Monday, June 29, 2009

Beta Exporter and Silver Humana 2 Font

Some of you may recall Silver Mountain software as one of the early leaders in Bible software with their Bible Windows program which was later renamed as Bibloi and their Silver fonts (SGreek and SHebrew) which were widely used. (I haven't used Bibloi since moving to BibleWorks and Logos, but it remains as a fast and functional program that includes all the most important basic biblical texts, is expandable, and is relatively inexpensive at $95.) They were also known for their Workplace Pack that provided the fastest and easiest ways to access the TLG and PHI CD-ROMs that include "most literary texts written in Greek from Homer to the fall of Byzantium in AD 1453."
I just received notice that Silver Mountain has released a Beta Exporter that takes the TLG/PHI data and turns them into Unicode text. Connected with this is the release of the Silver Humana 2 font which includes all known characters used in that Greek database. I don't know if there is any other more complete Greek Unicode font set.

VirtualBoard Presentation Software

I had looked at some presentation software previously (Microsoft's free ZoomIt, Remote Point from L.S.I., and the free KeyJnote). From a comment on the Logos forum, I see that VirtualBoard from Lightools is now freeware. (There previously was a cost for it, but development has been discontinued, and it is now free.) It works quite well with quite a few options for marking, highlighting, zooming, modifying, freezing, etc. your screen. It can be used effectively both with PowerPoints and with something like Bible software. (HERE is a video example using BibleWorks by SCSaunders.)

Give it a try!
UPDATE: Responding to a comment, it appears that it only works under Windows.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scroll and Screen

Some day I hope to move this blogger blog over to my own site: Scroll and Screen. In the meantime, I've been using that site to hold a variety of files, resources, and pages that I've described on this blog. I just finished some updating and reorganizing, so you may wish to scan the stuff I share in these categories:

General Bible Study Resources

Biblical Mapping Resources

Bible Software Resources

Original Language Resources: Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Latin

Media: Art, Pictures, Music, Video


Friday, June 19, 2009

Logos Bible Software Forums

I and many others never were entirely happy with the newsgroup support for Logos software. It meant having to open up and set up Outlook Express (or some other news reader) and then plowing through the multitude of posts. The size of the newsgroup postings kept getting bigger, and if you deleted any thread, it would still come back to life in the ongoing responses to it. And if you deleted a thread and then wanted to find something in a deleted thread, it meant unsubscribing and resubscribing and then having the whole mess back on your computer. Another major problem for me was that I am regularly using two different computers, and that meant having to plow through the same stuff twice.
So, I am happy to report that Logos has now started the Logos Bible Software Forums, a web-based, online discussion and support forum. The newsgroups will be allowed to continue, but they will eventually become irrelevant. (Material from the newsgroups will not be moved into the new forums.)
This is very good news, and in just a few days of being online, there is a ton of activity.
Some good things:

  • You can browse by forum topic (General, Mac, Suggestions, Beta, Espanol) or by recent activity.
  • It's easy to see unread messages, and you can mark all messages read in a forum.
  • You can jump in to the forums from any computer at any time and it will remember what you've read or not.
  • You can subscribe to a forum, but I'm not sure how often it shoots out updates to you. (Does someone know?)
  • You can get updates as an RSS feed.
  • You can also browse the posts by using the tag cloud.

Some things to improve/fix:
  • I may be missing a preference setting, but it does not seem to me that you can see any threaded view. I.e., if I reply to a specific post in the middle of a forum thread, my response will show up at the end of the thread with no indication of the post to which I am responding.
  • There must be a glitch in the response window. I can't seem to insert any links. The insert link box appears (which looks to be based on WordPress), and I enter the data, but clicking on Insert does nothing. (I had to use the HTML view to create links.)
Thanks for this support resource, Logos!


Wordnik is an online resource which you (whether you are a native English speaker or not) might find useful. It is something of a multipurpose English dictionary. So far they claim to have a database of 1.7 million words, but it is an expandable database where users can add definitions, pronunciations, notes, tags, and related words. Wordnik draws upon a number of other online databases to compile each entry.
The example above is looking up "eschatology." (Click on the graphic to see the page for yourself in full size.)
What you will find are some example sentences where the word occurs. (Click on the Examples heading to get even more.) The examples I find came from quite a few different sources. They even include "real-time examples from Twitter."
The definitions are drawn from the American Heritage Dictionary, Century Dictionary, Webster's 1913 unabridged, and WordNet. Pronunciations come from the American Heritage Dictionary, but you can record your own. A statistics graph attempts to chart how often the word was used in a particular year (going back to 1800) and the "unusualness" of its use. Related words are suggested. (I created my own free account and added "apocalyptic" as a related word to "eschatology.") Images tagged with the word in Flickr are displayed. (Apparently a little Flickr humor that some rearends of cows and horses are included...) You also get etymologies from a couple dictionaries.
There are, of course, quite a few online English dictionaries, e.g., Wikipedia, Encarta [via Bing], Merriam-Webster, [which draws from a number of other dictionaries and encyclopedias], [which also draws on a number of sources], wordiQ, KartOO [which is rather unique in its presentation and definitely worth checking], and more. Add Wordnik to your bookmarks.
[HT: Downes]

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Google Squared and Biblical Studies

Another interesting new project from the Google folks is called Google Squared. What it does is attempt to create a grid of related data based on search parameters entered by the user. According to its developers:

Google Squared is a search tool that helps you quickly build a collection of facts from the Web for any topic you specify.
  • Facts about your topic are organized as a table of items and attributes (we call them "Squares" for fun).
  • Customize these Squares to see just the items and attributes you're interested in.
  • See the websites that served as sources for the information in your Square.
  • Save and share Squares with others.
There are some interesting examples of what it can do here, but I thought I would try some examples related to biblical studies. I was trying to think of some things that might be interesting in a grid, and I first tried listing the codices "alexandrinus sinaiticus vaticanus bezae." As you can see in the results below, it got some aspects correct but missed badly on others.
Fortunately, you can easily delete rows or columns and just as easily create a new row or column with your own description.
It also has a nice feature (when signed in to a Google account) of being able to save the grid. For example, if you click HERE, you can see a grid I generated using various English versions of the Bible. The results seem a bit more apt than my previous example, but there are some strange ones here too. (LOLcat is a textual basis?)
As an another experiment, I tried listing each of the four Gospels and came up with THIS. It does not provided particularly satisfying results. So, using another option with this tool, I started out with an empty square and built up my own grid by row and added columns using suggested parameters. (See the graphic below or click HERE.)
Again, some odd results... a picture of Matthew McConaughey for Matthew and Luke Skywalker for Luke? The descriptions, mostly from Wikipedia, are more often correctly linked, but using the suggested column parameters of Date of Birth and Died provided a very strange mix.
So far this tool has provided some interesting connections but mostly it has provided comic relief. So I tried one more query that actually did return some perhaps insightful results. I typed in "Mark 6:34" and THIS is what I got. It appears to have taken the more significant words from that verse and returned separate analysis for each. That might have some value... (Different verses returned quite different results though...)
BOTTOM LINE: You would probably have to do quite a bit of customization to generate useful results, but some of the returns may be of occasional interest.
If you come up with an interesting query with helpful results, please share them here.
[HT: StephensWeb]