Show Us How You Use Logos

We want to watch you use Logos Bible Software. Do you stick to three or four windows? Open dozens? Tile or cascade? Use tabs? Customize the toolbar?

Logos doesn’t have the resources of a full usability lab, with the cool one-way glass and video recording setup, but we’re hoping we can use technology to make up for it.

We would like to see a screenshot (or several) of how you use the Libronix DLS. If you use several workspaces, a screenshot of each of your favorite workspaces loaded up would be great. Or, even better, a recorded screen video of you doing your Bible study or sermon preparation with the system.

Screenshots:
To take a screenshot, press the “PrtScrn” button on your keyboard (or “Alt+PrtScrn” to capture just the active window). Paste it into an email message to screens@logos.com.
(Or paste it into Microsoft Paint, or another graphics program, and then save it and email it, or FTP it to the directory below.)

Videos:
Camtasia is a great application for recording your screen to a file—with or without audio. It is what we use for the videos on our site and blog. Camtasia costs $299, but there’s a free, fully functional 30-day trial version available for downloading.

We would really appreciate it if you would download and install Camtasia, record a study session with it, and then send us the Camtasia file (in AVI format). The session should be at least 15 minutes long and it can be with or without an audio track.

We’re not looking for you to do something specific for us, and we’re not looking for you to demo Logos to us—we just want to “look over your shoulder” while you use Logos as you regularly do—for personal Bible study, sermon preparation, etc. (That’s why “no audio” is fine—we don’t want to interrupt your regular work.)

Camtasia records and compresses the screen efficiently, so it’s well suited to a long session even if you’re slowly reading things on the screen. In other words, a screen that doesn’t change for minutes while you’re reading doesn’t take any extra space to record. Don’t feel rushed. Also, we won’t share your recording outside Logos without your permission.

We watched all the videos submitted years ago, and even revisit them on occasion. Getting an updated set will help us plan better for the future. It’s also good for you to show our developers how you work with Logos. You will increase the chance that new feature design is adapted to your needs, and improves on the things that were awkward or time-consuming for you. We do a better job of fixing problems we see. :-)

You can upload the AVI files (ideally named YourName.avi) to ftp://ftp.logos.com/screens. Once you copy it there it will “disappear”, but
be stored on our server.

(FTP’ing is easy: just copy the FTP address shown into a file Explorer window and then drag your file into the directory).
Thanks for your help!

Logos Soup Contest 2006

Last Friday (Sept. 15) was Soup Cookoff Day at Logos. We blogged the soup cookoff last year and wanted to do something similar this year.
This year the winner was actually my Dad (!) who loves soup so much we can’t keep him away on soup day. Congrats to Dad and to the other winners:

  • 1st Place: Chuck Brannan with “Chuck’s Spicy Seafood Bisque”
  • 2nd Place: Justin & Naomi Boyer with “Big Toe Baked Potatoe Soup”
  • 3rd Place: Dave Kaplan with “Cheesy Chicken”

We had 20 soups this year. Your intrepid Logos bloggers didn’t fare so well in the contest. My soup, “Sweet Panang’d Squash” didn’t place; nor did Eli’s “Ye Olde Lentils”. I guess the Logos palatte wasn’t ready for squash & lentils. Maybe next year …
More photos of the day are below the fold, so check ’em out!
Update: Several have asked about recipes. I’ll see if the chefs who created the top 3 recipes will allow their recipes to be posted on the blog.

[Read more…]

Can you see me? I can’t see you!

Dale Pritchett recently completed the final leg of the Bible Road Trip. Read previous posts and view photos from the Road Trip.

Now that we are home in Bellingham, I decided to go back and fill in some of the blanks and tell you more about our experiences on the road.

Jenni and I arrived in Detroit on a hot Friday night and next morning met John and Stephanie Fallahee, and their kids in a motel parking lot where John quickly showed us the RV ropes and handed over the Starship Enterprise. He graciously encouraged us to call him with any questions — which we did incessantly for the next four days. The first question was “What happened to the driver’s side mirror on this thirty-seven foot cargo container look-alike which already lacks a rearview mirror?”

Well, it turns out that some passing trucker used his own mirror to take out our mirror. Since “our mirror” is some fancy one-of-a-kind, made for the RV mirror, we would have to wait a week for the replacement. In the mean time we had to “make do” with a cheap vanity mirror John had cleverly duct taped to the shattered mirror mount. Every hour or so we would pull over and adjust the tape, and attempt to reduce the weathervane tendencies.

