• 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 iPad (13)


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!


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!


The iPad Nano 3G - a killer device!

I love my iPad Nano 3G - it is small, has great battery life, and it can do just about everything my iPad 3G does...

In case you're confused... It is an iPhone 3GS! Still a great device after some years of use!

As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you - that's true for my iPhone camera, but the same can be said for computers! The best computer is the one you have with you! And, I always have my iPhone with me.

In fact, this post was written on the squarespace app on my iPhone. I love it!

What phone do you use? And what do you use it for?


Half a year with the Apple iPad in South Africa

I have had my Apple iPad 16 gig WiFi for almost 6 months now.  It has become an indispensable tool in my workflow and entertainment!

I thought I'd post a quick update on what I use it for (BTW, you can read my other iPad related posts, see some video of its use etc, here):

Most common daily uses:

Take a look at my iPad screen shot below to see my most used applications.

1.  Because of its size (small and thin) and battery life (at least 10 hours), I find that I hardly ever go anywhere without my iPad and my mifi portable 3G base station. I wish I had a 3G iPad (like some of my friends), but I'm pleased with what I have!

So, the iPad becomes my most used daily computer.  I use it for:

  • My Bible - I use Olivetree for the English (NRSV, NIV) and Greek Texts, and YouVersion (Bible HD) for 'The Message' and other modern language translations.
  • Reading and answering emails (even longer emails can be answered with ease).  I have 5 accounts and get about 200 mails a day.  So it is very handy to have this device to keep me on top of the most urgent mails.
  • My contacts and Calendar.  The Calendar application on the iPad is truly superb! It gives a great overview of the day, the week or the month.
  • The built in Notes application is indespensible!  I have hundreds of notes on the iPad - they are very ease to create, and can be synced or emailed to back them up.  Pressing the home button on the iPad allows you to search for keywords very easily.  So, I have a whole stack of information on hand at all times.
  • Dropbox - this is an incredible FREE solution that works with the iPad, iPhone, Android, and even Mac and Windows PC's!  It is like having a 'flash disc' with you everywhere.  You get 2 Gigs of free storage if you sign up (please use my referral link, I get an extra 250MB). Any file that you drop into your drop box on your computer automatically shows up on all other computers, iPhones, iPads that are linked to your account!  So, if my secretary wants me to have a document on my iPad, or I want a presentation, spreadsheet or document on both my iPad and my Macbook, I simply drop it into Dropbox!  If I work on the document it automatically syncs the most up to date version to all the devices!
  • Twitter and facebook (both personal and for the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization).  I use the free Twitter application for the various personal and Lausanne related feeds that I monitor and update. I use Friendly to stay up to date with my 1000 and some friends on facebook.
  • Office applications - I often need to work with spreadsheets and MS Word documents (and even powerpoints) as part of my work.  So, Pages, Numbers and Keynote are indespensible tools.
  • I do a great deal of public speaking, one of the three most valuable purchases for my iPad was the VGA dongle so that I can use it as a presentation device via a data projector.  I carry my most used Powerpoint presentations in Keynote, and the Videos that form part of those presentations.  It is SO handy to have this small, simple to use computer with a super long life battery on hand at all times!
  • Skype - There is not yet a skype version for the iPad, but the iPhone version works perfectly! I have even made Skype calls while driving (some days are busier than others, and since I am working across various timezones, US, Hong Kong etc., it is a fantastic help to have this little skype client to run... Obviously it is ONLY skype voice, no camera for video).
  • For fun, I do a lot of reading (most in the Kindle Application), while I prefer the layout and design of iBooks it is just easier to buy books on Kindle in South Africa, plus the Kindle App on my Macbook, iPhone and Blackberry are all always up to date with the location to which I have read in my various books.  
  • I also love using Flipboard to get a visual overview of my twitter, facebook and other RSS streams.
  • Lastly, I fairly frequently have to explain how certain functions of the brain work - the free application 3D Brain is a superb tool to navigate through the brain to help friends, family and students to get to grips with the workings of the old 'grey matter'.
  • My kids love playing Plants versus Zombies and Angry Birds. A little hint with both of these games... Buy the iPhone versions at a fraction of the price!  They look almost as good and work exactly the same.  Hours of fun while driving, or to keep the kids entertained while mom and dad are watching TV.

I often get asked if the iPad can replace my computer.  No, it cannot.  I have to use my Macbook for many tasks (in particular anything that requires any level of skill in creation (longer or more complex documents, presentations etc.) - but, I find that my laptop is used a lot more like a desktop.  I seldom carry it to meetings, and even if travel to Johannesburg for a day I would only take my iPad with me.

