• Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.
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Entries in apple (21)


Help required - Safari and Google search error

I am hoping that someone on the internets may be wise and benevolent enough to help with a problem I am having with Safari and Google Search.  I am currently using Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.4) - every time that I try to do a search using (or search using google in the address bar) I get an ERROR 403 (Forbidden)!!1 message.

Here is a screenshot (and below it is some of the technical data). Does anyone have an idea what the problem may be and how I could fix it?  By the way I have had this problem since upgrading to Lion some time ago, and each time that I 'restore' the contents of my Hard Drive onto a new computer it follows me...

Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks, Dion


Converting a regular sim card to a micro sim or nano sim for the iPad mini or iPhone 5

Some time ago I put a post on my blog showing how one can convert a regular sim card into a Micro Sim for use in an iPad or iPhone 4 (then the iPad 2 or iPhone 4) - you can read that original post here.

Since then Apple has released the lovely little iPad Mini and the brand new iPhone 5.  Recently when I was in New York for business I played with the iPad mini - it is a lovely device, however, I will sticking to my 'regular sized' iPad for the next while.  The screen size works for me and the kinds of things I need to do with my iPad (it is often my only 'travel' computer for email, creating documents, doing presentations, surfing the web, reading etc.)

However, I decide to upgrade my trusty old iPhone 4 to a new 'white' iPhone 5.  I have been using my iPhone 4 for over two years now and the 'home button' was no longer working as it should.

I bought my iPhone at the 5th Avenue Apple Store just near Central Park and headed back to where I was staying at Alma Matthews House to figure out if I could convert my Micro sim (that used to be a regular sim!) into the new smaller Nano Sim that the iPhone 5 requires.

The good news is that it is easily done!  Of course the standard disclaimer applies - if you mess up your sim card (which is very possible) that is your own doing I'm afraid and I won't be able to help you.  You will have to go to your cellphone carrier and do a sim swap to a new sim card and pay what is required.

Here's what you'll need:


  • A computer with an internet connection to download the PDF document from Point 1 below (that shouldn't be a problem if you are reading this post ;-)
  • A printer and A4 paper to print the PDF guidelines you will use to measure and cut your sim card (see point 1 below if you don't have a printer or A4 paper).
  • A rule with a straight hard edge.
  • A pair of scissors or a sharp knife. Handle with care! Fingers are more precious than sim cards!
  • A marker or even a pencil to mark the lines along which you will cut.


So, here are the steps that I followed.

1.  Download this PDF document and print it at 100% size on an A4 page.  That is important! It must be printed at 100% since the measuring that you will do is to scale, if you print it larger or smaller your cut will not be accurate and you could damage your sim card.

Just a little note - I did not have a printer or A4 paper while I was in New York (my printer and paper were back in Cape Town...) So, all that I did was to open the PDF on my laptop screen, made sure that the PDF was displayed at 100% in the PDF viewer (I use Apple Preview, but you can also use Adobe - just make sure that it is displaying the PDF at 100%). I held my Sim card against the screen (actually I turned my laptop so that the screen was on the carpet and the 'bottom (keyboard etc.)' was against the wall, and put the sim on the measurements on the screen, marked it with a pencil (since I also did not have a marker pen) and then cut it!)  I am a little braver than most!

2.  If you have downloaded the PDF and printed it on an A4 page at 100% simply follow the steps for converting your regular sim card, or micro sim card to a nano sim card.  Remember to measure twice and cut once! It pays in the long run!

3.  The nano sim is actually a little thinner (not only smaller) than a regular sim card.  Most people have been able to simply cut their sim card and insert it.  I did, however, use the sharp edge of my pair of scissors to 'shave' the pain off the top of my newly cut sim card to make it thinner.  Of course if you could get some fine sandpaper that would work much better.  Just be extremely careful not to shave through the back of your sim card and damage the electronics on the other side!  So, just take off very little at a time, test it, and then redo if it still does not fit.

I went from New York to Paris, and then on to London.  In all locations I bought prepaid 'Vodafone' regular sized sim cards, cut and 'shaved' them and put them into my iPhone 5 to use for email, phone calls, texts, skype and of course the most important of all - google maps!

I hope this helps you! Enjoy your new iPad Mini or iPhone 5 and let me know how it goes!


