Friday, January 4, 2013

Biblical Studies and Technological Tools - Review of 2012 and looking ahead to 2013

I had been neglecting this blog a bit in 2011 and the start of 2012, but I had some time to revive it this fall. As a result, traffic to the site did increase by 18% in 2012 as compared to 2011. All told, in 2012 there were 38,459 unique visitors to the site and 74,0171 pageviews. As you would expect, the majority of visitors are from English speaking countries: USA, UK, Canada, Australia. After that, about 1% of the total visitors come from each of the following countries: Philippines, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Italy, Israel.
  • By far the most read post in 2012 (9373 pageviews) was actually one I posted in 2011: Evaluation of Android Bible Apps. Other than the home page, the second and third most visited pages were also from 2011: Bible Software for Android (3750 pageviews) and MySword Bible App for Android. Clearly there is a strong interest in Android Bible apps. I will have to update my reviews. I did post in 2012 about the Relative Speed of Android Bible Apps and the Versions Available in Android Bible Apps. I'm still standing by the observations I made in those posts. I'm using MySword most often because it is the fastest one to come up on my aging Droid X, it has the Greek versions I usually want to read, and it allows for the display of multiple versions. If I want to see a bunch of English versions, I use YouVersion. If I need to do more in-depth work, I will go to Olive Tree or Logos or use a web browser and go to (Logos) or the online NET Bible.
  • The most read post from 2012 was the Logos 5 Review - Part 1 with 1827 hits. (Part 2 and Part 3 of my review only received about 800 hits each even though that third part has my concluding observations.) The release of Logos 5 was one of the bigger items of interest in 2012.
  • The second most read post was Bible Software Decisions: Accordance, BibleWorks, Logos, et al. There certainly is competition between the Bible software offerings, and when it becomes an investment of many hundreds of dollars, people do want to know what they are getting for their money.
Some news of note in 2012 in this little niche of interest in Bible and technology:
Looking ahead to 2013...
  • I am very interested to see what becomes of Windows8. I posted some of my first impressions of using it, and they are definitely mixed impressions. On my home desktop machine, I have the option of upgrading from Win7 to Win8, but I have decided not to do so for the time being. Win8 really is designed as a touch-screen system. To maintain usability with desktop users, Microsoft made some concessions for a classic desktop interface. To me, then, Win8 feels like neither fish nor fowl. I do like the idea of having a similar interface for all my devices, but I'm not sure how that will work out.
  • In a related matter, I'm also wondering how Android will proceed. It's not without faults, but I have had great functionality on my Droid X phone which has basically become my do-everything device: phone, contacts, email, web, GPS, photo, Bible software, games... The question for me still is what I will do when my Droid X phone will need to be replaced, probably later this year. Do I go with Android or Win8? I'm not sure.
  • It seems clear to me that the market is breaking into Win8, Android, and the Mac OSes. (I tried to keep abreast of developments in all three, but it is too much. I hope to do what I can with Windows and Android.) The question really becomes, what is the future of the desktop and notebook? My daughter wants a tablet, and it appears to me that manufacturers are trying to address this desire. I like the idea of, say, a 10" tablet that I can take everywhere and is able to run all the programs/apps I want. For me, this is probably going to take the form of a Win8 tablet. BUT, I really like lots of viewable screen. (I'm working with two 21" widescreen monitors right now.) Does this mean a tablet with a desktop docking station? Will the tablets really have enough power to run everything, including the photo editing I do? How about an ultrabook and a docking station with multiple monitors? I suspect that I am now old-fashioned for still liking a desktop.
  • I will be watching for developments in the online social aspects of doing Bible study. Logos has been promoting Faithlife which has interesting potential. In addition to the online component, it also has ways of hooking in to the Logos software on your computer for sharing notes, searches, etc. YouVersion has a similar kind of integration for their online Bible reading as well as their mobile apps. BibleX is their latest approach to communal Bible reading. There are also a number of ways to read the Bible together on Facebook. I'd love to see this kind of approach become a truly global community of readers, and it could be both groups of Christians as well as interfaith groups.

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