Google has announced that Google RSS Reader will not be available starting July 1, 2013. Follow this link to download the links that you follow as an XML file.
This post gives an overview of posts related to the recent Truth and Tidings article. Please comment on areas that these posts have not addressed, etc.
Backing up data
Yes, this is a bit complicated. I want to try to make Facebook privacy as easy as possible (as of February 2013). This doesn’t cover everything, but hopefully it covers the main concerns most people might have.
1) Don’t ever put something in a Facebook post that you would be humiliated if a friend’s friend saw it. Be especially careful if there could be bad consequences if the general public saw it. Accidents happen.
2) Keep especially private things in private messages, not in social media. If it’s meant for just one person, message that person in a private message (either with Facebook messaging/chat or email). Social media is social, not private.
Understanding Privacy Settings
1) You control the privacy of the material you post. Click the button to the left of the Post button to change who can see your post.
2) To change the privacy of something you already posted (photo: Facebook)
3) The privacy of my comments on others’ posts depends on the privacy setting they chose when posting it, not on my privacy settings.
So if I comment on your post, you already controlled who will see my comment when you posted it. If it was posted as a public comment, my comment can be viewed by all my friends and all the friends of the person who posted it. Check the icon on the post: the icon below represents Friends, so all the poster’s friends will see my comment.
Friends can see this post and all comments.
A globe means public– be careful with those.
Friends of Friends
Check the privacy setting of a post before commenting on it or liking it. Your comment will be visible to either their friends, friends of friends, or anyone, depending on the setting. (There is also a custom setting that can restrict the post from certain people, show only to a particular group, etc.)
4) According to Facebook, public posts can be found by anyone using an Internet search engine.
5) Any photo marked as a profile photo is viewable by anyone, anywhere.
6) To control what gets posted to your timeline (or choose to review posts before they get posted), see this link. (Your timeline is the info below your profile picture.)
7) If you don’t want your birthday year, etc visible to others, adjust those settings by clicking Update Info (under profile pic) and edit your Basic info.
8) The “ticker” or live feed at the upper right of your home page makes it simple for you to “eavesdrop” when one of your Facebook friends says something to someone you don’t know. The ticker displays everything that your friends are doing on anyone’s post that is public or friends of friends. So beware that lots of people could be seeing your comment depending on the privacy setting of the post or image you are commenting on.
9) If you tag a photo, the friends of the person you tagged can see the photo, regardless of the photo’s privacy setting (with the exception of “only me”). Note that you can control what photos you are tagged in, and you can choose to review tags before they are published.
10) If you include someone’s name in your post (as a tag–that Facebook creates into a link to that person), then that person’s friends can see the post also (unless you adjust the custom sharing settings to not include that person’s friends.)
News Feed Privacy
This post provides a way for you to comment on the published article and supplements the material.
Twice in the Scriptures we are told we need to be “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:16, Col. 4:5). That implies changing something bad or undesirable for something that is profitable. Am I willing to redeem my time with something that matters for eternity? Am I walking “worthy of the Lord,” seeking to please Him in all things, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10)?
A few facts.
- A presentation by CIW stated that tablet users tend to spend about 95 minutes a day on their tablets
- The most popular activities on tablets include gaming (84%), searching for info (78%) and emailing (74%) (source)
- 125 years of Angry Birds is played every day (source)
- 89% of mobile users use their smartphone throughout the day (source)
- Read the Scriptures (you can do that on your device too)
- Study the Scriptures
- Reflection on the Scriptures, alone with God
- Listen to Christian music
- Visit a lonely Christian or elderly saint
- Bake a dessert for the neighbors
- Reach out to neighbors with the gospel
- Gospel outreach (see this link for ideas & resources)
- Volunteer in the community (Boys and Girls clubs, hospitals, nursing homes, American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, hospice…)
- Learn a foreign language
- What else can you think of?
- Shoppers spent $300 (median) on smartphone purchases in the past year (source)
Think about the following questions in regard to being a good testimony for Christ:
- “Is this going to bring glory or shame to my heavenly Father?” (1 Cor 4:5; 10:31)
- “Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, with His authority?” (Col 3:17)
- Will this help or hinder? (1Cor. 14:26)
- Is this a good example to others? (Tit. 2:7)
Did you know that watching movies through an app on Facebook may post a story to your news feed about what you’re watching without your knowledge? (Also, never view videos that ask you to share them with others before viewing.)
Remember Mr. Dryburgh’s five points to WATCH: your Words, your Actions, your Thoughts, your Company, your Heart.
Ideas for safeguarding our eyes and thoughts in this technology age:
- K9 Web Protection is a good, free tool to filter the content you and your family come into contact with on the web.
- Add time restrictions, make exceptions, force safe search, and monitor user activity.
