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February 7, 2004

Launching New Site and New Blog!

Today is the day!

I finally got around to setting up a prototype of the new Bible Software Review website. Welcome everybody!

The tricky thing about html and building web sites is that you tend to forget how to do it (unless you practice on a regular basis, that is). So if you ever find yourself in that position, I can recommend W3 Schools. Lots of interesting reading there about building web sites (and quite useful too for writing blogs!).

Talking about weblogs, after a period of trial and error I've finally managed to start this one. You know what they say nowadays, don't you? "I blog, therefore I am." It is not enough to have a website, you just have to have a blog ;-) If you want to find out more about blogging, this page makes really fascinating reading. I now read a few hand-picked blogs everyday. It is better than reading the newspaper. Give it a try!

And while I continue updating Bible Software Review, this link from my homepage will give you a good, fairly good, faint idea of what will be forthcoming... (sorry folks, I couldn't resist trying the strike through tag... :-))

Oh yeah, one final thing. Feel free to use the commenting system. Despite some unexpected delays, over which I have had no control whatsoever, it is now working. You just have to click on Comment, and comment away! I've added one myself as an example. Please let me hear from you!

February 8, 2004

Some Technicalities

Mark Goodacre (thank you Mark!) has kindly posted a link to this blog in his much appreciated weblog. He raises a couple of practical questions I had forgotten to mention.

The site can only really be viewed effectively in 1024 x 768. At present it's still being built but most of the Links section is active. Note: it looks like the blog does not yet have an RSS feed.

I'll make a point of adding a note to the web site stating something like "Best viewed at a 1024 x 768 or above screen resolution". As a matter of fact I work with a resolution of 1280 x 1024 on a 17" TTF display, and everything looks rather nice (and easy on my eyes too!). Mind you, my 12" iBook does a pretty good job at 1024 x 768 as well, particularly if you like a large and readable font size. As for the RSS (Rich Site Summary/Really Simple Syndication) feed, I'm working on it. I hope it will be up and running tomorrow.

And while we're dealing with some technical issues, I guess I should point out that the character encoding for this blog is set to Universal (Unicode UTF-8). You may have to change the character set of your web browser if you want to see my name displaying the acute accents correctly (i.e., Rubén Gómez). Anyway, let me know if your browsers cannot handle either the web site or the blog reasonably well.

February 9, 2004

It is Well...with my Blog

Beginnings are always difficult, and setting up a blog can be quite a daunting task. To the best of my knowledge, the RSS feed is working properly now. Try clicking on "Site Feed", on the right hand side of your screen. Very neat! Archives are also working, but of course there isn't much to archive so far. I really appreciate the comments received. Keep them coming!

Concerning Reviews and Other Matters

Torrey Seland has also posted a link to this weblog on his own blog on Philo of Alexandria. I appreciate it. He also left me a comment which opens up an interesting discussion about what we understand by the term "Bible software." It surely means different things to different people, but I, for one, will be using it in a rather flexible way. So, yes, we'll be reviewing some tools that are being used successfully by general users, students, teachers, scholars and what have you, to learn/teach Biblical languages, write thesis and academic papers, etc. But, in order to do that, I will be needing your help. I am actively looking for people who are both qualified and interested in helping review some of these and other products. If you feel so inclined, please drop me a line, a comment, or whatever.

Remember, Bible Software Review can only get better and become really useful with contributions from others. I am certainly not going to do everything on my own. I have gone past the "one-man band" stage a long time ago...

By the comments and emails received in such a short time (Thank you!), I am once again reminded of something I already knew, at least theoretically. Blogs can be a tremendous source for sharing knowledge and information. So, let's "keep the candle burning"!

The Word is Spreading...

I appreciate Jim Davila's mention of my web and blog. Note that his excellent PaleoJudaica weblog is included in my list of recommended blogs.

Incidentally, these referals just come to show how visited and respected Mark Godacre's NT Gateway and related weblog are. It is a real gem in the overwhelming - and all too often mediocre - universe of cyperspace!

