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iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode

iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode

I picked up my new iPhone 7 Plus today and found Apple had released a beta of the new Portrait feature. This takes advantage of the two cameras found on the plus model and with software does some fancy depth of field effects. I'm no photographer, but I love the effect. I'd imagine it will only get better as the software improves. Select an image to view if full-screen.

Lastly, the low light performance of the camera has vastly improved. I just grabbed this shot, through the mesh netting of a bouncy castle in the shade. It's one of my favorite of the day.

Really lastly, the wide color gamut of the new screen is breathtaking. You really have to see it to appreciate it. I didn't think I'd notice, but it's incredible.



If you've listened to this week's episode of Keeping Up With The Joneses you'll know we're taking the month of August and doing something called #wisdom31.

The idea behind this is simple. Every day we're going to read one chapter of the book Proverbs. Whatever day it is, that's the chapter number we'll read. 14th August? Read chapter 14. Then, anything that stands out to you as you read, share with others on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #wisdom31.

Before you dive in, we recommend watching these two excellent videos from our friends over at The Bible Project.

Introduction to the Wisdom Books of The Bible

Overview of the book of Proverbs

The Latest Best / Worst Game for iPhone

The Latest Best / Worst Game for iPhone

Two days ago I stumbled upon Blackbox, a new game for your iPhone. It's unlike anything else I've played. With an equal mix of genius and exasperation it will appeal to those who love puzzles.

The game has a grid of dots. These dots then turn into lights (via different and often undisclosed methods). Those lights then need to be turned on. You interact with your phone in different ways to turn on those lights. You progress through the game by turning the lights on. As of this writing, I've managed to turn 46 lights on and can't turn anymore on. I know how to turn the next five on, but am currently unable to, I can see two more dots that need turned into lights but with all my mental strength I don't know how. All spare brain cycles are currently devoted to solving things like this. That's the magic of this game.

I'm having difficulty writing about, it in part because it's so unique, but also because anything I say about it will detract from the initial magic of playing with it. I'll say this, the first experience of the app is wonderful, and if you've got a slightly obsessive or competitive edge you'll play it non-stop but then you'll discover something frustrating that you'll come to appreciate: this isn't a game where you dictate how much you play. Rather, some of the levels dictate to you when you can play it. It's kind of torturous yet brilliant at the same time.

Couple that with simple, beautiful graphics and a highly engaged developer on Twitter and you'll find a wonderful game to lose yourself in. It's the most original game play since Threes and Monument Valley (both of which I love). Download it, play with it, infect your friends and look forward to exchanging messages back and forth with joy, delight, awe and frustration. Bravo Blackbox, bravo.

Nobody Ever Regretted Backing Up

Nobody Ever Regretted Backing Up

AJ and I have a two-pronged approach when it comes to backing up data. First, we setup something that does it for us, secondly we never think about it again. I've found that the biggest obstacle to backing up data, is the one posed by humans. I just never remembered. I sure meant to back up, but never got to it. Over the years we've both had that horrible, horrible feeling of losing data. With more and more of our data being stored in the cloud there's a temptation to not worry about backing up so much, but that's a dangerous thought so I thought we'd outline how we approach data storage and data backup.

Data Storage


We are Apple Music subscribers. Prior to that we were iTunes Match customers. What this means is that (aside from being able to access nearly all the music on earth) all of our iTunes libraries are stored in the cloud. Should our laptops get stolen or iPhones get dropped, all of our music is safe on Apple's servers. A bonus: all our music is accessible from any of our Apple products at any time. In addition to this, we have a home server with all our music stored locally.


By far the biggest data hog are our photos. Again we turn to Apple. We use iCloud Photo Library to store all of our photos in the cloud. If anything happens to our devices, our photos are in the cloud.


All of our teaching material including the 1,000+ keynote presentations are stored in Dropbox. If we forget our laptop on the way to church, we can borrow someone else's, log into our Dropbox account and we're golden.

Relying on the cloud has some advantages. But that's not really a backup of your data. So in addition to where we store our data, we also have regular automatic backups happening on all our devices.

Data Backup

iOS Devices

Our iPhones and iPads back up to iCloud every night automatically. If anything happened to those devices we could easily restore all our data from iCloud and pick up from where we left off (which we have done, several times.) To ensure we have enough space for our iCloud data storage (for photos and for device backups) we pay Apple $2.99 each month for 200GB data. Currently I have 36GB free.


We use two different services for backing up our laptops, both fully automated. We have a Time Capsule at home. This is a wireless router with a hard drive in it. When our laptops are connected to our Wi-Fi network at home, they automatically back up data in the background. If we were to have a hard drive crash or lose a laptop, we'd still be able to access data locally from that hard drive and restore files immediately.