2.  The three best add ons for my iPad:

  • mifi 3G WiFi base station.  This keeps me connected to the internet!  Oh, how I wish I had a 3G iPad!
  • The Apple VGA dongle. In my line of work the iPad becomes so much more useful when it can be used to share presentations and videos.
  • The official Apple iPad case.  I know some don't like this cover, but it works so well for me.  It protects my iPad, it is small, thin, light and very versatile.  Plus, it makes the iPad look understated!  Very important for a minister!  I can carry the iPad into any meeting or gathering in this case and it looks just like a black cover notepad.

 I am so grateful for this great tool!  It makes my work and ministry so much easier.  Just this morning I used it when I spoke at the Camps Bay United Church - I had my powerpoint, Videos, sermon notes, and Bible all on one small, unobtrusive device.



iPad in South Africa - Vodacom and MTN 3G sim card conversion to microsim

UPDATE 4 January 2013 - If you are looking for the instructions for converting your regular sim, or micro sim, to a nano sim you can see my new post (with a very handy PDF for measuring and cutting) here.

Original Post

I am the very fortunate owner of an Apple iPad - unfortunately mine is not a 3G version.  You can read about my iPad here, and watch a video of how I use it here.

However, I do have a few friends who have bought 3G iPad's in America and Hong Kong.

The amazing thing is that the iPad is not carrier locked (unlike the early iPhones that were locked to AT&T - my iPhone 3GS is a US version that has been unlocked for use on MTN in South Africa).  But, back to the iPad 3G.  With the three iPad's that I have got working on 3G in South Africa it was a simple as putting in a 3G sim card.

But... There is one problem!  Micro-sim cards are quite rare in South Africa.  I have heard that Vodacom has some in stock (that one can purchase), and I'm sure that MTN must also have some now (since they have been advertising that they'll also be selling the iPhone 4 which uses this smaller sim card).

So, what to do if you want your 3G iPad to run on a South African Network?  Well, it's quite simple actually:

DISCLAIMER:  Do this at your own risk!  This is merely an outline of how I did it on a few iPads, your results may vary. 

1. Get a regular sim card (you can either purchase a prepaid sim card - which costs just R1 from Vodacom, and I would suggest Vodacom for pre-paid data since it is so easy to load data at a cheaper cost).

2. Resize the sim card to fit the iPad's microsim slot. I'll have a few photos to show you how to do this below.

3. Pop in your sim card and you're up and running!

Resizing your regular Vodacom (or MTN) sim card to fit your 3G iPad:

1.  Find the sim card slot in your iPad (it is on the bottom left of the iPad).  Open it with a paperclip.

2. Use a piece of paper to 'trace' the internal ridge of the micro-sim holder (I used a post-it note). Simply place the paper over the sim card holder and run your fingernail or some other hard surface over the internal ridge of the holder.  It will leave an imprint on the paper.

3. Next, cut your paper stencil to size.

4. Next, you'll need some 'Prestik' (not sure what it is called elsewhere in the world), the sticky stuff on the left of this picture.  Simply stick your stencil onto your sim card and get ready to cut!

5. Next, line up the contacts from your regular sized sim card underneath the microsim holder. NB, please note in my picture below the sim card should be moved about 2mm to the LEFT (to ling up the contacts). See the image below this one with more description.


5.a. Please see the image (from my friend Paul) of a microsim.  You'll notice on the microsim that the 'golden contacts' are more or less centrally located to fit into the sim card holder.  As long as you get the central 3 contacts lined into the centre of the holder you're fine.  When you put the card in, if it says 'No Sim' you know that the contacts have not lined up...

6.  Next, paste your stencil onto your sim card using the prestik, and cut carefully!  Don't worry about cutting through the outer gold contacts... As long as the three central contacts are in tact you're perfect!

7. Once you've done your first cut you may need to do some slight tweaking in order to fit the sim into the holder.

Here's a photo of the sim in the microsim holder.

8. Finally, slip your sim, in the microsim holder, into the iPad - within a few seconds you should see the 'signal indicator' on the top left hand corner of the iPad indicating either Vodacom 3G or the E (for Edge if your outside of a 3G area).

So, I hope this helps!  Feel free to drop me a comment or a mail if I you get stuck.  I'm not always able to respond right away (my day job does keep me rather busy!), but I'll respond as soon as I'm able.