Using New Technology for Webs and Blogs

It may be pure coincidence, but the fact is that I was getting ready to blog about Stephen C. Carlson's most interesting topic on In-line Glossary Technique, when I noticed that he refers to the launching of this little weblog of mine. Much obliged, Stephen!

Now, regarding the technique he introduces to "mark up Greek words for glossing", it just dawn on me that it could be equally used as a means to replace footnotes, and most certainly to present brief definitions for some of those cryptic words scholars are so fond of using every now and again ;-). I don't have the time to test it right now, but maybe others have used this method and could enlighten us a bit...

February 11, 2004

Hardware Woes

I'm in the middle of some hardware changes, and the transition wasn't as easy as I had anticipated. So, to make a long story short, I was unable to blog. Yesterday was a particularly looong day. I'm sure many of you can simpathize with me. Now I'm off to the computer store. More later.

February 20, 2004

Trackback System Added

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, this feature is now fully integrated in the blog itself, and therefore I have stopped using Haloscan.

February 21, 2004

Aggregators, Blog Readers and other Animals

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!

February 25, 2004

Web Traffic

One week ago I added a free counter and statistics tracker from Site Meter. It is now set up so that visitors cannot access any of the site reports and charts, but I can assure you that it offers some interesting data. Let me say, right from the start, that I am very pleased by the number of people who drop by. We are not too far from 500 visits in just one week! And that's not counting the first few days after the web was launched, when I received lots of emails but the counter had not been implemented yet. Besides, I have only placed the tracker in two of the pages so far (home page and weblog). So I'm pretty sure that that figure is in fact a rather conservative estimate. Needless to say how thankful I am to all of you for making this possible. It only comes to show that there really was a need for this kind of endeavor.

Looking at the OS chart I found the following (presumably from today's traffic):

OS chart.gif

As you can see, most operating systems are represented. However, I am a bit intrigued by the "Unknown 1%". What system could that be? Would you please stand up? (just kidding, of course).

Well, I want to thank my fellow bloggers (bless them) for kindly placing a few links that point to this weblog and its associated website, and also Google, for the fact that you can type "Bible software review" and the very first hits you will get are, guess what, our website and weblog!

March 4, 2004

Blog Mentioned on B-Greek

Carl Conrad, one of the chairs of B-Greek has mentioned a handful of blogs that may be of interest to members of the list. I appreciate the fact that he thinks some "b-greekers" could find this weblog worth reading. I have been a member of this particular mailing list for quite a number of years, and questions about Bible software are indeed frequent. B-Greek roughly covers Septuagint, NT and Patristic Greek, and since not a few of my comments have some bearing on the original languages, I do hope that the weblog will definitely be of interest to those who happen to subscribe to it.

March 8, 2004

Hardware Again...

Computers can be a wonderful help... when they work properly. I am still having some hardware problems, as a result of which I am being delayed in my work. Given the fact that I am usually working under some sort of NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), I cannot give you details about what I am currently doing (hint: it's got to do with Bible software ;-)), but the point is that these problems are a real pain in the neck. Have you ever felt frustrated by the fact that your hardware or software (or both!) have let you down? No platform is perfect, to be sure, but PCsand Windows have become a constant source of headaches. Never had a single problem with my Macs, though they do have them (so I'm told). One of these days I'll take the plunge and install Linux on one of my PCs. Okay, okay, you probably couldn't care less about my woes, but hey, the truth is that I feel much better now...

March 12, 2004

Weblog Access

For some unknown reason the blog hasn't been available intermittently. I haven't received any notice, but I am almost sure it has to do with Haloscan's Comment and Trackback system. I have temporarily disabled this feature until the service is restored. Sorry for the inconveniences caused.

March 15, 2004

Commenting System Up and Running

Seems like the problems have been solved, and you can once again use the Comment and Trackback features powered by Haloscan.

Life Must Go On...

After the recent tragic events you have all heard about, things are settling down to relative normality. We will never forget, but we must go on. Blogging must also continue, and I'll try to catch up on things in the next few days.