Fixing battery drain on Mac OSX Mountain Lion on a MacBook Pro

I recently upgraded my three year old Macbook Pro to the newest version of Mac's OSX operating system, Mountain Lion. Previously when I was using Lion I was getting between 4-5 hours of batter life on my Mac. My fans almost never came on, and the machine was pretty stable.

Since installing Mountain Lion I found that my battery life dropped to about 1 to 1.5 hours! I also noticed that the fans on my MackBook Pro were almost constantly spinning (even when I had almost no applications open).

This is not an uncommon problem, it would seem that many others have had the same struggles. See these threads for some posts on this topic.

So, here's what I did to fix the problem:

Activity Monitor

Simply open the Activity Monitor (in Applications/Utilities), when it is open click on the 'My processes' tab at the ton, and choose to show CPU cycles (it is a heading that you click on between 'User' and 'Threads'). You should be able to see what processes are using up most of your CPU cycles.

I found that Microsoft Sync services and iCal External Sync were constantly spiking to the top of that list.

The point is, if you see an application or process that is not necessary that is hammering your CPU, disable it.

So, I opened up Entourage 2008 (I have to use Entourage because one of my clients runs an old version of Microsoft Exchange (2003), this old version of Exchange doesn't work with Apple Mail, Calendar, or Address book. It also doesn't work with the new version of Microsoft Outlook 2011 - sadly!) In Entourage, click on Entourage, Preferences, look for Sync services on the left and then make sure you don't have any sync services enabled. This will mean that you won't sync your Entourage calendar, address book, or notes with Apple's products. I suggest that you export and sync these with Gmail from time to time, and then sync Apple's services directly with Gmail.

Login items

The second thing I would suggest you check is what items you have set to automatically open up when you login to your mac. I had the 'Growl' agent installed, and since I have an Android phone in addition to my iPhone 4 (I also carry a Samsung Galaxy Note), I had Kies and the Android file transfer agent set to automatically load). When I deselected these (in addition to what I did with sync services above) my battery life was so much better.

Here's what you do to check and disable startup items.

First, open 'System Preferences', then click on 'Users & Groups', now make sure your user account is selected (it should be under 'Current User'). Then click on 'Login Items' (this is not 'Login Options' on the bottom left, it is the tab next to 'Password'). You will see a list of programs that are set to open when you log in. As mentioned Kies, the Android file manager, and the Growl agent were among the programs listed. Click on each program you want to remove and then press the '-' button (don't just deselected it). That will stop it from starting up.

Well, I hope that helps you! It helped for my batter life. Your results may vary. If you find another solution please do drop a note in the comments section below and let me know.




Steve Jobs dies - prayer and reflection

This morning I awoke in Malaysia (I am here for a conference) to hear that Steve Jobs, the co founder of the Apple corporation had died during the night at the young age of 56.

I spent some of my quiet time this morning praying for him and for his family.  I would like to encourage you to do the same.  Of course there will be many who are critical of Steve Jobs.  However, in this time of sorrow let's ask God to bring blessing, healing and grace to his wife, children, family, friends and colleauges.

There is little doubt that this man has left an indellible mark on recent history!  I was struck by how much he had achieved in his young life.  In part my decision to 'buy out' some of my time to retun to academic work and consultancy arose out of a journey to use my limited time on earth wisely.

I remember sharing this video (well worth watching!) of Steve Jobs speaking at the Stanford University Graduation with my Forum group and saying that the time has come for me to make some bold choices, even to take a risk, in order to move closer to God's purpose for my life.  And of course the courage to spend your life well begins with choice of how to spend your minutes and your hours.

Watch the video here when you get a chance.

So, I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist:

The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have strength... for they quickly pass, and we fly away... Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90.10,12

May the Lord give you grace to know how to spend your hours and your days.  As Gretchen Ruben said so aptly, "While the days are long, the years are short".

Rich blessing from Malaysia,




What to do if you get an error 1013 or 1611 when updating your iPhone to OS 4.3

I decided to update my iPhone 4 to iOS 4.3 this morning (mainly because I would like to use the personal hotspot feature).

So, last night I left my Macbook downloading the update and after I got back from the Junior Argus with my kids at lunch time I hooked up my iPhone to my Macbook and let it update. When the update finished I was greeted with a message on my Macbook to say that an unknown error hard occured and my iPhone could not be updated and needed to be restored. However, no matter what I did, each time I restored it with the 4.3 iOS update it would give the same error.