Further to my instructions you can also watch this video



A month (and a bit) with the Apple iPad in South Africa - a review

I'm privileged to be one of the few persons in South Africa to get my hands on an Apple iPad.  I got a basic 16Gig wifi version (you can read about that here) just over a month ago.
It is a remarkable device.  Having used it for a month now I can give a much more informed review of the iPad in everyday use.
I am frequently asked to comment on the iPad, and whether it can replace a laptop.  The simple answer is no.  It could not function as one's only computer (if you are a person who uses your computer for 'work').  You do need to have a desktop of laptop computer somewhere (whether it is at your home or office) in order to do some things (like print, get stuff off flash discs, CD's, DVD's etc.)
But, I have found that my laptop is now largely confined to my desk, and then also only used for 'heavy lifting' (like video editing, working between multiple documents (particularly when they're documents in different formats, such as working between Excel and Word for a presentation), printing, and recording my radio show).
That being said, the iPad works for just about everything else.  I use it to respond to email on my Microsoft Exchange account, on my gmail account and on my pop3 accounts.  It is my preferred device for web surfing, using facebook, twitter, and also for reading (I have only one book purchased in iBooks - the variety is just too limited at present.  I have numerous books on the Kindle).  It is also my preferred device for watching video (such as Ted Talks, youtube videos etc.)
My use case:
You may have inferred that I am a minister and theologian who works in a corporate environment.  That means that my work requires information on hand (my Bible, sermons, Bible studies, powerpoint presentations, reports, books etc.), it also requires me to keep a very carefully controlled diary (I have anything up to 15 individual appointments and meetings during the average work day - some involve meeting with individuals, others with groups etc.).  I have to keep notes in meetings (and have the notes and minutes from previous meetings on hand).  
I also keep the text from the books and articles that I've written on my iPad for reference during talks.  And, perhaps the application that I use most often is Mail (the email application on the iPad).  I have 5 email accounts and receive over 300 emails a day (excluding spam).  Every spare moment is spent replying to emails, following up with staff, volunteers and responding to requests etc.  
I also serve on the Lausanne Congress' digital communications team (heading up the social media strategy).  So, I spend a few moments throughout the day scanning RSS feeds, checking the Lausanne Twitter accounts, Facebook page, and the Lausanne Conversation site.
The iPad is perfect for all of these tasks since it is not obtrusive (it is smaller than a regular folder).  I can sit in just about any meeting and use it to stay on top of communication tasks and information.  Whereas others have to take notes, and then when they return to their office the notes are either filed (and so only accessible when they're near their files), or transcribed into a document.  My notes are done in the meeting.  They're searchable and always with me.  
They on screen keyboard on the iPad is fantastic for 90% of what I need to do.  If I have to do extensive text entry for any reason, I would take out my generic fold up bluetooth keyboard (an old one I bought some years ago to use with an iMate windows mobile phone).  It works like a charm!  I have written reports, blog posts (like this one), academic articles, reports etc. in Pages on the iPad and then either exported and emailed them for printing, or distribution.
Testing the iPad to its limits!
I used my iPad as my primary device during the Global Day of Prayer conference - I was the director of the program for the conference with close to 50 speakers in 13 concurrent venues, as well as a plenary for each day with multiple musicians, speakers, videos, powerpoints, dramas etc.  So, I had to have numerous spreadsheets with all the venue, speaker, and equipment data - email that to stewards coordinators, the sound and lighting people, etc.  The iPad worked like a charm!  It was light enough to ALWAYS have with me (I would never have carried my laptop around from before 5 am until after 11pm at night).  
The only down side was when I was given some media on a bluetooth stick or CD Rom / DVD that needed to be passed on to someone else.  In those instances if I needed the information I would dump it into my Dropbox folder (2 gigs free) and access it from there.  If someone else needed it I would carry it on my USB flash drive and pass it on from there, or log into my Dropbox account using a web browser on their machine and downloading the required file from the web interface.  The iPad simply went on and on working... I could switch it on (without the need to boot up), use it on any surface, or stand on the spot, and then switch it off (without fearing for a spinning hard drive) and drop it into my conference bag and go on.  Every bit of information was at my fingertips, as well as my emails.  It truly proved its worth!  
I was also one of the speakers at the conference (I spoke in one plenary session and two track sessions), so when I had a few spare seconds I would work on my Powerpoint presentations (in Keynote), check my speaker notes, create some 'buzz' about the talks on twitter etc. 
My book 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'was also launched during the conference.  I was able to keep an eye on the guest list, respond to emails, and even had my notes for my talk, thank you list etc. on the iPad.
