WWW Wednesday: Logos Bible Software 6 – A Ginormous Leap Forward

Logos Bible Software Version 6 A Ginormous Leap Forward

 
Logos Bible Software released version 6 of their popular software earlier this week. The new version includes a ton of new features and significantly updates many existing features. Is Logos Bible Software right for you? I explore some of the pros and cons in my weekly post over at the Why We Web blog.

Check it out….

 

Link: Logos Bible Software Version 6 – A Ginormous Leap Forward

 

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WWW Wednesday: PC vs. Mac – The Debate Rages On

Why We Web

Yes, I know today is Friday however it is never too late to promote my most recent Wednesday post over at the Why We Web blog.

The post features a video that gives an unusually unbiased explanation of the difference between PCs and Macs. Check it out and then join the on going discussion in the comments.

BTW, even if this topic is of no interest to you; you should still check it out just to hear the speaker’s accent!!

Link: PC vs. Mac – The Debate Rages On

 

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Becoming a Student of the Word

The Bible Psalm 51

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

It is our responsibility to become a student of the Word. Being a student of the Word does not mean the Bible is something that we casually read. We must be committed to studying the Word of God. So many have lost the desire to study the Word of God. When we watch our favorite sports team or the next big movie we get excited, and we can’t wait until the next Harry Potter book comes out. How come we don’t get excited about the Word of God?

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The Hunt: Mac or PC

I’ve already noted that you need to figure out your priorities with your new Digital Bible. In this penultimate post to the series closer, I want to clear up a major question: Mac or PC?

Both Macs and PC’s are ridiculously easy to use and they each come with their own learning curve. Don’t believe the fan-boy hype. This is why you’ll have to focus on your usage list.

If you’re planning to play the most recent video games you’re going to want to steer clear from a Mac. Lots of them don’t come out for it and the ones that do don’t get a ton of backend support for odd crashes. Macs make up a small segment of video game producer’s market share so if Mac Users are having problems it’s not something that can turn the name of the company into a pariah. Of course, this doesn’t matter much with mobile platform games (like Angry Birds).

Lean towards a Mac if you’re planning to do design work. Sure, PC’s are exactly the same in this respect but as a designer you’re probably already using a Mac so maximize your business dollars; stick with what you know. No one but designers will care for this bit but it must be mentioned: font management (like auto activation of fonts) is much better on the Mac. So far, anyway. With web fonts on the grow, that can change.

I’ve said it before: if you’re going to just use the thing for surfing the web, writing emails and maybe posting on your blog spending a boatload of money on anything expensive is a waste. Those very minor tasks (sorry they are) don’t necessitate all that cranking power. But then again, that might just mean a tablet—although not necessarily an iPad (which will still require a computer to set it up).

Apple’s Monitors, though pretty, aren’t all that great considering their steep price tag. Shop around for a monitor because both Macs and PC’s can use them (though Mac’s usually with an adapter on everything but an iMac which has a Monitor built in) and it’s the one piece of equipment that might probably outlast your system.  My ViewSonic is great for games, reading, movies and detailed design work and is crisper than my Cinema Display. The Cinema Display cost over a thousand; the ViewSonic cost three hundred.

If you want upgradeability go with a PC; Mac’s have a time stamp that lasts as long as the next conference in June or the Christmas season. Anyone (including that guy behind the counter in Best Buy) can swap out any part of your PC for the most recent edition. The only time that becomes problematic is when a major change comes along (like Intel’s dual core chip) which changes the face of PC tech.

So, Mac or PC? It all depends. Plus, there’s always Linux.

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Read the next and final post in this series: A Successful Hunt.

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The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: Check Yourself

The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: Check Yourself

It’s too easy to be psyched out by the spurious glitter of a shiny chrome shell so in this post I want to focus on what you need to look for when you go digital with your doctrinal deeds and needs by listing five questions you should be asking yourself.

What Am I Doing With This Thing? Have a solid plan on how you’re going to use this thing. If you’re going to be using multiple versions, looking at original languages, accessing notes (yours and others), creating new notes then write that down. If it’s just going to replace a print Bible, write that down. If you’re throwing down 2 grand on a Macbook Pro to use BibleGateway, you’ve failed.

Is This Burden Light? Check the weight. Feel it. You might be carrying it all day. Avoid laptops that are labeled “Desktop Replacements” because, although they have a ton of power and a huge screen, they weigh a ton. You’re wide margin Bible weighs about 3.5lbs so stay below or within that.

