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Spider Webs, Video Games, and Fun at the Office

It’s no surprise to regular readers of this blog that we like to have fun. While our fun usually involves food (our 2008 Salsa Cook-Off is tomorrow, by the way), sometimes it’s just a good prank.

Vincent Setterholm, who works in our design and editorial department and contributes to the blog on occasion, has been enjoying a pretty good chunk of vacation time. (Some of us were starting to wonder if he still worked here.) David Mitchell, one of our developers, and Ben Swier, our systems administrator, decided that this was the perfect opportunity to decorate Vincent’s office for him.

A prank like this doesn’t have to be in response to anything, but in this case there was a little payback going on. Last September on the day of the launch of a well-known video game, Vincent decided he’d have a little fun with Ben. He hid Ben’s brand new copy of the game (simply moving it 4 feet from its original resting place) while Ben was out of his office. Ben had been eagerly awaiting that day and had big plans to celebrate with some friends, so he was more than disappointed when it suddenly disappeared. Vincent was kind enough to show Ben where it was later that day, but enough time passed to warrant this nice little decoration party.

Vincent returned to the office yesterday. When I asked him if he had an official response to share with you, our blog readers, he declined to comment. He did point out, though, that his poor plants didn’t get any water in his absence.

Someone even went so far as to take note of their dire situation but do nothing about it.

Logos in the Blogosphere

I’m subscribed to a number of services like Technorati and Google Alerts so I can stay up with what people are saying about Logos on the Web. It’s a lot of fun finding out about new users and reading about how people from all walks of life are using Logos.

I’ve seen a few things that I thought were worth mentioning here on the blog, since most of you probably don’t keep up with what everyone is saying about Logos like I do. :)

Tutorial Videos

First, a user named Brett has started a new blog, Logos Bible Software Lessons, which provides basic and advanced video lessons on how to use Logos better. He has four helpful videos there so far:

  1. Customize the Logos Homepage
  2. Create & save a custom workspace in Logos
  3. Viewing Inline Strong’s Numbers
  4. Creating Parallel Resources

You can even subscribe to his video podcast. Nice work, Brett. Keep it up!

Don’t forget to check out all of the videos at www.logos.com/videos as well.

Syntax

Second, Mike at his ἐν ἐφέσῳ blog is doing a series of posts on our syntax searching tools. Here are the first two posts in the series:

If you’re trying to learn more about syntax searching, you’ll want to give Mike’s posts a read.

Also, if you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out the host of syntax videos at www.logos.com/videos.

Barth’s Church Dogmatics

Finally, there’s a nice review of Barth’s Church Dogmatics over at Faith and Theology. Ben has a helpful summary of its features and several cool screenshots.

Here’s his conclusion:

In sum, this is a wonderfully rich and delightfully user-friendly resource both for general theological readers and for students of Barth. The new digital edition will certainly be a tremendous help in my own future research! With its accessible format, enhanced search capabilities and seamless integration with so many other texts, it will no doubt establish itself as an indispensable resource for the next generation of Barth scholars, and for the wider community of pastors, theologians and students.

If you haven’t ordered yours yet, there’s still time to get in at the Pre-Pub price before it ships next Monday.

Who Wrote That Blog Post?

I’ve heard from several of our RSS subscribers recently who wish that they knew who the authors were for each of the blog posts. Most people find it helpful to know who they’re reading. A post from Bob, for example, carries more weight than a post from anyone else in the company.

This isn’t a problem for those of you who read the blog by visiting http://blog.logos.com/. So the simple solution is to click the link to the site and look at the bottom of the post.

Keep in mind that sometimes the person who posts the entry is not the author. We often have contributions from others in the company who don’t have a blog login set up. So make sure to look at the very beginning of the post to see if you’re reading something from one of our guest bloggers.

Most people who are subscribed to our RSS feed probably aren’t going to be satisfied with the first solution of simply visiting the site. One of the reasons for RSS is not to have to visit the sites you want to keep up with. So I did a little digging as to why some of our RSS subscribers were not seeing the post author, and I think I found the answer. If you happened to be subscribed to the old feed http://blog.logos.com/index.xml, you are probably not seeing the post author.

To fix the problem, make sure you are subscribed to our FeedBurner feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/LogosBibleSoftwareBlog. This way you’re sure to see the author right below the title of the post.

