December 15, 2006

OSX Vista

To accompany his review of Vista in the NYTimes, David Pogue has a short video arguing how it is completely bogus to argue that Micro$oft steels most of its ideas from Mac OS X, this his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. It's quite funny and eye opening--from the Spotlight look-alike down to the 3d chessboard.

November 28, 2006

Mac Greek Resources from Greece

In the land of the mother tongue for us New Testament folks, when Paul wandered throughout Athens, he may have found many temples to many gods, but he apparently didn't find any Apple stores.

Apple has long had a larger than European average market share in Greece, but a Greece Mac User group is rising up with an informational campaign and free resources for Greek localization of Mac OS X in the absence of such goodies from Cupertino. The page offers localization, fonts, and more for working in Greek, all GNU and free. This plea is a favorite of mine:
Athens, the ancient capital of the western culture. 6.000.000* people deserve at least one real Apple Store!

Steve, Apple, please make it happen.

Update:It seems the attention is getting out there. Now, will Apple listen?

November 13, 2006

Run Your (SBL) Presentation Off of an iPod

Mark Goodacre has posted his now annual helpful advice on using technology for presentations. His main point is worth reiterating--be prepared. Outside presenters show up at our church for various events sometimes with fantastical expectations regarding media use. One thing is for sure, have a backup of your presentations/handouts and alternatives for "plugging in". I always email the text of current-project documents to myself when I leave town so I can access them anywhere, including my smart phone or any internet cafe. However, I would add alternative presentation method 4.5 to Mark's list... Put your presentation on your iPod and run the show from it. In fact, how superior is this to toting around a laptop if all you have it for is driving a slide show? While I've never owned an iPod myself, this looks like just the justification you may have been looking for for spending $$$ from your professional expense account on an iPod! You can learn more about the capabilities with this article at Presentation Zen. For what it's worth, I would commend the Presentation Zen Blog to anyone who ever prepares a project presentation for a group. It is superb.

November 07, 2006

SBL's impact on the State of the Blogosphere?

The creator of Technorati has a post assessing what he calls "State of the Blogosphere". I find it quite interesing. The number of blogs out there is doubling about every 236 days. I find truly fascinating this graphic showing blog post activity and how it tracks world events: I wonder if there'll be a visible spike during SBL. :)

October 30, 2006

Scholars enter the real [wheel] world

So, tag this as bizarro. My mother-in-law calls us tonight to tell us she saw our church history professor from Brite Divinity School Mark Toulouse on Wheel of Fortune today.

Apparently they're running a Best Friends Week in Dallas and he teamed up with colleague Ethics and Black Church Studies professor Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas. I can't wait to see them at SBL-AAR. The ribbing will be unending, I'd presume. Kuddos to them. Here's a nice bit from the contestant interview:
Contestant: "We'll probably travel and use the money to fund a joint research and writing project."

I'm sure the producers thought this was just the most interested answer that they'd ever heard to that quest... *snore*

Update: I received an email from Mark, and as it turns out, they auditioned intentionally as a way of exploring their common interest in American pop culture in relation to religious values. From my brief conversation with Stacey when I met her last year, I'm not surprised. She strikes me as very talented and dynamic. And what better way to study pop culture than to experience it? From a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article of August 26, 2006:

When the pair auditioned for Wheel's 'Best Friends' week, several episodes of which were taped Friday at Nokia Theatre for airings in late October and early November, they had an academic interest in mind. Both are professors at TCU's Brite Divinity School with an interest in religion in popular culture, and they saw an opportunity to experience a pop-culture sensation from the inside (their game is scheduled to air Oct. 30 on KTVT/Channel 11). 'We thought it was really important to have a better perspective of the phenomenons that we study,' Floyd-Thomas said after the taping.
Mark said to me in his email, "We’re working on a book on popular culture in America, and grabbed the opportunity to experience it firsthand. I’d have to say, it was a very different experience." I bet it was.
Still, Mark's a smart man... I would rather see how he'd do on Jeopardy.

Update: Mark's brand new book is available for preorder: God in Public: Four Ways American Christianity and Public Life Relate. Author's copies arrived this week, so should be available soon. I'm going to have a look at it at SBL-AAR. When I read bits on public life, whether books or newspaper editorials, I'm often struck by a lack of portability. Epitomes of the life of the greater public are so contextualized... so many of us really do live in entirely different worlds.

October 26, 2006

Noah Video File Available for Download

The previously mentioned Noah Video is available as a 17 mb mp4 file zipped right here for your use. Apparently, it makes suitable classroom fodder. The file should be available there for at least a few months.

The thing has been watched on YouTube some 2,400 times so far.

October 23, 2006

iWriter-creating study tools on an iPod

I have resisted temptations to enter into the iPod generation. I did find this app worth mentioning. The new iWriter is a cross-platform app for creating educational supports for distribution to students to use on an iPod. The initial templates include a syllabus, quizes, and lecture notes. You create it, you distribute it, others use it. For more info, check out the flash demo.

October 17, 2006

Library Porn

I ran across this blog post drawing attention to a book of artistic photos from inside libraries around the world. I find the sample photos that he posts quite good. He refers to the photography collection as "porn for book nerds", which amused me.