Can I Read On It? Some people find cell phone screens easy reading; others have real problems with them: no one can tell you what the right fit is for you. If you’re looking at netbooks, make sure you can read text on it. If the store allows it, plug in a thumbdrive with some sample documents. Also, side note: laptop display size is usually figured out diagonally. Those of us who remember our Pythagorean theory, this means that a 17 inch laptop screen that is about 8 inches high might only actually be 15 inches wide. Ironically, back in the day when screens were round they had to be measured using diameter and thus diagonals became the rule!

Can I Type With It? iPhones are great but I can’t stand typing more than a sentence or two with that tiny virtual keyboard. The Sony Netbook’s keyboard is so tiny that your fingers slam into other keys whereas Asus’ gives you some more room for actual typing. Like legibility, you are the one who has to ultimately decide if these devices work for you but as a pointer, Netbooks that are 7-8 inches have a significantly smaller keyboard than those which are 9-10 inches; laptops generally have similar keyboards across the board; and tablets usually have a virtual keyboard that might focus on two finger input.

Does It Work With My Stuff? Lots of folk don’t consider this when they pick up a device, but you have to make sure that you can actually use it with your stuff. If that brand new tablet is gorgeous but can’t sync with any of your printers or computers or documents, then it’s no good. This means that if you own specific Bible Software already (such as Logos) you’re going to want a device that can run it. If you have tons of .docx files (which is the new file format for Microsoft Word docs after Word 2007) then you’re going to need a computer that allows you to install your version of Word—or at least access them.

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To read the next installment in this series click here.

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The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: Lay of the Land

The Hunt 3

Sun Tzu said “Know The Terrain” by which he meant that if you’re fighting you better know where you’re fighting. Nuclear devices changed all that. But it still applies when you’re traversing the battle field of e-bible shopping.

There are five territories you’ll be shopping in and they all have their pros and cons.

Mobile Devices. These devices are the smallest, lightest devices you can find and therefore the most portable option available. They often give you the benefit of making calls. Of course, if you don’t want to become the bondservant of a cellular contract, you could look at devices like the Apple Touch, the N810, or the Archos32 Palm-Sized Tablet.

Readers. This is every tablet on the marketplace. So products like the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and even the Kindle: same family but different skill-sets. The Kindle’s e-ink technology makes reading in-or-outdoors a breeze while the iPad’s shiny reflective sun mirror of death works great as a movie-screen inside. These devices are better for reading than the Cell phones but they suffer from the same input problems (e-keyboards, only one external storage slot like an SD card) and an operating system that doesn’t allow you to install full versions of programs (like Word or Logos).

Ultraportables. Which are netbooks, thinbooks (eg: Apple Air, Asus Zenbook) and the like. These devices usually have at least one usb port (which allows adding some sort of peripherals), a real keyboard, but their screens are usually as small as (or smaller than) readers without the auto-rotate capability that readers are known for. Ultraportables have more cranking power than a Reader and they come with a full Operating system so you can install your desktop programs at ease but you might have a problem using multiple programs at the same time—considering the screen size and RAM (I’ll get into that in a later post).

Laptops. These are the workhorses of mobile computing. They have a full Operating System like their smaller cousins the Ultraportables, but they have bigger and more powerful guts to let you do complex stuff on the go. These usually come with a CD-Rom drive (unlike all the previous categories I listed) although they have been slowly phasing them out. These devices are usually heavier than all the previous listed devices and their batteries might not last as long either, but their costs and cranking power is always better than the Ultraportables.

Desktops. The Non-Mobile beast that sits at your foot waiting at your beck and call. These have absolutely the most power, can do the most work, can process the most information, can install the most programs and should actually function as the center of all your computing needs. I always recommend people get a Desktop Computer before buying a mobile solution (especially since most mobile solutions except Ultraportables and laptops require a desktop) but if you own one already, then going mobile might be a viable option—especially if you want an E-Bible on the Go.

Now you know what’s out there and knowing is half the battle. Sun Tzu would be proud.

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To read the next installment in this series click here.

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The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: Digital Dilemmas

The Hunt for the Perfect Bible: Digital Dilemmas

I really think that the Perfect Bible is probably going to be found in some sort of technological advancement: for now, that means portable computing devices. Now, I admit that there are inherent problems with having an electronic Bible. In this post I want to make you aware of some of these potential problems if you’re considering moving over from paper to pixel.