Even if you aren’t having this problem, please take a minute to make sure you are subscribed to our FeedBurner feed. It has additional features at the bottom of each post. It also allows us to track the types of things you find interesting and, as a result, provide you with better content.

To learn more about RSS, how to subscribe, and what other feeds we have, be sure to visit http://www.logos.com/about/rss and check out our previous blog post RSS in Plain English.

Does Logos Really Save You Time?

It depends on the meaning of “save.”

Time is very important to us in our busy world. Most of us feel like we never have enough of it. There are so many good and important things vying for our time. That’s why we in the marketing department like to stress how much time Logos can save you. Pastors can greatly reduce the amount of time they spend preparing sermons by not having to (1) pull print books off shelves, (2) look up references in hard-to-read indexes, (3) turn pages by hand, and (4) type out things they want to quote. By running the Passage Guide and the Exegetical Guide, they have instant access to a wealth of information at the click of a mouse.

But I wonder how it really works in the real world. Do pastors who used to spend 15 hours a week doing sermon prep with paper books now spend only 7 or 8 hours with Logos? Do they “save” time in the sense of spending less than they used to?

I was talking with a pastor recently who just got Scholar’s Library: Gold, our biggest collection of resources. After he finished installing it and started exploring all the features and books, his wife began to wonder what to think of his new toy—I mean, tool. Would she now have even less time to spend with her husband? I tried to reassure her that Logos would in theory give her husband more time to spend with her, not less.

The pastor replied to me later in an email—half joking, I think—that instead of taking half the time, his sermons might actually take him twice as long to prepare, considering how much fun he was having digging into such a huge library of resources!

While it’s true that Logos greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to perform certain Bible study tasks, it’s possible that you may find yourself, like this pastor, enjoying your sermon prep so much that instead of spending less time, you’re actually spending as much time or more—and turning out a better product. Now, to be sure, Logos is still helping you “save” time, even if you do end up spending more of it than you used it. How so? With Logos you can be far more productive. Your time is better spent because less of it is wasted. And less wasted time means more time saved.

Whether you’re spending more or less time than you used to spend, the biggest benefit of Logos is how it dramatically improves your efficiency and quality of study. So in either sense, Logos does really save you time by enabling you to get more done—in whatever length of time you choose to spend—than you could with your print library.

I’m curious to hear from our pastors. Which category do you generally fall into? Do you find yourself spending less time now that you use Logos? Or do you just prepare a better sermon in the same block of time?

Merge Your Libronix Accounts

I regularly come across people in our database who have two or more Libronix accounts. There are several reasons this could happen. Some pastors have two accounts: (1) a personal Libronix account that belongs to them and (2) a church Libronix account that belongs to the church and will stay with the church when they leave. In situations like these, the two accounts have to stay separate since they belong to two different parties.

But often a single owner will have two or more accounts. Most of the time this happens when an existing user installs a new collection for Libronix on a new computer and creates a new account instead of entering his old one. Perhaps he can’t remember what his Libronix Customer ID is and doesn’t know how to locate it, or maybe he doesn’t know that products created by third party publishers, like the Theological Journal Library, can be seamlessly integrated with all of his Logos Bible Software. As a result, his Libronix digital library is spread across two licenses and two computers.

One of the benefits to the Libronix Digital Library System is that you can add books and collections from a number of different publishers right into a single, integrated platform. Unintentionally setting up multiple accounts defeats the purpose of a unified library. If you have accidentally created multiple accounts and don’t have access to all of your books on the same license, please contact our customer service department by phone (800-875-6467) or by email (customerservice@logos.com). They would be happy to merge your accounts into a single one so you can take advantage of the benefits of having everything searchable and accessible in one place.

Update: Please don’t contact customer service unless you (1) know that you have more than one Libronix account (and shouldn’t) or (2) are pretty sure you might have more than one account because not all of your books are showing up as unlocked even after synchronizing your licenses several times. I realize it would be nice to find out that you have two licenses and didn’t even know it, but that is probably not the case. :)

Morris Proctor’s Tips & Tricks Blog Is Back

Morris Proctor is well known as an authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. For more than a decade, he has been traveling around the country holding Camp Logos events where he trains people how to take advantage of the power of the Libronix Digital Library System.

In May of 2006, we decided to start a blog for Morris to share some of his helpful training tips. Twice a week—every Wednesday and Saturday—there was something new to help users learn how to use Logos better. Here are some example posts:

The Tips & Tricks blog somehow managed to fall off the radar several months ago. Users have expressed how much they miss it, so we’re finally starting to add new content on a regular basis.

