Coming This Week – Update

I was able to start curating sooner than expected, so starting today, October 7, 2019, there is a new page.

I will be curating pertinent technology news. The curations will cover Apple, Android, tablets, Macs, PCs, software, and more.

Each day as I read technologies latest news, if I see something that will be of help to you, I will add it to the News page.

Preserving General Conference Notes

General Conference is always an exciting time for me. In preparation, a few weeks before the conference, I set up a Study Plan in the Gospel Library and listen to all of the previous conference talks. I also start to pray to ask that my mind and heart will be open for revelation. With the start of the conference, I am ready to listen and start taking notes. I think the above scenario is common for most of you.

My question to you is, “What do you do with your notes once the conference is over?” This is an important decision. Notes are of little value unless there is a method to retrieve them, and how you store them will impact the ease to which you can retrieve the information.

The primary purpose of this article is to help those that take hand-written notes, but I am going to start by briefly mentioning other methods.

There are two ways in which notes can be taken.

Digitally Using a Keyboard

The digital method requires you to use a laptop (computer), tablet, or smartphone. The app you use to type your notes varies and comes to personal preference. A word processor, a note app, or even the Gospel Library are some of the options.

Regardless of the medium used, the retrieval of the information is accessible. Simply open the search function and enter what you are looking for.

Hand-written Notes

Using paper and pen is a powerful note-taking technique. Studies have shown information is easier to recall when we engage our hands in the note-taking process. The problem is finding specific information at a later date.

I am sure you have had the same experience that I have had in finding specific information that is stored in your hand-written notes. Pulling down from the shelf one notebook after another in search of what you are looking for is a frustrating experience.

There is an effortless way to making retrieving of information a snap, and that is to use a scanner.

I am not referring to the scanner feature in your printer. The scanning process is slow, and sending it to your computer can result in frustration at the highest level.

I am suggesting using a dedicated scanner such as the ones made by Fujitsu, or better yet, a scanning app on your smartphone or tablet.

An excellent dedicated scanner can run $150 and up. While a scanning app starts at free and is rarely over $10.

On the free side is Scannable made by Evernote and will send your scanned note directly to Evernote. For this, to work, you obviously need to have Evernote, which has a free version. Scannable can be used with Android and Apple devices.

Genius Scan is another excellent app for Apple and Android. It will create a PDF version of your hand-written notes and then send the files to a service of your choice, such as Evernote, Dropbox and etc.

There is also Scanner Pro for Apple. It will scan your notes, and like Genius Scan, send the file to a place of your choice.

Whenever I discuss using scanning apps on a smartphone, I am asked, “Why not just take a picture of the notes since you are using the camera on the phone anyway?”

Scanning apps are programmed to take great photos of documents only. Rather than taking a picture of the surface, the note is lying on and the note. Scanning apps will automatically zero-in on only the document, then proceed to add filters automatically, so the scanned document looks like it was run through a copying machine. Another benefit is the app can save the document as a PDF, JPEG, or other formats. Also, the app can make the document searchable, and that is the key benefit of using the app.

Another Hand-writing Method

There is another medium for taking hand-written notes – a tablet. A tablet, stylus, and an app for taking notes are all you need to facilitate the retrieval of information quick and easy. These apps can index your hand-writing, or if you prefer, convert your hand-written notes to text. Another benefit is sharing your notes with someone else is a simple matter of copying and pasting.

Goodnotes and Notability are two excellent apps for Apple devices. For Android, Lecture Notes, and INKredible come highly recommended. In full disclosure, I do not have an Android tablet, and so I have not been able to test the apps.

Best Practice for Pen and Paper

After the conference, using your smartphone, scan the notes, then transfer the scanned copies to Evernote as a JPEG (or PDF). Evernote will make then make the scanned copy searchable. Tag the notes “GC” for general conference. In addition, Evernote can create a link to the document which can then be pasted into the Gospel Library.

You may want to paste the link in a note linked to a scripture in the Gospel Library because the speaker made a powerful statement about that verse.

In the end, your notes will be searchable, and instead of taking hours to find a note, it will take a few seconds.

Using the Gospel Library with Voice Control and a Mouse

iOS 13
iOS 13

Coming this Fall, you will be able to interact with the Gospel Library by using your voice on your iPhone and iPad, and use a mouse with your iPad. This is a brief introduction to these two new features.

Apple announced they are creating two separate operating systems (OS) – iOS 13 for the phone, and IOS 13 for the iPad. The purpose is to address the individual needs of each device.

However, there are several features they will have in common. One of them is Voice Control. This enables you to use your device without having to touch the screen. While this will be a great benefit to those with special needs, it may prove to be a benefit to every user, and time will tell if it catches on with the general public.

Currently, iPadOS 13 is in beta, and I downloaded it to my iPad to get familiar with the new OS and to try out Voice Control with the Gospel Library, and I was very impressed.

Once I turned on Voice Control, I said, “open library” and the Gospel Library opened. Then I gave the command, “tap on bookmarks,” and my Bookmarks opened. This was followed by “tap on personal study,” and my personal study Bookmark opened.

