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Breaking, or rather break-in, news…

 

It seems like it was just yesterday that thieves broke into our Mac satellite office and made off with all the computers.

But it wasn’t yesterday, it was a month ago, on June 11th.

Apparently they liked the way we loaded up those iMacs as developer workstations, because they came back last week and took all the replacements. And this time they left behind the PCs owned by the company we’re sub-leasing space from. That “Switch” campaign is finally sinking in!

Twice-bitten by the big city, we’re going to hunker down here in low-crime Bellingham (where we’re in our own more secure and video-surveilled space) and work hard to keep our Mac product moving ahead. Maybe we can move the Mac developers to a 24×7 schedule; we’d get the dual benefit of speeding development and having a night-watch team!

What’s up on the Mac?

Update

Getting Logos 4 for the Mac finished is one of our top priorities. Recent Alpha releases are in good shape, and offer many of the core features. We’re working at top speed to get everything else done, too.

The number one questions, of course, is “When?” And we can’t say, because we don’t know. We’re putting our energy into coding, not estimating. And, because of the unique challenges involved in sharing code between platforms, there are many things we can’t predict the time-frame for, even if we tried.

The good news is that the Logos 4 Mac team is seeing success after success. Our shared-code strategy is working, and ensuring compatibility of both content and documents. And as the platform becomes more stable we’re seeing increased speed implementing features at the interface layer.

We’ve been hiring Mac developers for quite a while, and we have even brought some of the Windows development team over to the Mac side. But we couldn’t hire enough great Mac developers fast enough here in Bellingham, so we decided to do something even more dramatic: We opened a temporary office in Bellevue, Washington where we could get access to a bigger pool of Mac developers.

We rented an apartment and moved our Mac team lead there for four days a week. He’s helping keep the half-dozen programmers there coordinated with the larger team in Bellingham.

The bottom line? Logos 4 Mac is full-speed ahead, and making lots of progress. We can’t predict the final ship date, but we’re confident we’re doing everything possible to make it as soon as possible. And, of course, there’s a new Alpha release every two weeks, which many users report is stable and meets their needs on a daily basis.

Want even more updates? Keep an eye on our forums, where you can hear about the latest progress and even interact with the development team.

Introducing Logos Bible Software 4

Today we are announcing the all-new Logos Bible Software 4, designed from scratch to accomplish our goal of helping more people do more and better Bible study.

The leading Bible software products available today (including our own Libronix DLS 3.0) are powerful tools designed 10-20 years ago. Most Bible software companies were started in a day when users owned screwdrivers for opening their computer case and knew what a DIP switch was. Our software was designed for people who liked technology and were comfortable with it.

Today everybody has a computer, and everybody isn’t a computer-geek. A computer is just one more tool in your life for doing whatever it is you want to do, from Bible study to photography to water skiing. While technology has moved into the mainstream, it hasn’t stopped improving. We re-invented Logos Bible Software repeatedly to stay on the cutting edge of technology and user interface. But the edge keeps moving.

Our last product couldn’t anticipate the incredible inter-connectedness of today’s users, with widespread broadband, wireless, and mobile-phone Internet. Today’s leading programming language didn’t even exist when we designed the Libronix DLS. Apple and Microsoft have changed processors, operating systems, and more. And, most importantly, the customer base has changed: today’s Bible student with a computer isn’t a computer hobbyist. We are appliance users who expect power, elegance, and simplicity. We want computers to be like our toasters, TV’s, and cars. Turn them on and they just work.
This generation needed yet another back-to-the-drawing-board approach to Bible software. And we were glad to do it. Because only by starting with a clean slate can you leave behind mistakes and poor choices. Only facing an empty whiteboard can you design an architecture that isn’t constrained by the limitations of long-gone hardware and operating systems. Only by abandoning your existing product can you truly hear what your users want in a world unconstrained by yesterday’s designs.
Throwing it all away and starting over is incredibly rare in the software world. It is considered a dangerous business decision. It puts years between major releases and increases development costs. And the better your existing product is, the more your new product upsets existing users, many of whom just wanted a few small improvements.
But it is the only way to take advantage of the latest technology. It is the only way to design for today’s users, and their expectations about elegant design, powerful features, and Internet integration. It is the only way to keep some of the world’s finest software developers interested and engaged. (It’s no fun maintaining a decades-old codebase.)
Starting over takes courage, but it is the only way to do something extraordinary.
Logos Bible Software 4 is not an upgrade. Logos 4is Bible software re-imagined. To help you do more and better Bible study.

