Tomorrow I am leading a brand new Accordance Bible Software webinar: Studying the Septuagint with Accordance.
The session will cover as many of these topics as we’ll have time for in an hour:
• Septuagint resources in Accordance
• Setting up an LXX and Greek NT Workspace
• The New Testament’s use of the Old Testament
• LXX Reading for vocabulary acquisition
• Reading the Septuagint with Göttingen editions
• Advanced: Hebrew-Greek translation equivalents and the MERGE search (as time permits)
I’m looking forward to this one. Sign up info is here.
Thanks to Accordance for access to the Interpretation modules shown in this screencast review. See my other Accordance posts (there are many) gathered here. I recorded the tutorial using the app Capto.
Bible software nerds, rejoice! Today Logos 7 comes into the world.
I’ve been using Logos (alongside Accordance and BibleWorks) since Logos 4. There hasn’t been a major interface overhaul since that version, but Logos has been steadily adding loads of features since then.
From a few weeks of beta testing, I offer here my initial impressions of Logos 7, as well as a look at its features in action.
Here’s the best of what’s new in Logos 7.
1. Interactives (Again)
The Interactives were my favorite feature in Logos 6. The addition of more Interactives makes it the part I most like about Logos 7.
Here is a screenshot of all the Interactives, which you can pull up from your library with the search: “type:interactive”.
Some of those were in Logos 6, like the Bible Outline Browser, which shows you all the Bible text outlines you have in your library for the passage you’re considering.
The Hebrew Cantillations Interactive in Logos 7 has seen improvement since its release in Logos 6 (it wasn’t ready for prime time initially):
Logos 7 adds the Septuagint Manuscript Explorer, which students of the Göttingen editions will especially appreciate:
We’ve cataloged information about Septuagint manuscripts, including contents, date, language, holding institute, and more. With this interactive, discover the earliest Septuagint manuscripts see how many contain the book of Psalms, and even view scanned images of many fragments, like Codex Sinaiticus.
My most used Interactive at the moment is the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. I would have made great use of it when I took a seminary course by that name. There are lots of ways to get access to what OT passages the NT is using (commentaries, Bible text footnotes, words searches), but this Interactive consolidates and sorts the data in a highly convenient way.
You can sort by allusion, quotation, echo, and citation. I always thought allusion and echo were more or less the same—though the use of terminology is itself at issue in the field! At any rate, the authors of the Interactive define their terms:
• Citation: An explicit reference to scripture with a citation formula (e.g. “It is written,” or “the Lord says,” or “the prophet says”).
• Quotation: A direct reference to scripture, largely matching the verbatim wording of the source but without a quotation formula
• Allusion: An indirect but intentional reference to scripture, likely intended to invoke memory of the scripture.
• Echo: A verbal parallel evokes or recalls a scripture (or series of scriptures) to the reader, but likely without authorial intention to reproduce exact words.
This Interactive probably deserves its own post. You can change what versions it displays, and even set it so that the English NT and OT passages are displaying alongside Greek (NT) and Greek and Hebrew (OT). (Getting this part set up was not really intuitive to me.) You can even hover over Greek and it cross-highlights the corresponding English, and vice versa:
If software programs had Pulitzers, the NT Use of the OT should win one for best feature. Here’s what it looks like, including the sidebar, which allows you to focus your study using a ton of criteria. You could easily find, for example, all the times Matthew cites or alludes to an OT passage with Jesus in mind.
2. Sermon Editor
I have worked hard to get a sermon writing workflow I really like. (Detailed article at CTPastors.com forthcoming!) So I doubt I will use the new Sermon Editor much, but it looks pretty awesome, if you want to use Logos for sermon writing. In the image below, the Sermon Starter Guide (introduced in Logos 5) is next to the Sermon Editor.
Not only does the Sermon Editor offer rich text writing and multiple Export options, if you mark your Headers, it automatically generates a Powerpoint slide show for your text. It’s also got a Handout option, which allows you to easily generate a one-pager to accompany your sermon, as well as to automatically set up a handout with blanks to fill in.
AND… if you type in a Scripture reference, the Sermon Editor automatically creates a slide with the text of that Scripture, even fitting text to multiple slides if necessary. Watch:
You can also save a step and have the slides auto-generate with just a keyboard shortcut, after typing in the reference. Amazing.