- Be aware! There is no perfect solution. Programs can’t look at pictures and tell you if they are bad or not. They can only filter out sites that are known to contain bad material. This includes sites like YouTube that could be used legitimately (although the writer believes no young child should be allowed to use YouTube unsupervised for long periods of time).
- See Parental Controls for other options when dealing with children
- YouTube allows you to turn on safety mode at the bottom of the screen. Check the box to lock safety mode for this browser and repeat for all of your computer’s browsers. As far as I know, once it’s on, you can’t remove it.
- Chrome and Firefox browsers have a plugin/extension called Adblock Plus which filters out many advertisements. Some sites like Facebook have found ways to get around it, but it still helps.
- You might be able to use feeds to bypass some of the filth
- The things you access via technology have the power to ruin your life and testimony for God, as well as your relationships.
- Think outside of emotions and passions and see things from God’s perspective.
- Force yourself to think about the future ramifications of your present actions.
- Cultivate your relationship with the Lord, family and other believers. Meaningful, satisfying relationships go far beyond the physical.
- “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:15-16 NASB). Flee …! Follow after …! (2Tim 2:22)
- Like Christ, respond to temptation using the Word of God
- Remember that suffering comes before glory, and hardship before rest.
- Modesty is important
- The world we live in has largely lost a sense of modesty due to many things, including advertising, television and the Internet. Please do not contribute to this sensual, immodest world by posting your beach (or perhaps prom) photos on social media (we won’t address the other related issues here). By doing so, you tempt others to sin, and that is serious.
- “…decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother” (Rom. 14:13 ESV). We recognize that our dear sisters likely have no idea how these images can impact a man. Modesty is beautiful to a spiritual man and of great price to God. Remember that!
It’s worth the trouble!
I don’t have experience with Parental Control features for mobile devices, but a little searching online reveals that iOS (Apple) has parental controls built into the operating system but Android does not.
Here are a few links that might help:
Android Parental Control Apps - Disable apps and filter content
Kids Place Parental Control App from Amazon.com
Internet Filtering Browser by K9 Web Protection
Monitor Child Activity by Norton
Please share what works best for you.
If you have comments on the Truth & Tidings article or things to add, please comment on this post or any of the specific posts relating to it:
Click links to view more about:
Bible Programs and Study ToolsView
Mobile Electronic BiblesView
Communication and Social NetworkingView
If you have precious data on your computer, you need a way to make sure you have it backed up in case of fire, computer failure, theft, etc. If your hard drive goes bad, you will either have to pay a LOT of money to get the data back, or you just lose the data. (Hard drive failure is common, even with new computers.)
Here are some easy backup options:
Microsoft SyncToy is a free Windows program that allows you to back up files quickly and easily to an external drive or flash drive. You can get small flash drives that are at least 32 GB in size for a very reasonable price. You click the sync option and only the files since the last sync operation are copied over to your backup.
Online Syncing: If you have less than 5-10 GB of data and a good Internet connection, there are a number of online sync options available that automatically back up your user data. See this article.
Make sure you keep installation CDs for any purchased programs you use.
If you can’t read the product key on your Microsoft Windows registration sticker or CD, you should record the key somewhere in case you need to re-install Windows.
Windows users need antivirus software, especially if you access the Internet or use email. If you don’t have a program installed, I suggest installing Microsoft Security Essentials (for free).
Windows 8 users should already have Windows Defender installed, which gives the same level of protection as Microsoft Security Essentials. But make sure it is activated. If your computer comes with an alternative, trial antivirus program, if you don’t renew the program, you will need to activate Windows Defender. I suggest uninstalling the trial and activating Windows Defender; it does a decent job and you don’t have to pay for it.
For users before Windows 8, if you never installed an antivirus program, you likely need to do that. As far as I know, Windows Defender before Windows 8 is not sufficient protection. Use Microsoft Security Essentials (Avast or Avira are also OK options at the time of this writing).
Presently, MAC users don’t have to worry so much about this kind of thing, since I think MAC programs have to be approved by Apple.
- Don’t install more than one antivirus program. It will slow down your computer dramatically.
- You can install anti-spamware and anti-malware software along with antivirus programs. I generally do not use them for real-time scanning, but just run them every so often. MalwareBytes (free version) is a good software to use for this.
This is also a common problem. If your contacts are getting messages that say they are sent by you and they’re not, change your password to something at least 7 characters long with symbols, and change your security question(s). This happens to people in my contacts all the time and has caused much frustration.
This also can happen as a result of clicking on a bad link in an email. (See “tips for detecting spam” below.)