April 5, 2004

Blog Problems

The blog has been unreachable during most of the weekend (from Saturday 3, around 07:30 PM till Monday 5, 09:00 AM, CET). I'm sorry about that, and thanks to those who reported the problem. After doing some detective work, it turned out that an "offending" trackback somehow messed it all up, so that the weblog could not be accessed. I'm not exactly sure why this happened, but everything seems to work fine now. I regret the fact that many of you found just a blank page, and that I could only find and fix the problem this morning. Thanks for your understanding. BTW, this "black out" did not affect those who read the blog through an RSS aggregator like Bloglines.

April 10, 2004

Email service down

My email account rubeng (at) infotelecom (dot) es is unable to receive or send any messages since last Thursday afternoon, and I'm afraid it will be rather difficult to fix this problem over the long Easter weekend. If you have sent anything to that address in the last couple of days or so, there is a good chance it will never reach me, or else be greatly delayed. Please try this one instead: rgomezp (at) wanadoo (dot) es ([Ed.] No longer available -- (naturally without the spaces and using @ and .) Sorry for the inconvenience!

Meanwhile, I'll take this opportunity to answer a couple of recent emails. I hope my correspondents won't mind, since there is nothing too personal about them. In fact they may be of interest to other readers of this weblog.

Glen McCluskey tells me that "the archives are not viewable with the Mozilla 1.3.1 browser, I think because the names lack the '.htm' or '.html' extension." Well, this is the first time I hear about someone having problems trying to access the blog's archives. On my end there is nothing I can do about it, since the archives are generated automatically. I wonder if anyone else using that particular browser could enlighten us as to the nature of the problem. Ideas are welcome!

Gene Thomas, a seasoned user of Bible Companion Series who admits to feeling sad at its demise (I'm pretty sure he is not the only one), writes, "I have been doing research to determine what to replace it with and been looking for reviews that compare Quickverse, PC Study Bible, and Logos Series X. I noticed you do not include reviews of these yet. Do you know any reviews that compare the top packages from each?" Quite honestly I do not. I am aware of a comparative review of Accordance, BibleWorks and Logos here, as for my website, it will be including reviews of the programs you mention, but not just yet.

April 11, 2004

Blog archives

I thank Bruce Miller for his technical suggestions for solving the problem about the archives not being readable. In fact, contrary to what I had believed, there was something I could do via my blog's configuration options. I think I've got it right now, and I apologize for not having realized it before. It should work fine from now on. However, if an old archive file or link does not work, try to add the ".html" extension at the end (e.g., change http://perso.wanadoo.es/rgomezp/weblog/archive/2004_04_04_archive.#108127154749772465 to http://perso.wanadoo.es/rgomezp/weblog/archive/2004_04_04_archive.html#108127154749772465, or http://perso.wanadoo.es/rgomezp/weblog/archive/2004_02_22_archive to http://perso.wanadoo.es/rgomezp/weblog/archive/2004_02_22_archive.html). That should do the trick.

I really appreciate your comments and emails. They definitely make a difference and help me improve the service I am trying to offer. Thank you very much one and all!

April 19, 2004

Long Weekend Off

I haven't blogged over the weekend. Was too busy with some hardware changes (yes, again!). I should be able to resume normal activity tomorrow, God willing.

May 14, 2004

Things are Moving Ahead... Slowly but Steadily

Sometimes it's difficult to find the right time and the right place to blog. My workload is pretty heavy, and the world of Bible software is becoming very complex. There are so many programs, so many platforms, so many... Anyway, the good news is that more reviews are under way. I think I should be able to post some new material in the next week or so. So, stay tuned! And keep sending your comments and suggestions. I really appreciate them.

June 3, 2004

Blog Makeover

After the recent Blogger update, I have decided to make some changes to the overall look and feel of this blog. But before I proceed any further, I ask you to visit this test blog (no longer active!). There you will see the new layout and features. I've done my best to take into account different resolutions and browsers, but I must say that this has become a real headache. I cannot find a way to make it look exactly the same on every single browser and/or OS. So please, give me your feedback. I would appreciate it if you could leave your comments there, rather than sending emails. This way I can also test the commenting system. Incidentally, one of the new features is that I get an email every time somebody posts a comment. The downside is that managing comments is much less flexible than the current service offered by HaloScan (and no trackback either!).

