My Podcast Is Now Available on Overcast

My podcast, The Busy Latter-day Saint, is now available on Overcast, my favorite podcast app.

Overcast is, in my opinion, the best podcast app for Apple users. There are many great features, but then the two that I enjoy the most are Smart Speed, which shortens the silences, and Voice Boost that remasters the audio. The app is free with ads that take up minimal screen real estate. If the ads are a bother, then you can subscribe to Overcast Premium for the very reasonable price of $9.99 per year.

If you have not tried Overcast, download it today and give it a try.

For Android users, try the highly-rated Pocket Casts.

Technology and Trying Times

The spread of the coronavirus has provided us opportunities to become creative in doing the Lord’s work. Heavenly Father has prepared us for these times by providing us with technology so we can continue serving others.

There are many ways we can accomplish that goal. Live streaming with Facebook or FaceTime for Apple users. Conferencing services such as Zoom, Skype, FreeConference, Google Hangouts, and GoToMeeting can be tools to enable us to reach out and serve. Each of the above has strengths and weaknesses.

It is not the purpose of the writing to compare the above but to focus on Zoom, one of the most popular conferencing services.

Zoom is easy to use, works on all operating systems and has a free version that will supply you with all the options that you will need.

Zoom can be used through a web browser or using the free apps for Mac, Windows, App Store on iOS, or the Play Store on Android.

After you have downloaded the app, tap on Sign Up to create a free account. Enter your email address and first and last name, tap on “I agree to the Terms of Service,” and you are set to go.

While each of the apps may be laid out differently, they all provide the same four functions:

  1. New Meeting – start a meeting now
  2. Join – to join a meeting someone as started
  3. Schedule – to schedule a meeting for the future
  4. Share Screen – to share your screen with others

Also, there are four options at the bottom or side of your screen:

  1. Chat (may also be shown as Meet & Chat) – to chat with another person
  2. Meetings – upcoming meetings you have created or are a participant
  3. Contacts – a list of your contacts (you have the choice of connecting with your current contact list)
  4. Settings

The person or persons you are meeting with do not need the app or have an account. They will receive an email from you providing them with simple instructions to join the meeting.

Once the meeting has started you will have various features to use during the meeting.

  1. Mute – to mute the sound
  2. Stop video – to close your camera so others participants cannot see you. To open the camera tap on Start Video
  3. Share Content – a list of things you can share such as photos, a whiteboard, your screen and more. When you share your screen any app you open will be seen by the particpants.
  4. Participants – allows you to control and invite particpants
  5. More – various other settings

The best way to practice using Zoom is to call your companion. To avoid feedback make sure each of you are in different rooms, then start playing with the various options.

Zoom is an efficient and easy service with a quick learning curve. It enables you to continue teaching and ministering to others without leaving your home.

NB – Just as I finished this post reports came in that some Android users are reporting problems with reception when using Zoom. Currently the app has a bad rating in the Play Store and there is no reason, at this point, to know the reason. Ratings on the App Store remain high. If you are an Android user and have a problem, please contact me at help@thebusylatterdaysaint.com.

Great Additions to The Gospel Library

The latest edition of the Gospel Library (5.4.0) for iOS and Android has some exciting additions and improvements. The screenshots below are from an iPhone but are identical for Android.

In the Note Editor, undo and redo buttons have been added, which is a welcome addition. The bold, italics formats are now complete with the addition of underlining.

But there is more. It is now possible to indent and outdent a list, and text can be aligned left, center, right, and justified.

Another helpful feature is the ability to add a horizontal line and inserting a timestamp. The horizontal line will help in creating sub-divisions in a note, while the timestamp is useful when a note is updated, or a section is added.

Something that has always been available but has never discussed is using emoticons in Notes. An emoticon can convey nuances and can affect emotions, and they are fun to use. Tap on the smiley face that is to the left of the Space Bar and select the emoticon of your choice.

The list is extensive, so to see all of the formatting options on an iPhone in the portrait mode, slide the formatting bar to the left to see the remaining options. If you view the phone in the landscape mode, the entire bar can be seen.

The iPad in portrait and landscape mode shows all of the formatting options.

There has also been a massive increase in the maximum characters in a note. Up to now, the limit has been approximately 23k. This number was never an official limit, but a few years ago, through some of my contacts, I was given the above number. To be able to put 23k characters in perspective, I did a character count on a few conference talks and found they average 16-17k. Now the new limit of 500k characters can allow us to go crazy. This may seem extreme, but I have had incidents where I have copied and pasted an article that exceeded the previous limit forcing me to cut the material into sections.

Now for the most biggest news. The Note Editor now has hyperlinks. I am super excited to have hyperlinks now officially supported.

For several years I have pasted links from outside sources in my Library notes, and they worked (most of the time). But they were messy, long and not very attractive, and the biggest problem was while scrolling down a note, I would unintentionally touch the link and find myself outside of the Library, requiring me to jump back to the app. Now with hyperlinks, no mess, no fuss, no accidentally activating the link, and the link lowell, cool.

Some improvements also show up in the Search function. Search suggestions now appear based on where you are located in the Library. Here is an example:

  1. Go to Scriptures/Book of Mormon.
  2. Tap the Search icon at the bottom of the screen.
  1. Type in the search field “faith” (without the quotes)
  2. Tap the search suggestion “Find ‘faith’ in Book of Mormon.”
  1. Here are the results

The “Find on Page” feature has been simplified. Now tapping on the option goes directly to the page instead of loading results in the search panel. The final improvement is the date modified shows for notes on the Notes tab in search results.

Another nice touch is a general search for any related notes that appears in results; the date modified will show under the title.

Excellent addition to the Conference talks is topic tags are added to the bottom of the talk. While a great addition, I wish they were at the top of the talk.

These topics are the same that are in the “Topics” column in the General Conference library.

The final improvement is in the Doctrine & Covenants. Links to Revelation in Context have been added to the sidebar. The link icon is the same as used for the recently added photos and video links.

All in all, the update is a welcomed addition. The Gospel Library continues to grow and provide a productive environment to study the scriptures.

Yes, It Is All About Me! Listen to The Latest Cedar Fort Podcast

January 13, 2020

A few weeks ago, Cedar Fort Publishing interviewed me about my book. The podcast is now available on your favorite podcast app. If you do not have a podcast app, try Overcast or Castro. Do not want to download an app but want to listen to the podcast? Go to Cedar Fort directly and listen.

I think you will find it interesting how my book Digital Scripture Study for The Busy Latter-day Saint came to be.

Media in Gospel Library Brings the Scriptures to Life

December 27, 2019

The Gospel Library (available as a mobile app and online) has been upgraded to include three types of multimedia that you can access right alongside the scriptures. You can access images and watch videos right in the “Related Content” sidebar.

[https://lds365.com/2019/12/27/media-in-gospel-library-brings-the-scriptures-to-life/]

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.