Spam and PhishingView
“Phishing” involves emails that trying to steal your personal information from you for bad reasons. Obviously, mark as spam those emails that say you have money coming. The not-so-obvious messages from “PayPal” that tell you to log in because someone might be using your account are a bit more tricky. Always verify that the address of the link you are going to is the address it’s supposed to be, or someone will have access to your financial records and you won’t have a clue. Remember that just because the email says it is from PayPal and looks exactly like an email from PayPal and links to a site that looks exactly like PayPal’s site doesn’t mean it IS from PayPal. When in doubt, don’t follow the email’s links. Go to trusted, known website addresses instead or call a known number for verification.
Tips for detecting spam and phishing schemes:
- Links go to an address that is different from what it should be
- Words are commonly misspelled are don’t make sense
- The sender’s email address isn’t what you expect it to be (some have faked PayPal by changing one letter)
- The email contains gibberish
- The email contains a link that doesn’t make sense or is not explained, even if it is signed by someone you know and looks real! (Hover over links and look at the place it is going to, shown in the lower left of your browser, before clicking.) Clicking a link like this could cause you to send gibberish to all your contacts, too (and who knows what else).
- The email says you have money coming
- You are asked to provide personal or login information
More eBooks can be found at Stem Publishing. I cannot guarantee that all of this material is doctrinally sound, but there is some good material there.
DiskAid (for i-Devices)
Download files to your iPhone via USB. (Useful for eBooks that are in text form)
FileApp (for i-Devices)
Allows you to read PDF, MS Office and text files, among others.
Click the icon to access:
For more information and support, please go here.
- 465 hymns
- Works on all mobile devices
- 560+ audio tunes (Internet access required)
- Lyrics search (case and punctuation insensitive, search terms highlighted)
- Search by meter
- Zoom functionality
- Night mode display option
- Easy number entry
- Alphabetical index of first lines
- Listing by number
- Show hymns by category
- Browse all hymns
- No ads
- Installs to SD
- Bookmark hymns
- Hymn starter notes with alternate tune suggestions
Your data is important. Prey is a useful tool that helps you find that mobile device back if it is lost or stolen. Most effective when you pray!
Update: Some reviewers say it depletes your battery.
Make your own tract template
This template may be used for 1/4 sheet sized tracts. Print one sided and fold twice or print front/back and cut in two to get two tracts per sheet.
Have someone create/print your tract for you
Printable Gospel Tracts
1. Hudson Taylor
2. Eternity–Where shall it find me?
Send a tract via email
- Moments with the Book - click Share by E-Mail tab
Places to purchase good gospel literature
RSS feeds enable you to check new news, weather, “verse of the day” and various blogs or websites, all in one location rather than visiting each site to check for updates. Do a search for feed readers to find one that works best for you.
These can help to eliminate the distractions and defiling images you find on news sites.
Note: I would mention that you can also put RSS feed modules on an iGoogle homepage, but iGoogle is reportedly going to be phased out in 2013.
Have the person you want to help:
- go to Join.me
- click basic
- click the orange arrow
- run the downloaded file
Have them tell you the hyphenated number that appears on their screen.
Go to join.me and enter that number under “join” and click the green arrow.
You will see their screen.
The person you are helping can now give you access to their computer by clicking the mouse icon. Now you can operate their computer remotely. Pretty neat!
Note: You will both need a better connection than dial-up for this!
Microsoft OneNote (part of the Microsoft Office suite)
- Scan and organize your notes to remove the clutter of all those papers.
- Automatic text recognition (and searching) for typed information.
- Allows you to insert audio in a document, and if you take notes on that audio, it remembers where in the audio your note was taken so you can go back and listen to that particular location again.
- Notes can be synced online (for free) and edited there as well.
- There is an iPod/iPhone app for OneNote, but note that the free version allows up to 500 notes and then you can’t add any more notes.
- You can click and drag whole outline structure sub-trees from one place to another.
EverNote is a popular mobile App.
- It’s a quick way to take notes and organize them, with search capabilities.
- Recent changes make you get an account, and I think you may have to have online access to use the free version.
Auto-Insert Verses into MS Word
E-Sword has macros for Microsoft Word that enable auto-insertion of Bible texts. Select the reference, press the button, and there you have it. Pretty neat!
Google calendar can be used to publicize meetings and events to the world or to the rest of your assembly (not to mention keeping track of your busy schedule). It can be embedded in your assembly website.
Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook have similar calendars, though they are harder to embed in websites.
Toggl works well for time tracking.
Online dictionary: WordReference.com
- There are a number of flashcard apps for iPhones as well.
New Testament Greek
Social networking services like Facebook and Google+ can be both beneficial and detrimental, depending on how they are used. The writer has found Facebook to be useful in sharing the gospel with people who will not come to meetings but are willing to read a post containing seeds of the gospel. Social networking also gives you the potential to meet Christians from other countries, to maintain contact with people you meet at conferences, and to keep up with the development of the Lord’s work in distant places. Also, the spiritual needs of individuals can be revealed by their Facebook activity, enabling you to prayerfully seek to steer them in the right direction.