OK, one of the most common questions I get asked is whether my iPad is a 3G version.  Nope, it is not.  I use my Apple iPad with a Vodacom Mifi (a 3G data dongle that acts as a wifi hotspot for up to 5 devices).  The mifi lives in my iPad case.  The 3G iPad will NOT work in South Africa (until it is officialy released here) since it will need to be tied to a South African data provider, and the iPad uses a microsim which none of our cellular companies support (I believe Vodacom may get it soon, but MTN does not support it).  So, the only way to get it on the internet is to have a mobile wifi device.  I first used my Nokia E51 phone with a Joikuspot (which worked perfectly!  Except that it is quite heavy on the Nokia's battery life).  Then when I got my Mifi I use that on the road and my home wifi at home.
- Battery life is a definite plus!  I am still amazed that I can get well over 10 hours of use WITH wifi activated.
- Instant on, instant off! It is amazing to have a hand held computer with incredible battery life that switches on and is working immediately (for appointments, spreadsheets, documents, contacts etc.), and then goes to sleep safely the minute you press the power button. While a netbook may have a similar size, some USB ports and a physical keyboard it certainly does not have the instant on, instant off feature!
- Size is a plus.  It is small, light, and very portable.  Yet at the same time the screen is absolutely amazing for watching videos, reading books and web browsing.  Also, as mentioned above, it can be used while standing (much like a notepad).  Because of the size (and light weight), I find myself using my iPad far more often, and taking it with me just about everywhere I go.
- Choice of apps!  The iPad section of the app store grows each day.  I have some incredible apps!  My favorites include:  Pages (Word for Mac), Numbers (Excel for Mac), Keynote (Powerpoint for Mac), Dropbox, Goodreader, Kindle, Twitterific, Squarespace blog app (for iPhone), Wordpress, facebook (for iPhone), Olivetree Bible reader (with NIV, NRSV, Greek and the Message installed).  Many persons have asked me how I can buy some of these apps (some of which are not on the South African iTunes store)?  I have a US iTunes account - I set it up when I was teaching at Duke University in 2005 and have used it since then.
- Using the iPad with the Nokia (and Joikuspot) or the Mifi for always on internet access.
- Lack of data input from US sticks and physical media. But, Dropbox is a great work around solution!
- The fact that the iPad 3G does not work in South Africa (see above).
- No multitasking...  No, I'm not just being grumpy... It is a REAL pain when you're going from a spreadsheet to an email and have to exit Numbers, open Mail, work on the message, save it as a draft, then go back to Numbers, open your document check it, close numbers, go back to your email, open your draft and carry on working...  Or, if you're on a skype call and get asked if you can make a meeting you have to exit skype (literally close the call down, exit skype), check your calendar and then start your call again!  It is frustrating!
- No camera.  Man, the iPad would have been great with even a simple 1.3 Megapixel front facing camera for Skype or iChat.  Perhaps someone will make one that plugs into the port at the bottom or connects via bluetooth at some point?
Must haves!
-  A good cover.  The iPad is a precious device and needs good protection (particularly if it lives in a backpack or bag, like mine does).  It also gets a lot of finger marks on it so make sure to carry a small soft cloth to clean it.  I also managed to get a cover that would let me keep my mifi with my iPad.
- The VGA dongle.  If you're going to use your iPad for presentations or showing videos it is pretty useless without the VGA adaptor!  If you're ordering yours from Amazon (like I did) be sure to get the VGA adaptor when you order it!  I had to find a friend who was traveling back from the USA to get my adaptor!
- Mifi or Nokia phone with Joikuspot.  The wifi version is pretty useless without internet access!  A secondhand Nokia E51, E90 or E71 should be quite cheap to get, then you simply ad Joikuspot and a prepaid sim card and you're on the road! Three of my friends here in SA are doing this  (just be sure to enable WEP on your Joikspot so that other users don't connect to your phone draining all your data).  The Mifi is the real answer, but not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to get one of those.  My data contract expired about two weeks after I got my iPad and so my mifi was my contract upgrade device.
- A free dopbox account (see above) - please consider signing up for drop box using the link in this post (I will get extra free space if you do so!  Your help is appreciated!)
- A US iTunes account. (again, please see above)
The iPad is an incredible useful, very affordable, very stable, productivity device!  I would recommend it to anybody who needs constant internet access, a high level of productivity  in lots of meetings, doing lots of public speaking or someone who consumes lots of content (Kindle books, videos, audio books, web browsing etc.)  But, it could not be your only computer - if you're looking to own just one computing device that is small, inexpensive and portable then buy a good quality netbook.  If, however, you have a desktop, or laptop to use (e.g., if one is provided for you at work, or you have one to share at home) then the iPad could just be the device that you're looking for!)
Lastly, my kids love the iPad!  They watch videos in the car, play games at night... I have to wrestle it from them when I need to get some work done.
You're welcome to contact me to ask any questions about the device, how I use it, what apps I use, and how I ordered it from Amazon and had it delivered to South Africa.
God bless,