I was also able to open and close Footnotes, Notes, Tags along with scrolling up and down

One problem I had was selecting text. I was able to choose one word but not the entire verse. At this point, I am not sure if the problem was with the beta, or I was not providing the right command.

Despite the glitch, one thing is sure, I am very excited by the possibilities Voice Control offers those with special needs, but also for the public in general.

Apple has been the leader in offering accessibility to everyone, and Voice Control becomes an powerful arrow in Apple’s quiver.

As mentioned above it will be interesting to see if the general public will make use of Voice Control. And if it does catch on will Apple make further improvements in its use.

Another new feature for the iPad is the ability to add a mouse. This feature is well hidden in the Accessibility in settings and requires that you turn on AssistiveTouch.

You can use a mouse connected by cable or wirelessly. Depending on the iPad you have if you use a mouse connected by cable you may need an adapter.

I used an Apple wireless mouse and was very pleased with the results even though it lacks a few options normally found with a mouse such has right click to bring up a sub menu.

As pointed out above the mouse capability was added to help those that have physical challenges, but this feature will be a game changer for everyone even with some of its limitations.

Voice Control and using a mouse are just two of the many new features that are coming with iOS 13 for your phone and iPadOS 13 for your iPad.

September will be an exciting month when both OS will be made available to the public.

Scripture Study and Mind Mapping

How do you study the scriptures? Do you explore by topic? Use Footnotes? Make notes as impressions come? A combination of these and other methods?

Regardless of how we study the scriptures, there is always room for improvement.

There are plenty of books on the subject of scripture study. To name a few”, Searching the Scriptures: Bringing Power to Your Personal and Family Study by Gene R. Cook, Scripture Study Tools and Suggestions by James E. Faulconer , and, of course, my book Digital Scripture Study for the Busy Latter-day Saint. Each of these books provides excellent suggestions for making your scripture study a rich spiritual experience.

However, they are only tools, and of little value without the Spirit’s guiding hand. Their purpose is to provide a way for us study it out in our minds, to ponder, and to know of what we need to inquire of the Lord so that the Spirit can work within us.

One potent tool is outlining. Creating an outline of verses, or a chapter provides clarity, reveals new insights, and brings forth further questions.

In the early 1960’s a new way of outlining was introduced by Tony Buzan, a graduate of the University of British Columbia in psychology, English, Mathematics and General Sciences, and inventor of Mind Mapping.

What is Mind Mapping

According to Mind/Maps Unleashed, “mind mapping is a powerful graphic technique that increases your creativity and productivity because it’s an excellent tool to let you generate more ideas, identify relationships among the different data and information, and effectively improve your memory and retention.”

Buzan’s concept of mind mapping started with colored pencils and paper, but has evolved in the digital age to powerful and fun applications. A list of popular mind mapping apps is at the end of this post.

How Mind Mapping Helps Me

For me, the Title Page of the Book of Mormon is a difficult read because of the grammatical structure. After creating a mind map, its purpose becomes much clearer. I began to see the relationship of the Book Mormon to the Gentiles, Jews, and the House of Israel. The map helped me put all of the pieces together.

One thing to keep in mind is mind mapping is more comfortable using a large screen such as your desktop computer, or tablet. While you can create mind maps on your smartphone, it is not something you will want to do for an extended period. However, the smartphone is great for quickly adding a thought or two to your mind map while on the go.

While this article is about mind mapping the scriptures, mind maps are useful in other ways. For example, this article was created using the mind mapping app MindNode.

Connecting Your Mind Map to the Gospel Library

When I create a mind map related to the material in the Gospel Library, I copy the link of the mind map and paste it in a Note in the Gospel Library. This is not always an easy task. Below, are the steps using MindNode as an example.

First, create a mind map, and get a copy of the URL by doing the following:

In MindNode

  • Tap on the Share icon
  • Tap on myMindNode
  • Tap on “Upload Document” or “Replace Document”
  • Tap on Share URL
  • Tap on Copy (swipe to the left if you do not see the command)

In the Gospel Library:

  • Select a verse or chapter
  • Tap on Note
  • In the Title field, add some information, e.g., “A mind map of the vision.”
  • Paste the link into the Note

The link will look like this:

https://my.mindnode.com/F3QyLMRzx3t6b3poGs8ZASdwQKQPg4a94SW2qnHk

Now the next time you are reading that chapter, or perhaps teaching a class, and you want to view or share it, just tap on the link.

However, there is a problem. Notice that the link starts with https:// indicating the link is to a website. To view the mind map you will need wifi access. Currently, the Gospel Library only works with website links.

Many apps today use x-callbacks that allow one app to link temporarily with another app. The most common use is to launch an application from within an application. However, there are applications like the Gospel Library that have not implemented them. Here is an example of a callback:

mindnode://open?name=D&C%206.mindnode

This callback would open the D&C 6 file in the MindNode app.

Until the Gospel Library allows callbacks, here is a workaround using Evernote. If you do not have Evernote download the app before continuing. Evernote works on all platforms, and they have various plans. The free version is all you need to do the following.