As I looked through the samples, I found myself wondering which libraries I would include a shot from inside. I suppose, we all have views from inside libraries we would find as top candidates. I also suppose that most of those shots would be chosen not for asthetic reasons, but for sentimental ones. I for sure would include a photo from inside the Herzog Augustus Library in Wolfenbüttel. Would enjoy hearing your nominations in the comments. You can purchase the book and find out more about the author, Candida Höfer, here.

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October 03, 2006

Quicksilver Actions for Accordance

After some work, and feedback from others, I can make available to a wider audience a set of Quicksilver Actions that interact with Accordance. I have maintained from time to time a script database called InterCord which uses Mac OS X technologies to enhance the inter-application experience with Accordance. Problem is, I rarely find the time to polish the scripts and such enough so that they'll work on other's machines.
Well, if you are a user of Quicksilver and Accordance, you'll love these. If you don't yet use Quicksilver, this may convince you. Essentially, this bundle of Quicksilver Actions enables you to do things like pull the selected scripture reference from a document and have QS paste the text into your front document, or otherwise process it. The actions also allow you to use any text and display a search for it in any Accordance tool of your liking.
What's that? You're reading a PDF or a web page about the proximity of Shechem to a mountain pass? Just highlight shechem and in 5 or so keystrokes you can have Accordance to the front, displaying Shechem in a Map window. I'm not kidding you.

Or, want to quickly, insert the text of Psalm 20 into your current document. It's a all right at your fingertips, and true to the beauty of Quicksilver, never taking your fingers off the keyboard. Such a workflow becomes pure muscle memory.

The Quicksilver Actions are now a part of the whole Accordance Script Library. You can download it in the downloads section.

There are many more options. Have a look at the detailed ReadMe file here:
Accordance Quicksilver Actions ReadMe
You may download these Accordance Quicksilver Actions here:
Accordance Quicksilver Actions Download
If it ever happens, I'll get more of the InterCord modules ready for public consumption. Next step will be to release the Automator Action... the Word plug-in... and generic versions of these scripts that can work from anywhere--the script menu of any app, including the slightly less powerful Launchbar or Butler. I have all these working OMM (on my machine), it just takes so much time to get them ready to work on others' machine as well with minimum heartache.

September 28, 2006

Coming Back to Quicksilver

Well, Quicksilver was a way of life for me until this summer. When I upgraded from Panther to Tiger, I decided to force myself to give Spotlight a try. I'm done with it, and now back into using the superb launcher and do it all Quicksilver. If you've never heard of the utility... you owe it to yourself to give it a try. QS allows you to have access to anything quickly (like you do with Spotlight), but then allows you to do an incredible array of actions with that item. You can launch apps, but you can email documents, append to them, run scripts and actions on them, all from a quick keyboard interface. QS allows you to create system-wide key combinations to actions (like Quickkeys), and it's much faster at finding items than Spotlight, since Spotlight is searching for metadata, not simpy file names.

Give it a download and peruse these tutorials to get you started.

There are other options in the "launcher" arena, mostly Butler and Launchbar. If you're a fan of either of these, it's probably worth you just sticking it out with what you're used to... but if you're new to the genre, Quicksilver is definitely the way to go.

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September 20, 2006

Ottobib - Web-based bibliography formatter

Ottobib is a new, simple bibliography formatter. From Jason Clarke's review:

Ottobib is a site that allows you to simply type in the ISBN number of a book that you need to reference, then choose the style that the bibliography must be written in, and it spits back your fully formatted bibliography. Simple as that.
Ultimately, it has limited use. We don't tend to keep our booklists as lists of ISBN numbers. And the database is rather small. I tried out first the closest book on my desk, Hoffmann, et al's "Documenta Q, Q22:28,30" to no avail. It did find one book on my desk, Kloppenborg's "Q Parallels". The Chicago result was:
Kloppenborg, S., John. Q Parallels. Sonoma, Calif.: Polebridge Press, 1988.
Also, it currently includes styles MLA, APA, AMA, and Chicago/Turabian (and no SBL, of course). However, this is simply one step towards increase ready-to-hand bib info. The day will come when I type a book author and title, and then select and hit a menu item and voila!
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September 18, 2006

Word 2007 for Mac Details

Have a look at this interview with a glimpse of what's coming next year with the new release of Microsoft Word 2007 for Mac. It is a little sketchy on details. Updated UI and Universal Binary. This was a big undertaking for any older application:

Last month, they completed the transition to Apple%u2019s Xcode, which forms the basis for the Universal binaries that are compatible with new Intel-based Macs as well as older PowerPC machines. %u201CThis was a huge milestone for us%u201D Starman says with equal parts pride and relief. %u201CWe had to move from the CodeWare compiler, we were dealing with millions of lines of code and we still had old code that was written in Assembly, so it%u2019s been a long process to switch everything over and for our developers to learn the new tools.
No mention, of course, of any attention to support for Unicode Hebrew right to left support.

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September 10, 2006

Viral .Mac feedback

Our church is deciding on switching to an open source CMS (content management system) for hosting it's web site. I'm curious what other church's are doing for their solutions (not for blogs, but for web pages). Our current $35.00 monthly contract gives us (get this):

  1. 10 mailbox names
  2. No workable forums applications
  3. Inferior templates
  4. 50 megabytes of space on the server
This is a web management contract from the dark ages. Did you seee that server space? Fifty megs!!! This is forcing us to go with a do-it-yourself setup.

