Archive for February, 2004

Aggregators, Blog Readers and other Animals

Published: February 21st, 2004

Mark Goodacre of NT Gateway Weblog talks about how happy he is to have found Bloglines.

I have to agree with him. I subscribed to this fine web-based service a few days ago (isn’t Internet such a small world after all?), and can now keep track of all the blogs I read daily. It is a very convenient and intuitive way to manage your favorite blogs, although I’m afraid I am still not taking advantage of all the available features. And you know what? It’s free!

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Review of iLumina Gold

Published: February 20th, 2004

A fresh review of iLumina Gold has been made availabe by David Lang, Content Editor of CMUG (Christian Macintosh Users Group). iLumina is a very innovative product available for both Windows and Macintosh users. Enjoy!

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Trackback System Added

Published: February 20th, 2004

Thanks to Haloscan, my blog now has a trackback system. According to Wikipedia, trackback is:

… a system implemented by Movable Type that alerts and allows a blogger
to see who has blogged about posts on his or her blog. The system works by sending a ping between the blogs, and therefore providing the alert.

In other words, a whole network of related links can be built up in the twinkling of an eye by using this feature. It works this way: If you have a blog and write an entry relating to something I have written here, “ping” my trackback. I will do the same if you have this system implemented, and every reader will be able to see at a glance who links to who and what refers to what. Make sense? Please try it! It will allow this blog to be even more interactive and (hopefully!) useful. Also, don’t be shy and use the Comment feature to your heart’s content. Thanks!

[Ed.] With the recent move to Movable Type (and later to WordPress), this feature is now fully integrated in the blog itself, and therefore I have stopped using Haloscan.

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Review of Bibloi 8.0?

Published: February 20th, 2004

Torrey Seland expresses his hope that either me or somebody else will get round to reviewing the latest version of Bibloi (formerly known as Bible Windows) from Silver Mountain Software. I will gladly take up the challenge if/when my upgrade arrives. If my mind serves me right, Bible Windows was the first program of its kind to offer Internet links to different sites of interest for Bible scholars and classicists from inside the application itself. This feature is now becoming available in other software packages. A step in the right direction, as I see it.

[Ed.] The review is now available.

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Philo and the New Testament

Published: February 19th, 2004

It came as a nice surprise to me that Kåre Fuglseth, co-blogger of Philo of Alexandria blog had undertaken the job to compare all the Greek words in Philo and the NT in one of his books. I was intrigued about the approach/method he had taken, since he explicitly mentioned “personal computers”, so I left him a comment. Yesterday he kindly sent me a short note in which he says: “I have used HyperCard for Macintosh. At the time it was the only program that could sort 430,000 cards (the Philonic corpus) in a Greek alphabetic order (or any order, autodefined).” So here’s a good example of how computer tools can enhance our research.

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More on Interviews

Published: February 19th, 2004

I have heard back from a few of the people whom I emailed the survey. Some of them will be sending theirs in at a later date. Some others I haven’t heard from yet. Whatever the case, it is impossible to hear from everybody. So I’ve decided to share some links that may be of interest to those who like to put “faces to names”, even though sometimes there might not be any photos available! Here goes the first one:

You can find out more about Roy Brown, President of OakTree Software, by reading an online interview by Terri Lackey here, or by dowloading the PDF version (article found on pages 10-11).

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Review with Sidenotes

Published: February 19th, 2004

I have posted a review* of a previous version of Accordance Bible Software. A full review of the latest version will be forthcoming. I am making this review available for the following reasons:

1. To whet your appetite ;-)
2. To allow you to compare it with the newer review (coming soon…)
3. To test the sidenotes as recently discussed by Stephen C. Carlson of Hypotyposeis.

Let me know what you think about this annotation technique.

* [Ed.] This link pointed to the previous version available at BSR. The new link, of course, uses a completely different system for displaying notes.

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The “Business” of Bible Software

Published: February 18th, 2004

Bob Pritchett, President/CEO of Logos Research Systems, blogs about whether Bible software should be considered just like any other business or there is something more to it. Interesting discussion, coming from someone who’s directly involved in the Bible software industry. Is competition a good thing? Well, I think so. Should Bible software companies make profit? Certainly! So what’s special about it? It seems to me that the unique feature lies in the fact that this industry should be both a business and a ministry (in the strictest sense of the Greek term DIAKONIA). If we lose the vocational nature of
Bible software, I think we’ll end up with just another (legitimate) way of making a living. I’d like to think that selling potatoes or cloths is not quite the same as selling Bible software (or teaching theology, or being involved in another full-time ministry, for that matter). Some people choose to make their products available as freeware or shareware, while others commit themselves to developing commercial Bible software. It is their choice, and I don’t see anything ethically or Biblically wrong about either approach. And once the commercial alternative is pursued, it is taken for granted that there will be some measure of competition (which is also present, BTW, among freeware/shareware applications). Having said that, from the viewpoint of Bible software users it is important to note that no single product will satisfy everyone’s needs. It is true that many of the features in most Bible software packages overlap to some degree. But it is equally true that there is some complementarity as well. Not all users have the same needs, and so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the software that best suits our personal interests and needs, whatever they might be. And this brings me to my last point: I think the price of Bible software should be reasonable enough so that people could actually afford to use more than one package. This may not be necessary for those using the software for personal study and general teaching, but it is a must for users involved in an academic study of the Scriptures.

Ideally, then, Bible software companies should strike a balance between business and ministry. Yeah, I know. It’s easy to say, but very hard to do. However, just because something is hard doesn’t mean we must give up, right?

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Quotable Quote

Published: February 17th, 2004

I thought you might enjoy this quote from John J. Hughes’ Bits, Bytes & Biblical Studies (Zondervan, 1987, p. 5):

A computer can do nothing unless its task is explicitly defined not only in a logical fashion but in a way that turns every step of the task into a logical operation that the machine can perform by using its logic circuits. Computers do everything “by the book.” They never operate intuitively. They do not know how to take shortcuts. They are not creative. You cannot delegate a task to them and expect them to figure out how to do it, unless that ability has been designed into the program the computer is running. Computers are tireless, perfectly obedient, incredibly fast, and never bored, but they are stupid. They cannot even tell you the
time of day unless you have given them a program that instructs them in a step-by-step way how to do that. Computers have prodigious memories and powerful brains, but they have no minds.”

Hughes’ work has been out of print for a long time, but this little paragraph is certainly as applicable today as it was when it was first penned. I would add one thing: Computers never make mistakes, but programmers and users do! After all, making mistakes is an inherently human trait.

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Microsoft Strikes Again!

Published: February 17th, 2004

I’ve recently learned of the problems Silver Mountain Software has been going through as a result of Microsoft’s pressure, er… I mean concerns. You can read all about it here. John Baima has just announced that the new Bible Windows update is now known as Bibloi 8.0. Apart from other improvements, the main new feature is the ability to import texts into the program. Users will now be able to import texts in a number of formats, including “Online Bible translations, Beta Code texts, plain text files, and texts from the Unbound Bible Project“.

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