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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.

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 11, 2004

The Horror of Terrorism

I am absolutely shocked by the series of terrorist attacks that have taken place today at the height of Madrid's rush hour (between 7:30 and 8:00 AM CET). As I'm writing these lines, the number of victims exceeds 150 people, and almost 500 are injured. The Basque terrorist group ETA have brutally hit civilian population indiscriminately (latest news coverage here). This day has already been labeled "Spain's September 11". I can hardly blog, I can hardly express all the pain and indignation I am feeling right now. This, friends, is not off topic. I could have been on that train. One of my children could have been killed. You could have been there on vacation... The horror of terrorism IS our business. It is my conviction that we have to take a firm stand against all form and manner of terror. When I place my ballot on Sunday (general elections) I will keep in mind that many people have given their lives so that we may enjoy freedom and democracy. I pray that God will have mercy on us, and that he will comfort all those who are mourning.

When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned.

Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984), a Pastor in the Confessing Church (Congressional Record 14 October 1968, page 31636)

UPDATE (March 12): At least 198 people died and over 1,400 were injured in yesterday's blasts. It seems that al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the bombings, while other clues point to a possible joint attack, but nothing has been officially confirmed yet. Today, millions of people across Spain will participate in demonstrations against terrorism and in solidarity with the victims. Thank you for your prayers and support.

UPDATE (March 14): The terrible death toll has reached 200 people already, but over a dozen more are still in critical condition. Everything seems to indicate that al Qaeda is behind the terrorist attack. More than 11 million Spaniards attended the demonstrations last Friday. The main one took place in Madrid, with 2,3 million in attendance. I've never seen anything like that! Today we hold general of selections. We are grieved, but not defeated. Together we shall overcome terror. Thanks so much for your solidarity. I deeply appreciate all your heartfelt words of sympathy, in particular those from fellow bloggers Mark Goodacre and Jim Davila. Thank you!

March 15, 2004

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 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 12, 2004

Slowly going back to normality

My ISP has confirmed that the whole email system slowed down (to all practical intents and purposes read collapsed) due to a massive attack of infected emails that were received within a very short period of time. The messages were not lost (so I'm told), but queued. Today, things seem to be working again, and I am receiving mails from the last 3-4 days. I hope to catch up with everything by tomorrow. Apparently this was a general problem that has affected a good number of Internet Service Providers in Spain. This only comes to show how relatively easy it is to disrupt the normal operation of a basic Internet service as a result of the general spread of a malicious virus (big sigh...)

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.

April 30, 2004

Labour Day

Tomorrow is Labour Day Holiday, and I am going to give myself a treat and take a break over the weekend. Hope to be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!

September 8, 2004

Why I Still Write Bible Software Reviews

SBL Forum carries an interesting article by Mark McEntire, Associate Professor of Religion at Belmont University, Nashville, TN. It is called Why I Still Write Book Reviews. I could immediately relate to what he has to say. I like his frankness when he asserts, "I started writing book reviews because they were the only things I could get published." (sounds familiar...) But now that this activity is no longer necessary for his professional career, he shares some of his reasons for continuing writing reviews. There are two that stand out, IMO; namely, it's a service to his colleagues that someone has to do, and it helps develop the habit of careful reading and attention to detail (as opposed to skimming). He then goes on with a short overview of the challenges facing "the art of book reviewing" (basically, the need to be fair both to the purpose of the original author and to the role of a reviewer). Finally, he concludes by saying:

As I proceed through an academic career, I regularly feel the impulse toward cynicism all around me. This poisonous attitude can have many targets-university administration, the task of teaching, even the world of academic publishing. One way to avoid such cynicism is to stay involved in the basics of the field. Writing book reviews may not be for everybody, but it is basic, and through the ups and downs of teaching and academic life, it is one of the best ways to keep the critical skills of reading, thinking, and writing sharp.