It makes me sad that Apple's .mac offering is about this poor of a service as well. I repeat here an open and repeated letter to Apple regarding their .mac service:

With competing all-in-one services taking on .Mac, and plenty of individual services offering far superior performance in contrast to their .Mac equivalents (often for free), you are quickly losing any appeal or value. Your fall from the throne isn't merely a result of your apparent disinterest in pushing the boundaries of web services, for it is also caused by your blatant and persistent lack of the basic fundamentals in much of what you offer. Easily dwarfed storage space, an insulting lack of server-side spam filtering, and competing syncing services that outpace yours in terms of both platform compatibility and innovative features - all top an extensive list of snowballing frustration and complaints from a decreasing community of .Mac users big and small. We encourage you to seek out the mounting and disenchanting feedback across the internet from your users, only because it seems that you have recently forgotten this crucial practice. Please, if you insist on charging for these aging services, start placing a refreshed effort into them so users have something to show for paying your chart-topping yearly fee. Apple is a company known for thinking different and innovating - it's time .Mac begins living up to that ideal again.

September 06, 2006

EndNote X

Here's a first look at EndNote X from TUAW. Among the features added is drag-and-drop pdf management. I am using Bookends, and the ability to use it to keep track of my downloaded/etext articles is essential. I do wish that it was a bit more tailored towards this, but then there are a few quirks with Bookends that bug me. Still, Endnote has long passed the bloatware threshhold and I can not imagine going back to it.

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August 31, 2006

ericb's place: at Apple Expo (Paris)

NeoOffice releases the new version and in response, the rumored aqua (non java) version of Open Office is announced to be arriving next week. This is VERY exciting news as well. Take a look at the screen shots.

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August 29, 2006

NeoOffice Feature Comparison - NeoWiki

The new beta version of NeoOffice is now available for free download. This is the aqua version of Open Office 2.0.3 (not requiring X11 or other acrobatics). This is a VERY promising possibility for your primary office programs, including right to left Hebrew and more. Have a look at the NeoOffice feature comparison page. Also check out their wiki.

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August 25, 2006

EndNote X for Mac OS X Released

A new version of Endnote has been released today:

Carlsbad CA, USA - August 25, 2006
Today, Thomson ResearchSoft (, a business of The Thomson Corporation, announced the immediate availability of EndNote X for Mac OS X, the bibliographic management software used by millions of researchers, librarians and students.
Curiously, the release says that the new version is "designed for Intel® Core(TM)" and that it combines "other features with the power of the Mac Intel Core."

What I find curious is that it does not use the all-important phrase "universal binary". Nor are there systems requirements listed to check and see if this release is for Intel processors only. I'll be looking for a report on what gives.

For me, I'm waiting for Bookends to go universal... please hurry.

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August 21, 2006

Accordance on a Nintendo DS
Well, in the past I mentioned efforts to get a Mac OS running on a Sony PSP. This is a blast from the past. Since Accordance is supported back to System 7 (I still get teary-eyed when I remember System 7), looks like you could run Accordance on an old Nintendo DS portable you had running around.

August 20, 2006

Greek and Hebrew in Writely

Google's Writely , a collaborative web-based word processer, is getting close to prime time. There are several versions of these type of "Web 2.0" applications popping up. The notion is that you can keep a word processing (or think wysiwyg html creator) on Writely's system and share any given document with any number of users, all who can work on the same document if you choose, even at the same time. What I was interested in looking, was how do they handle Unicode Greek and Hebrew.
It's good and bad.
The great news for Writely is that it seemed to handle pasting and typing of right to left unicode Hebrew text quite well. Even the behavior for lines containing both LTR and RTL (בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים) seemed to work as expected. That's great news.
The bad news is that some Greek was working erratically. It seems to cover the extended Greek unicode range with multiple diacriticals (οὖν), but I couldn't get it for instance to take any accent over an upsilon. ::shrug::
So, perhaps it's getting there, but not quite yet.

P.S. I wrote this blog post in Writely.

August 17, 2006

Jesus ⌘S's

This is outstanding. The folks at have produced a "Jesus ⌘S's" T-shirt for Mac fans. (If you haven't yet figured it out, think key combos.)

Jesus (and my washing machine) knows I already have too many T-shirts, but this sure is tempting.

August 06, 2006

"Jesus Camp" Review

I'm not a fan of Michael Moore. I think he's a bully; never saw the anti-Bush propanda film. But this Jesus Camp, the latest of his sensational documentaries a film he's insisting on screening at his film festival, despite the fact the producers don't want to be associated with Moore, well, it intrigues me. I might try and see it. From a review by David Byrne:

It focuses on a woman preacher (Becky Fischer) who indoctrinates children in a summer camp in North Dakota. Right wing political agendas and slogans are mixed with born again rituals that end with most of the kids in tears.
Ever since I heard The West Wing make the point that "Al Qaida is to Islam as the KKK is to Christianity," I've long thought that some extreme aspects of today's religious right differs very little in methodology in terms of unquestioning indoctrination.

The most profound question the review makes is to ask

how did accepting the evidence for climate change and global warming become anti-Jesus?
Why has the religious right jumped on this anti-climate change self-deception? I can only think that it is a result from lying in bed with corporate conservatives (with a clear stake in the issue) within the Republican party for the sake of political success.

I really, really think God wanted us to take care of the earth. ::shrug::

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August 02, 2006

How Not to do a Bible Widget

Logos Research Systems sent me an email a few weeks ago announcing a Dashboard widget they have released, the Logos Bible Widget. And this appearance confirms my fears about Logos moving into the Mac market--big and slick marketing to accompany a sub-standard product.

