Archive - Misc RSS Feed

Taking One for the Team

This past Saturday, August 4, eight stalwart Logos employees journeyed to Lynden, Washington (25 minutes north of our offices in Bellingham) to participate in the 2007 Mushball tournament. The tournament was a fundraiser for the Lynden Firefighters Association. Mushball is essentially volleyball, but instead of playing on a court or a sunny beach we trudged around in a slurry of soft mud and water for three hours. Sound gross? We thought so too but boy was it ever fun!

Becoming one with the mush

Yours truly getting a faceful of mushPhoto courtesy of Sarah Richardson

“Go time” for Team Logos

Eliminated!

Team Logos dominated its first game thanks to some hot serving from Mark French (Technical Support) and Heidie Godfrey (Accounting). However, we didn’t last long in the winner’s bracket – losing our next two games and being quickly ousted from the tourney. Despite a few bruised knees and a lingering feeling of griminess we all had a great time and were able to help the firefighters raise thousands of dollars for some upcoming projects.

Fourteen Years and Counting

Today, August 8, 2007, marks my 14-year anniversary as an employee of Logos.
It was back in the summer of 1993, after I graduated from college, that I pestered my way into a job at a small Bible software company that had just moved to my hometown of Oak Harbor, WA. I would never have dreamed that I would grow and the company would grow in the ways we have.
I started in the sales department, answering calls from magazine ads to our 800 number. I can remember devouring the old Logos 1.6 product (on DOS 6.2/Windows 3.1, no less). This was before we even had company email at Logos; before we even had a web page at Logos.com. Hey, some of you long-time Logos users may have even purchased your software from me.
After two and a half years in sales, I moved over to the technical side of the operation, writing short programs to turn files supplied from publishers into Logos books. We worked on pioneering the pre-publication process with projects like Kittel’s 10-volume TDNT and the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek lexicon.
This has continued to change and evolve as both Logos and I have developed; now I get to play around with the annotation of Greek corpora on multiple levels, (that’s “syntax”, which I’ve blogged about a few times :)) and think about ways to represent that information and make it more accessible and profitable for exegesis of the Holy Scriptures.
Along the way, I met and married a wonderful woman and began a family. What an awesome blessing!
I can’t underscore enough what a great place Logos is to work; and what great friends the people I work with have become. Bob and Dale Pritchett, along with my colleagues Eli Evans, Vincent Setterholm, Michael Heiser, Steve Runge and Sean Boisen (and their respective families) are less like colleagues and more like family to me. They challenge me, they encourage me, and they keep me honest. Working here is fun and rewarding. And the cook-offs!
As year 15 begins, I’m more excited than ever. We have some really cool stuff we’re working on. Have you followed Sean Boisen’s Bible Knowledgebase posts? And have you heard about BibleTech 2008? That’s only the tip of the iceberg. I’m anxious to see where it all leads, and I’m privileged to play a part, however small, in making it happen.
Of course, you might be able to come and join us. We have a bunch of jobs posted online. Don’t let the old dates on some of the descriptions fool you; these are typically standing openings—if you’re the right person, we want to talk with you. So if any of this stuff sounds like it is up your alley, then check out the jobs page and come join the fun. Maybe you’ll be writing your own “Fourteen Years and Counting” blog post on the Logos blog in years to come!

Atoms and Molecules; or, Morphology and Syntax

Anyone who has taken a science class has likely had an introduction to the basic concept of an atom (the smallest particle still holding the properties of an element). This person also likely has an understanding that molecules are built up of atoms.
This is all loosely speaking, of course—serious scientists would differ with my imprecise descriptions and use of these terms. This is why we have a periodic table of the elements. The table visually represents the basic ingredients of what I will loosely call “stuff”.

Thus atoms of hydrogen (H) are different from atoms of oxygen (O). This is well and good; these basic elements that make up “stuff” need to be kept separate and properly defined.
However, life is not so neat. Outside of a science lab, welding shop or hospital, we rarely concern ourselves with pure elements. We concern ourselves with molecules, like the ever-popular H20; two atoms of hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen—better known as “water”.


H2O, better known as “water”
(courtesy http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Water/)

This same sort of relationship exists in grammar. Consider words and information about words (known as “morphology”) are the atoms. And this sort of information—definition, part of speech, etc.—is very helpful.


