New Sources

A couple of blogs have recently entered my grist-stream and have been producing content that resonates with my thoughts more often than not.

Glory to God for All Things: No One is Saved Alone
This is from the Orthodox perspective. Actually this post about honoring Mary was one of the first times I connected to that practice as anything beyond at-best-possibly-not-idolatry.

Just Thomism: What’s evidence?
This is a Catholic blog that focuses mostly on straight philosophy.

iOS Apps I Use

I recommend each of these applications. I don’t open each of them every day but it would be an odd week that didn’t see me open each of these at least once.

The names are links to the iTunes store (not affiliate links), the prices are as of the moment I looked the app up while writing this post.

YouVersion – free
Solid Bible app that allows you to access to tons of translations in multiple languages. It integrates with the youversion website. One thing that could be improved is navigating to a particular passage, although I can’t imagine a better way than they offer.

Instagram – free
The best feature of this app is the simple sharing of photos. They also offer some fun hipster color filters which can make some borderline shots feel more artsy. At Bat – $15
This is a free download but for $15 you can get live audio feeds of the games from the 2012 season. ($100 gives you video with some blackouts, which I haven’t sprung for, so I don’t know if it is worth the price.) I bought the audio before spending any time with the app so I’m not sure what features are disabled if you opt not to pay.

DuckDuckGo – free
This app provides an excellent interface for searching via DuckDuckGo. I found I had to intentionally break my habit of going to the browser to search for this app become useful.

Lose It! – free
This is the calorie counting & weight journaling app I settled on upon getting my iPhone in November. Since then I’ve lost 38 pounds. This app is not entirely responsible for my weight loss but it has provided that little bit of motivation that I need to avoid some needless calories. Your milage may vary.

Tweetbot – $3
After trying the official Twitter client and Twitterific (which I still use on my mac) I splurged and bought Tweetbot. It is worth buying if you use twitter as much as I do. The search feature could be a little less prominent, I’ve only used it once or twice but I occasionally find myself tapping it when I want to compose a tweet.

Instapaper – $3
This app is simply the best reading experience available on iOS, but I might be biased since I was already using Instapaper before getting my iPhone. My favorite feature is tilt-to-scroll which lets you read without having to constantly flick the screen to scroll; I wish more apps offered this. If you read lots of articles from the web, Instapaper is a great way to save them later and consume them even when you have no internet access.

Reeder – $3
I recently switched to Reeder from NetNewsWire, but only because NNW’s development has stagnated. This is a solid RSS reading app.

Yummy – $2
I never launch this app by itself. I use it to post links from instapaper to (also works with My general workflow is to bookmark articles to read from reeder (or netnewswire on my mac) to instapaper, and if I read the article in instapaper on my iPhone, bookmark the link as read using Yummy.

Flipboard – free
Since I don’t keep many news sources in my rss feeds, flipboard is good at filling in that gap. I’m a little concerned about how many of the links in Flipboard contain very tangentially related photos. I think their sources feel a pressure to have a picture and when one isn’t around they pick stock images. This may not be Flipboard’s fault but I think the prominence given to images in Flipboard’s UI can’t be helping this trend.

Sparrow – $3
I got this email app despite its lack of push notifications for new messages but now I’m actually that feature is missing. My brain compulsively wants to reduce all new message notifications to zero, and doesn’t seem to care if I’ve actually read the messages. Now when I open my email I know that I have time to read my messages. I can’t remember what feature made me decide to pay for it (the Mail app that comes with iOS is fine) I just know it seamlessly handles my gmail and email addresses.

CarTunes – $5
I must have obtained this app during a special as I got it for free a couple weeks ago. Within that day it had supplanted the default Music app on my dock. It uses gestures to allow you to play/pause and skip tracks forward or backward (and other things). Perfect for use while driving. I would buy this for $5 if I were about to go on a road trip.

Flixster – free
I wish they offered a pro version of this app because it is awesome for getting movie times and reviews but the ads are pretty obnoxious. *Update: If anyone knows of a movie times app that’s better, I’m looking for a replacement. The ads seem to be showing more often on flixster these days.*

Camera + – $1
Probably my first app purchase. It is clunky enough that I almost always use the built in Camera app or Instagram over Camera+. Camera+’s forte is taking macro shots: all of the other camera apps I’ve used have a ton of trouble getting the camera to focus on things closer than about 3 feet but Camera+ works like a charm. I really wouldn’t recommend getting it unless that sounds like a helpful feature.

W.E.L.D.E.R. – $1
A mashup of Boggle and Bejeweled, I got it for free, but it is worth a buck.

Puzzlejuice – $2
A mashup of Boggle and Tetris, I got it for less than $2 ( can’t remember if it was free or $1).

Mathemagics – $1
Fun mental math training program. I kinda hate mental math, but have always wanted to learn. This app does a good job teaching and training. There is a second app subtitled “Easy Algebra” which I have purchased but not tried since I’m not through with the first app. They are both on sale currently. I think they are $2 each usually.

iStat Menus

iStat Menus just got updated yesterday. It is a free utility that puts various tools in the menubar. I don’t know if their clock/calendar is a new feature or not, but I just discovered it, and it is awesome.

I have occasionally found myself needing a calendar, and didn’t want to launch iCal or google calendar. This gives you one click access to a month view. Additionally, you can show the day of the month in the menubar (I had been using the built in clock. You have to click on that clock to see the date).

The only thing I’d change would be to add flashing time separators. I just added the seconds. It is a very old habit, and I haven’t even done this in years, but I like to have something that is always visible and changing so I know if the computer is locked up or just momentarily unresponsive.

The Radical Reformission

reaching out without selling out
by Mark Driscoll

I had to resist quoting the entire book here. Mark points out a middle way between sectarianism and syncretism. This involves engaging the culture more than extreme fundamentalists are comfortable with, while also sticking to fundamental doctrines more openly than liberals want to.