The widget allows you at most to input the reference to a single verse and receive the relevant text from the KJV--and that's it. Put in "John 1:1-2" and it breaks with the message "No such book 'John 3' found." Now, with this limitation of text and range, has this an ounce of utility? The announcement of the widget says:

The main purpose for the widget is to provide Mac users with a speedy alternative to grabbing a Bible off the shelf or going to Bible Gateway to conduct a search there.
The limitations of the widget make this statement absurd. Writing a decently robust scripture range parser would only take a couple hours, but it seems the code and hence utility of the widget are an afterthought. And as such, the widget would be a waste of pixel space in one's dashboard--and what a huge waste at that. Click on the image to take a look at the size of this thing:

It shows a complete disregard of Apple's interface standards for widgets. It is the biggest widget I've ever seen, and Apple's standards clearly indicate the minimalist approach for the widget interface. Keep it small, and don't waste space. "Waste space with what?" you may ask. This comes from Apple's Widget UI standards:

A widget is not the place to display aggressive company advertising or branding. Your widget is not merely an entrance to another application, even if that other application performs the processing for the widget’s task. If you take advantage of Dashboard’s prominence to display a banner ad, for example, users will be likely to stop including your widget in the Dashboard display.
What makes the Mac experience the Mac experience is that developers give some weight to Apple's UI standards. The folks at Logos who developed this widget were either unaware of these guidelines (implying incompetence as a Mac developer) or ignored them (the symptom of a windoze developer without an appreciation for this aspect of developing on a Mac).

I'm just going to call a duck a duck, here. What I found on my dashboard, was not so much a useful scripture lookup utility as it was a billboard. While the functionality of the widget received little attention, look where it excells--the pretty branding and logos (hmm.... logo... Logos... hmm) The nature of this "aggressive company advertising" includes large branding and a prominent web link, that takes you to their web site's URL "" that calls it a "widget ad"! Clearly, the widget is "merely an entrance to another application." And what is worse, it is an entrance to another application that doesn't even exist. Well over a year now, Logos announced that they would be finishing a Mac product by the end of 2005, that they were bringing 4,000 titles to the Mac soon. Last year I characterized the premature announcement from Logos as a "me too" announcement in anticipation of Quickverse's proclamation of delivering a Mac product (which they did within a month), and the appearance of this widget simply sustains that line of promotion.

Logos for Mac has clearly plummeted into the abyss of vaporware and if it ever materializes, this widget does not make me optimistic about the result.

July 28, 2006

Noah Video

Noah Video
We're doing a Noah story in our Sunday School program, so I put the superb and easy video tools on my new Mac to good use and made this video for them.

This problem is, only the first minute and a half of Cosby's Noah routines were ever recorded on TV (and hence, video), so I've spliced sound recordings from the rest together with photos so the kids could enjoy the whole thing with some well-timed visuals.

A small 17mb downloadable version of the movie can be found right here.

July 15, 2006

Where, o where have my old web pages gone?

Well, I'm back after a month away. Church camp, church choir trip, and family vacation aside--it's good to be back and back in a routine. Lots to talk about, especially enjoying this new 20" iMac Intel that our family has been enjoying and using six ways to Sunday. (Where does this phrase come from, anyway?). We look at family picture slideshows, dance to music videos, play endlessly with Photobooth, and am I ever getting some serious synoptic tables up on this screen.

One thing I discovered upon return from being away is that my old web pages at my student space at TCU (where I'm a PhD candidate) have disappeared. They changed the URL location, so now my 3 years of lectionary sermon archives, and other hobby pages such as the astronomy sketches dropped to a couple hits a day. The sidebar here included some links to the site, but I'm thinking now of taking it all down. Some things may make their way back into another form. I'm considering putting the old "This Weaks' Hermeneutic" pages into a new blogspace.

I have very little time for such work. So, for now, I'm taking it all down (don't want it archiving in Google in a new space I don't plan on using).

June 10, 2006

List of Dead Sea Scrolls pieces coming to KC

And now Jim has posted and article detailed the anticipated success of the exhibit and the list of which scroll pieces will be making an appearance.

June 06, 2006

The iMac is in the Mail

Well, it has been 6 years since my last new Mac. That changes now, as my new iMac 20" Intel Core Duo arrives tomorrow. I needed a faster computer and wider screen to work with the parallel gospel texts I've been working with. I have been feeling guilty spending so much money when the world has so much need. To purge my guilt, I raised my Capital Campaign pledge to our church. It worked. :)

Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit Date Set for Kansas City

The Kansas City Star has an article reporting the official announcement that our Union Station will host a travelling Qumran scrolls exhibit, Feb. 8 to May 13. I still plan on taking a group from our church, but whew, $20? (I better get the tour guide rate.) The collection is described as:

In addition to pieces of six original scrolls, there will be replicas of four others, and more than 100 scroll-related artifacts such as pottery and coins.
It won't be as exciting as spending the day that Shrine of the Book scrolls exhibit in Jerusalem, or when I spent a day climbing in and out of caves in Qumran (It was Friday afternoon and not a soul around all day.), but it should be worth the trip and even the cash.

Kudos to KC. Update: See my review here.

