TuneIn Radio – iPhone App Review

App Name: TuneIn Radio
Price: Free, ($0.99 for ad free version)
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Web

Tune In Radio is one of my favorite iPhone apps for listening to audio on the go (second only to Pandora). It is the ultimate app for listening to local or world wide radio stations. TuneIn Radio is full of features while still maintaining an easy to use interface. If you enjoy listening to music, sports, or talk radio on the go, then TuneIn Radio is for you.

Features

Local Radio

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After you enter your location you can view a list of the radio stations in your area. Stations that do not have an online feed are grayed out., but, at least in my area, almost every station offers online access. This means you can listen to the station broadcast from just across the street, listen to all three of the radio stations in Cocos Island, Costa Rica, or get a taste of the down under by listening to the show Wake Up Australia live.

This app provides an interesting way to add a little unique variety to your life.

Categories

What if you know what you want to listen to, but it is not on any station in your city? This is where categories come in.

Categories are divided into three main areas, Music, Sports, and Talk. From there you can select what genre you want to listen to, be it conservative talk, disaster relief, or religious shows, and then several other categories for specific countries or languages.
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After selecting the category a list of shows is displayed. This is one of my favorite features of this app. Select the show you want to listen to and you will be given a list of every station currently broadcasting that show and how long is left. There have been a few instances of the show listing being wrong, but for the most part it is accurate.

What if there are no stations playing that show? You may still be in luck. Some of the shows have a list recent episodes you can listen to, making it like a smart TiVo for your radio.
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If you do not know the category the show you want is in then you can make use of the search feature.

Favorites

Any show or station you listen to can be marked as a favorite. Favorites show up together on one page for easy browsing. Stations in your favorites list show you what is currently being broadcast on that stream making it easier for you to find what you want to listen.

Login

You have the option of logging in to your free TuneIn Radio account. This will enable the app to sync your favorites with your TuneIn radio account. You can then access your favorites from TuneIn.com or sync your favorites to another mobile device.

Overview

This app does everything you could expect from a radio station app, all packaged with a very nice, easy to use, user interface. Add in the fact that it synchronizes your presets with an online account and with other devices makes this a versatile app for listening to the radio anywhere you have an internet connection. And for the price of free you really cannot go wrong.
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Christian application

This app goes outside of our normal app review for ETM since it is not a Christian app, but I have found it to be very helpful spiritually. I added shows such as Family Life Today, Dave Ramsey, and Renewing your Mind as my favorites allowing me to listen to wholesome talk radio wherever and whenever I want.

Family Life Today has about 2 dozen shows in the recently played section, ensuring you always have some uplifting content at your finger tips even if the show is not broadcasting anywhere at that moment.

Out running errands with the kids and need to keep them quiet? Put on some Adventures in Odyssey. This is an app your whole family can enjoy. So turn off that TV and tune in to your favorite Christian radio.

Are distractions keeping you from being as close to God as you could be?

“Our blessings have become a curse. They attract us. They take too much of our time and concern.” – Leonard Ravenhill

One of the most powerful tools Satan is using to attack the church and keep Christians crippled in America today is distractions.

Let’s face it, life in America is distracting. We have TV and xbox and iphones and the latest gadgets, cars to repair soccer practice to take the kids to, work. We try to squeeze spending time with the family in there, but even that is mostly taken up by staring at the television together.  None of these things are that bad, but they tend to distract us from what truly matters; our relationship with God.

We have enough free time to spend a couple hours watching a movie a couple times a week or just vegging out in front of some mind numbing sitcoms and playing Black Ops to all hours of the night, but we struggle to give God just fifteen minutes of our week according to the Barna Group’s research.