Apart from the obvious cosmetic changes, there are two more subtle ones. I am now using FeedBurner, so that those of you who have requested an RSS feed can have it. Please let me know how it goes, and keep in mind that for the time being only the "test" blog is available. Also, as Mark Goodacre pointed out, you will now find that posts are being archived individually.

I don't know if this will be a "disimprovement", as Jim Davila calls it, but depending on your suggestions and criticisms I'll move forward in one direction or another. To be honest, I care a lot more about the contents of the blog (and related website!) than the design. However, if I can make your visit a more pleasant experience for y'all, so be it!

June 12, 2004

More Changes

After a short final round of tests, I plan on changing the look of this blog sometime next week. If you point your browser to this address: http://perso.wanadoo.es/rgomezp/weblog2/blogger2.html (no longer active!) you will be able to see a preview of what's coming. Now is the chance to have your say. So, speak now or forever hold your peace... ;-)

June 14, 2004

Blog Update

What you see now is the new look of the Bible Software Review Weblog. You may have to press the Reload button in order to see it properly. For some reason (guess why...) it only displays as originally intended when I use Internet Explorer. However, it looks good on other browsers too, like Safari and Opera. I wish I had more time (or, better yet, a web designer with some spare time, and willing to help me out - hint, hint...) to work on that, but right now that is a luxury I cannot afford. There is still some tweaking to be done (e.g., the profile is not working well), but that should be easy to implement. BTW, the blog is best viewed at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or above and UTF-8, but works fine at 800 x 600 too. As always, your comments are appreciated, although given the wide range of browsers and OSes, I cannot promise everything will look exactly the way you'd like.

June 18, 2004

RSS Feed

I guess I should have explained better that this blog now offers an RSS feed (as well as the original Atom feed). If you use a news aggregator you can paste the url http://feeds.feedburner.com/BibleSoftwareReviewWeblog and you're done. Thanks to Sean Boisen for explaining the process in more detail. Incidentally, Feedburner offers compatibility with many other standards and formats. I believe you can even read this blog on a cell phone!

July 17, 2004

Blogger for Internet Explorer Only?

Blogger is nice, and it keeps adding new features to make our blogging life easier. However, I have a major complaint: the support for other browsers (read all Internet Explorer competitors) is really substandard. I have had compatibility issues with Opera (Windows), Safari (Mac), and even IE for Macintosh. Trying to blog with any of these browsers is quite a feat. Forget about any fancy features (you have to do almost everything by hand). And after every Blogger update, the situation seems to get worse.

I'm not trying to start a "browser war" ;-) it's a proven fact by now that IE is one of the worst browsers available. I simply want to be able to choose which browser I use, and which platform I run it on. I hope the people at Blogger will make an effort to correct this state of affairs soon. Believe it or not, there are a good number of folks (bless their hearts!) who do not use Internet Explorer or Microsoft Windows, and they deserve some respect and attention. Thank you very much.

July 26, 2004

Recent Referral

I must confess I'm not into the habit of checking where visitors come from on a regular basis. However, I just did today, only to find out that David A. Black has mentioned this little corner of cyberspace in his blog. I liked the little teaser he posted, which goes like this (sorry, I couldn't spot any permanent link):

Not all Bible software is created equal. You can review the latest cybernetic Scripture helps here.

Incidentally, I have read quite a few of his books - some authored and some edited by him -, while still others are on my waiting list (which, I hasten to add, is a rather long one!). Anyway, I'm glad he referred to my site, and I'm also happy I came across his site.

August 11, 2004

Light Blogging

As you can see, I have not been blogging much these past few days. No, I'm not on vacation... Problem is that I am extremely busy, and I don't foresee any dramatic changes in this situation any time soon (i.e., until the end of August).

I'll do my best to keep up with the most interesting developments in Bible software and related areas, but don't expect to hear much from me until next month. Thanks for your patience and understanding!

September 7, 2004

News Update

I guess I'm back ;-) Workload is still pretty heavy, as usual, but I should now be able to blog regularly (again, as usual). It's been a hectic month of August! Sorry about this unexpected break. I'll try to catch up with "the latest and greatest" as soon as possible. Also, website updates will be coming gradually, so please check back regularly.

