Pastor Gadget

by Greg Wiens

I left the church which I planted after 14 years with no permanent place to call an office or church facility. The church was wonderful on my departure and one of the things they gave me was a nameplate for my desk which read: “Pastor Gadget”.  I was touched and knew they understood my heart. Ironically, MK thought they were having fun with me. Either way, gadgets have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. 

So here are a few of the latest gadgets which I find very helpful with a mobile office or traveling a lot. As I said in my introduction to my blog, I have done the research and then purchased these all with my own money. None were given to me for me to review. 

Since all (most) of the people I serve are not local, my computer serves as my desk.  But my clients don’t see my computer, they see my screen (camera) and they hear my voice through a microphone all coming through my internet connection. So when I am not traveling, my local computer and its interfaces have the capacity to make a tremendous difference. I was on a meeting with a church board today and one of the members had a connectivity issue, and we heard every third word. He was clueless even when everyone mentioned it. His input was actually discounted because of his connectivity. 

1. My office: standing desk (adjustable height, camera, microphone, back-lighting, monitor, MacBook stand, etc.

Here are the links to what makes up my home office. I do have 450 mb download bandwidth which keeps my video flawless and I never miss a comment.

Sony Alpha camera, lens, cables and connectors, Yeti microphone, mounting system, and LG monitor ($1500)

Some may cringe at spending $2500 for my whole setup.  But remember this is my office. I easily spend 40-50 hours a week using some or all these devices. Every week of the year. I can honestly say they have made my life easier and much more functional. 

I buy some of my gadgets simply because they are cool, and I am an early adopter.  However, that isn’t so with this setup. I don’t get weary eyes from staring at a computer monitor or straining my voice to be heard. I can speak in normal tones and my clients can hear and see me as if I am there in real-time. I am in clear focus and don’t need to worry about lighting, even with evening appointments. Everything just works like it would in a face-to-face meeting.  If you have talked with me via zoom during the last several years, you understand what I am saying.

In fact, I had a son of a famous author say to me before he had been introduced to me on a zoom call: “Tell me what setup you are using, you look and sound like you are right next to me.”  He bought the setup and I coached him through getting it operational. Unfortunately, he didn’t buy anything from us. 

Here are a few other gadgets I use. 

Because I travel a lot, headphones with noise cancellation are essential (photo #2). I used to have to worry about charging my headset before I left for fear of having it go dead on the flight, this happened more than once. Then I came across  Urbanista: Los Angeles headphones ($159). They are solar-charged, wireless, and noise canceling. Even the little light above the seat in the airplane is enough to charge them…you never run out of power.  I love them.

Speaking of headphones, I have had my share of earphones and earbuds (photo #3). I ride and run with them as well as use them when online at home. A friend introduced me to Aftershox conduction earphones ($159) which are the bone-conduction type. They are unbelievable.  I wear them all day and they never hurt or cause problems. I can hear because they don’t block the ear canal and all of the sound passes through the bone in front of your ear.  Before you write them off, try them. I have used them for two years and would never go back to air pods. They are waterproof, never fall off and allow you to hear ambient noise around you. For that reason, you don’t want to use them on an airplane. That is why I have my Urbanista headset given earlier.  

My home office wouldn’t be complete without my Stand up desk and chair (photo #1). I have used this setup for about five years and love it. I stand the entire day and my legs and back don’t tire.  I find it difficult to sit through a debrief or a meeting where everyone is seated. Once you are used to standing, you will never go back. Unfortunately, I just priced this desk and chair and noticed it is 2.5 times what I paid for it; I think Covid created a market where many people equipped home offices.

The last thing to round out my office is my pen and steno pad (photo #4). Yes, I still do some things the old way and this Ti Bolt Action Pen (with 0.38mm refill) is the best for writing thin notes to myself while online or in a meeting. I also use the old steno pad which really works well for me.  Over the years, I have tried probably 20 different organizational tools, but I come back to this simple method of keeping a running log of notes and to-dos.

The last part of making my home office complete is my coffee espresso. 

I don’t drink coffee, in fact, I haven’t drunk coffee since my college days. But somewhere around 53 years of age, after traveling Europe and Latin America, I found I really enjoyed drinking drinks made with espresso and milk (and often with chocolate or caramel). The first time I had a Nicaraguan woman make me caffe con leche from scratch with real unhomogenized milk in Cuba, I was hooked. So I began to look for specialty drinks to my preference here in the states.,

I eventually bought my own espresso machine about 7 years ago (photo #5) and Mary Kay literally thought I had lost my senses. I gradually began making my own lattes and cappuccinos and discovered I like a light roast much more than the dark (read burnt) roast that many (Starbucks) coffee shops made famous. Starbucks eventually came out with their blond roast for light roast aficionados like me. However, as usual, it costs more! Really? So I now roast my own beans from a single source in Ethiopia. Here are three devices that I have found beneficial in my coffee snobbery addiction. The first (photo #6) creates the best lattes using oat milk. I have used several frothers including the wand that comes with my espresso machine. But nothing compares to the foam and heating capacity of this Secura milk frother.

The second keeps my latte warm (photo #7) while I am standing at my desk, I tried the real expensive versions sold by Starbucks and others, this one is simple, cheaper, and actually works better: Cosori cup heater.

I am no longer in a hurry to drink my latte because this heater will heat it up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours. 

Lastly, because I like a light roast, I roast my beans on a SR 800 Coffee Bean roaster. It is very simple and easy to watch YouTube videos on how to do it. I did buy a glass extender on Ebay for this roaster which allows me to roast more beans at one time, however, I don’t think it is available at this time. 

So that is my home office, complete.  And I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else in the world for my office. 

One Reply to “Pastor Gadget”

  1. Wow, Greg, you really bared your soul here! I feel like I understand you so much better now, though I suspect none of us will ever totally understand you. I hope you will continue to be an early adopter so the rest of us can know what’s authentically cool. Thanks Bro!

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