What are you going to do when you get to eternity, if you can’t stick in an hour with God down here? In God’s name, what are you going to do in a million years in God’s presence? Expect some reports from earth about football or something? – Leonard Ravenhill

If something is preventing you from being as close to God as you should be it needs to be removed. Fat keeps a runner from running as fast as they could, so runners work hard to trim off the fat. This fat trimming increase their speed and makes them healthier which makes them a better runner.  Likewise we need to trim off the fat of the American dream and the fat of distractions in our life so we can run the spiritual race as best we can.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Starting today I am taking a 40 day challenge to cut TV out of my life. This includes Netflix, xbox, or even youtube on my iPhone. I will replace much of that time with reading and praying and listening to praise music. I will provide periodic updates to let you know my progress during this challenging time, and hopefully it will encourage you to take up a similar fast for God.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. – Psalm 119:15

Exceptions

So nobody accuses me of cheating I will have just a few exceptions here.

  • My wife and I started a tv show on netflix, we have about 15 episodes left and Netflix is getting rid of it on June 1st, so I will finish the series with my wife (only that show and only when watching with her)
  • Xbox just for working out – using the game Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
  • Sermons on Youtube – Many of the sermons I listen to are provided on youtube, but that is all I will watch there

Start the Countdown

So now I start my count down, forty days of no television, netflix, xbox games, or watching videos online. Forty glorious days of drawing closer to God with one less distraction in my life.  On June 26th I may not even want to go back to watching TV. 🙂

“No man is greater than his prayer life.” – Leonard Ravenhill

Will you join me with your own challenge? Is there something God has been tugging on your heart to get rid of?  Comment below and let me know what challenge you want to take on.

myPrayPal

App Name: myPrayPal
Price: Free
Platform: iPhone, iPad

As I promised in my review of Prayer List, I will give a review of the free prayer list app called MyPrayPal. Even though I personally like Prayer List better, myPrayPal has a lot of nice features that make it worth considering. To begin I will explain some of it’s shortcomings in my mind.

Cannot specified an answered prayer
The app has a button you can press to mark a prayer as answered which removes it from your main prayer list, but there no text field to enter how the prayer was answered. This may make it harder in the future if you want to look back on how God answered your prayers.

user interface
The user interface is just okay, but several things you try to do just do not work like you would expect an iPad or iPhone app to work. There are several actions, such as assigning a category where after you finish you expect the setting to hide but it doesn’t, because there is a save button for every setting that is placed at the top of the app. This may not be a problem for iPhone users but when viewing it on the larger screen of the iPad it can be easy to miss.

Design
The look of the app is very plain. This may not matter to most of you but to me if I am going to use an app daily it has to be pleasing to use. Along the lines of design the whole app looks like it is made for the iPhone first and iPad users just get a larger version of it. Sometimes while using this on my iPad the display looks like it reverts to an iPhone screen size.

Lack of settings
This app has absolutely no settings besides setting a pin. This is a good thing if you are looking for an extremely simple app, but if you are one who likes to customize your experience with an app this is a negative.

Categories
The way this app does categories is slightly off from normal. For one you cannot have something not be in a category or search for “uncategorized”. Also the category called “all” acts just like any other category except you cannot edit it. A prayer can be assigned to the “all” category which is a bit odd.

Now that I have mentioned what I do not like about the app let’s talk about what I do like about it.

Free
The main thing to like about this app is that it is free. It is awesome to see developers create software for the community without expecting profit in return. Although I am sure if there were a small fee for this app the developer could spend more time to support the app to make improvements quicker.

Last prayed for
My favorite feature is that this app keeps track of how long it has been since you have prayed for a certain prayer request. Prayer requests that have not been prayed for in a while are moved to the top of the list and it tells you how long it has been since you prayed for that request. There is a “pray” button you press to mark a prayer request as prayed for. Although a down side is that when you hit the button you are taken to a loading screen for 5 to 10 seconds before being returned to your list.

Pin protected
You can you a 4 digit pin to protect your list. Even though this is not as a full password like Prayer List has it gets the job done easily enough.

Reminders
A nice feature of this app is that you can setup push notification reminders for different prayer requests. You choose the time of the reminder and if you want it to be daily or on a certain day of the week. After the reminder goes off a red number badge appears on the app icon and stays until you hit the “pray. Button on the prayer request with the reminder.

Sharing
Prayer list allows you to hit a button to send your prayer to someone via email, but myPrayPal let’s you email, text message, tweet, or publish to facebook.

preloaded with categories
The final feature I like about this app which is kind of minor is that when you start it for the first time it already has several categories for you to use, making it easier to start adding prayer requests right away.