June 02, 2006

Dead Sea Scrolls: "Kansas City Here I Come"

Thanks to Jim's Google-alert (I'm guessing), it has come to my attention that a traveling Dead Sea Scroll exhibit may come through Kansas City next year. An AP Wire article says:

[Union] Station officials are prepared to announce in a few days that a traveling exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls will arrive next year, made possible by a more than $1 million grant from the Hall Family Foundation.
I will look forward to taking a group from my church. Update: See my review here.

May 27, 2006

Backup, Backup, Backup

When I'm working on a significant project, I am particularly mindful of my backup practices. It can be a little confusing--what to backup, how to do it, and how often. Here is an outstanding article about how overcome any roadblocks you have to good backing up practices.

How To Backup Your Mac Intelligently

May 24, 2006

Accordance 7 Available Today (& WOW!)

Today, the new version of Accordance Bible software was released, Accordance 7. It is packed with new enhancements. Many will welcome the ability to arrange your modules into groups. The ability to search by Greek and Hebrew roots is quite advantageous. Punctuation searches are now enabled. There are more new Graphs and Plots than I know what to do with at the moment.

My favorite additions are the contextual menus, the auto-fading Instant Details box and the ...


support for OS X Services!

Over on the Accordance Blog, they've been covering some of the new features. Have a look.

May 17, 2006

New MacBooks Arrive

The circle is now complete. Say The new MacBooks have finally arrived. If you are in the market, here is a chart comparing all MacBook and MacBook Pro models.

MacBooks are 13.3" screens, while MacBook Pros come in 15" and 17".

All of them include iLife and a built-in iSight camera.

All of them are powerful enough (1.83GHz Intel Core Duo, 2.0 GHz or 2.16GHz) to run any pc application you need to in emulation using Parallels.

May 10, 2006

Looking for a Short Story

There is a short story I read as an early teen that made a profound impact on me, and I've never been able to find it. I've tried various internet searches to no avail. Part of the problem is that I only remember glimpses of it, and no details.

Essentially, it is a coming of age story. A young boy returns to the farmhouse from his duties tending the herd (of sheep I think). He realizes that one has been lost, and goes back out in search of the sheep. The main of the story is his retrospective, reflective thought process as he journeys over hill and vail in search of the animal. Many of his internalizations have to do with his relationship with his father. "What will father think?" "How could I be so irresponsible?" "Will I ever amount to anything?" "I can't give up... I can't, I can't!"

This last sentiment repeats throughout the journey, coupled with the growing annoyance of a pebble in his shoe. Instead of stopping to remove his shoe and the stone, it becomes symbolic of his perseverance. He thinks that to be a man means to stubbornly press on through the annoyance and eventual pain.

Night begins to fall, and by this time, the pebble now feels like a boulder on his foot. And then, not in an act of giving up, but around some other epiphany, he does stop and remove his shoe to extract the stone. He thinks that perhaps becoming a man means more than being stubborn. After removing it, he is, of course, amazed at how teeny tiny the pebble was, given how much pain it had begun to cause.

And then, after resuming his search under the dark sky, as if the clearing of his shoe has also cleared his mind and senses, he finds the lost sheep.

Don't recall many details, as I said, and I'm probaly misremembering a fair amount of what I claimed. Perhaps if I could find it, the story is better in my mind than it ever really was. But I sure wish I could find it.

Anyone know the story? Anyone have ideas on how to locate it? Maybe I should try emailing the National Radio Selected Shorts folks.

(Photo courtesy of someone named Bagryan.)

May 08, 2006

Apple's 10 Quick Maintenance Tips

Apple just published a new info document in their support section entitled Mac Maintenance Quick Assist. It has ten beginner-type tips for keeping your Mac running well. In sum, they are:

  1. Use auto software updates
  2. Keep your desktop clean
  3. Name folders and files as they're created
  4. Archive old files when not needed
  5. Run Disk Utility to repair disk permissions regularly
  6. Backup, backup, backup
  7. Even though it never crashes, still restart your Mac every now and then to give it a fresh start
  8. Don't be totally ignorant of virus-like baddies
  9. Optimize your Hard Drive once a year
  10. Clean the computer exterior & keyboard a bit.
These all struck me as good beginner-type tips.

May 07, 2006

Popular key symbols

One of the most popular pages for the Mac Biblioblog (ie. receiving traffice via web searches) is just now a year old. It is the reference page I did showing all the Special Key Symbols on a standard computer keyboard. I've added to it the Unicode Hex references.

April 28, 2006

"Right of Return" for Museum Artifacts

Turkey has decided to build a replica of the Zeus temple at the Pergamum site.

I remember one summer visiting the Pergamum museum in Berlin with my mentor Gene Boring, and then a few weeks later I was in Turkey at Bergama. I stared at the gap on the edge of the mountain and thought to myself, "I know what goes here."

I had a similar experience a previous summer where I spent time in the British museum, looking at the friezes from the Athens Parthenon, and then at the end of that same summer being in Athens, staring at the stripped temple. Also that same summer I went to the Antiquities museum in Cairo where the first thing you see upon entering the building is a picture and a plaque depicting an artifact which they say should be here on display but isn't--the Rosetta Stone. (I do keep hearing rumors that the friezes are being returned.)

Of course, my initial feelings are "What a shame they can't return the artifacts to their original locations." But, it isn't as simple as all that. For one, many of these artifacts exist today in the shape they do because they were heisted out of their original locales. I'm just saying, it's not a simple issue; though it does seem such large and significant pieces ought to have a "right of return".

