Archive - September, 2005

Navigation History as a Tree

HistoryTree.pngWhen I am browsing electronic texts I tend to follow a lot of rabbit trails. One of my frustrations with web browsers and other hyperlinked systems is that my navigation history is a straight line. I can follow links from A to B to C to D, but if I back up to C and follow an alternate link to E, the system forgets that I was at D.

Real world browsing involves following lots of parallel paths, and this is especially true in Bible study, where you want to follow lots of cross references on a single theme, each of which may lead you to other ideas, without losing track of where you started.

The next release of the Libronix Digital Library System records all of your navigation and can present it as a tree, not just a list. So while Back and Forward work just as they always have, if you want to revisit one of the branches your study took earlier in your session, you can open the History Dialog and find it quickly.

(The History Dialog is already available as part of the Libronix DLS v2.2 Alpha.)

I am excited about the new History Dialog not just because it is a feature I have wanted for a long time, but because it is representative of the innovation in the Libronix Digital Library System. To the best of my knowledge, this is one of the first visual tools for navigating your browsing history in any hypertext system. (A similar feature was added to one web browser just weeks ago, and it has been suggested for others.)

We are not content to simply apply the established technologies and interfaces to Bible study tools – we want to be on the cutting edge with new and better solutions.

Soup Cookoff Recipe #3: Smakelijke Split Pea Soup

After posting this entry about our soup cookoff, some folks wrote in to request recipes.
I’ll post the top three over the next few days. We’ll start with the third-place soup, made by yours truly: Smakelijke Split Pea Soup.

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Logos Soup Cookoff 2005

The 2005 Soup Cookoff was a success! We had 16 different kinds of soup, all lined up and ready for our soup-slurping pleasure.

We have a tradition of voting on all of the soups, and giving awards to the top three vote-getters. Here they are:

Congratulations to new Logos Soup King Jerry Godfrey (in Logos Technical Support) for his awesome soup, “Grandma Approved”. I know I could taste that extra sweetness that only a Grandma can add … or was that the bacon?

Landon Norton, who works in Logos Ministry Relations, and his lovely wife Krissy turned in the second place effort, “Pottage of Pollo Parousia”. It was most delectable.

The third place slot is occupied by yours truly, the author of this post, Rick Brannan. I made a little soup I like to call “Smakelijke Split Pea Soup”. My Grandma, who was from Holland, used the word smakelijke to describe anything food-wise that was really, really tasty. Needless to say, the stuff that came out of her kitchen was always smakelijke! Apparently my soup was too.

All in all, it was a very good time. Next up: Logos Bake Off! It’s on November 4. Now I need to dust off my bakin’ skills so I can make something delectable for that one.

If you’re interested in some photos of the event, check out the extended portion of the post below.

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Later Learners

I have the utmost respect for anyone who takes on the challenge of learning to use a computer at an advanced age. I am of the sandwich generation (Gen X); growing up in rural Michigan, most of my peers did not have a computer at home and so were not exposed to computers until high school. When we got to high school, the “computer lab” still had a mix of typewriters and 286 IBM clones.

My family, however, owned a Commodore 64/128 (we later upgraded to an Amiga 500). The C64 was a great platform for games, but I can remember doing some word processing on it as well, using GEOS. Happily, I avoided ever having to type a paper of any significant length on a typewriter.

Having a computer at home meant that I was exposed to the technology sooner than most of my friends and so learned to use it without much effort. Just having the time to “play around with” computers meant that I could build confidence and mess around with stuff without worrying that I would break anything. That’s a skill I use to this day, “What does this do? Click it and find out!”
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Mmmmmmmm … Soup!

Cook-offs are just part of working at Logos — one of my favorite parts. We do a Curry Cook-off sometime in the spring (April) and a Chili cook-off around July 4. If it is September, it must be time for soup! I’m not sure if the folks at Logos have realized it yet, but my favorite cook-off is always the next cook-off. That means as of now, my favorite is the Soup Cook-off.

Speaking of which, the Soup Cook-off is scheduled for September 16, and my soup is already made! (Made it on Tuesday night). I don’t know if it’ll win, but I do know it’ll be good. Even better, we have 15 soups scheduled to appear, and we may end up with even more!

If you’re into soup, stay posted. We’ll surely blog more about the Soup Cook-off, and may even have photos of the event to share.

Bob, Eli and Daniel (all of whom have entered, I believe), beware!

Logos in the Local Press

Northwest Business Monthly Cover FeatureLogos Bible Software is the cover feature for the September 2005 issue of Northwest Business Monthly, a regional business magazine.

One of my favorite selections,

“There is a lot of great technology and ideas, but you build around the customer not the technology,” [Bob Pritchett] said. “I think that’s what happened with the whole dot-com phase – their failing point wasn’t their product, it was not having a customer.”