So, this problem is described here. It seems to be related to an Apple update verification server that is problematic ( that is in the 'hosts file located at /private/etc/).

The bad news is that no matter what you do you'll loose your photos, music etc., that has been changed since your last backup or sync with your Mac! My suggestion is that you ALWAYS backup your iOS device before performing a firmware upgrade.

Now, if you have the correct permissions set on your mac there is an easy solution to the 1013 or 1611 error. Just follow these instructions: Method 1 (the easy way)

On a Mac:

* Open Finder

* Hold down COMMAND + SHIFT keys and press 'G'

* Enter "/private/etc/" in the field and press "Go"

* Find "hosts" file in the directory

* Drag the file to your desktop

* Open it in text editor

* Remove the line that has entirely or put a # at the beginning of it to comment it out

* Save the file

* Drag it back to the /private/etc/ folder.

* You'd need to enter your username and password to authenticate the move

On Windows:

Locate the hosts file in one of the following directories:

Windows 95/98/Me c:\windows\hosts

Windows NT/2000/XP Pro c:\winnt\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Windows XP, Vista, 7 c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Right click and click on "Open With..." and then click on

"Notepad" on the list.

* Remove the line that has completely and save the file.

This should work fine but you will lose all music, photos, videos and books

If your permissions are not set correctly on your Mac you will soon discover that you can't save the edit 'hosts' file and copy it back to its original location. It will keep telling you that you do not have the necessary permissions to save the file and move it.

So, if that is the case, here is an alternative solution (it requires a little 'terminal alchemy', but just follow these instructions and it will work like a charm. This was how I managed to do it - which reminds me I must do a disc repair to find out why my permissions are mucked up!). Method 2 (get your Unix geek on!)

Step 1 – Open the

Either by start typing Terminal on the Spotlight, or by going into Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal.

Step 2 – Open the hosts file

Open the hosts by typing on the Terminal that you have just opened:


$ sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

Type your user password when prompted. Step 3 – Edit the hosts file

The hosts file contains some comments (lines starting with the # symbol), as well as some default hostname mappings (e.g. – localhost).

Simply append your new mappings underneath the default ones. Or edit one of the default values if you know what you are doing!

You can navigate the file using the arrow keys. Step 4 – Save the hosts file

When done editing the hosts file, press control-o to save the file.

Press enter on the filename prompt, and control-x to exit the editor.

Step 5 – Flush the DNS cache

On Leopard you can issue a simple Terminal command to flush the DNS cache, and have your host file changes to take immediate effect:


$ dscacheutil -flushcache

You can now perform your update using the downloaded iOS 4.3 and it will work like a charm!


At last! A squarespace app for the iPad!

I love my squarespace blog!  I love the squarspace platform, and for some time time now I have loved the squarespace iPhone app!

In fact I have done quite a few posts to this blog from my iPhone. However, I need to say that entering long form text on an iPhone is quite frustrating.  I had tried using the iPhone app on my iPad but it just didn't work well.

I was so pleased to learn today that sqaurespace have finally launched a native iPad version of their blogging app!

Like the iPhone version you can add text, apply HTML formatting, upload images, manage posts and comments and check your statistics from the app.  And, using the iPad keyboard (and screen realestate) is fantastic!  I can see myself using it quite a lot.

The only annoying problem that I have encounter with both the iPhone and iPad apps for squarespace is that whenever I upload an image all of my text is LOST!  I have isolted the bug - if I want to upload an image with a post I need to first type out my post and upload only the text, then once it has been uploaded I need to go back to 'manage posts' and edit the post adding the image and republish it.  Then I need to follow that same step again in order to add tags and categories.  It is a little annoying, but it works well for getting my posts on line.

Now if only tumblr would release a native iPad application!!!


Has your 3G iPad stopped working on Vodacom (firmware iOS 4.2.1)?

I've had quite a few people contact me about the problem described above.

It is quite easy to solve. It would seem that with the firmware upgrade the cellular data APN is deleted or changed.