First Timothy 1:1-2

Here each word (or “atom”) has information associated with it such as a dictionary form (thus a meaning), morphological information (like part of speech) and an English-language literal translation (or a “gloss”).
This information allows one to attempt to deduce further information about groups of words, but relationships are only implied and not expressly denoted. That is, while one may know that the και at the end of line one above functions to join things together (based on morphology as a conjunction that is a “logical connective”), and while reading the text one can intuit what is connected (“God our Saviour” and “Christ Jesus our hope”, based on common noun cases joined by the conjunction), these things are not explicitly marked. They are free-floating atoms that happen to have proximity, their underlying relationship has not been quantified. These relationships (molecules) can be guessed at using atom-level data and proximity, but they cannot be specifically known.
A syntactic annotation makes molecules (word groups, phrases, clauses) of the atoms that are words. The graph below shows that “God our Saviour” and “Jesus Christ our hope” are the items connected by και.


The structure of 1Ti 1.1-2

This is why we think syntax (more specifically, syntactic annotations) is so important. Not because it’s cool (though it is), but because it puts together the individual words (atoms) into more meaningful structures (molecules). It lets us talk about “water” instead of talking about “an atom of hydrogen, followed by an atom of oxygen, followed by an atom of hydrogen”.
Syntax also allows for the combination of molecules, as seen in the above syntax graph. There are relationships between words. So Παυλος (“Paul”) is a “head term word” that is modified (here “defined”) by the whole phrase αποστολος Χριστου Ιησου κατ’ επιταγην θεου σωτηρος ημων και Χριστου Ιησου της ελπιδος ημων (“an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the will of God our Saviour and Christ Jesus our hope”). The relationship between the word and the phrase is one of “definition”. In this case, a new “molecule” is created by adding an “atom” (Παυλος) to an existing molecule (the “definer”) and the relationship that creates the new molecule is specified.
That “definer” consists of two parts, or molecules: the “qualifier” Χριστου Ιησου (“of Christ Jesus”) and the “relator” κατ’ επιταγην θεου σωτηρος ημων και Χριστου Ιησου της ελπιδος ημων (“according to the will of God our Saviour and Christ Jesus our hope”). Both of these molecules further modify αποστολος (“apostle”), telling who Paul serves and by what authority he serves. And this whole structure, the definer, clarifies Paul’s apostleship.
Additionally, because these “molecular” relationships have been specified across the whole of the text, these relationships may now be searched. To use the present example of Παυλος modified by a definer, we can search for where words that are “Names of Persons or Places” (Louw-Nida domain 93, one piece of information assigned at the “atom” level) are modified by definers.
To do this, a search dialog that allows one to visually represent syntactic structure is used to create a query.


A query based on word structure (a.k.a. “syntax”)

This query specifies that a head term must contain a word (or “atom”) that specifies it is within Louw-Nida domain 93, it must also contain a modifier (or “molecule”) that is a definer. This search, when run, locates 473 instances of the syntactic structure in the New Testament. An example search hit is Mt 27.37, which has Ιησους ο βασιλευς των Ιουδαιων (“Jesus, the King of the Jews”) where Ιησους is the head term word (or atom) and ο βασιλευς των Ιουδαιων is the definer (or molecule).
Summary
Much like molecules are groups of atoms that allow us to talk about “water”, “sugar” and “gasoline” without needing to specify the molecular make-up, a syntactic annotation allows one to talk about “subjects”, “predicators” and “complements” without needing to approximate contents.
The syntactic annotations do the analysis, building up higher-level structures from the “atomic” level of word data (word, morphology, lemma, etc.). These structures are useful by themselves in that they document how a particular syntactic approach or philosophy has analyzed the structure of the text. They are further useful in that they provide for higher-level combinations of things to be queried. Rather than approximating all of the ways that words (atoms) may potentially combine to form the molecule “subject”, one simply specifies “subject” to bound one’s search to such structures.
In this way, the text can be read, queried and analyzed at a higher level (clauses, phrases, etc.) without sacrificing the necessary and useful information at the foundational word level.

Logos for the Mac Update

(This progress update from Bob Pritchett was sent last night to the Logos for the Mac email list and posted here.)