If you have a thought you have enjoyed from the Scriptures, why not share it? Use friends lists (Facebook) or circles (Google+) to share with a select group. This is a non-obtrusive way to meaningfully enjoy God’s word together with other brothers and sisters in Christ.
A word of caution: the effect of your testimony, whether good or bad, can be multiplied exponentially through social networking. Think before you type. Also, sites like these are time traps: manage your time wisely as a good steward of Jesus Christ!
Pro’s and Cons to Social MediaView
The most popular is likely Facebook, so for simplicity we’ll talk about that.
- Many Christians post meditations and thoughts on the Scriptures that are helpful and encouraging.
- Some missionaries use Facebook to post updates on the work.
- Facebook enables communication with people you don’t generally have the opportunity to communicate with. If you have a question about something or a prayer request, you can easily let it be known. For instance, the writer may not have known about the death of two missionaries in Zambia had it not been for Facebook, and many more prayers may have gone up to God as a result of its presence there. It is also a good way to tell people you don’t know very well but have some contact with about gospel meetings. If you post a verse or gospel thought, your friends and family will likely read it and be reminded of eternity. This is perhaps one benefit of the not-so-personal aspect of Facebook.
- A common reason for using Facebook is the ease of sharing photos with friends and family.
- Facebook can be used to help others. Let’s take the example of a mother whose child spilled hot coffee all over the carpet. She can post on Facebook to see if anyone has a carpet shampooing machine she can use. People interested in helping can post to her status, and only those who respond get a reply when she determines what she wants to do. If she were to email everyone in her address book, she could be contacting businesses and people 500 miles away who really don’t care about her problem, and if someone “replied to all” she would be clogging up a lot of people’s emails. Finally, it is much more time effective to post a note on Facebook than to search through 500 email contacts or phone numbers and call each person to see if they have a carpet cleaner you can use.
- You can easily waste time without realizing it.
- Depending on your friends, some material posted on Facebook can be defiling. If you’re seeing bad information from someone, you can unsubscribe from their news or unfriend them.
- Some ads may be inappropriate. You can hide them by clicking on the x that appears on the upper right of the ad, and Facebook will get better at showing you more appropriate ads. In general, I have seen improvement in Facebook ad quality so this may no longer be an issue for most people.
- Facebook can take some of the meaning out of conversations and relationships. God gave us our senses for a reason. It’s harder to connect with someone if you can’t make eye contact, hear their voice, or sense their feelings. You can’t give them a real hug over wi-fi. If you know what is going on in someone’s life already through Facebook, you may be less likely to call them and talk to them in person. But let Facebook be a springboard to more meaningful communication! Nothing says you can’t ask about a trip after seeing some photos on Facebook.
- Communication in writing is so much more likely to be misunderstood than communication in person. Try to think about how what you write could be taken before submitting it. Writing, when done thoughtfully, can be an advantage in some cases to orderly express your thoughts to someone else in the way you want them explained.
- It is possible for other people to attempt to ruin your testimony through Facebook. For instance, someone once didn’t log out of their account, which enabled someone else to secretly post derogatory “likes” in their personal information. It wasn’t until some time later that they realized their information had been compromised.
- Security and Privacy: Don’t think that just because you have tight security settings that others won’t be able to view your photos and information. Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want the extended Facebook community to see. Note that anytime someone “likes” something of yours, all of their friends (regardless of whether those people are your friends or not) can then see what you posted.
- If your information is read by someone with bad intentions, a thief could easily find out when you’re going on vacation.
- Relationships: When it comes to male/female relationships, I will leave that subject to the more qualified, except for the following: Such relationships are not to be treated lightly. I have attended the funeral of a young man who took his own life after a terminated relationship. Knowing my own emotions, I can see how this could happen. Be careful to not get into something you didn’t want to start in the first place.
So: Don’t let Facebook control you and your time. Let it assist in communication but do not let it be your only communication. Build meaningful relationships by connecting with others through means God has gifted us with outside of the realm of technology.
Tips for managing Facebook time:
- Try toggl.com to see how much time you are actually spending on Facebook or the Internet. Simply press the start / stop button to track your time. You might be surprised how much of your day this takes up.
- At the upper-right of a news entry, there is a selection option to show all updates from that person, important ones, or no updates. Use this to hide people you don’t know well or those who post questionable material.
- Choose what kinds of email notifications you receive. Less emails means less interruptions and time better spent.
Video technology like Skype is beneficial to families (including missionaries) that are separated by many miles, enabling them to connect more meaningfully with their loved ones. Also, the writer has friends who use the video chat feature of Google+ to conduct live Bible studies, since they live too far away from each other to have them in person. They use Google docs to collaboratively work on and discuss the study outlines.