You may have noticed that I have added a new feature to the blog. Right after the permanent link (in the "posted by" line) you'll see an Email Post button. This is a convenient way to email a blog entry to anyone you feel might like it or benefit from it. You just have to click the button, fill in a couple of fields, and a link to that particular post will be emailed out to the address of your choice. I hope you find it useful. Finally, the old website and weblog addresses will definitely go offline by the end of this month. So, please make sure you have your bookmarks and links pointing to THIS blog and, of course, to Bible Software Review. Thanks!

September 11, 2004

What's in a Blog?

Reading David Alan Black's blog (daveblackonline) I learned about the October 2003 issue of NetGuideWeb, which features interesting tips on how to blog from nine seasoned bloggers. In spite of the fact that many of the recommendations are intended for people who write personal weblogs, there are a number of tips that are suitable for more professional blogs.

Many of the advices offered are plain common sense: thinking before writing, using good English, updating the blog frequently, setting some limits, sticking to the point, and things of that nature. But four or five comments caught particularly my attention as I considered the role of those blogs that fall loosely into the "Biblical Studies" category. Here they are, followed by my own reactions to each one of them.

"Don't worry about who's reading, and just write about what's interesting to you. Don't try to please some external person, just focus on writing about stuff you think is interesting." - Easy to say, and easily done... at the beginning. Later on I've noticed that you tend to take into account the profile of your audience and the feedback you receive. So you end up writing about what you consider interesting and think your readers will appreciate.

"Don't post simply because you feel like you ought to - only post when you have something to say." - Very good point. Blogging is not a full-time job, nor and end in itself. I sometimes get the impression that if we only blogged when we have something to say, we would do it less frequently. On the other hand, there could well be some virtue in following the discipline of blogging, so that when we really have something to say, it is worthwhile indeed, and/or that most of what we say ends up being worth saying it.

"When you have something especially important, email some other bloggers and let them know. They're likely to link to you and you'll pick up readers." - I don't think I've ever done that so far. Besides, the notion of "especially important" is rather subjective. Is peer-review (blogger-review?) and interaction among bloggers a good indication of the really important stuff? How many truly seminal lines of thought have been advanced in our specialized blogosphere? Maybe blogging is still in its infancy, and we need some hindsight to actually perceive that some important scholarly questions are shared, considered, and built-upon by a larger community of bloggers. Could it even be the case that some blog entries will make it into books reviewing the current state of Biblical Studies? or that the posts themselves will be published as books in the future?

"Retain your sense of self and style - don't constantly emulate and copy those around you. Your personality needs to shine through first and foremost. It's what will make your blog unique and 'you'." - I concur. Emulation and plagiarism are widespread in our day and age. It is difficult to find your own place among other blogs that attempt to fill vaguely the same niche. Difficult, but certainly worth the effort.

"The blog should do what you say it's going to do. You want people to come back, to become regular readers, so you need to live up to whatever you promise. If you've set up a tech blog, your readers might be surprised if you start writing long accounts of why your marriage/team/country is going down the drain. Of course, in the process you might pick up some new readers and decide to relaunch the blog." - Now, this I find very relevant! One of the things that turn me off is the fact that otherwise good and useful Biblical Studies weblogs begin to talk about things that have nothing to do, whatsoever, with the stated purpose of the blog. Don't get me wrong. I think it is a perfectly legitimate thing to hold certain political views, sports interests, and what have you. However, I do believe they belong elsewhere, and since it is so easy to set up a personal weblog and vent our opinions there, I think it would be in everybody's interest if we could somehow keep focused. This is not to say, of course, that I don't like personal touches here and there. I, for one, love to know some details about any Tom, Dick and Harry "Blogger", see pictures of them, and so on. We're dealing with people here. And you'll agree with me that Stephen is more important than Hypotyposeis, Mark than NT Gateway, or Jim than Paleojudaica, to name just three of them (forgive me the rest of you!). But the fact remains that I feel I cannot add certain blogs to my blogroll simply because they mix "apples with oranges," and that is kind of frustrating.

Just my thoughts, of course. You're welcome to disagree with me or pat me on the back!