Since the vanity mirror did not include the additional convex mirror normal on an RV, we could only see our blind spot when wind forced the mirror to vibrate left and right thereby momentarily increasing our field of view. Ya’ gotta love that vibration. The blind spot on the Starship Enterprise could easily conceal a formation of six Harley riders, a state trooper and perhaps a small traveling carnival. But all this is just to see the road and what a road we had to see. The entire state of Michigan appeared to be celebrating “road reconstruction month” with special emphasis being given to single lane merges on three lane expressways and temporary single lane bridges. Such were the joys and terrors of our first full day in the RV.

Once in Grand Rapids we parked the RV and considered the option of abandoning it and taking a cab back to Bellingham. But relief came in the form of Jim and Karolyn Van Noord, parents of James Van Noord, one of our Logos programmers. Jim picked us up at the campground in a normal car. We had a wonderful, relaxing evening at a great restaurant, followed by a tour of Grand Rapids. It was just what we needed.

Progress on Copyrighted Orphans

Earlier this year I posted about the Report on Orphan Works published by the Copyright Office. Orphan works represent a wealth of material that is still of great value, particularly in Biblical studies, but which is not widely available and can’t be reprinted or digitized because the copyright status, or copyright holder, is impossible to track down.

In May, Representative Lamar Smith introduced HR 5439, the Orphan Works Act of 2006, in Congress. If passed into law, this Act would provide safe harbor for Logos and others to republish orphaned works without fear of huge legal liabilities if a previously unidentifiable copyright holder came forward. It also provides for reasonable compensation for copyright holders who are found.

This is a win-win-win. It’s good for publishers who want to digitize or reprint older works. It’s good for the works, which get new life and more use. It’s even good for the copyright holders (many of whom are heirs who don’t know they own rights, or that they have any value) who may discover new revenue sources.

And most importantly, it’s good for you. It will put valuable, but hard-to-find, hard-to-use, resources at your fingertips.

Please let your representative know you support HR 5439.

Dear Elected Representative,

Digital publishing, on CD-ROM’s and the Internet, is enabling us to make entire libraries of material available to students who previously had little or no access to valuable content. Students in distance learning programs, in rural areas, and in far-off parts of the world are using computers and the Internet to get access to content that previously could be found only in large libraries in major cities.

Projects like Google Print, and many others at universities and libraries, are putting the contents of irreplaceable, hard-to-access archives at the fingertips of students around the world.

There is a tremendous amount of information in the public domain, but many important works were published after 1923 and are now out of print. In many cases it is difficult to locate or even identify the owner. Publishers have gone out of business. Rights have reverted to heirs who have never heard of the copyrighted work. Titles were published without enough identifying information.

The Copyright Office issued a Report on Orphan Works in January of this year that recommends legislation providing for the use of orphaned works during their copyright period. (http://www.copyright.gov/orphan/)

H.R. 5439, the Orphan Works Act of 2006, addresses compensation for rights holders if they emerge, and provides safe harbor from huge infringement penalties to users who have made a diligent search to locate a copyright owner.

I encourage you to support this important legislation which advances the causes of commerce, education, and human knowledge.

Missing in Action (Part 1): Road Trip Memoirs of the 4th Leg

John Fallahee recently completed the fourth leg of the Bible Road Trip (including the period when the damage to the RV was being repaired) and contributed this travelogue about his experiences. Read previous posts and view photos from the Road Trip.

WARNING: This driver and his family has never been to an RV park, nor driven an RV more than 30 minutes on the highway, prior to this trip! When asked by the president about the RV idea months ago…well, let’s just say that those imaginations were replaced by the following reality!

7/14 – 7/19 “Dad, Where is the Big Car?” Minivan/Hotel: David, my 4 year old son, was having fun helping me place the luggage in the trunk. With a very serious face, he said, “Dad where is the Big car?” I said, “It’s getting repaired, it should be ready in a couple of days.” David in a thoughtful manner carries on, “Well, there is plenty of room in this Mini-Car for me to eat and sleep!” By the way, the family enjoyed Washington D.C..

24 Hours – 4 Presentations: What have you done in the last 24 hours? We visited two churches in the area. I spoke at night at Immanuel Bible Church and trained the next morning. Then in the afternoon we headed to McLean Presbyterian Church and trained in the afternoon and then presented in the evening. Although tired, the fellowship was great! If you are ever in D.C. stop by!
We parked at the RV site by midnight!