3. QuickStart Layouts
This is not a ground-breaking feature, per se, but it is a time-saving addition. Now the Layouts option in the Logos toolbar offers access to “QuickStart” saved layouts that get a user up and running for various tasks.
The Greek Word Study layout, for example, is nicely executed:
4. Systematic Theologies in the Passage Guide
The Passage Guide has been around a while, but Logos keeps adding to it. Logos 7 features a Systematic Theologies guide, an admittedly subjective but still helpful aggregator of theology resources in your library, keyed to the verse you’re studying. You can sort it by theology subject (Christology, pneumatology, etc.) or by denomination.
5. Everything Is (Still) Hyperlinked
The hyperlinking seems to have improved since I was last using Logos regularly when Logos 6 launched. (Only now with a recent laptop upgrade does Logos run well on my Mac.) Of course the Scripture verses are hyperlinked, but commentaries are also hyperlinked to previous sections they mention. As here:
Improvements That Weren’t
Logos 7 is cutting-edge software, impressive in its innovation and a huge time saver from a task standpoint. The designers and developers clearly created it with real users in mind.
However, even on a new and higher-end Mac, Logos 7 is system resource intensive. It’s a CPU hog, a battery drain, and uses significant energy.
I can always tell if I have Logos open on my laptop because the computer is almost always warm when it is—and almost never warm with any other combination of apps open.
This has been my (and others’) enduring criticism of Logos since at least Logos 4, and I continue to fail to understand why program sluggishness is not Code Red at Faithlife HQ. My slightly educated opinion is that Faithlife (makers of Logos) is “going for more” instead of “sticking to the core” (to quote a Harvard Business Review article). Lots of spin-off apps and ideas and focus on marketing and shipping frequent feature updates have hindered development of the core product—at least where speed is concerned. Wanting to get at the info in the Passage Guide, for instance, can be an exercise in patience (and frustration):
Logos 7 is far more responsive and fast in searching on my newer Mac machine than it was on my previous MacBook (a 2008!). Though, for that matter, both Accordance and BibleWorks ran fast on the 2008—one shouldn’t have to buy a new machine to use Logos well, though I don’t think that stops some users from doing it, especially when they feel they’ve invested a lot of money in building their library.
Speed and massive CPU usage and battery drainage are the Achilles’ Heel of Logos Bible software. I hope—for their sake and for the sake of their user base—that they shift their development focus back to whatever they need to do with the code to ensure a speedier user experience. The developers I’ve interacted with on the forums seem great—it appears to be an issue of larger company focus and resources.
It’s often not slow. (Though it’s always a CPU and battery drain.) For the couple of hours that I use Logos for sermon prep, I can search and open and highlight individual resources with ease. The feature set and Interactives are innovative and cut out unneeded research steps for users. The app itself is powerful, and does a good job of getting users into even larger libraries to cull the most relevant information for tasks at hand. Their accompanying iOS app is really good, too. Users should just be ready–even with the new Logos 7–to check email while they wait for a Passage Guide or Sermon Starter Guide to return results.
If you’re a happy Logos 6 or 5 user, should you upgrade? Definitely. The so-called data sets and features in Logos 7 are a significant step up. If you are on Windows or if your Mac is handling Logos fine and you want to keep using it, Logos 7 is a creative step in a good direction.
Never used Logos and trying to decide if you should get it? (Especially with other Bible software options available?) Then ask away in the comments below, and I’ll respond there.
Logos 7 launches with a 15% off discount. If you go to Words on the Word’s landing page, you get the discount, and the blog gets a small commission if it’s a first-time purchase. The landing page also includes links to more information about Logos 7.
Thanks to Logos for the chance to beta test and review. I received early access to Logos 7 as well as a package of library resources to test, for the purposes of this review. That did not, however, influence my objectivity…as I expect is clear. 🙂
This week Accordance Bible Software has put their five-volume Ancient Christian Doctrine (IVP) on sale for $129 (normally $199). Ancient Christian Doctrine is a full-blown compendium of early church commentary on the Nicene Creed. I write more about the resource here.