You should follow us on Twitter here.

Windows Mobile users, speak up!

Do you have a Windows Mobile phone? If so, we’d appreciate your participation in a very short survey regarding specific devices.
If you have another type of mobile device, don’t worry, we’re thinking about your needs, too. Your input in the August survey has already been put to work!

Thanks for noticing!

We’ve been searching the Internet to see what people are saying about Bible Study Magazine, and it’s been great! We are thrilled to see so many positive reviews and to be getting so many new subscribers.

In the course of our searching we found that someone even wrote their own ad for Bible Study Magazine and our Kutless track giveaway:

“Hey kids! How would you like to win a FREE subscription to Bible Study Magazine?!? And can you also imagine the idea of getting a FREE mp3 rockin-roll audio music song? Have you ever fantasized about what would happen if your parent’s #1 favorite religious magazine teamed up with your #1 favorite rock band and threw a double-threat mega-contest giveaway with a whole buncha cool stuff?!?”

Sounds cool to me!

I did find the copy a bit breathless and “over-the-top”, but when you’ve got an “opponent and satirist of Christianity” (Wikipedia) who was chosen to speak at the 29th American Atheists Convention pumping your Bible Study Magazine, well… I’ll forgive the hyperbole. (The man paints his head red and wears little devil horns; he’s clearly a dramatic personality.)

I’m not sure this ad (placed on a page where the artist mocks the email he receives from outraged Christians) will be bringing us many new subscribers, but we’re flattered, after just two issues, to be on the radar of fans and scorners alike.

We want to live up to the copy and become your “#1 favorite” magazine soon!

Is my investment in e-books safe?

A potential customer emailed me his concerns about investing in an electronic library:

“I have had the desire to invest in an electronic library, but I am terrified of investing all of this money into one and then losing my money’s worth because new computers will not be able to read them. How does Logos deal with this? Will my grandchildren be able to use my electronic library?”

This is a fear we hear regularly, but one that quickly goes away once we explain how Logos licenses the content, not the file-format.

It’s true that digital data can be lost if it is not constantly migrated to new storage media and kept in up-to-date or easily parsed formats. Paper books can be lost, too — just look at New Orleans and the libraries lost to flooding and mold.

The key issue is, who is ensuring your continued access? With paper it’s you — you have to keep it dry and away from fire, and you have to be willing to store and move it. (Most books are “lost” when people don’t want to move them yet again.)

I can’t make guarantees about the future; nobody can. But in Logos’ case, we’ve got a 17 year track record, we’re a strong business, and we’ve honored users licenses to the electronic books through various format, media, and operating system changes for more than a dozen years. That’s a pretty good record.

Moreover, what we sell you is the license to the book, NOT the digital file. When we change formats (which we’ve done) you don’t have to re-acquire a license. When music went from vinyl records to cassettes to CD’s, you had to re-purchase the album each time. But we aren’t selling you “today’s format” — we’re selling an electronic license. With Logos, it’s as if you’re provided the song free on cassette, CD, and then digital download, all because of your original vinyl purchase.

Can you loan the book, and can your grandchildren have it [see the clarification below]? No. But not because of the electronic format. It’s because we offer a really good price in exchange for licensing to one user. We sell our electronic books (in collections) at a huge discount from list price.

The big question is, what is your goal? To have beautiful books on your shelf that you can pass as heirlooms to your descendents, or to get convenient, useful access to a large library of content with a powerful set of tools for searching and reports?

I can “acquire a movie” in several ways: $9 at the theater, $1.99 VHS rental later, $29.95 to own the DVD, or (maybe) hundreds of dollars to acquire a film print. Each format has strengths and weaknesses. The theater experience is the best way to see it, but when it’s over, it’s over. The rental lets me rewind and pause and watch it a few times, but it’s on a small screen and later in the release cycle. The DVD is also on my home screen, costs more, and might still go obsolete years down the road. The film is physically simple — shine light through the film to project — and actually the “safest” format to ensure my descendents can watch it, but it’s more expensive, more awkward, etc.