I must say I enjoyed reading the article, and it elicited the slightly paraphrased title of this post. As a matter of fact, I have wondered myself why I still write Bible software reviews. I will shamelessly admit that, at first, it was a good way to get to see and use some of the most advanced programs and features available on the market. It was also a way in into publishing a few articles. But soon I outgrew that stage. It has now become a service to a larger community, but also a way to sharpen some of the skills Mark McEntire mentions in his article. Ultimately, I suppose it is a combination of reasons - some relatively lofty, others quite pedestrian and selfish. Still, someone has to do it. It's the kind of thing nobody appoints you to do. There's a need, an interest, a first time, and... before you notice, "you're stuck with it." People begin to come to you for "software counseling," your opinion seems to be reckoned (except by your teenage children!), you publish on the subject, and finally set up a website and a weblog where you can rant and rave about it! ;-)

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 18, 2004

You've Got an Email

Yes, I mean you :-). I've always made a point of answering most of the emails I receive within 24-48 hours, unless there is some good reason not to do it. I usually live up to this self-imposed rule. So, if you don't hear from me within this timeframe, chances are that your email never reached me. That is, unless you want to sell me a pseudo-Rolex, some blue pills, and the like ;-)

Why do I say this? Simply because I constantly find people who don't seem to take emails very seriously. This is particularly sad when we are talking about companies, tech support departments, and so forth. I don't expect everyone to follow "Ruben's rule", but it sure is nice when you get your electronic mails answered in a timely manner.

Sometimes I am asked why doesn't such and such a person, or such and such a program, appear on Bible Software Review. Well, many reviews are in the pipeline, while other may be delayed for various reasons. But in some other cases, I simply do not get my emails answered! I can take a "no" for an answer, but it is disappointing to feel you're being ignored...

I can't think of any good reason why Bible software developers would not want to have their products reviewed and mentioned here at BSR. So, all I can imagine is that either my messages got lost somewhere in cyberspace, or else they don't pay much attention to emails.

So, please, next time you receive an email (at least from me!), be kind enough to answer it at your earliest convenience. Preferably this side of eternity... Thanks!

December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a very blessed Christmas. Enjoy this wonderful opportunity to share with your loved ones the true meaning of this holiday!

I'll be back soon. There are a number of reviews in the works, which I hope to complete within the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned!

PAZ/PEACE/EIRHNH/SHALOM

December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

Thank you for your support throughout 2004. I hope to see you again in 2005! Meanwhile, I make mine the words of Bengel: "Apply thyself wholly to the text. Apply the text wholly to thyself," and hope we can all resolve to practice them with God's help.

January 26, 2005

Greetings from Snowy Balearic Islands!

This is certainly off-topic, but I thought I would mention it, given the unusual character of this phenomenon in our part of the world...

We were snowed in most of the day today here in Minorca (the eastmost island). What you see above is the beach, barely 100 meters away from our home. Yep, big snow at sea-level!

And here I am, just to prove I was there :-) I know, can't really see much of me. It was freezing! Anyway, don't worry, you're not missing much :-)))

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.

March 11, 2005

Let Us Never Forget

Madrid, March 11, 2004. We will never forget!

April 1, 2005

How's That for an April Fools' Joke?

Bloglines Helps Bridge The Vastness Of Space. In summary,

Klingon marks the eighth language translation for Bloglines, joining Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. To navigate Bloglines in Klingon, simply select the language from the menu on the left hand side of the Bloglines home page. To find out more about the Klingon language, visit http://www.kli.org/ or check with your local Klingon embassy. Qapla'!

Have a nice day! :-)

May 18, 2005

Are We a Bunch of Blog-addicts?

Mark Goodacre raises the question of whether or not blogging is "a kind of addiction." Other noted bibliobloggers seems to think it is (i.e., Jim Davila and Jim West). I believe it is potentially addictive. Speaking for myself, I feel guilty when I cannot blog regularly. I guess it's a matter of feeling accountable to the people that read me regularly. I'm pretty sure I started to blog for myself, but now that I know that, for some strange reason, others are interested in what I have to say, it makes me feel a bit overwhelmed at times. Blogging is currently both a pleasure and a burden. Make any sense?

July 7, 2005

Terrorism Again

I want to add my voice to those who have already expressed their disgust at the London bombings earlier today. For what is worth, we here in Spain know quite well what it is like to be hit by terrorism of different sorts. My heart and prayers go out to all the victims.