If you’re teaching or preaching on the Creed, this is possibly the best resource to start with. (And, of course, it’s likely available for free in print at your local theological library.)
Think of OmniOutliner as a thought structuring app, suitable for both creating and organizing content. You can use it for any of the following scenarios:
making a grocery list
taking notes in class
writing a paper (and re-arranging sections easily)
planning and following through with a project
tracking and categorizing expenses
writing and editing your podcast script
There are multiple other uses for the app–I’ve made good use of it in sermon preparation, as you’ll see below. Right away the Mac and iOS apps take you to a templates screen so you can get started without delay:
What’s Awesome About OmniOutliner
Getting content into OmniOutliner is fairly easy. It’s not as intuitive as just opening a blank Word document and typing, but it’s simple enough to open an outline and start writing.
Once you’ve gotten your outline going, being able to fold and unfold (collapse and expand) entire parts of the outline is a huge asset. If I’ve broken a book review down into parts, for example, I can just collapse the sections I don’t want to see at the moment:
Then there is the organizing power of OmniOutliner: you can take any node and indent or outdent it. You can drag sections of the outline around to quickly re-order them. And you can make batch edits when selecting multiple parts of your outline.
Perhaps the most helpful feature to me has been the ability to add notes to content, which you can then either hide or show. In this simple outline, I’ve set the note at the top to display (in grey), while the one toward the bottom remains hidden.
You can show the sidebar, which allows you to move back and forth between a lot of content in one outline. When preaching on David’s odious sin against Bathsheba and her husband, I utilized an outline that included both my sermon structure and accompanying research. You can see that reflected in the sidebar, at left, even while my Topic column could remain focused on a smaller portion.
You can add media (audio recordings and video) to your outline. Your files would be huge, but if you wanted to use OmniOutliner for classroom notes, you could also add a live recording of the session, straight into your outline.
And then there is the styling. My goodness. You can tweak every aspect imaginable of your outline.
I found this feature set to be impressive but overwhelming. For my purposes, I didn’t need to do a whole lot by way of formatting, but the options are there should you need them.
To that end, the help files for OmniOutliner are incredible. So is their support team! There are user manuals you can download in multiple formats, and they are outstanding. In a couple of sittings, I read some 100 pages of the iBook version of the OmniOutliner for iOS manual. Yes, it was that interesting! Other app developers should take notes.
OmniOutliner is also available as a universal iOS app, working on both iPhone and iPad. You can sync across devices using Omni’s own server or your own.
The keyboard shortcuts available for iPad make OmniOutliner a serious contender for best writing app for those who are trying to make a serious go of it on iPad instead of computer. Omni Group’s Ken Case announced the shortcuts last November.
This means that the iOS OmniOutliner app is close to parity with the Mac app. This rarely seems to be the case with other apps, where iOS versions tend to lag behind their desktop counterparts.
OmniOutliner has had Split View and Slide Over in iOS for just about as long as iOS 9 has been released.
One other really cool thing: you can import the OPML file format from a mind map to move from mind mapping straight into OmniOutliner.
If that workflow interests you, read more about it here.
A few things are lacking in OmniOutliner:
I’ve experienced a couple of crashes when exporting my outline to other formats
The precision and plethora of styling options makes the app feel wooden and clunky at times, especially when you want to just sit down and write
If I want constant access to, say, a section of text in the second half of my outline, while I work on the first half, there is no way to split the screen or freeze a section so I can see easily disparate parts of my outline at once
There is no word count feature (!). Omni has indicated this could come in 2016, but not having it has kept me from making OmniOutliner my go-to writing app
(Note: if you have OmniOutliner Pro for Mac (twice the price of the regular OO), you can go to the forums for an AppleScript that will help you with word count, but this is more than the average user should be expected to do.)
Byte for byte, OmniOutliner is worth your considering as your primary writing app. If you don’t need to be as structured with your writing, it may not be your top choice. Its integration across iOS and OS X, though, make it a possible go-to repository for collecting and organizing information.
You can find out more about OmniOutliner here and here.
Thanks to the fine folks at The Omni Group, the makers of OmniOutliner, for giving me downloads for the Mac (OmniOutliner Pro) and iOS apps for this review. See my other AppTastic Tuesday reviews here.