September 30, 2004

New Co-blogger

I've decided to experiment with the whole concept of team blogging. Consequently, Ken Ristau will become co-blogger from now on, until further notice. I want to welcome him onboard, and look forward to his insights on the Bible software field.

October 14, 2004

Another Blogroll Addition

Eric Sowell recently contacted me to introduce his blog, The Coding Humanist. It's an interesting blend of comments on software programming and biblical studies, and you'll find a link to it under Recommended Blogs. For an explanation of the weblog's name, read here. It's good to see that the number of bibliobloggers keeps growing!

November 2, 2004

Backlog

I didn't mean to stop blogging for a few days, but in fact that's what I ended up doing. Not to worry! I'm right here; busy, but here. I will now try to give you a quick update on what has been happening this past week.

First of all, October 30 was my birthday :-), and I got a very nice present: an HP iPAQ Pocket PC. Among other things and niceties, this should boost some of the reviews of Bible software programs for Pocket PC that I am working on. Incidentally, it is quite a delight to be able to surf the Net over a wireless connection. I thought BSR and this weblog looked great on that neat 3.5" screen, particularly when you have the ability to set it to landscape mode (one of the nice additions of Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition). The only problem I had was that the main menu didn't display at all. Maybe there's a setting somewhere that I missed, or simply that the IE version of these devices does not handle certain DHTML menus... If you happen to surf with your Pocket PC and have any suggestions to make, do drop me a line.

I have recently finished a major Bible software project I was working on, and hopefully will be starting another one shortly. Sorry I cannot be too specific about it. As I've said before, most of the time I am working under some sort of non-disclosure agreement, which means I am not free to give details about who, what, and when. But be as it may, I hope to get some more reviews finished in the meantime. So, keep checking back, 'cause you won't want to miss that.

This time of year is really hectic for most Bible software companies, as they are doing their best to present their new features and stuff at the annual meetings of ETS and SBL. But it is also a very exciting time, because we will have many things to talk about in the following months. In general terms, I would venture to say that one of the highlights of this year will probably be the different electronic critical apparatuses made available, although you can never rule out a last-minute surprise.

Among the not-so-good news, I should mention that I've had different configuration and incompatibility issues on two Wintel boxes. It got so bad that I had to reinstall everything on one of them, and I may have to do the same with the other one. I am more than tired to see that the most widely used operating system in the world keeps giving me such headaches after so many years. To make things worse, all kinds of viruses, worms, trojans, dialers, and what-have-you are on the loose. I am revisiting the whole issue of turning one of my computers into a Linux box, which I have already used before, but no matter what distro I look at, I can't help thinking that it is not quite ready yet for prime time. So, I keep being reminded of what is arguably a truism: Mac OS X is the best operating system currently available, hands down.

November 29, 2004

Who's Reading this Blog?

Out of curiosity, over the past few days I have been looking at the different site tracking sections made freely available by Sitemeter, to see if I could find a pattern for the average reader of this weblog. To be sure, my random analysis has no statistical value whatsoever, but looking at the time zones, organization, OS, and browser share, I reach the following (tentative) conclusions:

1) The readership is very diverse. We get visitors from all over the world. Not very many from Africa or Asia, for example, but nevertheless those two continents are also represented. Of course, there are many visits that are only tracked as an IP address, and others that fall under the generic umbrella of .net, .com, .edu, etc. (I told you the results were to be taken with a grain of salt!)

2) The time zone that takes the lead is almost always EST (Eastern Standard Time), followed by CST (Central Standard Time), CET (Central European Time), and WET/GMT (i.e., Western European Standard Time/Greenwich Mean Time). But again, there's people from all over the place.

3) Most visitors (slightly over 50%) use Windows XP, while over 20% are running Mac OS X. There are also Linux users out there.

4) Internet Explorer continues to be the most widely used browser, but we've seen a noticeable increase in the number of Firefox users lately (currently around 17%), and of course Safari is well represented too (about 18%). I wonder if other bibliobloggers have noticed an increase in Firefox and Mozilla users too.