We also use a service called BackBlaze. This is very similar to backing up to a Time Capsule, but this time our data is backed up over the internet to BackBlaze's servers. That way, if our Time Capsule gets struck by lightning or our house burns down, we still have access to all our data courtesy of BackBlaze. 

BackBlaze takes a while on your first backup because you are transferring huge amounts of data over the internet. Currently we have around 1TB of data in BackBlaze. The software was written by former Apple engineers and best of all it's only $5 per computer for unlimited storage. We highly recommend it. You can get a free trial and if you use this link you'll also get another month free once you sign up.

The secret to the success of backing up with both Time Machine and BackBlaze is that they are fully automated services. They take a few minutes to set up, but going forward everything else happens behind the scenes without any user input. Don't be a dummy, backup today.



From current student Tiffany Zajas: 

Going to Grace Center’s School of Supernatural Life has honestly been one of the best decisions I have ever made. This school is designed to change your life, and for has done just that. Before SOSL, I was hurting, believing lies that had been spoken over me, and weary of constantly striving for perfection, acceptance, and value. In the past 6 months since starting the school, I have experienced the presence of God like never before, come into a full realization of the Father’s unconditional love for me, and am now walking in a new level of healing and identity in Christ.
— Tiffany Zajas

Read her (unsolicited) full post.  

Gary Morgan's Prophetic Ministry

Gary Morgan's Prophetic Ministry

An almost unbelievable ministry time at Grace Center this morning with Gary Morgan. Some of the most accurate and astonishing words of knowledge I've witnessed; dates of birth, names, addresses and wedding anniversaries all in the context of the Father's love. Do yourself a favor, take 45 minutes to watch the above video and be super encouraged. And if you're in the area, come join us tomorrow night when Gary will be ministering at emanate.

UPDATE: We recorded a podcast with Gary & Sarah Morgan. You can listen to it here.



For over a year now, the app that we listen to podcasts with has been Overcast. Yet our logs reveal that less than 2% of those listening to Keeping Up With The Joneses use it. This is close to a tragedy. While you're reading this, download Overcast and then come back and I'll tell you why it's amazing.

There's a couple of neat features about Overcast. The first is Smart Speed which automatically shortens the gaps in spoken word. It manages to do this without making the conversation sound awkward. This feature is different than the common speed boost features found in other podcast apps. They speed up all the audio so you end up with someone sounding like a chipmunk on speed. Overcast only speeds up the conversation by dynamically reducing the quiet gaps in the podcast.

Next up is Voice Boost which uses some clever audio processing to ensure that vocals stay at a consistent level within episodes and between episodes. This means that you don't have that awkward moment when you crank the volume on one podcast and then have to lower it on the next.

There's more: streaming episodes without having to wait for them to download first, the ability to share episodes with other people (including sharing from a specific time in the episode) and the way show notes integrate so well with the user interface. It also supports chapters in episodes (something we're toying with including). Last of all, it's free to download and is maintained by someone who is also a prolific podcaster. Try it out, we think you'll like it.

How Much do You Read your Bible?

How Much do You Read your Bible?

R.T. wrote a great blog today on reading the Bible. Several gems found within, including this one:

Do listen to me dear reader. Once we give up the conviction that the Bible is the only infallible Word of God, we open ourselves to a strange world out there that may include the Holy Spirit but also if not equally the realm of the demonic. Do not be surprised: Satan “masquerades” as an angel of light (2 Cor.11:14). The devil will work overtime to keeping Christians from reading the Bible. He would love you to close it and just wait on God.

Whereas the Bible was not given to replace the miraculous or even revelation, as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say, but “to correct abuses”, too many people don’t know their Bibles well enough to know what the Word of God says. And what the abuses might be. The Bible is the Final and Ultimate Revelation of Truth; no vision, word of knowledge or insight will ever – ever – contradict what the Bible has said. The first test of any vision or prophetic word is to run it by Scripture. If it is not upheld by the infallible Word of God, reject it – no matter how much you may respect the person who gives you a word.
— R.T. Kendall

Check it out.

Miracles: Fiction or Fact?

Miracles: Fiction or Fact?

Just saw this on Kickstarter and got instantly excited! Elijah is making a documentary about miracles. This is what he has to say:

My name is Elijah. I believe miracles can happen. Also, I have a degree in philosophy as well as psychology, so when I hear claims of people being healed, I naturally have lots of questions. I’m convinced that if they’re true, and God is doing this, then there should be a trail of evidence that corroborates some of those stories.
— Elijah Stephens

As of this writing, he's got 14 days to reach his kickstarter goal. Let's throw some money his way to make a difference and get this movie made!