Presenting from an iPad

Earlier this year, I was at the Cascade Users Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, not just as an attendee, but a presenter. This was my first professional presentation in front of an audience of technically oriented people. I was very concerned about how I was going to present. Not what I was going to present, but how. In previous years, I would have brought my laptop to take notes and present from. This year, being the year of the iPad, I decided to do my entire presentation from my iPad.

I used Keynote to develop the presentation. Given the multitasking and drag-and-drop opportunities, building the presentation was easy. Displaying it was still a question though.

Hannon Hill, the conference host sent details about the presentation environment, but I was not going to take any chances. Two is one and one is none. I wanted to do the presentation without being tethered to the podium. I have seen many presentation where the presenter was standing behind the podium, which I find boring. Additionally, I did not want to use a “clicker”. I figured there had to be away to just use iOS to complete the entire presentation.

It turns out that an iPhone can be used as a remote. I tested it at home and it worked perfectly, giving me a preview of my next slide and any notes I had. It seemed very natural to present with a phone in my hand. But, given the nature of my presentation environment, I could not be sure it would work.

Here is what I brought:

  1. Apple TV and HDMI cable
  2. Lighting to HDMI adapter
  3. PDF, Powerpoint, and Keynote versions of my presentation stored in iCloud
  4. A colleague who brought their laptop

As a last resort, I could commandeer my colleague’s laptop and use it to get my presentation done. This was the absolute last resort.

At the beginning of my presentation day, I scoped out the podium, the connections available, and watched how others presented. The venue had a technical crew which was very good, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. When it came time to setup for my presentation, I came armed with what I thought would do the trick, my 12.9 iPad Pro, a Lightning to HDMI adapter, an Amazon battery brick and Lightning cable, and my iPhone.

The setup was simple: iPad with HDMI adapter plugged in both to the battery pack and the HDMI in the podium. The phone was able to connect to the iPad via the conference wifi, but I was ready to setup my phone as a hotspot and have the iPad connect to my phone if the wifi was terrible. Luckily it was not.

My setup worked without a hitch.

Ultimately, I gave my presentation. Probably a little faster than I should have, but on the whole it was very well received. When I was done with my presentation, the venue’s tech crew came up and started asking me questions about how I had set up my presentation. They were impressed and took down some notes for future presenters. While I definitely saw more iPads being used for note taking and email, I’m pretty sure I was the only one using just iOS to present.

The Firstest of World Problems

I have been an original Apple Watch user since my lovely wife bought me one for Christmas 2015. While the Apple Watch Series 0 was too slow and too reliant on the phone, it was very close to the Dick Tracy watch or a James Bond gadget. When the Apple Watch Series 3 was announced, my wife said she wanted it. For her the addition of LTE connectivity was the piece that the Apple Watch had been missing all along. She wanted to be able to leave the house for a walk and still be reached, but without the temptation of walking with her nose pointed at her phone. For me, the Apple Watch went from being almost the Dick Tracy watch to the Dick Tracy watch, plus many of the gadgets that James Bond used.

On episode 41 of Cortex, CGP Grey spoke about having a day watch and a night watch. Using the older Apple Watch in a permanent night time setup, and the newer watch in a daytime configuration. So, when I recently upgraded to a Apple Watch Series 3, I wanted to do a similar thing. The Apple Watch Series 0 would be the sleep tracker and a silent alarm, the Series 3 would be my every day watch.

I have been having the firstest of first world problems.

When Apple has announced more frequent activity challenges, I was stoked. I had already started my “multi-watch lifestyle” configuration when the Veteran’s Day challenge arrived. Eleven minutes of exercise on November 11, was an easy challenge. I completed many multiples of 11 minutes of exercise and my achievement had not appeared, I was concerned. My wife had her achievement, my Apple Watch friends had their’s, but by 9 o’clock I still didn’t have mine.

I took off my day watch and put on my night watch. I started an “Other” workout, for 12 minutes, after which my achievement appeared immediately. My initial thought was that because the nighttime Apple Watch Series 0 was the first watch paired with the phone that it had some sort of primacy. This primacy didn’t impact the daily challenge of closing the move, exercise and stand rings, but some how didn’t allow for activity challenges to be accounted for.

Today’s Thanksgiving Day activity challenge proved to be no different. I dutifully completed my 5 km walk with my wife, after which her achievement appeared immediately. My phone didn’t show my achievement recorded. My day Apple Watch Series 3 didn’t show my achievement recorded. The Series 0 primacy was still in effect, even after migrating to a new phone, with the Apple Watch Series 3 being the first paired Apple Watch. That’s was the last straw. With the prospect of having to walk another 5 km, I was done with the “multi watch lifestyle”. I unpaired the Series 0 Watch, and handed it over to my brother-in-law. While he was getting the Apple Watch paired to his phone, I checked my achievements.

I am wondering if CGP Grey is still living the multi watch lifestyle, and if so, do his activity challenges get counted?

I am wondering if CGP Grey is still living the multi watch lifestyle, and if so, do his activity challenges get counted?

There it was. The firstest of first world problems solved. 

The Shelf

In his article iOS 11: iPad Wishes and Concept Video Federico Viticci wrote about an hopeful addition to iOS 11 which he called the “Shelf”.