(Hat Tip to Jim Davila for this article)

April 15, 2006

Email Overload Got You Down?

Between family and friends, intra-office memos, collegial correspondence, students/parishioners and more (please don't mention listservs too)... sometimes I feel like my email inbox can become an insurmountable force squelching my productivity. I gain some help from use of filters and the like, but there's so much more to learn it seems. For many moons now, I've been benefitting from Merlin Mann's sage advice over on 43 Folders. The last couple months he has been blogging a series on making through your overloaded email inbox: 43 Folders Series: Inbox Zero.

There are some real gems posted in the series. The email dash has worked for me, and the focus on next action issues that come from the GTD approach.

Everyone's [email overload] situation is different, but if you're wanting to feel better about how you handle email, you're bound to glean much from the Inbox Zero articles.

April 12, 2006

Windows Live Academic vs Google Scholar

Microsoft today will launch the beta version of Windows Live Academic, designed to go head to head with Google Scholar. These types of search capabilities continue to prove to be in development stages, but the promise they show is very, well, promising. For now, Microsoft won't cover our area:

We currently index content related to computer science, physics, electrical engineering, and related subject areas.

April 07, 2006

Judas Making the Rounds

It was good to see a Gospel of Judas article in The Guardian today. Judas: this is what really happened. It certainly doesn't qualify as mainstream press by USA standards, but it was informed enough (not entirely so) to have positive impact.

The article encourages folks to watch a special on The Gospel of Judas on the National Geographic channel on Sunday evening.

April 06, 2006

Why I'm Not Excited about Running Windows On My Mac

Apple has dumbfounded quite a few Mac-pundits by releasing today Boot Camp, a new feature allowing you to load your own seperately licensed copy of Windows XP onto your Intel-chip-based Mac. It is made freely available for the latest version of OS X. The coolest aspect of this development is that Apple continues to look so ridiculously proactive on so many fronts, it's downright invigorating. Several folks have been prodding me, trying to get me to comment on this issue, so I'll share what may surprise you. I'm not excited about booting Windoze XP on my Mac.

  1. I hate working in Windows. I have to use a Windoze box in the office, and it almost always makes me feel dirty.
  2. While it is thrilling to imagine that I can run some Windows apps that I've always wanted access to, remember that to do that you are re-booting into a different OS. Our workflows today involve primarily inter-application productivity. I look-up something in my Bible software and paste it into my Word document. I browse for a snippet of text or an image online somewhere and I email that to my publicity person. While you're running that app new PC application, you can not run any of your Mac applications. In other words, you have to save and quit every single thing you have open and then reboot into Windows in order to run that nifty Windows appliation that you've been itching to run. A quick 'uptime' shows that I don't normally reboot more than once a month. I work with lots of documents open. I always seem to have many browser tabs open to different resources I'll be getting back to later today. All this "session setup" is lost on a reboot.
    This is acceptable perhaps with certain types of applications, ones that you would work in them and them alone for a long period of time. This largest segment this describes is the gaming community, who are excited about having access to many PC games now.
  3. If there's an application out there that you like to or would like to use and has toyed with beginning Mac development... this new functionality on Intel Macs very well might make it less likely that they will do so. At least, it seems it will delay such work.
I have a PC in my office, and I have to have it in order to run the RDS Church Management System that our whole church database is on. It is terrible in many ways. I do not recommend this system. It's intuitiveness and GUI and customizeability horribly lacks by todays standards. But I have to run it. I hope to get a Mac in my office this year, and will go ahead and get Windows loaded on it as well in order to run this application.
However, I'm not excited about it.
Give me better and better emulation, folks, so that I can run that PC app, but still be able work work happily in my beloved OS of choice.

Update: Rick Mansfield has similar thoughts.

Update: Here's a great article from TidBits on the issues of emulation/virtualization.

Look here at Parallels for an example of virtual emulation like I'm talking about. They have a free trial-beta available for a short period.

April 01, 2006

A Visit from the Pope?

I was looking at the visitor stats for the Macintosh Biblioblog. It's particularly fun to see what countries visitors come from. This detail I found rather interesting.

The pbxvi in the IP details is what struck me as particularly interesting. The implications have me nervous, troubled, and embarassed.

Note: I would expect his holiness would only come around on such a day in early April.

March 31, 2006

Professors and Instructors Beware

Just when you think they're reading Harvey's, beware!

March 24, 2006

Thirty-Year Old Fruit

With the 30th anniversary of Apple Computers just around the corner, the Associated Press has published an article surveying the last three decades of the beloved computer company and its innovations.

Have a look at the article: Apple Computer Set to Mark 30th Birthday.

Speculation persists on how Apple may celebrate with a product launch.

March 22, 2006

Sacred Destinations

Friend and blogger Jason Jones of The Back Streets of Heaven has pointed out a site called Sacred Destinations, a travel guide with photos of sacred sites, pilgrimages, religious buildings, and sacred places around the globe. It is a wonderful concept and well done, and includes links to web resources for each site as well as interactive maps. Ido think it could use more pictures, in my opinion.

Of course, reliance upon such a resource alone is not adviseable, for it is bound to be incomplete in contrast to a published book. For instance, when browsing Turkey, there is no page covering Priene, Miletus, and Didyma, which I might argue are the biggest "must sees" on the western coast second only to Ephesus.