Starting today, you’ll again see regular tips from Morris. If you don’t already have it bookmarked, head on over to http://tips.logos.com/ and add it to your favorites. If you’d rather see it in your RSS reader, the feed to subscribe to is http://feeds.feedburner.com/MorrisProctorsTipsTricks. For your convenience, we’ve also built it right into the blog section of your Logos home page.

Today’s post is entitled "Seeing Multiple Devotions on the Home Page." Check it out.

Learn Logos Bible Software

Logos Bible Software is an incredibly powerful tool. I’ve been using it almost daily for the last three-and-a-half years and would consider myself a fairly advanced user, but I still regularly discover new things that Logos can do.

While Logos is very easy to use and anyone can get benefit from it without training, really taking full advantage of what Logos has to offer takes time and effort. And that can be a daunting task for the average person.

It’s our desire that every Logos user would be able to make full use of what Logos can do to help them study the Bible more efficiently and profitably. We have an entire section of our website dedicated to training. It provides you with scores of free training articles and videos. We also frequently share helpful tips on the blog. But all that information can be a bit overwhelming for the new user. Where do you start?

To help users manage all of that information more easily, we’ve created a free online course called Learn Logos Bible Software. It was designed for Bible colleges and seminaries to offer to their students as a one credit course. But since most of our users aren’t in Bible college or seminary and might never have the chance to take this course, we decided to share it publicly with anyone who would like to use it.

The course is comprised of 16 lessons that walk you through our most important training material, which is grouped together in helpful categories.

Most lessons include videos to watch, questions to answer, exercises to do, and articles and blog posts to read.

We hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!

Get PowerPointSermons in Your Passage Guide!

Logos has teamed up with PowerPointSermons.com to offer you integrated access to a growing library of over 2,000 PowerPoint templates and JPEG images right in the Passage Guide. Finding the perfect PowerPoint for your weekly sermons or worship services is now easier than ever. When you’re doing your sermon preparation in the Passage Guide, you’ll now see attractive PowerPoint templates and images that correspond to your passage.

Clicking on an image takes you right to the PowerPointSermons site, where you can download the template. An annual membership comes with unlimited downloads, so you’ll never be short on professional-looking slides for all of your church needs.

Click the image below to learn more and find out how to sign up for a subscription.

If you’re not a pastor or teacher or just aren’t interested in this service, you can collapse the section and Logos will remember your preferences and keep it collapsed next time your run the Passage Guide. Collapsed sections do not slow down your reports.

The other option is to uncheck it in your Passage Guide properties, which is accessible at the top of the Passage Guide report. Once it is unchecked, it will no longer appear in your report.

For more information, see PowerPointSermons in Your Passage Guide! and How to Disable PowerPointSermons.

A Strategy for Building Your Library

I regularly notice comments on blogs where people mention how they really want to buy Logos, but just don’t have enough money saved up. Here’s one possible way to buy Logos and end up with more money in your pocket than when you started.

First, decide on a base package. I’d highly recommend Gold. It’s an incredible value. You pay less than $2 per title if you buy it at the full retail price.

Next, look at the contents of Gold and compare it with your print library. Look for the duplicates, and set them aside. Most students who are serious about their biblical and theological training probably have at least a few dozen books that are included in Gold. Book lovers may have a hundred or two, or even more.

Decide on the ones that you could do without in print. Maybe that’s all of them. Or perhaps you prefer to keep some books in print and go digital only for the reference works and commentaries. You may also want to throw in other books that you could do without, even if they aren’t included in Gold. That may be another dozen or two.

Now do a little math. The average academic paperback in good quality is probably worth $15. (It pays to take good care of your books—literally.) For your more popular-level paperbacks, you’re probably looking at roughly $5-10. Nice quality hardbacks are going to have an average resale price in the $20-25 range.

Assuming you have a fairly even spread of paperbacks and hardbacks, let’s guess $15 as the average price that you could get for one of your books. If you sell 100 books, you’ve more than paid for Gold at the retail price—and you’ve just grown your library by more than 600 volumes!

I realize that not everyone is going to have 100 books to sell, but certainly many will. Maybe you have only 25 or 50. At least you’ve trimmed down the amount that you need to save.