There you have it. My thorough review of two different prayer apps for the iPhone and iPad. Which app do you use, and why do you like it?

YouVersion.com…a great website for Bible stuff!

For the longest time I used biblegateway.com for my computer Bible stuff. But I hated how much it was lacking, and it’s horrid interface. Recently I have discovered youversion.com. It is one of the best Bible “stuff” doing thingy websites that I have seen…why? Let us take a look!

The first thing I noticed was the rather simple and straight forward interface. You simply type in the verse you need, and there it is! Not only that, but on the right there is a built in audio player for listening to the chapter you are on.

Anyways, time to stop boring you and get on the features, and what makes this such a nice site.

First off, you can make an account, which saves all your settings, bookmarks, notes, and a whole lot of other useful things, such as setting up your own Bible reading plan. There is also a built in social networking thingy, but I have not and am not going to look into that, so you are on your own on that one.

Lets look at some of the “My” features (the stuff worth mentioning anyways).

Bookmarks: This one is kinda self explanatory, it let’s you set a bookmark at a certain place, you can have as many as you want, across multiple translations.

Notes (my favorite feature): The ability to write a note about a certain verse(s) or chapter(s). This is very useful when trying to remember something you read, or something you want to share with someone (if you choose not to use the sharing options).

Reading Plans: This lets you set a reading plan. They have many reading plans with options for customization and support to help you stay on track.

youversion.com also gives you the ability to share a verse or verses via Facebook, Twitter, Email, or just grab a direct “short” link.

Their features are also available mobile via iPad, iPhone, iPod, Blackberry, Android, and webOS.

Well, that is all I am covering on the site. They offer a lot more than I mentioned here, but hopefully I got you interested enough to check out this awesome website for your Bible stuff.

Prayer List

App Name: Prayer List
Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad & iPhone

I use my iPad for pretty much everything, from reading my Bible to checking Facebook to writing articles for ETM. My goal lately has been to have a serious prayer life, so I started the search for an iPad app. I could just use any of the text editors, but I wanted something a little more specialized. I ended up finding two decent prayer apps. The first is called “Prayer List” and costs $1.99, the other is called myPraypal and is free. I liked Prayer List more so it will be the subject of this week’s Media Monday article. Tune in next week for a review of myPraypal.

Prayer List lets you enter a subject for your prayers as well as the full text. This makes a clean one line list when viewing a list of the prayers. You can also assign any prayer to a category and have the main window show just one category or all categories. You can mark prayers as answered as well as put a comment of how they were answered. One thing that makes this app nice is you can leave a prayer marked unanswered while still filling in the answered comments. This is useful for ongoing prayers which are being answered slowly over time. Once a prayer has been answered it is removed from the active list and moved to an answered list and the date answered is also recorded for future reference.

There are no default categories so you have to set some up when you start the app, but this is easy to do. The entire application works pretty much like you have come to expect ipad apps to work which makes the learning curve for this app very small.

Prayer List has the added advantage of being password protected, and not with just a 4 digit pin; full passwords are accepted. Another nice feature of this app is you can have backgrounds which make the app pleasing to the eye. You can adjust the contrast or turn the text white to make sure the text works with the background you are using. When viewing any prayer request you can press the envelope button at the bottom to email the prayer request to someone to help get others to pray with you.

One really nice feature of this app is sorting. They have various sorting methods, alphabetical, or date added, but my favorite is manual sorting. How I use it is to drag what I just prayed for to the bottom of the list so I have at the top of the list things I have not prayed for in a while. This allows me to make sure I cover everything in prayer.

You may say a prayer list is a bad thing because it just makes you go through prayer like a check list and not praying from your heart. I admit I fell into that trap a couple of times this week, but more often than that I just used this app to start me off in what to pray for and I prayed as the spirit led. When I was done I then went back to the app and put things that I prayed for on the bottom and then I prayed for the top thing and the spirit led from there. Or you can just pray for one category at a time.

The beauty of this app is that you can use it however you want to encourage and remind you to pray and it looks beautiful at the same time.