I'm sorry I cannot be more specific. Since this is not a commercial site, I see no need to upgrade to a paid account. All I know, and this is what really matters, is that we are reaching a good number of people. We don't know who you are (no need to worry about your privacy, not here :-)), but we are delighted you dropped by!

December 15, 2004

Google Search Feature

You may have noticed that there is now a Google search box on the sidebar of this blog. This means that you can conduct general web searches without leaving this site. But the most obvious use is to limit your search to the www.bsreview.org domain (which includes both the website and this blog). Don't underestimate the power of Google searches. You can easily find anything that has been posted here. If you want to know more about the search syntax, check out this page.

I hope you like this new addition and find it useful. I'm already using it as a very convenient way to find things!

UPDATE (09:30 PM): I should have posted this 12 hours ago, but Blogger hasn't been working properly due to a misconfigured router. Seems to be working again...

December 23, 2004

Top Five of the Year

What was that saying? Ah, yes "If you can't beat them, join them!" Okay, then, here is my list of what I consider to be my top five blog entries of 2004, in reverse chronological order:

Why I Still Write Bible Software Reviews
The Need for Publishing Standards
The Future of Electronic Synopses
Just How Important is a Printed Manual?
Features versus Content

It's not that I think those are necessarily the best - in fact I had a hard time dropping a few more posts from the original list - but they are good representatives of some of the concerns we've been addressing over the past ten months.

Nota Bene - This is a totally subjective, biased, self-indulgent, unscientific sampling. YMMV (Your mileage may vary).

February 7, 2005

It's Been Quiet Lately

I haven't been able to blog on a more regular basis in the last few weeks. I'm in the middle of one of those seasons when blogging hasn't been easy. As far as I can tell, it happens to other fellow bibliobloggers too every now and again. So, not to worry!

Contrary to popular opinion, blogging is a LOT of work. Also, the way I see it, I'm not willing to blog unless I have something to say. Truth is, much though I like writing, sometimes I don't have anything to say at all. But the main reason is basically lack of time. I am so overwhelmed by a growing to-do list that things are getting out of hand. It may sound as a poor excuse, but I can't think of anything else more original to say :-)

It did cross my mind to quit, but that was only a moment of weakness. It is true that maintaining this website/blog is costing me money, and a lot more time than I can spare. However, I believe it has its place and needs to continue. In the past I also thought about getting more people involved in reviewing, writing, etc., but the fact is that everybody I can think of seems to be too busy. Also, if I weren't a perfectionist, I could write more popular, shallow reviews, and post them sooner, but I cannot get myself to do that. Software developers deserve to have their products reviewed in depth, and that, my friends, takes time (among other things).

BSR is a non-profit endeavor, and I would starve to death if I were to dedicate more hours to it that what I am already doing. I am very pleased to see that many companies want to have their software reviewed here. I am doing my best to do so within a reasonable time frame, but I have reached a point where I can't keep up with everything. It is very frustrating, both for developers and for myself, to see that by the time a review is ready, the program has been upgraded and a number of remarks are no longer relevant. It's happened before that I have needed a new review copy because I haven't managed to write a review of the earlier version. Most people understand that; others don't. Well, too bad!

What can I do then in view of this situation? I'm afraid I have no magical wand. If you want to see your product reviewed, please be patient. If you want to read a review and it doesn't get posted, please bear with me (or check out other sites). If you can help in any way, please get in touch. If you have any brilliant idea (okay, simply an idea will do), email me. If you have a good job offer for me... (oops! ;-))

I will try to catch up on the reviews I have already started with (at least four of them), and turn to many other CDs and things sitting in the "waiting room." By the very nature of software there's always bound to be a queue. Mix that with a perfectionist (that's me!), and there you have an explosive cocktail.

If you are still here, thanks for reading this piece. At least now you know a little bit more about what's going on behind the scenes of this blog and the website. Have a nice day!

UPDATE (February 8): I enjoyed reading Mark Goodacre's sensible and balanced comments on this matter. Thank you, Mark.

February 9, 2005

BSR Turns One!

I just realized that this site and weblog were launched on February 7, 2004. If you follow this link, you will find the first blog entry.