When I bought my first Logos base package, Scholar’s Library: Silver (QB), I took a slightly different route. I already had enough money saved up to buy Silver, so I went ahead and bought it. Then I sold all the titles from my print library that were duplicates, as well as some other titles that I had accumulated over the years that I no longer wanted. I made enough money to buy Silver several times over. Not only did I increase my library by hundreds of volumes, but I also ended up with quite a bit more money in my pocket!

The next step for me was more of an ongoing process. I’d look to see what books Logos offered that I already had. I’d buy the Logos version and then sell my print copy. This method provided a nice steady flow of income to spend on Logos books, and it resulted in a much larger—and much more useful—library.

I’m interested to hear how many of you have done this or something similar. What creative suggestions would you give to someone saving up for Gold or looking for ways to fund additional Logos purchases?

Logos Field Sales Reps

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. J. B. Hixson, the Houston field sales representative for Logos.

For more than eight years, Logos Bible Software has been a significant part of my life. First as a pastor, and later as a Bible College and Seminary professor, I became dependent upon Logos as an indispensable tool for both my personal study of God’s Word, as well as my ministry responsibilities. So when I learned in January of 2007 that Logos was seeking individuals to help promote this valuable tool within the body of Christ, I jumped at the opportunity.

It is my privilege to serve as part of a team of Field Sales Representatives for Logos Bible Software. In this role, I have the joy of introducing churches, pastors, students, ministry leaders and lay people alike to the most amazing Bible study tool on the planet. It thrills my heart to watch audiences respond as I show them how to use Logos Bible Software to dig deeper into God’s Word than they ever imagined. Without fail, those in attendance are in awe of the simplicity and power of Logos. In most cases, they have never seen anything like it before and they cannot wait to take it home and begin using it in their personal Bible study.

As a Field Sales Representative, it is fulfilling to know that I am introducing folks to a tool that will help facilitate their personal spiritual growth and deepen their understanding of the God we all serve. Having been in the field for a year now, I could share countless experiences with you that no doubt would warm your heart as they did mine. But allow me to share just a few short anecdotes that stand out in my memory.

On one occasion I was leading a Bible Conference at a church in a suburb of Atlanta, GA. I devoted an entire evening to presenting Logos as the best tool for Bible study. Among the many folks who purchased Logos that night was a gentleman who looked to be about seventy years old. He told me he was so impressed with how easy it is to use Logos that even though he did not own a computer and had never used one, he was going to purchase a brand new computer the next day just so he could install Logos and study God’s Word!

I spoke at a men’s retreat last summer at a large church in the Houston area, where I used a portion of my time to introduce the men to Logos. I received a call from one of the staff members from the church about a week later who ordered six additional copies of the Logos Scholar’s package to give to six of the missionaries overseas that this church supports. Having seen firsthand the power of Logos software as a study tool, this church caught the vision and wanted to be sure their missionaries had the best tool available.

At a Bible Conference in Kansas, I noticed that the pastor’s study was overflowing with books. An avid reader, his shelves were filled with commentaries, encyclopedias, dictionaries, theologies, and other Bible study resources. The conference lasted Sunday through Wednesday. On Tuesday night, I conducted a Logos demo. The pastor was so amazed, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on the Scholar’s collection (over 330 books!). As it turns out, however, he did not have to buy it himself. The leader of the men’s group approached me after the service and said that the men’s fellowship would like to purchase the Scholar’s package for their pastor! The pastor was overjoyed when he contemplated how many hours a week this tool would save him in personal study and sermon prep time.

Some of you reading this blog may be pastors who already own Logos. You recognize the benefit of this incredible software. Why keep this tool to yourself? Why not introduce your congregation to it by hosting a Logos Workshop? Not only will your church members be excited, but your church body will benefit from having more members engaged in serious personal Bible study and thus growing mature in their faith!

The Field Sales Representatives of Logos exist to introduce the Body of Christ to this great tool and to promote and facilitate deeper study of God’s Word. It would be our privilege to come to your church, ministry, school or community event to conduct a Logos Bible Study Workshop. There is no cost for these events and in fact, those in attendance will receive a significant discount on their purchase of a Logos base package. Our representatives are located in Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle. If you live near any of our locations, give us a call today, and make arrangements with Pete Heiniger (360) 685-4443 or pete.heiniger@logos.com.

Check out the map below to see the various locations where we have reps. Click on a location to find out more.


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