I'm leaving my iPhone (for an Android Milestone and an iPad)

Yup, that headline may come as a shocker, but after about 3 years of using iPhones (if my calculations are correct, I got my first generation iPhone shortly after they came out), I am considering moving on - in a manner of speaking - from my iPhone.

Let me give you a little background first.  I have a 16Gig iPhone 3GS that is running iPhone OS 3.0 (so that I can tether it to my Mac, and use it on the MTN network in South Africa).  The iPhone has been relatively stable for an unlocked / jailbroken phone. In truth, when you jailbrake an iPhone OS device it looses quite a lot of its stability!  The phone has served me well in most instances.  The one annoyance I have had is that every so often the screen stops responding (I have to power off and on to get it to work again), and because I'm on OS 3.0 there are a few applications that I cannot run on my iPhone.  Also, I have found that the iPhone does not always work when I travel overseas (I have had to take to keeping my old Nokia E90 on hand just in case I land somewhere and find my iPhone doesn't connect to the local network).

Well, my personal phone contract came up for renewal late last year.  I posted a poll to find out what phone to get and didn't find anything worth upgrading for (most persons suggested the Blackberry 9000 or the iPhone at that stage).  So, when I upgraded I got the Nokia E63 and gave it to my wife. Her contract came up for renewal last week and so she offered me the chance to get a phone - I was surprised to find the Motorola Milestone (basically a European version of the Motorola Droid) on offer without the need to make any additional payment!  So, I snapped it up!

The Milestone is a great little Android phone (Android is the Google OS) with a physical keyboard, an exceptional screen (much better than my iPhone) and a 5 Megapixel camera (you can see the full specs here).  I have had it for about a week now and am loving it.  It works with our Microsoft Exchange server, there are plenty of great apps to help me manage my personal and work related social media activities (twitter, facebook, flickr, tumblr, QIK, youtube, wordpress etc.), the camera is fantastic for stills and video, it has HSDPA data and an incredible screen.

So, my iPhone is no longer my primary phone... What!?  Yup, I have decided to relegate the iPhone 3GS to second place in my arsenal of communication technology.  You'll notice that I am NOT doing away with my iPhone - I, like many South Africans, am in the position to have two cellular phones.  I have a private contract and one supplied to me at work.  So, my work sim card has now moved from my old Nokia E90 into the iPhone.  

There are some things that the Android phone does not do too well.  That's where my iPad comes in!  The iPad and the Milestone make for a perfect combination.  I can use my Milestone as a wireless hotspot for my 16Gig iPad, and the iPad functions like a great full powered computer on the road!  Last week at the Global Day of Prayer conference I used my iPad to keep track of each venue, each speaker, the timelines for plenary and track sessions, all important numbers, and even to show and create presentations for my own talks (as well as videos).  I used a ticker app to manage my time when speaking and used the iPad with a mifi to download email, update facebook, and even make some calls on Skype.

Just perfect!

Is anyone else out there using an Android phone (I saw a journalist recently with an Google Nexus!)?  Has anyone else given up their iPhone for a different phone?  ALSO, are there any more people in South Africa who have got their hands on an iPad?

I'd love to hear your feedback!  Blessings, Dion


Methodist Church launches an iPhone app - now that's missional thinking!

The Methodist Church of Britain has just launched an iPhone app - the application is available for free from the iTunes store and works on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (in fact the screen grab that you'll see in this post comes from my iPad - I have it expanded to double size to fill the iPad screen).

I think this is a marvelous, missional, idea!  In a context where persons are far more likely to want to structure their encounter with the Christian faith around their available time and location this is just another wonderful means of adding value to people's lives!  Don't get me wrong, I am still convinced that people need community and places of real connection (such as that offered by a local congregation).  But, we have to be honest - in Britain there are fewer persons who will want to make a faith connection through their local Church, than those who may be willing to receive a daily prayer and some reflection upon scripture on their phone (to read wherever they are).

The application is quite simple - it has a 'Spirit' section which has one part that offers prayers chosen from the Methodist prayer book and another section that offers thoughtful reflections upon sections of scripture.  The other part of the application offers news (naturally with a Christian, Methodist, and UK slant).

I think this is a great idea!  It even got some international news coverage!  We need more forward thinking like this in denominations across the world!

Tip of the hat to Thomas for sending me the link about this story at the BBC website.

Do you use a devotional application on your computer or phone?  Do you have any others to recomend?  Do you know of any other Churches or Christian groups that are offering similar outreach tools on creative technology platforms?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback!


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.