Solution

Open MindNode

  • Create a mind map in MindNode
  • Tap on the Share icon
  • Tap on “Export Type”
  • Tap on “Image”
  • Tap on “Send to App…”
  • Find and tap on “Evernote” (you may have to swipe to the left to find it)
  • Type a title or subject of the mind map
  • As an option, you can tap on the Notebook field to send it to a Notebook of your choice, and/or tap on the Tag field to create a tag, e.g., “Mind Map.”
  • Tap on Save

Open Evernote

  • Open the document you just saved
  • Tap on the share icon
  • Tap on the share icon
  • Tap on Copy Link

Open the Gospel Library

  • Paste the link in a note in the Gospel Library

The result will look like this:

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s9/sh/6f112220-3c8c-4afe-9503-97a3d94b5725/a403107cf73195f0d3e6728136b77dd6

At this point, you should be really puzzled. The link above is a link to the Evernote website, so how does this solve the problem of working without wifi access? An excellent question, and here is the answer.

Simple Explanation

When a website link to a document is triggered some apps, for example Evernote, reasons, “Hey, that is a link to the document on the internet, but I have my application right here on this tablet, so I am going open the document in the application instead of the internet.”

Presently MindNode does not have that function, so we used Evernote in its place.

As a side note, the Gospel Library does have the same function as Evernote. Tap on a link to the Gospel Library website version and, if you have the Gospel Library on your device, the link will open in your mobile Gospel Library

So that you can get a better idea of using mind maps in scripture study below are links to other maps I have created.

Isaiah in the Book of Mormon

Doctrine & Covenants 6

Look unto Jesus Christ (conference talk by Elder Kim B. Clark, April 2019)

As always, I look forward to your comments.

Cover photo by Photo by Derick Anies on Unsplash

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List of Mind Mapping Apps

There is a long list of mind mapping apps. Below is a summary of the more prominent ones.

MindNode (iOs and Mac)

  • Cost
    • 2 week free trial for Mac and iOS
    • iOS $14.99
    • Mac $39.99

iThoughts (iOS and Mac)

  • Cost
    • iOS $11.99
    • Mac $49.99

SimpleMind (iOS, Mac, Android and Windows)

  • Cost
    • Free version
    • Very popular
    • Full Featured $6.99 and up

Mindomo (iOS, Android)

  • Cost
    • Free

Mindly (iOS, Android)

  • Cost
    • Free version

There are also web-based apps. Here are three:

MindMeister

  • Cost
    • Free – 3 mind maps
    • Personal, Pro, Business – $4.99 to $12.49/mo

Coggle

  • Cost
    • Free

MindMup

  • Cost
    • Free

As an Apple user I prefer MindNode. Because of the following:

  • Quick start feature – this important to quickly capture an idea
  • Fast – I like to get my ideas down in a free flowing easy manner
  • Node color is automatically created by Mindnode which saves me time
  • External displays can show the whole map while on the iPad I can zoom in

As a side note, all of the mind map apps can communicate with each other via the Freemind or OPML format options. This is important for two reasons.

First, you may start with one app then later discover you prefer another one. For example, I used iThoughts many years until reading a review of MindNode and found that it was easier to use.

Second, you may need to send your mind map to someone who is using a different mind map app. When transferring between various apps, keep in mind that formatting is not always perfect, so you may have to do a little tweaking on the receiving end.

Gospel Library Drag and Drop

It is essential to understand the meaning of a word. In the Gospel Library, you can select a word, then tap on “Define” and a dictionary with the definition of will appear.

Sometimes, a quick read of the definition will suffice, but there are times that you will want to place that definition in a “Note” for future reference.

The “Copy” command does not work within the popup definition. Thus, requiring you to remember the definition, and then type it into a “Note.”

This is not a problem if the definition is simple. However, if the definition has several meanings then you are left with having to go outside of the Library, open a dictionary, find the definition and then copy it, go back to the Library, select the word again, tap on “Note,” tap on the body of the “Note,” then tap on paste.

Here is an easier and quicker way. In this example, I am using the app Drafts. It has a free version which will serve our purposes for this exercise. You can also use Apple’s built-in app “Note,” however, Drafts is far superior. (see my note about Drafts at the end of this post).

Here are the steps:

  • Open Drafts.
  • Create a split screen with the Library on one side and Drafts on the other.
  • Select the word you want to be defined.
  • Hold your finger on the definition until it appears to lift off the page.
  • Keeping your finger on the definition drag it into Drafts, then lift your finger.
  • Close the dictionary.

There are now two options:

Step 1

  • In the Library, tap on “Note.”
  • Select the text in Drafts and drag the text into the “Note.”

Step 2

  • In Drafts tap on the Actions menu, in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Tap on the Action “Copy.”
  • In the Library tap on “Note,” then tap on the body of the “Note.”
  • Tap on Paste.

The above becomes even easier if you place Drafts into your “Dock,” then you can drag Drafts into the right or left of the screen to create a split-screen.

Note:

Everyone that has an iPhone or iPad should download Drafts. It is an award-winning, indispensable, and powerful app (did I add enough adjectives?) that will simplify your digital life. Click here to learn more.