Power: No matter what, the electronic solutions of today necessitate electricity while all versions of print just necessitate enough light to read the text. This means that if you want to go wireless, you’re going to need a battery (or a battery backup) that will last you throughout the day. This becomes pretty important if you’re like me and planning to preach with your device in hand. You don’t want this thing to shut down mid-sermon.

Crash-Prone: Print Bibles never shut-down from lack of power and they also won’t fail from some random error—you have to expect this when it comes to electronic solutions. Laptops, tablets, phones: they all crash. Be it a software problem, a memory problem (I’ll explain a lot of these terms in a future post), or a storage problem: these things all crash. You must be prepared.

User-Error: True, Print Bibles also suffered from user-misuse but in this case I mean rather the error that comes along from doing things wrong. So let’s say you download what you think is virus protection—boom, there goes your Bible as you’re wiped out by a virus. Or let’s say you store multiple backups of your notes on different computers and you forget to synchronize your files: boom, now you’re working with an old version of your files (there’s a solution for this, but I’ll address this in a later post).

Legibility: most people don’t think about this, but most of your electronic devices have been made with nice shiny bright screens that are made specifically to be read indoors; your reading, on the other hand, can happen anywhere—including outdoors. These bright shiny electronic screens become reflective sun-mirrors whenever you’re outside and that destroys any ability at reading.

Expensive: A nice genuine leather Bible could cost you $100. A Mobile phone could cost you $300 plus a two year contract. A Netbook would run you $300-600; a Laptop $400 – $1200; and a Tablet $400 – $1000. And it’s seriously possible that you have to replace the thing if you spill, say, a cup of coffee on this your Perfect Electronic Bible.

Even despite all this, I still think that a good E-Bible is the right way to go, but it’s important for the person considering the transition to be informed before taking the plunge.

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To read the next installment in this series click here.

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The Hunt For The Perfect Bible: The Need

The Hunt

Back in the day, I had received what I thought was The Perfect Bible. Black leather. King James Version. Red Letter. References on the side columns. Revised Scofield notes along the bottom. Concordance in the back. This was no award Bible: this was the real, no joke, deal.

Then I found myself having a problem textually following Spanish speakers in our bilingual church. My Perfect Bible had failed me!

Each subsequent year I faced variations of the same problem. After acquiring a bilingual version, I wanted something that I didn’t have to spend my time translating English to English—I got the NKJV but people around me were using the KJV. I was studying the original languages so I wanted something that followed the structure of those languages—I got the NASB but people around me were now using the NKJV and the KJV. I needed something to read aloud that got the point of the passage across—I got the NIV but all my notes were in my NASB.

And so on and so on and so on.

The publishing industry is structured in such a way that there is a Bible for every need. You have your versions, you have your amplified versions, you have your original language versions, you have your side by side versions and you have your versions with multiple versions. We in the West are found without excuse when it comes to the text!

But this all winds up being problematic when you want a single go-to Bible without worrying about copying all the notes into a new updated binding Bible.

And believe me, I tried. One year I went about printing my NASB with NET footers and my notes and references on side columns. I wound up with two tremendous binders filled with a couple reams of paper and only two books of the bible: Genesis and Romans. Sure the thing was detail rich but it was much too heavy to carry and would fail me if anyone was reading from any book other than those two.

What I needed was an actual Perfect Bible: something that allowed multiple languages, multiple versions, allowed access to my notes, allowed access to other’s notes and could be carried around.

Thank God for the Digital Age. Now, with the wide access we have to texts and technology we might be a step closer to the Perfect Bible. Maybe you’re in the same boat, like me, looking for that Perfect Bible—maybe not. Either way, I want to spend some time going over what I think you should be looking for and maybe even some pointers on what to pick up.

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To read the next installment in this series click here.

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Website Review: VoicesForChrist.org

Voices For ChristVoices For Christ is an online repository of approximately 50,000 audio sermons in mp3 audio format. All of the sermons are available for live streaming or download free of charge. The site offers messages from 1,175 of the Lord’s servants from our own generation, and prior generations as well. Some of the preachers from a prior generation include Alfred P. Gibbs, Harry A. Ironside, and Stephen Olford. Among the more contemporary preachers you will find Michael Attwood and Craig Shakarji.