Day One is easily the best app for keeping a journal or life log–if you’re going to do it in a 1s and 0s environment, rather than on paper.
In this post I briefly review Day One. I’ll leave for another time the question of whether journaling by hand or by phone/tablet/computer is preferable. Okay, actually… I’ll answer that now: better to do it by hand, because… reasons. But Day One has photo capability, so it has served as a nice digital repository for me to chronicle my kids’ growing up, without having to post it on Facebook, etc.
Day One offers sync via iCloud, Dropbox, or their own sync service, so you can keep everything together on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
I really like the layout, which allows you (much like in this blog, for example), to combine headings, text, and photos. Check out this sample entry on Day One for Mac:
You can even add an entry right from the menu bar, so that you can write down that brilliant insight before you forget it.
Your entries could be text, a (single) photo with text, location-based entries (that also pull in the weather automatically), meeting notes, day debriefs, etc. Each entry is automatically time-stamped. The possibilities are pretty robust, and folks use Day One in lots of different ways. The tags feature especially enables this, as you could use the built-in tagging system to sort by “journal,” “family,” “song lyrics,” “insights,” “questions,” and more.
My first question is–to the extent I use Day One as a sort of photo-journal (especially of the family), will having my info in a proprietary format some day cause issues? That’s always a possibility with software (score one for physical journals and photo albums), but Day One allows for PDF export, so you don’t really have to worry here.
You can also set a reminder so that Day One reminds you each day to write:
It looks and works really well on iPhone and iPad too.
If you want to try the app and really put it to use, Shawn Blanc has written a pretty thorough ebook: Day One in Depth.
You can find Day One for iOS here; the OS X app is here.
Also… if you want to wait a few days… Day One 2 releases this Thursday. I haven’t used the new app, but beta users seem to love it. You can check out what’s new in the FAQs here.
Thanks to the makers of Day One for the review copy of the app on Mac, given to me for this review but with no expectation as to its content.
I have mixed feelings about Logos marketing–some criticisms expressed here–but I still do, at least for now, participate in an affiliate program of theirs. This helps, among other things, to pay for some of this blog’s minimal expenses and has even in the past funded seminary coursework.
I have no intention to shill, but I do want to share for interested readers that the rate of 15% off any base package in Logos is changing as of tomorrow (12:00 a.m. PST) to 10% off. So if you’re thinking of upgrading, you can do it for cheaper today than tomorrow. If you don’t have money to do it, don’t sweat, pour yourself a cup of tea, and read this post instead. If you do purchase, Logos feeds a percentage of the purchase back to me. If you’re interested, you just order a base package (new or upgrade) through this Logos landing page.
Or use the promo code ABRAMKJ6 when you check out with a base package in your Logos cart. My review of Logos 6 is here.
I don’t know what your New Year’s Resolutions are, but if one of them is to play more video games (uh…), you should start with Alto’s Adventure.
Four traits especially stand out that make the game enjoyable:
1. The graphics are gorgeous.
2. The music is excellent–it evokes the old Final Fantasy scores, but sounds more like 2015.
3. Playing it is really relaxing.
4. Being a flipping snowboarder (especially if you can’t do it in real life) is fun.
It’s what reviewers call an “endless runner” game, which means you could go a gazillion meters on your run with Alto, which of course you never will, since you’ll hit a rock or get knocked down by an elder or fall into a ravine or ____ first.
But that won’t keep you from tapping “Play Again” multiple times.
The main stat to go for is “distance travelled.” But you can boost your trick store through a series of bunting grinds, flips, and the like. There are coins to collect (with magnets to help!), llamas to chase, and chasms to jump.
Here’s the score screen (for all images in this post, click to enlarge):
And a couple looks at the game:
The background changes from sunny and clear to dark and rainy, which adds a level of challenge (and fun) to the gameplay:
If you accomplish three goals (smash three rocks, land two triple flips in one run, and so on), you move up a level. Move up enough levels and you unlock new characters:
You can use your coins to buy workshop items:
The gameplay is smooth and responsive. (Though flying with the wingsuit is tricky.) You only have to tap to jump, so the controls are easy enough to learn, but staying up for a long run is no easy feat.