Work continues on Logos Bible Software for the Mac. As oflate June’sintermediate release:

Search Status:

  • Basic Search is completed
  • Topic Search is in progress
  • Bible Search is completed, this still requires bug fixing

Book Display Status:

  • Tool bar continued work is in progress
  • Resource Window Navigation Controls is completed
  • Reference/Index items in Resource Display Toolbar is completed
  • Window Linking is completed
  • Tooltip Support is in progress

Reports Status:

  • Company Info is complete
  • About This Resource is complete
  • Bibliography Report is complete
  • Passage Guide is under development
  • Passage In All Versions is complete except for some Toolbar areas
  • Parallel Bible Versions is complete except for some Toolbar areas
  • Compare Parallel Bible Versions is complete except for some Toolbar areas
  • Auto-Lookup Report is under development
  • Exegetical Guide is under development

Froot Loops & Free Bibles

We try to keep Logos Bible Software as inexpensive as possible considering all the value in the bundles, but that’s not enough for some people. For them the only right price is free.Some years back, a customer called one of our international distributors to report an epiphany in which God told him this distributor would send a free copy of the software. To which the quick-thinking distributor responded, “Fine, I’ll send it as soon as God tells me your address”.

But we’ve never experienced anything quite like what happened this past weekend. Here’s how the AP reports it:

A Bible software business was vandalized with pornography and devil-worship symbols, and a man has been arrested and taken to a hospital for evaluation, police said.

Satanic and Nazi symbols, pornography and other graffiti marred the Logos Research Systems Inc. main building and shipping department, located in separate downtown buildings last weekend, executive assistant Brenna Sebens said.

Regular light bulbs were replaced with red ones in a bathroom and there were disturbing paintings, satanic symbols and crude writing on the walls, she said.

…Police said officers were dispatched following a report of a man throwing Froot Loops cereal and pieces of paper out of an apartment window in the shipping department building Saturday morning.

According to the police report (and some of the graffiti), the man arrested believed very strongly that information should be free. The Bellingham Herald reported that he “told officers he felt the company was charging him money for Bibles when he could get them for free…”

Perhaps someone should have told him Logos doesn’t run on Linux anyway. (Just a joke!)

Some photos:

I’d like to say we were completelyshocked by this vandalism, but it’s not the first time we’ve experienced graffiti directed at the company or disturbed people walking into the office. But in the big picture, these are small frustrations. I think the email Bob Pritchett sent to the office after discovering the vandalism models what, ultimately, must be our reaction to such events:

I was pretty angry at first, but I think that’s the wrong reaction.

When a drunk driver drove through our church window, my pastor confessed to being pretty upset. But he soon realized that the (chronic) drunk driver, responsible as he remains for his actions, was in worse shape than our broken entryway. After putting up plywood he spray-painted it with large letters: “We forgive you.”

I want to exercise as much wisdom and grace.

Pray for us, that we would have the mind of Christ in all things.

A Review with Meat

Rubén Gómez at Bible Software Review recently posted a review of Logos Bible Software 3 to his site and graciously permitted us to reprint the review.

Logos has been dissected many times in various magazines, journals, and websites but I must say this is one of the meatiest, most detailed reviews to date.

Even if you already own Logos, you’re bound to learn something from Rubén’sanalysis and accompanying screenshots.

Check it out!

Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament Updated and Expanded

The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament (henceforth Lexham SGNT) is an ongoing project here at Logos. When v3.0 was released, a preliminary version of the Lexham SGNT, covering Hebrews through Jude, was included in the various Scholar’s Library packages and the Original Languages Library package. (see more on packages here).
Dr. Al Lukaszewski has been steadily working through the Greek New Testament since that time. The latest beta release (v 3.0e) includes a significantly expanded version of the Lexham SGNT. If you already have access to the Lexham SGNT, the 3.0e beta will update your version. The new version includes data for Revelation, Romans and First Corinthians. Of course, it is a beta release so you should be sure to read all of the warnings and whatnot before you decide to install the beta version.
For an example of the sort of information that the Lexham SGNT provides, check out this previous blog entry which includes a video discussing “Syntactic Force Annotations”.

Yee-Haw! The Logos Chili Cook-Off 2007

This past Friday was the seventh annual Logos Chili Cook-Off. Guest blogger Mark Van Dyke manned the camera, took some pictures, and files this report. Thanks, Mark!

On Friday, June 29 twelve Logos employees entered their time-honored (or recently ‘Googled’) chili recipes in a battle royale of meat, beans and tomato sauce.

Even before the clock hit high noon, this competition was unlike any other in Logos history. You see, when National Sales Representative Ed Hale heard about the contest he knew he had to enter. There was just one small problem – he lives in Escondido, CA and the competition was taking place at Logos headquarters in Bellingham, Washington. In order for Ed enter the competition he needed to figure out a way to get his chili to the Pacific Northwest.