The Voices For Christ homepage explains the purpose of the ministry:

Voices for Christ is an attempt to make Christ-centered ministry available to a wider audience. We are especially interested in helping those on the foreign field, those who have a sincere interest in the infallible Word of God, and any desiring to see the Lord Jesus Christ preeminent in His church.

Because of the large number of messages, and preachers featured on VFC it can be a little overwhelming the first few times you visit. However, it is well worth your time and effort to fully explore the site.

Where to begin?

From the homepage click the “voices” tab near the top center. This will take you to the Library page. Here you can scroll through the names of the preachers who are available. When you find a preacher of particular interest, simply click on his name to bring up a listing of available messages. The list can be resorted by clicking on any of the column titles.

If you are interested in a particular topic you can use the search tool located near the top right corner of the Voices’ Library page. Simply enter a keyword and click the “search now” button. When I entered “Hosea” the search resulted in a listing of 88 messages. “Genesis 22” resulted in 73 messages; however you should carefully review the list as not all 73 messages deal with Genesis chapter 22. This is because the search will also list messages about Genesis that just happen to be 22 minutes long, regardless you should still be able to find what you are looking for.

Two additional starting points are “the most recently added messages” link and the “top 25 downloads” link. Both are found on the Voices’ Library page as shown in the screen shot below.

Voices For Christ Library Page

Once you have identified a message that you would like to listen to, you may listen online by clicking the circular play button to the left of each message, download the mp3 file to your computer by clicking the title of the message, or order a custom made CD by clicking the check box to the far left and completing the order form at the bottom of the Voices’ Library page.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that our only authoritative source of truth is the Bible. Resources like Voices For Christ should be used as a help in our study of God’s Word, but never as a replacement. Because of this the VFC Library page states:

While much of this can be helpful, none of this material is a substitute for your own personal study of the Word of God. God’s word alone is authoritative and you should carefully compare anything you find here with the scriptures (Acts 17:11).

Voices For Christ is a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about God’s Word. If you have been particularly blessed by one of the messages from VFC, let us know about it in the comments below.

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Slick Sojourning

Unlike previous generations, Christians today are blessed with a wealth of resources—and I’m not only talking about the amount of teachers around today. Living in a post-Guttenberg era we have the benefits of years of print and now years of digital information. This all means that we have access to information if not within 20 minutes (a local library) then right at our fingertips. Of course, this might all come with its own problems, but at the very least no believer living in the New World should be able to say “I just don’t have access to the right tools” when it comes to being trained in the faith.

So here’s only a fraction of the great resources and where you might find them:

OLD-SCHOOL

Inter-Library Loan. Our Library System in the States is interconnected and (usually) free and they have the ability to borrow books from other libraries and allow you to read from 2 weeks to a month and a half. If it’s in print and older than 6 months you will be able to find it in here. Check with your local public librarian.

University Libraries. Usually colleges in your neighborhood have a library that is accessible to the public if you have the right identification. That ID might cost you a small fee but it’s worth it for the periodicals and books that they might have available.

Amazon Marketplace. You don’t necessarily need the newest editions of books and commentaries—search the used books in Amazon and get them for a steal.

MULTI-PLATFORM

Dropbox. Perfect for syncing files across multiple computers but just as perfect for carrying electronic resources on the go. Seriously, this is a must.

Logos. Probably the best Bible Library software available but it comes at a hefty price. I personally think it’s worth it since it lets you deal with the text in Greek and read up on what others have said. Also, if you picked up Logos 4 for Mac or PC, you’ll have access to the full functionality of this free app: tons of resources on the Go.

PC

Open Office. If you don’t want to shell out the dollars for Microsoft Word, you have the ability to download a word processor with all of MSWord’s power and none of the price tag since it’s free.

E-Sword. Well-established Bible software with a bunch of extra modules (which are additions to the program like commentaries, multiple Bibles, and even scripts that convert your notes to Microsoft Word). Note that although most of the modules are free (like Keil and Delitzsch’s awesome commentary of the Old Testament) there are things in here that come at a cost. (Xiphos is also good)

MAC

Accordance. Great software that also has Mobile integration for on the go study and note viewing—just realize it comes at a cost.

MOBILE

YouVersion. A mess of Bible Versions which even allows you to add your own notes. Careful though: you’ll need a data plan or wi-fi to fully access it.

Olive Tree. Bunch of Bible Versions and you can even purchase premium Bibles and books.

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