I promise no pun was intended, but look what happened
I often have to remind myself that indeed “there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl 1:9). Postmoderns call it a déjà vu. The entry I wrote back in 2008 on Just How Much Influence do Bloggers Have? could just as well be my post for today. Nothing much has changed. We’re in a loop of sorts.
I’ve mentioned before that I never anticipated I would be writing Bible software reviews. Yes, I know I haven’t done so lately. It is true that I am too busy with other things, but there is a more fundamental reason: for the most part, and with rare exceptions, it is not fun anymore. History repeats itself. If you write a positive review, people might think you’ve been bribed one way or another. On the other hand, if you raise criticisms, then surely you must have some axe to grind. Reviewers will always be accused of having some vested interests, no matter what. No wonder reviewers are so difficult to find! You can very easily become a VIP or a persona non-grata in no time!
What actually prompted me to revisit this whole thing was the article Five Reasons Not to Buy Logos. Admittedly, I would never use a controversial title like that, but the review itself is balanced and well-written. One may partially agree or disagree, but he certainly makes some valid points. However, I can’t help feeling some sort of empathy with this unnamed missionary. Opening certain boxes can be unpleasant. You never know if it will end up being Pandora’s.
So, what should we do? I know that generalizations are unfair, but still, it appears that some companies are more interested in hype and ads than they are in reviews. A review is neither an ad nor a rehash of the info provided by the corresponding Public Relations department. You want publicity? Pay for it. You want a second opinion from a fallible but even-handed blogger? Get your product reviewed. Incidentally, I find a bit disturbing some of the current uses of social networks too. Personally, I refuse to blog, retweet or comment on every single sale, offer or product available. It’s nothing personal. It’s the way I see things. For me this is not a business, it’s a service. I reserve the right to mention or not mention whatever I want. You are free to read or not what I say, and so am I to review only what I really enjoy and find useful.
Let me make this clear: I will never, ever, again directly request to review any product. I don’t care how good you think your app is. If I don’t find it personally interesting, challenging and useful, I won’t bother with it. So don’t ask me how many readers I have, or how many monthly visits, or how influential the site and blog are (influence is a highly overrated notion anyway). Simply ask yourself if you really want to know my opinion (or somebody else’s) on the perceived value of your program. You don’t? Fair enough. You do? Le me decide if I’m interested in reviewing it. Why? Because I’m worth it
Having said that, the question still remains: is it really worth the effort to take on the task of reviewing Bible software? More often than not I would answer in the negative. As of late, only occasionally do I find any joy in doing it. It is clear to me that Bible software has become too much “the business of Bible software” and has lost the essence and impetus of the pioneers in the field. Sad but true.
I thought it was about time someone tackled this issue. What do you think?
Thank you all for your continued support of BSR. Had it not been for your visits, I would have given up any hope of keeping it alive. I know you haven’t heard from me for a rather long time, and I apologize for that. There’s a lot going on in the world of Bible software, but I simply can’t keep up. Let me remind you, however, that I do update my twitter account.
I have been (and still am) very busy with professional projects. I have also recently finished tagging a classic Spanish Bible (Reina-Valera 1909) with Strong’s numbers. This is a public domain text, and so I’ve felt free to work on it on and off to ensure that everybody will have access to this Bible and the original languages that underlie it. The text should be available soon, as I am currently offering it to different Bible software developers for use with their software. I hope it proves useful.
Thanks again for visiting! I hope you find something helpful and interesting among the many sections of this blog and website. As always, make yourself at home.Comment
After having used my iPad for almost a month now, I think it’s time to answer my own post, and see whether or not my expectations have been met.
As much as many people would have loved to see Apple fail miserably, the launch of the iPad has been a huge success. I have no vested interest in the company and, quite frankly, dislike the way it does certain things, but you’ve gotta love what it does. The iPad, dubbed by some, somewhat scornfully, as an oversized iPhone/iPod Touch, is an entirely different animal. Not only that, it is probably bound to change the way people interact with print and visual media in the long run.
Among the cons I would not mention the lack of a camera, multitasking or Flash support (the first two will be coming sooner or later –multitasking is announced for this coming Fall), but more mundane things, like no earphones or a ridiculously short power adapter cable. Color me nit-picky, but this is being cheap.
As a “portable solution,” I think the iPad is just right for me. Neither too heavy nor too small. I can carry a full library of books, a number of Bible software programs, lots of apps, and the weight remains the same! I can even change font type and size for the most part, which is a real treat. The screen is fantastic, and easy on the eyes in my experience.
As a “multimedia hub,” I can also say I’m very pleased with it. Reading, watching photos or streaming videos is a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I recommend.
In sum, my general expectations have certainly been met, but where they have been certainly exceeded is in the area of Bible software. I will not give any names just yet, but let me assure you that the general quality of current Bible apps is quite high, and it can only get better with future enhancements (multitasking –which I am already using on my iPod Touch– being one of them). I am very impressed so far, and I think that, once more, the future is now.Comment