With the goal of becoming an essential source for people doing serious Bible study, Pritchett said that Logos’ market is fairly stable.

“The shifting tides of world religions doesn’t really affect us,” he said. “The Bible is the best-selling book of all time.”

“By focusing on the pastors, we’re focusing on a long-term investment—not the guy who decides if he’s going to church or not every week,” he added. “We want to build tools that improve the quality of their teaching. Nobody has time to sift through 250 books in preparation for a sermon each week.”

If you’re looking for more information about Logos, you’ll find it in the About area of Logos.com, which includes a Logos chronology, mission statement, and current job postings.

Tools, Options, KeyLink!

If you’ve been to one of Morris Proctor’s Camp Logos training seminars, then you’re familiar with the cry of “Tools, Options, KeyLink!”

I know I occasionally need a reminder of this, and chances are you may need a reminder too. Now is as good a time as any, especially since Eli’s recent blog entry about data types reminds me that facility with KeyLinking (how you look up stuff using data types) is something that effective users of Logos Bible Software seem to take for granted.

But knowing where to go to set your KeyLink preferences (once again, this time for Moe: “Tools, Options, KeyLink!”) is only half the battle. Understanding what happens when a KeyLink is invoked, and knowing a little more about the resources available for KeyLinking is necessary as well.

You might want to check out a few tutorials we have in the Support area of the Logos web site. These are listed in the order in which they were written. I wrote the Greek KeyLinking article to help folks understand what the different targets were and how KeyLink order affects lookup. A colleague then wrote the Hebrew KeyLinking article, and he followed that up with the English KeyLinking article. (If you haven’t figured it out, I’m a bit myopic when it comes to Greek!) All three articles have the same basic idea: understand the feature, know your resources, select your KeyLink order; but the each article applies the ideas to particular languages and available resources.

So, here are the articles:

About This Resource: Part I

Wendell Stavig* posed some great questions in his comments to one of my earlier posts, and since my computer is bogged down running a conversion script that takes about forty-five minutes to run (top-secret project!) I’ll go ahead and answer them. Out of order, of course.

[C]ould you please explain some of the data in the Help | About This Resource window?

How you use the information under datatypes?

As far as I’m concerned, datatypes and keylinking are the two most important concepts in the Libronix DLS.

A datatype is a type of data.
Seriously. A datatype is simply a way of defining all different kinds of information that are a) self-consistent in their format and b) distinct from other kinds of information. Put another way, an apple is an apple, and an orange is an orange. Apples look like other apples, and oranges look like other oranges. Furthermore, each datatype implies an associated set of features and behaviors, so the Libronix DLS can do different things with data in different datatypes. Oranges get juiced, but apples go in pies. (Mmmmmmm … pie.)

 
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Books That Last

When we marketing types at Logos talk about the benefits of electronic books over print, one benefit we include in the list is that electronic books are not easily destroyed. We like to point out that our books do not mold, mildew, fall apart, or fade over time. And when a hard drive crashes or computer is stolen, book files are easily replaced and licenses restored from our servers.

The durability of electronic books can seem like a theoretical benefit until some kind of personal catastrophe or natural disaster makes it very real.

I’m reminded of this as our support department reports they are beginning to hear from users who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina and are calling to request a set of replacement discs and a regenerated license file. Having access to one’s books is certainly a very small comfort in light of the massive losses sustained by so many, but I’m glad that we can help provide even that small step in a return to everyday life.
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Community Pricing: Adolf Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East

Since Bob has brought up the subject of Community Pricing, I figure it’s time to write about one of my favorite references that is (and has been) on the community pricing page: Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East.

I can remember when I first started working through definitions in BAGD (the second English edition of Bauer’s lexicon, now superceded by BDAG). This was in the early to mid 1990′s. I’d just finished college, with a year of Greek under my belt, determined not to let it lapse. I’d asked my professor which books I needed, and he simply said “Get BAGD.” I went to the bookstore, and they ordered it — and told me it would be $70.00! I swallowed that pill, had them order it, and haven’t regretted it.

Because I’d spent that money, I used BAGD whenever I needed to look up a word — which was (and still is) frequently. And I soon noticed an oft-repeated abbreviation: LAE.

It only took me a few times to look that up in the abbreviation table (this was before the electronic edition was released by Logos) to associate it with Light from the Ancient East by Adolf Deissmann. It was cited frequently. I didn’t have a print copy, so I never bothered to look it up.

But I was the one missing out. Two or three years ago, I finally broke down and located a used print copy of LAE and dug in. I read it from cover to cover and soon saw that LAE contained excellent background information from papyri, inscriptions and ostraca. These materials are transcribed, translated and discussed. Photos or drawings exist for most materials, so you can actually see the item being discussed.

The discussions are the valuable part, from my perspective. Deissmann brings much to the table that can help one in examining infrequent New Testament words.

Allow me to present one example:
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