seems to have brought some stability however I am still unable to share to Facebook which seems silly anyways since I would likely just be resharing an already shared moment.  Nevertheless if you are fairly active on social networks I highly recommend the app.  It does one thing and does it simply and well and that almost always garners a TekYa rating in my book.

APP REVIEW: Mailbox For iOS

MailboxLogo+Wordmark_Vertical_BLUERating:  TekIt

Price:  FREE

Goodieness:  If Gmail is your primary mailbox service and you have an iOS device you’ll never have a cluttered inbox again all without ever having to dispose of a single email.  Sorting mail is literally addictive, like playing Angry Birds.

Crummieness: Besides not being available before….only syncs with Gmail.

Review

With one quick download my pile of emails almost instantaneously got sorted.  I can honestly say that never has an app ended up straight to my main app dock so quickly.  Same day in fact.  Mailbox by Orchestra, Inc. is exactly what the name suggests.  It’s a mailbox for email, Gmail specifically and exclusively.  It’s currently available for Apple’s iOS devices only.  If you fall into both camps then this is good news for you particularly if you’re inbox is cluttered which so easily happens nowadays as you pretty much have to subscribe to everything online.

I read the buzz about this app a couple months ago and decided to take the plunge.  It was still in beta which meant going to the App Store and downloading it only put you in a long line to getting a link to downloading  it.  I was given a number (750K and change) that I could check daily by opening the app icon to see it tick down.  After about 6 weeks a notification popped up allowing me to grab it finally.  I was not disappointed.   Note it’s now available for download instantly.  After a painless sign in screen to my Gmail account the sync began. Then a really helpful tutorial ensued.  The first thing you’ll notice that’s different about its approach to mail is that  my icon badge defaulted to listing the number of items in my inbox (approx. 454 for me at time of download).  It did not distinguish read from unread items.  Before you get in a tizzy over that, realize this is the whole point of mailbox, it aims to help you clean out your mailbox and keep it clean in a fun and visually pleasing way.  In fact there’s even a reward for doing it!  I’ll get to that soon.

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