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An Interesting Challenge

A story in the Logos Bible Software Blog caught my attention today. LaRosa Johnson, an employee of WORDsearch set on a 30-day “journey” -challenge, he calls it- that consisted in using Logos exclusively for a whole month (as opposed to using WORDsearch at work and at home), and see what effect that would have be on his own personal devotions and Bible study. The series of posts (that you can find here in reverse chronological order) make for some really interesting reading.

What I find peculiar about all this is that he not only had WORDsearch as his primary Bible software, but in fact he works for the company. Nevertheless, I think he did a pretty good job at conveying the pros and cons he found along the way as he compared a program that was new to him to another one he had been using for about eight years. You can almost feel his pain and joy, his frustrations and his successes, the way his outlook and needs change over time, as he is exposed to different tools and a different workflow.

I will let you read his own conclusions. Mine is (well, one of them, at least) that there is no such thing in Bible software as a “one fits all” package. It’s like a suit. We all have different needs, tastes and sizes, and there’s got to be different kinds so that we can find the one that really makes us feel most comfortable.

Incidentally, I don’t necessarily endorse his opinions, and this little exercise could have been carried out with other Bible software products. What I do appreciate is the courage he showed to even take up the challenge in the first place.

WORDsearch for Mac

Really? Yep! WORDsearch just announced that a Mac version of their application will be available in September. You can see a video tour of the program, which will run only on the new Intel Macs with Leopard OS X 10.5. This “converted” version of WORDsearch, with identical features to the current version 8 for Windows, will bring a huge library of CROSS-compatible titles to Mac users. Among them, many Reformed works published by Doxa Digital Press.

Forums Open

Bible Software Review forums are now open, and I am hopeful that the new anti-spam measures will keep spammers away. The goal is to build a strong community of Bible software users and developers where people can interact with one another, so please feel free to register and participate. Your comments and ideas will no doubt benefit others and, as usual, there is an Announcements section for official press releases.

Among the many new features is the ability to actually write in Greek and Hebrew quite easily, add attachments to your posts, show images, etc. Also, keep in mind that other forums will be open as needed. Why not give them a test run and discover all the potential they hold?

Meanwhile, do let me know if something is not working properly. There have been so many changes in the last few days that it is difficult to get it all right the first time. Please be patient as I process registrations. Believe it or not, I do sleep every now and again 😉

Finally, I would appreciate it (in fact, we all would) if you use your real name, rather than some cryptic nickname, if at all possible. Thanks!

New Design and Improvements

As you can see, the site and the blog have undergone a major redesign. You may or may not like it, but I think they look much better than before. But don’t get fooled by the appearance. The real improvements are to be found in the code. You can’t see it, but it will make my life a lot easier, and you will be able to profit from some streamlined features.

I will not bore you with all the details, but I do want to mention a few of the improvements:

  • A number of system-wide anti-spam features have been implemented. This means that the website, the blog and the forums (soon to be reopened), will be easier to manage. It also means that the time saved in running them can be devoted to creating new contents.
  • The calculations used to assign an overall rating to the products reviewed have been changed, so that even if a certain area is not applicable, the merits of the available features is what counts towards the final score (see a real example of the kinds of problems I run into in the past.)
  • The new layout is more readable, and leaves plenty of room for the use of audiovisual media.
  • As far as possible, links have been thoroughly updated. As for incoming links, please notice that any links pointing to the old blog URL (“domain/weblog/post.html“) or the first incarnation of BSR (with static htm files) will not be redirected anymore. There has been plenty of time to update those links, and the server structure was getting very confusing trying to keep this sort of “backwards compatibility.” I’m sorry for any inconvenience, but it is something that had to be done.
  • Most changes have improved the “team-friendliness” of the site, so that it will be easier to have others involved in writing, blogging, participating in the forums, etc.

Last, but not least, I am greatly indebted to my son Andrés, without whose help these changes would have not been possible.

Finally, I want to encourage you to keep supporting this project by emailing me news, links or any other information that you think might be useful to the many readers of BSR. Okay, enough for now. Have a nice day and see you around!

Andersen-Forbes Resources Website

The Andersen-Forbes website is now available, and, among other things, offers some white papers (PDF downloads) that give in-depth instructions (wirtten by A. Dean Forbes himself) on how to make the most out of the Andersen-Forbes Text and Phrase Markers database currently available from Logos. Quite a treat for Hebrew students and a good help for getting hold of a rather complex tool (via Exegetica Digita).

Award for SwordSearcher

Brandon Staggs’ SwordSearcher has won for the second consecutive year the People’s Choice award in the category of Best Hobby or Personal Interest. These awards are announced annually at the Software Industry Conference. As you can see, there are quite well-known applications included in the list of winners, so it is definitely encouraging to see a Bible software program doing so well. Congratulations, Brandon!

Updating Blog Feeds

Please update your BSR blog feeds. Thanks!

All those who have subscribed to the previous feeds or (by far the most popular) should update to At least that’s what I’ve had to do in order to make it work again via Bloglines, which is my feed reader of choice. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Under Social Network (lower right hand column) you will find some easy, one-click methods to subscribe. Besides, most modern browsers will allow you to do the same by clicking the RSS button.

On a related note, I’ve noticed that there are still quite a few blogs that link to the outdated URL ( Do please update all those links (both to the main page and to the entries’ permalinks). I’m sorry about the hassle, but it is necessary to streamline the blog. If it’s any consolation to you, I have to go through the same process for other people’s blogs on a rather regular basis 😉

Online Tanach Updated

The Hebrew text of the online Westminster Leningrad Codex has been updated to version 4.10 (released July 1, 2008). This project, run by Chris Kimball, is a great contribution that is regularly updated and improved with new and helpful features.

Let me remind you that this Unicode/XML text can be downloaded for offline viewing as a 5 MB ZIP file, and that previous versions of the site (except for the most recent one) can be found here.

Logos Free Tools

All of the Logos Bible Software free applications have been conveniently moved to a centralized downloads page. Note that only NoteScraps requires payment if you want to unlock the pro version. Everything else is free for the taking.