The biggest risk with our electronic books is that we go out of business and then, some years later, computers change in a way that doesn’t let you run our software. We intend, of course, to stay in business, and (to the best of our knowledge) we’re the largest and strongest player in Bible software. But still, A) virtualization technology will probably ensure the ability to run this generation of applications for a long time and B) we have a large enough customer base that even in a bankruptcy someone would probably acquire and retain our product line and/or customer relationships.

So is your investment in e-books a safe bet? I believe so. Plus, it’s easier on the back when it’s time to move your library.

Why a Print Magazine?

I believe in electronic publishing.

For ease of use, searchability, and fast distribution, there’s nothing better than pure data. So why is Logos Bible Software launching Bible Study Magazine as a paper product? To reach even more people with the excitement and encouragement of Bible study.

Paper isn’t dead. And while more and more people are discovering that it’s an awkward format for a ten volume Greek lexicon, it still remains a very attractive, portable, friendly, accessible, and bathroom-compatible format for browsing.

When I use electronic media, I’m on a mission to search and retrieve answers. And it’s great—I get answers quickly. But when I pick up a magazine, I find myself exposed to new information and new ideas. The layout and format draw me into stories I would never have searched for. I use my keyboard to look things up; magazines expand the world of things I want to know about.

The world of Bible study is bigger than looking up verses or doing a word study. Our goal with Bible Study Magazine is to expand your horizons. We want to introduce both the person in the pulpit and in the pew to topics, ideas, and tools for better Bible study.

For searching the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, there’s no better tool than Logos Bible Software. To introduce someone who’s never thought of them to the Fathers and explain how their writings can illuminate our Bible study and encourage us in our faith? That’s a job for Bible Study Magazine.

For the digerati among us who’ve given up on print and read everything from a screen, we’ll eventually have the magazine content available electronically for Logos Bible Software. In the meantime, though, we hope to use the power of print to reach a new and larger audience whose horizons we can expand and whose curiosity we can pique.

I know you are interested in Bible study, and I am confident you’ll find Bible Study Magazine well worth the subscription price. But I think an even better investment is to take a bundle subscription for your church or small group. We all know people who know they should spend more time in the Word, but who haven’t experienced the joy of digging deeper. Bible Study Magazine is designed to engage their interest, to make it easy to get started, and to expose them to the excitement of discovery in and around God’s Word.

We can make it as easy as picking up a magazine.

Please show us your work!

Do you use Logos Bible Software to prepare sermons or lessons? Do you create handouts or PowerPoint slides for your class or congregation?
If so, we’d love to see them. We want to make future versions of Logos Bible Software even more useful, and it helps us to see what you take to the lectern. We’d really appreciate it if you would email some recent samples to slides@logos.com or handouts@logos.com. We’ll keep them to ourselves, and won’t republish or distribute them. We’ll just look at them for ideas on how we can do an even better job of helping you prepare.
(Feel free to send files in whatever format you have them.)
Thank you for your help!

Blogging the Code

Want to get technical? Want a really early preview of upcoming versions of Logos Bible Software? The software developers here at Logos have started a new code blog at code.logos.com. You’ll find code snippets, technical discussions, and even some developer introductions.
We get a lot from other technical blogs, and our team wants to join the discussion and contribute what we have learned. With our move to new technologies like .NET 3.5, WPF, and WCF, there’s a lot of ground to cover!
To get a taste of what’s coming, check out our recent applications: NoteScraps, Shibboleth, and Logos Global Bible Reader. All three are .NET WPF applications that we built to explore new technologies — and to do cool things!

Internships in Software Development

Can you help us find interns?
Logos Bible Software offers 12 week internships in software development all year round. Most join us for the summer, though, and we’re looking for this year’s team right now.
We are looking for people who love to write code, who want to work with the latest technologies, and who share our excitement about putting the best tools and technology possible into the hands of pastors, scholars and Bible students around the world.
We’re fun and we pay well.
Students can learn more at www.logos.com/interns or by contacting me at bob@logos.com or 800-875-6467 or 360-527-1700.

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