OK, Pergamum is extraordinary too, (especially if you've already been to the Pergamum museum in Berlin)... so, second only to Ephesus and Pergamum... or third rather.

March 14, 2006

Bart Ehrman on The Daily Show

I watch The Daily Show on Comedy Central nearly every night. (It's where my generation gets its news.) I was looking forward to seeing Bart Ehrman, who was tonight's guest. Prof. Ehrman came across well. Jon Stewart often impresses me with his informed dialogue with an author. However, the interview was rather brief. All they really discussed was the notion that we have no original Greek authorial manuscripts, just copies through the centuries. That in and of itself is a profound point that I often take opportunities to get across to my church members as well. I'm sure the appearance will boost sales for Prof. Ehrman's book, Misquoting Jesus. Future airings can be found on the The Daily Show web page, but they typically include midnight tonight and late morning and early evening tomorrow. The show also included a "This Week in God" segment, which is always worth the effort to see.

February 24, 2006

Hide Distractions While Working at Your Computer

Productivity guru Merlin has suggested ways to use
5 applications to reduce the screen clutter and the distractions they represent as you work. Finding a "Full Screen" mode to work with can go a long way to eliminating screen clutter. Turn off email notifications... close that Instant Messenger client and get back to work.

February 22, 2006

"Two-Source" vs. "Two-Document" Hypothesis

So, let's see:

A GoogleFight comes out 15,100 to 815...

a Google Book Search finds 402 pages to 230...

and an ATLA search on EBSCO Host Research Database found 39 hits for "Two-Source Hypothesis" in any major field to 20 for "Two-Document Hypothesis".

I suppose that settles it.

February 18, 2006

How much does Feldman get?

Amazon just sent me an email, suggesting based upon my previous purchases, that I might want to jump on Louis Feldman's Judaism And Hellenism Reconsidered (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism) now that it's available for preorder.
Of course I'd love to have it, but in what world am I supposed to be buying a personal copy of a $269 text for my personal library? What a tasty special pre-order price.
Hey, wait a minute... it'll ship with super saver free shipping. Now that just may make the difference!

February 16, 2006

Historical Criteria

I enjoy discussions of historical criteria, in Text Criticism, Synoptic Problem Studies, and in Historical Jesus Studies. I'm good at grasping and applying the critera. Mark Goodacre posted Historical Jesus Forgotten Criteria I: Accidental Information, and I'm anxiously awaiting the implied "II".
The accidental criterion has never been forgotten by me, at least, though I've never heard it called that. I recall it as named "Indirect Information," which are tidbits that come when one considers the assumptions an author makes. It is extremely valuable to comb through a gospel narrative and pull out all the information that fits "What is the author presumptively implying as he makes another point?" However, using the criterion of "Accidental Information" is dangerous. What, for instance, of the segues we find in gospel pericopae? Often we get temporal and geographical information that would qualify as quite accidental, but also arguably quite historically inaccurate.

February 10, 2006

Masking Your Email Address on Your Web Page

You may have noticed, the email address on my blog page is an image file. This is to prevent spammers from harvesting my email address to add to the their list-o-bagillion-emails. I found this stupendous tutorial on the dozens of different ways to put your email address on your web page in a way that masks it from spammers. Find which option is best for you:
Hiding email addresses by Sarven Capadisli.

Using Your Public Library For Research

If you're like me, displaced from your academic library where you have primary access and/or doing scholarship out of a church context, don't neglect the resource that your local library represents. My little library near my home, is fantastically connected, and has access to journals and inter-library loan across the midwest.
Here's a fantastic summary on Lifehacker regarding how to
Get the most of your local library.

February 02, 2006

Announcing: The Accordance Blog

Fantastic news to share. The makers of Accordance Bible Software now have a blog!

Accordance Blog

News, How-tos, and assorted Views on Accordance Bible Software.

Catchy, no?
David Lang in the inaugural post alludes to being late-comers to the blogging machine. They just last year moved their user forums from a list-serv to web bulletin board forum software. It really is difficult to discern which modes (email, forums, blogs, traditional web pages) fit such situations. I think it's the right move to have both the user forum and the blog, and that everything that makes its way into the "Official Announcements" category of the forums also find their way onto the blog. I would suggest a little more design work done on the blog so that it fits more seamlessly into the color scheme of the web pages in general. However, also keeping a "News" section on the web page adds to techno-option-overflow; it is now superfluous. Archive the remaining news announcements on the old news page and then redo the web page to point not to a "News" section but to the blog. (And don't be hard about not blogging before; frankly, the News section of the web page is exactly what a blog is, just more strict on content and without using convenient blog software that encourages frequent posting.)

David today had this to say about his answer to the oft-asked question of why develop only for the Mac:

The answer is simple: We aren't out to take over the world, we just want to create Bible software which is "insanely great." And where except on the Mac can you create insanely great software?
For the less cheeky response, you could have a look at their web support page, as well.
If you use Accordance, I can't imagine why you wouldn't add the page to your daily RSS/Atom feed (except for the fact that they don't yet have the link available from their web page). If you want it, here it is:

Gentium Unicode Font -- Open Source and Looking Great

With Unicode fonts becoming more and more the standard as we plug away at our little Greek and Hebrew (and proto-Coptic!) projects, it becomes more and more important to encourage the development of good fonts that meet the needs of our specific niche fields.