Alto’s Adventure is currently $0.99 (on sale) at the App Store. It’s easily one of the best games for iOS.
Thanks to the makers of Alto’s Adventure for the review copy of the app, given to me for this review but with no expectation as to its content.
1Writer has been living in both my iPhone and iPad docks for a number of months now. It’s high time I wrote a proper review! It’s easily my favorite text editing app for iOS.
Here’s a paragraph description of the app from the 1Writer site:
1Writer provides a distraction free writing environment. You can create and edit plain text or Markdown files. It does have many features including inline Markdown preview, word count, dark theme, TextExpander support, insert photo, an extra keyboard row, and many more. The extra keyboard row is a convenient row of buttons for navigation, formatting, special characters and actions. See the formatted results with inline Markdown preview while you write and a full, rich-text preview when you’re done.
My favorite feature is its ability to insert images right from an iOS device, making it the first iOS app I’ve found that is actually suitable for blogging.
1Writer: The Pros
Whether you want to use Dropbox or iCloud, 1Writer has excellent syncing capabilities. I have a couple Dropbox folders I sync to 1Writer, which is now where I keep blog post drafts. I can update a document from iPhone or iPad–or even use a Mac to update a draft with an OS X Markdown app.
You can blog from 1Writer. It has been surprisingly difficult to find an iOS app that can do this well, including WordPress’s native blogging app. One downside is that you can’t resize the images once you insert them into the post, so it’s still not as flexible as blogging with images through the WordPress Web interface on OS X. The fastidious among us may want to double-check layout in WordPress itself before posting anyway, so this is not a deal-breaker, if not ideal.
Works Great with an External Keyboard
You can type CMD-B for bold and CMD-I for italics, and it both inserts the markdown markup and shows you the inline preview. Not even Editorial can do this. You can also insert links with a keyboard shortcut.
Built-in Web Browser
Because 1Writer has a built in Web browser, you can search for images without even leaving the app, and then insert them into your document. There is also a really nice hyperlinking functionality, and you don’t have to leave 1Writer to find a link you want to include in a document or Web post. One especially nice touch is once you’ve got a link copied, the hyperlink button gives you the pop-up option of just pasting the clipboard contents (your link), so you can save a tap there.
The interface is easy to look at for a long time when writing:
1Writer has a built-in tagging system, so you can even more easily organize your documents.
Like Drafts 4, 1Writer has a number of actions you can perform on your text. Whether you want to use a pre-installed action to export your document as plain text or PDF, or install something from the 1Writer action directory, there’s not much missing here.
My personal favorite action is “Jump to Section,” which allows you to navigate by headings. This is especially useful for long documents where you quickly want to go between sections. The interface of this feature is not quite as smooth as Editorial’s similar function, but it still gets the job done.
Speaking of Editorial… that’s a fine app, but it’s still not iOS9-ready. 1Writer is, so you can utilize Slide Over and Split View functions.
Customizable Keyboard Row
There’s an extra, customizable keyboard row–including the ability to assign a character or even action to a button.
The developer is amazingly responsive. He totally knows what he’s doing, and has built an excellent app already. Insofar as there are small, desired improvements, he takes feedback seriously.
1Writer: Just a Few Minor Drawbacks
The built-in Web browser does not allow for multi-tabbed browsing. I found this to be a limitation, though since iOS9, when I want to search the Web, I tend to do it via Safari in Split View with 1Writer open separately anyway.
Another drawback: you can’t sync actions between devices. You have to manually set this up in any iOS device you use. Documents themselves sync perfectly, of course, just not these custom actions.
There are people who swear by Drafts (I am one!) and Editorial (there’s a lot to like about that app). But 1Writer is exceedingly underrated. (Though that may change now that Viticci reviewed it!) If you’re a blogger, especially, this is the app that will finally allow you to blog from your iOS device.
It’s (no question) the best thing on iOS for bloggers. And maybe even the best note-taking app, too.
You can find it in the App Store here. And, yes, I did write much of this post in 1Writer, exported the Markdown to HTML (from 1Writer), and then published.
Thanks to 1Writer for the review copy of the app, given to me for this review but with no expectation as to its content.