So, all that you need to do is:

1. Go to 'Settings'.
2. Choose 'Cellular Data' on the top left.
3. Select 'APN settings' on the right.
4. Then under the APN heading delete any text that is there and replace it with the word: internet
5. Please notices that internet has a lowercase 'i', simply leave 'Username' and 'Password' blank.
6. Then simply scroll back in the setting menu using the arrows at the top (that saves your settings) and exit settings to the home screen.
7. Now I would suggest that you reset your iPad and it should connect again.

I hope that helps!


Proof at last!

Indeed, there is proof! For the record, I am NOT platform agnostic!

I wonder if we'll be using iChat in heaven!? Thanks to Kevin for sending this through!  He knows that I am both passionate about Christ, and quite passionate about Apple Macs!


Using my Apple iPad for ministry in South Africa

In the short video in this post I show how I use my Apple iPad in my work and ministry.

I got a 16 Gig iPad courtesy of the University of JHB who paid me to examine some Masters and PhD scripts - hard work, but well worth the effort!

I ordered my iPad from (since it is not for sale in South Africa yet). It was a quick and painless affair. FedEx delivered it within a few days.

This is a great piece of hardware, I am particularly impressed with the 10-12 hour battery life with full wifi, screen brightness and sound etc. Moreover at a price of less than R4000 I can see many people using the iPad as a primary computing device.  R4000 is a lot of money!  But, if you're in the market for a new computer and have been saving (or have some benefactor, as I did) then it is money well spent for an ultraportable, ultra-useful computer.  The only problem I can foresee is printing... You will have to email your documents elsewhere to print them.  I have it on good authority that the camera dongle (which has a standard USB connector) will let you pull files from an ordinary USB thumb drive.

Don't hold your breath for the 3G version in South Africa. Knowing ICASA and the cellular carriers it will be many months, maybe even a year, before they can work out a deal to allow it into the country. Plus, I believe the 3G uses the new microsim card which has not been adopted by any cellular providers in SA. Rather go for a wifi version (which is cheaper and works in SA) with either a MiFi or joikuspot on a Nokia phone (as you'll see me using in this video).  With this solution I can use it in the car, anywhere in my office, in the airport... I'm not reliant on public or corporate wifi.

I use a number of applications specific to my work (Bibles in English and Greek, Keynote for Powerpoint presentations, Pages for Word docs and Numbers for spreadsheets). The device is small and light and works great with any bleutooth keyboard (I had an OLD foldable keyboard that I bought back in 2002 for a iPaq - amazingly it picks up the keyboard and works like a charm!)  I keep various talks, sermons, powerpoint presentations and videos on the device.  I also keep PDF copies of my books.  So if ever I get asked to speak at an event I always have something on hand.  The screen is the perfect size to replace paper, and the touch interface makes it a perfect device to read from and preach from.

As I mention above, I also use it for PDF's (I carry quite a few documents for various work and ministry related tasks.  Not the least of which are our current GDOP Conference program, speakers lists, budgets, etc.) and it does a great job with my calendar and contacts.

Of course the email client is also great! I have 4 of my accounts running on it throughout the day. I also run twitter and facebook on the device for the work I do for Lausanne's social media and social networking team.

In this video you'll also see how I connect it to the Internet via Vodacom 3G in South Africa.  Also, because the wifi in our office is locked down to run via a proxy server I set my iPad up to run via my Macbook as a base station with internet sharing (just as a hint, my friend Cois uses a PPoE connection at his office, which the iPad doesn't do via wifi. So, you can use the same internet sharing method to connect via PPoE.  If you're not sure how to do this drop me a line).

iPad for Ministry (in South Africa)! from Dion Forster on Vimeo.

See the video here:

By the way, this post was created using the squarespace application on the iPad.  There is no native squarespace app for the iPad, I am still using the iPhone application.  However, I do have the wordpress app for some of my 'other' blogs.  (all iPhone apps run on the iPad by the way).

How do you think you could use an iPad in your work or ministry?  Is there any use case where it could be a better tool than a laptop or desktop computer for you?


The first Apple iPad in South Africa! (Perhaps?)

The 1st Apple iPad in South Africa (perhaps!) This is my friend Cois' iPad. I'm sorry that the video is taken sideways (and upside down!) please tilt your head ;-)  It could be user error... It's the first time that I've taken a video with my iPhone where it hasn't autocorrected the aspect ratio...

