Thursday, January 14, 2010

glo Bible Review - Part 1

Received my copy of the glo Bible, and I will supply notes as I go about installing and using it.
The software comes attractively packaged, and the packaging itself is fairly eco-friendly. (Ie, not a large package and no plastic.)
Check out the system requirements: WinXP, Vista, of Win7 (no Mac yet, but there is a promise of a Mac version in late 2010); dual core processor; 1GB RAM (XP) or 2 GB RAM (Vista,7); video graphics card (ATI or NVIDIA w/ DirectX 9 support); Internet connection; DVD-ROM drive; and 18 GB free hard disk space. I'm all good for except for that last figure. That's a lot of space, and apparently it can't be run from the (3) DVDs. I'm going to have to clear off some pics and music... Even that won't do for my laptop with its 100Gb total. >> So, I've got an external hard drive at home for my desktop. It's almost 5 years old now (P4 3.00GHz, 3GB RAM, 256MB Nvidia graphics, WinXP SP3)...
Started installation and got an installer error message. Try again, but this time I uncheck the initial installer message that wants to prevent access. Installation first makes sure I have minimum system requirements. OK! Registration goes fine, except that it takes a couple tries to activate and register using the code. It helpfully pops commonly confused characters, but I have to erase everything to make it work. (Ie, I can't just correct the one character.) We're good... Select Install Path, and I set up a location for it on the external hard drive. It's just a USB 2.0 connection, so hopefully it won't slow things down. Now it makes sure I have the latest DirectX. That I don't, so it installs that. Then checks for latest MS SQL Server Compact. That I don't, so it installs that. Tests the Media Player. OK. Now we're ready to install, and the instructions indicate that it may take "1-3 hours (or more)." I'm supposed to close all other programs, but I'm living dangerously and keeping this Firefox window open to record my progress. As it installs, it will display a bunch of tips... Then it looks for and installs updates from the web...Back later...
Well, only 15 minutes later, and it says "Glo is ready to run." I've only inserted the first DVD, so probably more to come...
Program starts right up, and indeed I do get the option to "Explore Glo Now!" or to "Continue installing Glo media" which will take 1-3 hours. I'm going exploring!
Here's the opening screen. These are the "lenses" that provide the overall orientation: Bible, Timeline, Atlas, Topical, Media, and MyGlo.

I've been working with Mark 4.26-29 lately, so I click Bible, and find it very easy to navigate to the book and chapter. There looks to be quite a few ways to navigate to a text with a variety of buttons, but I don't see any direct reference entry option. The text shows up like this:

Nice. Most things work via a drag and move. (If my computer had a touch screen, this would be very easy to navigate.) The scroll wheel will magnify/decrease display when appropriate. Moving the mouse over any section pops up more options: changing text size, navigation buttons, changing from mouse navigation to text selection, popout links back to main menu, page snapshot, search, bookmark the page, etc. I note that I have the NIV translation (the only other option for now is KJV) with NIV Study Notes at the bottom. Clicking on the study notes or photo brings up another page like this with articles, photos, artwork, virtual tours, maps, and interactive documents that are attached to this passage. Articles are from the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. My spot can be saved as a "session" at any time to return to it.
Right clicking on a text brings up more options:

It's another way to move around or to add notes to a verse. (There's also a journal one can write within the program.)
Looks like I will need to take the time to load up the rest of the content to do much more. So I will come back to this later.
First impressions? >>
I read a lot of mixed reports about the program on glo's Amazon page, but, other than the minor glitchy things with installation, I'm not experiencing any problems. My system certainly isn't state of the art, and I am using an external hard drive. (I can understand the desire to get fast access to media by requiring hard drive installation, but still, 18GB is a lot of space...) The text display is fast. The other graphical stuff is not 'fast,' but at a few seconds for the visuals to appear, it's certainly acceptable. While the program won't be confused with a heavy duty Bible software package for original language study, it is a diverting and entertaining way to get around. I suspect that many users will start out with a text and end up wandering around from some interesting aspect to the next. I suspect this is the kind of thing most casual readers are hoping from a Bible software package, so I am (at this point) comfortable recommending it. I'd like other options than the NIV or KJV, but I suspect that was a natural marketing decision based on what Bibles are best sellers today. The 1975 Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (which sells for $125) is not my favorite, but it's better than the public domain dictionaries floating around the web or included in other software packages. Selling for about $50, the glo Bible is not that much more than a bound study Bible. You certainly are getting a value when you consider the reference and media materials included in the package.

I'll finish my report later after loading the rest of the media and playing with it a bit more.

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