There are times when you want to save something without necessarily dropping it into an app or sharing it with the clipboard or extensions. For better or worse5, macOS users can drag anything they want to reference later on the desktop (or any other Finder window); iOS has no such area that serves as a holding place for bits of content without an immediate destination. I'd like iOS 11 to bring a Shelf feature to the iPad that would let users clip anything with drag & drop.

More succinctly:

Think of it as a transient dock for temporary clippings, or, even better, as a multi-slot clipboard that can hold a variety of items and be consistently available across apps.

Having worked exclusively on iOS 11 for a few weeks, I agree with the need for this feature. Federico made a very specific assertion in his wishes for the Shelf: “The Shelf would be local to each iPad”. This is fundamentally wrong for someone who moves back and forth between iOS devices through out the day. I use a 12.9 inch iPad, a 9.7 inch iPad and an iPhone for everything, but I move between them constantly. Some tasks are better suited for the smaller iPad, most tasks are suited for the large iPad, but the device that I use the most is my iPhone. I need to be able to move fluidly between these devices so having the Shelf’s content locked to a single device is a non-starter.

With the official release of iOS 11 this week, developers making Shelf inspired apps have had their work released and reviewed. Ryan Christoffel wrote a roundup of the first Shelf inspired apps noting how each works. Some have more ability to filter and search, while others have a design aesthetic that mimic Apple’s design language very closely. The four apps that were included in the roundup follow Federico’s suggestion. I have tried almost all of them and they all have their own merits, but all lack of sync.

Today, the developer of Copied, a clipboard manager for iOS and mac OS, released version 3, which incorporates many of the features of iOS 11, including drag and drop to move items into the app. Depending on the type of item, drag and drop out of the app is possible, although files are not supported. It is not perfect, but I believe that Copied’s ability to sync may make it the right Shelf for me.

Download Copied for iOS

Thoughts on the church of the future


I am involved in my church’s search for a new rector and have been for almost two years. It has been a time to think about the future of my church and the “church”. Conversations have provided many opportunities to discuss the “church” of the future. What it looks like, both locally and globally.

A member of the search committee sent an article “10 predictions about the future Church and shifting attendance patterns”, which contained two items salient to my current church, but are also elements important to the future of the “church”.

Churches that love their model more than the mission will die

That said, many individual congregations and some entire denominations won’t make it. The difference will be between those who cling to the mission and those who cling to the model.

When the car was invented, it quick took over from the horse and buggy. Horse and buggy manufacturers were relegated to boutique status and many went under, but human transportation actually exploded. Suddenly average people could travel at a level they never could before.

The mission is travel. The model is a buggy, or car, or motorcycle, or jet.

Look at the changes in the publishing, music and even photography industry in the last few years.

See a trend? The mission is reading. It’s music. It’s photography. The model always shifts….moving from things like 8 tracks, cassettes and CDs to MP3s and now streaming audio and video.

Companies that show innovation around the mission (Apple, Samsung) will always beat companies that remain devoted to the method (Kodak).

Churches need to stay focused on the mission (leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus) and be exceptionally innovative in our model.


Simplified ministries will complement people’s lives, not compete with people’s lives

For years, the assumption has been that the more a church grew, the more activity it would offer.

The challenge, of course, is that church can easily end up burning people out. In some cases, people end up with no life except church life. Some churches offer so many programs for families that families don’t even have a chance to be families.

The church at its best has always equipped people to live out their faith in the world. But you have to be in the world to influence the world.

Churches that focus their energies on the few things the church can uniquely do best will emerge as the most effective churches moving forward. Simplified churches will complement people’s witness, not compete with people’s witness.

Since joining my church three years ago, I have become involved in the Kairos prison ministry. Also, I am a member of the search committee, a lay reader and eucharistic minister, sound system operator, narrator of Christmas pageant and Good Friday dramatic readings and, participant in Christian formation. Involved and busy.

It is no longer enough for a church to be comfortable in what we have always done, staying within the walls of our buildings. The church must adapt to existing in their communities, not apart from them, engaging the real issues of the community. Newport News, has a large amount of wealth disparity, particularly along racial lines. Jesus’ called for us to love our neighbors as ourselves. A congregation of well-off white people, who do not roll up their sleeves and tackle the work of community social justice does not measure up.

Achieving balance between engagement in the community, and the demands of life is critical, though. As someone who has become very involved in my church and mission, but who has a job, family and other interests, adding more responsibilities and obligation makes me hesitant to commit to more. Life is busy, and attending church and performing works of ministry shouldn’t feel like an obligation. As a busy, young professional, with kids, simplified ministries are critical to keep people like me engaged. Not competing with life is necessary to continue to attract people to a ministry. I am leading the fall Kairos ministry weekend and I am learning the burden of ministry leadership is significant. Several weekends worth of commitments makes participating in such a ministry difficult for some and unappealing to others. Incorporation and attraction of new members into the ministry is difficult if the burden placed on them as participants or leaders is too high.

The future church will not look the same as it has. The church must evolve to understand that good people don’t go to church because that is what good people do anymore. To remain full of vitality, the church must meet the churched and unchurched where they are. The church of the future must find ways to engage both groups to draw each closer to Christ, even if they are busy.


Learn more about Kairos prison ministry:

Kairos 10

Locked Doors