The iPad is amazing!  It would be an incredible tool for someone like myself who attends far too many meetings during the day (needing to have access to my schedule, my 5 email accounts, all my documents and spreadsheets, have a Bible and of course the ability to show promotional videos and copies of my books).  If I had one of these I could simply carry the one piece of hardware with me everywhere and have everything I need to get my job done!

Watch the video if you can and let me know what uses you could have for a device like this.  Who else wants an iPad!?


Time to harvest a kidney! Apple iPad review looks GREAT!!

Yup, the Apple iPad wifi version was released in the USA on the 3rd of April.  A friend of mine who is currently in the US (Cois) managed to get one and says it is amazing!

Here's a great PC Magazine review of the Apple iPad.

It's time for me to harvest another kidney so that I can get an iPad!  Can you imagine having the Olivetree Bible reader on that thing plus all my sermons, Powerpoint slides, and a copies of all my documents!?  Man, that would be a great tool!

Anyone else planning on getting one when the FINALY get released in South Africa?  I'm sure the CORE technologies, Project3 or the Apple iStores will stock them in the next few months.


My 3 year old iPad! Still going strong!

The Apple iPad is attracting a lot of attention. I know that there are a few VERY exclusive people who have iPad's to try. However, the ordinary consumer will have to wait 60 days before being able to get their hands on one of them. Let alone those of us who live in places like South Africa where it will probably take another year before Apple releases the iPad with 3G! Still, I love my iPhone 3G and would LOVE an iPad 3G!

If I had the money I would pre-order one! However, there are a few more pressing priorities at the moment. So, I have come to appreciate what I already own - I have a 3 year old iPad (in South Africa.... Sort of!)! And, what I own is Sony Vaio UX 180 P.

This photo was taken when I was attending the Oxford Institute at Christ Church, Oxford University in August 2007.

My little portable computer is a Sony Vaio UX 180 P. It is a Windows XP device with a touch screen, a 30 gigabyte hard drive, 512MB or ram, wifi, bluetooth and a 3 hour battery life. It is the perfect travelers computer! It is smaller than a DVD case, in fact small enough to put into a big pocket on one's 'cargo pants'!

It runs a 'normal' operating system and 'normal' versions of MS Word, MS Outlook and the google Chrome browser. This means that I can simply plug in my backup USB flash disk that has copies of all of my documents and files on it and work away! Moreover, since it has a USB port I can connect to the internet using my 3G modem wherever I am and get my email, browse the web, and even use MS Outlook to connect to corporate server.

In this picture you'll see the iPod I owned in 2007, my old Nokia phone (a great big brick!), the UX 180 is docked in its docking station (that adds a VGA port, firewire, ethernet, and 4 USB 2.0 ports). You will also see my batterygeek external battery (this battery gives me an amazing 20 hours of battery life for the UX 180! On my Macbook Pro it gives me an additional 5-6 hours). I also have a cheap foldable Bluetooth keyboard that I can use with the UX 180 P.

So, until the iPad arrives, (and of course until I get some royalties for my books and don't have a washing machine to fix, kids school activities to pay for, a car to service and a few other pressing things to pay for), I shall be using my UX 180 P as a 'road warrior' computer!

Just as a final note - if you have not yet used dropbox it is a MUST HAVE for a person who uses more than one computer. Dropbox is a free service (for 2 Gigabytes of backup, after which you can choose to upgrade your space for a fee). You install a small application (which I have on my Macbook, my iPhone and my UX 180 P), then it creates a folder in your documents folder. Any file that you drag into that folder gets updated on Dropbox (you can even log into dropbox if you don't have your computer with you, and download the file you want to work on and then update it!)

While I was working on my most recent book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' (Struik Christian Media, 2010 - the book is due out in May), I used this little tool (in conjunction with my Macbook and my UX 180)! If I found that I was waiting to go into a meeting and the person I was meeting was running late I simply connected did some editing and knew that when I got back to my office the most up to date version of the file would ALWAYS be on my computer! Moreover, if my computers got stolen, or my house burnt down at least I would have backups of these (and other) critical documents 'in the cloud'.

I would suggest you consider using dropbox - it is free! OK, back to work for me! And then when I've done editing the article I'm working on I'm going to hop into bed with the Amazon Kindle application for Windows on my UX 180 P and continue reading Malcom Gladwell's new book 'What the dog saw'!