Looking back, I can only be thankful for your support. With your help, Bible Software Review will continue to improve and serve a growing number of Bible software users around the world. So a big THANK YOU to all our readers.

October 7, 2005

Sorry and Thank You

I apologize for my silence over the past couple of weeks. It was not intended. It just happened. In my experience, blogging intensity fluctuates depending on many different factors. Well, this has been one of those times when I did not seem to find the right moment to sit down and blog.

On the other hand, I must thank you all for faithfully checking out the blog and website on a regular basis. Statistics show that the number of visitors, page views, and so on, has been similar to other periods when I blog several times a week. This is encouraging and very much appreciated.

November 21, 2005

About Biblioblogging Session at SBL

I am not at SBL, in fact I am thousands of miles away from Philadelphia. But thanks to fellow bibliobloggers I can get a feel for some of the things that are going on there.

Most bibliobloggers are sharing their thoughts on the various meetings they attend, and I have been particularly interested in their reports on the recent session about biblioblogging. Apparently it went really well, according to AKMA, Mark Goodacre, et al. (sorry folks, I can't link to everyone who's blogging on this!)

One thing I find worth noting: now that we have pretty much agreed on the name (bibliobloggers has become the standard), we seem to be facing an identity crisis or sorts. Who can really (and I mean really) be categorized as a biblioblogger, given the fact that there are as many different styles and outlooks as there are bloggers? There is no easy answer. As a matter of fact, I doubt there is an answer at all. I would dare say, however, even at the risk of contradicting myself, that it has a lot more to do with the ultimate purpose behind blogging than with the actual content or personality of the blogger. I'm not wanting to imply that content is not important. It is. What I do want to suggest is that what turns a blog into a biblioblog and not something else is the motivation and goal one imposes upon himself/herself when it comes to setting up a blog and following a blogging "career".

Take BSR, for instance. This may surprise some of you, but, truth be told, I couldn't care less about software per se. It only interests me to the degree that it becomes a useful tool that enables me to pursue my passion: biblical studies (in the broadest sense of the word). That's precisely the reason why I consider it to be a biblioblog, even though the content itself may sometimes appear to be foreign to the academic study of the Scriptures.

Well, what do you think? Am I way off here, or is this a valid argument in the midst of current discussions about the nature of biblioblogging? I'm interested in your thoughts...

November 29, 2005

Clippings Backlog

I keep track of all the blogs I subscribe to via Bloglines, which I have found to be a very useful tool. My Feeds section currently runs at just over 35 blogs or so. I must say I do manage to keep up with most of the posts and threads than interest me (well, sort of), but there is one thing I can't seem to get under control: the number of saved clippings keeps growing and growing. I originally saved them in the hopes of getting back to them and writing a follow-up post here, but I now realize that most of them are "old hat" by the time I get round to reading them again. So, what do I do with those clippings? Am I the only one in biblioblogdom who's got this problem? I guess I'll have to reset the counter to zero by the end of 2005...

February 2, 2006

Bible Software Developers' Blogs

From now on, you will find a list of various Bible software vendors' blogs on the right hand side, just below Recommended Links. Please note that these are corporate blogs. If you feel other weblogs should be added to the list, kindly let me know. Thanks.>

The Future of BSR

When I first started Bible Software Review and this weblog, back in February 2004, I really had no idea whatsoever about how it was going to turn out. I honestly thought it could fill a void in the Bible software scene, and time has shown this to be the case. So I can only thank you enough for dropping by so frequently, for your encouragement, your constructive criticism, and for letting me feel and know that you appreciate what is being done here. I am very thankful both to Bible software developers and general users for the positive feedback. It is YOU who have helped make BSR what it is today. But he have only begun to scratch the surface...

I've learned a lot in these couple of years, and I think it's time to add some of the features I have always had in mind, but never managed to implement. Now that there is a steady flow of well over a thousand visitors every week (and figures continue to grow), I need to make some decisions about the future. Up until now I have considered BSR more as a hobby of mine and a service to the general and academic community of Bible software users than anything else. However, as the workload has increased, so has the amount of time and money I have invested. So much so, that I cannot afford to enter into our third year of existence without making some changes.