7/21 “Mom…What’s that smell?
We drove over 4 hours to Norfolk, VA to pick up the RV and as you can see the kids were pretty excited! When is the last time you ran to a car?

Video clip (WMV, 3.2MB)
Liquid spills, Frightening Smells, but no Chills: During the repair process all power and gas were shut off. When Stephanie went to open the refrigerator door, once-frozen but now rotting, liquid chicken sprung from the dead and onto my wife.

The eggs were breeding a cure to the avian flu and the milk curdled into white cheese balls. We were left wondering if something ate something else! We were forbidden to take pictures of this crime scene.

Don’t Open the Fridge!: Though Stephanie worked hard to clean the fridge, the smell lived on until we discovered a cure. The new RV House rule: only Momma opens the fridge!

HOUSE KEEPING TIP: Place a few chunks of charcoal inside the freezer, wait 24 hours, and all smells removed.

7/21 – 7/24 “Let’s Gas it up!”Our First Gas stop: By the time we reached Mechanicsburg, PA, we needed to get some gas. As we pulled in, John Palm–owner of the local auto repair–expressed curiosity in the RV and tour. I sat down in his shop and showed him Logos Bible Software. He was so excited, he bought the software on the spot. John teaches and oversees the Sunday school program at his church.

RV SURVIVAL TIP #1: To bring the sides of the RV in, you must turn the RV off!

If you choose to ignore this advice, fear not, the RV campgrounds will knock on your door and assist you in operating your RV.

RV SURVIVAL TIP #2: To turn on the gas stove, the gas sensor need to be on!
If you choose to ignore this advice, you will go hungry!

Discmobile

As a city, Bellingham has some unique characteristics. And more than a few unique characters.
One particular street that I often walk along seems to be a favorite for folks living in vehicles. Buses, cars, VW microbuses, campers, you name it…but one of the stranger sights was this car, covered in compact discs.


I suppose the owner/tenant was mostly interested in the discs’ reflective properties that served to keep his vehicle cool. He was probably less interested in the contents of the discs…

Yes, closer inspection revealed that this fellow had plastered his car with hundreds of Logos Bible Software discs! When Logos 3 shipped, we had to throw away a lot of old inventory (sans serial numbers, of course). Normally, our shipping department spray-paints discs that go into the dumpster as an added precaution…but this time quite a number of bright, shiny discs made it into the dumpster and were re-purposed in a way we couldn’t have imagined.

An Unusual Salsa

If you’re a regular reader of the Logos blog, you know we enjoy salsa so much that we hold an annual “cook-off” devoted to the stuff. Dale Pritchett posts this paen to the spicy sauce from the midst of the Bible Road Trip.

And now for something entirely different. . . hot strawberry salsa!

Meet Brian Creveling of Creveling Family Restaurant and Creveling Family Farms, makers of more kinds of unusual salsas than you have ever tasted. Jenni and I wandered into the Creveling Family Restaurant in Sparta, Michigan, before our Logos presentation where we struck up a conversation with the owner, Brian Creveling. First Brian asked us if we cared to advise him on the color scheme of the restaurant and then he introduced us to his real passion, salsa making.

Brian’s salsas are something else. There are the normal tomato, chili and garlic components but from there it reaches out to strawberry, blueberry, peach, pear and apple salsas in both medium and hot. Did I mention, Brian loves garlic? You have never tasted anything like this before.

Well, at the risk of sounding like a commercial from the Food Network, let me tell you, Brian makes some of the best tasting salsa that has ever warmed a tortilla chip and it is not something you have had before. Just call him at 616.885.6667 if you would like to order.

Major victory on Road Trip

Dale Pritchett recently started the final leg of the Bible Road Trip. Read previous posts and view photos from the Road Trip.

Yesterday we got through an entire day without a major RV mishap! The feeling was heady! This is big news as we complete our first full week in the Starship Enterprise. This is a big ship in a small galaxy. Jenni kept reminding me that this was not my old Harley Davidson. It would be better for parking lots, curbs, speed bumps, trees, shrubs, stop signs, medial barriers, bridge railings and assorted honking motorists (just wishing me well, I am sure) if it was a Harley. I may deserve special thanks for leaving Michigan, Indiana, and Missouri.

Today I broke the one-day streak. Jenni and I worked out an exhaustive check list to be completed before leaving the RV park. We checked off the items on the list, agreed we had forgotten nothing, pulled twenty feet out of our parking space only to see a bunch of wildly enthusiastic, waving neighbors shouting to us that we had left the door wide open and the steps down.