The story could only end one of two ways: either this would turn into a messy disaster at the post-office or Ed’s chili would win and he would enter cook-off immortality. The result? Ed won the chili cook-off, got the girl and is selling his story to 20th Century Fox for millions.

And that was just in the “Mild Chili” category. This year’s competition required contestants to declare their chili as being “mild” or “real”. The “Real Chili” gold medal went to Scott Sanders of Logos’ Electronic Text Development department. This was a great send off for Scott as it was his last day working at Logos. Scott will be taking his ‘Roasted Robot Chili’ on the road as he bikes around the northwest for the next couple weeks. All this made for an memorable event and a great time for all involved.

Check out the chili-rific pictures below!


The contestants make their final preparations before the competition begins


Unofficial winner of the “best chili name” category.


While techies around the country lined up for their iPhone our sole attention was on chili.


Let the eating begin!


Scott Sanders’ winning entry: “Roasted Robot Chili”

Bob Talks About Pre-Pubs and Community Pricing

Last week, our very own Bob Pritchett and Bill Nienhuis attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change Conference for Publishing.
Bob gave a presentation about ways Logos produces and sells books — specifically about the pre-pub program and the community pricing program. Bob blogged about it on his personal blog (along with providing a link to his conference handout).
One of the O’Reilly bloggers — Sarah Milstein — attended Bob’s talk and loved it. Read what she has to say about the ways Logos uses both the pre-pub and community pricing programs to get the books our users want at low prices that actually cover costs.
Once again, if you want books from Logos at low prices, check out the pre-pub and community pricing programs.

What people say the Bible says about…

OpenBible.info just launched a new topical Bible service that is steeped in crowdsourcing-mashup-web-2.0 goodness. Since I just blogged about the “old school”What the Bible Says About… service from Logos I thought I’d give this upstart service a mini-review.

You can try it out:OpenBible.info Topical Bible

Here’s how it works: The developerscompiled a topic list using Yahoo! Related Suggestions, then searched Yahoo! for the most relevant web pages about each topic, then pulled any Bible references from those pages. So what you end up with is a list of Bible verses that are most closely associated with a particular topic across the web.

The label next to the “find” box says, “What does the Bible say about…” But I think it’s a stretchto say this service helps you find out what the Bible says about a topic. It would be more accurate to say you’re finding out what people say the Bible says about a topic. Or maybe what people say about the Bible when speaking about a topic. And by people I mean “the people.” The OpenBible.info project is truly trusting in the wisdom of crowds.

Admittedly, any topical indexto the Bible involves editorial decisions and inferences. Orville James Nave (1841-1917), who spent 14 yearsworking on his project to”…note and classify everything found in the Scriptures”, certainly did not work in a vacuum. (The New Nave’s Topical Bible used at What the Bible Says About and available inside Logos Bible Software is a revision of Orville Nave’s classic work.) But he was methodical, thoroughand consistent in his appproach to the task.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I do think there’s value to a service like the OpenBible Topical Bible.

What I like about it:

  1. It offers current topics. If you want to find out what people say the Bible says about Harry Potter…you can.
  2. It offers a constantly-growing list of topics. If you enter a topic that’s new to the database, the topic is added and you’ll get some initial results after a few moments of waiting for the server to do its work. I entered “Iraq War”, which was brand new to the database.
  3. It offers a constantly-improving data set. The Helpful/Not Helpful buttons by each Bible verse or passage allow me to help fine tune the results, while the Suggest a Verse box lets me associate a verse to my topic.

Suggestions:

  1. Allow the user to associate a new topic with an existing topic. I found later that “War” (of course) and “The War in Iraq” are both existing topics. Before adding “Iraq War” as a new entity, the service could ask, “Did you really mean ‘The War in Iraq’?” and learn from my response. In this way, I would be training the database to understand that the two terms mean the same thing.
  2. I don’t know what method the Topical Bible service uses to identify Bible verses onweb pages, but it seems to me such an undertaking is fraught with perils. Sean Boisen has raised some good questions about this in the context of counting Scripture references in blog posts. Since the web is full of unruly data (unlike the carefully tagged bookswe work on here at Logos) the only solutions seem to be a) push people to adopt something like Bible reference microformat standards or b) develop ever-smarter verse extraction routines.

All in all this is a pretty cool service and I’m sure we’ll see more like it in the days to come.