Newsforge has a great write-up regarding the Gentium font and its exciting presence on the open source market now. Gentium Font SampleVictor Gaultney created the font on his Mac using FontLab as part of his Master's thesis project. It includes a good range of Unicode Extended Greek, and will now get superbly better with the contributions of more folks now that it is open source.

Thanks to Tom Elliot at the Stoa Consortium.

January 23, 2006

Keep Your Hands on the Keyboard

The real key to fluent productivity at your computer is to work towards never taking your hands off the keyboard.

Whether you're writing, or copying, or reading... keeping your hands on the keyboard means reducing mouse-hunting.

A big tip for that is to learn your key combinations in the apps you are working in. Print out a list and tape it to the wall next to your monitor.

Appleology just ran a reminder of some lesser known Control key + Function key combinations that allow access to the menus and the dock using the keyboard. Hold down the Control key and then the following F-key:

  • The F2 key to navigate the menus using the arrow keys beginning at the left side of the menu bar.
  • The F3 key to navigate the dock, using the left and right arrow keys to move between icons and the up and down arrow keys to view the navigate thought the contextual menu.
  • The F4 key to cycle through all of the open windows.
  • The F8 key to navigate through the right side of the menu bar. (Only works with some menu bar icons.)
These can come in very if you make it a habit to use them. Now, for real keyboard productivity, stay tuned for an introduction to Quicksilver--the most productivity/life-changing Mac app I've ever known.

Note: You must have "Full Keyboard Access" enabled in the preferences. If it doesn't work, use Control+F1 to toggle "Full Keyboard Access" to on.
You can find a lengthy list of keyboard shortcuts at:
Apple's list of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts

January 21, 2006

The Good and Bad of the "Ink and Blood" Exhibit

I see that William Noah's exhibit of bible history texts is still running, now in St. Petersberg, FL. When the exhibit was in Dallas, a church asked me to go with a group as a personal tour guide. I have three main comments regarding the exhibit.

  1. It is a nice, convenient collection of texts including Erasmus' 1516 edition edition and Luther's 1551 edition. It specializes on English versions (Wycliffe, Geneva, KJV, etc.).
  2. It is terribly sensationalistic and manifest destiny-ish. The narrative video they begin the tour with, along with the tour guide rhetoric and the displayed material, all tell the story from the perspective of how God ordained the bible to be translated into English, despite the evil efforts of the world (and the Roman Catholic church). It is as if God's work in the world was finished now that Americans have the bible in our native English [sic].
  3. If your main interest is in seeing a Qumran fragment, don't waste the gas money getting there. It has only just large enough of a thumb-fragment to justify using the sensationalistic "Dead Sea Scroll" buzzword in the exhibit title.
Ferrell Jenkins has a good survey of the exhibit , listing which texts are on display. Similar to him, I have been to manuscript exhibits across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. I've been blessed to see the British Museum texts, the Guttenberg exhibit in Germany, Luther and Erasmus texts around Wittenberg and elsewhere. I studied Erasmus' 1516 and 1519 editions in the Wolfenbüttel library. I have looked at texts in Cairo, Athens, and Jerusalem including the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit.

Even given my experience with superb exhibits and museums, my advice is still if it comes in your area, go see it, particularly if you have no plans to go to Europe. However, ignore all of their information. Ignore the video and the rhetoric.

January 17, 2006

Adding a Mac to the Windows-based Network in Your Office

Are you one of those Mac-loving professors or ministers working in an office whose network runs on a Windows server? Often, your tech support person is resistant to you having a Mac in your office. Here is a splendid article by a network administrator with tips regarding adding a Mac to a Windows-based network.

It makes a nice complement to the most thorough resource for inter-OS setups,

In a blog post a year ago, I also shared a couple other similar resources. Apple has a page on Networking, and iFelix has posted several articles on various issues regarding put your Mac on a Windows network. These resources alone should convince your tech support folks that they have nothing to worry about.

Now, which Mac do I want to pine for in 2006 to put in my office?

January 10, 2006

Apple introduces the MacBook

With the arrival of the Macword San Francisco conference, Steve Jobs took the stage to deliver another exciting keynote address. I agree with Presentation Zen, Apple and Jobs really do a superb job at presentations.

The Powerbooks are finished. With the use of the new dual Intel processors, Apple's Powerbook line is replaced by the Macbook Pro. These look superb, and are apparently quite fast. I note that no enhancements to battery life are mentioned. Still, I want one.

I'm most excited about the change to the iMac. They took the recent G5 iMac, the slick one built into the monitor sporting built-in camera and mic and wireless and bluetooth with remote control for media control, and put dual Intel processors in it as well, and it keeps the same price. We've been considering a family computer and this just may be it.

The Mac Mini, while not getting "Intel-icized" also recieved a small update--more memory and optional Superdrive and wireless features.

June promises to be even more exciting. Full-size desktops with the new processors are sure to dazzle. One question about hardware, though... what of the iBook line?

On the software side, as usual, I'll not get into any of the media apps and packages. The new versions of Apple and third party apps are encouraged to be released in Universal Binary form, optimized to run both on old PowerPC chip and on Intel processors. But, Word and other apps we use everyday such as Accordance, are reported to run splendidly using the Rosetta emulation that comes standard on the new Intel-chipped Macs.

A final note that Pages, Apple's Word Processor, has been updated to version 2. My question is, does it fix Right-to-Left Unicode Hebrew? I find no mention, so I'm guessing not. Would love to hear a confirmation.