September 1, 2005

Personal Weblog

I haven't been able to do much blogging lately. Sorry about that. While I try to cope with my growing backlog, I thought some of you might be interested to know that I have launched a personal blog. It is an all-Spanish weblog, but perhaps you're interested in practicing your Spanish a bit (or a lot!). Feel free to drop by, and even leave a comment (in Spanish, of course!). Over there I plan to blog about the things that would be way off-topic here at BSR.

And while we are at it, let me also recommend my son's website. I think it's a pretty cool page about the weather in this part of the world. You don't need much Spanish to interpret the figures, but be warned that temperatures are given in Celsius degrees, and rainfall in liters per square meter :-)

October 7, 2005

Talking about iPods...

Since later this month is my birthday, I will join the plea of my fellow blogger Danny Zacharias of deinde. If any kind soul out there wants to get me an iPod, I promise I will find a good use for it :-))

Let's see... I could get Laridian's iPocketBible and read and/or listen to the New Living Translation, or subscribe to PodBible - The Bible Podcast that Tim Bulkeley has been talking about in his blog recently, or...hmm... choices, choices, choices!

October 12, 2005

Email Problem

I had a serious problem with one of my computers (a PC, of course!), and as a result I lost most of the emails related to Bible Software Review. My latest backup is probably a month old. So, if you wrote to my BSR address and do not hear from me soon, please resend your email. Thank you! Please note that this only affects my BSR-related emails only!

October 24, 2005

Hardware Problems

You've heard about problems coming in pairs, right? Right!

The motherboard of the PC with the email problems (see previous blog entry) finally died. It has been out of service for over a week now. The worst part of it is that this particular machine is the one I use for updating BSR. In fact I have a new review waiting to be uploaded when I get the PC fixed. I know, I know... I should have used my Mac instead, but one never learns, right? Right! ;-)

December 23, 2005

Here's a Proud Father

Please let me indulge in some personal reflections for a moment.

I have many reasons to feel proud of my family. My wife and I have been blessed with three wonderful children. Each one of them is truly special, and all of them make life worth living. They make us feel a deep sense of purpose and fulfilment. So, I am definitely very enthusiastic about being a father. Being a dad is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, jobs one can have. I highly recommend it.

Right now, I feel particularly proud because my older son (Andrés) and a friend of his (Carlos) will be releasing their first Christian album next Thursday, December 29. It is called "Abre la puerta" (Open the door). They are called 2Latidos (literally, two heartbeats), and their songs sound really great (I'm trying real hard to be objective here...) I highly recommend their CD :-)

Feel free to check out their website and listen to a short sample. And here's a Trivial Pursuit question for you: which one of the two do you think is my son...?

Have a Blessed Christmas!

I wish all readers of Bible Software Review a truly blessed Christmas. I will probably be "off-duty" -- as far as blogging is concerned - for a few days, but hope to be back with new reviews, comments, and some nice surprises real soon.

December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

I wish a Happy and Fruitful New Year to all readers of Bible Software Review and to all the fellow bibliobloggers that make my life more enjoyable.

Peace to all!

July 21, 2006

Blogging Hiatus

There are many circumstances in life that can make blogging very difficult, or even right out impossible. I'm about to face one of them, since I'm going to be out of town for a few days and will leave my blogging machine behind... I'll see you in a week's time or so.

August 28, 2006

I'm Back. Well, Sort of...

I really meant this Summer blogging break to be a lot shorter, but things don't always go as planned, do they? At least I've had some time to reflect on my blogging activities. There are some things I'll have to change in my daily routine from now on. I am too busy, and that is a problem. BSR demands an amount of time and energy that I simply do not have right now. I'm still unsure as to what my next step will be, but I'll let you all know in due course. In the meantime, I'll try to post as frequently as possible.

December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

New stuff will be posted soon. In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas!

December 31, 2006

Happy 2007!

I want to wish all our readers a very blessed 2007. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you all next year!

October 10, 2007

What Am I Up To Lately?

In case you have been wondering, I will have a major announcement to make concerning Bible Software Review soon. It so happens that I cannot tell you what it is just yet, so please be patient ;-)

About Personal

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Bible Software Review Weblog in the Personal category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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