Despite our general road trials, the evening meetings are going well and we have met some serious Logos users. This is a real source of encouragement to us. We have had some great time of fellowship with pastors, students and long time Logos users. Every night there has also been a small group of curious first-time people who have heard about the software but have never seen it.

One day we had a truck driver at a rest stop come over and tell us he had just heard about the software on the radio and wanted to know more. It is amazing to us how many people recognize the bus and wave or honk and give us a thumbs up.

A shout out to our users

The latest issue of Christian Computing Magazine included the results of a reader survey on Bible software…with Logos emerging as the clear leader!

Thanks to those of you who took the survey and selected Logos Bible Software as your favorite Bible study product. It’s always great to hear that we’re making an impact and that people really enjoy the user experience.

You can download the PDF (622 KB) if you want to read the entire article relating the results of the survey. Here are the highlights:

“…the average person taking our survey owns 2.5 Bible study programs.”

“…Logos was the clear winner when it came to the number of products purchased by our readers. 39.3% of those taking the survey reported that they owned a Bible study product from Logos.”

“…most of those taking the survey own two or three Bible study products…With a two to one vote over second place, our readers picked Bible study software from Logos as their favorite.”

The survey also asked some general questions about how and when people use Bible software. Here are a couple of the results for that section:

“When asked about their favorite use or feature, 38% said they used it to search the Bible to find a specific scripture, 25% used it to search commentaries, 17% used it to do word studies, about 12% used it for Greek and Hebrew studies, and about 8% stated they used it for all of the above. About 1% used Bible study software to read their Bible through, such as using a Bible reading plan. How often do people use their Bible study software? 38% said daily, 38% said weekly, and 13% said several times a month.”

Ultimate Fun

Today’s guest blogger is Erland Injerd, a developer who works in the Network and Systems department at Logos.

So you’re sitting at your desk at the end of a long day inside. The sun is shining outdoors, and the sky is the deepest crisp blue you’ve ever seen.

“Hey,” a coworker drops by your desk. “Let’s play some Ultimate Frisbee.”

This sounds promising.

“There are eight other people already on their way — meet you at the park!”

Off to the park you go…and sure enough, there’s a whole crowd of familiar faces, ready to start running in a friendly game of Ultimate.

Sound like a pleasant, post-lunch daydream?

Not at Logos Bible Software. During the summer months, what better way to work out some stress, get a bit of fresh air, and enjoy God’s creation than a game of Ultimate Frisbee, right after a hard day’s work?

“But getting enough people together is like pulling teeth,” the skeptic might say. “Schedules conflict, people leave early, no one knows exactly what park you’re going to…the list goes on.”

Fortunately, we work for a software company full of enterprising developers. Several years back, one of our devs made a website that manages the Ultimate games for interested employees. Just tell the site what days you can play, and it will send you an E-mail in the morning, asking you to sign up that day. If enough players sign up on a given day, all the Ultimate Heroes get a “Game On!” E-mail — we’re headed to the park! The game is always at the same place and the same time, so no one gets confused, and if not enough people sign up, well, no one arrives at the park wondering where everyone else is (we hope).

But it’s not enough to know that some of Logos secretly plays Ultimate. How do the games go?

Thankfully, nowhere in the hiring process at Logos does it mention “skill at Ultimate Frisbee.” While some of us are fairly gifted at running and throwing and yelling (or just yelling), most of us are pretty casual, average players. The little website that schedules our games is also smart enough to take past results, crunch the statistics, and figure out the real movers and shakers. They all get stuck on one team, and everyone else….
Actually, the teams tend to shake out pretty balanced, after each player has a few games recorded. There have been some embarrassing 15-3 or 15-5 final scores (yes, we play to fifteen), but for the most part, the games tend to end up fairly close.

Of course, that keeps things interesting. When the score is 13-12, and it’s 7PM, people start getting focused. Do you really want to throw long? How about we send someone to the end zone. Cover that guy, he’s getting physical…just give him a little elbow. Some of us are good at throwing, some are good at catching, some are good at guarding — and there’s my personal favorite: running a lot.

But when the day is done, and everyone shakes hands, gives high-fives, talks a little smack about “that last pass,” you know the Ultimate game was worth it. Lots of exercise, lots of sun, lots of great times with friends — what a way to end a day’s work for an awesome company. So, the next time you’re wondering: how do we do it, remember the Ultimate. Sometimes, making software isn’t all about a computer screen.